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Norway itinerary suggestions; best Geiranger to Bergen non-car route

Would be very grateful for suggestions on my Scandinavia Itinerary (July 2024). See questions embedded in the itinerary and at the bottom of this post. We want to stick to train, bus, and boat and avoid car/driving. We are especially looking for feedback on our Norway segment.

Non-Norway - First Scandinavia Segment:
Copenhagen(3 nts), Aeroskobing(2 nts), Kalmar(1 nt), Stockholm(3 nts), Tallinn(1 nt), Helsinki(1 nt), Turku + ferry to Stockholm (1 nt) // 12 Nights Total

Norway - Second Segment:
Day 1-3 - Oslo
Day 4 – Train from Oslo to Lillehammer/Gaala
Day 5 – travel to Geiranger – what’s best mode of transport (other than car)?
Day 6 – Sightseeing/explore area
Day 7 – Geiranger/Bergen Series of Ferry rides on fjord(s) ending in Bergen – is this possible? (This is description off another traveler’s itinerary). What is a realistic route from Geiranger to Bergen?
DAY 8 – Bergen – sightseeing
Day 9 – Bergen
DAY 10 – Bergen/Lofthus: bus via route Steindal Waterfall
DAY 11: Lofthus/Flam - "Norway in a Nutshell”:
DAY 12: Lofthus/Oslo
Visit fjord village of Eidfjord and tour Hardanger Nature Center
Arrive Oslo

Questions:
1. Please see my embedded questions above.
2. Also, I would like to add 4-5 days to this Norway trip segment. Any suggestions?
3. Should I add any additional nights at any of the above stops?

Posted by
1469 posts

Your route is possible by public transportation, but how efficient it is time-wise is another matter. To get to Geiranger from Lillehammer you can take the 4hr. train to Andalsnes, from where you can take a 3 hr. bus to Geiranger via the Troll’s Ladder. To get from Geiranger to Bergen, you could take a 90-minute ferry to Hellesylt and then a 8hr bus to Bergen. Alternatively, there are 3-hr buses to Alesund from where either a flight or a bus ticket to Bergen would be needed. I found bus tickets for the 9.5 hr. ride from Alesund to Bergen last August cost more than a one-hour flight booked well in advance! There also are ferries taking 12 hrs that can cost more than the 1-hr flights. Such are the idiosyncrasies of travel in Norway. There also are sightseeing boats and catamarans traveling between Geiranger and Alesund for about $180 each. Hurtigruten Cruises, which allowed daytripping travelers to join its ships at Alesund for the cruise to and from Geiranger, suspended that service last summer. I don’t know if Hurtigruten will bring back the service during 2024.
If there are two people in your group, public transit might pencil out. With three or four traveling, a car rental is the way to go. And driving our hybrid vehicle allowed us to visit dozens of villages and towns, stop wherever we wanted to for photos, lunch or just to stretch our legs. If you’re limited to public transportation, you’re going to miss a lot. Driving in Norway is much easier than I expected because the roads have excellent signage, are constantly maintained in excellent condition, and speed limits are lower than here in the U.S.— with speeding tickets among the most expensive in Europe to keep everyone safe.

Posted by
2565 posts

A respectful but honest opinion: this itinerary makes no sense to me.

Why do you stress yourself with Geiranger - Bergen in 1 day after a day "Sightseeing/explore area" without a car? Sorry but this is nonsense to me because Geiranger is a small village in a valley surrounded by high mountains. Furthermore 2 nights in this tourist trap are overexpensive with a limited value.

And why Geiranger? You already plan Naeroyflord (Flam) - and for example Lysefjord near Stavanger is much easier to reach by train from Oslo. It is comparable scenic and you can take ferries from Stavanger to Lysebotn. Stavanger - Bergen is easy to do in one day by ferry or bus.

Posted by
6576 posts

Lillehammer to Geiranger is easy, train from Lillehammer to Åndalsnes (one change in Dombås needed). And then a bus as mentioned.

From Geiranger, the easiest way to get to Bergen is probably by boat using Hurtigruten. You'll need to change boats in Ålesund but it's an easy and scenic way to get to Bergen. The bus + ferry options mentioned above sounds a bit more complicated.

Although I agree that two nights in Geiranger sounds a bit too much. And three days in Bergen but only one night in Tallinn is a bit of an odd choice in my opinion. What are you looking for in this trip? What do you want to see and do?

Posted by
18 posts

Thanks all for your suggestions. As i suspected, travel in Norway fjord country without a car is not simple. I may stick with just the Norway in a nutshell route and add additional days to the rest of my Scandinavia itinerary. Any suggestions on where to add days in my existing itinerary, including the other countries and cities? I’m shooting for about four weeks total to cover Scandinavia.

Posted by
27362 posts

I did this in 2022 via public transportation, but I spent a lot of time doing so:

  • Oslo to Bergen via the Nutshell route (spent 2 nights in Flam, but not required)
  • Overnight ferry Bergen to Alesund, staying on the Hurtigruten ship as it made a round-trip to Geiranger
  • Overnight ferry Alesund to Trondheim
  • Day trip Trondheim to Roros
  • Trondheim back to Oslo by train with detour to Andalsnes.

I'd recommend considering Badger's suggestions to simplify your itinerary without adding a great deal of time.

I haven't been to Aero but understand it's a nice stop. I've been to Kalmar, which has some points of interest. I'd drop them both in a heartbeat for more time in the very interesting capital city of Tallinn, and I also preferred Helsinki to Kalmar. If pressed, I'd drop Helsinki (where I have spent 12 nights in the last two years) to expand my time in Tallinn, which I believe is more of a "wow" destination for most travelers. For what it's worth, Tallinn will probably be much less expensive than your other planned destinations.

Stockholm is a stunning city; it certainly wouldn't be wrong to have more time there. I haven't been to Copenhagen since 1972, so I cannot evaluate it by comparison to the other northern capitals.