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Help with itinerary in Fjord region

We will be in Norway the first two weeks of July. We don't want to bite too much off, we like to stay in place more than one day. We will be renting a car for maximum flexibility.

Arrive Bergen on Friday noonish
Spend all Saturday and morning on Sunday.
Travel to Aurland (3hr drive) on Sunday. If time, do Flam funicular.
Do train loop, Myrdal, Naeroyfjord, on Monday
Travel to Boverdal on Tuesday - stay at Elveseter 3 nights.
Wednesday drive up to Geirangerfjord
Thursday hike in the Jotunheimen national Park
Friday drive to Oslo. 5 hrs
Spend Saturday and Sunday in Oslo.
Fly to Stockholm on Monday

It still seems rushed but we already cut time in both Bergen and Oslo.

Appreciate your thoughts.

Posted by
3346 posts

Be ready for a lot of crazy driving...we spend a month in Alesund last summer and drove extensively around the area for about a 5 hour radius. The roads are extremely good in Norway but very winding and white-knuckle-inducing. It almost always takes you longer to get places than you think it's going to.
For the Geirangerfjord, based on where you are staying, you will approach the fjord from the eastern end at the town of Geiranger. You can go to the lookout just north of town for a good view of the fjord but it's really best seen from the tourist ferry - you put your car on. Take the one to Hellesylt and then loop back with the car through Grodas, Stryn and Hjella. Otherwise you have to take the ferry back down the fjord to return the way you came. Very pricey.
It will be a long day of driving but well worth it.
At the town of Geiranger you will be very close to the Trollstigen Pass which is well worth your time. I don't know if you'll have time to take the ferry down the fjord AND see the Pass but if you can spend the night in the area it's SO worth it.
Generally speaking, you also need to research any car ferry crossings you will need to take. Some of them have frequent crossings (every 20 minutes or so, 24/7) and others have just a few ferries throughout the day and shut down in the late afternoon, so spend some time researching timetables before you go. At best it can really slow you down if your timing isn't right or, at worst, you could get stuck someplace if the service has shut down for the evening. The ferry companies are regional so, unfortunately, there isn't a centralized website (as far as I know) that you can use to research this.

Posted by
5818 posts

Seems like you will doing a lot more sitting (in a car) than hiking.

Consider doing a Bergen to Oslo Norway in a Nutshell (Voss, Flam, Myrdal) to Oslo train tour with a stop in the fjords. Then take a car to the Mountains returning to OSL or by bus: http://www.jotunheimen.com/en/how-to-get-there

Buses to Jotunheimen National Park run all year round from Oslo,
Bergen, Trondheim and Måløy. With a frequency of 4 times a day, the
Express Bus is a good option when you are coming from from Oslo.
Bergen, Trondheim and Måløy are served at least once a day by
(Express) bus, depending on the season.

Posted by
17 posts

That looks like a great itinerary, but I recommend you to do a few changes. I see your point in staying more nights at the same places, but distances is quite long sometimes (in travel time). So that will result in very much driving (returns). (Especially the 3 nights at Elveseter).

You are mentioning Flåm funicular as a "maybe" on the first sunday. And for the next day you are writing "train loop, Myrdal, Naeroyfjord". I don't know where you have this information from, but I think this is the same thing. There is no "train loop" from Myrdal to the Nærøyfjord. Nærøyfjord is a small, beautiful arm to the Aurlandsfjord (which, itself is a bigger arm of the Sognefjord).

The train ride (Flåm Line), goes from Myrdal to Flåm, and is a shuttel ride. I really recommend you to take the ride. It takes aproximately 1 hour each way. You can decide for yourself if you have enough time for it on sunday afternoon/evening, or you should wait til til Monday. But if you plan to stay the night sunday-to-monday in the village of Aurland (Aurlandsvangen), you need to drive about 10 kilometers (10-15 min) back om monday to get to Flåm station at Flåmsbrygga, for the Flåm Line ride.

As an alternative you can stay the night from sunday to monday at Fretheim hotel in Flåm. Flåm is way more "touristy" and not so cozy, but the Flåm-ride departures right outside the door. (Bonus if you really like beer: You find Ægir brewpub at Flåmsbrygga.).

The village of Aurlandsvangen is small and cozy, but I think you don't need to stay the night there. Take a stop (Lunch?) and a walk around. Instead of staying the night in Aurlandsvangen, I recommend you to drive to Lærdal. And I really recommend you to drive the mountain pass between Aurland and Lærdal (County Road 243) Not through the 25 km long tunnel on the main road. On the way up, you will have some fantastic view points over the Aurlandsfjord.
http://www.nasjonaleturistveger.no/en/routes/aurlandsfjellet

Another reason to get to Lærdal, is to shorten the ride to Bøverdal/Elveseter a bit. You should really enjoy that ride up from the fjords to the mountains.

Instead of 3 nights at Elveseter; reduce it to 2 nights. The one whole day you will do the hiking (Wednesday). On Thursday: drive up to Geiranger (2 hours one way), and enjoy the Geiranger fjord and the cozy Geiranger village. Eat well at Brasserie Posten, and sleep well at Union Hotel.

While you're already in Geiranger, you are very close to Trollstigen. The ride from Geiranger to Trollstigen, and Trollstigen itself, is a fantastic drive. http://www.nasjonaleturistveger.no/en/routes/geiranger-trollstigen

So, if you are willing to drive for 9-10 ours on friday (Geiranger -> Trollstigen -> Dombås -> Oslo), cramp in antother day in Norway, or cut your first day in Oslo in half. (first half of the saturday as the drive from somewhere in Romsdal to Oslo). I really recommend you to include the drive from Geiranger to Trollstigen.

Another reason is that drive itself from the bottom of Trollstigen (European route 136) to the mainroad (E6), is way more interesting than the road just south of Geiranger (County Road 15) to the main road (E6).

But of course. If you plan on coming back, you can maybe save Geiranger and Trollstigen for a trip a little more up-north at the west coast of Norway.

I really wish you a great trip.

Posted by
161 posts

Thank you so much! I will look into these ideas. We like to avoid too touristy spots which is why Aurland seemed better than Flam. I think staying one night at Geirangerfjorden is a good idea. We really don't want to be doing too much driving. We have travelled enough to know that even a 2-3 hour trip can lose the day.

We would really rather dump the car and take the train to Oslo, but I could find no one who would give us a one way rental except all the way into Oslo.

Posted by
17 posts

There is unfortunately no natural places to dump the car on this kind of route. The best parts of the Bergen-Oslo-line is way remote for cars, and too far away from your final destination before Oslo. The best part of the Bergen-Oslo-line is between Voss and Geilo. After Geilo, the main road goes side by side with the railway almost all the way to Oslo, and the nature isn't that spectaculare.

As an alternative you can dump the car at either Sogndal Airport, Ørsta/Volda Airport or Sandane Airport. The two latter is closest to Geiranger. (Aproximately 2,5 hour drive. There is a short ferry on the road to Sandane). From there you can fly to Oslo. Some departures flying directly, some has a intermediate stop (in Sogndal). It's http://www.wideroe.no that operates theese kind of small airports in Norway.

But remember. Flying also takes time and isn't for free. You need to check in, wait a lot, get out of the airport at Gardermoen, taking the train to Oslo. Because you have to drive 2-3 ours extra to get to the airports, you will probably only save a couple of ours if you catch a direct departure, compared to driving all the way from Geiranger to Oslo. And you will miss a lot of nice scenery.

Having a car all the way to Oslo gives you much flexibility.