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Travel2?

October 2020

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Yes Hurtigruten travelers, you have read the title correctly. My husband and I have finally booked our Southbound, Trollfjord anniversary trip for mid-October of 2020. Although many months away, part of the fun for me is researching and study the places we are to visit.

That being said, I have a few questions. How far in advance do you need to book excursions? Our choices will be limited since we are traveling mid-month but we are looking at the Mountain Hike in Hammerfest and the Midnight Concert in the Artic Cathedral. The Taste of Vesteralen looks great but will we miss a lot of scenery by choosing this excursion?

We intend to fly to Olso, spending a couple nights; on to Kirkenes for a couple of nights, cruising, several nights in Bergen and on to Oslo by train to end our adventure. Any suggestion whether it be hotel, excursions, restaurants from those who have done a similar itinerary would be appreciated!

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Looks like a great expierence.

Some excursions are selling out early, but I believe that excursions you have mentioned will be available al time. - sometimes there will be discount when purchased onboard - however something buy 5 and pay for four.

11 hours ago, Travel2? said:

Our choices will be limited since we are traveling mid-month

.. all excursions should be available all days during the month? 

 

11 hours ago, Travel2? said:

The Taste of Vesteralen looks great but will we miss a lot of scenery by choosing this excursion?

Can’t remember start and end port? Please specify.

 

- many hotels available in Oslo - in Kirkenes only Scandic and Thon - I’ll recommend Thon - do not know if you want to stay overnight in Bergen - nice city to visit so a night in Bergen can be recommended. Many hotels to chose from - The Hanseatic Hotel at Bryggen is quite authentic- but also other hotels at Bryggen Wharf Area.

 

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Thanks Hallasm; I believe the Taste of Vesteralen excursion begins in Harstad and reconnects in Sortland (a duration of 4 hours).

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Hi there!

Congratulations on the trip you booked - I'm sure you'll have lots of fun and I wish you beautiful fall colours and lots of northern lights to enjoy.We haven't been on the Trollfjord but I'm sure you'll like the panorama lounge etc.

About the excursions: You should perhaps book in advance those excursions that tend to sell out quickly - for example the husky snow experiences in winter or the sea eagle excursion . You can find a list of excursions offered at your time line on the Hurtigruten website. Those excursions where buses are used usually can be booked easily onboard. The one to the Vesteralen and the midnight concert are said to be two of the best available and you shouldn't miss those. In Alesund I'd just walk through the beautiful city and visit the local museum which is really interesting. Don't miss the ice cream shop (I think) in Bronnoysund! As I'm not as light on my feet as was in earlier days we sometimes use a taxi to explore cities like Tromso and Trondheim as the Hurtigruten excursions are terribly expensive, but time in port is always limited. And sometimes time in port is shortened as well when there is a delay - the ships can be a bit late sometimes but leave punctually! I've also heard that sometimes in the winter season some ports are left out due to heavy winds.

In regard to hotels in Oslo we liked the Thon Hotel Opera and the Radisson Blu. We have just walked by the hotels in Kirkenes but I think there are only 2. Kirkenes itself is tiny, but there is a local agency offering tours if you will stay for a few days.

Bergen definitely is a city to explore with the Bryggen area, the fish market, great museums and chances for fjord cruises ( very recommendable in good weather) , walking etc. etc.

In both Oslo and Bergen there are HopOn buses which we personally like to use, but both cities are very walkable, too.

I could ramble on and on but perhaps you have more specific questions?

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Grayjay, 

Thanks for sharing so much information! This is a great start for my planning and will certainly reach out as questions come up.

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18 hours ago, Travel2? said:

Thanks Hallasm; I believe the Taste of Vesteralen excursion begins in Harstad and reconnects in Sortland (a duration of 4 hours).

Thank you - you’ll not miss anything dramatic- also a nice drive. Most interesting part is Raftsundet and Trollfjord not to be missed further south.

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Posted (edited)

I would recommend the Sea Eagle excursion, which is only available southbound.  You will be on the small boat in/out of the Trollfjord (not on the ship), but it also gives you excellent opportunities to take photos of the ship as well as the eagles.

 

In Oslo I bought the Oslo Pass, which gives you admission to all the museums, and also use of the excellent public transportation (buses, trolleys, ferries, etc.). I bought mine at the Visitors' Center at the Central Train Station, but there are other places you can purchase it as well. The Visitors' Center staff were also excellent is showing me routing to the sights I wanted to see using public transportation.

 

I had an excellent dinner at the Olympen restaurant in the Grønland area of Oslo (not far from my AirB&B): https://www.olympen.no/eng

 

I stayed in AirB&Bs in both Bergen and Oslo. If that interests you, I can let you know the specifics.

 

If you stay overnight in Bergen, then take the first train in the morning to Oslo, you can also work in a side trip on the train to Flam and back (from Myrdal) before proceeding onto Oslo. This made it a long day, but I am glad I didn't miss the beautiful ride. I booked all my train travel through the Norwegian Railway website which was very easy.

 

It rains a lot in Bergen, so if you get a dry/clear day, definitely take the funicular up to Mount Fløyen right then. I did this my first day in Bergen, and was so glad because my second day was cloudy and rainy and the mountain was up in the clouds (so no view).  If you are a classical music lover, I would also recommend taking in a visit to the Edvard Grieg Museum at Troldhaugen. You can take a city bus to get there.

Edited by Splinter

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Splinter,

Thank you for responding! So much great information and suggestions. 

The Sea Eagle excursion appears to be very popular for a reason; unfortunately, we board in Kirkenes on 10 /15 and this excursion is only offered until that date. 

I will definitely look into the Oslo Pass, it appears there is much to experience in this city. I believe there is a Bergen Pass as well, any experience with it?

As for Bergen, we were planning on staying three nights; too much? It looks like there are some good hiking opportunities and I have the funiculer added to the "to do" list. Rainy weather...well, we'll just embrace it and carry on!  I'm more concerned about packing for a variety of conditions. My husband and I normally travel with one carry on and backpack each!

Thank you and keep the info coming!

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Posted (edited)
32 minutes ago, Travel2? said:

believe there is a Bergen Pass as well, any experience with it?

Yes - There is a Bergen Card.  I have not used the card.

32 minutes ago, Travel2? said:

As for Bergen, we were planning on staying three nights

As suggested by Splinter you should include Flåm - One option could be to stay one night in Gudvangen or Flåm and explore the Flåm area - you can travel from Bergen to Flåm either by bus or train.

32 minutes ago, Travel2? said:

more concerned about packing for a variety of conditions

The good thing with Hurtigruten is that you do not need different clothing when onboard and for your excursions/hiking - it’s all about layers.

I did wear my Lowa hiking boots and Northface clothing most of the time.

Edited by hallasm

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Hallam/Splinter,

If reading correctly, you can travel by rail from Bergen to Flam by way of Myrdal; after a visit in Flam, can you continue directly to Oslo?

 

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Posted (edited)

The train from Bergen to Oslo does stop in Myrdal - the Flåm train from Myrdal to Flåm is another train. Assume you need to purchase ticket from  Bergen to Flåm and then another tricket from Flåm to Oslo, You can buy train trickets here 90 days  in advance. In both situations you need to change train in Myrdal.

Bus service NX450 from Bergen to Aurland (Gudvangen) is also an opportunity where you can explorer the UNESCO Nærøyfjorden and also Aurlandfjord - might be a good opportunity to see some of the ‘big fjords’ - in October Hurtigruten does not sail into Geiranger.(does require overnight stay in Gudvangen or Flåm).

This is my train ride from Flåm to Myrdal - at the end the train to Bergen/Oslo.

 

 

 

Edited by hallasm

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Thanks Hallasm! The waterfalls are gorgeous; we can't wait for all the scenery!

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On 3/17/2019 at 2:41 PM, Travel2? said:

Hallam/Splinter,

If reading correctly, you can travel by rail from Bergen to Flam by way of Myrdal; after a visit in Flam, can you continue directly to Oslo?

 

Yes, that is what I did. I took the train directly from Oslo to Bergen to board the ship, then upon my return, I booked the following 3 train tickets: 1) Bergen to Mrydal (first train in the morning; around 7:30AM as I remember), 2) Myrdal to Flam  (only had 5 minutes to make this connection to Flam; waited in Myrdal about 1 hour for train to Oslo), and then 3) Flam via Myrdal to Oslo. 

The Flam railroad does not sell specific seats; seating is first come, first serve.  Tickets for the Bergen/Oslo route go on sale 90 days before your travel, and that is when you will get the best price. Prices are better on-line than at the train station too. If your train offers Komfort class, pay the slightly higher price for this as it gives you a reserved seat at a table with power and Wifi plus free coffee and tea.  This is not available on all trains on this route (and not on the Flam train at all).

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Thanks Splinter; our trip keeps getting bigger! We are planning on adding on this side trip . Since we will be traveling mid- October, I'll need to check what sight-seeing options will be available to us. 

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