Norway or more commonly known as “Norge” in the Norwegian is one of the largest piece of land to explore in the northern part of Europe, with fascinating fjords, mountains, and nature phenomena northern lights. It is also being ranked among the top in most pristine and well preserved country in the world. We have products being labelled with “Norwegian water”, “Norwegian salmon”, etc that immediately make them categorized as premium due to its unpolluted source. One of our dream bucket place for sure.
With a preparation of almost one year ahead, we had finally completed our 11 days (with cruise experience and almost 300 kilometers road trip in Lofoten islands) in November 2017. We were truly amazed with the winter beauty of this large part of Scandinavian land. If you are a fan of winter trip, this country should come in your top list! We focused most of the time venturing the northern part of Norway where the Viking culture and fishery industry setting are still authentic. Even though we know 11 days do not do justice to this vast land, but we assure ourselves we will be back again one day to cover the other parts.
If you have limited days like us, and also intend to venture to the north region of Norway, we hope our itinerary sharing will be useful as reference and please read on!
Adventure with Road Trip Itinerary (Click to see more photos from each day)
Day 3 – Bergen > Fløibanen to Fløyen > Fish Market > Old Wharf Port
Day 4 – TOS airport (Arrive) > Hotel Xpress Tromso
Day 5 – Tromso > Polaria > Tromsø Library and City Archive (Beautiful architecture) > The Polar Museum
Day 6 – Board Hurtigruten > Lofoten (Svolvaer Terminal) > Havern Holiday Home (AirBnB)
Day 7 – Lofoten > Reine > Village of A > Hamnoy > Leknes
Day 8 – Lofoten > Leknes > Henningsvaer > Svolvaer > Evenskjer Cabin (AirBnB)
Day 9 – OSL airport (Arrive) > Scandic Grenson Hotel
Day 10 – OSL airport (Depart)
For Norway, we booked most of our stay with the AirBnB as up in the north there are very limited hotel choices and the price is always on the high side. AirBnB is not cheap as well, but at least we can share with others on the accommodation cost. All the places that we stayed and mentioned above in the itinerary were decent and clean. One comment for the Havern Holiday Home and Evenskjer Cabin is that the heaters were not really working well and we had to keep hiding ourselves under the thick blanket while waiting for the Aurora. Other than that, all good and we would recommend the same!
Basically entire Norway is quite accessible by car and land transportation, so it is really good place for road trip if you have sufficient time. Due to our limited 11 days, we had decided to do it partly with domestic flight, cruise and road trip. For flight, we had opted for the most common carriers in north Europe which is the SAS Airlines. We booked the flight earlier to enjoy the cheaper advance purchase rate, for our transfer from Bergen to Tromso, and Svolvaer to Oslo. Do register at their official website to earn the SAS points.
While for the water transportation, it was part of our plan to experience the infamous Hurtigruten cruise. It is a reputable cruise company that caters many of the north region territories. You may visit their website for more information including the ports that they will stop during your journey and how long the stop will be. We use Hurtigruten as our transportation from Tromso to Svolvaer port. We are hoping to see the northern light on the deck of cruise and to enjoy the beauty of Norwegian fjords. Last but not least we end the trip with self-drive road trip along the Lofoten group of islands. In Lofoten we engaged with this car rental company named “Rent a Car Lofoten” which gives a better rates.
We will not talk more about the flight connection, as that was standard with all other flights. For Hurtigruten cruise, the check in process was very convenient. Do not worry about the port of boarding as they are all located at easily found place. There is also a Hurtigruten office located in the Tromso city itself for any enquiry or assistance. While for our rental car in Lofoten, the company service is good that they sent the car to wait for us at the Hurtigruten port terminal at Svolvaer. The handover is easy and smooth. Just remember to select the right location for your car pick up during booking.
It was November winter and road condition still good, 4 wheels drive is not a must. Generally most of the main roads are wide and being plowed in the morning. Also, most of the roads are just on normal flat land. All the mountains and hills in the islands are reachable through trekking and hiking. During the road trip we do not use any apps like “Google Map” or “Waze” as the GPS installed inside the car is more than sufficient. There are not many road changes in Lofoten.
We do not purchase any local sim or broadband service for this trip; just solely rely on any WIFI spot available at the hotels or public area. As the cities that we visited are all very centric and able to cover with just walking, we do not see the need to have the all-time data connection.
Weather and Attire
Norway is also a country which consider all year round chilly weather place. It also depends on which part you are at in the country as the land is long stretching from the south to north. If you are at the south part of Norway, somewhere close to the capital, Oslo city then the temperature ranging from -3 Celsius to high of 18 Celsius. However if you move towards the north like us to city like Tromso, the lowest can go to -5 Celsius or less and highest only at 12 Celsius.
Knowing that, it is good to have a layer of thermal wear or long johns inside, then with a thick wind breaker jacket outside. Cover up at the neck area and ears are necessary to give you better comfort. Do get a scarf or mask for that use. Remember to have the moisturizing lotion and lip balm handy. For Bergen, the city of rain in Norway, please have yourself ready with umbrella, or more conveniently would be an easy pack rain coat.
Both cash and card payment methods are widely accepted in Norway. However do ensure that you have activated your credit card PINS with your local bank for overseas usage as you might need it in case any of the gas station is not manned. Just to be safe, you might also want to have credit card with different gateways i.e. Visa, Mastercard or AMEX in hand when either one does not work. Both NOK and EUR are accepted locally in Norway. (at least at the main hypermarket)
Northern Light or Aurora Chase
Kindly refer to our Iceland post for the similar preparation and tips.