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Norway in May

Penang Island...
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Norway in May

My husband and I, both seniors, plan to visit Norway next year. This will be our first visit to Norway. Tentative plan is to be there from mid May. Is this a good time to visit? Will tourist sites will be open by then?

We plan to be there around 12 nights, flying into Bergen and staying there for maybe 4 nights. Do we need a car in Bergen?

We're thinking of renting a car one day to drive from Bergen to Pulpit Rock. Does this sound feasible?

From Bergen, we're thinking of driving up the west to Sognefjord and Hardanger Fjord. We're not sure how many nights we should stay at these places. We're thinking of 4 nights. Would it be wiser to just stay in one of the fjord towns and then drive around from there? Should we follow a tour or move around on our own?

We're thinking of returning the rental car in either Sonefjord or Hardanger and taking a flight to Oslo to see the capital and maybe spend another 3 nights there.

Does our plan make sense? Suggestions on how to fine tune our schedule would be most appreciated.

Thanks a million!

Oslo
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1. Re: Norway in May

You can not reach Pulpit rock as a day trip from Bergen.

If you rent a car in Bergen, easiest and cheaptes to drop off in Bergen. There are no airports at Hardangerfjord, although a small airport on the north shore of Sognefjord.

There is absolutely no need for a car inside Bergen. 4 nights in Bergen is enough for most visitors, but perhaps OK if you do some day trips by car from the city.

Charmouth, United...
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2. Re: Norway in May

4 nights each in Bergen, Hardangerfjord area and Sognefjord area will give you plenty of time to explore these places and have a relaxing holiday by not trying to do too much. The areas are not too far apart, so you can just drive back to Bergen and drop the car at the airport. Having a car while in Bergen is not necessary, but in my opinion 4 nights would be more than enough - depends on your interests though.

If you want to include Stavanger, consider flying there at the start to see the city and do the Pulpit Rock hike (or sightseeing cruise), then take the coastal bus up to Bergen. 2 nights there and 2 nights in Bergen would work for me.

The second half of May is the start of the summer season so almost everything will be open in the fjord area, and this is the best time of all to visit the Hardangerfjord where all the fruit trees will be in blossom.

Edited: 20 November 2013, 10:58
Penang Island...
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3. Re: Norway in May

Thanks for the prompt tips.

I guess we'll have to skip Oslo. So that leaves us with Bergen, Hardangerfjord and Sognerfjord.

So, we start off with 4 nights in Bergen. Then, we rent a car and drive the scenic route of Hardangerfjord. Should we book accomodation in one place while in the area and make that our base? Our budget would be around USD200 per night. Any suggestions?

After 4 or 5 days in the area, we drive north to Sognerfjiord. Again, do we stay in one place for 3-4 days or should we pack and move to another hotel or cabin every day? We would prefer to have a base to return to at night, but then, we have no idea whether this is practical.

We will need much more help with our travel plans as we know little of Norway. However, we've heard of the fjords and the spectacular scenery and we look forward to that. We did the Canadian Rockies 2 years back and loved it. But that was a simple drive along one route. Norway is so much more complicated!

Would really appreciate all the help we can get. Thanks a million!

Oslo
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4. Re: Norway in May

If you have a car perhaps find a base and return every night, that way you can explore the area at comfortable pace. Cabins are often rented by the week at a good rate, so one option is to rent for 6-7 days aiming to cover both Sognefjord and Hardangerfjord (only 2 hours drive between).

Penang Island...
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5. Re: Norway in May

Thanks! That makes very good sense. We could stay in Bergen for 4 nights, then find a base between Hardangerfjord and Sognejfjord where we stay for a week to explore the area. Then back to Bergen for a night before we take a flight to Copenhagen and connect back to Malaysia.

I realise that we'll be going to a huge area with lots to see, so we should be based quite centrally between Hardangerfjord and Sognejfjord. Because it's a fjord area, there are no straight roads leading from one spot to another. Whereabouts should we be stationed so that so that we can conveniently enjoy the two areas? There are many cabins and family hotels in the huge area and we don't want to end up staying in a place too far away from the main attractions.

BTW, regarding car rental, should we book the car in advance from companies like Avis and Hertz or can we get a better deal when we get to Bergen?

Thanks again.

Stavanger, Norway
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6. Re: Norway in May

Book rental car in advance, I only use the known companies like Avis and Hertz and find the best rates online. However, I know others use 3rd party search engines and companies and sometimes it turns out cheaper and sometimes we hear horror stories about 3rd party added fees.

Edited: 21 November 2013, 09:23
Oslo
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7. Re: Norway in May

Book a car through a companies .no site, not .com or .sg to ensure you get the right conditions and price for Norway. Make sure you know what the excess is on the insurance (often around NOK 10 000) and how much you have to pay to reduce this if wanted. Remember that the hire company will put a hold on your credit card for the amount of the excess - make sure you have sufficient credit limit for this and your spending.

There are many ways to get a discount. Try airline, credit card, car association, join hire company advantage club etc. Look out for special deals like booking well in advance and paying in advance. Use the airport web site to find which companies operate from there.

Charmouth, United...
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8. Re: Norway in May

Use the car rental link at www.norwegian.com - it's sooo much easier . Very easy to compare rates with all the big companies, terms, conditions and any extra charges are clearly spelled out - you just have to read the details carefully. 'Horror stories' are rare and often due to customers not doing this or signing for extras without making sure they understood what it was for.

Take out insurance in your own country to cover the insurance excess. An annual policy will often be cheaper than the rental company's extra cost for this for just one rental.

Rent A Wreck is also worth a try direct if you are on a tight budget.

Penang Island...
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9. Re: Norway in May

Thanks! Will book car online. Can pick it up in Bergen town centre instead of airport?

I've been looking for a suitable location to serve as a base while we explore Sognajfjord and Hardangerfjord. It's pretty confusing on the map, so would appreciate some suggestions. Would Flam be too far out? Or would Balestrand be more central? I found a place in Kaupanger which seems pretty nice, but I'm not sure if I can make day trips to Hardangerfjord from there. Hope to get some advise here. Thanks again!

Harstad, Norway
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10. Re: Norway in May

Some of the car rental companies have their downtown pickup slightly outside the town center - you need to take the tram, then walk about 500 m.

Perhaps consider staying in the Hardangerfjord area first and include the scenic route 7 in your approach. Personally I have a weak spot for Rosendal, but Eidfjord, Ulvik and many other locations would be a good base. Accomodation is scattered around, so it depends what kind of accomodation you are looking for.

www.hardangerfjord.com/en/WHERE-TO-STAY/

In the Sognefjord area I would try and avoid Flåm as it is a very busy cruise port and crowded in season. Consider nearby Aurland or cross the fjord and look at the possibilities at the north side of the fjord. Balestrand is central for visiting stave churches and glaciers and general exploring and has accomodation in different price ranges.

http://www.sognefjord.no/en/WHERE-TO-STAY/