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Making the most of 2.5 days -- car or public transport?

In cooperation with: Visit Norway
Saratoga Springs...
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Making the most of 2.5 days -- car or public transport?

We are trying to figure out how to make the best use of our time with just 2 1/2 days to explore the Sognefjord region. We had planned to take the train from Oslo and then use ferries and buses and such to get around, but the various sites we'd like to see (Borgund Stave Church, Stegastein outlook, staying at a place a little more off the beaten track, etc.) are making us think renting a car in Oslo and driving out ourselves might be the way to go.

What do you think? Is a driving from Oslo a good option? Is it worth it, or are public transport options just as good?

Here is the itinerary we are planning if we do drive:

July 5th -- drive from Oslo, check into accommodations (if we drive, we'd like to try a stay at Skahjem Gard outside Aurland -- any feedback on that would be very helpful), spend afternoon/evening on local walks and exploring, possibly fishing (my husband is very excited about fishing in the fjord)

July 6th -- fish early in the morning, then take Naeroyfjord cruise and bus back to Flam.

Afternoon -- drive to Laerdal via the Snow Road, stopping at Stegastein, then visiting Borgund Stave Church, drive back to Aurland via the tunnel

July 7th -- Take Flamsbana to Myrdal and bike back down *OR* take a kayaking excursion.

July 8th -- Depart for Oslo early in the morning

So we only really need a car for that one day, but I inquired about renting a car in Aurland and found out it would be nearly as much as renting a car that one day there as it would to rent it in Oslo and keep it for our whole trip in Norway.

If we don't have a car, we plan to stay at Vangsgarden and use public transportation for various excursions.

Are there things I'm leaving out of these equations? Any must-see Sognefjord sights that shouldn't miss? (Especially those made accessible by having a car, since if we do have one we'll have some extra time that last day.)

Thanks in advance for your help!

Tomi Ann

Oslo, Norway
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1. Re: Making the most of 2.5 days -- car or public transport?

Driving is a good idea. Recommended routes are 7/50 and E16. You may visit Borgund Stave Church as a stop on your drive on E16.

A visit to Undredal is recommended: naroyfjorden.no/verdsarvbygdene/undredal…

Oslo
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2. Re: Making the most of 2.5 days -- car or public transport?

I think your plan looks good. There are not much fish in the fjords themselves - they are too cold, deep and sweet. But there is salmon and sea trout fishing in the rivers in Flåm and Aurland. Flåm is expensive, but try Google translate to read this article about the Aurland river:

www.fiskeguiden.no/fiskeGuiden/index.php…

Oslo
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3. Re: Making the most of 2.5 days -- car or public transport?

Flåmsbana is nice and special, but if you have a car perhaps use time differently. Consider a trip by boat, for instance the slow sightseeing boat Flåm-Gudvangen, the fjord itself is probably the greatest sight.

If you have a car also consider a small detour to Gudvangen and Stalheim.

westcoastpeaks.com/pics05/gilja_19stalheimH.…

…wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/5/54/From_t…

Driving from Oslo is OK, not too far, but note that there are no motorways. But there is no need for a car inside the city of Oslo (including the airport).

Oslo
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4. Re: Making the most of 2.5 days -- car or public transport?

It is nice to bicycle from Myrdal to Flåm. Apart from the first kilometre (steep downhill), roads are good and the last part is flat.

But the best part of the Rallarvegen bicycle route is further up, from Hallingskeid to Flåm via Myrdal. The trip from Hallingskeid to Flåm is easily done in a day. As there does not seem to be an early train from Flåm to Hallingskeid (change with corresponding Oslo train at Myrdal) one idea would be to take the train to Hallingskeid Friday night and stay until Saturday at the Terkking Association cottage:

http://ut.no/hytte/hallingskeid

Then do the bicycle trip on Saturday.

Bicycles are normally rented at either Haugastøl or Finse. You don't return them, as the rental companies pick them up in Flåm and do this themselves. Thus, it should be perfectly possible to do phone/e-mail them and ask if you could pick up the bikes in Flåm and return them to Flåm afterwords. They might also be able to deliver in Hallingskeid. It costs nothing to ask :)

rallarvegen.com/index.php…

visitrallarvegen.no/en/…93-sykkelutleie.html

I warmly recommend the trip - I've done it twice. (As Hallingskeid is on 1.090 metres, it's no option to bicycle in the opposite direction.)

Saratoga Springs...
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5. Re: Making the most of 2.5 days -- car or public transport?

Thank you all so much for your input - we'll definitely rent a car. We're also going to do a kayak excursion with Nordic Venture so that we can see the Næroyfjord up close and see Stalheim as well. We're so excited!

Oslo
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6. Re: Making the most of 2.5 days -- car or public transport?

Sounds like a good schedule. It takes about 5 hours from Oslo to Aurland. In my opinion road 50 Hol (in Hallingdal) - Geiteryggen - Aurland has the best scenery (a little bit nicer than road 52 or E16). The last 90 km has nice scenery - between the tunnels. But the road is pretty narrow.

Oslo
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7. Re: Making the most of 2.5 days -- car or public transport?

If you go kayaking on the fjord perhaps skip the sightseeing boat.

Road 50 is rather special when you approach Aurland and descend rapidly from the barren highland to the fjord below:

vossnow.net/Database/…5Cfoto12937.jpg

vossnow.net/Database/…5Cfoto58587.jpg

vossnow.net/Database/…5Cfoto12562.jpg

…panoramio.com/photos/original/11695774.jpg

If you drive both ways consider returning via E16 (long tunnel or detour via the "snow road" Aurland-Lærdal)

imageshack.us/photo/…

…panoramio.com/photos/original/8744695.jpg

…wikimedia.org/wikipedia/…Stegastein2.jpg

Oslo
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8. Re: Making the most of 2.5 days -- car or public transport?

This trip report is perhaps relevant

www.alpineroads.com/phpBB3/viewtopic.php…

Saratoga Springs...
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9. Re: Making the most of 2.5 days -- car or public transport?

Thanks so much for the input and photos, OsloViking. It's a great idea to take one route in and another on the way back - we'll plan on it!

10. Re: Making the most of 2.5 days -- car or public transport?

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