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Thinking of visiting Norway

San Francisco...
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Thinking of visiting Norway

I have been lurking here for a bit now, and looking at maps and doing some reading.

We are thinking of coming to Norway for three weeks late next summer. Of course we want to see everything, but know that isn't possible. So we are considering flying from Los Angeles to Stavanger, and after a night or two, renting a car and heading for Pulpit Rock--Preikestolen. We know we will probably have to spend a day near here. And then we intend to start driving north toward Bergen and some of the fjords.

We'd love to drive several of the National Tourist Roads and just keep heading north toward the

Lofoten Islands. We know this is a looong drive but that's okay, It's not just the destination, but also the journey. We'd like to end on Tromso for a few nights, and then fly back to Oslo from there. Yes we realize the will be a hefty one-way car drop-off, but it's really the only way that makes sense to us.

We would have maybe 10-12 nights for the first part of the trip--the fjords, and then say 3 nights for the journey north to the Lofotens and on to Tromso, with 5-7 nights in this northern part.

We are interested in the fabulous scenery of Norway, maybe some short hikes/walks, and if we saw a northern light, that would be the frosting on the cake, but we know it is not the optimum time for that. We would be traveling the last week of August and the first two weeks of September.

This is just our wish list. As I say, we are only at the beginning of the planning.

Any thoughts, suggestions, advice....?

San Francisco...
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1. Re: Thinking of visiting Norway

I should add, we are in our mid-60s and seasoned travelers (and should it be necessary, we grew up in Wisconsin with cold and snow, and my husband is an excellent driver in those conditions)

We're not much interested in shopping or big cities; this is really a nature trip for us.

Thanks!

Harstad, Norway
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2. Re: Thinking of visiting Norway

Your plan is doable, just do not underestimate the distances or driving times. And allow time for ferry crossings and waits.

Oslo is the only place that comes near to something you could call a big city. Stavanger and Bergen are compact and charming with clusters of wooden houses in the old parts of town. Bergen has excellent and easily accessible hikes in the surrounding mountains.

In the unlikely event that there is snow on mountain passes in August/September you simply do not go that way on summer tires. The insurance will not like it one bit if something happens to you or your rental car.

Chances of seeing the northern lights before the equinox are really slim, it is still simply too bright up north.

You do not say anything about budget. Renting a car for 3 weeks will be expensive. With the one way drop off charges car rental alone will probably amount to more than 2000 dollars for a compact.

Oslo
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3. Re: Thinking of visiting Norway

You mention some well known highlights in Norway, but these are in opposite corners of the country and that will stretch your trip. Perhaps a better strategy would be to have pleasent trip rather than to try to cover everything. Perhaps visit western fjords by car, then dropp off at the same airport and fly north where you can rent a car again. All driving will leaves less time to explore and do nice hikes.

Charmouth, United...
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4. Re: Thinking of visiting Norway

One way charges are lowest between the main cities, so maybe take Olso Viking's suggestion but start in Stavanger and drop the car in Trondheim, then maybe take the train to Bodo, or fly to Evenes or Tromso and rent a car again there. You will save yourself a day or two of not very interesting driving as well.

San Francisco...
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5. Re: Thinking of visiting Norway

Thank you for all of you suggestions. We will take them under advisement.

A "pleasant trip" to us IS a driving trip. As you know, the US is vast and we are used to driving long distances. We enjoy it, we find it much more leisurely than train schedules and airports. If we want to stop, we stop, if we don't, we keep going. Flying between Bergen and Tromso would mean missing some of the National Tourist Roads we are interested in driving.

However, we realize we can't do it all (and to me, what I outlined does not come close to doing it all) and that compromises will have to be made. I would really hate ot miss the Lofotens.

And yes, the ferries are the unknown entity for us, which will require careful planning.

We will start looking at possible ways we could move more seamlessly between areas and still get the trip we want, such as those suggested here. Thanks!

Harstad, Norway
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6. Re: Thinking of visiting Norway

I cannot really see what national tourist routes you will miss out on unless you plan to do Kystriksveien. In this latter case I think you need to plan more than three days getting to Lofoten. But it will be a lot more interesting than the main E6. The solution could be 50/50 north and south.

Getting from Lofoten via Andøya and Senja and the national tourist routes will also take a fair bit of your time allocated up north. On secon thought, I do not think the ferry from Senja to Tromsø run in September.

I think driving in Norway and in the US will be very different. Driving on narrow and winding, steep and sometimes single lane country roads can be quite exhausting. And it takes time.

Oslo
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7. Re: Thinking of visiting Norway

To give you an idea about driving scenic roads

https:/…A5rddalen.JPG

https:/…Aurlandsveien.jpg

https:/…Norway_Dalsnibba.jpg

https:/…85_Lofoten.jpg

https:/…Reine-3.jpg

San Francisco...
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8. Re: Thinking of visiting Norway

Thanks to both of you, of course you're right about the differences in the roads and driving. I was just trying to point out that we do love to drive, etc.

Anyway, I'm wondering if it might be better to start north, weather-wise, in the Lofotens and then fly south to Bergen and begin to explore some of the fjords, and end in Stavanger?

We will have 21 nights on the ground.

OsloViking, those photos make us so excited! How could we NOT want to visit the Lofotens?

Thanks again! As you can see, we are just tossing around possible road trips at the moment, trying to find what works best. I don't want to give the impression we want to spend eight hours every day in the car, or spend a fortune on the car aspect of the trip.

Harstad, Norway
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9. Re: Thinking of visiting Norway

And I forgot to mention accomodation. You will not find motels around every bend in the road, so stopping when you want is not always that easy unless you bring a tent and do wild camping or rent a mobile home. A minimum of planning is recommended.

Weather is highly unpredictable both in the north and in the south and where you start would not make much difference. Early September is autumn up north though.

Edited: 28 October 2013, 17:01
San Francisco...
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10. Re: Thinking of visiting Norway

Haha, no wild camping for us. (we do still camp, in a tent, on the ground, but not on vacation!)

I meant stopping to take a walk or hike or just linger to take in the beauty. We will not be tied to bus or train schedules or locations.

Yes, many like the "unknown" way of traveling. That's not us. I'm at that age where I like to know i will have a bed at the end of the day!

Edited: 28 October 2013, 17:17