Tailormade tour Norway Fjord Explorer fly-drive tour Norway

9 nights/10 days

Bergen • Balestrand • Loen • Andalsnes • Haholmen • Hurtigruten cruise overnight

This luxury fly-drive Norway touring holiday encompasses some of Norway’s most beautiful west coast fjord scenery by land and sea. Start in the city of Bergen before driving north to spend time on the fjords at Balestrand, Loen and Andalsnes. Then spend a night on the tiny fishing island of Haholmen before driving the Atlantic Ocean Road to Kristiansund. You spend a night onboard the Hurtigruten ship as you head back to Bergen.
Holiday price guide

Available year-round subject to the opening period of the hotels. From £2,170 per person

Luxury fly-drive Norway touring holiday with 9 nights on Norway's west coast fjords with an overnight cruise on Hurtigruten

Highlights

Bergen • Balestrand • Loen • Andalsnes • Atlantic Ocean Road • Hurtigruten cruise overnight

Day by day

This holiday starts with a flight to Bergen, where you spend one night. Bergen is the second largest city in Norway and was the capital throughout some of the country’s most influential periods. One of your days here should start with a visit to the iconic Bryggen wharf, first established in the 14th century and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Its colourful buildings today house a small museum, shops and restaurants. Bergen is known as the city of the seven mountains, the most easily accessible of which is Fløyen, which can be reached by funicular from the city centre and awards spectacular views of the city and surrounding area. It is possible to take the funicular back, or you may want to hike back down at your leisure. Bergen has the busiest seaport in the country and the market offers an abundance of fish, shellfish, fruits and vegetables – visiting the fish market is a must. Cultural attractions include the Troldhaugen, the former home of Edvard Grieg and today host to a museum about his life and works as well as a concert hall where you can hear his works performed. Its location in the fjords also makes Bergen an excellent base from which to explore more by boat, and there are multiple options ranging from a quick trip to an all-day experience.

Today you collect your hire car and drive along the Sognefjord to the town of Balestrand. Head out of Bergen, across the bridges which take you over the sparkling waters dotted with green islands. As you drive further north the scenery remains lusciously green and you will be rewarded with frequent views of Norway’s beauty, an excellent introduction to the country’s splendour. At Oppedal join the fast car ferry service to Lavik, then continue to follow the winding roads as they twist around the fjords. The remainder of the journey takes along the width of the Sognefjord, past the towns of Nordeide and Hoyanger, and eventually to Balestrand, your base for the next two nights.

Balestrand is situated on the northern shore of the majestic Sognefjord. We highly recommend using your time here to explore the stunning scenery, and the best way to do this is by boat. It is possible to take a ferry up the Fjærlandsfjord to Mundal, where you can visit the Glacier Museum. This features interactive exhibitions on the history of the area and its glaciers, as well as a panoramic cinema showcasing the glacier from every possible angle. For those interested in more active pursuits, Fjærland also offers the opportunity to hike on the glacier itself. At the top of Flatbreen, around a 3-hour hike from Fjærland, you will find the Flatbrehytta cabin and can witness beautiful views of the fjord. There are also excellent hiking opportunities closer to home; Balestrand offers an abundance varied and well-marked hiking trails around the town and the surrounding mountains. In the summer you can go kayaking on the fjord and for a couple of months each year river fishing is a popular activity. Other attractions include the Norwegian Travel and Tourism Museum, which follows the tracks of the first explorers and how their discoveries led to the development of the Norwegian tourism we see today, and the Sognefjord aquarium, entry to which includes the rental of a rowing boat or canoe.

Today you drive to Loen in the inner reaches of the Nordfjord. Leave Balestrand and take the short car ferry service across the Sognefjord. The next section of your drive will have almost constant views of the fjord and the mountains, before you head away from the waters and into the more forested area leading up to Fjaerland. After skirting along the edge of the Fjaerlandsfjord, you will travel through the mountains themselves, emerging alongside the clear blue waters of Lake Jolstravatnet. From here you head north through a luscious green valley framed by mountains. This land becomes more agricultural as you pass through the small town of Byrkjelo, before you eventually reach the edge of the Nordfjord. Follow the winding road along the inlet until finally reach Loen at its head, where you check into your hotel for the next two nights.

Despite its small size, Loen is known as being an excellent adventure paradise and has been attracting visitors for many decades. For the best views of the area a visit to one of the main attractions is essential: Mt Hoven is 1,011 metres high and is reachable via the Leon Skylift cable car. There are multiple clearly marked hiking trails for all skill levels from here. For those wanting views with a more challenging hike, Mt Scala offers a difficult trail which has views of glaciers and fjords along the way. Back on the ground Lake Lovatnet will give you a very different but no less picturesque perspective of the scenery. Boat cruises are common on the lake, and there are opportunities for kayaking and fishing as well. Around 30 kilometres outside Loen you will find the Briksdalsbreen Glacier, a famous part of the Jostedalsbreen Glacier in the Jostedal National Park. This glacier is roughly 1,200 metres high and it is possible to partake in glacier hikes, perhaps by taking a unique “Trollcar” up the glacier. The highest point of this glacier is Lodalskåka. It is a long trip of about 8-12 hours to reach its peak, but the incredible opportunity to hike across glacier and past the beautiful Lake Kåpevatnet is not one to be missed for adventure enthusiasts.

Start your drive to Andalsnes by following the small branch of the Nordfjord, enjoying dramatic fjord and mountain scenery on one side and the luscious, sloped forest on the other. Head briefly away from the water until you reach Hornidalsvetnet, Europe’s deepest lake. Cross the lake by bridge at one of its narrowest points before skirting alongside it for the next section of the journey. The scenery will become more rugged again from here, as the roads wind and twist to follow the mountain valleys. One of the most interesting parts of the journey is the hairpin bends as you descend the serpentine mountain road of Trollstigen. The scenery here is breathtakingly beautiful, with tumbling waterfalls and jagged mountains pressing in on all sides. From here you pass through dense and enchanting forest right out of a fairy-tale. The final stretch of your journey takes you alongside the Rauma River as you arrive into Andalsnes, your base for the next two nights.

Andalsnes has access to some of the best hiking opportunities in the world. Romsdalseggen ridge is one of the world’s most scenic hikes, taking you up to an altitude of 970m for views of the majestic Trollveggen and the surrounding mountains. This is a relatively challenging hike but well worth the trip for those seeking an adventurous activity. The region’s other most famous location for an excellent view is the Rampestreken viewpoint, reachable via a steep path from Andalsnes town centre. Andalsnes is one of the starting stations for the world-famous Rauma Railway. Travel leisurely alongside the emerald-green River Rauma, passing through mountains and fjords. The trains usually stop for photo opportunities at Kylling Bridge and Trollveggen, Europe’s highest perpendicular mountain wall. The slower sightseeing trains run during the summer months, but services run along the line throughout the year. Within the town itself you will find the Norwegian Mountaineering Centre focusing on Norwegian mountaineering history and outdoor mountain activities. This includes a museum featuring interactive exhibitions about the history and development of mountaineering, as well as a unique 3D cinema and Norway’s highest indoor climbing wall.

After two nights in Andalsnes you drive to your final stop on the small fishing island of Haholmen, through arguably the most scenic locations so far. Haholmen is located extremely close to the famous Atlantic Ocean Road and is an excellent base from which to explore this beautiful area via its impressive road network. Leaving Andalsnes, drive alongside the sparkling blue water until you reach Afarnes, where a car ferry will take you across this narrow stretch of the fjord. From here the journey becomes increasingly spectacular as you cross bridges stretching large gaps between islands, with unbroken water on either side of you. You will skirt the edge of the Fraenfjorden as you pass through the village of Malme, and you may want to stop at Trollkirka shortly after this. From here you can explore the Trollkirka (Troll church) marble and limestone cave which features underground rivers and waterfalls. The final stretch to your hotel on the island of Haholmen takes you across a series of tiny islands connected by ingenious bridges. The views here are truly breath-taking and you will want to stop in multiple places to take pictures of this famous road and the fjord scenery. Arrive in Geitøya where you will leave your car to take either an express boat or a Viking Ship across to the hotel, a journey of roughly 10 minutes. Check in to your hotel for one night before heading out to explore more of the area. Specific highlights include the Kjeksa, a wonderful viewpoint near the fishing village of Bud, and Geitøya, where you can take a short walk both to the hilltops and down to the water. Eldhusøya is an elevated hiking path which was designed to protect the natural environment whilst providing everyone the opportunity to explore this area by foot. It will award you spectacular views of the twisting road which arcs between the islands.

Today you continue to enjoy the amazing seascape as you travel from the island along the Atlantic Ocean Road to the town of Kristiansund. Populated for more than 10,000 years, Kristiansun is believed by some to be where the people first settled in Norway. It also has one of the country’s best natural harbours in the centre of the city, where you can try the town’s specialty of bacalao, dried salted cod. In the evening from Kristiansund you board the Hurtigruten service for an overnight sea journey back to Bergen. The ferry stops at the city of Alesund, a port town known for its art nouveau architectural style, and you see the beautiful Geirangerfjord, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site. After exploring the fjords by road this sea voyage will provide you with a welcome opportunity to see them from a very different, yet no less scenic angle.

You approach Bergen passing the picturesque Nordfjord beneath Jostedal Glacier. The boat crosses the majestic Sognefjord before arriving in Bergen, where you disembark to take a flight back to the UK either direct or via a short stopover in Oslo.

Holiday price guide From £2,170 per person

Holiday Code SCFD03

Luxury fly-drive Norway touring holiday with 9 nights on Norway's west coast fjords with an overnight cruise on Hurtigruten

Holiday price guide From £2,170 per person

Holiday Code SCFD03

Our prices include ● Return flights from London to Bergen
● Hire of a group B car for 8 days
● 1 night’s bed and breakfast in a Standard double room at Bergen Børs Hotel, Bergen
● 2 nights’ bed and breakfast in a Standard double room at Kviknes Hotel, Balestrand
● 2 nights’ bed and breakfast in a Standard double room at Hotel Alexandra, Loen
● 2 nights’ bed and breakfast in a Standard double room at Hotel Grand Bellevue, Andalsnes
● 1 night’s bed and breakfast in a Double room at Haholmen Havstuer Hotel, Averøy
● 1 night’s bed and breakfast in a Polar outside cabin on the Kristiansund – Bergen Hurtigruten
● Concierge service and Expressions Holidays regional helpful hints

Our prices do not include ● Early check-in or late check-out at any hotels (although we can arrange this on request at additional cost)
● Any other services not mentioned above, such as transfers and meals except breakfast at hotels
● Personal holiday insurance. This is essential and cover should be in place from when you book the holiday.
● Possible local tourist tax, usually the equivalent of £1 to £3 per person per night, and payable locally to the hotel
● Transfers in any cities

Additional information This holiday can be arranged throughout the year subject to the opening dates of the hotels. Timings can vary depending on the month and day of the week.

Luxury fly-drive Norway touring holiday with 9 nights on Norway's west coast fjords with an overnight cruise on Hurtigruten

Highlights of Norway

The numerous fjords: Eidfjord – branch of the Hardangerfjord, Geirangerfjord – precipitous, one of Norway’s signature images, Hardangerfjord – rolling hills and pretty villages, Jossingfjord – vertiginous fjord in the flatlands of the south, Lysefjord – plunging cliffs, cruises and look out points, Naeroyfjord – narrow and very pretty, Sognefjord – Norway’s longest and one of the most beautiful, Trollfjord – very steep fjord on Lofoten, Vestfjord – sheltered bays and pretty villages separating Lofoten from the mainland. The Hurtigruten ferry that covers over 2500 km from Bergen to Kirkenes with over 30 stops. The Midnight Sun and the Northern Lights. Stave churches, beautifully preserved in wood, dating from Viking times, for example at Borgund, Lom, Ringebu and Urnes. Viking ships and artefacts, burial mounds and trinkets in museums throughout the country. The red, wooden houses perched stilts over the sea on the Lofoten Islands. The modern architecture of Oslo. Picking wild blueberries, sampling aquavit made from potatoes and caraway, and tasting reindeer steak with cranberries. The charm of Oslofjorden with its pretty, arty village and towns, harbours with sailing boats, islands offshore and beaches. Hike over the Jotunheimen and relish the natural landscape of this stunning National Park.

Cultural highlights of Norway

The architecture of stave churches dating from the Viking era and Viking treasure in museums around the country. The literature of Henrik Ibsen and Knut Hamsun. Folk tales and mythology. The music of Edvard Grieg and the art of Edvard Munch. Contemporary jazz and folk music.

Gastronomy of Norway

Norway’s gastronomy is a clear reflection of its land and sea. From the land come reindeer, venison, lamb, cured meats and potatoes of all types: boiled, roasted and fried. From the freshwater lakes and streams come salmon served grilled and smoked, and freshwater fish. Sea fish is a vast array of cod, haddock, shrimps, mackerel, fish soup, fish balls, salt cod. From the orchards particularly around the Hardangerfjord come apples, cherries and plums as well as berries of all sorts including blueberries, cranberries, bilberries and, a great delicacy, cloudberries. Cheeses include Jarlsberg and brown cheese. Coffee is almost certainly the national drink, followed by beer, of which there are all sorts of craft beers brewed locally, and Aquavit is the national spirit made from potatoes and caraway.

Facts in brief

Capital Oslo
Airport Oslo Gardermoen
Size 323,878 sq km
Population 4.4 million
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