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Exploring Norway's Western Fjords

A rather special escorted tour of Norway’s great Western Fjords which will appeal to those who prefer to be guided, but who also enjoy free time for themselves.

Norway’s western fjords have long been a region of wonder; their magnificent beauty is world famous and an exploration of them is high on many travellers’ wish list.

Highlights of this tour include: Sognefjord, Norway’s longest and deepest fjord; Geirangerfjord, world famous and a UNESCO World Heritage Site; Fjærlandsfjord, known as ‘the green fjord’; Nærøyfjord, one of the world’s narrowest fjords and also a UNESCO World Heritage Site and, of course, lovely Bergen – Gateway to the Fjords.

This holiday also includes a variety of cultural visits to farms, orchards and workshops for greater insight into Norwegian lifestyle and livelihood and there are dinings at local restaurants and tastings from speciality food and drink artisans.

Immerse yourself in the glory of the fjords!

Land of the fjords

Day 1 | Arrive Bergen

Arrive Bergen Airport. Take the airport bus to Bergen centre. Short walk to your hotel which is centrally located close to Bryggen harbour and the fish market area.

At 1900 meet with your tour leader in the hotel reception area. Together, you will walk to Bryggen for a delicious 3-course welcome dinner at a local restaurant. During dinner you will receive an introduction to the tour and your fellow travellers.

2 nights BERGEN - Bergen Børs Hotel (4*)
Meals included today: Dinner


Day 2 | Bergen

After buffet breakfast at your hotel, meet with your tour leader and start a short introductory tour of Bergen on foot including highlights such as the famous Fish and Flower Market, the old Bryggen Harbour with its gabled pack houses, the popular Hanseatic Quarter and the ancient Maria Church. In the afternoon, excursion by coach to a small local farm Øvre Eide Farm with animals, located just outside of Bergen. Learn about Norwegian culture and farm life while enjoying locally produced juice and traditional Norwegian cake.

Evening free in Bergen.
Meals included today: Breakfast


Day 3 | Bergen – Sognefjord – Geiranger

After buffet breakfast, embark the express boat taking you up the Norwegian west coast and into the spectacular Sognefjord, the longest and deepest fjord in Norway. From the sun deck of the comfortable lounge, you can enjoy the spectacular scenery of cascading waterfalls, sheer mountain cliffs, snow-clad peaks, and a variety of wildlife. Disembark in Leikanger, and savour a light lunch at a local eatery in the Norwegian countryside.

After lunch, follows a scenic tour by road to Fjærland. Pass under the Jostedal Glacier, the largest in Europe, to the village of Skei at the northern end of beautiful Lake Jølster. Proceed north, passing small villages and beautiful lakes, before ascending the Nibbevegen road up to Geiranger Skywalk, the highest fjord view by road in Europe. From the mountain top you will be overlooking the spectacular Geiranger Fjord with a clear drop of approx. 500 meter and magnificent views of Geiranger.
Early evening you arrive to your hotel, which overlooks the magnificent Geirangerfjord. Settle in before your buffet dinner at the hotel. From the restaurant you have a lovely view of the fjord and mountains.

2 nights GEIRANGER - Union Hotel (4*)
Meals included today:  Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner


Day 4 | Geiranger

Start your day with buffet breakfast at the hotel and enjoy the free morning to explore the hotel and the area on your own. We warmly recommend a visit to the hotel’s pool and spa area and the vintage car collection.

Just outside the hotel you can start the Geiranger Waterfall walk - a stair walk from the hotel down to Geiranger centre containing 327 steps and plateaus, going close to the majestic surging Stofossen (waterwall). Optional excursions from Geiranger centre are also available, such a RIB-boat tour and kayaking.

In the afternoon enjoy a half day tour by coach up to Ørnevegen (the Eagles Road) and the national tourist road Trollstigen (Road of Trolls). This scenic route goes through west Norwegian nature at its most powerful, with a dizzying view of high and mighty mountainsides, deep fjords and fertile valleys. Along the route there are several viewpoints overlooking both fjords and valleys as well as a short ferry crossing Eidsdal-Linge and vise versa.

Return to the hotel in late afternoon and enjoy a buffet dinner at the hotel in the evening.
Meals included today:  Breakfast, Dinner


Day 5 | Geiranger - Fjærland - Balestrand

Breakfast at the hotel and check out. This morning board a ferry for a 1-hour cruise on the UNESCO listed Geirangerfjord - possibly the most impressive of all the Norwegian fjords. During the trip between Geiranger and Hellesylt take in views of the Knivsflå waterfalls, known as the Seven Sisters and Friaren (the Suitor), and pass close by the Brudesløret (Bridal Veil) falls. Disembark in Hellesylt and head out towards the Nord Fjord. Short ferry crossing Lote-Anda and proceed south.

Enjoy a light lunch at local café with big panoramic windows viewing the Bøyabreen Glacier, a branch of the Jostedalbreen Glacier – the largest glacier on the European continent – and this being one of the most spectacular of the glacier branches.
After lunch, short drive to the exceptional Norwegian Glacier Museum to watch a thrilling 5-screen film, before taking the boat from Fjærland 1½ hours down the beautiful Fjærlandsfjord, a branch of the Sognefjord, to Balestrand. Disembarkation is right in front of your hotel, superbly located on the banks of the fjord and surrounded by mountains. Check in and enjoy a few hours at your leisure to soak in this historical hotel, which dates back to 1752. The hotel has been in the Kvikne family since 1877 today is a mixture of ancient and modern hotel with old-world charm and atmosphere, adorned with an extensive collection of artworks and antiques.

In the evening enjoy buffet dinner in the hotel’s romantic restaurant with view to the Sognefjord.

1 night BALESTRAND - Kviknes Hotel (4*)
Meals included today:  Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner


Day 6 | Balestrand - Nærøyfjord - Gudvangen - Lofthus

After buffet breakfast, departure from your hotel by ferry from Dragsvik to Hella, followed by a scenic tour along the northern side of the Sognefjord to Sogndal and further on to Kaupanger. From Kaupanger take a 2½-hour ferry crossing on the beautiful Sognefjord and the Nærøyfjord. Nærøyfjord is considered among the narrowest and wildest fjords of Norway and is on the UNESCO World Heritage List. After disembarking in Gudvangen at the head of the Nærøyfjord, you will visit the authentic Viking Village and the setting for the town of Njardarheimr, bringing to life the real history and culture of the Viking age.
Proceed by coach via the town of Voss towards the Hardangerfjord, famous for its many fruit orchards. Cross the Hardanger Bridge, which is among the longest suspension bridges in the world. Continue your journey alongside the Sørfjord, via Kinsarvik, to Lofthus.

Arrive to your hotel during the late afternoon. This unique family owned hotel dates back to 1846, and today the hotel has found the perfect balance between rich traditions and modern facilities. Enjoy a rich buffet dinner in the hotel’s dining room “Spisesalen”, well known for their impressive range of dishes, which is mainly homemade from local produce.

2 nights LOFTHUS - Ullensvang Hotel (4*)
Meals included today:  Breakfast, Dinner


Day 7 | Lofthus

Breakfast at the hotel. Enjoy the day free at your leisure to explore the hotel and the surrounding area. You can adore the spectacular view from the hotel while swimming in the indoor or outdoor pool, or you can exercise in the hotel’s gym, play tennis, squash or try their golf simulator (facilities/equipments for hire at the hotel).

The hotel also offers impressive helicopter sightseeing tours (see optional tours), for unique and spectacular views of amazing fjords, majestic glaciers, roaring waterfalls and green valleys from above.

Follow your tour leader on a walk up the fruit trail behind the hotel and get to learn more about fruit farming and local history. You may extend the walk further to the Elvadalen for close views at the waterfalls at the very end of the valley.

For the hard core hikers, you can add an optional excursion and achieving advanced hiking trails, such as the Trolltunga, a demanding full day hike (10-12 hours + transfer to Skjeggedal).

In the evening enjoy buffet dinner at the hotel.
Meals included today:  Breakfast, Dinner


Day 8 | LOFTHUS – HARDANGER FJORD – BERGEN

Buffet breakfast at the hotel before departure from Lofthus. Cross the Hardanger Bridge again and proceed along the spectacular Hardangerfjord all the way from Granvin to Steindalsfossen. En route you stop in Steinstø for a visit to the local Steinstø Fruit farm, an idyllic family owned fruit farm in peaceful surroundings. Enjoy a tour of the farm followed by lunch including homemade apple juice.
Just a short transfer from the Fruit Farm is the Hardanger Aqua Centre. Here you will do a short visit to the Fish Farm and experience salmon farming in practice, before a 15-minute transfer to Øystese, for a visit to the new exhibition centre for a deeper introduction to fish farming, which is a huge industry in Norway. The visit will include tasting of different types of salmon.

The last stop before reaching Bergen in the afternoon is Steinsdalsfossen, one of the most popular waterfalls in Norway. Steinsdalsfossen has a fall of 50 metres and a special way to experience it is the safe and dry walk behind it.

Return to Bergen late afternoon and settle in before your farewell dinner on a small island just outside the city of Bergen. Walk with your tour leader to Bryggen and board a boat for a beautiful trip of approx. ½ hour to the island Bjorøy. Here you find Cornelius Restaurant, one of Norway’s best seafood restaurants. Enjoy the unique setting and view to the fjord, mountains, skerries and passing boats and ships. You will be served a heavenly 5-course farewell dinner before the boat carries you back to the mainland during late evening.

1 night BERGEN - Bergen Børs Hotel (4*)
Meal included today:  Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner


Day 9 | Homeward bound

Enjoy a relaxing breakfast at your hotel with free time before taking the airport bus to Bergen Airport for your return flight home.
Meals included today:  Breakfast

Departure Dates:

  • 17 June – 25 June 2020
  • 30 June – 8 July 2020
  • 8 July – 16 July 2020 (SOLD OUT)
  • 16 July – 24 July 2020
  • 28 July – 5 August 2020 (SOLD OUT)
  • 5 August – 13 August 2020

Duration:  8 nights

Prices from:  Price are based on either two people travelling together and sharing a twin/double room throughout or one person travelling on their own and having a double/twin room for sole occupancy.

  • £3840 per person (twin/double)
  • £4435 per person (single)

Deposit:  £300 per person


It is important to read the Terms and Conditions which apply when making a confirmed booking with us. By asking us to confirm your booking, we are entitled to assume that you have read and understood our terms and conditions, and agree to them.

PRICE INCLUDES

Flights

  • Scheduled return flights with SAS in SAS Go class from Heathrow to Bergen (via Oslo) including 23kgs of checked luggage and one piece of hand luggage per person. Advanced seat reservation is free of charge when checking in online 22 hours prior to departure. Alternative departure airports and airlines available – please ask for details and prices.

Airport Transfers

Return journey by airport bus or ‘flybus’ from Bergen Airport to Bergen city centre, close to your hotel.

Accommodation

  • 3 nights (2+1) at the 4* Bergen Børs Hotel in Bergen in a standard twin/double room including buffet breakfast.
  • 2 nights at the 4* Union Hotel in Geiranger in a standard, mountain facing twin/double room including daily buffet dinner and breakfast.
  • 1 night at the 4* Kviknes Hotel in Balestrand in a standard, mountain facing room in the New Wing including buffet dinner and breakfast.
  • 2 nights at the 4* Ullensvang Hotel in Lofthus in a standard, orchard view twin/double room including daily buffet breakfast and dinner.
  • Luggage assistance at all hotels while with the group.

Additional Meals/Drinks

  • 3-course welcome dinner at local restaurant in Bergen.
  • 5-course farewell dinner at small island outside Bergen, including boat roundtrip.
  • 1 drink (wine/beer/soft drink) included for each dinner.
  • 3 x lunch (2 courses) in local eateries/cafes.

Excursions/Activities

  • Local farm visit with Norwegian traditions and animals including coffee/cake.
  • Local farm visit including tasting of homemade apple juice.
  • Salmon farm visit including tasting of 3 samples of salmon.
  • Entrance to the Norwegian Glacier Museum including 5-screen film.
  • Entrance to the Viking village
  • Toll fee Geiranger Skywalk view point and toll fee Hardanger Bridge x 2
  • Approx. 4½-hour cruise by express boat Bergen-Leikanger along the Norwegian coast and into the Sognefjord.
  • 1-hour cruise on the UNESCO-listed Geirangerfjord.
  • 2½-hour cruise on the Sognefjord and the UNESCO-listed Nærøyfjord.

Guiding and Transport

  • English speaking Tour Manager from Day 1 to Day 9.
  • Modern deluxe coach with reclining seats and seat-belts.
  • All ferry crossings as per programme.

Why not upgrade your experience?

ACCOMMODATION

Bergen Børs Hotel, Bergen

  • Superior room: £12 per person per night (twin), £24 (single)
  • Deluxe room: £25 per person per night (twin), £50 (single)

Union Hotel, Geiranger

  • Fjord view: £65 per person per night (twin), £65 (single)
  • Deluxe room with fjord view and balcony: £85 per person per night (twin), £85 (single)

Kviknes Hotel, Balestrand

  • Fjord view New Wing:  £30 per person per night (twin), £30 (single)
  • Fjord view Historical building:  £45 per person per night (twin), £45 (single)
  • Demi-suite with fjord view Historical building:  £70 per person per night (twin), £70 (single)

Hotel Ullensvang, Lofthus

  • Standard room fjord view:  £45 per person per night (twin), £90 (single)
  • Superior room with fjord view:  £70 per person per night (twin), £140 (single)

TRANSFERS

Airport arrival/departure Bergen, 1 – 5 pax* – £160/one-way**

* based on one suitcase per person.
** night supplement 2100 – 0700 + 20%, weekend supplement (Sat & Sun) + 20%

Hotel Bergen Børs (4*) – Bergen

An elegant hotel in neo-classical style – newly opened in 2017 – housed in the historic former Stock Exchange and furnished with a successful combination of both classic and modern Scandinavian design. Located close to Bergen’s attractive harbour, the famous Fish Market and ‘Torgalmennengen’ – one of Bergen’s main city squares and a popular meeting place. The hotel’s gourmet restaurant ‘BARE’ is one of the city’s most highly rated restaurants and offers Nordic cuisine using seasonal ingredients and flavours from the fjord region (open Tues-Sat). Breakfast is also served here to guests. Art-deco inspired bar. 6th Floor lounge where guests can also help themselves to tea and coffee. All bedrooms are attractively furnished and equipped with shower and Wc, hairdryer, TV, Nespresso coffee machine, minibar and telephone. Free Wi-Fi. 24-hour Reception and luggage storage. Airport bus drops at the Fishmarket (100 metres).

Union Hotel (4*) – Geiranger

Union Hotel, Geiranger

The Hotel Union was built in 1891 by A. Shieldrop of Ålesund. The building was originally of wood, inspired by the Swiss or dragon-head style, closely linked to Art Nouveau and Jugend architecture, and identical to the timber-built hotel at Øye. In 1899, the hotel was purchased by Julie and Karl Mjelva. The Mjelvas were extremely enterprising, opening an automobile manufacturing plant, a power station and a cooker factory all on the same site. The cooker factory is still in operation today, with a new owner, but at a different location.

Today the hotel has evolved into one of the finest hotels in Norway. It is spacious with generously proportioned, stylishly furnished lounges and lobby areas, in warm, attractive colours. More than enough space for many, or simply a quiet corner for oneself. The atmosphere is relaxing. Everywhere, large panoramic windows let in light and views of the wonderful natural surroundings. Enjoy a cup of good coffee as you gaze over the Geirangerfjord, the most beautiful fjord in the world.

Hotel Union has 197 rooms, including 6 deluxe suites and 13 junior suites. All rooms are attractively furnished and decorated with care and attention to detail. Not all have views of the fjord, but all have fine views of the surrounding countryside, bringing nature right into your room.

The 6 deluxe suites are all different and individually furnished. The size of each suite varies, but all have their own bedroom and lounge, making them ideal for small meetings. The junior suites are modern and well-equipped and most suites have fjord views. Please ask for the supplement to upgrade to a suite.

When it comes to food the philosophy of the hotel is to present good Norwegian cuisine based on the very best ingredients and locally sourced produce. All food is freshly cooked, and many of the finest recipes have followed the hotel for generations. The hotel has two restaurants, Restaurant Fjorden and Restaurant Julie. Nina Grieg Terrace has spectacular views of the Geirangerfjord and the surrounding mountains and is a popular place, on a warm summer’s evening to relax over a light lunch, a cup of coffee or a glass of wine. There are three bars – Vognfabrikken in the basement inspired by the hotel’s unique veteran car collection, The Lobby Bar by the reception and The Nightclub, also in the basement where all the entertainment takes place including live dance music six nights per week.

Cafe Løsta is next to Union Bath & Spa, and is easily accessible for bathing guests. Enjoy a light meal in your bathrobe, or have it served inside the Union Spa. Cafe Løsta offers light meals, a salad buffet and a drinks and beverages menu.

Union Spa is the absolute icing on the cake. Here one encounters nature anew, within the framework of treatments based on the centuries-old secrets of many cultures, where the most valuable element is water. Water provides joy and pleasure for all ages! Such an experience provides mental and physical exercise and harmony, combined with positive moments in addition to feeling energised. In the swimming pool area you can swim indoors and outdoors, and relax in quiet zones in between. There is a sauna and for children there is a separate slide, grotto and games to play. A variety of treatments are available in the spa and can be pre-booked for your stay. Please telephone us on 01274 875199 for further information and prices.

Kviknes Hotel (4*) – Balestrand

Kviknes Hotel Balestrand

We have featured the Kviknes Hotel, and enjoyed a close co-operation with the Kvikne Family, since our beginnings – but not since theirs! At Kvikne’s their beginnings go right back to 1752 and the best traditions of inn-keeping. The Kvikne family, who still own the hotel, started their reign in 1877, a little before our time, and today it is Sigurd Kvikne (4th generation) who heads up the hotel, with his sister Kari managing their reservations and Front Office.

Although the hotel originally started with only two rooms (yes, just two!), today the hotel has 200 guest rooms and is one of the largest tourist hotels in Norway. Graced with an extensive collection of artworks and antiques, the hotel also has a list of prominent guests; Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany was a frequent guest, along with royalty, emperors, presidents, prime ministers, film stars and artists from many countries.

The hotel was originally built in the ‘Swiss’ style and this section is now referred to as the ‘Old Wing’ or ‘Historical Swiss Style Building’; however much new building, reconstruction and extension has taken place since, not least the addition of the ‘New Wing’ in the 1960s (see below). The Old Wing directly overlooks the Sognefjord and this is where you will find the beautiful dragon-style restaurant and lounge areas with a small number of guest rooms. In the public rooms you will find a fine collection of paintings from the numerous artists who stayed at the hotel (occasionally using their paintings as a way to pay for their stay!) and antique furniture in keeping with the antique, dragon-style wooden interior.

There are a number of different room categories available at the hotel. Our clients are accommodated in rooms on a high floor in the New Wing of the hotel with a view of the gardens and fjord. These rooms have twin beds, a seating area, desk, TV, telephone and bathroom with bath/shower and WC. A small number of twin rooms are also available in the Old Wing of the hotel which are simply and traditionally furnished in keeping with the old style of the hotel and have a view of the fjord. These rooms are available at a supplement. The Old Wing also has a small number of Junior Suites which have a separated seating area and bedroom and a view of the fjord. Please ask our reservations staff for applicable supplements.

The hotel serves a wonderful, traditional Scandinavian buffet for dinner with a broad selection of cold meats, fish and salad along with a good selection of hot dishes featuring meat, fish and vegetarian options. A large buffet breakfast is also served.

The New Wing – Beauty or the Beast?

It was during the 1960s, when Sigurd and Kari’s father, Per Kvikne, was running the hotel that he faced an increased demand for more rooms and plans for a new, modern building were drawn up. At the time Per came under considerable pressure to demolish the old, wooden hotel entirely and completely re-build a modern hotel in its place; however, he couldn’t bear to do this (he had an emotional attachment to the hotel and the memories and history it held) and he decided to have two contrasting buildings instead, retaining the old but building a new, and for them to sit alongside one another, both a testament to their place in history and both examples of fine architecture. This decision proved to be very controversial but it is one that we love and applaud! The New Wing is now seamlessly attached to its older sibling so that internally you pass from one to the other without even knowing you have done so, however, externally the two remain very distinct from one another and still cause something of a visual stir when approaching the hotel from the fjord.

Like it or loathe it, the New Wing is a beautiful example of post-modern 60s architecture and, without it, there simply wouldn’t be a historical, wooden building at all!

Ullensvang Hotel (4* plus) – Lofthus

Ullensvang Hotel in Loftus, Norway

This hotel is most certainly one of our favourites!  Owned and managed by the Utne Family since 1846, it is one of the finest hotels in Norway and has a wonderful location, directly overlooking Sørfjord, an arm of the Hardangerfjord. The hotel has plenty of areas to sit and relax with a cup of coffee, a hot chocolate or a glass of wine. Those who like a little tipple will no doubt enjoy pre and post-dinner drinks in one of the bars, followed by dancing to live music. There is a beautiful dining room overlooking the fjord and and their famous dinner buffet table has something for everyone. In addition to all of this their indoor activity centre includes a swimming pool, golf simulator, squash and tennis courts, pool, table tennis and a fitness room. Their relax department has saunas, hot tub, massage chairs and a solarium with a variety of Spa treatments available on request (please ask for further details). There is also a large fjordside veranda/garden from where it’s possible to rent rowing boats, pedalos and bicycles. And the piece de la resistance must surely be their wonderful outdoor swimming lane, at 88 metres long it is Europe’s longest outdoor swimming channel, culminating in an outdoor infinity pool. Lovely for when you’ve kicked off those hiking boots!

The view from the hotel’s gardens was a great source of inspiration to the composer Edvard Grieg, and his little wooden hut, in which he composed some of his greatest works, still sits in the hotel’s garden. As a homage to this view we wanted all our clients to be able to fully appreciate it from first thing in the morning until last thing in the evening. For this reason all Scandinavia Only clients receive rooms with a guaranteed fjord view.

From Geiranger

  • RIB boat tour 1 hour: price will follow
  • Kayaking 2 hours: price will follow
  • Kayaking 3-3½ hours: price will follow
  • Kayaking 5½ hours including farm visit: price will follow

From Lofthus

  • Helicopter ride, price per tour incl. 1-5 pax 12 minutes (incl. Kinsavik-Husedalen-Grubbeskard): £490
  • 15 minutes (incl. Folgefonna-Åse): £610
  • 30 minutes (incl. Folgefonna-Mauranger-Bondhusbreen-Buerbreen-Odda): £1200
  • Guided hiking tour to Trolltunga, 8-12 hours hike (demanding!) + transfer: price will follow

 

This tour has guaranteed departures, with no minimum number of participants required. The maximum number of participants on the tour is 36, plus your Tour Guide.

No, these are not included and we have a suggested amount of approximately £1-£2 per day for the driver and £4-£5 per day for the Tour Guide.

The tour operates with a rotation system to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to sit in exactly the seat they want - for at least some of the time! We have found this to be the fairest system and the most acceptable to our customers.

Travel Accreditations - Norway Travel Awards Winner, IATA, ABTA