There were a lot of raised eyebrows when I told people we’d be traveling to Norway in late November.
It would be cold, yes, and dark. However, our purpose in traveling to Norway was to get the best shot we could at seeing the Northern Lights. It would be dark, but not too cold and well within peak lights-viewing season. Traveling at this time of year would hopefully not be at the expense of being able to enjoy other sights that Norway has to offer, but we were willing to risk it.
Norway is known for its beautiful fjords. In order to see them while we were there, we decided to add an extra day to our trip and fly into Bergen from London to go on Norway in a Nutshell’s Fjord Tour. We arrived around midnight and headed straight to our AirBnb, the cheapest we could find, in the city center.
After a late flight and a tough night’s sleep, we woke up to wintery morning darkness. Groggily, I pulled on my different layers and we set out for the train station in the dark. We got our tickets, we found coffee and we made our way through the construction site and fluorescent lighting that enveloped the train station to our train, all in the dark.
As the train pulled away and started moving further from the city, the sun began to rise. As the darkness gave way to grey, the train pulled further from Bergen. It was like a dream. The landscape slowly brightened while the train ducked in and out of tunnels, showing us flashes of still lakes, tall fjords and snowy peaks. Any fear that the sleep deprivation was going to ruin this day quickly disappeared.
The Norway in a Nutshell Fjord Tour basically gives you a bunch of tickets for various trains, a bus and a boat for a (slightly) discounted price. You travel in a loop that eventually brings you back to Bergen. There is little narration on the tour, but out among the beauty and stillness of the fjords, you appreciate the quiet.
The first leg of the tour is by bus from Bergen to Voss (yes, like the water). There you get on a bus to Gudvangen, where you go aboard a boat to cruise through the fjords (undoubtedly the highlight of the tour).
The stop in Gudvangen is stunning, with many picturesque spots to take photos.
Tucked in between some of the fjords are little villages filled with colorful homes. They look so beautiful and peaceful against the backdrop of stone and snow.
The weather was perfect for our tour. It wasn’t too cold and there were pockets of sun here and there, depending on the cloud cover and the height of the fjords against the winter sun. A few times throughout the tour we saw low hanging clouds and they were so beautiful.
The perfect end to our fjord cruise – a rainbow.
Pulling into our next transfer spot, Flam. At Flam we got on another train called the Flamsbana, or Flam Railway. This railway is famous for its views and its quick ascent into the mountains.
Up we go!
I’m shown here sitting on the left but our research told us to sit on the right. The upside of visiting in the off-season is being able to switch from side to side to get the best views as we rode along. As the train started to climb, snow flurries started. It was so beautiful to watch the snow fall as we climbed up into the mountains.
The train makes a stop at Kjosfossen, a beautiful waterfall. It was stunning and fun to get out in the snow for a few minutes. Having grown up in New England, it is always such a delight to see people experiencing snow for the first time. A group on the tour had clearly never experienced snowfall before and it was so neat to see how excited they were to play in it.
The Flam Railway stops at Myrdal, where you board another train back to Bergen. The trip back takes about 2 hours. I am so, so glad we added this extra day to our trip. Being out on the water surrounded by beautiful fjords was breathtaking. It really was a perfect day and so wonderful to be out exploring some of the most beautiful landscapes this world has to offer. I only wish we could go back and spend more time at each stop along the way! There is something called a fjord safari? Definitely bucket list worthy.