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Norway Trip with Quirky Family

I am planning a Norway trip for July 2018 for about 15 days. My family consists of my wife and I and sometimes charming children ages 15, 13 and 11. We like the outdoors and hiking and being active.

On other European holidays that we have taken we have rented a car and then stayed in places for no less then 4 days apiece using the place as a base to explore the region and trying to minimize the amount of driving during these four days. We try to rent from VRBO or through Homeaway as it is difficult to get one hotel room for all of us.

On our drive days between destinations we can cope with about four hours of driving a day or else we all start fighting with each other and no one enjoys themselves. We of course could take a train but I think the car gives us a greater degree of flexibility and on other trips has been more economical.

We would start the trip in Oslo and could either end the trip in Bergen or in Trondheim. We would like to see the fjords of Norway. We recognize that such a trip limits one's ability to see more of the country but if we try to do an itinerary where we are moving every day we do not enjoy ourselves.

My question therefore is what two places would you stay in and visit on the way from either Oslo to Bergen or Oslo to Trondheim that would be large enough to acquire a vacation rental property and would have enough hiking and outdoor sights to keep the family busy for the four days. I would also be interested in which of these two routes with two stops along the way would give the greatest scenery and exposure to nature and hiking.
Thanks

Posted by
1767 posts

Only been to Oslo before, leaving in a few weeks to the Fjord areas so right now can only be so much help:

I would point out a few things:
Norway has steep one way drop off charges compared to other European countries, so be prepared to get hit with that if you rent in Oslo and drop off in Bergen or Trondheim.

Norway as it sounds like you figured out has good distances between sites. The added element of ferries used in place of roads in sections and generally moving slow traffic and roads does not help those matters.

Airbnb has many listings in Norway so your best place to start, they have a map so you can move around and see exactly what is available where.
I personally gravitated toward the Andalsnes area and also Geiranger and Alesund. All 3 places are not far from each other so easy to combine, it is possible to include this area with a start in Oslo and end in Trondheim or Bergen. If Bergen there are nice fjord areas, hikes and waterfalls you could visit on your way and stop in between so if you have 1 week or less leave from Trondheim and confine your travel to a smaller area ; if a 10 days or 2 weeks end in Bergen.
I only had 5 nights so am flying into and out of Alesund ; if I had more time I would rather include Bergen and points in between.

It may be a challenge to reach any of these towns or anywhere you want to stay the same day you land in Oslo, so an overnight in Oslo may be best.
From there drive north to one of the 3 towns I listed or any town in that vicinity ; Møre og Romsdal county ; spend 4 nights.
From there head south to the Sogn og Fjordane area and choose a place to stay there for your remaining time. Drive to Bergen from this location.
I think this would allow you with day trips to see most anything you wanted to in the lower half of the country though the hikes in the Stavanger area may be too far without a more southern second base ; I think to hit that lower part's sites you would need 3 bases total not including your city stops of Oslo and Bergen.

Posted by
47 posts

Thank-you for that advice. I have been madly plotting out routes with my google map and I wonder whether your suggestion may incur too much driving time for my family. I wonder if I should concentrate my trip to Sognefjorden staying a few nights in Aurlandsvangen and Belestrand before going onto Bergan. I have a total of 14 days after leaving Oslo so I wonder if I could fit in another destination stop which doesn't result in too much driving.To give you an idea of what we like we recently did a road trip in the US. We limited our trip to Montana and Wyoming. We spent a week in Yellowstone Ntl park, a week in Missoula and the a week in Glacier Ntl park. We did a lot of hiking and sightseeing in the parks and still didn't see everything. Other travllers we met were only spending single nights in these locals as many of them had driven all over the United States on their trip. We prefer more of the slow travel recognizing that we do end up missing out on things.I have made a reservation to rent a car in Oslo and drop it off in Bergen and I was surprised that the drop off fee is only $115 USD.

Posted by
243 posts

Using Aurland as a base would be great. There are hiking options there and near Flam. Don't stay on Flam as it is a crossroads and gets inundated with cruise shippers. We stayed Aurland for 3 days and could have stayed more.
There was another hike I wanted to do further west but there was still snow when we were there and it would have been long for a day trip but perfect for a driving trip between Aurland and Oslo. I believe that this is the Juten something mountains.
I thoroughly loved Oslo and may be good at the end of the trip after a week of hiking.
Bergen is 3 hours or so from Aurland. Wish I could have stayed longer there. The Sognefjord is truly amazing and you will want to take a ride on it.

Posted by
47 posts

Thank-you Nick for the advice. I am now thinking of the following itinerary.
2 nights in Oslo
4 nights in Aureland
5 nights Bergen
2 nights Haugesund
3 nights Stavenger

Is there enough to keep one busy for five nights in Bergen. Is it worth extending the trip on to Stavenger rather then spending more time around Sognefjorden by going to Balestrand. My problem is that I don't want to drive too much with the family as the drive days take too much out of us and we all get car sick. On the other hand if we stay in a place for too long I worry about boredem or Fjordom breaking out amongst the children. As the trip plan stands we have a 4 hour trip to Aureland from Oslo, a 3 hour trip to Bergen, a three hour trip to Haugesund and a 2 hour trip to Stavenger. If it were just my wife and I we would attempt more driving but I just don't want to push my luck. Further comments are welcomed.
Thanks Rob

Posted by
5786 posts

2 nights in Oslo
5 nights Bergen

Seems like a disproportionate amount of time in Bergen vs Oslo. Two nights really means one full day. Beyond the multitude of things to see and do in Oslo, if outdoor active activities are of interest the Oslo Nordmarka is wilderness a tram ride away. The T1 metro can get you from central Oslo to the Nordmarka and hiking (skiing in the winter) opportunities. The T1 Holmenkollen stop is a good entry into the Nordmarka with an opportunity to visit the Holmenkollen ski museum and jump tower.

https://www.visitoslo.com/en/articles/nordmarka-forest/

Nordmarka forest

The vast areas of untouched nature that surround Oslo are just 20-30
minutes from the city centre.

The Nordmarka forest represents a source of recreation that is
frequently used by the city's inhabitants, but also more and more
visitors, both in summer and winter.

If you need hiking advice and maps, visit the DNT (Norwegian Trekking Association) office in central Oslo:
DNT Oslo og Omegn
Storgata 3, 0155 Oslo
A 5 minute walk from the Oslo S train station

The Bygdoy museums (The Fram about arctic exploration being my favorite and the Folk museum being an outdoor environment) could easily take a full day.
https://www.visitoslo.com/en/activities-and-attractions/boroughs/bygdoy/attractions/

And that doesn't include the Vigeland park.
https://www.visitoslo.com/en/product/?TLp=181601

Posted by
47 posts

Dear Edgar:
How would you space out the trip. would you dedicate three days to Osl and only 4 to Bergen?
Rob

Posted by
5786 posts

Rob,

I've only been to Bergen once as the midpoint of a NIN Oslo-Flam-Voss-Bergen then return to Oslo tour. We only spent two nights in Bergen. The day and a half was enough to explore Bryggen district but we didn't see the outlying sights or funicular.

In contrast I've spent more time in Oslo as my gateway to Norway. It would take 2 or 3 full days to check off the major Rick Steves Oslo tourist "At A Glance" things to see/do: https://www.ricksteves.com/europe/norway/oslo
And that is not counting outdoor activities (e.g. hiking the marka).

PS You don't need a car in Oslo.

Posted by
2180 posts

Would love to read a trip report now that you have done the trip.
The Norway reports are in short supply on this forum and we are doing a 10 day trip with our two teenage daughters next summer.
We have secured accomodations and were able to find hotels that had family rooms for us all.

Posted by
2180 posts

Would love to read a trip report now that you have done the trip.
The Norway reports are in short supply on this forum and we are doing a 10 day trip with our two teenage daughters next summer.
We have secured accomodations and were able to find hotels that had family rooms for us all.