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Norway the 2nd time

We went to Norway on a cruise last year where we went to:
-Haugesund--Viking farm and copper museum
-Flaam--train, zipline, bike ride
-Olden--hiked to a glacier
-Kristiansaand--walked the town because we were in too late for the WW2 canon

We'd like to go back and I'm debating whether to do an MSC cruise that goes to:
-Alta (two days)

OR do some land touring ourselves. I'm looking at Hurtigruten/Havilah and they seem a bit farther than our budget honestly. I must be doing the math wrong, because they end up almost double the MSC cruise for the same # days. Granted more ports, better ships, but still.

Our time is a bit flexible, but we need to end up in Barcelona by mid-October. So the October part is not negotiable.

Things that would interest us:
-anything WW2, like the Heroes of Telemark /Saboteur Trail
-animals like the musk ox in Oppdal, whales, sea eagles, reindeer, moose, puffins, etc.
-Space Center (me!)
-Blue Ice hike
-white water rafting in Voss
-northern lights

Thing is, some of the things that would interest us are closed/over by then. (Saboteur Trail, puffins, Rumsdalseegen hike which would be crazy anyway). I'm not really sure I want to do that Voss white water rafting. Is that SAFE?

So we could default to the cruise itinerary as good enough, or we could do some land touring. Do you see anything there with a suggested route or maybe nifty things we'd enjoy? I've been reading blogs till my brain is swirled. It seems like you need to fly into Oslo (fine, easy peasy), fly then to Bodo (fine), rent a car to do day trips (less preferred but I could suck it up), train to the next place, rinse repeat with a car for day trips.

It just seems like maybe October is the wrong time of year for land touring. I don't want a lot of hassle, don't want to drive on snow. In my ideal world with show up, take a train, plunk somewhere and do things, take a train to the next place. This is super easy in Germany and I don't seem to be figuring it out for Norway. I did find a 6 day biking tour that is earlier (April to Sept) that would be our style, but we can't come that early. Is there a way to connect some points to create an itinerary that is a bit active with animals, hikes, etc. and does not duplicate what we already did? Or should we just do the cruise to push farther north with no hassle?

Posted by
124 posts

Ok, I'm a little confused. I'm looking at the shorter Hurtigruten jaunts of 2-4 days, and they're quite economical! Are they the fillers after the longer ones get booked? I can't get anything to show for 2025, only 2024. If I could figure out how to connect them using trains, etc., that might work as an itinerary path. Has anyone done these shorter Hurtigruten sailings?

Hurtigruten spends less time in each port than a traditional cruise ship, right? So how does that work with doing things?

Posted by
2544 posts

tl;dr. Too fuzzy.

I recommend to summarize down to 2-3 main questions and after that go deeper.

Posted by
124 posts

Thanks MarkK, you're right, lol. I'll probably delete and start over when I narrow it down.

Posted by
6566 posts

A bit more information would not be a bad idea. But in general my opinion is that you should not avoid the inland.

The chance of snow is pretty low in October, apart from at high altitude. It is also a bit early for the northern lights, although there certainly is a chance to see them.

And regarding Hurtigruten, or as it's formally known nowadays, Kystruten Bergen–Kirkenes, it is not a cruise line. It is a scheduled ferry route along the coast. While the ships are nice and a lot of tourists use them, their main purpose is to transport goods, mail and passengers along the coast. Hence many stops are short. In which case you can make a short visit to a place, or get off and continue on the next ship the next day.

Posted by
124 posts

Thanks Badger. I've been looking at some old forum threads on land vs. sea for Norway and seeing how they are using ferries and Hurtigruten to go port to port and work their way up the coast. That makes sense to me but my ds doesn't find that comfortable. Usually when we travel we tend to stay longer in a city (4+ nights) and do trips. It makes it feel more stable. An itinerary where it's 2 nights, move on, another night, move on, and so on is just a lot of moving for him. Might as well be on a cruise ship.

At least I've narrowed that part down in my mind, that we need more stability. I'm going to look at those ports the cruise would go to and see if we'd want more time there and if so how many days. Then I'll see if there's an easy way to connect those ports via the ferry/hurtigruten or train system. Then it's just the math and dollars to see which makes more sense. I suspect we need to just do the cruise or go at a different time of year when it's easier to see the wildlife we'd enjoy.