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- Leisurely self-drive
13 days - Coastal Voyage, Norwegian fjords and Helgeland Coast
Our new range, Norwegian Coast, comes from the heart. With pride, we offer independent itineraries exploring secret coastal gems. On this tour, you will encounter some of the best fjord landscapes in Norway, stay at classic wooden hotels where hosting traditions have been kept alive for centuries. This self-guided itinerary has you travel by hire car, Hurtigruten coastal ferry and transfers, making your way around the coast and across fjords.
Highlights along the route include: famous landmarks, such as Torghatten, De Syv Søstre (The Seven Sisters mountain range), Svartisen glacier and Saltstraumen (world’s strongest whirlpools). Easy journey with emphasis on Norwegian coastal exploration and fabulous fjord scenery. Norway is breathtakingly beautiful and this is the perfect trip to enjoy it.
- Famous landmarks, such as Torghatten, De Syv Søstre (The Seven Sisters mountain range), Svartisen glacier and Saltstraumen (world’s strongest whirlpools)
- Travel along Norwegian coast with Kystruten Coastal Voyage
- Enjoy the diverse landscape - small fishing villages to the windswept islets and reefs in Hortavær and Sklinna and the most incredible rock formations, forests and mountains
- UNESCO World Heritage listed island Vega
- Day 1
- Arrive Bergen
- Day 2
- A free morning in Bergen and then board your Norwegian Coastal ship
- Day 3
- Ålesund and Geirangerfjord
- Day 4
- Arrive in Trondheim
- Day 5
- Pick up your car and start your Norwegian Coastal exploration in detail
- Days 6 - 7
- Vega - World Heritage Island
- Day 8
- Visit Lovund - one of the most spectacular Helgeland islands
- Day 9
- Tonnes - Hire fishing boats and outdoor saunas along the coast
- Days 10 - 11
- Be charmed by the Norwegian Coastal outpost, Støtt - a step back into the past
- Day 12
- Head to Bodø
- Day 13
- Departure day
- Start Place
- Bergen, Norway tours
- End Place
- Bodø, Norway tours
- Country Visited
- Norway tours
- 13 Days
- Easy independent holiday suitable for singles, couples & families
Coastal ferry and Car hire Category C including one way fee.
- All hotel accommodation in shared double/twin room with private facilities, single supplement available
- Daily breakfast
- Car hire, 8 days - Category C including one way fee.
- Geirangerfjord with Trollstigen excursion (June to August only)
- 2 nights twin outside cabin with private facilities aboard Norwegian Coastal ship
- 24-hour emergency service
- Taxes and service fees
Flight tickets, GPS, any airport taxes, travel insurance, visas, gratitudes and any items of personal nature. Ferries and tolls aren't included.
Please ask us about including an evening meal with your local Norwegian coastal accommodation. Self catering available in most of your stays along the way.
Optional activities can be added to your itinerary as well as a longer stay in Norway, visiting the Lofoten region.
Day 1 - Arrive Bergen
Arrive and transfer to your hotel.
Bergen offers many attractions and sights - many within walking distance. Recommended sights of interests are the Hanseatic harbour Bryggen, Fløibanen Funicular, Troldhaugen, the Fish and Flower market, Bergen Aquarium and Gamle Bergen (Old Bergen Open Air Museum).
Day 2 - A free morning in Bergen and then board your Norwegian Coastal ship
The morning is free in Bergen - be sure to enjoy the indoor & outdoor fish markets with their platters, sushi & paella options. Ride on the funicular to Mt. Fløien for the best views of the city and fjords way below. Keep an eye out for your coastal voyage vessel that arrives into Bergen during the afternoon.
In the mid afternoon you will transfer to the cruise terminal for check-in. Settle into your cabin & then meet your escort for your first meal on-board the ship.
Please note, you carry your own luggage onboard from the pier to check in/cabin.
An information meeting is usually held on the evening of departure from Bergen and included details of safety onboard. There is an information folder in each cabin and safety procedures are illustrated on the back of your cabin door and in public areas. The cruise tour leader on board will assist with general information and optional excursions available.
Day 3 - Ålesund and Geirangerfjord
Ports visited today: Florø, Måløy, Torvik, Ålesund, Molde.
Your ship navigates the skerries and islands further north before reaching Ålesund. Marvel at the inspiring architecture in the Apotekergate and Kongensgate pedestrian precinct, perfect examples of the Art Nouveau style. Don’t miss out on the view from Mount Aksla but beware, there are 418 steps to the top! In the summer months, the next destination will be the spectacular UNE SCO-listed Geirangerfjord. En route to the end of this beautiful fjord you pass sheer, 800m cliffs and impressive waterfalls.
In Autumn, you will explore the Hjørundfjord, amidst the majestic Sunnmøre Alps. Its seclusion and unspoiled natural landscape are what give this fjord its special character.
Included is the Geiranger with Trollstigen Pass (June - August).
Optional Add Ons
Day 4 - Arrive in Trondheim
Arrive into Trondheim after breakfast and transfer to your hotel. Discover the sights of this medieval city, including Norway's only catherdral Nidarosdomen and Bakklandet, an idyllic neighbourhood full of charm, history and culture.
Your hotel, the Grand Olav is centrally located in the city centre of Trondheim, walking distance from OlavsHallen concert hall and a ten minute walk from the Hurtigruten terminal.
Day 5 - Pick up your car and start your Norwegian Coastal exploration in detail
Pick up your hire car and get familiar with the Norwegian roads. Your drive this morning includes optional local ferries, a great way to experience the real Norway (total drive approximately 5 hours depending on the travel).
Your destination tonight is Leka and a waterfront pier hotel. You will be driving through very diverse landscape, from the wonderful fishing villages to the windswept islets and reefs in Hortavær and Sklinna and the most incredible rock formations, forests and mountains.
People have lived here for more than 10,000 years and Sagaøya can offer, among other things, cave paintings in Solsemhula, Norway’s second largest ship burial mound from the Viking era Herlaugshaugen, and Skeisnesset cultural heritage trail.
Optional activities can be arranged:
- Sea fishing at Leka is marvellous, with many different species and opportunities for big fish. You can rent out modern and stable boats for sea fishing.
- If you would like to see Leka from the seaward side, you can arrange for sea kayak guided tours with an instructor. This must be booked and agreed upon in advance.
- A Sea Eagle guided tour - experience the majestic Eagle snapping up fish just a few metres from the boat.
AccommodationHistoric farm accommodation near Leka
Days 6 - 7 - Vega - World Heritage Island
After breakfast, drive along the coast to Vega (approx. 4 hours), the World Heritage listed island. In 2004, the archipelago's cultural landscape was inscribed on the UNESCO List of World Natural and Cultural Heritage as representative of "the way generations of fishermen/farmers have, over the past 1,500 years, maintained a sustainable living in an inhospitable seascape near the Arctic Circle, based on the now unique practice of eider down harvesting."
Consider a climb up the Torghatten Mountain, which you get to by driving to Brønnøysund and across the Brønnøysund Bridge and over to the island. The walk up to the famous hole takes about 30 minutes each way along a nice path.
Settle into your small family run hotel located on the north-west coast of Vega, at Viksaas between forests, mountains and seas. Dinner is a highlight tonight - consider local produce such as World Heritage lambs for lamb ribs, cured meat, lambroles and fillets comes from Solveig and John Kåre Aasved at Nes. Wildmeat such as deer, elk, goose and duck from local hunters who supply the restaurant.
Accommodation2 nights in Vega - Standard room
Day 8 - Visit Lovund - one of the most spectacular Helgeland islands
Explore Lovund, one of the most spectacular islands of the Helgeland coast. The island is located west of the Solvær islands and southeast of Træna. Lovund is notable for the large puffin breeding colony located on the rocky north slope of the island.
Kayaking, fishing, bird tours or just sitting on the balcony eating prawns are options this afternoon.
AccommodationBig fisherman's cottage over the water. Self-catering possible.
Day 9 - Tonnes - Hire fishing boats and outdoor saunas along the coast
This morning, follow the coast to Tonnes (approx. 4 hours).
If you enjoy boat trips and fishing, we suggest hiring a boat for the day on arrival at Tonnes(NOK 950 per day). You can also enjoy a sauna available for rent near the shoreline, by the cabins. The sauna is in a separate cabin, with shower and wardrobe. The sauna costs 300 NOK to rent.
Settle into your traditional fisherman's cabin over the water and either dine in or visit the restaurant offering coastal food and other delicacies.
TransportationBreakfast only available during the peak summer season. Self catering available outside this period.
AccommodationStandard Fisherman's Cabin (Rorbu)
Days 10 - 11 - Be charmed by the Norwegian Coastal outpost, Støtt - a step back into the past
Move today further north to be beautiful coastal village of Støtt (approx. 4 hours). The tiny island community of Støtt, with 35 inhabitants, offers gourmet food in historic surroundings, and accommodation in old beds under down duvets. Støtt has always been a port of refuge for fishermen, but now the old trading post has become a refuge for stressed city folk searching for peace and quiet (perfect for your last night).
If you can pull yourself away from the balcony restaurant, a walk around the island is a must. During the Second World War, little Støtt was overrun by 200 German soldiers and Russian prisoners of war who built gun emplacements facing out to sea from the ridges. From here, the guns controlled the shipping lanes north towards Narvik. Most were dismantled after the war, as the people of Støtt preferred not to be reminded of that terrible time, but you can still see some walls and crumbling concrete. The most fantastic thing out here is the view – straight out to sea are the contours of Værøy, Røst and Lofotodden. To the south are Helgeland's fairytale mountains of Rødøyløva, Hestmona and Træna, and to the north are the peaks of Fugløya in Salten.
Settle into your accommodation this evening and enjoy the evening!
AccommodationStøtt - Standard room including breakfast
Day 12 - Head to Bodø
A short drive today gets you to Bodø, the traditional gateway to the Lofoten Islands. Bodø, the northernmost point of the staggeringly beautiful Kystriksveien Coastal Route is the gateway to Norway's true north.
Along the way, you can stop to see the Saltstraumen Maelstrom. Saltstraumen is one of the strongest tidal currents in the world and it is possible to walk close to the whirlpools as the strait is very narrow in this section. It is a ten minute drive to your finishing hotel in Bodø.
AccommodationClarion Collection Grand Hotel Bodø
Day 13 - Departure day
After breakfast, transfer to the airport or continue on further north.
Price per person. Voyage prices may fluctuate daily. For last minute bookings: prices are subject to availability. Early indicative price for 2021.
31 Aug 2021
Glacier walks, cave exploration and Svartisen glacier tours can be arranged on request.
Driving in Norway during the peak season (July - early August):
Europeans love driving in Norway and during the summer months, the more popular tourist roads becomes crowded with European vans. This can slow the roads down, as it can be difficult to pass these vans. Norwegian country roads are often quite narrow. Having said this, these roads are incredibly scenic and have lots of picnic & photo spots.
If you are going to be using ferries during your drive, depending on the size of the ferry, this might involve a wait to get on. The ferries are reliable and regular but you may need to arrive early to secure a spot in the line. On some of the ferries, consider catching a ferry outside of the peak times. Your accommodation hosts will have the most up to date local information on hand so ask them for suggestions for your following days travel.
However, please note that the route of this self-drive takes lesser-known roads. This route does have a quite a few ferry journeys (10 mins to 60 mins long) and we will provide you recommended ferry times to catch. We have a prepared driving timetable and recommended route for you to ensure your holiday goes seamlessly. This route is off the beaten track and designed especially by our Norwegian product team.
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.
Practical Information for travelling and packing for Scandinavian Winter
- Warm wind and water proof jacket and trousers large enough to fit thick woollen jumper/clothing underneath
- Rain trousers – waterproof and breathable material
- Warm windproof cap/hat
- Warm gloves or mittens. Mittens where all fingers except the thumb are together are often warmer than gloves.
- Windproof gloves or mittens, which you can pull over the warm gloves
- Warm scarf
- 2 pairs of long woollen underwear (Merino wool in a few different thicknesses is perfect)
- 1-2 warm woollen jumper(s), or one jumper and a warm fleece
- Woollen or fleece trousers
- 2-3 pairs of warm woollen socks
- Warm & sturdy footwear with good grip
- Clothes for indoors, i.e. a shirt, T-shirts and jeans or cotton trousers
- Back pack for day trips (approx. 30 litre)
- Light footwear/trainers (mainly for indoors)
- Sun screen & Lip salve (the sun reflects off the snow and the air is dry)
- Hand warmers
- Nordic Grip anti-slip soles for walking on ice
- Personal medication
- Water bottle - thermo, or include a cover to keep warm (or you can stick it into a warm sock)
- Travel documents (including insurance)
- Photo ID
- Note book and pencil
- Camera, memory cards and charger
- Chargers for other gadgets
- Extra batteries for your cameras as they are used fast in cold conditions.
Self-catering in Norway
Written by Jayde Kincaid, who married a Norwegian, and was happily (albeit with some hesitation) introduced to a world of Norwegian every day food habits.
At 50 Degrees North, we want to encourage our travellers to try local Norwegian food & drink. This may seem difficult in Scandinavia in general without a large budget, and in particular Norway. Some of the more remote villages you might visit have limited restaurants or cafes, some of which can be pretty expensive. There is certainly no street food! One way to get about sampling local food is by self-catering. You will find plenty of friendly locals in the small town grocery stores and supermarkets who will be happy to help you picking out local ingredients. Just don’t be shy – ask! And, don’t rush – make your local small town shopping part of your holiday experience. Read the local notice boards, and enjoy an ice cream out the front when you have finished. It is what the locals do!
Note: Statoil cups - a good idea to save money as you drive around Norway: purcahse a Statoil (petrol station) metal cup and you get free refills of coffee, tea and hot chocolate at the Statoil stations.
Norway has an extensive range of grocery stores, and in most small villages you will find at least one, if not two or three grocery stores. However, they do have limited opening hours, and except for ‘Bunnpris’, they are all closed on Sundays. You will see the weekend hours shown in brackets on the store sign out front. If you are arriving in a larger town, we do suggest you stock up with some staples before you head out into the mountains or on a coastal drive.
A few tips:
• Plastic bags are NOK1-2 and you will always need to pack your own shopping.
• You can recycle your bottles and cans for a receipt that you can cash in. Recycling points are found in all stores.
• Alcohol sold in food stores (mainly beer and cider) is restricted by government regulation to certain hours. This varies slightly, but on weekdays alcohol sales stop at 8pm regardless and on Saturdays at 6pm. Outside these hours and on Sundays you can only buy alcohol in licensed restaurants or bars.
• Any alcohol over 4.7% can only be bought at special government controlled liquor store (Vinmonopolet). These are very rare in smaller remote towns and villages, so stock up before you leave the city.
Meatballs or “meatcakes’: these come in all shapes, sizes and quality. They are generally really tasty and a bit better than what you find at IKEA. Also pick up a packet of dried ready-made brown sauce that goes with them. Be on the look out for Lingonberry sauce/jam, or even fresh lingonberries that you can use to make a fresh sauce (little red circular berries). Don’t add too much sugar, they are served quite tart.
If you want to try to make this brown sauce yourself, buy some ‘brunost’ (brown cheese), the required creams and follow the recipe below.
Hotdogs: known as ‘pølse’ in Norwegian, hot dogs are abundant in Norway. Cheap and cheerful – pølse is THE fast food of Norway. They are sold at service stations, newsagents, corner stores and fast food outlets. Pølse come with a dazzling variety of toppings and bread. Some of the pølse highlights would be the bacon wrapped ones, sprinkled with dried onion, mustards and mayonnaise. You will also find them wrapped in waffles (mostly in and around Fredrikstad) or the Norwegian pancake, ‘lompe’.
Note: there are strict requirements by the Food Safety commission for traditional pølse to be of the highest quality and they have even set requirements for what types of ingredients are allowed.
Like Norwegian beer, you will find seasonal pølse – Christmas pølse (Julepølse) is obviously found only in the lead up to the celebrations.
If you are planning to eat Norwegian style, use boil pølse on the stove and add to meals with potatoes and stew.
Note; steer away from tinned cheap pølse and meatballs.
Fish cakes: these also come in lots of variation and are generally served with a white sauce and lots of parsley. The Norwegians also use a basic white sauce on broccoli with cheese on top. These fish cakes are often found in fish shops, fried or steamed, ready to eat. A great fast snack.
Reindeer: we strongly suggest you try reindeer meat when you are travelling in the far north. It generally comes frozen, so look for finely cut reindeer meat in the freezer section. It is a more expensive option, but absolutely delicious albeit quite gamey. Be sure to get mushrooms, a small amount of brown cheese and rømme (crème fraiche). Fry it all up in a pan - a bit like a beef stroganoff. Serve with boiled potatoes or rice.
Mushrooms: if you are travelling in the chanterelle harvest season (mid/late August), be sure to try them. They are the yellow mushroom found in autumn. Or better still, have a look around the pine forests and pick some. Be sure to image search them before you head out so you know what to pick. They are really delicious with the brown cheese sauce and reindeer.
Salmon, prawns & fish: always be on the look out for a chance to buy fresh fish. Yes, it is possible to smooth talk a fisherman at the harbour. Or look for the local fish-kiosk or fish-shop. Be on the look out for small signs pointing you in the direction of fresh fish sales – ‘reker’ (shrimps, not prawns) or ‘fersk fisk’ (fresh fish) are the words you need.
Norwegians are very proud of their shrimps – and of course completely justified. Their shrimps are small and tasty and harvested from the cool North Sea. Norwegians traditionally serve them with mayonnaise and lemon. Peel them and pop them on a fresh white slice of bread. Mayonnaise is layered on top with dill, pepper & salt.
Smoked Salmon: Norwegian smoked salmon is the best in the world hands down. Be sure to try all the different varieties you see – often, in larger supermarkets or delis, you can try before you buy.
Tubed ‘kaviar’ (caviar): this is a must try. It is cheap and perfect for the travellers pantry. This is what my husband craves like an Australian abroad would crave vegemite.
Norwegian pre-made dips and salads: the Norwegian supermarkets have a large range of premade salads and dips. They last quite a while and are good fillers for sandwiches. Our favourite are the cubed beetroot salad and the potato salads. They come in easy-to-carry and pack-up containers – perfect for picnics. Tubed mayonnaise is also handy for picnics.
‘Leverpostei’ (liver pate) in many variations can also be found in the supermarket. This pate is normally served on brown bread then topped with sliced red onions or sweet pickles. Protein rich and very tasty if you like pate – it is found on most Norwegian breakfast tables.
Yoghurt: now – this is an interesting one. Norwegian yoghurt comes in a variety of styles - some can be very runny, sour and low fat. There are varying names/codes for each sort. You might like to check with a local when you are buying yoghurt to be sure you are getting what you want. Some of the yoghurt comes as though it is milk, in normal milk cartons - sour runny yoghurt is NOT nice in your coffee.
Bread: the Norwegian supermarket bread generally comes un-cut. You can either cut it in the shop – ask for help the first time you do it. They have industrial bread cutting machines near the bakery section. The bread can be quite plain in the main supermarkets so be on the look out for boutique bakeries in the larger towns if you enjoy fancy bread. Also keep an eye out for the Norwegian flatbread, Lefse, which is similar to Mexican tortillas. Usually served with butter and sugar, sometimes cinnamon too. Occasionally made with potato.
Waffles: Norwegian waffle stalls are similar to the sausage sizzle or hot dog stand. It is the most common fundraising or community building food product. Don’t expect sickly sweet jams or whipped cream – you will find these fresh chewy waffles served with sour cream and home made tart berry jams. Never go past one!
Chocolate: we recommend that you try the ‘FREIA’ milk chocolate during your stay. It melts in your mouth.
Berries: if you travel in early autumn (mid/late August) this is berry season. Forest berries that is. Ask a local and head up into the hills or forest in search for berries. You may find; blueberries, lingonberries, rasberries and if you are up north or in the central mountains; the rare yellow cloudberries.
On a self-drive journey, always be on the look out for small farm shops or stands along the road. Things you cannot drive past:
Strawberries: if you are travelling in the strawberry season – you MUST try Norwegian strawberries. They are seriously amazing. Grown in the nutritious earth that has the chance to rejuvenate through a long winter.
_And if you go past a self-pick strawberry farm, put everything else on hold and enter! Norwegians wait all year for this event. _
New potatoes: be on the look out for new season potatoes – they are often sold in little stands beside the road. Often on an honesty basis; i.e. grab a bag and put the money in an allocated tin.
Basic Brown Cheese Recipe – can be used with meatballs, reindeer, with added mushrooms.
• 2 tablespoons butter
• 2 tablespoons flour
• 3⁄4 cup light cream
• 1⁄2 cup chicken broth (optional - just use water if you cannot find this)
• 1 cup shredded gjetost or brown goats cheese
• 3⁄4 cup rømme (crème fraiche)
• 2 tablespoons chopped parsley or 2 tablespoons fresh dill
Using the meat dish that has been browned off, remove as much oil from the pan as possible and blend in butter and flour. Remove from heat and blend in light cream. Add chicken broth, bring to boil, stirring and cooking until thickened. Mix in Gjetost cheese. Turn heat low.
Blend some of the sauce into the rømme (crème fraiche), then return all to sauce. Add chopped parsley or fresh dill.
Happy shopping and cooking!