Norway: In a Week Part II

After leaving Bergen relatively early in the day, we began our 7-hour journey to Geirangerfjord. Again, 7 hours might seem a long time but with the Norwegian scenery, car journeys are hardly a chore. Usually, on our trips, we don’t like sticking to a set routine, but because we still wanted to see Lofoten Island and Tromso in the next four days we had to. Our warning for anyone who wants to do a similar journey is that the roads in the winter can be very dangerous. Although gritters and snow ploughs are constantly trying to clear the roads, it only takes one snowstorm and you’re back doing 40kmph for the next 4 hours again. If you are wanting to go in the winter so you have a chance of seeing the northern lights, make sure you give yourself plenty of time as the north is spectacular. We found that the north was much better than the south and we wish we had spent more time here. Stavanger was a bit of an exception, but Bergen and Oslo didn’t really offer much that interested us. Of course, this could be different for you so make sure you do your research before visiting.

By the time we got to the Geirangerfjord, it was late at night and as you can imagine we were more than ready for bed. Again, Airbnb found us a really nice place. If you’re considering using Airbnb, you can save £25 for just sending a signup email and getting them to sign up. Therefore, if you’re travelling in a group then this is a fantastic way to save money and believe us when we say you’ll need all the money saving tricks you can find in Norway! The next morning, we started the day at 7ish, as we knew we had to take a 1.5hour ferry that goes right through the fjord. Unfortunately, due to severe bad weather, the ferry crossing was closed for the winter which really scuppered our plans. So, if you’re wanting to do this ferry crossing then it’s only open in the summer months, so maybe that is something to think about before choosing what season you want to visit Norway in. This meant that we had to head back the way we just came from for about 45 minutes to take another ferry crossing. You might wonder why we didn’t just take the one next to us in the first place, but the crossing that went through the fjord looked amazing compared to the one we eventually took.

After taking the ferry crossing, we then drove to the Ornesvingen viewpoint. Another warning here and as you will see by the picture below, the roads are beyond awful to drive on. Several times we skidded at ridiculously slow speeds. If you do make it to the viewpoint, then the views are out of this world and worth the risk. Overlooking the fjord, it gives you an amazing view of the lake and the surrounding mountains. The sun was just above the mountains which made the view all the better. From here, we visited another viewpoint, Flydalsjuvet which gives another spectacular view of the fjord. However, you are just viewing the same thing so if you are short of time then it may be worth just visiting the Ornesvingen viewpoint.

We decided that as we had around a 21-hour journey up to Lofoten Island that we should set off as soon as possible. This journey was brutal, as trying to sleep in a relatively small car was difficult. Our idea was one driver and one passenger stays awake for a shift and then when they got tired they swapped over with the people who had been sleeping. The only problem with this plan is sometimes the people in the back couldn’t sleep, which obviously makes it difficult and dangerous when the people in the front want to swap. Therefore, if you are deciding to do a similar trip give yourself more time than just 8 days. Obviously, we would have liked to have given ourselves more time, but we had to come back for the start of our university semester. Nevertheless, we powered on through and about 19 hours later we made it to our ferry crossing in the early hours of the morning. Unfortunately, we missed the ONLY ferry that day by 15 minutes! As you can imagine after driving for that long it was soul destroying as Lofoten Island was one of the places we really wanted to go and see.

After missing this ferry crossing it left us with two options, drive another 6 hours straight to Tromso or drive two more hours to another ferry crossing point to Lofoten Island. Even though by this point we were absolutely knackered, and would not have much time exploring the island, we decided to take another ferry crossing. The ferry took around 45 minutes and again as we mentioned in our previous Norway article, was incredibly expensive. However, when we got to the other side, we were so pleased that we had decided to go and check out Lofoten. Although there is so much to see in Lofoten and you could easily spend 3 or 4 days here and see puffins, whales, the northern lights etc, we decided that as we had limited time we would check out a place called Trollfjord. Trollfjord is a huge fjord with miles and miles of stunning lakes and mountain ranges. As it was winter time, there were only around 4 or 5 hours of daylight, so the skylight is amazing! The different colours bounce off the snowy mountains and lakes and it makes for an unreal experience. We spent around 3 hours just driving around the fjord as every time we wanted to leave, we would drive a little before stopping just to gawk at the view.

At this point, we had been up for around 36 hours (with intermittent sleep) and still had another 4 before reaching our final destination, Tromso. Luckily, and quite surprisingly, the roads got a little better from Lofoten to Tromso, so this meant that we didn’t lose too much time having to slow down. We again used Airbnb and got a really luxurious place with a little hut that had a log fire where we ended up lighting and having a barbecue and some beers in the middle of winter! This was one of the reasons why we wanted to get this place as we wanted something unique and different to add to our experience. The place is called “By the sea” as it’s literally (you guessed it) by the sea and you can see the northern lights from here if the conditions are right. Unfortunately, we couldn’t see the northern lights from our place, so we drove around 20 minutes to different points around the city to see if we could see them. However, as we had been awake over 48 hours, we called it a night just after 11pm because there were no signs of the northern lights and we were struggling to keep awake. Another tip for those who want to see the northern lights is to download apps called Aurora and Northern Lights Shutter as these apps allow you to track and take a picture from your phone! They worked so well for us while we were in Iceland, but unfortunately, we didn’t see the northern lights during our time in Norway. Tromso is apparently one of the best places to see them so one day we will go back and try and see them again!

When we were planning on where we should go for a little trip, and we found cheap flights to Norway, we didn’t really know that much about the place. Hearing reviews from friends and looking online there was quite a lot of reviews for Tromso, but mainly on the northern lights. However, we absolutely loved our stay in Tromso even though it wasn’t in the place 24hours. This might sound silly, but Tromso had a great atmosphere about it and it was really pretty.

Waking up ridiculously early again, we set off to what might be one of the best activities we have ever done; husky sledding! As we are all dog lovers, the prospect of meeting all the dogs and giving them some love was immensely exciting. When we got to the dog sledding place it was around -15°C and the breeze on your face is killer so wrap up warm! The sledding place gives you some wool-lined overalls and thick boots, but still wear lots of layers or you’re going to freeze.

After meeting all the dogs in our team, we set off and over the next 45 minutes had one of the best times of our lives. As we didn’t see any whales whilst whale watching in Iceland, we really wanted to whale watching again. However, the prospect of dog sledding was too good to turn down and it seriously lived up to all our expectations. The dogs are incredibly well looked after and have great nutrition, so there isn’t any worry of animal abuse! The place we booked with was the Tromso Villmarkssenter and it cost around £180 each – which we know is ridiculously expensive, but because the animals are so well looked after the cost is a lot. The guide there said the dogs go through 2 tons of food every week, so no wonder it costs that much! However, although very costly and with us being students we are on a tight budget, it was worth every penny! You get some lunch (reindeer stew for us, but there was a vegetarian option) at the end of your sledding trip as well as transport to and from Villmarkssenter. We ended our Norway tour by viewing the Arctic Cathedral, which is pretty cool but not something you should prioritise. Before we left Tromso, we just drove there from the city which is about 5 minutes away took some pictures and left.

The journey back from Tromso to Oslo was roughly around 24 hours. Our route back took us through Sweden and Finland and was not easy. Our total journey meant that we had been driving over 5,500km in just 8 days so you imagine just how tired we were by the end of it. However, we made it back to Oslo and had such an incredible time in Norway that we would recommend it to everyone!

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Nevertheless, there are some things that you need to consider that you may not have thought about. Check the driving laws before coming to Norway. Although we did, we saw so much misinformation that we had no idea what was happening. We had just about every colour in the rainbow flash at us from different speed cameras and couldn’t find any consistent information about what they meant.  It was really confusing and quite a stressful experience. Toll roads are something to think about. We spent around £140 between us on toll roads, which between 4 of us is under £40 each, if you’re going by yourself or with just another person then this can become expensive. Also, the alcohol limit for driving is an eighth of what it is in the UK, so don’t even consider having a drink with your meal if you’re driving afterwards. One final thing to bear in mind is that the ferries are just ridiculously expensive. Our route meant that we took over 15 ferries and on average of around £40 per ferry, regardless of their length. Some may be 10 minutes, and some could be 45 minutes, but the prices seemed quite random. Just make sure that you have enough money before setting off to Norway. It is such an expensive country, but if done right then the price is worth the incredible experience.

View the rest of our Norway pictures here.

 

 

 

 

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74 thoughts on “Norway: In a Week Part II

    1. We had an amazing time thank you! The weather is an issue, especially whilst driving. It can be very very cold and dangerous! But for us, the natural beauty was worth the freezing temperatures 😀

  1. Thank you for this guide through Norway! I am planning to go next winter and it really helped me understand how to organize. Nice adventure btw!

  2. These pictures are so awesome. this post is making me extra excited for my Norway trip. 7hrs train ride is intense. Would you recommend going to Oslo first then Bergen or Bergen then Oslo? Can’t wait to read part I

    1. Thanks Summer! You’ll love Norway, it’s an amazing country! As we are from
      the UK we got cheap flights to Oslo which is why we started here. However, I don’t think it matters that much where you start if you’re only doing Oslo and Bergen. Obviously, if you’re wanting to visit Oslo and then make your way north like us, start in Oslo then head on to Bergen as it just makes it so much easier!

  3. You guys covered such long distances in such short time that also in winter. Wintry roads are too risky. I would never follow an itinerary like that. But kudos to you guys, you didn’t give up and took the ferry from the other point and actually reached Lofoten. You really miss it when in Norway.

  4. Oh my goodness. That sounds like one epic trip with a lot of challenges along the way. Not sure I’d do well on those icy roads, slipping and sliding in even at low speeds. And man, what a bummer to have missed the ferry! I would have just gotten out of the car and cried. LOL! And how gorgeous are those huskies? As dog lovers, I have always wondered if its ok to go dog sledding, like riding elephants. What do you think?

    1. It was such an epic journey! And you’re right the icy roads were mental.. especially at night time when it got down to -15c! We really wanted to just get out and cry BUT we had to power on haha! The Huskies are amazing! As someone who is very keen to promote elephant welfare and also volunteered at two elephant sanctuaries in SEA I can say it’s completely different! These Huskies are former race dogs and if they wasn’t taken in by the company they would most likely have been shut down. Also they are very well looked after and not put through the awful torture that elephants are put through! Very very interesting debate though, let me know what you think! Glad to see people are aware of the tortures that elephants are going through ❤️

  5. You actually covered a lot of ground in 8 days! I would not have planned my itinerary to go all the way to Lofoten and then back from Tromso to Oslo, because it involves a lot of driving and although I love road trips and Norway is one of the most gorgeous places for a road trip, I prefer not to drive more than 6-7 hours in a day at the max. We covered (2.5 years ago) the journey from Bergen to Geiranger in 4 days, with ample stops in between and a visit to the Jotunheimen National Park.

    1. Awesome to hear you visited Norway! We never really wanted to do that amount of driving, the problem was, as uni students we had such a small amount of time! We heard a lot of good things about the places we visited so we felt under pressure to try and do as much as we can! Although this was our plan and our aim we did say that if we couldn’t do it then we couldn’t do it! Luckily we did!

  6. Norway is up there on my bucket list, and just looking at your photos, ahhhh how I wish to go now! While I can imagine how COLD it is now, it looks incredibly beautiful. Even though it was about an 7-hour journey to Geirangerfjord, like you said, because of how beautiful the scenery is, the drive is hardly a chore. I would have loved to see the Northern Lights, but wow, after a long 48 hours, I too would have called it a night. Your road trip does sound amazing and I totally would love to do it. Although 5,500 km in 8 days is too much for me – I think I would like to stretch it over 2 weeks and move slower through the country.

    1. Thank you Soraya for your comment! Norway is just.. wow! It was soooo cold it got down to -20+c at one point! I wish I could explain to you how cold that really feels haha! The scenery along the way was just breathtaking and really helped with the long journeys! I really wish we had more than just 8 days to do a trip that consisted of 5,500km, but unfortunately, we were time locked with us having to return back to Uni 😞Glad you enjoyed the article!

  7. Norway is still gorgeous even during winter season. How I wish to spend the holiday here and play with those snow! I enjoyed reading your adventures, so where are you heading next?

  8. This is such a breathtaking view of the lake and the mountains. I can imagine myself looking at this background everyday. It looks so serene and relaxing.

    BBQ and some beers in the middle of winter is just fun! I can just imagine.

  9. Just a couple of days before my husband and I were thinking about Oslo and Northern lights and here you are posting about it.
    I may not be able to do a weeklong trip. That’s too long for me. But I will have a look at the various sites you’ve mentioned and look at their distances of map and will decide where to go. The Norway Sweden round trip loop looks interesting. Thanks for sharing you incredible experience.

    1. Awesome to hear you’re wanting to to go Norway! If you’re wanting to see the northern lights you will need to go further north than Oslo (which I think you’ll enjoy more) Look into Tromso – you can see the lights there and I think it has more going for it than Oslo!

  10. I would love to go to Norway some day. Everything is just beautiful, from what I see in pictures. The roads sound awful but I bet it sure was worth it. I’ve never left the United States but the first time I do it will probably be to Norway!

  11. I read part one and loved it. I loved part two just as much. Thank for the article and making me want to travel 😩😂

  12. Winter in Norway is slowly moving up to the top of my bucket list! I read part one as well but this one is making me want to visit Norway even more. Your road trip seems amazing and I would definitely love to take a similar route. Thank you for sharing all these valuable tips

  13. Snow-capped Mountains with the river below is one of my weakness. I love camping out, I love to travel, I love mountains. Very beautiful pictures hope someday I can travel to those places…

  14. I’m inspired by how many countries you’ve been to! Norway is at the top of my list of places I want to travel to. Thank you for your blog and the beautiful pictures!

  15. Such an amazing Land, and your photos are really amazing. I love landscapes photography and I am thinking about a trip there just to enjoy the nature and the high mountains and lakes.

  16. Emilio, you’ve given me great inspiration for Norway! Those dogs are so beautiful, and I love your photos of the landscape. Definitely on the list!

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