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9 day - Independent tour with scenic train journeys and Hurtigruten port-to-port voyages
Take the road less travelled, and experience the Norwegian mountains and fjords on a 9-day trip from Oslo the long way via Ålesund to Bergen. You will encounter some of the best fjord landscapes in Norway, stay at classic wooden hotels where hosting traditions have been kept alive for centuries. This self-guided itinerary has you travel by trains, local buses and ferries, making your way over mountains and across fjords.
Easy journey with emphasis on city stays and fabulous fjord scenery, departs any day all year (Geirangerfjord only in the summer months).
- Day 1
- Arrive Oslo
- Day 2
- Explore compact and green Oslo
- Day 3
- One of the most beautiful train trips in Norway to Ålesund with spectacular views of Trollveggen.
- Day 4
- Hurtigruten Voyage to Geiranger and then travel to Molde.
- Day 5
- Day in Molde, and board South-bound Hurtigruten ship to Bergen.
- Days 6 - 7
- Bergen - historic harbour, fish markets and scenery.
- Day 8
- Norway in a Nutshell to Flåm
- Day 9
- To Oslo & depart
- Start Place
- Oslo, Norway
- End Place
- Flåm, Norway
- Country Visited
- 9 Days
- Group Size
- 1 - 8
- Easy independent holiday suitable for singles & couples
Local trains, buses, two local port-to-port voyages on Hurtigruten and ferries.
- All hotel accommodation in shared double/twin room with private facilities
- Daily breakfast
- Luggage porter service during the Norway in a Nutshell tour
- All train and boat/ferry tickets as per itinerary (Note that the bus ticket from Åndalsnes to Ålesund is NOT included. This needs to be purchased locally from the bus driver.)
- Geirangerfjord with Trollstigen excursion (June to August only)
- Seat reservations on trains where available
- City passes/cards in Oslo (24hrs) and Bergen (24hrs)
- 24-hour emergency service
- Taxes and service fees
- International flights
- Bus ticket from Åndalsnes to Ålesund (this needs to be purchased locally from the bus driver)
Day 1 - Arrive Oslo
Arrive in Oslo any time and make your own way to our centrally located hotel. A walk around the centre of town to view the Parliament, the Castle, the Harbour area and the new Opera House is well worth it. Enjoy a fish banquet or icecream in Aker Brygge by the harbour.
Optional Add Ons
Day 2 - Explore compact and green Oslo
The Norwegian capital has a great deal to offer the discerning traveller, and you have a full day to discover the city with the help of an Oslo Pass. See the Viking Ship, Kontiki & Fram museums, the Vigeland Sculpture Park and artistic new Opera House.
Optional Add Ons
Day 3 - One of the most beautiful train trips in Norway to Ålesund with spectacular views of Trollveggen.
Take the local train north to Dombås where you change to the Rauma railway – one of the most beautiful train journeys in Norway offering spectacular views of Trollveggen (the Troll wall). On arrival in Åndalsnes, take a local bus to Ålesund (bus ticket needs to be purchased locally from the bus driver).
The city of Ålesund is known for its architecture in Art Nouveau style, its surrounding fjords and the high peaks of the Sunnmøre Alps.
Day 4 - Hurtigruten Voyage to Geiranger and then travel to Molde.
This morning, head to the docks and board the 9.30am departure of the Hurtigruten coastal ship. You have all morning onboad travelling to Geiranger. You will be there at 1.25pm and then head to your Geirganger and Trollstigen Pass excursion. This excursion takes you to Molde and then rather than boarding the ship again, you head to your hotel and relax.
Optional Add Ons
Day 5 - Day in Molde, and board South-bound Hurtigruten ship to Bergen.
You have the day to explore Molde. Famous for it's jazz festival, beaches and rose gardens, Molde has lots to offer. One of the largest and most comprehensive folk museums in Norway is located only a 10 minutes’ walk from the centre of Molde town. The Romsdal Museum was established in 1912 and portrays buildings and interesting interiors from the whole region. The town street ”Bygata” with Mali’s Café shows typical Molde town houses from the pre-war period.
Experience the Scandinavian long summer twilight until you board the Hurtigruten cruise to Bergen at 9.30pm. Spend one night onboard, admiring the fantastic views of the majestic fjords from sea.
Late check out can be arranged if you desire or you can leave your luggage at the reception.
Days 6 - 7 - Bergen - historic harbour, fish markets and scenery.
Arrive in Bergen by mid afternoon. You have the evening and the next full day to explore sights like the Hanseatic wharf ‘Bryggen’, Fløibanen, Edward Grieg’s house at Troldhaugen and the Fish and Flower market. Bergen City pass included for your stay.
Optional Add Ons
Day 8 - Norway in a Nutshell to Flåm
Today takes you on a journey through some of the most beautiful scenery in Fjord Norway. You will make your way by train, bus and ferry, following the 'Norway in a Nutshell' tour to Flåm.
By train, you leave Bergen travelling to Voss. Then taking a bus, you travel through the beautiful Stalheim canyon with the Stalheimskleiven hairpin road (May to September) to Gudvangen. Then enjoy a spectacular 2-hour fjord cruise to Flåm with magnificent views of the Aurlandsfjord & the Næroyfjord-a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Travel times for the complete 2 day Norway in a Nutshell journey:
Train Bergen-Myrdal: approx. 2 hours
Flåm Railway: approx. 1 hour
Fjord Cruise Flåm-Gudvangen: approx. 2 hours
Bus Gudvangen-Voss: approx. 1 hour
Train Voss-Bergen: approx. 1 hour
Optional Add Ons
Day 9 - To Oslo & depart
After breakfast, take your time to finish your Norway in a Nutshell tour. Our services end upon your arrival to Oslo.
Please ask us for a customised quote. Upgrades available to Design or Historic hotels.
30 Sep 2019
Please note that this tour includes two port-to-port voyages on Hurtigruten. In the busy summer months, securing these short voyages can be difficult. We can custom-make itineraries similiar to this depending on what is available.
Interactive Tour Map
Travel insurance is compulsory for all tours with 50 Degrees North. Please ensure that you have this organised as we will need to see proof of this upon issuing your tour documentation. Please contact us for a quote or visit http://www.suresave.net.au/
Practical budgeting information before your departure to Norway
Norway has a few items that typically surprise travellers when visiting Norway for the first time. Alcohol and luxury items are heavily taxed and therefore prices are higher than you would expect. On the other hand, necessities such as bread and milk, are taxed low and therefore are great value.
We recommend that you bring all the alcohol you’re allowed to bring into the country when you arrive. There are many lovely parks and balconies where you can enjoy your duty free. However, be sure not to bring more than you’re allowed!
As of May 2014, the allowances according to Visit Norway are:
Minimum age: 18/ 20*
1 litre of beverages with more than 22% up to and including 60% alcohol per volume as well as 1½ litre with more than 2.5% up to and including 22% alcohol per volume or three litres with more than 2.5% up to and including 22% alcohol per volume
2 litres of beer with more than 2.5 % or other beverages with more than 2.5% up to and including 4.7% alcohol per volume.
This means that you may for example bring with you five litres of beer provided you do not have any other alcoholic beverages with you.
*For importing alcoholic beverages with more than 22% alcohol per volume the minimum age is 20.
It’s illegal to bring extra alcohol into Norway and can end up costing you. Another thing you should bring and not buy in Norway is razor blades. Good razor blades in Norway are expensive.
Norway in a Nutshell luggage porter service
We include a porter service which offers a safe and secure transportation of your luggage between Oslo and Voss/Bergen (the Norway in the Nutshell component of the tour).
Please leave your luggage at the hotel reception before 6:30AM and the Porter service will then pick your luggage up and bring it to your destination hotel, where it will be available at 9:00PM the same day.
The luggage service allows you to travel between Oslo and Bergen with just a small day/overnight bag.
Please note that 1 piece of luggage per person is included unless otherwise specified.
Self-catering in Norway
Written by Jayde Kincaid, who married a Norwegian, and was happily (albeit with some hesitation) introduced to a world of Norwegian every day food habits.
At 50 Degrees North, we want to encourage our travellers to try local Norwegian food & drink. This may seem difficult in Scandinavia in general without a large budget, and in particular Norway. Some of the more remote villages you might visit have limited restaurants or cafes, some of which can be pretty expensive. There is certainly no street food! One way to get about sampling local food is by self-catering. You will find plenty of friendly locals in the small town grocery stores and supermarkets who will be happy to help you picking out local ingredients. Just don’t be shy – ask! And, don’t rush – make your local small town shopping part of your holiday experience. Read the local notice boards, and enjoy an ice cream out the front when you have finished. It is what the locals do!
Note: Statoil cups - a good idea to save money as you drive around Norway: purcahse a Statoil (petrol station) metal cup and you get free refills of coffee, tea and hot chocolate at the Statoil stations.
Norway has an extensive range of grocery stores, and in most small villages you will find at least one, if not two or three grocery stores. However, they do have limited opening hours, and except for ‘Bunnpris’, they are all closed on Sundays. You will see the weekend hours shown in brackets on the store sign out front. If you are arriving in a larger town, we do suggest you stock up with some staples before you head out into the mountains or on a coastal drive.
A few tips:
• Plastic bags are NOK1-2 and you will always need to pack your own shopping.
• You can recycle your bottles and cans for a receipt that you can cash in. Recycling points are found in all stores.
• Alcohol sold in food stores (mainly beer and cider) is restricted by government regulation to certain hours. This varies slightly, but on weekdays alcohol sales stop at 8pm regardless and on Saturdays at 6pm. Outside these hours and on Sundays you can only buy alcohol in licensed restaurants or bars.
• Any alcohol over 4.7% can only be bought at special government controlled liquor store (Vinmonopolet). These are very rare in smaller remote towns and villages, so stock up before you leave the city.
Meatballs or “meatcakes’: these come in all shapes, sizes and quality. They are generally really tasty and a bit better than what you find at IKEA. Also pick up a packet of dried ready-made brown sauce that goes with them. Be on the look out for Lingonberry sauce/jam, or even fresh lingonberries that you can use to make a fresh sauce (little red circular berries). Don’t add too much sugar, they are served quite tart.
If you want to try to make this brown sauce yourself, buy some ‘brunost’ (brown cheese), the required creams and follow the recipe below.
Hotdogs: known as ‘pølse’ in Norwegian, hot dogs are abundant in Norway. Cheap and cheerful – pølse is THE fast food of Norway. They are sold at service stations, newsagents, corner stores and fast food outlets. Pølse come with a dazzling variety of toppings and bread. Some of the pølse highlights would be the bacon wrapped ones, sprinkled with dried onion, mustards and mayonnaise. You will also find them wrapped in waffles (mostly in and around Fredrikstad) or the Norwegian pancake, ‘lompe’.
Note: there are strict requirements by the Food Safety commission for traditional pølse to be of the highest quality and they have even set requirements for what types of ingredients are allowed.
Like Norwegian beer, you will find seasonal pølse – Christmas pølse (Julepølse) is obviously found only in the lead up to the celebrations.
If you are planning to eat Norwegian style, use boil pølse on the stove and add to meals with potatoes and stew.
Note; steer away from tinned cheap pølse and meatballs.
Fish cakes: these also come in lots of variation and are generally served with a white sauce and lots of parsley. The Norwegians also use a basic white sauce on broccoli with cheese on top. These fish cakes are often found in fish shops, fried or steamed, ready to eat. A great fast snack.
Reindeer: we strongly suggest you try reindeer meat when you are travelling in the far north. It generally comes frozen, so look for finely cut reindeer meat in the freezer section. It is a more expensive option, but absolutely delicious albeit quite gamey. Be sure to get mushrooms, a small amount of brown cheese and rømme (crème fraiche). Fry it all up in a pan - a bit like a beef stroganoff. Serve with boiled potatoes or rice.
Mushrooms: if you are travelling in the chanterelle harvest season (mid/late August), be sure to try them. They are the yellow mushroom found in autumn. Or better still, have a look around the pine forests and pick some. Be sure to image search them before you head out so you know what to pick. They are really delicious with the brown cheese sauce and reindeer.
Salmon, prawns & fish: always be on the look out for a chance to buy fresh fish. Yes, it is possible to smooth talk a fisherman at the harbour. Or look for the local fish-kiosk or fish-shop. Be on the look out for small signs pointing you in the direction of fresh fish sales – ‘reker’ (shrimps, not prawns) or ‘fersk fisk’ (fresh fish) are the words you need.
Norwegians are very proud of their shrimps – and of course completely justified. Their shrimps are small and tasty and harvested from the cool North Sea. Norwegians traditionally serve them with mayonnaise and lemon. Peel them and pop them on a fresh white slice of bread. Mayonnaise is layered on top with dill, pepper & salt.
Smoked Salmon: Norwegian smoked salmon is the best in the world hands down. Be sure to try all the different varieties you see – often, in larger supermarkets or delis, you can try before you buy.
Tubed ‘kaviar’ (caviar): this is a must try. It is cheap and perfect for the travellers pantry. This is what my husband craves like an Australian abroad would crave vegemite.
Norwegian pre-made dips and salads: the Norwegian supermarkets have a large range of premade salads and dips. They last quite a while and are good fillers for sandwiches. Our favourite are the cubed beetroot salad and the potato salads. They come in easy-to-carry and pack-up containers – perfect for picnics. Tubed mayonnaise is also handy for picnics.
‘Leverpostei’ (liver pate) in many variations can also be found in the supermarket. This pate is normally served on brown bread then topped with sliced red onions or sweet pickles. Protein rich and very tasty if you like pate – it is found on most Norwegian breakfast tables.
Yoghurt: now – this is an interesting one. Norwegian yoghurt comes in a variety of styles - some can be very runny, sour and low fat. There are varying names/codes for each sort. You might like to check with a local when you are buying yoghurt to be sure you are getting what you want. Some of the yoghurt comes as though it is milk, in normal milk cartons - sour runny yoghurt is NOT nice in your coffee.
Bread: the Norwegian supermarket bread generally comes un-cut. You can either cut it in the shop – ask for help the first time you do it. They have industrial bread cutting machines near the bakery section. The bread can be quite plain in the main supermarkets so be on the look out for boutique bakeries in the larger towns if you enjoy fancy bread. Also keep an eye out for the Norwegian flatbread, Lefse, which is similar to Mexican tortillas. Usually served with butter and sugar, sometimes cinnamon too. Occasionally made with potato.
Waffles: Norwegian waffle stalls are similar to the sausage sizzle or hot dog stand. It is the most common fundraising or community building food product. Don’t expect sickly sweet jams or whipped cream – you will find these fresh chewy waffles served with sour cream and home made tart berry jams. Never go past one!
Chocolate: we recommend that you try the ‘FREIA’ milk chocolate during your stay. It melts in your mouth.
Berries: if you travel in early autumn (mid/late August) this is berry season. Forest berries that is. Ask a local and head up into the hills or forest in search for berries. You may find; blueberries, lingonberries, rasberries and if you are up north or in the central mountains; the rare yellow cloudberries.
On a self-drive journey, always be on the look out for small farm shops or stands along the road. Things you cannot drive past:
Strawberries: if you are travelling in the strawberry season – you MUST try Norwegian strawberries. They are seriously amazing. Grown in the nutritious earth that has the chance to rejuvenate through a long winter.
_And if you go past a self-pick strawberry farm, put everything else on hold and enter! Norwegians wait all year for this event. _
New potatoes: be on the look out for new season potatoes – they are often sold in little stands beside the road. Often on an honesty basis; i.e. grab a bag and put the money in an allocated tin.
Basic Brown Cheese Recipe – can be used with meatballs, reindeer, with added mushrooms.
• 2 tablespoons butter
• 2 tablespoons flour
• 3⁄4 cup light cream
• 1⁄2 cup chicken broth (optional - just use water if you cannot find this)
• 1 cup shredded gjetost or brown goats cheese
• 3⁄4 cup rømme (crème fraiche)
• 2 tablespoons chopped parsley or 2 tablespoons fresh dill
Using the meat dish that has been browned off, remove as much oil from the pan as possible and blend in butter and flour. Remove from heat and blend in light cream. Add chicken broth, bring to boil, stirring and cooking until thickened. Mix in Gjetost cheese. Turn heat low.
Blend some of the sauce into the rømme (crème fraiche), then return all to sauce. Add chopped parsley or fresh dill.
Happy shopping and cooking!