Our last big stop on our 2nd day of our road trip was Balestrand. This was probably the one I was most excited about. We arrived it was quite late, so we did a little bit of wandering around. My daughter had also become very unruly, so we ended up spending a couple hours before retiring for the day at our apartment in Førde. I did really like Balestrand and happy we trekked this far to explore this small town.
The village of Balestrand is in the Balestrand municipality, in the Sogn og fjordane region. It is located on the northern shore of the Sognefjorden and the mouth of Esefjorden. This town has been a major tourist stop since the 1800s. It is also known as the Art village and has inspired many artists from England and Germany. These travellers have also influenced much of the architecture.
Some points of interest include Sognefjord Aquarium (Sognefjord Akvarium and Gallery Munken), Golden house Gallery (Det gylne hus), Kviknes Hotel (Private collection of art mainly from the national-romantic period), King Bele Statue and Balestrand Viking Barrows, St Olaf’s Angelican Church and the Norwegian Museum of Travel and Tourism (Norsk Reiselivsmuseum).
Continue reading “Norwegian Road Trip Day 2 : Balestrand (part 4)”
After stopping at Undredal we made our way to the town of Vikøyri. This stop wasn’t originally in the itinerary as we had intentions of crossing the fjord to Balestrand. However we were starving, so this was a convenient stop to make to have a break and try some Viking cheese.
First a bit about our major stop. Vikøyri is the central town for the municipality of Vik, in the Sogn og fjordane region. This old coastal settlement is situated midpoint on the Sognefjorden and the mouth of the Vikja river, which is the best salmon river in the region. Some of the points of interest include the Tine cheese factory (see below), the Hopperstad Stave Church, Hove Stone Church, old shore dweller site, Moahaugane Burial Mounds, the Kristianhus Båt- og Motormuseum.
Continue reading “Norwegian Road Trip Day 2 : Vikøyri (part 3)”
When I last left you we began our day in lovely Aurlandsvagen and next made our way to Undredal. We weren’t sure about making a detour to this small town as we had heard mix things. I guess if you are doing a river cruise you will see a nice view of the town. However, since we didn’t do a cruise we thought we may as well visit Undredal since it was only 20 mins from Otternes Bygdetun in Aurland.
Undredal is a tiny village within the municipality of Aurland and is situated on the Aurlandsfjorden. It previously was only able to be accessed by boat, but today it can be reached by the highway network. It has very small population of about 100 people and 500 goats. Why so many goats? Well Undredal is famous for it’s a brown goats cheese and goat sausage. It is still made in the traditional way and important for the towns economy.
We arrived to Undredal still quite early in the morning, so nothing was open except for a small store. Some points of interest that were closed were the tourist centre, the Undredal stavkyrkje (smallest Stave church in Northern Europe) and Undredal Tredreieri (Wood turners).
Unfortunately for us there wasn’t much to do, except enjoy the beautiful view of the fjord. It was still worth stopping just for that. I recommend stopping by this town later in the day if I want to visit some of the points of interest or get a bite to eat. From what we saw there are no coffee or pastry shops, so I’m not sure where people have breakfast, who are staying in the accommodations. The only cafe/restaurant we found was Eldhuset, it opens daily, but not until 11am.
You can visit the local farms producing the goats cheese, but it was the wrong time of year for our visit. You can actually pre-organise with the farmers to visit them and at the very least spend time with their goats. I discovered this the evening before so it was a bit late book in and we still had quite a big day ahead of us.
Continue reading “Norwegian Road Trip Day 2: Undredal (part 2)”
We ended our first day and began our second day of our road trip in the stunning location. Aurlandsvangen is a district within Aurland and sits on the Aurlandsfjorden, which is a branches from the King fjord, Sognefjorden. It is only a short distance by car from Flåm, Undredal and Nærøyfjord (Gudvangen). This was the perfect place to stay over night, since it had cheaper for accommodation, had amazing views (unobstructed by cruise ships) and it was very nice and quiet.
During our stay we made the most our our amazing view of the Aurlandsfjorden, explore the centre of Aurlandsvangen and made a trip to the abandoned village of Otternes Bygdetun.
Continue reading “Norwegian Road Trip Day 2: Aurlandsvangen (part 1)”
I’ve been a little sick this last week, so I hadn’t had a chance until today to take you to our next destination on our first day of our road trip. Flåm is tiny village located in the valley Flåmsdalen, in the area of Aurland. It is a popular tourist destination and it’s main attraction is the scenic Flåmsbana Railway, which travels between Flåm and Myrdal. Although this train ride is highly recommend we decided to skip it, since we had done that Bergensbanen line a few days before. Instead we spent a couple of hours having a look around before settling for the night in Aurlandsvangen.
Continue reading “Norwegian Road Trip Day 1: Flåm (part 3)”
Last I left you we had just seen some amazing Norwegian Waterfalls on the way to Gudvangen. Why were we headed to this small village in Aurland, Sogn og Fjordane? To visit the Viking Village of course!
The Viking Village is nestled between the Kjelfossen (one of the tallest waterfalls in Norway, 755 metres) and the spectacular Nærøyfjord. During the Viking period, Gudvangen was an important place for trade and it’s name translates to a ‘place of the gods’. So this is a fitting location to step back in time and experience the Viking way of life.
Before we visited the Viking Village, we took some photos on the Nærøyfjord. It is the most majestic fjord. The water is so clear and catches the shades of green from the mountains that dominate the landscape.
Continue reading “Norwegian Road Trip Day 1: Viking Village (part 2)”
Today I will bring you along on our road trip in Norway. If you have been following along you know that last we were last in Bergen. We only had three days to fit in as many stops as we could and make it back to Bergen to fly out. Most guides from Bergen recommend driving out to Flåm and driving same direction back. I thought it would be better to do a round trip, so that we would see more. I couldn’t find a guide that recommend a round route, so we kinda made our own and booked our accommodations to correspond with our stops.
The map below shows the general direction with some of the major stops. This route is totally doable in 3 days, even with a screaming toddler in the car. Some of these stretches are a bit long, which is because the mountainous terrain and the fjords that take longer to navigate. Many of the water crossings require a river ferry, which can take time and do require a fee. However this gave us unforgettable scenic views and made the drive definitely more interesting as the landscape was constantly changing. FIY, we paid about $80 AUD in toll for these 3 days and there aren’t many signs for speed limits, despite the speeding camera.
Continue reading “Norwegian Road Trip Day 1: Waterfalls (part 1)”
The second half our of time in Bergen was spent visiting some of the sites outside of the city centre. By the time we eventually received our hire car it was the afternoon, but it was just as well, as it would have taken longer to get to the first two designations on foot or by public transport. So the highlights of our afternoon in Bergen include the Old Bergen Museum, Fantoft Stave Church, Fløyen and a delicious dinner at Pingvinen. We did return to Bergen a few days later before flying out so I included the lunch we had from a great little Norwegian burger joint, Søstrene Hagelin at the end of this post.
Continue reading “Bergen: historic trader town (part 2)”
After the enjoying the breathtaking views on the Bergensbanen train from Oslo, we arrived to the beautiful coastal city of Bergen. Since we arrived in the evening, we only allocated the following day to explore Bergen before heading off a road trip. We tried to fit in as much as we could without spending too much. Did I mention how expensive Norway is? This is partly why we allocated only one day to Bergen, being a very popular tourist stop. Unfortunately, we were here on a Sunday which is the worst day to visit if you like to shop. All of the shops were closed (except for the tourist shops), as well as some of the cafes. Despite this we did fill our day with lots of site seeing. I have so many photos to show you that I have had to write two posts for Bergen. The highlights from the first half of the day include amazing Norwegian pastries at Godt Brod Floyen, exploring Bryggen (old town), visiting the Bergen Fortress and a delicious lunch at the famous Fisketorget (Fish Market).
Before I go on I will tell you a bit about the must-see Norwegian city. Bergen is located in Hordaland, facing the fjord of Byfjorden. It is the second largest city and is known as the ‘city of seven mountains’. It was founded by King Olav Kyrre in 1070, but trading in the area goes back to the 1020s. It was the largest city until Christiania (Oslo) surpassed it in the 1830s. Today it still maintains its old town character and is a major tourist stops for tourist and cruise ships. Indeed it is an expensive city, however its a great place to visit on the way to see the amazing fjords in this region.
Continue reading “Bergen: historic trader town (part 1)”
Our last day in Oslo was just really a half day since we had to travel to Bergen in the afternoon. I hate travelling during the day since it feels like such a waste, but with a kid it does make it easier. I tried to fit in a some shopping in Bogstadveien and a visit to the University Botanic Gardens before our epic train ride to Bergen on the Bergensbanen rail! If you would like to see the amazing landscapes I captured on our journey, scroll down towards the end of this post.
Continue reading “Oslo: botanic gardens & the Bergensbanen rail (day 3)”
On our second day in Oslo we had a big day jam packed full of free cultural and heritage sites. There’s actually quite a lot you can do for free in Oslo, which you can enjoy all year round. Some of the highlights of day two include the Royal Palace and tranquil Slottsparken, the amazing art work at the City Hall, the historic Akershus Fortress, and the marvellous Opera House. I originally planned to also fit in the Free East Side Walking Tour (currently not on offer) in the afternoon, but I don’t think we could have possibly done it. My legs were still swollen from the flight and Octavia made it clear she was not going to be content to sit and be quiet. All in all I think we did pretty well and we also ate pretty well too.
Continue reading “Oslo: Cultural and heritage sites (day 2)”
During our first big day in Oslo we visited the Norsk Folkemuseum. Since I have so many photos and info to share about this museum I had to dedicate an entire post to it. I’m not sure if it will interest you, but since I’m studying museum studies and a history buff I wanted to document my visit. This was the first open-air museum that I have ever visited, however on this trip I saw quiet a few. I really enjoyed each one and the different ways they presented their rich cultural history. The Norsk Folkemuseum was probably one of my favourites for its large scale representation of Norwegian history, the visible interiors and towns people.
The Norsk Folkemuseum illustrates how people across Norway lived from 1500s until today. The open-air museum is a recreates the old town of Oslo and the Norwegian country side. Buildings from across the country have been brought and place in a life-size diorama to demonstrate the different cultural experiences of the Norwegian people. Throughout the open-air museum there are hosts dressed in traditional clothing. They welcome you into the homes, offer a wealth of information and make the whole experience more authentic. During the summer season many of the buildings are open, with visible interiors and activities. There are special theme days where the museum also offers folk music, dancing, handicrafts and baking. So if you planning your visit it would be worth checking out their calendar. The Norsk Folkemuseum also offers indoor permanent and temporary exhibitions, which feature many national treasures and artefacts. There are also a couple of places you can get something to eat, so you can really take your time and make a day of it.
If your in Oslo and have a 3-5 hours to spare I really recommend visiting the Norsk Folkemuseum. The museum gives you quiet a broad representation of Norwegian cultural history. The open-air museum is just enormous and is lovely to walk through and take in the cultural difference in the different regions. One of the stand out features for me was also the Stave Church, which has been well-preserved and was probably the best one I seen. The indoor exhibitions also cover quiet a lot of different topics to further give you a greater appreciation for Norwegian culture.
Continue reading “Oslo: Norsk Folkemuseum”