Some exciting news here! I’ve created my first ever travel video. These types of technological skills don’t come naturally to me, so I figured I should try my hand at video editing with something so beautiful, not even my lack of computer know how could ruin it: the fjords of Norway.
As you can see, the natural beauty of Norway is breathtaking. Usually I can’t sit still for more than 10 minutes, but I spent nine hours touring the fjords without WiFi, a book, or any form of entertainment other than what was in front of me. And to my own surprise, I never got bored!
That’s what I said when my sister suggested we go see them. According to Fjord Norway, the official tourist board for the fjords, a fjord is a deep, narrow and elongated sea or lakedrain with steep land on three sides. These beauties were formed by giant glacier tongues that have shaped the landscape over several ice ages. They’re often surrounded by stunning mountain scenery unlike anything else in the world.
There are numerous tour operators that can create a customized fjord itinerary for you in Norway. But if you have limited time in the country like I did, you’ll want to book the Norway in a Nutshell tour. Departing from the picturesque city of Bergen, the Norway in a Nutshell tour offers several trip lengths, including a one day option.
I’m not sure if calling it a “tour” even makes sense, as Norway in a Nutshell is literally just a series of rail, bus and boat connections. While the drivers mention something you should look out for occasionally, there’s no official guide telling you what’s going on. But then again, no words can truly describe the Norwegian fjords!
According to several guides and tips I read before doing Norway in a Nutshell, the route can be extremely popular in the summer high season, meaning you’ll have to fight for a good seat. But when we went the last week of April, we were the only tourists on the train for some legs of the trip.
The tour starts off from the train station in Bergen, heading to the smaller city of Voss. Once in Voss, you catch a bus that takes you to a mini cruise terminal. While there are some gorgeous sights along the way, the cruise is really the best part of the trip. The boat moves slowly, offering plenty of photo opportunities as you pass majestic mountains and tiny, remote towns that can’t even be reached by road.
The boat eventually drops you off in Flam, where you hop on the historic Flam Railway and make your way high up into the mountains. We had left a sunny, 75 degree day in Bergen, but up in the mountains we saw a thick layer of untouched snow. It felt like we were on the Polar Express!
The final rail connection is made in Myrdal, where you board yet another train back to Bergen. You return to the city just in time for dinner (if you need suggestions, read my last post on 24 hours in Bergen, Norway).
The Norway in a Nutshell tour was the ideal way for someone who only had 2 days in Norway (like me!) to see the fjords. We stayed at the Klosterhagen Hotell in Bergen, which was located a convenient 5-10 minute walk from the train station. And if you have more time, you can choose multiple day itineraries with overnight stays in the picture-perfect small towns along the route.
If you’re planning to take the Norway in a Nutshell 1 day round trip tour, I would suggest dressing in layers since you will go through so many different climates along the way. The boat ride was a little windy.
Be aware that you’ll probably only have WiFi / phone service for a few minutes of the entire day. I’d recommend packing a good book to read as the first and last train rides of the trip aren’t the most exciting.
Food is available for purchase on the boat, as well as while you are waiting for your train connection in Flam. I was worried that I would starve to death over the nine hour trip without food, so I had packed water and snacks.
With such a long day of gorgeous scenery, I also suggest bringing a back up charger and an extra memory card for your camera. I took so many photos that my camera died halfway through. Fortunately I had my fully charged iPhone with me too! The boat actually has plugs so you can recharge.
Stay tuned for more Norway and Denmark posts this week & next! I have lots more to share before I take off on the next adventure to Ecuador, where I’ll be practicing my video production skills yet again. It’s amazing how creating and growing this blog has taught me more in a year than I ever learned in journalism school!
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