Ten highlights of our unforgettable Norway trip!
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Scandinavia had been on top of out list for a while now. The scenery seemed like it had been taken right out of a fairytale. We knew it was an expensive wish and not exactly within our gap year budget. Nonetheless we decided that if we did it right, it would make for an unforgettable trip, and we could still have some money left at the end of it.
After checking and researching the internet we decided on flying to Bergen, Norway, and by public transport see where we would end up and how we would get back home. We were right. By saving money on some things and spending a little more on others, we had an incredible time, an unforgettable trip and so many memories to look back at.
Here are 10 highlights from our trip to Norway!
1. Hiking in Bergen.
The city of bergen is built at the waterfront of Byfjorden, bordered by high hills buried in forests. In these forests you’ll find beautiful hiking trails, with incredible views! Our second day we walked from our apartment in the outskirts of the city, through the forest, all the way to the top of mount Fløyen. These hiking trails start in many places and will guide you past the most beautiful lakes, green valleys and scenic lookout points over the fjord.
Side note: by hiking trails we don’t mean rocky, slippery slopes. They’re wide tracks perfect for walking and cycling. Some parts are even accessible for cars.
2. Fløibanen funicular.
There’s two ways to make your way up the mountain; hiking your way up or taking the funicular from the Bergen city centre. The funicular will leave you at the lookout point at the top of mount Fløyen. There’s a small visitors centre, playground and bbq area. From there you can head towards other mountains and lakes which at times are hidden by a thick mist, creating a movie-like feel.
3. Bryggen and cultural district Bergen.
If you have ever looked up ‘Bergen’ anywhere on the internet, then you must have already stumbled across a vast number of photos from the colourful district of Bryggen. These old fashioned houses, constructed alongside the harbour, are one of Bergen’s main touristic areas. They have been added to the list of UNESCO’s world heritage list and are the most internationally recognised sights of Bergen.
Have a walk around this little area and take in the beauty and coziness of these wooden houses and shops!
4. Fjord cruise in Flam.
After Bergen, we took a bus to Flam. This 3 hour ride was a great opportunity for some sightseeing! From the city of Bergen we went further into nature, passing icy lakes and snowed mountain tops. We also got to ride through one of Norways longest tunnels (11 km) till arriving in Flam. Situated by the Aurlandsfjord, in a valley surrounded by mountains, this little village was one of the most breathtaking places we have been to!
Here we took a fjord cruise; a 1.5-2 hour boat ride along the Nærofjørd from Flam to Gudvangen. This narrow fjord is surrounded by steep mountains (which rise up to 1800 meters above sea level), waterfalls and picturesque villages scattered along the waterside.
5. Stegastein lookout in Flam.
This beautifully designed lookout point rises 650 meters above the Aurland fjord. The platform made from steel and laminated wood extends 30 meters out of the mountain, providing a breathtaking panoramic view of the area. This lookout point is accessible all time of year, and it ranks highest on our list of things to do when visiting Fla?m.
6. Hiking in Flam.
Like in Bergen, there were many hiking trails in Flam. We decided to take a trail up to the waterfall (see video) high up in the mountain right next to our hostel.
This hike was a bit more “adventurous”, but we managed well against the steep rocky pathways. The views were extra rewarding!
7. Taking photos.
This highlight might seem silly. But when you’re exploring new places, whether its a new country or a new neighbourhood in your hometown, you’ll want memories to look back at. In this trip we took it upon ourselves to really improve the photos and videos we took, resulting in the visual content of this article.
We understand that if you are on a tight budget you might be limited to the amount of things you can do on a trip, but when you get into this mindset of documenting the places you visit, you get to appreciate the beauty in the smaller, simpler things.
8. Flam railway.
When you think about a 6 hour train ride with nothing to eat but a Tupperware full of plain couscous and pinto beans, it might not seem like the most pleasant experience. However, we were constantly blown away by the variety of different landscapes on the other side of the carriage window; from 150m tall waterfalls and cliffs to snow covered fields and frozen lakes.
9. Oslo opera house.
Oslo was our final destination in Norway, and even though we didn’t spend as much time there as we would’ve liked, we went to see one of the most interesting pieces of architecture we’ve seen so far: the Oslo Opera House. This white granite building appears as if it rises from the water, with the roof angled to ground level. Pedestrians are allowed to walk up the roof of the building to enjoy the view, which include the fjords of Oslo and a panoramic view of the city.
10. Budget tips.
Accommodation in Norway isn’t cheap. However, we managed to save some money staying in small Airbnb’s and hostels. This turned out to be a really cool experience as some hostels had events such as live music and fun activities every night. And most Airbnb hosts will give you tips on what activities you can do around the area!
We ended up making our way back to Holland by public transport through Sweden, Denmark, and Germany. This has been an unforgettable trip and we can’t wait to do it again someday!