Sunday, 1 May 2016

Budget Norway: Oslo-Bergen

DAY 1 

We landed in Oslo, picked up our luggage and already at 4 pm were ready to leave Oslo Airport. We took a special train – Flytoget – that shuttles between the airport and the city center every 20 minutes. It costs 50 crones per person. In 15 minutes we found ourselves in Oslo Sentralstasjon, from where it was easy to get practically everywhere. 

Royal Palace, Oslo, Norway

We walked a bit around Oslo, started with the Royal Palace, went down Karl Johans Gate street with shops, restaurants, cafes and other amusements. To the right of the Palace there is Akker brygge, the most expensive part of the city. We bought ice-cream, sat on the stairs of the quay and looked at Oslofjord and Akershus Fortress

Town Hall, Oslo, Norway

Next to the Central Station you will find a glass tower of Radisson SAS and Oslo Spektrum concert hall. The former is worth visiting in the evening, it offers fantastic views on Oslofjord. 

DAY 2 

We took bus 30 to Bygdøy, the museum island. It went from Central Station and National Theatre. You can get to the island by boat from pier 3 as well. We visited Viking Museum, Folk Museum with multiple small houses, saw a church that dated back to the 12th century. We were especially impressed by Fram that exhibits authentic papyrus boat Ra, basalt float Kon-Tiki and Nansen's ship Fram. 

The Fram Museum, Oslo

We had to rush as all museums closed at 4 pm, and we wanted to see Holmenkollen ski jump. We took underground train 1 to Frognerseteren and get out at Holmenkollen station. The ski jump is seen from almost every point in Oslo. 

Tip: bus tickets are valid for an hour. Train tickets are sold separately; their validity is limited as well. 

DAY 3 

Bergen, a region of fjords and mountain peaks, waited for us. You may get to Bergen by train, plane and bus. Speaking about a budget option, I recommend a special bus. Unfortunately, the website is fully in Norwegian, still it is pretty easy to understand how to order a ticket. We booked tickets to a bus that started at 10 am. The trip itself was an amazing tour through Norway. First couple of hours were picturesque, but as soon as the mountains appeared, the landscape became stunning! 

There was a half-an-hour stop at Hemsedal, one of the famous Norwegian ski-resorts. Then the bus went up to the ridge. The mountains were beautiful and covered with snow, although we travelled in the end of May. After that the bus went down to a green valley with flowers and flourishing apple-trees. 

Norway, Borgund

The bus passed more than 35 tunnels, including Lærdal

Closer to Bergen, the bus passed lakes, mountain rivers and fjords. It was fantastic, even though the weather changed and it started to rain. It rains almost every day in Bergen, so do not forget waterproof shoes and an umbrella. At 6 pm, we arrived in Bergen. Concerning hostels, I can recommend P-hotel in Vest Torge 9. 

Bergen, Norway

We spent the whole evening walking around the town. The center was small, and easy to walk on foot. We visited the famous Hansa Bryggen, went up the funicular on the mountain and had dinner in a restaurant in the quay. The latter was not budget but definitely worth it! 


At 8.40 am started our tour to the fjords. The tours are multiple, and up to the mid-July you may buy them directly in the cashier at the day of the trip. I recommend "Norge i et nøtteskall", in my opinion, it gives the fullest understanding of the beauties of Norway, its mountains and fjords. It includes the most interesting things in the Bergen area. 

As I said, the train started at 8.40 from Bergen and went up to the mountain station Myrdal. All the way was up! After Voss, we saw mountain peaks covered with snow. Myrdal is situated at the height of 867 meters above the sea level. Here starts the famous Flåmsbana. We had to wait just several minutes for a transfer train and took some photos. 

Flåmsbana, Norway

It took 20 years to build Flåmsbana, its length is 20 km, and it passes through 20 tunnels. The train stopped at famous Kjosfossen waterfall, went to the Flåm valley, passed mighty Rjoandefossen 140 meters high, passed by a Flåm church built in 1667, and stopped on the coast of Aurlandsfjorden. 

Then we boarded a boat and swam along the two fjords: Aurlandsfjorden and Nærøyfjord, arms of the famous Sognefjord. Nærøyfjord is the narrowest one, at some point, its width became just 250 meters, and there were mountain peaks more than 1800 meters high above it! 

Nærøyfjord, Norway

After the two hours' journey, we made a 45 minutes' stop at a small village of Gundvagen. Just enough to drink tea in a nearby café! 

Then we boarded the bus and went to a peak. If you have problems with heights, do not get a seat by the window: sometimes it seemed that the bus was just hanging in the air! High in the mountains we saw two waterfalls, 140 and 160 meters high, the view on Stalhjemkleva ravine was unforgettable. At the Stalhjem hotel  the bus made a 15 minutes' stop at a viewpoint. 

Stalhjem Hotel, Norway

Finally, the bus got us to Voss, and we returned to Bergen by train. The tour lasted from 8.40 until 20.35 – practically, the whole day. 

In the evening, we took a night bus that started at 11 pm and arrived in Oslo at 7 am. We had a lovely lazy day in Oslo and did some shopping. The next morning was our flight back home! 

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