Bergen is a perfect gateway to the magnificent fjords of Norway. Fjord visits can last a few hours or span several weeks on a cruise ship, and the vast age range of tourists we encountered would suggest a fjord trip is enjoyable for anyone!
We chose to book our excursions through Norway in a Nutshell and settled on one full day trip through Sognefjord – Norway’s longest and deepest inlet formed by glacial erosion – and a Sunday morning cruise to Osteroy Island.
Saturday morning started bright and early. The ferry departed at 8am sharp. We snuck on to the boat at the last minute, and of course, found all of the seats in the cabin to be taken. At first it was a bit frustrating, but we quickly changed our plan and headed for the back deck, stroller and all. As the boat made its way out of the harbor and picked up speed, people began moving back into the cabins, and very soon, we found ourselves just about alone on the sunny deck with a beautiful view. And a sleeping baby!! E conked out for her morning nap by 9am, and the wonderful breeze, sunshine and calm rocking had her out for the next 2.5 hours.
(I know it’s rather irrelevant, but it was such a special occasion that I just have to share! This must have been the best nap time our little family has experienced since E was born…Troy and I had fresh air, spectacular views and plenty of sunshine, all while E slept peacefully! I realize this is probably a fairly normal experience for many, but as E sleeps best in her crib and our little flat has no outdoor space, it was a very unexpected perk for us!)
The ferry wound its way from village to village, around sharp bends, and through narrow passages for 5.5 hours, and we enjoyed every minute of it! Our final destination was Flam, a tiny village deep in the fjord where we had a lovely 3 hour break – just long enough to have lunch at an outdoor café and lay by the water to enjoy the view.
At 4:15pm, we boarded the Flamsbana train and headed back toward Bergen through the mountains. We chugged past amazing waterfalls, through breathtaking valleys and along steep cliffs taking in some of the most beautiful sights. (Tip: sit on the right hand side of the train when leaving Flam!) The train ride from Flam to Myrdal, the last stop on the Flamsbana line, has been named one of the top 10 most scenic trips in Europe, and the train itself is the steepest normal gauge train in the world – at one point making a corkscrew turn right through the middle of a mountain!
We changed to a regional train for the last leg from Myrdal to Bergen and arrived at about 8pm that evening. It was a fabulous day, and of the two trip options Norway in a Nutshell offers, we would definitely recommend the combination of boat and train!
Sunday morning’s cruise to Osteroy Island was also very relaxing and low key. It lasted about 3 hours and made for a perfect last activity in Norway before heading home, especially since it offered the chance to drink crisp glacier water directly from the waterfall!
And, as any wonderful vacation should end, Troy spent the flight home reading up on locations for our next adventure!
We had an amazing time in Norway and would highly recommend the trip to everyone. If you’ve been to Norway before, I’d love to hear about your favorite site or activity also, and if you missed my post about our days exploring Bergen, make sure to read it here!