Please sign in to post.

Help with itinerary

Hello , fellow travelers.
Please critique my itinerary.
We are planning to go to Norway in the beginning of July.
Flying into Bergen on Saturday morning and have a few days to spend in the area. Thursday night we have to be near Oslo. Plan as follows:
Day1 : Arrival in Bergen around 10 am ,pick up a car in the airport.
Fish market, KODE, Flobanen funicular. Night in Bergen.

Day 2: Bergen
10 am walking tour of Bryggen
Ulriken 643
Edward Gregg museum ( may be concert at 18:00)
Night in Bergen

Do I really need two nights in Bergen?
What else you would suggest for day2 in Bergen or around it? Is it worth to go up Ulriken.?

Day 3:
Leave Bergen for Bulestrand via Voss-Gudvangen-Nearofjord(ferry)-Vagnsness-Hella-Dragsvik.
Night in Balestrand .

Do you think that is is better to do walking tour of Bryggen and leave for Balestrand on day 2 instead of day 3? If to go with this option
will it be enough time to visit Edward Grieg Museum on the way to Voss?

Day4:
Visit Hopperstad Stave Church via express passenger boat to Vik.
After coming back do some hiking in the area
Bulestrand Fjord adventure( speed boat). can’t figure out which fjord it goes to?
Night in Balestrand

Day5
Nigard Glacier
If we walk glacier it’s probably will be the hole day tour if we decide just to walk to it we will have some time left. Any suggestions for the interesting stops on the way back to Balestrand
Night in Balestrand

Day 6
This day is my “ wishful thinking “:
Is it realistic to get to Stegastein view point by the snow road, return by the tunnel to Leardal ,continue to Oslo and get to Oslo by night ?
Night in Oslo
Is it too much?
Does my itinerary looks too busy or too light for this six days ?

I am completely missing Aurlandsfjord. May be I should rearrange days to fit it or continue to Aurland after Nigard glacier and spend the night there instead of Balestrand and start day 6 in Aurland.
I am open to any suggestions and Very grateful for any input in advance.

Posted by
21926 posts

Not having been to Norway yet (planning to go in June), I have only a few comments:

Are you arriving in Bergen after flights from the US or Canada? If so, I wouldn't count the arrival day as a real day in Bergen. I'm always too fog bound to know what I'm seeing after the overnight flight. The best advice is stay outdoors on arrival day (I guess we have to say "weather permitting" since we're discussing what is possibly Europe's rainiest city) so your body adjusts to its new time zone.

I wouldn't pick up a rental car until I needed it; you'll just have to pay for parking. The best I can tell, you'll have no use for the car until you go to the Grieg house, and there's bus transportation there that would allow you to avoid having a car even then.

The RIB from Balestrand seems to swing around to the right, into the Sognefjord, before returning to Balestrand. The first and last parts of the trip will have you in the same area you saw on the Vangsness-Hella-Dragsvik ferry.

Here are bus travel times to the Stegastein viewpoint, in case they help you calculate whether you have time to include it:

Stegastein Viewpoint from...
Flam: 30 min.
Lunde Camping: 20 min.
Aurland: 15 min.
Prest: 10 min.

You can use ViaMichelin.com to get estimated driving times. A prudent traveler would allow considerably longer.

I'm not sure what constitutes "night" in Norway in early July. I suspect you can accomplish what you want to do on that last day if you don't make a bunch of sightseeing or photo stops and manage to find quick sources of food. However, if you plan to drop the car that night, you may run into issues with the closing time of the rental agency.

I have never set eyes on the Norwegian fjords, but I believe Naeroyfjord is considered more beautiful than Aurlandsfjord.

Over the last week I had a hard time finding lodgings in the fjord area for the third week of June, so I'd recommend coming to a decision about where you want to spend each night ASAP and getting things booked.

I believe you also need to book the car ferries, but I have no idea how far in advance that needs to happen.

You may also need to book dinner meals, especially if you plan to eat at the fancy hotel in Balestrand.

Posted by
48 posts

Thank you , I think you have a good point about a car. I didn’t want to go back to the airport to pick it up (difference in price for this two days was minimal) i but I think I will since it’s not that far . Is there way I can get to Ulriken without a car?

My other thought was to do day 2 NIN up to Midral and back to Bergen . But I can’t decide if I want to spend so much time on
Public transportation and been so dependent on the schedule.?

Posted by
21926 posts

I don't know anything about Ulriken, but I see there's a lift of some sort there. I guess you're looking for transportation to the bottom of the lift? It appears that Skyss has a lot of buses going in that direction from Bergen. It's not far at all, so I guess Ulriken is part of the city bus network. You can take a look at schedules here:

https://www.skyss.no/en/

There are multiple entries for Ulriken, and I have no idea which one you want.

The Nutshell fjord area is a lot closer to Bergen than to Oslo, so a one-day roundtrip would be manageable for you, I think. I posted some schedule info (not for a round-trip) and links in this thread earlier today:

https://community.ricksteves.com/travel-forum/norway/need-help-on-reverse-nutshell-with-family-of-11

The schedule info is in my first and third posts.

Only you can decide whether it's worth the time (and not insubstantial cost), but there are three highly-scenic segments of that trip to enjoy: the bus between Voss and Gudvangen, the passenger ferry between Gudvangen and Flam, and the train between Flam and Myrdal. I'd do it. In fact, I'm doing the whole Oslo-to-Bergen trip with 2 nights in Flam in June.

Posted by
48 posts

Thank you so much. I am going to look at the schedules and may be rearrange first two days by doing that to avoid backtracking later.

Posted by
3692 posts

I agree about the car, having a car in Bergen will just be a headache. It's not just the cost of renting the car, it is also the cost of parking. As well as the hassle of trying to find parking. Getting to Ulriken is easy without a car, just take a local city bus to the cable car station.

Posted by
48 posts

Thank you Badger. I am going to rearrange things a bit and post the new itinerary for you to review. Just need to check the schedule for the boat bus and train .
Appreciate all your advice.

Posted by
48 posts

Hello my dear Advisers. I edited my itinerary in accordance with your suggestions . Can you please review it and tell me what do you think.
Day 1: Same as above, arriving at Bergen and exploring the town for the rest of the day. Not renting a car.
Night 1 in Bergen

Day2: Going to do “ touristy thing” but we are tourists after all. NIN : Bergen- Voss-Gudvangen- Flam-Myrdal-Bergen.
Couple of questions on that meter:
Would you do it in this sequence or take a train to Myrdal from Bergen and do it in opposite direction?

Is Ferry from Flam to Gudvangen “hop-on-hop-off”?
Is it possible to hop off at Aurland and get to Stegastein viewpoint without a car? Or get off at flam to do fjord safari tour?

Is it better to book tickets in advance through NIN or book each leg of this journey separately?
Night 2 in Bergen

Day3: To do walking tour of Bryggen.( is there other walking tours except the one that RS mentioned ? He talks about one that is at 10am. Wondering if there more of them during the day? In this case I would do it in day 1.)
Pick up car and drive to Balestrand via Vick. On the way try to stop at Edward Gregg’s house ( if to get there by 13:00 listen to the concert) continue to drive.
Visit Hopperstad stave church . Evening in Balestrand. Harbor front walk, kings belle’s walk.
Night3 Balestrand

Day4
Morning to explore Balestrand: Kreklingen trail ( may be?)
Balestrand Fjord Adventure (1.5 hrs) stars at 13:00
Visit Nigard glacier.
Do you think I pack too much in one day ? If yes than I skip Fjord adventure.

Question here: until what time I can visit a glacier? Not to walk on it , just to drive to it.
How late Hella-Dragsvik ferry running that I could get back to Balestrand?
Should I get an early start heading to a Glacier, visit Solvorn on the way there and then explore Balestrand in the evening when I come back?
Night4 : Balestrand

Day 5: “take it easy “
Some hiking in Balestrand area, fjord adventure (which I planned for the previous day and as I was typing I realize it not fitting at all to day4 lol).
Basically, idea for the day is just to enjoy scenery and serenity of the fjords.
If you have any advice on how to spend it or what to visit, please, shoot them out. Wineries, farms, restaurants anything local and authentic.
Night 5 Balestrand.

Day6:
Drive from Balestrand via Sogndal and Kaupanger -Mannheller ferry to the Snow Road -Stegastein viewpoint( assuming I won’t get there when doing day 2 NIN) , return via tunnel to Lerdal and from there take E16 to Oslo. Arrive to Oslo by evening.

Pls critique away. Open for any changes and greatly appreciated all your advice. Thank you in advance.

Posted by
21926 posts

I can only comment on Day 2.

In looking at transportation schedules I had the vague impression things may link up a bit better if you travel in the direction of Myrdal-Flam-Gudvangen-Voss. However, that is just my impression; I have always intended to go that way, since I'm starting from Oslo. The major pinch-points are the ferry between Flam and Gudvangen (only two a day run by F1, the company I decided I preferred, and three others operated by a different company) and the scenic #950 bus between Gudvangen and Voss (only three per day for my travel day in June). Starting from Bergen, which is much closer to the fjords than Oslo, I assume you can make this work in either direction, but you definitely need to look up all the schedules to be sure.

Trains: https://www.vy.no/en. You need to buy your train tickets out of Bergen and back to Bergen in advance. They may be a bit cheaper if you buy them early. Buy two one-way tickets. One should be a through-ticket for Bergen-Flam or Flam-Bergen, depending on which way you decide to do the fjord loop. That's the only way to buy a one-way ticket between Myrdal and Flam in advance. If you wait really late to buy your train tickets, you might not be able to get a window seat on the trains to and from Bergen. I think it's a mad scramble on the Flamsbana in any case.

Tickets for the F1 Naeroyfjord ferry Flam-Gudvangen or vice versa can be purchased here: https://www.norwaysbest.com/things-to-do/fjords/fjord-cruise-naeroyfjord/ I'd definitely buy this ticket ahead of time, but I don't know how early you need to do that. As far as I know, you cannot hop on and hop off; with only two F1 ferries per day, operating six hours apart, that seems impractical in any case. All the stops along the way are request stops--made only if a passenger arranges the stop ahead of time or if someone waiting on the dock sets the "pick me up" signal. The schedule is here: https://www.norwaysbest.com/globalassets/pdf/rutetider/rutetider-2022/fjord-cruise-naroyfjord-2022.pdf. You'll note that only one fare is shown; there's no indication of what you'd pay if you were not traveling the full route.

The schedule for Bus 950 between Gudvangen and Voss is here: https://www.skyss.no/en/. For this bus you just pay the driver. Note that the 950 takes a significantly more scenic route than the express bus. I've read that express-bus tickets can be purchased in advance, but why wouldn't you want to take the scenic route?

If the schedule permits, you can certainly pause your journey in Flam, between taking the Flamsbana train and the Flam-Gudvangen (or vice versa) ferry. Look at the schedules to see whether this works better with a clockwise loop or a counterclockwise loop.

I don't know whether the Stegastein viewpoint could be incorporated into this day. I suspect it would be difficult because the ferry and Bus 950 run so infrequently, but I think there is some public-bus service to Stegastein as well as tour buses. You might need to take two different buses and connect in Aurland. This is not something I've researched, but I think you'll be able to find the info you need via Google.

You will definitely save money by buying your own transportation tickets. I just did that last night. The VY website didn't like either of my US credit cards, so I used PayPal there. NorwaysBest was happy to sell me a ferry ticket paid for via credit card. Making those purchases was simple enough that I don't see any advantage to paying someone else (I think it would be NorwaysBest) to sell them to you as part of a bundle. You'd still need to research the schedules.

Posted by
48 posts

Thank you very much. All is noted. I will definitely get tickets in advance. They all returnable in case “something happened “ thank you for the pay pal note. I didn’t realize they do t take our credit cards😞

Posted by
21926 posts

Your cards might work, especially if American Express is an option for you; I don't have an AmEx card. I haven't made very many pre-trip bookings with European providers, but I've always been able to use one of my cards in the past. It just depends on what sort of security procedures are in play, I think.

My rail tickets are changeable but not refundable; the extra cost for refundable tickets was quite high, so I decided it wasn't worth it. I'm not sure what the situation is with the Flam-Gudvangen ferry ticket. I didn't see a pricing option, so I just assumed I was making a non-refundable purchase. My fingers will remain crossed until I get out of Norway, to tell the truth. I don't want to get COVID and have to quarantine there!

Posted by
48 posts

Keep your fingers crossed. Hope everything will be ok with Covid. My friend who lives there saying that situation is pretty good so far . Hope it will be even better by the time we go.

Posted by
3692 posts

Your itinerary looks a bit odd in my opinion. You are taking a half NiN-tour from Bergen to Flåm and the surrounding areas, just to return two days later to same area. That is quite a lot of backtracking in my opinion. If it was my trip I'd suggest you stay in Bergen and when you are ready to leave, take the train to Flåm and rent a car in the area.

Pick up car and drive to Balestrand via Vick.

I've not heard of Vick, are you spelling that right.

On the way try to stop at Edward Gregg’s house ( if to get there by
13:00 listen to the concert) continue to drive.

That is not on the way. Also, his name is Grieg.

How late Hella-Dragsvik ferry running that I could get back to
Balestrand?

Here is the schedule: https://www.norled.no/globalassets/2021-ferjetakster/hella-2.pdf

Posted by
48 posts

Thank you. I will look into that. And , yes , I did misspell town . It’s Vik not Vick . And I misspelled a composer too. Lol