Information about Norway Fjord Travel
Map: Norway's "Tourism Triangle" indicates with 3 colors where you most likely want to go as a visitor. The orange field over Oslo and the Eastern valleys are the least interesting, while the green patch is illustration the Fjord region between Ålesund and Bergen. The red triangle and the northern part of the green triangle are indicating areas that is stunning - but still undiscovered by most tourists due to the lack of public transportation. As seen on the map, the Photo icons are all some 5 hours drive from Oslo, and from a travlers perspective, Oslo is basically "a city", thats it!
Said in easy understandable language: The orange patch is ranking as the lowest on the most wanted list of Norway.
Oslo Gardermoen is by any comparison the largest Airport in Norway and annually receive some 11.6 million international travelers. While the second largest, Bergen Flesland in the West, has about 1.9 million passengers. Looking at these numbers, it is in other words 10 times as likely that you as a passenger will need to set out on your Norway vacation from Oslo.
In the map under, we have marked some of the absolute most "wanted" sites where people want to go while here with a camera icon. And it becomes clear by just studying the map that some 10 million people annually lands in the wrong spot. So how to get from Oslo to the Fjords?
A large number head out on the "Norway in a Nutshell" tour, that is a mixed mode of interconnected trains, buses and boats that fit the budget traveler. This is a great tour at an affordable rate, where the ones fast enough will run to secure the best seats. Some 50 % will not have a window view, and for many, that is a jaw-dropping disappointment when they have circumferenced half the world to get here. However, the Nutshell experience is coming at rates that are considered affordable in an elsewhere expensive country. On the other hand, the Nutshell Experience covers just a small fraction of the views many come to soak into. And as a result, the way more costly private tours have given a supplement to travelers that realize that they are in Norway most likely only once in their life.
The fact that most of the scenic places are unreachable by trains and public transportation has made more and more people chose this option as they wish to do hassle-free travel without hauling heavy luggage between all the different busses. With a seasoned Norwegian driver and Guide who is used to the challenging roads in the Fjord Region, we have basically re-invented traveling in the Fjords to a way more pleasurable experience.
The downside of private touring is, of course, the price. You must expect a day price from 1600 USD and when only one traveler, it of course, is beyond reach of many.
If on the other hand traveling in small groups meeting the numbers, 3 - 5 - 6 or 7 passengers - you will see that price pr. traveler is within reach to quite many as they can fill most or all seats of a private van. A typical travel with 2 couples is then around 400 USD per traveler pr. day including a seasoned driver and Guide who will give the group full attention.
The upsides is the obvious fact that you don't get home with the feeling of having been captured in long queues for your entire stay. Many also mix between private tours and public transportation to optimize the balance between the desire to explore of the beaten track and to keep a budget.
Norway Fjord Travel is a small high-end company that specializes in private tours in the Fjord region. About 72% of our passengers are picked up in Oslo to do longer or shorter tours out of the Capital.
When we developed these tours we had an extremely logical approach to it. We simply imagined that we would do a tour in Norway, and started reading all the "negative loaded" reviews done by travelers on TripAdvisor, Yelp and many other sites. Basically, we took all the reviews and put up a list of how we could solve problems that had occurred. And our findings was that a lot of people had gone into pitfalls that could be solved rather easily. Our findings revealed:
People were not having window seats and a lot was disappointed about obstructed views
Adults & Seniors felt it was hard to haul heavy luggage between different sites
Families did not manage to find enough seats in one place for all. Groups where split
The schedule was not flexible, and thereby they missed out on discoveries as they went along
Top season travelers that went during June, July and August felt that trains were packed overcrowded and did not meet their expectations in a pricy country.
The travelers did not have enough information and many believed fjords were in Oslo
Travelers wished they had better guidance to what they saw along the journey
Retired people were forgotten by the operators of existing tours and people with mobility issues and strollers were like the elderly left behind and having a very negative experience.
Travelers would have spent more money if getting their expectations fulfilled.
Said very simply: If we could solve one or several of the issues, we would have a prospering business.
Some years later we have managed to get an unbroken line of 5-star reviews for the way we have been thinking, and by February 5'th 2019 we had sold out 45% of our capacity in June 2019. We had advice saying "You should not have to many 5-stars, as it makes people suspicious". We see this very different. You don't tell a student to "get a few B's" and we don't tell our guides to do anything but their best.
We are at all times going to be a 5-Star Company, and be that by giving people a 5-Star experience!
How to do a unique journey with us!
We are first and foremost a tour company that creates unique tours that aim at giving you the absolutely best itinerary that money can buy. Our job is to listen to what you want and give you the absolute best suggestion on how to achieve this.
This also includes telling you when you are wrong !!! To get the best journey, we need to work as a team!
A lot of tourists and Travel agents do online research. But what you will find is content that is paid to be put on the top of your Google search results. It is fair to say that you will be bombarded with impressions that someone wants and pays you to see, and the hope is that you hopefully will purchase a travel to that place you see. A picture of a picturesque fjord is often taken before people get out of bed, but the reality in places like Flåm and Geiranger are very different at noon. Dont take our word for it!! Se yourself.
These are just iPhone videos from our Guides phones showing the difference of the very well known Flåm village to the left, and a totally unknown to Google spot in the right pane. Both places are equally accessible by car, and it is even possible to take a bus to both of them. Now: Where do you wanna go?
We all have that dream about a silent evening at the Eiffel Tower, but we all know that what we will find is keyrings with a French flag ;-) In some fjords, the keyrings are the same, but with a Norwegian flag
Our tours depart from Oslo, Bergen and Ålesund and go through both the unknown spots and the sites you have found online. We know when to be in the "hot-spots" and when to not, and we apply this to make your journey pleasurable by navigating through the hotspots when traffic is less.
By doing a part of the job yourself, you are able to get a splendid vacation by DIY'ing parts of the booking. You take care of Airline tickets and hotel bookings, and we create an itinerary that will earn us yet another splendid 5-star rating.
Airline Tickets - Try getting to Bergen!!
As you most likely understood from the map in the very top of this article. The best sites are in West Norway, while a majority of travelers lands in the Capital Oslo. If you find no flight to Bergen direct from your location - try using Momondo.com or Skyscanner.com to find a flight to Copenhagen, Amsterdam or London. All these European Flight Hubs have daily flights to Bergen.
If going to Oslo is significantly cheaper - don't worry: We have a large number of tours from there. The reason we recommend getting direct to Bergen, is that you will be at the very gateway of the Fjords right away. If landing in Oslo you will have to go via the "orange patch" and this will take roughly 5 hours by car.
Planning your stay
When you have determined where you will land, and what period you will visit Norway. Send us a mail and inquire for a 1 to 7-day itinerary. We do all from day trips to multi-day tours, and the longer tours typically have one or two days where you are in a city to do self-exploration and where the Guide is not there. He or She will provide insian ders tip on what you and your group can do on your own. This means that a four-day tour will last 5 overnight stays, and your self-exploration day will happen in either Ålesund or Bergen. If inbound to Bergen, the self-exploration day will be inside the green or red areas on the map.
Overnight Stays / Accomodation
Norway Fjord Travel does not provide accommodation on our tours. The reason is that we don't make deals behind your back to have cash back from any hotels, shops, restaurants or alike. We are 100% unbiased in our recommendations and this gives us the freedom to recommend things that we genuinely believe is in your best interest. We give you advise based on experience - but booking is left to you or your travel agent. When we agree on an itinerary we can provide you with tips about what place to stay. Please give us a heads up on 2, 3 or 4 Star hotels is your choice. A thing we see more and more is that people shift their budget to experiences while here, and saving on overnight stays. Budget hotels are still clean and nice in Norway, and typically let you check in via a machine in the unmanned reception.
Depending on what way of traveling around you choose, please make sure that your luggage fits with what you do. If doing budget travel like the "Nutshell", you need to travel light. Have maximum large suitcase with good wheels and one rucksack with items. On a private tour, you can pretty much travel with as much as you like and this might be the reason so many females are traveling with us. All of our vehicles have the possibility to connect a luggage trailer that is completely weatherproof to optimize space in the car for your group.
Attractions and Tickets
We provide tickets for many attractions like Fjord cruises, scenic railways and more underway. These tickets are delivered as an overpriced service, but guaranteeing that you will have entrance or availability when here. You are free to purchase these yourself at a more affordable rate but must realize that availability to many things sells out. We have discovered that many had a scenic railway journey as their dream to do, but was not able to find tickets. Because of this, we have a provider who always delivers, but at a higher price. Remember that when a cruise ship comes with 6 to 8 thousand passengers, the demand is far higher than supply.
Book early, also hotels sells out
Norway is a small country and because of the fluctuating demand over the season, the hotels are built to be able to financially survive winter when demand is only a fraction of what it is during April to September. If traveling in June, July or August you benefit greatly from planning ahead. Many online services like Booking.com or Hotels.com have free cancellation up to 48 hrs ahead of the stay.
Below is an example itinerary that is based on a tour that is one of the most successful in the high-end market. The tour is a four-day example that gives you all you want in a compact package departing from Oslo and ending up in Bergen. Pictures in the slide show under are all taken along this track.