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Norway Book - Missing Places

We have done a lot in Norway before, but it was several years ago.
We wanted to get back to Trondheim, Lofoten islands, Røros and other North Norway locations.
We purchased the Norway book, but it does not include any places North of the the Sognefjord! I’m a little disappointed that you missed some of the best parts of Norway, hopefully an updated book will include more places and heritage based activities.

Thanks

Posted by
6839 posts

I would suggest that if you have a complaint with the guidebook, that you address it to Rick Steves' customer service department.

Regardless, keep in mind that the RS guidebooks are more curated than other books, so it is very possible that your book will not contain information about areas you are visiting. I usually supplement my research by reading other guidebooks - some of my favorites are Rough Guides, Lonely Planet, Bradt and Moon.

Posted by
4613 posts

I noticed the same thing, the top highlights of Norway are in NOT the RS book (shameful for a Norwegian American). I used Rough Guide instead.

Posted by
11 posts

All of Rick’s books are curated, and he spends a significant more time going to places in Italy, Greece, France and other places. I’ve used many of his books to find little out of the way B&B and hostels in Germany, Ireland and Great Britain, gone on a few suggested hikes and small mom and pop places. I would have thought Rick, as a Norwegian with personal connections, would have looked into some of the more interesting heritage based places in Norway.

Posted by
27360 posts

Considering how difficult it is to find summer lodging in coastal Norway, give a thought to how much worse it would be if Rick covered more of the country. (I though he did cover Trondheim but may well be mistaken; I use a lot of different guidebooks.)

Posted by
11 posts

acraven,

I’m not sure what you mean! I get the sense you are saying, “keep quiet about Norway so no-one goes there so you can get a place to stay”! I love going to Norway, visiting with family and friends!

Posted by
27360 posts

No, I'm not discouraging people from going at all, just pointing out the fact that the tourist infrastructure at seasonal destinations is underbuilt for the current level of demand, and the situation would be worse if Rick covered more places and larger American hordes descended. It's really an argument for doing wider research and visiting now, ahead of the crowds.

Posted by
11 posts

Thanks for your clarification. I agree that smaller Kommune (where a lot of friends and family live) have insufficient resources for hordes of people, I’ve run into that myself. If Rick and his team are shying away from parts of Norway for that reason, then I commend his action! I mostly want to stay away from the hordes anyway.

Posted by
15565 posts

You have to understand the history of the guidebooks. Originally, they were written to accompany people taking his tours.

Today, those same guidebooks focus on where his tours go. Rick Steves is in the tour business. He has said it many times. He's hoping someone will pick up his guidebook and then decide to take a tour over doing it by themselves. Should a new tour be added, any new places the tour goes will be added to the guidebook.

Examples....Hamburg was added when they started the "Best of Germany" tour. Naples was added for the Southern Italy tour.

His focus is on the areas tourists are more likely to visit.

Understand, I'm not criticizing him. He knows his business and he knows his audience.

Posted by
8594 posts

I see it differently. I think RSE approaches their development of all their country-specific guidebooks as an introduction to a country. That is, if you were a first time American traveler to that country (with a short time and modest budget), what are the places most likely to be of interest and worth a visit. Other guides try to be more comprehensive and probably more valuable to someone with multiple visits to a country.

Most of the people I've encountered on tours, signed up without familiarity with the books or the TV show - just word of mouth. Heck many dont even bother to read the book they get with the tour. It's not intended to discourage people from going off their itinerary. More of encouraging people to come back and travel more extensively and independently now that they've seen the minimum. A thousand page guidebook of any country would not be a useful tool.

And what I've heard RS say, on TV, radio, and in person, is that his goal is to encourage people to learn the skills to travel independently. He developed the books as giveaways for people who were already signed up for his tours, but they became so popular that he started selling them on their own. The tours started out as very basic and even spartan, and gradually morphed into something more appealing to a bigger market.

Posted by
4613 posts

I though he did cover Trondheim but may well be mistaken

No, his farthest north is a mountainous region, forget the name, begins with J. Missing are the Lofotens, Trondheim, Alesund, Andalsnes, Trollstigen, Geiranger, the biggies.

The statement that he only covers what his tour covers isn't quite right, for example the Norway book covers Kristiansand which I doubt is on any tour, also Stavanger is covered which isn't on his tour.

Posted by
11 posts

Thanks to everyone who commented in this thread and I understand your interpretations of what RS travel is doing and not doing.

While I had hoped for a more comprehensive travel guide like I had found (and purchased) for Germany, UK, Ireland and others, I guess I purchased the wrong book for Norway! More importantly I probably need to ditch travel books and get back to writing letters and e-mails to the local areas to get better information about their area and the services they provide. That’s what I did 20 years ago when I researched the various places my family came from.

As an aside, when I talk to fellow Norwegian-American about my past trips to Norway they are amazed that I’ve seen so much that they never see in other travel logs and YouTube videos. Most just took a NIN trip or the Hutigruten and never got off! They were even surprise about my trips to see Brunost being made, touring Ålesund, fishing for cod and watching it dry off Lofoten and visiting several Viking sites not in Oslo. All things my Norwegian based heritage more or less demanded I see!

Take care, all!

Posted by
8529 posts

I find the library a great resource for travel guidebooks. I can do a “test drive” and see if I really want to purchase.

Posted by
11 posts

Carol,

If I still lived in the upper Midwest I’m sure my library would have all kinds of Norway related stuff, but I retired to Arizona and Norway is some distant land were it is too cold to travel to! 😁

But yes, I tried there and the travel section has great resources on warm places like Italy, and Greece, or Mexico and the Bahamas. Scandinavia is not represented very well!

Posted by
7573 posts

As Tom_MN mentioned, the Jotunheimen Mountains, northeast of the Nutshell area, are as far north as Rick’s guidebook goes at the moment. He’s taped a TV episode that does likewise.

Rick’s books/tours/TV shows highlight the “best” of a country, geared for Americans with limited vacation time, to see and do as much as possible within that limitation. Some of the Norway book must be considering practical accessibility of places in a visit. Rick is the first to suggest that Lonely Planet, Rough Guide, Fodor’s, Frommer’s, and even DK Eyewitness guides are valuable guidebook resources, in addition to his. I’d add the Moon books, from his same Avalon Travel publisher, is another book to consider.

We’ve been to many places in Italy, Ireland, France, Spain, and Central Europe that Rick doesn’t cover. He used to say to not surprised that his books are thinner than others, and his readers like it that way. His books are getting thicker all the time, but are still selective about the content. With more time and interest, there’s more to see than what Rick can pack into his book, and ways to find out about it. His books are a great start, with inspiration to look deeper into destinations.

Posted by
11 posts

Just got back from 3 weeks in Norway. Visited Røros, Trondheim and other places North of the “Norway in a Nutshell” places. Spent time berry picking with a great guide and friend. Visited a small goat cheese producing farm. Eat at several farm to table cafes on local farms and had some great pizza using local cheeses and meats. I did spend time with family and friends and got a private tour of Viking sights in the Stavanger area. Next time we are going farther North to visit the Sami with some reindeer and revisit the Lofoten Islands for some cod fishing and a great Viking long house. Most of what we did was where few travelers go and we were happy that the places did not have large ships docked in the bay! Too many people in Bergen this time around, glade we were only dropping our rental there!

Posted by
7573 posts

ken.nordan, it sounds like the trip went well, and you had excellent food experiences. We’re going in a month, and having to plan with resources beyond Rick Steves’ book. Can you please mention any of the specific locales besides Trondheim and Roros that you visited north of the Nutshell area? It would be a big help if you would.

Was Geiranger or the Geiranferfjord part of your itinerary? Thank you, and happy future travels.

Posted by
11 posts

One of favorite towns for the architecture is Ålesund.

If you are driving consider driving the historic Road Sognefjellet east side of Jostedal classier. At Lom ( make a stop at Bakeriet i Lom although touristy so it was less fun because of the crowds. Several good places to eat along the way, Hague Gard near Luster and Bøtun in Hafslo. I have more but I’m not at my desk now!

Posted by
4613 posts

One of favorite towns for the architecture is Ålesund.

This, walk or drive up to the viewpoint that
begins with A.

Geiranger Fjord is worth it.

KLM flies to Alesund and Trondheim, easy connecting from the many US Delta hubs. Norway trips should be open jaw.

Posted by
11 posts

I was in Geirangerfjord several years ago, took a picnic above the town after purchasing food at a small farm shop, but you can find a nice cafe as well. The hotel in Geiranger is nice for a lunch or dinner, the owner at one time (20 years ago) had an antique car collection, not sure if it is still there. If you can find a small boat to hire out of Ålesund to travel down the fjord this is the best way to see the falls. Norway west coast had lots of rain last month so I think Syv Søstrene, Friaren and Brudesløret falls should be running well. Strawberries are in season now, blue berries are just starting too! Hiking in this area is out of this world.

Posted by
68 posts

The RS Scandinavia Guidebook only covers a few selected areas and is missing a lot (not just Norway but other countries too). For the areas it does cover it is very good. I suggest buying either the Rough Guides or Lonely Planet guidebook for Norway as it will cover all the country. I used Rough Guides on my trip earlier this summer and it was good.

On my recent trip I used the guidebook feedback to tell them about places they are missing that really should be in there (e.g. Gothenburg is the second largest city in Sweden but there's nothing in there at all).