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3 days - An active twist on the classic.
Take the less trodden path and experience the Norway in a Nutshell® the active way with a cycling trip along the famous Rallarvegen from Finse to Flåm. The construction route known as the ‘Rallarvegen’ is a 100-year-old man-built transport road designed for the conveyance of men and materials during the building phase of the most mountainous sector of the Oslo - Bergen Railway Line.
Note; due to snow conditions on the mountain plateau this itinerary can run in the late summer and early autumn months only from mid July until snowfall in mid September.
- Day 1
- Train Oslo to Finse, one of Norway's most popular walking and 'outdoors' spot.
- Day 2
- Cycle to Flåm across the Hardangervidda mountain plateau then downhill through the valley.
- Day 3
- Boat trip on the narrow Aurland & Nærøyfjords
- Start Place
- Oslo, Norway
- End Place
- Bergen, Norway
- Country Visited
- 3 Days
- Active independent tour suitable for singles, couples & groups
Train, bike, local bus and fjord ferry. Optional Flåmsbana trip.
- All accommodation in shared double/twin room with fjord views, single supplement available
- Meals as specified in the itinerary
- Norway in a Nutshell® train/ferry/bus ticket from Oslo to Bergen
- Bicycle hire and one way drop off Finse to Flåm
- Luggage transfer between Finse and Flåm
- Luggage transfer between Oslo and Bergen
- 24-hour emergency service
- Taxes and service fees
International flights, lunches and dinners not detailed in the program and items of personal nature.
Day 1 - Train Oslo to Finse, one of Norway's most popular walking and 'outdoors' spot.
Depart Oslo by train to the highest point on the Bergensbanen (Oslo to Bergen railway) at Finse; 1222 meters above sea level. At Finse you will disembark the train and stay at the mountain lodge for the night. If you take the morning train from Oslo you have time to enjoy Finse for local walks in the area. Finse is situated on the edge of Hardangervidda (the Hardanger Mountain Plateau) and offers great views of the Hardangerjøkulen (glacier).
Hardangervidda is one of Norway's most popular walking and trekking areas, and if you are an active walker we recommend to extend your stay at Finse for more extended walks in the area.
We have included a luggage service between Oslo and Bergen, meaning you do not have to bring your main luggage for the trip. Your luggage will be picked up from your hotel in Oslo and transferred to your hotel in Bergen. You will take an overnight rucksack only for your trip to Finse and Flåm.
AccommodationFinse 1222 Mountain Lodge
Day 2 - Cycle to Flåm across the Hardangervidda mountain plateau then downhill through the valley.
After breakfast you will pick up your bicycle at Finse and start the cycling trip along the railway construction road (Rallarvegen) to Myrdal and on to Flåm. The trip follows a well maintained gravel road through the Hardangervidda. Take your time to enjoy the fabulous scenery, and if you are lucky you might even spot wild reindeer in the area. You will pass by the Fagervatn Lake, which is the highest point of Rallarvegen at 1310m. In the summertime, a café is run in the Fagernut Dwelling, where you can buy freshly made waffles and coffee.
The terrain is reasonably flat with some up and down between Finse and Myrdal (38km). Then at Myrdal you will take off towards Flåm and follow the very steep downhill switchback path to the bottom of the Flåm Valley. These last 20km from Myrdal to Flåm offer stunning views down the valley following the Flåm Railway. Doing the trip by bike allows you to plan a leisurely trip with lots of photo opportunities that those travelling by train will miss.
On reaching Flåm you will check into your local hotel. Make sure you keep your bikes for the afternoon in Flåm to do local bike rides.
Alternative walking itinerary
If you are more of a walker than a cyclist you can chose to take the train between Finse and Myrdal, and then walk from Myrdal down the Flåm Valley to Flåm (20km) instead of biking.
Travelling with different activity levels
If you travel as a party of 2 or more, and only one (or a few) of you want to do the active Norway in a Nutshell version, then we are more than happy to arrange those who do not want to bike to do the ’standard’ Norway in a Nutshell version of the itinerary. You will still be staying at the same hotels each night, and follow the same general itinerary, just using different modes of transport. Just ask us for details.
Lunch is a packed lunch.
AccommodationFlåmsbrygga Hotel or similar
Day 3 - Boat trip on the narrow Aurland & Nærøyfjords
Spend the morning at leisure in Flåm before taking the mid morning ferry along the Aurland and Nærøyfjords to Gudvangen. Once again many photo opportunities will present themselves with steep mountain sides on either side of the fjord and beautiful tumbling waterfalls.
In Gudvangen switch to a local bus taking you up the hairpin bends of Stalheimskleiva and back up to the main Oslo to Bergen rail line at Voss. In Voss you have a few hours available to enjoy this village before boarding the train to Bergen. Arrive Bergen in the early afternoon and make your own way to your hotel.
30 Sep 2019
30 Sep 2019
If you are travelling with a partner, you can alternate your activities - for instance, one can ride down and the other train down (Flåmsbana) to the Flåm hotel.
We include a porter service which offers a safe and secure transportation of your luggage between Oslo and Voss/Bergen (the Norway in the Nutshell component of the tour). The luggage service allows you to travel between Oslo and Bergen with just a small day/overnight bag. If you have an extended stay in the fjord region, you will only have this overnight bag. Please note that 1 piece of luggage per person is included unless otherwise specified.
Interactive Tour Map
Travel insurance is compulsory for all tours with 50 Degrees North. Please ensure that you have this organised as we will need to see proof of this upon issuing your tour documentation. Please contact us for a quote or visit http://www.suresave.net.au/
Practical information about Scandinavian Hotels
- Hotel rooms in Scandinavia are normally furnished with twin beds, which can be moved together to form a double bed or placed separately. Please note that single rooms are generally smaller than doubles, and are often equipped with a shower instead of a bath. Purpose-built triple or family rooms are likewise unusual in Scandinavian hotels. Whilst it is possible for 3 persons to share a room, this will normally be a double room with an extra bed, with correspondingly less space to move about in.
- It is also unusual to have a porter at hotels to carry your luggage.
- There is free wi-fi in many hotels in Scandinavia.
- Unexpectedly, all forms of Scandinavian accommodation rarely provide tea and coffee facilities in their rooms. If you are lucky, a kettle will be supplied but nothing else. Please ask at reception for some provisions when you arrive or just carry a small selection from home.
- Please also note that in Scandinavia - in particular, during winter - the included lunch will often be a hearty warm soup with bread.
- More remote hotels in Lapland will offer dinner at an additional cost. In some spots, there will be limited choices else where. Generally, you get a very nice home-cooked Scandinavian dinner. However, you may sometimes find only one or two choices only for your main course.
- In Scandinavia, it is normal for washing and laundry facilities to be in the basement. If you are staying in apartment type accommodation, check downstairs or ask for assistance.
Practical budgeting information before your departure to Norway
Norway has a few items that typically surprise travellers when visiting Norway for the first time. Alcohol and luxury items are heavily taxed and therefore prices are higher than you would expect. On the other hand, necessities such as bread and milk, are taxed low and therefore are great value.
We recommend that you bring all the alcohol you’re allowed to bring into the country when you arrive. There are many lovely parks and balconies where you can enjoy your duty free. However, be sure not to bring more than you’re allowed!
As of May 2014, the allowances according to Visit Norway are:
Minimum age: 18/ 20*
1 litre of beverages with more than 22% up to and including 60% alcohol per volume as well as 1½ litre with more than 2.5% up to and including 22% alcohol per volume or three litres with more than 2.5% up to and including 22% alcohol per volume
2 litres of beer with more than 2.5 % or other beverages with more than 2.5% up to and including 4.7% alcohol per volume.
This means that you may for example bring with you five litres of beer provided you do not have any other alcoholic beverages with you.
*For importing alcoholic beverages with more than 22% alcohol per volume the minimum age is 20.
It’s illegal to bring extra alcohol into Norway and can end up costing you. Another thing you should bring and not buy in Norway is razor blades. Good razor blades in Norway are expensive.
Norway in a Nutshell luggage porter service
We include a porter service which offers a safe and secure transportation of your luggage between Oslo and Voss/Bergen (the Norway in the Nutshell component of the tour).
Please leave your luggage at the hotel reception before 6:30AM and the Porter service will then pick your luggage up and bring it to your destination hotel, where it will be available at 9:00PM the same day.
The luggage service allows you to travel between Oslo and Bergen with just a small day/overnight bag.
Please note that 1 piece of luggage per person is included unless otherwise specified.
The Scandinavian Art of 'Hygge’
The Scandinavian Art of 'Hygge’ by Ivy Thompson
The Scandinavian term ‘Hygge’ is a word that’s hard to translate - in short ‘hygge’ means coziness. But it’s so much more. Some define ‘hygge’ as enjoying life’s simple pleasures, or the joy of creating a cozy environment.
As a born and bred Norwegian, my personal definition of hygge is the art of enjoying quality time by yourself or with family and friends. Hygge is as simple as the act of curling up under a blanket with a good book on a rainy Sunday. It’s peeling (and eating!) fresh prawns on a pier during bright summer-evenings by the coast with your relatives. Hygge is just as much the shared laughs, coffee and home baked cinnamon scrolls at your friend’s house.
‘Hygge’ brings back a concept we are losing touch with: to live in, and enjoy, the present. This is a balancing-act that Scandinavians are particularly good at: they value their ‘hygge’. Hygge allows us to take time out and create a setting that encourages either quiet reflection or shared conversation. Both are good for the soul. Could ‘hygge’ be part of the reason why Scandinavian countries keep topping the UN’s world-wide ‘Happiness Report’?
Hygge happens in all our very defined Nordic seasons, but is even more special in the cold, dark winter-months of November through to February. Hygge creates the perfect balance with the sometimes harsh environment outside, and the comfortable feeling of being snug and cosy inside after a day spent in the snow.
In my mind (and experience!), hygge often goes hand in hand with a nice bite to eat. Nordic cuisine is simple, tasty and honours local produce and seasonal availability. Make sure you try waffles with sour cream and fresh strawberries, a variety open top sandwiches or smoked and pickled fish as part of your Scandinavian experience- I have no doubt you’ll find it both enjoyable and ‘hyggelig’!
We can’t talk about hygge without mentioning Christmas- the possibly most ‘hyggelig’ (cosiest) time of year in Scandinavia! This is where the epitome of hygge really shines: Christmas is about family, catching up with friends, celebrating the end of another year, food, festivities, candles, open fires and spending time in the countryside (it's common to own a family cabin in the forest or the mountains).
A guide to berries of Scandinavia
Take a Hike: The Berries of Scandinavia by Ivy Thompson
Scandinavian summers are magic. With their long, bright days and midnight sun you have the amazing opportunity to experience Nordic nature at it’s best. What would it taste like if you could bottle some of that magic?
To me, the taste of Scandinavian summer is found in the abundant wild, seasonal berries. They ripen throughout early summer till late autumn and are an important part of Nordic cuisine. Best eaten fresh straight off the bush- but also lovely as jams, jellies, cordial, juice, pies and cakes- or my favourite: sprinkled on top of freshly made waffles.
One of the greatest joys of hiking in Nordic forest and bush-land during the summer-months is without doubt the berry-picking. Like most Scandinavians I’ve enjoyed it since I could barely walk. It's a wonderful way of fuelling long hikes whether you’re going at it hard and fast, or slow and leisurely. Here’s everything you need to know about the delicious berries of Scandinavia:
Season: early June till July
Wild strawberries are tiny but incredibly sweet and flavourful. You’ll be lucky if they last till the end of your hike - these are like nature’s own lollies! In Norway we serve them crushed/ stirred as a sugar-free alternative to traditional jam. It’s amazing topped on anything from buttered toast to pancakes and waffles. Another summer dessert-favourite is simply wild strawberries topped with a dash of cream.
Season: Mid-July till August
Unlike the oversized store-bought, pale-fleshed blueberries we get at the supermarket; Scandinavian blueberries are small and deep purple all the way through. Their low-growing bushes cover entire forest floors during summer. Eager locals get in early to fill their buckets with fresh berries, ready to freeze them for later in the year. Wild Nordic blueberries are tart but more flavourful; they taste absolutely amazing topped with cream and a sprinkle of sugar. They’re also beautiful in a pie or a berry-crumble. Wild blueberries pack a serious antioxidant-punch too; eat till your heart's content.
Season: Mid-July till August
It’s not unusual for us to find wild raspberry-bushes next to a bus-stop or on the side of a quiet residential street. It’s always a pleasant surprise; wild raspberries are tasty although slightly less sweet and smaller than their farmed, store-bought relatives. My kids all love them and eat them up on the spot. These are commonly found growing on the edges of forests and fields.
Season: Late July till September
If you’ve been to IKEA you’re probably familiar with their meatballs and side of lingonberry-jam. Lingonberries are quite sour and the jam is made with large amounts of sugar to make it more palatable. In Scandinavia you’ll find the homemade jam-varieties are less sweet. Lingonberry-jam offers an amazing balance to rich red-meat dishes such as meatballs, venison-roasts and meatloaf. Don’t knock it till you try!
Season: Late July till September
Gooseberries tastes similar to kiwi-fruit and look like a small, somewhat hairy grape. They commonly grow in Scandinavian gardens as the bush does well in cooler climates. They might not grow abundantly in the wild but if you see them at a local grocer or on a cafe-menu, give them a go. Gooseberries have a grape-y, floral-like flavour, and taste best when ripe.
Black/ Red currants
Season: Late July till September
Black- and red currants can be quite sour but really makes a dessert, pie, cake or jelly “pop” with their refreshing fruitiness and flavour. Commonly used as a base in both home-made and store-bought cordial-mixes In Scandinavia, currants remind me of the picnics, warm toddies and long summer-nights of childhood. They commonly grow in gardens but you can also find them in the wild in and around residential areas.
Season: August till September
Cloudberries look like small orange raspberries, and are often called “Mountain Gold” due to their golden skin and expensive price-tag. They grow in mountainous areas spanning from from mid-Norway/ Sweden/ Finland all the way up north towards the Arctic. They are notoriously fussy and a good cloudberry season depends on many, many factors. A typical Norwegian Christmas-dessert is cloudberry whipped cream piped into “krumkaker”; a light, crisp waffle shaped into a cone. Cloudberries are considered a Norwegian delicacy, and if you are lucky enough to come across them during a hike or trek, make sure you try them for yourself.