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Questions about traveling along/on the Sognefjord

We will be in Norway for a week in late May next year. The following are some questions I have:

Ferries:

We are planning to drive a car along the Sognefjord; and noticed there are several ferry crossing that we will need to utilize.

- Where can I find information about when these ferries run; and how much they cost?

- Is this information available in one place?

Taking a ferry to view the full length of the Sognefjord: We realize that major cruise lines travel along this fjord.

  • Are there any Norwegian ferry companies that travel the full length of this fjord?
  • if so, where can I get information about this; along with how often they run and what is the costs?
  • Do these ferry companies stop at the places that one may want to visit? We realize these communities are small; and that they may not stop at all the places that one may want to visit.

Nutshell routes: I seem to have noticed that one can take Nutshell routes from either Oslo or Bergen. In reading Rick's information, it seems to recommend taking the train from Oslo to Bergen; but get off half way and then taking the Nutshell route.

  • If one does that, would one suggest returning to the place one would have left the train to continue on to Bergen after you finished the Nutshell tour?
  • Or do you go onto Bergen via another route? What is best?

Renting a short term property while visiting Sognefjord?

  • We are thinking about renting a home for several days near this fjord. I presume there is plenty to see in this area from what I read. Thoughts?

Ernie

Posted by
544 posts

Do you have Rick's Scandinavia book or the Norway Snapshot book yet? It has a lot of the info you're looking for.

Norled.no is the website for the passenger ferry service, called "express boat," that connect many of the communities on Sognefjord and to the city of Bergen.

For car ferries, the information is on this website only in Norwegian, but if you use Google's Chrome browser you can translate the page: http://www.vegvesen.no/trafikkinformasjon/Reiseinformasjon/Riksferjer

I would suggest taking a bus or ferry instead of driving along the fjords for sightseeing. Buses are tall, so you can see over the barriers, but know that many of the highways have been moved into tunnels. Boat is the best way to go.

Apartment and cabin rentals are very popular in Norway, so you'll have no trouble finding lots of options there. Many communities/villages/towns have their own websites with links to the campgrounds and cabin rentals available in their area.

Unless you're traveling with a group or want to backpack, I'd suggest staying in hotels instead. It's very common for Norwegian hotels to have excellent breakfasts, dinners and either serve lunch or offer packed lunch service.

Posted by
16887 posts

As Nordheim's link shows, different ferry routes are operated by several different companies; it's not a national system. Following those links, most company pages probably will offer English. Similar links are also available through the tourist office. If you're driving, you don't need to use the trains and buses that make up the Nutshell route.

Posted by
3933 posts

Those of you who are familiar with the ferries, are there maps that show the routes? Seems like the best one can do is find pdf text schedules in Norwegian and the painstakingly create one's own maps of the routes based on the names of the stops, unless I am missing something. It's hard to plan effectively without geography.

Posted by
1 posts

We recently spent a week driving the Sognefjord and took a couple car ferries, and a passenger only high speed ferry for a day excursion (Balestrand to Vik). I would not worry about ferry schedules per se, just find out if they go from your point to point destinations.

The ferry system is amazing, very quick and very well run. Sometimes, you buy a ticket while waiting in line for the ferry to arrive, other times you'll buy the ticket on board. They were never sold out.

We took the car ferry from:
Fodnes to Manheller (stayed at a campground/one room cabin in Lærdal, another in Kaupanger)
Dragsvik-Hella-Vangsnes (stayed in Balestrand) and
Lavik-Oppdal (on the way to Bergen)

Any map, including Google maps, that show a ferry crossing will work for routing to help plan. Don't worry so much about cost.

If you want information ahead of time for planning, perhaps write/email/call a tourist information center along the Sognefjord, check the Sognefjord tourist webiste

Without renting a car, I would recommend the Express Boat and bring on your luggage (there is space on board). It leaves from Bergen and travels up the fjord. You can stop at various places to stay overnight if you wish. I was amazed at how fast the travel was on the ferry.

Good luck, have fun! Norway is beautiful.