logo


Norway

Unlike Sweden and Helsinki (no disrespect), Norway is easily a country that you can spend more than a couple of days visiting.

Oslo is probably worth a day visiting, but the majority of time should be along the West Coast with the fjords and mountains.

The must see areas for me in Norway are the following:

  • Stavanger Area (Preikestolen (aka Pulpit Rock) / Kierag / Trolltunga)
  • Bergen Area
  • Lofoten Islands (Far North of Norway)
  • Oslo

North of Bergen

Sognefjord

Sognefjord is the longest (200 km inland) and deepest fjord in Norway. As a result, it is one of the most famous fjords.

You have the option of doing a round trip from Bergen for a little over $200 and a trip of 10 hours. You could also book one a way trip from Oslo to Bergen (via Flam train and cruise) or vice versa.

You can also simply do a cruise to Flam.

Good article on Sognefjord:
http://www.norwaynutshell.com/en/explore-the-fjords/sognefjord-in-a-nutshell/

sognefjord

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jostedalsbreen National Park

Jostedalsbreen National Park encompasses the largest glacier on the European mainland. One of the main attractions is hiking on the Nigardsbreen Glacier. It lasts 35 km north of Gaupne. It is a 5 – 7 hour hike to the glacier and costs about $100. The tour doesn’t start until 11:00 allowing you to reach her from Bergen.

Gaupne is the beginning of the Sognefjell Road (fv. 55), which is the highest mountain pass in Northern Europe.

Nigardsbreen Glacier Tour:
http://www.icetroll.com/nigardsbrevatnet.htm

The Sognefjell Road is one of the most beautiful roads in all of Norway.

Information about the Road:
http://www.visitnorway.com/us/Where-to-go-us/East/Jotunheimen/What-to-do-in-Jotunheimen/Tour-suggestions-in-Jotunheimen/The-Sognefjell-Road/

jostelasbreen

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jotunheimen National Park

Jotunheimen National Park has 275 summits over 2000 meters and a number of glaciers.

The most popular hike is hiking along the Besseggen ridge from Gjenesheim to Memurbu. It is an 8 mile hike that takes 5 to 7 hours and goes up 2,500 feet. You can take ferry from Gjenesheim to Memurbu and hike back or vice versa.

This is a 5 hour hike from Besseggen ridge.

Other popular hikes include Hurrungane and hikes around, Galdhøpiggen (Norway’s highest peak)

Good article on the Besseggen hike:
http://codyduncan.com/blog/2011/04/hiking-the-besseggen-ridge-jotunheimen-national-park-norway/
http://www.switchbacktravel.com/norway/jotunheimen (great article on 5 good hikes in region)

Other Attractions in Area
Geiranger fjord, Norway, viewed from Dalsnibba peak. (Farther north from Bergen) – MUST See (less iconic other there)

josteen

 

 

 

 

 

 

Itinerary in this Area

Day 1: Trip to Bergen via Flam Railway and Sognefjord
Day 2: Trip to Jostedalsbreen National Park with hike on the Nigardsbreen Glacier and continue down the Sognefjell Road
Day 3: Jotunheimen National Park and trip to Bergen

Three Must-See Hikes in Stavanger Area

Stavanger is a city in the southwest tip of Norway.

You can easily make Stavanger your home base and visit several areas that are within a couple hours of driving.

Pulpit Rock (Preikestolen)

Those seeking to hike up to Preikestolen will need to find the trail head at the parking facility called Preikestolen Fjellstue. The hike will take you through a variety of mountain landscapes. The hike takes 3 to 4 hours round trip and is 3.8 km to the top of the cliff.

Elevation gain goes from 270 meter to 604 meters. The hike is only 3.8 km outside of Stavanger. This is a good half-day hike.

Preikestolen is located 25 km from Stavanger.

preik

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kierag (Kieragbolten – “Crazy Rock”)

This is one of those locations where you can get the “OH MY GOD” factor by standing on a rock that is wedged between two cliffs that is 1000 meters in the air.

The hike is located 130 km from Stavanger and takes no more than 2 hours to reach there.

You have the option of driving there or taking ferry from Stavenger to Lysefjord. It is most convenient to drive there as the ferry only leaves once a day in the summer at 10 a.m.

It is a 6 km hike where you will go up a very steep 500 meters. This hike round trip will take 4 to 5 hours. Once at the top, you can see if your tough enough and stand on the top of Kieragbolten.

Good article about Kierag:
http://www.traveljournals.net/stories/1937.html

Trolltunga

This is another one of those locations where you can take an awesome picture.

This is a full-day hike and should not be attempted in any less time. Many people will actually spend the night at the top of the mountain and hike back the next day. The tourist office indicates that it will take 8 – 9 hours to complete, and from my research, this is a pretty accurate guess.

There is also a cabin at the top where it fits six people.

The starting point for the hike is in Skeggedal.

Good Article on Trolltunga Hike:
http://theadventuresofcsquared.com/tag/trolltunga/#
http://www.visitnorway.com/us/Product/?pid=149585

trolltunga

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Itinerary in the Stavanger Region

In my opinion, you need to go to all three locations. With that said, you can be hardcore and do the two half day hikes in one day and the Trolltunga hike on the second day OR do one on each day.

Time permitting, you could also check out the following fjords: Hardangerfjord or The Nærøyfjord and Aurlandsfjord

I think doing a boat trip in the fjorids is a must. It is just a question if you do it down here or in Bergen or in Lofoten Islands. Boat trips are very expensive so I would avoid them unless you are willing to outlay big dollars.

Northern Trip up the Tromoso

You can make a trip up to Tromoso and head out to the Lofoten Islands. This is a beautiful area with lots of hiking opportunities.
I would spend 2 to 3 days in this area.

Given my desire to travel in other parts of Scandinavia, I would leave this for a second trip or a longer trip in Scandinavia.

Some of the more popular areas include Værøy, an island that is 2 hours by ferry from Moskenes and 6 hours by ferry from Bodo. This island is famous both for puffins and scenery..

There is also the opportunity to fly to Lofoten.

Good articles on how to get to Lofoten:
http://www.torghatten-nord.no/english/default.aspx
http://www.virtualtourist.com/travel/Europe/Norway/Nordland/Lofoten-2271933/Transportation-Lofoten-TG-C-1.html
http://www.switchbacktravel.com/norway/getting-to-lofoten

I would likely combine this with a tour to Svalbard.

lofotenislands

 

 

 

 

 

 

Norway Itinerary

Day 1: Oslo
Day 2: Trip to Bergen via Flam Railway and Sognefjord
Day 3: Trip to Jostedalsbreen National Park with hike on the Nigardsbreen Glacier and continue down the Sognefjell Road
Day 4: Jotunheimen National Park and trip to Bergen
Day 5: Preikestolen and Kierag
Day 6: Trolltunga and head back to Oslo

What about a Norwegian Cruise?

Norwegian cruises would be an awesome experience, but you should expect to spend a couple thousand dollars.

You can take the Hurtigruten Costal Ferry that travels from Bergen to Kirkenes (Finland) over five to six days, but it costs several thousand dollars.

However, cruise is the best way to probably appreciate the Norwegian cruise.

Sweden

While most Swedes will yell at me, the primary attraction in Sweden is Stockholm.

Other popular attractions: (much less than Stockholm)
• Gothenburg
• Gotland (Party center)
• Malmo

The area in far north Sweden is beautiful and gives you a flavor of the Sami people. There are lots of opportunities to see moose and other wildlife, but I would skip it unless you really want to spend a lot of time in Sweden or…

If you want to to go an Ice Hotel that is open from December to April. It is situated in Jukkasjarvi, which is about 20 km away from Kiruna.

Awesome pics of Ice hotel:
http://world-visits.blogspot.com/2012/02/ice-hotel-in-sweden-very-nice-images.html#.UXC4AkpvCfE

Stockholm

Most people visiting Sweden will stop in Stockholm.

There are three main attractions in Stockholm:
• Gamla Stan, which is Stockholm’s Old Town
• Drottningholm Slott (Royal Residence)
• Tour of the Stockholm Archipelago, which is composed of over 24K islands.

The most famous museum is the Vasa museum.

Itinerary

In a rush, you could probably visit all of the hot spots in one day. If you want to go at a more leisurely pace, then you should spend 2 or 3 days in town.

How to get to other locations?

There are ferries known as “Finland boat” that links Stockholm to Mariehamm, Helsinki, and Turku in Finland, Riga in Latvia, and Tallinn in Estonia every day.

These boats will run over night and can be cheaper than getting an accommodation in Sweden.

Finland

As in Sweden, most people that come to Finland are solely interested in visiting Helsinki.

The other spots of interest include:
• Lapland (Home of Santa)
• Koli National Park – 6 hours from Helsinki

Trying to beat the Ice Hotel, Finland has the Glass Igloo Hotel, which is located near Urho Kekkonen National Park (way far north in Finland).
Helsinki

From my research, there appears to be less to do in Helsinki than there is to in Stockholm, Sweden.

The main attractions are the Suomenlinna Fortress, Helsinki Cathedral, and the Market Square. For the most part, I would relax or head over to Estonia for a little jaunt.

Estonia

The main thing to do in Estonia is visit the capital Tallinn.

Tallinn

The main thing to do in Tallinn is visit the Old Town. There are a number of attractions in Old Town.

How to get from Helsinki to Estonia?

This is based on the assumption that you head over hear from Helsinki.

Given the extra day light, you could combine day trip in Helsinki with a trip to Tallin, Estonia

There are slow ferries, fast ferries, and then catamarans that make the journey. The fastest trip takes 1.5 to 2 hours compared to 6 hours.

Some of the tour operatiors include:
• Tallink/Silja Lines (5.5 hours on slow boats; 3 trips; 24 euro; 11:30 and 9:30 (x2) –Overnight)
• Viking Lines (2 hours; 9 trips; 40 – 50 euro; Starts at 7:20, 2 Overnight)

Link to ferry:
http://www.tallinksilja.com/
http://www.sales.vikingline.com/en/international/

Itinerary: Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Estonia in 9 Days

In my opinion, 9 days is the shortest amount of time that one could do all of these countries. I would recommend adding a couple of days if you want to make it a more leisurely pace.

Day 1: Oslo
Day 2: Trip to Bergen via Flam Railway and Sognefjord
Day 3: Trip to Jostedalsbreen National Park with hike on the Nigardsbreen Glacier and continue down the Sognefjell Road
Day 4: Jotunheimen National Park and trip to Bergen
Day 5: Preikestolen and Kierag
Day 6: Trolltunga and head back to Oslo
Day 7: Stockholm
Day 8: Helsinki
Day 9: Estonia and head back to Helsinki