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Norway solo trip initial planning phase

I have started planning my first ever visit to Norway and it's quite exciting! I arrive in Bergen on Sept. 1st (afternoon). I need to be in Kiel, Germany the evening of Sept. 14. I am strongly leaning towards renting a car as I do love to drive and I love to stop and take lots of photos! It is hard for me to narrow down where to go and the route to take but I really would like to get up to Alesund after all I've read about that town and area (Atlantic Road, etc). I love small towns, mountains, water and want to focus the most on seeing the fjords and then local culture like Stave churches, living history museums, and such. I'm not a hiker, so want to see things that do not require that I hike any big distance to see. That doesn't mean I won't get out of the car and walk - just prefer that it's shorter distances (1 mile or so that is fairly easy walking) as I just don't enjoy doing longer hikes alone. Here are my questions so far:

  1. The fjords I'm thinking of focusing on are: Sognefjord, Hardangerfjord, Geirangerfjord. Is it too much to try to include Hardangerfjord (Norheimsund area) on my drive towards Alesund (I know it deeps southerly but then I could loop back up to Gudvangen)? If yes, where would you stay between Bergen and Gudvangen? Or would you drive from Bergen, along Hardangerfjord, and end in Gudvangen in one day?
    1. If I'm driving and planning on taking the Gudvangen-Kaupanger car ferry, is including going to Flam and the rail to Myrdal too much? Is the scenery similar to other areas I'll be driving? I'd probably only stay in Gudvangen area for 1 night but if you think 2 nights is worth it to include Flam rail - this would be helpful information.
    2. From Kaupanger, I'd like to try going to Utsikten (I would love driving the hairpin turns to get to the viewpoint). Does this make sense? Or would it be better to stay in Flam/Gudvangen - do a RIB boat of the fjord and then go the other direction to get to Balestrand and then to Utsikten?
    3. Next on my list of possibilities is Loen for the Skylift, as a stop on my way to Geiranger. Would you recommend staying near Loen or ride the lift and head to Geiranger? Or, should I just make this a stop and then head to Alesund and take a guided boat trip into Sognefjord?
    4. From Alesund, I'd then look into taking the Hurtigruten back to Bergen with the car to return it where I started - thinking this is cheaper than dropping the car in Alesund. But, you may know differently.
    5. How much of this plan works and what is overly ambitious for this 58-year old solo female traveler? I've driven solo around Scotland on the single track roads and had a blast. I have driven mountains of Colorado (highway and 4-wheel) - in my younger days, including some cliff-hanger roads. I love driving, but do not want to spend all day driving - I want time to stop and enjoy the scenery. So, don't want too long of distance between points.

Thank you for reading through all my questions. I appreciate insights from experienced Norway travelers to help me in planning my trip.

Posted by
116 posts

Guess I stumped everyone on the Norway forum with all of my questions! No responses from anyone?!! Even for 1 or 2 of my questions?

Posted by
307 posts

You sound adventurous!
It sounds like you are interested in the fijords, but consider going north of the Arctic circle to Alta, or Tromso - just to say you have been there and you may get a chance to see the Northern Lights - although it may be a bit early in the season.
Don't know your accommodation plans, but we found the Thon hotel chain to be reasonable, friendly; they provide a very bountiful breakfast.
Have fun planning your trip!

Posted by
7004 posts

Are you sure that your drive in Norway won't be blocked by snow? We did a cruise in Mid-June and ported in Geiranger and took a tour up to a mountain that was amazing, but were told that the roads were blocked just a week or so prior to our arrival.

Posted by
850 posts

Connie, Sounds like a nice trip you are planning. My wife and I are in the process of planning a driving trip in Norway beginning the latter part of May into the first few days of June. We will arrive in Oslo and will spend two nights there before picking up our rental car. We are driving a circular route beginning and ending in Oslo. We are booking some Airb&b's as well as through for lodging. We are planning to stop in Roldal for one night and drive by the Langfossen waterfall on the way to Bergen. After Bergen we will visit Flam and on to Loen and Stryn to Gerainger and will drive the Gerainger-Trollstigen Road. We have not completed our full itinerary as yet but will visit Sognefjord, Geraingerfjord, Jotunheimen and maybe a couple of other stops on our way back to Oslo to turn our car in. We would like to make it to Alesund but will not be able to squeeze it in on this trip.

As far as the car return you would save money by dropping and picking up in the same town. We checked on the one way rate picking up in Oslo and dropping in Alesund but the one way drop off charge was almost $300 more. I always book my car rental Europe trips through with Bob Bestor. Great rates and customer service. He is an agent and works through Auto Europe but he will match rates if you find a better one. Also, you can cancel right up to the last day. I had read that Sixt had good rates for Norway but Bob was able to beat their rate. also has an excellent and comprehensive report on driving in Europe. I have read it many times but always read again just before leaving to refresh my old senior memory.

Interesting that you will be going to Kiel. We will be doing the same after leaving Norway for a 7 day cruise from there.

I know this was not much help but maybe after we get back I can pass along better information from our personal experience.

Posted by
116 posts

I appreciate all of your responses. I'd love to make it to Tromso, but there's just not enough time (or money)! So, I decided to focus on the fjords which really was my number one must-do. Thanks for hotel and car rental recommendations, too. I'm heading to Kiel to meet up with a couple I met when I was traveling in Germany in 2018. I'm trying to figure out my way to Kiel, if I'm just going to fly, or try to travel a little through Denmark on my way. The issue is always time and money, and unfortunately, I have limited supplies of both!