7 nights: 2 x OSLO, 3 x BALESTRAND, 2 x BERGEN
Featuring much of what most people have seen or heard about when it comes to a holiday in southern Norway
- Dates & Prices
- Price Includes
This holiday offers many of the most well-known, wonderful sights and attractions that lure most people to a first time holiday in Southern Norway. Many then want to re-visit and savour longer after exploring further afield.
These elements include Norway’s vibrant and modern capital city, Oslo; the great journey by train on the Bergen Railway across the mountain plateau from east to west; the famous Flåm Mountain Railway with its numerous twists and turns as it descends the mountain to the fjord; the magnificent and mighty Sognefjord – breathtaking in her beauty and Norway’s longest and deepest fjord; and Bergen, Norway’s second city with a beautiful Hanseatic harbour which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Since they’re perfect for first time visitors and keep them coming back year after year, perhaps you could say that this holiday could also be called ‘Norway for Veterans’ too!
Day 1 - Arrive in Oslo
Arrive at Oslo Airport by air from the UK. Airport train transfer to Oslo Central Station.
2 nights OSLO - Thon Hotel Panorama (3*) or Thon Hotel Opera (4*)
Meals included today: None
Day 2 - Explore Oslo
A full day to explore Norway's fabulous capital city. Highlights of the city include the Edvard Munch Museum (come face to face with 'The Scream!), the stunning view of the Oslofjord from the Opera House, The Viking Ships Museum, The Vigeland Sculpture Park, the newly opened Astrup Fearnly Museum of Modert Art and Aker Brygge, Oslo's picturesque harbour area full of cafes, restaurants and shops.
Meals included today: Breakfast
Day 3 - Bergen Line Train, The Flåm Mountain Railway & a Fjord Cruise
Early departure by rail for the wonderful journey across the mountain plateau from Oslo to Myrdal (5 hours). In Myrdal you change to the World-famous Flåm Mountain Railway for the magnificent descent to Flåm overlooking the Aurlandsfjord. Your journey continues by boat for a fjord-cruise to what we consider to be one of Norway's most perfectly located and picturesque fjord villages, Balestrand – overlooking the mighty Sognefjord in all her splendour.
You will be met at the quay in Balestrand and transferred to your accommodation.
**Please see our blog to read about our trip to Balestrand. You'll quickly understand why we love it so much!**
3 nights BALESTRAND - Midtnes Hotel (2*plus) or Kviknes Hotel (4*)
Meals included today: Breakfast, Dinner (Kviknes only)
Day 4 - Fjærlandsfjord Boat and Glacier Trip
Today we have included a full-day excursion to Fjærland which includes a visit to the Norwegian Glacier Museum and the two glaciers. Your journey begins by boat for a leisurely scenic trip along the Fjærlandsfjord, before continuing by bus to the museum and glaciers. Departure is shortly after breakfast, returning late afternoon.
Meals included today: Breakfast, Dinner (Kviknes only)
Day 5 - Relax or Explore
A free day to explore the area at your own leisure.
Balestrand is an idyllic village with a magnificent mountain backdrop and the Sognefjord directly in front – the perfect location for stretching your legs on one of the marked walking trails or exploring the region's numerous opportunities for activities plus cultural, art and food experiences.
Why not pre-book a guided tour to the viewing point at Utsikten on Mount Gaularfjell? Or how about a guided fjord trip by RIB boat or kayak? Please see the Excursions tab for more information and prices.
Meals included today: Breakfast, Dinner (Kviknes only)
Day 6 - Coastline Cruise to Bergen
Early morning transfer to the quay for departure by express boat along the Sognefjord out to where it meets the sea before heading southwards along the coastline to Bergen.
2 nights BERGEN – Augustin Hotel (3*) or Thon Hotel Rosenkrantz (4*)
Meals included today: Breakfast
Day 7 - Explore Bergen
A full day to explore Norway's second largest city with its charming and colourful Hanseatic harbour (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), funicular railway to the viewing point at the top of Mount Fløien and the numerous shops, cafes and restaurants clustered within easy walking distance of one another.
Meals included today: Breakfast
Day 8 - Return home
Transfer from Bergen centre by airport bus to Bergen Airport for your return flight home.
Meals included today: Breakfast
Departure Days: Daily
Departure Dates: 29 May to 11 Sep 2020
Duration: 7 nights
Deposit: £200 per person
Prices: from £1595 per person (3 *option) or £1995 per person (4 * option) based on two people travelling together and sharing a double/twin room with shower and WC throughout.
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.
- Scheduled return flights with SAS in SAS Go class from Heathrow to Oslo and from Bergen to Heathrow (via Oslo) including 23kgs of checked luggage and one piece of hand-luggage per person. Taxes included. Alternative airlines and departure airports available – please ask for schedules and prices.
- Airport express train (flytoget) transfer from Oslo Airport to Oslo Central Station.
- 2 nights hotel accommodation in Oslo based on a standard double/twin room at the Thon Hotel Panorama (3*) and a standard twin/double room at the Thon Hotel Opera (4*) including daily Scandinavian buffet breakfast.
- Rail journey from Oslo to Myrdal including seat reservations.
- Flåm Mountain Railway journey from Myrdal to Flåm.
- Express boat journey from Flåm to Balestrand.
- 3 nights accommodation in Balestrand based on a standard twin/double room with balcony and fjord view at the Midtnes Hotel (2*plus) and a twin/double room with fjord view and balcony in the New Wing of Kviknes Hotel (4*). Both include daily Scandinavian buffet breakfast and Kviknes Hotel also includes daily sumptuous buffet dinner.
- Fjaerlandsfjord Boat Trip and Glacier excursion as detailed.
- Express boat journey from Balestrand to Bergen.
- 2 nights hotel accommodation in Bergen based on a standard double/twin room at the Augustin Hotel (3*) and a superior double room at the Thon Hotel Rosenkrantz (4*) including daily Scandinavian buffet breakfast.
- Airport bus (flybus) transfer from Bergen City Centre to Bergen Airport.
- Travel Document Wallet.
- 24-hour Emergency Telephone Assistance.
- Financial Protection.
Thon Hotel Panorama (3*) – Oslo
Thon Hotel Panorama occupies a very central, quiet, location in Oslo city, just 500m from Oslo Central Station. Karl Johans Gate (the main shopping street), the Opera House, the Museum of Contemporary Art and Steen & Strøm department store are only a few streets away. Aker Brygge, Oslo’s bustling harbour area, is also within walking distance.
The hotel’s bedrooms (all with double beds only) are comfortably furnished and with shower and WC, hairdryer, TV, telephone, coffee and tea making facilities. Free WiFi. A full Scandinavian buffet breakfast is included for all hotel guests in the breakfast room. No restaurant, however there are plenty of restaurants (classic Norwegian as well as many international cuisines) in close proximity to the hotel. Complimentary coffee/tea is also available in the reception area with reception staffed 24-hours per day.
Thon Hotel Opera (4*) – Oslo
Thon Hotel Opera is very centrally and conveniently located next to the Airport Train Terminal at Oslo Central Train Station with the city’s main shopping street ‘Karl Johan’ just two mins walk away. Oslo Opera House, as the hotel name suggests, is located opposite the hotel and the Barcode Skyscraper with restaurants and bars just a few steps away. The hotel has 434 rooms all attractively furnished and with private bath or shower and WC, hairdryer, telephone, mini-bar, TV, iron/ironing board, tea & coffee making facilities. Free Wi-Fi. Hotel Lounge. The ‘Scala’ Restaurant provides a lavish daily breakfast buffet as well as a weekday lunch buffet and evening a la carte menu (on request at weekends). The hotel’s ‘Eufemia Bar’, specialising in gin and fine wines, also serves food inside and outdoors. Exercise facilities.
Midtnes Hotel (2* plus) – Balestrand
The Midtnes Hotel or Midtnes Pensjonat as we always call it (for many years it used the Norwegian name for a small, traditional, Norwegian guesthouse) is one of the most popular small hotels in Western Norway, and rightly so. It is owned and managed by Jon Gjeraker, who is a wonderful host and a mine of local information. All rooms are accessible via a lift and have shower and WC with a number also having a private balcony. We always reserve rooms for Scandinavia Only clients with a balcony and fjord view when available. The hotel has a selection of nice, intimate lounge areas, one with an open fireplace, so there is plenty of space to relax with a glass of wine/beer or cup of tea/coffee. The hotel also has a lovely sun terrace with a fabulous panorama view of the Sognefjord. In addition to this the hotel also has its own pier, a bathing place and rowing boat. Water comes straight from a mountain lake and is drinkable from the tap!
Kviknes Hotel (4*) – 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!
Augustin Hotel (3*) – Bergen
The Augustin Hotel has an extremely handy location, centrally located but in a quieter street just set back from the main harbour area. It is a short walk to most of the city’s main attractions including Bryggen (the old Hanseatic harbour), the main shopping streets, the Aquarium, the express boat terminal and the funicular railway. It is actually Bergen’s oldest family-run hotel now managed by the fourth generation of the Smørås family; the oldest part of the hotel was built in Art Nouveau style in 1909, however, since then the hotel has expanded, incorporating old neighbouring houses and building new wings. The hotel has a popular intimate dinner restaurant (closed Sundays) where their excellent buffet breakfast is also served, and a lovely 400-year-old cellar bar, Altona. During the summer months (June – August) you will find free waffles served between 1600 and 1800 in the lounge area next to Reception. Free tea and coffee is also available here all year round, 24 hours per day. All bedrooms are equipped with TV, phone, hair-dryer, mini-bar and trouser press. Lift to all floors.
Thon Hotel Rosenkrantz (4*) – Bergen
Thon Hotel Rosenkrantz has an enviable location directly in Bryggen, Bergen’s Hanseatic harbour. Set behind the main wharf buildings that line the harbour’s facade, the hotel has the benefit of being centrally located and yet is still quiet. The hotel is just steps away from Fløibanen, the funicular railway to the summit of Mount Fløyen, and to the harbour, fish market and numerous restaurants, bars and cafes.The hotel offers a variety of room types with standard and superior rooms being the ones primarily featured in Scandinavia Only’s holidays. Both room categories have very comfortable beds with both doubles and twins being available. All bedrooms are comfortably furnished and with bath or shower and WC, hairdryer, TV, mini-bar, bathrobe and slippers, safe, iron/ironing board and tea and coffee making facilities. Free Wi-fFi.
A lavish Scandinavian buffet breakfast is served daily in the breakfast room and a complimentary evening buffet meal is available to all hotel guests at certain times of the year from Monday to Thursday (if you feel the latter could be important to your stay please check dates before booking).
There is a multi-storey car park directly across the road from the hotel (payable locally) making it a very convenient hotel for those with a hire car.
The hotel has a lift to all floors and has wheelchair accessible rooms and allergy-friendly rooms.
Oslo Highlights Tour from Oslo
Description: Get to know Oslo on this wonderful tour which includes a good selection of the city’s highlights: the charming city centre, the surreal Holmenkollen ski jump, the impressive Vigeland Sculpture Park and a visit to the either the Fram Museum or the Kon-Tiki Museum. The trip includes the return trip from Bygdøy Peninsula to the city centre by short boat ride (duration 15 minutes).
- a panoramic city tour by bus with a certified Oslo guide
- photo stop and short break at Holmenkollen Ski Jump
- a guided walk through Vigeland Sculpture Park
- entrance to either the Fram Museum or the Kon-Tiki Museum (your choice) to experience the Norwegian’s adventurous spirit and fantastic achievements on their sea expeditions
- return from Bygdøy Peninsula to the city centre by boat
Operates: Daily, all year (please note, in winter you return to the city centre by bus instead of boat).
Duration: 4 hours, departs 1030. Meeting point is in the city centre.
Price: £45 per person
Includes: Transportation by coach, guide throughout, entrance to either the Fram Museum or the Kon-Tiki Museum, ferry journey from Bygdøy Peninsula to the city centre.
RIB Boat Fjord Sightseeing from Balestrand
Description: A wonderful way to explore the fjord and really appreciate the nature of this region. Our first stop on this trip is Esebottn, one of the most painted areas and views in Europe…need we say more! Our journey then continues towards the mighty Kvinafossen, a waterfall that falls 120 metres straight down into the fjord. Here we stop and take time to enjoy the sights and to take photographs. We then continue to Vangsnes, with a great view of the Fridtjov statue, and onward to the island of Kvamsøy. This is a small island in a shallow bay, and is the smallest island in the world with its own church, built in the 13th century. During the return to Balestrand we see the Dragon and Swiss style villas from the seaside before ending our trip in Balestrand harbour.
Operates: May to September
Duration: Approximately 1 hour and 20 minutes
Price: £65 per adult, £33 per child (under 17)
Price includes: RIB boat safari as detailed plus survival flotation suit
That's easy! Everyone. Clearly the name of this holiday suggests that it is for those people who have never been to Norway before and the reasoning behind this was that so many times we have people who phone us an say 'I've never been to Norway before and...'. When we ask them what prompted them to choose Norway it invariably is because of at least one, but often several, of the attractions featured in this holiday. But those who have been to Norway many times will also like this holiday - not least because it reminds them of what made them choose Norway in the first place!
The train departs at 0825 in the morning from Oslo Sentralstation (Central Station) and arrives into Myrdal at 1259. You will have seats reserved in Comfort Class; this is a separate compartment on the train with large windows, comfortable seats, WiFi, unlimited tea/coffee and free newspapers (though in Norwegian only!). It is not the same as First Class in the UK as they do not have First Class rail in Norway, but it is the biggest upgrade they have and extremely comfortable. The train will have a snack bar/shop where you can purchase drinks and light snacks. If you would like to have lunch included on the train just let us know and we can pre-book it for you. You then just go to the snack bar to collect it, however a pre-booked meal is more substantial than anything you can purchase on the train locally.
Absolutely! Just let us know at the time of booking so that we can ensure you are served delicious alternatives throughout. Breakfast in Norwegian hotels is invariably a help-yourself buffet and there is plenty to choose from. For those with very specific diets such as gluten free, vegan etc the hotels will have been notified and will have prepared suitable alternatives though these may be more limited. In the cities you will make your own arrangements for dining out in the evening and both Oslo and Bergen have a wide variety of choices available.
The first thing to say is that there is no specific dress code in Norway. You will find most people dressed quite casually and, as in the UK, jeans are predominant! In Norway they will dress jeans up with 'proper' shoes and perhaps a shirt as opposed to a T-shirt but overall it is very similar to the UK. The point we are making is that you are not going to be refused entry to a restaurant because you are not wearing a cocktail dress or a shirt and tie. However, it has to be said that Norwegians do not dine out in the same way that we do in the UK; in many cases they will only dine out when it is a special occasion such as an anniversary, a birthday or a 'night out get-together', and they will use this as an excuse to dress up as they are not required to do so on a day to day basis! This does not mean that you have to but we know that the British often like to 'follow suit' therefore we suggest you pack something accordingly.
When it comes to being in the great outdoors you should take exactly the same type of clothing you would in the UK, that is, be prepared for the sun, be prepared for the rain. As they say in Norway 'There is no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing'.
Ha, you're on your own here! Both the Kvikne's Hotel and the Midtnes Hotel are family owned and managed and both offer quality accommodation with genuinely attentive service and CARE. At the Kvikne's Hotel you will have their wonderful buffet dinner in the evening whereas at the Midtnes Hotel your stay is on a bed and breakfast basis only, leaving you free to eat at alternative places in Balestrand. The Kvikne's Hotel has a secluded outdoor area where you can swim in the fjord, Balholm Bar with drinks and a bistro menu and a souvenir shop. It is located directly alongside the fjord with gardens that run straight down to the water's edge whereas the Midtnes Hotel is set back slightly, with wonderful views of the fjord, and provides an intimate, more 'homely' hotel experience, not least due to the attentive care and company provided by Jon Gjeraker, the owner. Clearly one hotel is larger than the other and Kviknes Hotel is of serious historical significance (Kaiser Wilhelm was a guest for goodness sake!) but if you were to ask us which one we would want to stay at we would all unequivocally say both. Sorry, can't help you here!