Bergen, Norway is one of the most beautiful cities in all of Europe. You can stroll the streets of Bergen for days and immerse yourself in its charm. Bergen is known for lots of things but it is best known as the gateway to the great fjords of Norway.
My second time in Bergen was spent much like my first. In fact, we are staying at the exact same hotel as I did back in March 2005. Plus, like my last time, our first move was to go to the Tourist Information Center and book the Norway in a Nutshell Tour.
This particular tour was developed for people who only have a day or two to see the city and some of the smaller towns plus the incredible views of towns, waterfalls and fjords. It can also be customized.
It combines trains, busses and ferries to maximize your experience and you really get to see a lot. They have it down to a tee and you will not be disappointed with the Norway in a Nutshell Tour.
The most popular tour (and the one we did) costs about $200 and it starts out at 8:40am at the Bergen Railway Station where you hop a scenic train to Voss, the adrenaline capital of Norway. You have a short time in Voss and then you catch a sightseeing bus to Gudvangen.
The ride is stunning and passes by some awesome waterfalls, small towns and mountains. You are constantly staring from side to side trying to get pictures as the bus weaves in and out through the Norwegian countryside.
As the bus approaches the famous Stalheim Hotel, which is renowned for its amazing views of the fjord and valley below, it starts descending a steep, windy road.
The steep, twisty road is dotted with amazing views and even better shots of the waterfalls. You have to be careful though that there aren’t any tourist cars coming up the one-way road that got lost as we had to deal with. The slight delay was actually cool because it allowed for some great pictures.
After another 10 minutes or so, you arrive at Gudvangen and catch the ferry across the stunning Naeroyfjord to Flam.
The ferry is a typical kind of ferry that has a lot of outdoor space for viewing the huge mountains surrounding the fjord. Tons of small waterfall empty out into the fjords and it makes for some great pictures. The fjord also boasts some very cool little towns all throughout the fjord. The boat actually makes some deliveries to these towns on your tour.
There are only two real issues with the ferry and the whole process. First, the food stand on the ferry is awful. So if you are hungry, you need to eat beforehand, bring food or wait until you arrive in Flam. Second, there are a ton of seagulls that fly along with the ferry and look really cool. However, they also poop a lot and unload upon the ferry and the people below. I actually got pooped on by a seagull. Although it only grazed me. But still, you find yourself constantly looking up as they fly overhead!
After two hours, you arrive in Flam, which is basically just a place for buying souvenirs and a quick bite. Some people stay a night and do some small hikes around town but the main attraction is the Flam Railway, which is said to be the most scenic in Scandinavia.
The one-hour rail trip is pretty awesome I must say. The train is an old fashioned train with wooden seats and great viewing windows to see the great scenery below in the Flam Valley.
The best site was surely the Kjosfossen Falls. They were pretty awesome, powerful and certainly gorgeous. The train makes a five-minute stop for pictures and it also features two dancing women next to the Falls and loud Norwegian music. It is a very strange show and hard to properly explain but hopefully the picture can give you some idea.
After an hour, we arrived in Myrdal where we catch a final train back to Bergen. This train is also scenic. However, by this time we were completely exhausted from all the transport and touring that we basically just passed out; I know I did!
Finally, we arrived back in Bergen after a great but really long day. I do recommend Norway in a Nutshell but just be prepared for a long day. Also, even in summer it gets pretty cold out on the fjords so bring a jacket and don’t wear shorts like we did. It really is a great way to see a lot of Norway in a short period of time. I’ve done the same thing twice now and would probably do it again.
Norway in a Nutshell Tour
June 9, 2012 by 32 Comments