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Norway in May/June 2019

Hey all,

I'm in the process of planning a trip to Norway and Ireland for mid-May through early June 2019 (3 weeks total). I'll be with my mother (mid 60s). Bit of background on us:

  • We'd rather not go out of our way to visit museums unless they are truly awesome
  • We love easy hikes (walks) amongst beautiful scenery (we recently visited Switzerland and really enjoyed slower paced 'hikes').
    • We'd also love to do an (organised) glacier hike and kayak through a fjord (preferably with guides).
    • We won't be renting a car so will need to rely on public transport. We'll be flying into Oslo. and will have around 7-8 days to explore from there.

At this very early planning stage, I think we'll do a DIY NiN tour from Oslo-Bergen, including Flam railway. I also want to include Alesund and a few nights at the Juvet Landscape Hotel in Valldal but if not possible, we'll stick closer to Bergen.

Has anyone done a similar trip and can advise on the best way to do this? How many nights do you recommend we stay in Oslo vs Bergen?

I'd love some recommendations on places to see along the way, places to stay, easiest way to get from Flam/Bergen to Alesund, and anything in between please.

Thanks in advance - I know this is a bit all over the place at the moment, but I'm planning this 6 months out so still weighing up our options :)

Posted by
441 posts

In general is Norway at that date a really good decision. You will limit your own possibilities by deciding to use public transport only. No critique, just opinion and own experience. Based on that decision doing an own NiN sounds reasonable.

As you are not a fan of "just" good museums I would reduce Oslo to 1 day HoHo bus tour plus little sightseeing. Bergen can be 1-2 days - it is a real nice town. The rest of time I would spend the landscape and you decided for Fjord Norway which is scenic - especially at that time.

For sure worth a trip form Flam are:
- Stegastein: https://www.mark-koenig.de/norway-places-stegastein-fjord-viewpoint/
- Naeroyfjord boat tour aound noon will allow nice impressions: https://goo.gl/maps/kVTayMnnqm92

In Alesund I recommend to get a view from Aksla viewpoint. A lot of stairs or you drive up from the back by taxi: https://www.mark-koenig.de/norway-places-aksla-viewpoint-%C3%A5lesund/

If you like bird watching I recommend Runde island - a day trip from Alesund. You can either hike the high hill or do a boat trip with lovely former teacher Johan.
https://www.mark-koenig.de/norway-places-bird-watching-runde-boat/

if you do Valldal the famous Geirangerfjord is not far. A boat tour (to / from Hellesylt) or a guided Kayak tour though the fjord will allow to see waterfall Seven Sisters: https://www.mark-koenig.de/norway-places-seven-sisters-waterfall/ and also "The Bottle" on the other side: https://www.mark-koenig.de/norway-places-friaren-waterfall/. Both awesome beautiful and at that time full of water.

From Valldal to North you could reach Trollstigen.

Glacier is a little more difficult. by public transport and smooth hike only. Nearest to my mind is Briksdalsbre which has also a provider that will drive you up a good part of the way, so you will have a last walk of 15 mins.

Last tip: From Bergen you could use Hurtigruten ship port-to-port to Alesund. If you do this on summer sailing plan (only) the ship will drive into Geriangerfjord from Alesund and back (morning to evening). You could also disembark in Geiranger by boat. With this "trick" you would have done the Geirangerfjord boat tour passing the Seven Sisters waterfall at the same occasion ;-)

Hope that helps. And again: At some occasions a rental car in Norway opens up more and different possibilities - a lot of them I did lot list here based on your briefing.

Posted by
2056 posts

Opinionated reply as usual:.

Consider skipping Bergen and NIN as the fjords south of Alesund are prettier. It's always tough to have the confidence to stray from the well-worn tourist path, however. There are nice bus tours from Alesund down to Geiranger and back via Trollstiggen. On a sunny day the drive from Andelsnes to Alesund is breathtaking.

It's foolish to fly in and out of Oslo. Norway is a BIG country and surface transportation is awfully slow, like a third world country (but exceedingly safe roads due to slow speeds). Open jaw a return from Alesund, many flights to Amsterdam, or also from Bergen to Amsterdam, London, other cities to connect. Or Trondheim, lots of flights from there also.

The museums in Oslo are nice but I think you can skip them if you are not a museum person. They are all small, however.

Posted by
7 posts

Thank you both for your replies!

Tom - we are flying from Australia so we have to enter via Oslo. We also want to visit for at least a day or two so definitely not foolish ;) What fjords south of Alesund do you recommend, I'll add them to the list! Thank you again I really do appreciate it! :)

Mark, thank you also for taking the time to write such a detailed response. Renting a car is 100% out for us, so happy to rely on public transport.
Regarding your tip for Bergen to Alesund via Hurtigruten - is there a site that i can view their timetable?

Thanks again guys!! :)

Posted by
2056 posts

I didn't mean to imply that Geiranger was off the beaten path, it was that most people here will choose the NIN first and only once that is seen, then consider other fjords, and this is foolish.

OP: there's no need to see fjord after fjord, they mostly look the same. Pick a few and stick with that.

Also: There's a site online that lists when cruise ships are in which port, so we were able to see Geiranger, Alesund, Andelsnes, and Olden without any cruise ships. I don't remember the site I used, here's another http://www.stranda-hamnevesen.no/cruise-calls. This requires quite a bit of planning to pull off, I think it is worth it however, to avoid the crowds. The glaciers particularly are ruined by cruise trippers I hear.

The Hurtigruten is terribly expensive but you may think it's right for you.

But you still need to fly to Dublin, that can be managed from Alesund or Bergen with a change somewhere. You don't want to have to backtrack overland.

Posted by
104 posts

There is no public transport through Trollstigen in early June.

Posted by
441 posts

Sailing plan Hurtigruten next summer. Take care to choose the right "season" which do not match with normal calendar seasons. Also choose the right direction. In your case "northbound".
https://www.hurtigruten.com/practical-information/sailing-plan/?season=Summer

Tip for booking: Besides booking by phone via US branch of Hurtigruten you can also book directly at Norwegian website (Norwegian language) - not so bad for Germans but for English good to open Google translate in parallel. Normally also cheaper. Did that few times.

https://www.hurtigruten.no/havn-til-havn

And again: Tip into Geirangerfjord only in summer season on northbound route.

Posted by
441 posts

Little European add-on info to Tom's US view which I share: Most tourists in Norway come from European continent and a huge ratio of them travel by car, motorbike, motorhome or other vehicle. Therefore cruise ship passengers are only part of the crowd in Geiranger and other ports - but also a mighty one.

Most scenic fjords are inside the land whereas Alesund is at the coastline. Beside Storfjord and branch Geirangerfjord you can also choose Hjorundfjord (destination of Hutigruten in Autumn), Austefjord or Dalsfjord but hard to get there by public transport.

Mentioned Olden is the entry village to the glacier I mentioned in #1.

Posted by
2056 posts

OP is Australian I believe. If had been from North America I would have suggested skipping the glaciers since better in Alberta, Alaska.

Adding on: from Australia you will have to transfer somewhere to get to Oslo, so wherever that this there will also be flights to Bergen and Trondheim and maybe Ålesund (AMS for sure).

As to Trollstigen, the Hurtigruten runs a coach from the ferry in Geiranger in season, so whenever that Geiranger service starts that will be an option, certainly by mid-June, although maybe that’s too late for you.

In June there were not that many foreign cars or motorcycles in Norway, although there were some. Seemed that the tours and cruise ships dominated the fjord crowds.

Posted by
1695 posts

few nights at the Juvet Landscape Hotel in Valldal

Don't see how you will reach this hotel on your dates without renting a car. I am sure too early for strawberries but Valldal has the best strawberries in the world ; seek out some of the jam at least which will be sold year round if you go.

The Trollstigen famous road may not even be open until the end of May (exact date depends on snow fall but past years I believe end of May is normal)

Posted by
1024 posts

We did the NIN this past July and loved it. Especially the Flamsbana train from Flam to Myrdal and then we rented bikes and biked down. I did a trip report on this forum. It was awesome!