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13th January 2019
We thought and thought about this one, but in the end it just had to be the Western Fjords...
Norway offers magnificent scenery on such a grand scale that without featuring a 6-weeks motoring tour covering every inch of the country we simply couldn't do it justice.
So we had to narrow it down to a tour which we think presents much of what visitors expect when they hear about how beautiful Norway really is. As a result this tour features Norway's Western Fjords in all their splendour and includes drives over panoramic mountain passes, along roads with hairpin bends snaking up mountain sides, hops across islands connected by road bridges and stays in a range of hotels offering true Norwegian hospitality and cuisine.
This holiday is meant to make you stop and suck in your breath, marvel at some of the great feats of engineering, realise how inadequate your camera is at capturing the majesty of it all and, above all, enjoy some of the world's most beautiful journeys.
Day 1: Kvam Mountains to Hardanger
Flight from Heathrow to Bergen (via Oslo). Collect your hire car at the airport and drive over the Kvam Mountains descending to Norheimsund, overlooking the Hardangerfjord (approx 50 miles).
2 nights NORHEIMSUND (BB) – Thon Hotel Sandven (3 star)
Day 2: Hardanger
Explore Hardanger. For more than a century travellers have visited Hardanger to experience mountains, fjords, waterfalls and glaciers and it has been a fruit-growing region since the 14th century.
Day 3: Vikafjell Mountain
Drive alongside Hardangerfjord and climb the gorge, passing Skjervet Falls, to the lakeside resort of Voss. Continue alongside Lake Løna and over the great Vik Mountain plateau with breathtaking panoramas whilst descending to Sognefjord. Across the fjord by car ferry and around the Esefjord to Balestrand, located on a promontory of land overlooking the Sognefjord (approx 102 miles plus 1 car ferry).
2 nights BALESTRAND (BB) – Midtnes Hotel (2 star plus)
Day 4: Balestrand
Why not head off on one of the walking trails from Balestrand? Alternatively, the road over Gaularfjellet features racing rivers, waterfalls and steep mountain slopes and is right on the doorstep.
Day 5: Sognefjord and Sognefjellet
A delightful drive on the shelf road along the northern shore of the Sognefjord towards Sogndal. Continue alongside the Lustrafjord and begin the slow climb of Sognefjellet with panoramic views of the towering Jotunheimen Mountains and glaciers. Through lovely Bøverdalen to Elveseter (approx 115 miles plus 1 car ferry).
1 night ELVESETER (BB) – Elveseter Hotel (3 star)
Day 6: Geirangerfjord, the Eagle's Road and Trollstigen (Troll's Way)
Today’s route showcases spectacular scenery of deep fjords, the Sunnmøre peaks and lush valleys. Ørneveien (Eagles Road), has 11 hairpin bends as it climbs out of Geiranger and provides incomparable views of the village, the fjord and Seven Sisters Waterfall. Trollstigen (Troll’s Path) also has 11 hairpin bends; don’t forget to make a stop at the viewing platform for a view of the curling road beneath you (approx 111 miles plus 1 car ferry).
1 night ÅNDALSNES (BB) – Hotel Aak (3 star)
Day 7: Romsdalfjord and the Atlantic Road to Ålesund
Alongside Langfjord to Eidsvåg, crossing the Kvernesfjord to the town of Kristiansund. Out to the coastline to Averöy and the Atlantic Road, an impressive road consisting of 12 bridges connecting the islands. Admire the Molde Panorama, a magnificent view of 87 snowcapped peaks, before crossing the fjord to Vestnes for the short drive to Ålesund. The town lies over three islands connected by bridges (approx 215 miles plus 1 car ferry).
2 nights ÅLESUND (BB) – Scandic Ålesund Hotel (4 star)
Day 8: Ålesund
Explore Ålesund. We recommend you visit the summit of Mount Aksla for the famous viewing point of the town.
Day 9: Hjørundfjord and Nordfjord
Across and alongside the Storfjord and Hjørunfjord, Sunnmøre's most majestic fjord, to Øye. The Norangsdal valley has 1700 m high mountains on both sides and affords spectacular views in all directions. Descend to the Nordfjord and Loen (approx 105 miles plus 2 car ferries).
2 nights LOEN (BB) - Hotel Loenfjord (3 star)
Day 10: Explore Loen
A full day to explore Nordfjord. Briksdal Glacier and Lake Olden plus Kjenndal Glacier and Lake Loen are both close by, or how about the via Ferrata or cable car to the top of the mountain for lunch with amazing views?
Day 11: Jølster Valley and Romarheimsdal to Bergen
Cross the Utvik Mountains and continue through Våtedal and the village os Skei. Cross the Sognefjord and continue to Bergen (176 miles plus 1 car ferry).
1 night BERGEN (BB) – Thon Hotel Rosenkrantz (4 star)
Day 12: Homeward bound
Drive to Bergen Airport and leave your hire car at the airport before checking in for your return flight home.
Departure Day: Daily
Departure Dates: 1 Jun - 30 Sep 2019
Price: Price is based on two people travelling together and sharing a double/twin room).
|Dep. Dates||Price from
|1 Jun - 30 Sep 2019||£2180||On request|
Additional costs payable locally
Domestic ferry crossings for car and passengers plus road tolls, approximately £125 total additional cost.
DEPOSIT: The deposit payment for this holiday is £200 per person
TO BOOK: To book this holiday either telephone us on 01274 875199 (this is our preferred option as it gives us the opportunity to chat with you!) or email your booking request to firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
It is your responsibility to check and fulfil the passport, visa, health and immigration requirements applicable to your itinerary. We can only provide general information about this. You must check requirements for your own specific circumstances with the relevant Embassies and/or Consulates and your own doctor as applicable. For further information contact the Passport Office on 0300 222 0000 or visit www.gov.uk/browse/abroad/passports. Up to date travel advice can be obtained from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, visit www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice.
Non British passport holders, including other EU nationals, should obtain up to date advice on passport and visa requirements from the Embassy, High Commission or Consulate of your destination or country(ies) through which you are travelling.
THON HOTEL SANDVEN (3 star) - Norheimsund
This hotel is a delightful mixture of Scandinavian historical and Scandinavian modern and despite the breadth of difference between them, they actually fit together rather nicely. The original part of the hotel was built at the end of the 19th century and was known simply as Sandven Hotel; this historical section is full of charm and history and was awarded the distinction 'Olavsrosa' by the foundation for Norwegian Heritage – a quality label for experiences rooted in Norwegian cultural heritage. Each of the bedrooms in this part of the hotel are different – in size and decoration – yet with the same quality of design and comfort as their modern counterparts.
In the modern part of the hotel the bedrooms have a more contemporary design and those who have stayed at Thon Hotels previously will be familiar with the bright and welcoming style of decoration. All Scandinavia Only guests receive a fjord-view room during their stay.
The hotel's public rooms in the historical section are simply beautiful with wood-panelled walls and antique paintings and furniture. The dining room is truly lovely and there are plenty of places to sit and relax in the equally beautiful lounge/reception area.
The hotel sits directly alongside the Hardangerfjord with gardens along one side and the village of Norheimsund on the other. This is a great location from which to explore the numerous sites and attractions of Hardanger.
MIDTNES PENSJONAT (2 star 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!
ELVESETER HOTEL (3 star) - Elveseter
Elveseter is an old farmstead situated in Bøverdalen valley in Lom County. Tourists from all walks of life, queens, kings, and heads of state as well as internationally acclaimed adventurers have all visited Elveseter. The family have always been great collectors of art, which are on display today, including paintings of Norwegian masters as well as works from the great Norwegian woodcarvers of the eighteenth century. One of the characteristics of Elveseter is the use of names and symbology from the ancient Norse Mythology. Names such as Midgard, Utgard, Tor and Odin make history come alive and create a bridge to modern time. Despite its historical, rustic wooden buildings Elveseter Hotel has been carefully modernised to provide travellers with the level of comfort and service they expect of a 3 star hotel and a level of cuisine famous in the region.
Built in traditional style with a large terrace cafe overlooking the river. This location enables you to be close to magnficient mountain scenery. There is a Lounge, bar, and a spacious dining room for you to enjoy and the option of dancing to live music six nights each week is also availble! All rooms have telephone and TV. Guests are able to use the facilities of the Hotel Alexandra for a small charge.
THON HOTEL ROSENKRANTZ (4 star) - Bergen
Thon Hotel Rosenkrantz is located in Bergen's old Hanseatic harbour area, Bryggen, and is within short walking distance from Fløibanen funicular railway, which travels to the top of Mount Fløyen, the Hanseatic Museum, harbour and the fish market. The hotel has several room categories, the main ones featured by Scandinavia Only being standard and superior room. All rooms feature a minibar, cable TV, pay-TV, a workdesk and free WiFi, however superior rooms are more generous in size, have a better view of Bryggen and have tea/coffee facilities. The hotel provides a substantial full buffet breakfast every morning and also includes a daily free evening buffet meal (available between 1800 and 2100) for all hotel guests.
Norway's Greatest Driving Routes
This holiday isn't just about driving, it's also about doing...or not doing - the choice is yours!! We just want you to know what is possible to enhance your stay.
Go glacier hiking!
This holiday offers you a really great opportunity to go glacier walking/hiking and/or climbing. This is during your stay in Norheimsund by taking the ferry across the fjord to Jondal and the Folgefonni Glacier.
Go whitewater rafting!
The popular lakeside resort of Voss offers the opportunity to go rafting on the Stranda or Raundal rivers. This is a fabulous activity and guaranteed to set the adrenaline rushing! Voss Rafting offer a selection of rafting trips including other activities.
Experience the Flåm Mountain Railway
En route from Norheimsund to Balestrand you have the opportunity (with an early departure from Norheimsund) to take a side trip to the village of Flåm which overlooks the Aurlandsfjord. Flåm has a rather famous mountain railway and a return trip will take approximately 2 hours with fantastic views as it climbs and turns up the mountain to Myrdal. A return ticket costs NOK420 locally (approximately £38 per person) and it is possible to combine the trip with a bicycle ride down. Be warned though - during high season Flåm is a popular cruise and excursion destination and crowds are not uncommon.
Walk behind a waterfall
Take a walk behind Steinsdalfoss at Norheimsund, one of Norway's most popular waterfalls, and feel the rush without getting wet!
Climb the mountain for a view the town
Climb the 418 steps from Ålesund centre to the viewing point at the top of Mount Aksla for a panoramic view of the town, the archipelago and the Sunnmøre Alps. Then reward yourself with waffles at the Fjellstua...
Take the Skylift in Loen for a spectacular view of Nordfjord
A cable car will lift you from the fjord to 1011 m. Here you can enjoy the views of the fjord landscape - from the restaurant table, or while exploring in the mountains. Walk down or return to fjord level by cable car. For more information visit www.loenskylift.com.
Absorb the atmosphere!
Stop off at the viewing point during your climb of Sognfjell (between Balestrand and Lom). Whilst surrounded by all those mountains, take a deep breath, stretch your arms in the air and ask someone to take your photo! Photos of the mountains alone will NEVER do it justice so it's how it made you feel that you will enjoy remembering ;-)
Treat yourself to cake and hot chocolate
Indulge yourself with a delicious cake from Bakeriet i Lom, Morten Shakenda’s lovely bakery, made famous by those Hairy Bikers!! There are lots to choose from and the cafe has a glorious view of the river rapids.
Atlantic Road walkway
During your journey along the Atlantic Road stop off on Eldhusøya island and enjoy the ocean scenery from a latticework walkway, suspended just above the terrain and accompanied by information boards, a service centre and café.
People watch in Sogndal
Stop off for a walk around the Sognefjord's main town, Sogndal. This is where the locals need to come to do their 'big shop' and it is also the main administration centre for the Sogn og Fjordane region.
Here you will find further information regarding this holiday. If you were looking for something and didn't find it here please let us know and we will add it to the list.
Who is this holiday suitable for?
It is suitable for everyone but most especially for those who like driving and the freedom that a car provides to explore side trips along the way. Young children may become a little bored as amazing scenery is not such a priority at this age, however older teenagers will enjoy the excitement of the hairpin bends and the availability of outdoor activities at each destination.
How difficult is it to drive in Norway?
Norway is a huge country with a tiny population so it stands to reason that the roads are not the most crowded you will ever drive on! Like all countries around the world you will find the cities the busiest and more challenging to negotiate, but even in Ålesund and Bergen (the two busiest destinations you will be driving around) you will find you have time to think about where you are driving.
This holiday does have some magnificent roads, several with hairpin bends, though it's usually the passenger who does the gasping at this point and not the driver! There are no routes on this holiday that a 50 seater coach or lorry is not allowed to drive on so this may make you feel a little better about being in a much smaller vehicle.
Our friends at Visit Norway have put together an excellent information page regarding driving in Norway (rules, regulations, sppeds etc) and we would recommend you visit it by clicking here.
Norwegians are very courteous drivers overall, though they do have a habit of putting their foot down when racing to catch the next ferry. Just take your time though and let them pass you - you'll no doubt meet them again, one place forward, in the queue at the ferry quay.
Is there an age limit for driving in Norway?
Not an upper one, no. With our car hire company you can be 99 years of age; as long as you still have a valid driving license at home then you are OK to drive in Norway. There is, however, a lower age limit for driving a hire car in Norway and this is 25 years old at prices quoted for our holidays, though you can drive from 19 years of age for a supplement. This is all to do with insurance and not that we don't like people under 25 years old!
What sort of clothing should I take?
Exactly the same sort of clothing you would take for a similar type of holiday in the UK, i.e. be prepared for any type of weather! For those of you who intend to go hiking whilst in resorts (and these are some of the FINEST hiking destinations you will ever visit) then you will need your hiking gear; good boots, outdoor clothing, back-pack and, if going off the beaten track, knowledge of navigation. Always let your accommodation know if you are going 'off-roading' so they know to look out for you later in the day...