Hey Guys! its been so long since I did a blog post, but having my cozy work space set up I can motivate myself and devote more of my time to what I love the most, Blogging about my life and my experiences with you all!
Ok! so, if you ever ask me what is the best’est travel experience of my life so far? Hands down my answer has got to be Norway in a Nutshell tour. It is exhilarating, liberating, unexpectedly magical and everything unimaginable. In short it was like being in a beautiful dream that you hope would never end!
So we started the tour in Oslo and had a total of five days in Norway and were solely interested in doing this most legendary and favourite tour of all thats open year round be it winter, summer, spring or fall, Norway in a Nutshell. To brief it up, you can start the tour in Oslo, Bergen, Voss or Flåm, as a day tour or with overnight stays at Flåm or Voss, depending on how you want to plan your itinerary. All the details are available at their website here https://www.norwaynutshell.com/original-tour/ . Attaching a quick route map below so that you have a clear idea of the tour.
Quick Tip: Skip booking on their website, it can costs around NOK 2400 per person depending on the season if you book on their website. However, It’s extremely easy to do bookings on your own while saving a few bucks. As advised by my friend, I did not make any prior bookings for NIN tour through their website but only browsed all the details necessary so that I had a clear picture of the tour. To be honest I was extremely worried about how to go about it as it was just me and my sister travelling alone for the very first time, and it was pretty tense.
After reaching Oslo and checking into our hotel we first headed to the central train station to purchase our train tickets to Flåm. Luckily there was a discounted price and we got the Minipris ticket for NOK 659 per person. Here, we got 2 separate tickets, 1. Oslo to Myrdal and 2. Myrdal to Flåm. However, due to some reason there wasn’t a direct train connection available between Oslo and Myrdal, instead there was an alternate bus connection to Nesbyen which lies in between Oslo and Myrdal. This was a bit confusing but the guy at the VY information center was really helpful and asked us to just be at the platform and there would be people to guide us. So all we had to do was go to the designated platform which generally in such case is the last most platform adjoining the road where the replacement bus awaits to transport you to Nesbyen.
We left for Norway in a Nutshell tour on 2nd May, as it was the perfect day to celebrate my sisters birthday, doing this most memorable journey together. We reached the train station 45 minutes earlier as I did not want to take any chances missing our bus. But once on board the tour, everything is simple and very systematic, theres no scope to get lost or miss a bus/train as there are a lot of connections between the cities (schedule can be found online) and its totally safe. After a 2 hour bus ride you arrive at Nesbyen train station to catch the onward train to Myrdal.
Nesbyen – Myrdal : On board the train and this was such a magical train ride, where we witnessed lush forested to barren terrains (as it was just the onset of spring i.e May), clear skies to massive snowy weather conditions. As the train traversed through the picturesque landscapes, stopping at little towns on the way it gave us enough time at each halt to get out and enjoy the whole experience.
Myrdal – Flåm : The Flåm Railway is one one the steepest route and you get to discover one of the worlds most beautiful train journeys. Over the course of the next hour the train runs through spectacular scenery, alongside the Rallar Road with reeling mountainsides and foaming waterfalls. Moreover, you get a 5 min stop at the Kjosfossen Waterfall.
Flåm is a really really tiny town with a population of around 300-400 people only. The unmissable highlight of Flåm is the Stegastein Viewpoint which provides panoramic views of Aurlandsfjord. Since we were spending a night at Flam, we definitely wanted to do this. So after checking into our Hostel and grabbing a quick lunch we took the 3 pm bus to the viewpoint. The tickets (priced at NOK 335 per person) can directly be bought from the ticket center at Flåm or the Visit Flåm website here. Its a 1.5 hour tour in total where you get approximately 30 minutes at the Viewpoint which is sufficient enough to get pictures and soak up all the spectacular views.
After getting back in town we just loitered around and explored Flåm a bit more, but it was so cold that even four layers of clothing weren’t enough!
Flåm – Gudvangan : And here comes the most anticipated part of the tour – the Fjord Cruise. Oh God I cant even begin to explain how ahhhh-mazing this cruise was! It was unbelievably breath taking. Btw, there are two different cruise vessels, a Classic Vessel and a Premium Vessel, the Premium is called future of the fjords as its a hybrid and fully electric. So there was no way I was going to miss out on this epic cruise. I did the cruise booking through the VisitFlam website just a day before we left for it and luckily got a Premium Cruise that fitted our budget ( NOK 405 per person ).
Our cruise was scheduled at 9 am. and now comes the best part, guess what? Ah! its snowing in Flåm and it was so damn beautiful, You get my excitement?! considering I’m from the Middle East and I have never seen snow falling even once and this was twice in a row especially when its supposed to be Spring time in Norway. We boarded the cruise, stowed away our luggage and caught hold of some of the best seats on the upper enclosed deck, everything about this cruise was absolutely phenomenal. The four levels of deck space are designed in such a way that you can stand and soak in the beautiful unobstructed views from any point for a thrilling experience.
The initial twenty minutes were bitterly cold, misty and made it really hard to stand outside, but as we approached Aurland it all began to clear up and the sun came out and this was next level of beauty with ice-capped mountain peaks soaring so high, small Norwegian fishing villages scattered all across and numerous waterfalls gushing from mountain heights into the Fjord. This epic two hour journey cruising through the idyllic Aurlandsfjord and the narrow and dramatic UNESCO-protected Naeroyfjord was immensely unforgettable.
Gudvangen – Voss – Bergen : Gudvangen to Voss is a 1 hour bus ride and you can purchase the ticket on board, bus schedules can be looked up at Skyss website. We paid NOK 59 per person for the bus ticket. The bus takes you to Voss train station via the stunning Stalheimskleiva with its many hairpin bends and breathtakingly beautiful mountain and valley views. At Voss Station you can buy the ticket to Bergen and in case you have some time at hand you can get out and explore this gorgeous town of Voss. Also, its a much bigger town as compared to Flåm with many activities to do around. So instead of an overnight stay in Flåm you can break your trip with a night stay in Voss, but that solely depends on your travel plans. The 2 hour train ride from Voss to Bergen is pretty enough, just the usual views nothing epic as such, finally arriving at your final destination, Bergen. We paid NOK 216 per person for the train.
Norway in a Nutshell that was priced about NOK 2400 per person on their website during our travel dates actually costed us just NOK 1,339 per person, can you beat that!? However, everything we saved here, we eventually ended blowing it all up on the other touristy things. So was it a budget trip? Ummh well No! not really! Come on guys, its Norway! But yes of course it can be done in a decent pocket friendly way as well. This trip was solely dedicated to celebrate my sisters birthday so we were quite chill about the expenses part. We saved up where we possibly could and utilised the rest to enjoy and make the most out of our trip.
And well just like that this profoundly beautiful two day tour of Norway in a Nutshell came to an end. Making memories of a lifetime and I only hope I can go back there someday soon with my husband, and maybe even my parents and make them experience how utterly unique and gorgeous Norway is. Ok! wait, I’m definitely going back again to explore the rest of Norway, with Geirangerfjord and Lofoten Islands topping my list and perhaps the spectacular Northern Lights. Until then, I guess I will just keep dreaming of Norway and watch the 10000000 pictures and videos I took and keep gasping in awe, hehe.
Hope you enjoyed reading this travel blog, and I believe all the details that I have shared here will help you plan your trip to Norway much more efficiently.