Stephanie’s short break in Norway
Published: 21 April 2017
After both reaching a certain milestone birthday, my husband and I were keen to head off on a special trip to celebrate. Key criteria was that it had to be somewhere we’d always wanted to go but not on a ‘usual’ weekend getaway, be short haul to make the most of the five child-free nights we had and be active and outdoorsy as neither of us are that into sitting on a beach all day.
The answer was easy as Norway was somewhere that we’d always wanted to go to but as we’d heard it was expensive probably called for a special occasion to warrant a visit.
I took on the task of planning the trip and we wanted to pack in as much as possible during our stay. On the list were – Oslo, travelling on the Bergen Express, seeing the Fjords and visiting Bergen.
In answer to this call the Norwegians have got it sussed with the website Fjord's Tours which is dedicated to enabling you to organise your trip to include as many elements as you wish – either with set itineraries covering lots of the key aspects or offering you the ability to custom make your travel plans. I opted for the customised route and it was really easy to use.
Next the flights – while flying with Ryanair would have been cheaper, we wanted to fly to Oslo and then fly home from Bergen which was possible with British Airways. And while we paid a bit more, it was worth it for the flexibility.
The trip itself was amazing and it’s hard to put into words just how beautiful the country is. The people were super friendly, the food delicious and all in all it was certainly the trip we hoped it would be.
Key highlights included:
Oslo - We had an afternoon and evening in the capital. The first thing that hits you is the clear air and bright skies. We climbed up and over the roof of the Opera House, took a tram to the Vigeland Sculpture Park and explored its myriad statues. For dinner we headed to Fjord restaurant with its simply divine menu and matching wine selection (definitely worth paying the extra for). Seeing the not so dark night sky was another special experience.
Oslo to Flam -
We’d heard that the Bergen Express is one of the most picturesque train rides you can experience and we weren’t disappointed. We also enjoyed the trip on the Flåm Railway which runs down the valley from Myrdal to the village of Flam where we stayed overnight surrounded by the stunning landscape. On arrival in Flam we dumped our bags at our hotel Flamsbrygga Hotel and headed straight out in a Rib on a Heritage Fjord Safari to take in the Fjords up close – a definite must do as there’s an informative guide and you really feel in the heart of the scenery. We then enjoyed the Viking inspired food and beer at the Ægir BrewPub.
Flam to Bergen -
Rather than spend a few leisurely hours chilling out we decided to take the train back to the top of the valley and then enjoy the journey back down, this time on hired mountain bikes, which was certainly worth getting up early for. Once we were back in Flam, we had time for lunch and a look around before we boarded the express boat which took us to Bergen via the magnificent Sognefjord, also known as the ‘King of the Fjords’ which was quite simply stunning.
this historic city, Norway’s second largest, was a great place to end our visit. We stayed at the Clarion Collection Hotel Havnekontoret where we enjoyed relaxing in its spa area and indulging in the organic breakfast and the free waffles that you can make yourself in the afternoon. Bergen must-dos include taking the Fløibanen funicular to the top of Mount Fløyen to admire the city landscape and scenery beyond and then take a walk back down; wandering around the atmospheric old buildings of Bryggen, a UNESCO world heritage site, and enjoying a bite to eat and the atmosphere of the Fish Market.
Our all too brief visit to Norway was all that we wanted it to be and more. It was certainly a tad on the expensive side but it was definitely worth every penny. If you go knowing this in advance and accept it as part of the experience it becomes more of a talking point rather than something to be bothered by. All in all we’d certainly return to this Nordic gem as there’s so much more to see and experience.
Stephanie Coulter, Group Marketing Manager