Norway Travel Guide | Moon & Honey Travel

Norway

Norway Travel Guide

Last Updated: February 2018 

There are not enough adjectives in the dictionary to describe the unimaginable beauty that is Norway. Perhaps, it’s the fjord scenery. Perhaps, it’s the abundance of water that cascades and flows across the country’s untouched landscapes. Or perhaps, it’s the colorful timber houses. Whatever it is, Norway will take your breath away.

When to Go

Mid-May to early October. Norway’s high season is in the summer from late June to early August. We visited during the shoulder season (early October). Scenically, it was unforgettable to see the changing colors. If you plan a trip in early October, know that many accommodations shut down early for winter (especially around Geiranger). Some ferries don’t operate as well. All in all, it was wonderful to experience Norway in low season.

 

This Guide Includes:

  • Norway Basics
  • Where to Go (Interactive Map)
  • What to Experience in Norway
  • Our 10 Day Norway Itinerary 
Norway Travel Guide | Moon & Honey Travel

Norway Basics

Official Name: Kingdom of Norway

Capital: Oslo

Government: Parliamentary representative democratic constitutional monarchy

Regions: Norway is divided into five regions: Northern Norway, Trøndelag, Western Norway, Southern Norway and Eastern Norway. 

Population: 5.3 million

Language: Norwegian, Sami

Currency: Norwegian Krone (NOK)

Tipping Etiquette: Not expected. It’s common to round up the bill.

Water Quality: Excellent

Something Interesting: You can only purchase alcoholic beverages from Vinmonopolet stores, which are government-owned alcoholic beverage retailers.

Norway Travel Guide | Moon & Honey Travel

Where to Go in Norway

Click the dots to explore specific destinations.
Destinations
  • Oslo
  • Bergen
  • Geiranger
  • Alesund
  • Trondheim
Routes
  • Norway in a Nutshell
  • Bergen to Alesund
background

Å få blod på tannen

 

 

 

 

Norwegian Saying

To get blood on your tooth (to be inspired)

What to Experience in Norway

Our favorite things to see and do
Norway in a Nutshell Fjord Cruise, Norway Travel Guide | Moon & Honey Travel
Norway in a Nutshell Fjord Cruise

Norway in a Nutshell: Oslo to Bergen

Norway in a Nutshell is an organized transit package from Oslo to Bergen. It’s a great way to experience Norway’s scenic beauty, especially when you have limited time. The package includes three train rides, one bus ride, and one fjord cruise. We traveled from Oslo to Bergen in one day, though it is possible to stretch the package over the course of two days.

Here are the transit steps:

  • Train: Oslo to Myrdal – The Bergen Railway
  • Train: Myrdal to Flåm – The Flam Railway
  • Fjord Cruise: Flåm to Gudvangen
  • Bus: Gudvangen to Voss
  • Train: Voss to Bergen – The Bergen Railway

Additional Info:

  • Book your ticket in advance with fjordtours.com. We had to pick up our tickets from the NSB ticket office at the Oslo Central Railway station the day before departure. 
  • Price: 1440 NOK
  • Seasonality: available all year round. We went in early October.
  • The trip is available as a day tour, or as an overnight.
Trondheim, Norway | Moon & Honey Travel
Trondheim

Cruising with Hurtigruten 

Hurtigruten is a ferry and cruise line that operates up and down the Norwegian coast. The company was originally established in 1893 to improve communication along the country’s lengthy coastline. More recently, Hurtigruten has expanded to appeal to the tourist market. So, it’s entirely possible to embark on a multi-day cruise with Hurtigruten with a “traditional” cruise style package. However, it’s also possible to board a Hurtigruten vessel for a day, or an overnight trip, anywhere between Bergen and Kirkenes. You can customize your own voyage along the coast, either northbound or southbound, at anytime in the year. 

We took an overnight cruise (ferry) from Alesund to Trondheim. As an overnight passenger, it’s your choice whether you’d like to book a cabin or not. We opted for a cabin, because our trip was short and we wanted to sleep through the night. A lot of Norwegians use the Hurtigruten ferries to commute to work, so there will be locals embarking and disembarking the ship all throughout the day and night.

Note: Hurtigruten isn’t a “traditional” cruise line. Because it caters to both locals and tourists, it’s quite mellow. There’s no gambling, discos or karaoke.

If you’re interesting in booking a port to port voyage like we did:

  • Here are the 34 Ports that Hurtigruten services.
  • You can arrange a booking by phone or email. Email: book@hurtigruten.com; Phone: +44 2039363191

Driving from Bergen to Alesund 

This spellbinding drive convinced us that Norway is the most beautiful country on earth. During the course of 2-3 days, you’ll wrap around fjords, drive along rivers and waterfalls, steer through and over mountains, and pinch yourself to confirm that you haven’t ascended to heaven.

We recommend following this route and spending at least one night in Geiranger. During the course of the drive, you’ll take at least two car ferries to cross the fjords.

Day 1: Bergen to Geiranger

  • Highway E39
  • Road 15
  • Dalsnibba Mountain & Road 63
  • Geiranger Skywalk – a viewing platform of Geirangerfjord from atop Dalsnibba. This wasn’t open when we visited.
  • Stay the Night in Geiranger. We stayed at Hotel Union, which has arguably the best view of Geirangerfjord. The dinner buffet was also very memorable.

Day 2: Geiranger to Alesund

  • Ørnesvingen-eagle Road & Road 63
  • Trollstigen, or Troll’s Path, is a narrow, serpentine road on County Road 63 that traverses down a mountain and over the magnificent 1,000 ft Stigfossen waterfall.  Due to safety and weather conditions, the road is only open from mid-May to October, about 5 months of the year.
  • Highways E136 & E39
Vigeland Sculpture Park, Oslo, Norway Travel Guide | Moon & Honey Travel
Vigeland Sculpture Park, Oslo

The Vigeland Sculpture Park in Oslo

The Vigeland Sculpture Park is a visual feast. Each statue is unique in its expression, communicating all facets of human relationships. Vigeland does not shy away from the ugly and depraved. He is drawn to it. Scenes of couples embracing are sitting adjacent to those in physical combat. From a distance, the tower of bodies that reaches to the sky seems like a shrine to a deity, however upon closer study, the mangled figures twisting and smashing each other with their weight is more like an ode to the human-societal condition.

His body of work evokes the full spectrum of life and emotion. Whether we are shocked, enchanted, or amused, we can undoubtedly agree that these statues are full of life.

Norway Travel Guide | Moon & Honey Travel

Norway Itinerary

Our 10 Day Norway Itinerary: Trains, ferries, and automobiles

Here’s our skeleton Norway itinerary. To avoid redundancy, read our experiences (in the above section) to fill in the blanks.

Day 1: Arrive in Oslo

Day 2: Explore Oslo

Day 3: Norway in a Nutshell: Oslo to Bergen (Train, Ferry, Bus Transit Package)

Day 4: Explore Bergen

Day 5: Rent a Car in Bergen (book in advance). Drive from Bergen to Geiranger. We stayed at Hotel Union.

Day 6: Drive from Geiranger to Alesund via Trollstigen

Day 7: Drop off Rental Car. Explore Alesund. Embark on an overnight Hurtigruten ferry to Trondheim (evening).

Day 8: Arrive in Trondheim (morning). We stayed at Nidaros Pilegrimsgård.

Day 9: Explore Trondheim

Day 10: Depart Norway. Fly from Trondheim to Oslo, or other destination.

Note: In Oslo, Bergen and Alesund, we stayed in AirBnBs. If you don’t have an AirBnB account, use this link to get a discount on your first booking.

Norway Resources

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Norway Travel Guide | Moon & Honey Travel
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External Resources
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  • We’ve spent the last few days in Pokhara and have done absolutely nothing, apart from slowly hop around from smoothie joint to restaurant to coffee shop. Pokhara is a city located on Phewa Lake and a favored destination among trekkers pre- and post-trek. After a long multi-day trek, Pokhara satisfies all your cravings and indulges you with its stress-free atmosphere, clean air, cafés, and spas. We’ve really loved our time here. However, we do acknowledge, that Pokhara is probably not best destination for travelers (if you didn’t do a long trek). It caters unabashedly to tourists, with happy hour offers, hippie clothing, German bakeries, Pizzerias, and tattoo shops. So while we’ve been enjoying the comforts of this inauthentic tourist hub, we can’t help but ask “is this a good thing?”
  • We received a question about AMS and insurance as it pertains to the Annapurna Circuit. AMS (Acute Mountain Sickness) is caused by reduced air pressure and lower oxygen levels at higher altitudes. Your body can adjust and adapt to higher altitude, but it needs time. Doctors recommend that you sleep three nights around 3,500 meters before ascending further. They also recommend that above 3,500 meters, you only sleep 500 meters above where you slept the previous night. If you don’t feel well (nausea, dizziness, headaches, etc...), you’re supposed to descend to the last place you felt well. Slide right to see AMS Symptoms.  Apart from slow ascension, it’s important to avoid alcohol. In Manang, during the trekking seasons, there’s a medical facility staffed with western doctors. They conduct a free daily talk about acclimatization and how to recognize and respond to various symptoms of AMS. Definitely attend this session. In terms of our personal experience, most people we met experienced some degree of AMS - some at 2,500 meters, while others only at the pass. It’s common to take diamox (Acetazolamide) to help your body adjust to the altitude gain. Unlike ibuprofen, it doesn’t mask the symptoms of AMS, it actually prevents and reduces the symptoms. Consult your doctor about diamox usage, before you go on your trek. Re: insurance, you absolutely need it!!!!
  • Let’s talk about food on the Annapurna Circuit. The main staple food is Dal Baht, a traditional meal consisting of steamed rice, lentil soup (dal), curried vegetables, and pickles. We ate dal baht daily, sometimes twice. With free refills, it’s the best thing to eat when you’re hungry. Most menus also offer curries, momos (dumplings), fried noodles and rice, thukpa (Tibetan noodle soup) as well as pizza, pasta and various soups. There are also bakeries that serve excellent cakes, crumbles and pastries. We’re going to wrap up our Annapurna Circuit posts, so let us know if you have any questions about the trek. #dalbahtpower #dalbahtpower24hour #hikeforfood
  • Annapurna Circuit Days 22 & 23: Tatopani - Ghorepani - Hile - Nayapul. Our final days of the trek were marked by stairs, leeches, mule caravans, water buffalo and good food. Though mountain views were seldom, we saw beautiful terraced fields and hiked through verdant rainforest. The final stretch was a never-ending staircase descent that was physically and mentally taxing. When the trail intersected with the dusty road just after Hile, we opted for a Jeep to Nayapul. At Nayapul, we grabbed a local bus to Pokhara. Shortly after getting on the bus, it stopped. Our fellow bus riders explained that we’d be here for 1.5 hours, because of road construction. We chatted with a few locals, who shared their views on their government, its rampant corruption, and their personal struggles. We arrived in Pokhara at 8 pm, after an enlightening and bumpy journey.
  • Annapurna Circuit Day 21: Kalopani to Tatopani. We started hiking at 6:15 am, because we were determined to end our day in the natural hot springs of Tatopani. When we reached the town in the late afternoon, people were still recovering from a landslide. Unfortunately, a few homes and lodgings were demolished. Some trekkers even lost their belongings in the landslide. When we soaked in the warm springs, a friendly Nepali family (who were touring the region) asked us where we were from, if we could swim and whether we liked Nepal. Their 12 year old daughter was really excited to speak English and shared her career (science) and travel aspirations (visit a developed country).
  • Annapurna Circuit Days 19 & 20: Kagbeni - Marpha - Kalopani. Most of the trail followed the riverbed Of Kali Gandaki. The wind picked up with a vengeance and funneled down the valley, making this part of the trek dusty and miserable. We understood why most people opted for a jeep or bus to their next destination. After lunch in Jomsom, we walked another 1.5 hours to the beautiful town Marpha, where we spent the night. Each stone building is painted white and all the wooden door and window frames are painted burgundy. The streets are immaculate - barely any mule, horse and ox poo. After a night in Marpha, we headed to Kalopani. We followed the forest trail on the east side of the river almost all the way. Only a few parts of the path were washed out. Luckily, the trail was sheltered mostly from the wind. Photos of Marpha.
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