Sunday, 5 June 2016

Travel Tips: Accommodation

Accommodation around Bergen for travelers: experience and tips.

Travel Tips: Accommodation

PREPARATION

When I was getting ready for our Norwegian adventure, the accommodation issue worried me most. I started my search with famous booking engines, like booking, hotels, expedia, etc. The result was sad: Norwegian hotels turned out to be beyond our possibilities. Bergen is the second largest city in Norway and it is not cheap. You may find a room in a hostel for 50 EUR per person per night with one toilet on the floor and a common kitchen. However, we were not students anymore, and looked for something more comfortable. I started to search for apartments, and, by my experience, it is the best option for expensive cities from the value for money point of view. 

Travel Tips: Accommodation

Tip: the larger is the company the more beneficial it is per person. We were three travelers – my husband, our old friend and me – and if we had one more person we could have saved 25 per cent as usually we booked 4 bed-variants. 

Luckily, I found this website where you can find plenty information about Bergen. The accommodation section offers many variants, and some of them were interesting, despite the high prices. Later I discovered airbnb.com, with many variants for Bergen, however by that moment we had already booked and decided to stick to the previous plan. 

Tip: book in advance! I started in February while we planned our trip to the end of May (the "peak dates"), and many options were already taken. 

Travel Tips: Accommodation

We chose an apartment in the center, in a picturesque wooden district, with two bedrooms in the attic and maximum capacity of four people. You may write to the owner directly, but I booked through visitbergen. By the way, they do not ask for an advanced fee. Afterwards I had an active correspondence with the owner in order to specify various issues. 

The price was 1200 NOK per night, or the same 50 EUR per person. But it was a separate apartment just for us, not a room in a hostel crowded with other guests. It was practically the lowest price I managed to find. Note that, 1200 NOK included 300 NOK for cleaning, the latter is a fixed sum, independent from the number of nights. 

NIGHT 1 

We managed to find the apartment with the help of GPS, went to the owner to a neighbor house, paid for the stay by card and received the key. 

Travel Tips: Accommodation

Finally, we climbed the spiral stairs to the second floor, actually, the attic, and entered the apartment. We liked it at first glance! The furniture was old, but there was a big flat-screen TV-set, and comfortable chairs from IKEA. Moreover, it had very fast Internet and a great kitchen, which, apart from kitchen utensils, had pasta, tea, coffee, salt, sugar, oil, and most romantic views through the attic window. Here, we felt the spirit of Bergen. 

On the negative side, the ceilings were low in skews, and we regularly hit our heads. 

CAMPING

Other nights we spent in campings. Campings are Norwegian classic – cheap and comfortable. 

We booked popular campings relying on reviews. I do not argue that they were the best. Moreover, it is considered that the best are once that are not in the Internet. Many travelers do not book anything in advance and search what they like on site. But, being in the country for the first time, we decided not to risk. 

Travel Tips: Accommodation

Tip: it is better to book directly from camping websites (not from the booking engines). Some offer forms to fill in, others communicate only by mail. But often websites are cheaper and offer more variants. I booked everything without an advance fee. 

NIGHT 2 

Our next stop was at Gudvangen Camping. The house we chose cost 850 NOK (or 35 EUR per person). We had two bedrooms, a living room, a bathroom and a terrace. 

Travel Tips: Accommodation

We opted for a more comfortable variant, however campings offer simper accommodation for any taste and wallet – cabins without a bathroom cost just 300-400 NOK, or you may pay 100 NOK and set a tent. In both cases, you can use a common kitchen next to the reception, plus there is a paid shower. 

I chose this camping when read that from there you can see "just nine waterfalls". The place is situated 1 km from the pier; that is why we could see a mountain and waterfalls but not the fjord itself. 

Travel Tips: Accommodation

However, we had some problems with the Internet, in order to pick it we had to go to the terrace or the reception. 

By the way, you should clean the house when you leave – throw away litter, sweep the floor, wash the dishes and the sink. Otherwise, you should pay 300 NOK. Naturally, nobody pays, but the level of cleaning is different, and in decent campings workers make supplementary cleaning. 

Mind that you will have to pay for the bed linen and towels – 80-100 NOK per pack. Usually they provide mattresses, pillows and blankets for free. 

NIGHT 3 

The next was Lofthus Camping. The landscape in the area of Lofthus is picturesque – gardens, waterfalls, and plenty of campings and hotels. Ours was situated right above R31 that goes along the fjord. And the views we got were amazing! 

Travel Tips: Accommodation

This camping cost 770 NOK plus 25 NOK for the Internet. At least, we were able to pick it up inside. The house we booked had one bedroom, and our friend had to sleep on the sofa in a small living room. Actually, we had four "beds" in the bedroom – there were two two-tier beds, however the room itself was really small… as was the bathroom… as was the house itself. However, the views compensated minor inconveniences. 

NIGHT 4 

The last camping we stopped under Bergen was Bratland Camping. And it was a sheer disappointment, I do not even give a link. Its only advantage was the proximity from Bergen and a city bus shuttling to and fro. 

Travel Tips: Accommodation

However, it was the only positive moment. No view. Poorly equipped kitchen without any cooking space, or sharp knives, or a kettle. But with a tiny movable stove. No cabin in the bathroom, and the water after shower was practically everywhere. Very old furniture. Paid Internet for… 50 NOK (we did not opt for it though). Moreover, this camping was the most expensive: 890 NOK! 

Overall, I can say that thanks to campings one can spend in Norway a travel-budget standard for Europe. The stay would be less comfortable, but you will be in harmony with nature! 


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