Travelling inside Norway was not our first idea of vacation this year. First, the weather is very unstable, the temperatures are low, even in summer, the roads are narrow and we didn’t know what to expect on traffic. On top of this, lots of tourists from other countries always seemed to appreciate the small cozy villages and quietness from our villages much longer than we did, so crowds were considered.
But luckily, at last my husband Knut and I decided to reproach the wish of traveling inside Norway no matter how the weather or other conditions were, and the result was the most outstanding surprise. Amazing views, great architecture, awesome design that I am about to share with you now.
Our dearest friends Randi and Jone, appreciators of nature and nature sightseeing, boosted from the beginning and hand us over all this detailed route information about our first excursion, hotels and restaurants tips included, and I leave here my biggest gratitude for them.
In order, the places we visited this year.
Ulvik, surrounded by fjords, beautiful cultural landscapes, fruit orchards, and snow-capped mountains, at the final of Ulvikafjorden. Small, very small village, with a population of not more than 550, included on cider route, where you will find the fruit, walk between the fruit farms, taste their products, and buy different products in the farm shops. We stayed at the Brakanes Hotel, nicely located on the fjord edge in the center of city. This hotel, has been through several renovations over the past few years, during its 160 years history. It is a great starting point for the many hikes in the immediate area, as well as many marked hiking trails in Ulvik and Osa, within walking distance of the hotel. Calm and quiet scenery, romantic and inspiring view from the hotel suites facing the fjord. The restaurante was good and the staff competent.
Solvorn, another small village with no more than . The village has had a church since the Middle Ages, and the meaning of the name is ‘protector of the Sun’. This probably refers to the fact that the deep valley of Solvorn secure the sunlight in the evenings, when the areas north and south of Ornes lies in the shadows of the mountains. Right beside the fjord in this idyllic village, lies Walaker Hotel. The hotel, which has been inherited from generation to generation since 1650, it is a charming family hotel and an attraction in itself, on its 11th generation management since 1690, and is the oldest family-run hotel in Norway, with more than 370 years of history. Great food and service, all the staff very responsive. On our way from Ulvik to Solvorn, we stopped at this magnificent view point with this special structure in the picture below. It was just the first suprise I had on our trip.
Lom, heart of some of Norway’s most spectacular mountain scenery. Rapid cascades run down through the village centre, houses in dark wood climb the steep hills, and roads out of town lead to Geiranger at the edge of Norway’s famous fjords, via the staggering Sognefjellet Rd, which winds across the top of the Jotunheimen National Park. We stayed at Røisheim Hotel, a Historic Boutique Hotel, situated about 15 minutes drive from Lom. Røisheim has a long tradition both as a refuge for travellers between the western and eastern Norway as well as the natural base for mountaineers and hunters. Its rustic, rooms traditionally kept simple and excellent food, made by local ingredients and spices.
Geiranger, is situated in the inner Geirangerfjord, it is surrounded by steep mountains on either side of the fjord, which has made it one of the most visited tourist destination in Norway. Along the side of the fjord, there are a number of now abandoned farms. The fjord is also host to several impressive waterfalls. The two most notable waterfalls in the Geirangerfjord are De Syv Søstre(the seven sisters) and Friaren (the suitor or ‘the Wooer’). Has a population of about 200, which contrasts considerably with the number of 800.000 to 1 million who come to the village during the summer season.
Håholmen Havstuer, after a row of unique bridges you come to the hotel, included between Norwegian Classic Hotels. It is an original cluster of houses, including the main building, meeting rooms, hotel rooms, a pub, a restaurant, and a museum. Visitors roam between the buildings, just like they did in a living fishermen’s community in the olden days. It is very inspiring to experience the coastal culture and nature this way. Special feeling and the calmest atmosphere ever.. The food is great, done only with local ingredients and the staff is very thoughtful.
Ålesund, a city that was completely destroyed by fire in the early 20th century, more precisely on 1904, but later it was rebuilt using the modern Art Nouveau details, a modern architectural style of construction and is today one of the most beautiful cities of Norway. And it’s no coincidence that Ålesund, and the surrounding areas, are among the most visited sites for tourists in Norway.
Currently, Ålesund is considered the cod capital of the world, with several cod processing industries, and this process is done entirely manually, making cod one of the most noble delicacies in the world. The restaurants as well, keeping the same premisse, offers a wide range of cod gastronomic choices paired with the most delicious wine. We stayed at the fantastic hotel Brosundet Hotel, a mix of old by the sea warehouse and a new trendy interior design. All the experience was perfect!
Loen, is the home to some of the oldest farms in Norway. It situated innermost Nordfjord, bellow the great Jotesdalsbreen Glacier. Much of the upper valley was devastated from two rockfall slides (one in 1905 and one in 1936) that created huge waves that swept out most of the houses and vegetation. With its dramatic and spectacular scenery, Loen has been a magnet for tourists for more than a century. Already at the end of the 19th century cruise ships from Europe began calling at Loen, and hundreds of local farmers were involved in transporting tourists in horse-drawn transport from the fjord to the valleys and glaciers. Now visitors can take the Loen Skylift to Mt. Hoven (1011 m.a.s.l.), and see the fjord landscape from above.
Balestrand, an idyllic village on the main Sognefjord with its narrow fjord branches and scenic and lush mountain landscape. Here you will find high mountains, deep fjords, peace and quiet and, not only this but the smell of the fresh air, the light in the endless summer evenings. We stayed at Kviknes Hotel, a “Swiss” style wooden building, idealized by the Kvikne family, who has been the hosts there since 1877. The restaurant has a magnificent view to the fjord, good food and a diversified wine selection. Still, on this small village that counts with no more than 1.500 residents, there is this church, St. Olav’s Church, built in a stave church style, that was an inspiration for Fozen, the film, and was completed in 1897.
Voss, it is an important tourist destination with long traditions in both summer and winter tourism, for its cultural traditions in folk music, folk art/handicrafts and traditional food. The village is globally known as the “extreme sports village”, and here you can try everything from skydiving to rafting in safe conditions. One moment it`s all about the adrenaline and amazing activities, the next about relaxing in the finest of natural landscapes. We stayed at the historical Fleischers Hotel, built in 1889 in the popular “Swiss” style. The hotel quickly became well known amongst wealthy tourists, much due to the architectural style, it is known for its venerable atmosphere, grand dining room and attentive staff.
Bergen, the second biggest city of Norway, on the southwest coast and is surrounded by mountains and fjords, including Sogn, the largest and deepest fjord in the country. The old part of the city, Bryggen is made by colorful wooden houses on the old pier, which in the past was a center of the Hanseatic League merchant empire. The Fløibanen funicular runs up the Fløyen Mountain and offers panoramic views and hiking trails. Lots of things to do in Bergen, and I was particular excited by the contrast between old and modern buildings. As a big city, there is a large and good variety on what to do, depending on your main interests, museums, shops, sport or history. You pick 🙂
Thanks again to our dearest friends Jone and Randi for the tips, they were really useful 🙂
If I have to describe the trip my husband and I had in Norway, I would say that this one was the most wonderful time of our life. I agree that there are many different ways to spend your vacation, and of course, biggest and exciting cities all around the world, but the choice we did was the most romantic, serene and fulfilling tour we could ever imagine. Really awesome!!
Hope I am able to inspire some of you to come to Norway and discover such great surprises 🙂
If you liked this post please leave your comments below. See you soon!!