Norway has been on Ryan’s radar ever since moving to England. Considering the fjords are on the list of “100 Things to See Before You Die,” I didn’t argue one bit.
Two main sights/activities we wanted to achieve: see the fjords and hike Preikestolen. So we decided to book for mid June and fly into Bergen.
We left sunny (yes, sunny) England and descended into some intense weather in Norway. Despite the turbulence and low visibility, it was still beautiful. Surrounded by water, green hills, and colorful houses, I could tell this country was special.
The moment we landed we were greeted by 40MPH winds; sideways rain straight to the face. Did I mention we went in mid June? You’re never safe from inclement weather in Scandinavia! (See my Instagram Norway highlight story for BTS).
We looked at each other with disappointment, especially because we’ve been hyping this trip up for a long time. Weather can be a maker or breaker in your travel plans, but it’s the farthest beyond your control. So, the rest of the afternoon was spent in a cozy robe in our Bergen Airbnb with hopes of tamer weather in the morning.
Hallelujah, we woke up and got just that. So, we headed to the Bergen harbor for our first of a few fairy boat rides.
As expected, the cities we stayed in are pristinely clean and remind me a lot of Switzerland. Though we didn’t spend much time in the cities itself except after our adventures, we enjoyed how pretty they were.
The plan was to take a fjord tour via fairy for around 5 hours, then catch the 2 hour scenic train at Flam Station back to Bergen. It was a long day planned, and, admittedly I wasn’t stoked. I am personally not a fan of public transport and cheesy tours, and typically like to explore on our own terms with a rental car. But I later discovered Ryan had made the right choice. It was indeed the best way to see the fjords. All these were taken from our boat. The sun even peaked through the low clouds, providing a dreamy, warm light:
This next moment was one of my all time favorites of the ride. The sun casted a shadow across half of this tiny fjord town, creating a yummy contrast. It was so peaceful to see. I would love to come back and stay in one of these towns.
The fairy dropped us off in a small town called Flam. There isn’t much there, but it was nestled in the fjord mountains right on the water. I didn’t get photos of the town because it was down pouring at that point, so we grabbed lunch at a cafe called Bakkastova Cafe which was delicious! It was a quick stop then we boarded the train at Flam Station to take a beautiful route back to Bergen.
We got home and pregamed dinner with some rose in the sunshine. Our Airbnb’s balcony was so Norwegian and so freakin cute.
The next day, we headed to Stavanger so we could hike Preikestolen, Ryan’s long time bucket list item. Here’s what we did to get there:
- Took a 5 hour fairy (that ended up being a literal cruise ship) from Bergen to Stavanger via Fjordline
- Check into Stavanger Airbnb
- Took a 1 hour fairy over to the base of Preikstolen
- Took 30 min bus ride to the trail head
The hike took us about 2 hours to get up, if I remember correctly. We are relatively in shape so to us the difficulty was easy to moderate. There were also a LOT of people. It’s one of the most touristy hikes in Norway because it’s relatively accessible, so that was the only downside. Otherwise, it’s pretty spectacular. Nothing gets your heart racing like a 2,000ft drop into a fjord. I didn’t take many photos, but here’s an idea of what it looks like at the top:
Behind the lens
Take weather into consideration and plan to be in Norway for more than 3 days - even in the dead of summer. That’ll give you time to adjust plans if needed. Luckily, we were able to continue our fjord tour as planned, but were met with inclement weather majority of the trip. There’s really no summer up North, so just taper your expectations and be flexible!
If you’re okay with boats and trains, do what we did. I don’t regret the fjord tour via fairy when we were in Bergen, nor the train home, but to take two or three more fairies to Stavanger to hike was a bit much for me (I get a little sea sick). I would’ve either just stayed in Bergen and then rented a car to explore more of the fjords, or drive to Stavanger to hike.
Most of the activities we did were touristy. I wish I would’ve taken more behind the scenes photos, because there were tons of people in most of the things we did, which isn’t necessarily bad. I still think this is the most hands off way to see Norway (which is what Ryan wanted), so if you’re not down to drive or put much effort into your own planning/exploring, this trip is a perfect into into Norway. Despite hiccups, this country is freakin beautiful.
Oh, and Scandinavian countries are pretty damn expensive. Plan to bring extra cash!