Does anyone have an idea how to make the most of southern Norway and Ireland vacation, all in 2-3 weeks?
Sounds like a Europe Through the Backdoor planning chapter would be your starting point.
Your Best Itinerary in Eight Steps
Trying to narrow your choices among European destinations is a bit
like being a kid in a candy shop. The options are endless and
everything looks delicious (and consuming too much isn’t good for
you). Start by listing everything you’d like to visit, then turn that
list into a smart itinerary by following these steps.
Decide on the places you want to see.
Establish a route and timeline.
Decide on the cities you’ll fly in and out of.
Determine the mode of transportation.
Make a rough itinerary.
Adjust by cutting, streamlining, or adding to fit your timeline or
Fine-tune your itinerary.
Organize and share your itinerary
Thanks Edgar. This looks like a good start.
I did Scotland and Norway in 22 days, which would be fairly similar. Flew into Oslo and spent a couple days there, then did a road trip up to Andalsnes, down through Trollstigen and fjord country, to Bergen for a couple days, then Setesdal Valley for a few days and back to Oslo (10 days total). I wish I would've had at least another 4 days for all of that, but I did get to see a lot! Did quite a few one-night stays and I'd probably avoid that next time.
Then I took a flight from Oslo > Edinburgh and did a similar route: some city stuff but mostly a road trip through the Highlands (11 days). Then back to Edinburgh and a flight back to Oslo for a return flight home to California. (Round trip to/from Oslo was cheaper than doing open jaw but it depends on if time is more important to you than the cost of a flight!)
My best advice would be to map out the places you know you want to see (you can plot points and save a custom map on Google Maps) and then plan the most logical route to them, cutting out anything that is inessential and/or will not fit. And allow at least a couple nights in each place you're sleeping.
Have fun! Ireland and Norway are two magical places!
Sara, thank you for your advice and encouragement. It sounds like you rented a car. That gives you a lot of freedom. Was it hard to drive in those countries? I guess you drove on different sides of the road in Norway and Scotland. That sounds confusing. Thank you again.
Norway is an incredibly easy country in which to drive. The roads are in excellent condition and most have little traffic except on the more popular tourist routes. Even there it isn't bad at all.
The main difference is that you will need to take car ferries to get across the many bodies of water that criss-cross the country. Just get in line at the dock, drive on at the direction of the ferry personnel, pay when they come to your car window, then leave your car and explore the ferry and enjoy the ride. Many of the bigger ferries have cafes on board if the ride is more than about 20-30 mins long.
Before getting too attached to any itinerary, figure out how you're going to connect Norway and Ireland. A great way to find out who flies where from an airport is to look at that airport's Wikipedia page.
Ireland's major airports (in descending order of number of flights) are Dublin, Cork, and Shannon. Southern Norway will have Stavanger and Torp (Sandefjord); further north, but busier and with more flight options, are Bergen and Olso Gardermoen.
I have no idea of prices, but since Ireland is the home of Ryanair and Norway is the home of Norwegian Air, finding budget flights should not be a problem - as long as you book far enough in advance.
Harold, great point. Thank you for pointing this issue out. I appreciate the information you provided about the different airlines and routes. The airport wikipedia site is also a great idea.
My preferred Oslo airport is Gardermoen (OSL) over Sandeford Torp (TRF). Some flight booking websites will show both OSL and TRF flights as Oslo. Ground transportation to Oslo is easier and faster from OSL.
The Flytoget Airport Express Train departs from Oslo S (Oslo Central
Station) every 10 or 20 minutes. Duration to the airport is 19–22
Flybussen departs every 20 minutes all days. Starting from the
Radisson Blu Scandinavia Hotel via Oslo Bus Terminal, Helsfyr,
Radisson Blu Alna Hotel and Furuset. Duration approx. 40–50 min.
The NSB regional train serves OSL and Torp. The NSB station is in the OSL terminal.
Oslo S Oslo Airport Gardermoen 23 mins NOK 93,-
Oslo S Torp 1h 45 mins NOK 273,-
You can take the train from Torp Sandefjord Lufthavn to Oslo. The
station is located between Stokke and Sandefjord. The journey takes
about 1 hours 45 minutes. There is a shuttle bus service between the
airport and the train station, which is included in the train ticket.
the train usually departs once every hour.
The Torp Express bus service corresponds with most international
flights to/from the airport. Buses arrive Oslo Bussterminal (appr. 2
Oh, my goodness Edgar, how wonderfully kind of you to share such important details of traveling in and into Norway. I will certainly head your well learned advice. Thank you so much for keeping up and responding to my interest. Mick