Last month I took a little trip to Norway and I fell in love with the country. It has everything from cities, beaches, mountains to farmland. I was able to take a ferry through the Sognefjord and it was absolutely breathtaking. I only ventured through Oslo and Bergen and took the Norway in a Nutshell Tour through Myrdal, Flam, Voss and Gudenvagen. Here are my tips, tricks and highlights :-).
- Book a hotel near the Oslo Central train station. There are express trains to and from the airport to the central station every 20 minutes. The trains all have free Wi-Fi so you can quickly look up directions from the train station to your hotel. We stayed at the Perminalen Hotel which was a 10 minute walk from the station. It was nice, clean and simple. Nothing luxurious here. The rates are between $61 – $190/ night.
- Buy the Oslo card ($48) – this card will get you into pretty much every museum for free and gives you free public transportation. You get your money’s worth if you visit 3 museums! With the Oslo card make sure to visit the Nobel Peace Center , take the ferry-boat from Aker Brygge to the Viking Museum, Fram Museum, Kontiki Museum and Norwegian Museum of Cultural History.
- Walk around Karl Johan Gate and check out the cute shops and try some street food!
- Walk around Aker Brygge in the afternoon/evening. Buy some ice cream and stroll around. Check out the Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art if you’re into modern/contemporary art! I loved this museum, it was actually really cool. This area reminded me of NYC’s South Street Seaport. Lots of bars and shops in warehouses with a cute beach to get your feet wet!
- Grab some snacks from 7-11 and hit up Akerhus Fortress and have a picnic. There are some spectacular views ofthe city from here!
- Grab the tram and go to Vigeland Sculpture Park and make sure to see the angry baby statue. The sculptor (Vigeland) does a fantastic job of showing human emotions through is work.
This is a 12 hour journey through the heart of Norway from Oslo to Bergen. It costs ~$112 per person – which is pretty cheap in Norway. You take a train from Oslo to Myrdal, Tram from Myrdal to Flam, ferry from Flam to Gudenvagen, bus from Gudenvagen to Voss, and another train from Voss to Bergen. Throughout the journey you’ll see snow-capped mountains, valleys, deep fjords, and hundreds of waterfalls. It’s really beautiful and the journey is completely worth it. This is Norway’s most popular “tour” route for a reason. Grab some snacks before you leave on your journey since there aren’t many places to stop to get something to eat. Also when on the tram to Flam sit on the left side (facing the cliff) of the train- the view is MUCH better!
- Again I suggest getting a place near the train station so you can walk to your hotel and save money. We stayed at the Citybox Hotel ($120-$170/ night), about a 5 minute walk from the central train station.
- Buy the Bergen card (~$32 for 24 hr. card) here and it gives you similar perks as the Oslo Card – free transportation and museum admissions. Here are the things you should do with it:
- Walk around Bergen Shorefront in and out of the alleys (it’s like Diagon alley!) and check out Rosenkrantz Museum and Byrggens Museum. Walk behind the Bergen shorefront around the walking streets and check out the small boutique shops and cafes.
- Check out some of the smaller museums like the Leprosy Museum – this one was weird but probably the most interesting museum we went to.
- Take the tram up to Mt. Floyen (thisis included with the Bergen Card) – hike, picnic, eat ice cream, enjoy the view! I hiked around for a few hours with the husband. You could spend a whole day up here if you wanted.
- Food is expensive! We lived off of 7-11, ice cream and grocery stores.
- Public transportation in Oslo is very reliable, In Bergen not so much. Certain Skybuss lines were shut down, with no notice anywhere. Buses weren’t on time either in Bergen.
- During the summer it’s daylight until 12:30 – 1 am. Take advantage of the extra daylight and walk around the city!