Jenny again, here to continue the tale of my Scandinavian adventure.
After Sweden, Jason and I spent several days in Norway. Our time there was just phenomenal, and while I could write about it over the course of several posts, I’m going to try my best to get to the highlights in just one.
After a quick, cheap, and enjoyable Norwegian Airlines flight from Stockholm, we landed in Bergen, located on Norway’s west coast. A seaside town, Bergen is naturally known for its seafood. Therefore, the first thing we did upon check-in at the cozy Hotel Augustin was to set off for the fish market.
Per our waiter’s suggestion, we ordered the fish stew and grilled halibut. They were too good for words.
Since it seems to be our M.O., we spent most of our time in Bergen just wandering around. At the recommendation of a friend, we made sure to check out Bergen’s funicular, the Fløibanen. The views from the top were spectacular, as were the forest and trails that wound around the mountain of Fløyen.
While it was neat to take the funicular up the mountain, I suggest walking down; the views and the workout you’ll get are worth the extra time.
The next day, we departed Bergen via the Sognefjord in a Nutshell tour, booked through Fjord Tours. Note that while it’s called a tour, there is no guide. Rather, the company acts as a one-stop-shop for transportation and lodging. We also purchased the Fjord Pass (available on the site) and received discounts at all of our Norwegian hotels.
Our trip through the Sognefjord, the largest fjord in Norway, lasted approximately six hours and almost every minute was breathtaking.
We even saw glaciers.
Our boat dropped us off in Flåm, a sleepy village on the end of Aurlandsfjord, a section of Sognefjord. We spotted our beautiful hotel while still onboard.
Flåmsbrygga has a distinctly cabin-like feel to it. The lobby and room were gorgeous, as was Ægir Brewery, attached to the hotel. The brewery didn’t only look good; it also had great food and award-winning beer.
Flåm attracts thousands of tourists each year, but since we visited during the off-season, we pretty much had the town to ourselves. We took advantage of that by traveling along most of the town’s walking trails in peaceful silence.
One trail took us into an even smaller village, past a historic wooden church, built in 1667.
It also took us past some of the clearest and most beautiful water I have ever seen.
The whole area made us feel like we had been plopped into a little Christmas village. There was even a traditional red schoolhouse.
Another activity that I would highly recommend is hiking up to the Brekkefossen waterfall. A Flåm insider suggested we continue up past the actual path to see the top of the waterfall. She also recommended we bring our water bottle to fill up as the water comes from a glacier and is delicious. She was right! While this process got us a little wet and very chilly, it led to some pretty good photo opps.
It’s truly impossible to accurately describe the beauty and charm of this region. The pictures just don’t do it justice.
Little did we know that we would continue to be inundated by Norway’s beauty. Also booked through Fjord Tours, we took the Flåmsbana through the mountains, stopping at the Kjosfossen waterfall, to Myrdal, where we switched to the Bergen railway to head to Oslo.
Jason and I must have hit each other a thousand times saying things like, “Look out the window!” and “Can you believe it?” Our trains took us on a winding journey through some of the most serene towns I’ve ever seen.
Oslo turned out to be a really interesting city, too. A great start was when we checked in at Clarion Collection Hotel Gabelshus around midnight and found we had been upgraded to a suite. Here’s the hotel’s exterior during the daytime. It was a beautiful hotel inside, too.
As should not surprise you by now, we walked all over. I do suggest purchasing a tram and bus card, though. We bought ours at a convenience store.
Definitely worth checking out is the Vigeland Sculpture Park, where I feel we could have walked for days. As the name suggests, there are sculptures strewn throughout the park.
We were kind of surprised when we came upon one from the “people of North Dakota.”
A walkable distance away is the Royal Palace, which was unfortunately closed for renovation. The surrounding gardens were picturesque, so I suggest walking by regardless.
Another Oslo must-see is the Norwegian National Opera & Ballet. While we were not able to attend a performance, the building itself was magnificent. The architecture is such that visitors can actually walk all over the building – including the roof!
Since it started raining, we decided to head over to the Viking Ship Museum. Very well-restored, the ships were a sight to behold. It’s pretty remarkable to see artifacts from a somewhat mysterious group of people who lived around 800 A.D.
We spent the remainder of our time walking around and exploring the city. If I had to choose one word to describe Norway, it would be “bewitching.” Make sure you add it to your travel bucket list!
Next stop, Denmark!
Your faithful traveler,