Norway: In a Week Part I

Our plan to travel the whole of Norway, from the south to Tromso in just 8 days was ambitious and most people we met were all saying the same thing; ‘good luck’. However, we never like to give up and decided that there was no harm in trying. Starting our Norwegian adventure in Oslo, we decided that just like in Iceland, we would rent a car from the airport. People reading this might ask why we didn’t just fly, take a bus or get a train, well as we are four students, we were on a budget and heard that driving in Norway is part of the fun. That is something that we would like to point out. Although some of the journeys were so long in between places, the number of times we stopped just to look at the scenery made all the driving worthwhile.

After researching online for what we can do in Oslo, we found very little that interested us. Therefore, we gave ourselves half a day to see what we wanted to see and then set off on the near 8 hour car journey to Stavanger. We started our day bright and early, and drove to the Opera House which is on the coast of Oslo. Side note here, if you’re going to drive be prepared for out of this world parking fees. Obviously, we knew it was going to be expensive to park in a capital city, but we spent over £20 for an hour and three-quarters of parking. Nevertheless, the Opera House did have a good view of the coast as it allows you to walk on the roof! However, just be careful if you go in the winter time like we did, the thick snow and ice walking up a slope can be fairly hazardous as you’d expect. From here we walked down the pier where we came to a place called Vippa which is like a modern, hip food court. We ate a place called ‘Hot Hot Harmonica’ where we ate chili con carne, and it was really really good. Everything is homemade, including the sauces which really added to the taste. If you can find this place, as it took us a while to find it, then we definitely recommend eating here! However, like the rest of Norway it is expensive to eat here, around £14. From here we visited the Vigeland Sculpture Park, which may be the weirdest 40 minutes of my life. For anyone who is interested in statues of naked people, this is right up your alley. After walking around the park and looking at all the weird statues, we started a long drive south to Stavanger where we would later pick up Haydn.

Arriving in Stavanger just before 11pm, we stayed at an Air BnB called Hostel Gusto with a lovely host called Cristian. We must just point out that along the drive to Stavanger before it hit absolute darkness we did see some wonderful scenery and stopped off at a place called Langesund, originally for a toilet break until we turned around and saw an amazing view. As we arrived at the hostel, Cristian made us feel very welcome and we asked lots of questions about Norway and about what we could do in Stavanger. He was incredibly insightful and helpful and recommended us things that normal tourists would probably not do. However, Cristian does have some cats, so if you’re not a cat person then this place may not be for you.

The next day, following Cristian’s advice we took a ferry from Stavanger to Tou which took around 20-30 minutes. Big warning here, ferries in Norway cost A LOT and us stating this will be common throughout this blog as we had to take so many. Costing around £30 for a short journey, we arrived in Tou on our way to do the Pedersgata hike. If you do go when you arrive at the barriers turn left before going through as there is free car parking if you do not go through the barrier. If you do, you will find out (like we did) that you just spend an extra £20 on parking for a few hours. Nevertheless, after buying and renting some equipment from the information centre, we headed up on the hike where it started to full on snow which only made the climb more magical. We really did want it to snow as we thought it would add to the effect of us being in Norway and climbing a mountain, and it certainly did! The views along the way became more spectacular the higher you got, the only problem was that sometimes the visibility got bad so you couldn’t always see the view that well. If you are thinking about visiting Stavanger and you only have a day or two, then definitely think about doing this climb because it was one of our favourite excursions down in the south of Norway.

After we had departed with another £20 for parking, we headed on home by taking a different ferry that was slightly cheaper, but further away from our hostel and then went to a bar where Cristian worked at. The bar was called Boker Og Borst, and was actually really nice, with live music, and an outside that had blankets and heaters to keep you warm in the winter. The place was hip and chill and Cristian gave us some free samples of Norwegian beer which we really appreciated. He also recommended we go and check out a place called Ost pub, where it was chill but fancier so the prices were expensive even with student discount.

Our final day in Stavanger was going to be a relatively short one as we had to go and pick up Haydn at about 3pm from the airport. Again Cristian recommended us things to do so we wouldn’t be waiting around doing nothing in the morning. All we can do is thank Cristian for recommending the things he did because the views, mountains, and waterfalls etc were out of this world. At first, when we arrived at the places he told us, we were quite confused as they were random coordinates he put in google maps. However, we kept driving and just saw stunning geography all around us. Starting at the Frafjord which is a huge fjord which leaves picturesque views on all sides. If you continue to drive through the fjord, a couple of kilometres further on you come to Manafossen, which is a stunning waterfall, probably the biggest we have seen up close. We must have spent about 30 minutes here just taking pictures and videos and just marvelling in its natural beauty. From there we carried up climbing up to “Man” which is a viewpoint overlooking the entire fjord which as you can imagine was phenomenal. We did have quite a comical experience climbing down as it was so icy and all downhill that we just kept falling over constantly, something we caught whilst on video. To round the sightseeing off, we drove back on ourselves and headed nearer to the city, on the way we stopped at a place called Gloppedalsura which are rock formations, surrounded by stunning mountain views and lakes. Some of this scenery was better than anything that we had ever seen by a country mile. The second day of our stay in Stavanger is best summed up by us constantly stopping getting out of the car and saying ‘Wow’.

Picking Haydn up from the airport and briefly stopping at the Sverd I Fjell, otherwise known as the 3 Swords, we headed onto Bergen which was going to take around 6 hours to get there. Here we used AirBnB again as we had such a good experience with Cristian – that was the first time that we had ever used it before as we usually just stay in hostels. Our stay in Bergen was short as we had such a long trip up to Tromso and many places to stop along the way. Whilst in Bergen we started our day visiting Bryggen which is a row of houses, shops and where the famous fish market is. However, only do this if you’re nearby because there’s not that much else to look at, and the famous fish market was a lot smaller than we were expecting. We then aimed to go up the cable car to Ulriken which is a mountain that overlooks the city and surrounding coastline.

However, sometimes things never work out the way you want them to and the cable car was shut due to high winds. At the time we were very confused as there was no wind at all where we were standing. The good news was that you can actually hike up the mountain if you choose to, which we did. However, in the winter the hike is incredibly slippy with ice and snow everywhere with steep rocks you have to climb. After climbing for about two hours we reached a point called Montana which is very close to the top, and that is where we found out why the cable car was closed. The wind was so strong here it’s probably the strongest wind we have ever been in! It was impossible to talk or even look into the wind, so we quickly but safely climbed back down to where the wind was not as strong. From here, we looked at the incredible view that was on offer before the arduous journey back down to the car. When we finally got back to the car we set off on our way to Geirangerfjord where we would begin making our way northwards.

View the rest of our Norway pictures here.

 

 

 

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81 thoughts on “Norway: In a Week Part I

  1. what an epic road trip! I’ve never had Norwegian beer before can’t wait to taste it. Any other Oslo recommendations?

    1. It was one of our best! Personally, we didn’t really enjoy Oslo and was only they’re for such a short amount of time that other than the things we did, we don’t really know much about it

  2. Norway is a beautiful country and I agree, there really isn’t much to see in Oslo so it was a sensible decision that you did not spend a lot of time there. I travelled to Norway about 2 years ago and did the same -spent only a day in Oslo and then rented a car to explore outside. I love how everything is well connected, even if there aren’t roads to a place, there are ferries that can carry cars as well. I took a different route though – to Bergen and then all the way to Geiranger. I really wanted to reach Tromso but did not find the time enough (I also had only a week!).

    1. So glad to hear that you’ve visited Norway and loved it Medha! Norway is just so beautiful and stunning. Ahhh noo you would have loved Tromso it’s such a beautiful city with so much to do there. I may return soon and try and see the northern lights again!

  3. That was truly an ambitious itinerary. Loved the pictures. And sorry to know that the ferries cost so much there. I am too thrilled to read the following parts of your Norway adventure.

    1. Thank you! You can read the second part of my Norway adventure now! Norway is ridiculously expensive, but I think it’s worth every penny. Carry on the read to see if we make our plan!

  4. What an incredible road trip!! You really managed to jam pack a whole lot of stuff in such a short period of time. I did laugh about your visit to the Vigeland Sculpture Park. Can’t say that’s my thing either. There is a similar one in South Korea which is so in your face! The sites are stunning and I bet photos simply don’t do it justice. That waterfall and all that snow…. I’m a sucker for all things snow and ice. Great pics!

    1. It was awesome Amy! Be sure to check out part 2 🙂 hahaha yeah it was such a weird sculpture park.. I can imagine the one in Korea is just as weird! The pictures really don’t do a place like Norway justice! The waterfall was amazing

  5. Wonderful sharing! Thank you very much for this amazing article. what a lovely Norway, i wish i can go there for my next holiday!

  6. This post is brilliant, just on the imagery you used. You take amazing images, but I bet it doesn’t capture the true beauty of Norway, based on your words.
    And I must say, I love that you spoke about pricing; it’s not often people talk about the reality of pricing when you’re on holiday, and it’s lovely to see someone, especially a student, talk about how expensive or cheap something was. So thank you for that, I’ll remember it when I finally travel to Norway to see the beautiful sights for myself.

    1. Thank you for your reply! Unfortunately, my images are nothing compared to how beautiful Norway is! The geography is just unreal!
      I’m glad that you enjoyed my article and thank you for the positive feedback! I like to be honest and not glam anything up!

  7. I haven’t been to Norway for a long time now and almost forgot just how beautiful this country is until I came across your post! When I first read that you were planning to travel through the entire country in just eight days, I thought the trip would end up being pretty rushed and hectic, but it sounds like you had an amazing time 🙂 Gorgeous pictures! I will definitely keep this in mind as an idea for a trip to the North of Europe 🙂

  8. NORWAY is very high on my to-travel-to list. However, I really don’t want to go in the winter because I just don’t do too well with the cold, LOL! Sadly that’s kind of the only time we can travel there every year, but it seems like you braved the cold quite well! 😉

  9. The pictures look absolutely amazing! It’s makes me want to visit Norway. For some reason I’ve been to all the countries near it but not yet there. It sounds like there are a lot of good recommendation in this post that i need to refer back to when i finally make it to Norway!

  10. Norway looks stunning from your photos. Would love to go but the expense terrifies me a bit but then again nature is free! I think I would do what you did and stay in air bnbs, they are a great way to feel more local and I’ve noted your tip to avoid paying for parking in Tou!

    1. Thank you Sarah for your reply! I’m glad that you enjoyed my article and took some good tips away from it 🙂
      Norway is ridiculously expensive but it’s sooo worth it! Although it’s pricey I think it’s worth every penny

  11. Looks like you had a great trip with your friends! THe view of Norway are incredible! I actually bought flight tickets once to Stavanger, because they costed me 2 € return from Poland. In the end I didnt go becuase the weather was bad, and never saw so cheap tickets anymore… Sad

  12. I was so captivated by this post! Norway is high up on my list of winter destinations this year so this post was super informative. Did you find that Norway was just as expensive as Iceland or comparable? I love that you made a road trip out of your trip. That seems like the ideal journey to me!

    1. Thanks Martha! Be sure to check out Norway: In a Week Part 2 and Iceland: A Traveller’s Utopia! Norway was probably a little bit more expensive on day to day expenses as we used more fuel and the price of tolls and ferries added up very quickly! So glad to hear that Norway is high up on your list! If you love nature then I don’t think you can go wrong with Norway!

  13. I’ve always wanted to go to Norway. Thank you for sharing us your adventure. I really love reading post like this!

  14. Wow! This looks like an amazing trip and experience! I have always wanted to visit Norway and this makes me want to visit even more. Your pictures are breathtaking!

  15. Norway is one of the last countries in Europe I’m yet to visit actually. After reading this post and looking at your pictures, I’m definitely set on visiting ASAP. I love winters and I think I’ll really enjoy Norway. I’m so glad I came across this post!

  16. Norway is beautiful, and yea Oslo lacks things to do, but still it was good that you met Christian, and that he recommended you some things to do. Also wow I didn’t know that ferry’s were so expensive in Norway, you basically really need to research and see the prices before deciding. The mountain trek looks amazing, and so magnificent with the snow covered forest and mountains, really nice pictures that you took, can’t wait to read up on part 2.

    1. Christian was such a life saver! He recommended some amazing things! Totally agree we knew Norway was going to be expensive but we never expected it to be as expensive as it was! The Mountains were breathtaking! Definitely visit Norway soon! Part 2 is now out 🙂

  17. I’m impressed by the effort you put into getting from place to place and staying committed to your plan. The increase in cost didn’t surprise me as travel can sometimes cost more than we expected. Great photos!

  18. Norway seems like a beautiful place to visit! I haven’t been there yet, but it looks like I have visit it during the winter time! It’s simply magical!

  19. What an epic trip to have done! I visited Bergen a few summers ago (there’s a lot more to see that just the tiny fishmarket and the row of houses) 😉 – but I would love to see the rest of the country.

    1. We only had a few hours here so that’s why we climbed Montana mountain! Haha you will have to give me some info for the next time I go! Although when researching on google, it wasn’t so kind on Bergen!

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