Europe / Norway / The Voyage

Norway Off My Bucket List

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Bidding farewell to Norway is a bitter-sweet moment. This trip is definitely an eye opener and I have learned and seen so much. The experiences I gained through this trip is phenomenon — from planning to booking and traveling across the globe to a completely new place in terms of culture and extreme differences in climate.

Norway is by far the coldest country I have ever traveled to. When the icy breeze hits my face, it’s no joke — pins and needles. And the amount of effort and energy one needs to layer on clothings every single day only to remove them layer by layer at night; this is something I have long forgotten from my uni days staying in England. A cup of latte has never tasted so good, only during Winter.

This is the last post on my epic Norway trip and in this post, I hope to share some tips on planning your trip (I have included a brief itinerary at the end for reference), provide some ideas on what to wear and what to expect. And I would also like to thank a few person who made this trip possible.

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Before I continue, I would like to thank my sister and brother-in-law for joining us on this journey. Without my sister, this trip wouldn’t have been the same and let’s face it, I need a shopping partner and she’s the perfect partner in crime. And of course, my husband for traveling this far with me; agreeing on almost everything I have planned.

Another person I would like to thank is our Travel Consultant Kolbrún Sigurðardóttir from Nordic Visitor. She has been so patient answering all my questions and replies to all my emails promptly. She’s also very understanding and honest about her opinions; and I am very thankful for that.

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TIPS ON WHAT TO WEAR

  • Bring some warmer layers (preferably woollen) along with an insulated coat, scarf, gloves, hat and warm shoes or insulated boots with at least one pair of thick woollen socks
  • If your tour includes activities like dog sledding or snowmobiling, you may also wish to bring glove liners, a balaclava and maybe even hand/foot warmer heat packs
  • You may find what you need at Uniqlo, Winter Time, Columbia, Timberland, The North Face and Outdoor Life (to name a few)
  • Highly recommend snow boots because the roads can be icy and slippery
  • Ear muffs are total essentials to protect yourself from the wind and cold
  • Skip the fashionable leather gloves because they don’t keep your hands warm

TIPS ON SKINCARE & BODY CARE

  • Pack everything that’s too rich for Singapore, you need all the creams and oils
  • Moisturize every day and night and remember your sunscreen
  • Opt for body butter and/or body oil when it comes to moisturizing (great after a hot bath) to soothe dry, flaky skin — Ceradan is a good make
  • Wear lots of lip balm and have one handy at all times
  • Bring along some cuticle oil and hand cream because fingers and hands are going to be very dry
  • Bring pimple cream along for your trip because you never know when you are going to need it
  • For those with sensitive skin, bring a bottle of talcum powder so when you wear your woollen clothings/socks, it’s less itchy

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TIPS ON WHAT TO EXPECT

  • Expect to see lots of snow and expect to be cold throughout the trip — there’s no one day that’s not -10°C (on average)
  • Strong wind that can blow you away
  • Turbulence on board
  • Expect to love hot meals and drinks like never before
  • Do not expect to see the Northern Lights as it’s a natural phenomenon, seeing the lights is a bonus

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TIPS ON PLANNING YOUR TRIP

  • Dining out in Norway can be expensive and can range from 90NOK for a meal at McDonald’s to 400NOK at a mid-class restaurant (per person) — pack a few cup noodles and snacks in your suitcase
  • Bring along an extra luggage bag because you never know you will buy
  • If you are booking your flights separately, allow a longer layover time in between as flights may delay due to bad weather conditions
  • Most shops accept VISA and MasterCard
  • Pack extra memory cards and batteries (batteries drains out faster in colder climates) for your camera and if you are out to capture the Northern Lights, a compact camera may not do the job
  • Store electronic equipments in zip lock bags and pop a heat pack to keep the equipments warm; this can also avoid equipments from “blacking out” (this trick worked for us)
  • Start shopping during Xmas sale for you will find the best deals and varieties during that period of time

Norway Off My Bucket List (12)

10 DAYS ITINERARY
CHASING THE NORTHERN LIGHTS IN NORWAY

DAY 01 [link]

Flight Details

Singapore – London – Oslo via Singapore Airlines / Scandinavian Airlines
Total travel time ≈ 19hrs 15mins

Notes & Recommendations

If you arrive early, buy an Oslo Pass for free travel on all public transit along with free admission to over 30 museums and attractions plus special offers on entertainment, restaurants, shops and more. The pass can be purchased at tourist information centers or at most hotels and major attractions in the city.

Visit The Viking Ship Museum, Vigeland Sculpture Park, the Royal Palace, Akershus Fortress or the Fram Museum of historic Arctic expeditions. You can also bask in the cosmopolitan glow of Bogstadveien, Oslo’s busy shopping street before dinner at a cosy restaurant of your choice.

Noway is famous for fresh fish and shellfish and the Oslo harbour area (AkerBrygge) is home to many of the best seafood restaurants in the country. Some of the world’s finest chefs can  be found working in restaurant kitchens in the city centre and Frogner and all three of Norway’s Michelin rated restaurants are situated in or near Oslo. Here are some ideas for dining in Oslo;-

  • Restaurant Oscarsgate (International Cuisine)
  • Ruffion Ristorante (Italian Cuisine)
  • Statholdrens Krostue (Scandinavian Cuisine)

Accommodation

The Thief Hotel

DAY 02 – 03 [link & link]

Notes & Recommendations

Free to explore the city of Oslo and this city has a lot to offer. Other highly-rated attractions include the Holmenkollen Ski Jump and the Munch Museum, the scene of the dramatic theft of the Munch paintings, “Skrik” and “Madonna”.

Accommodation

The Thief Hotel

DAY 04 [link]

Notes & Recommendations

The Bergensbanen train departs for a scenic journey over the mountains rooftop of Norway on the way to Bergen. This railway, voted as one of the best in the world takes you through the charming villages of Gol and Geilo on the way to Myrdal Station. At Myrdal, switch to the Flåm Railway for an incredible 20km ride with 900m descent down to the beautiful town of Flåm.

From Flåm, continue by boat through the Aurlandsfjord and into the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Nærøyfjord, the narrowest fjord in Europe. This is perhaps the most beautiful part of the Sognefjord with its mighty waterfalls and small farms clinging to the steep mountainsides. At Gudvangen, a bus takes you through the magnificent Nærøy Valley to Voss, where you board a train for the last stretch to Bergen.

Itinerary

08:05  Train from Oslo
12:43  Arrival in Myrdal
13:00  Train from Myrdal
13:50  Arrival in Flåm
15:10  Boat from Flåm
17:20  Arrival in Gudvangen
17:25  Bus from Gudvangen
18:20  Arrival in Voss
18:41  Train from Voss
20:00 Arrival in Bergen

Accommodation

Clarion Havnekontoret Hotel

DAY 05 [link]

Notes & Recommendations

After breakfast at the hotel, most of the day is free to explore Bergen at your leisure. Despite being an international city, this “capital of the fjords” has kept its small town charm. Here, you will find the colourful old wharf of Bryggen, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site for its well-preserved old buildings, along with a vibrant fish and flower market, cable cars with stunning views, great museums and more.

At 22:30 the Hurtigruten cruise ship will depart Bergen. Boarding starts at 6pm and there is an optional dinner buffet on board. The Norwegian Coastal Voyage is heading towards Trondheim.

Accommodation

Private Cabin with private facilities onboard the Hurtigruten ship

Norway Off My Bucket List (13)

DAY 06 [link]

Notes & Recommendations

During the night, the ship makes short stops at Florø, Måløy and Torvik and around noon, the shop calls at one of Norway’s most picturesque cities, Ålesund. Here you will have 3 hours to explore the city known for its Art Nouveau architecture with its lavishly decorated pastel buildings. And for a great bird’s eye view, head up to Aksla, a hill overlooking the city. After your shore break, the cruise continues towards Trondheim with a short stop at Molde around dinner time.

Accommodation

Private Cabin with private facilities onboard the Hurtigruten ship

DAY 07 [link]

Notes & Recommendations

Arriving in Trondheim early in the morning, have breakfast at one of the city’s lovely coffee shops before enjoying some leisure time in the “capital of the vikings”. Established as a Viking trading post in the 10th century, this city offers an array of historical attractions and museums. A must see is the Nidaros Cathedral, which was built in between 1070 and 1300 and is the northernmost cathedral in the world.

Accommodation

Rica Nidelven Hotel

DAY 08 [link & link]

Flight Details

Trondheim – Tromsø via Scandinavian Airlines
Total travel time ≈ 2hrs 10mins

Notes & Recommendations

Head to the airport in the morning for your short flight to Tromsø, the “paris of the north”, Northern Norway’s largest city and the region’s cultural hotspot. After checking into the hotel in central Tromsø, spend the day exploring this capital of the North.

Tonight, you will be picked up at 18:30 for a Northern Lights hunt tour into the wilderness. Get ready for the chance to see some of the brightest northern lights in the world!

Accommodation

Rica Ishavshotel

DAY 09 [link]

Notes & Recommendations

Today is all about nature. After transferring from Tromsø, a team of Alaskan huskies eagerly await to take you on a dog sled ride. You will get instructions on how to drive a dog sledding team and drive through the beautiful Vass Valley, a side valley connected to the great Tamok Valley. During this excursion, you will also have the opportunity to get an authentic taste of Sami culture and possibly taste some of their traditional food.

After a day of adventure in Norway’s winter wonderland, return to the city and enjoy a well-earned dinner at a restaurant of your choosing.

Accommodation

Rica Ishavshotel

DAY 10

Flight Details

Tromsø – Oslo – London – Singapore via Scandinavian Airlines / Singapore Airlines
Total travel time ≈ 19hrs 15mins

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Thank you for following me through this series of travel posts. I hope all the information I have provided helped those who are planning to visit Norway end of this year. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to comment below, I will try to answer them.

Thank you for reading.

2 thoughts on “Norway Off My Bucket List

  1. Dear Joey, thank you for such useful travel tips. I can only dream now about visiting a cold climate, I tend to prefer hot sunny beaches but I would love to experience the snow first hand one day.

    • Most welcome!!
      I noticed you are more of a sun kind of person based on all the holidays you went =)
      I love exploring the beaches too and it’s always best to relax and rejuvenate on a beach vacay xx

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