Above: Leirvik Marina, Stord, Norway
This first month after quitting my job to travel the world, Norway greeted us with open arms. Beautiful scenery, friendly people, and loads of opportunities to enjoy the outdoors made March a pleasantly memorable first month of freedom. Read on for our tips on traveling to Fjord Norway!
Getting to Stord, an Island in Fjord Norway
We flew from Los Angeles, California to Bergen, Norway (with 1 stop in Copenhagen) via Norwegian Air. Arriving in Bergen at almost midnight, we waited til morning to take the bus to Stord, a two-hour bus ride on Kystbussen which included a brief ferry ride between islands via Fjord1. After our long trip, our Airbnb hosts were kind enough to pick us up from the bus stop for the 5km trip to their home.
TIP: The cheapest way to travel to Norway from the U.S. is to first fly from Los Angeles to Copenhagen on Norwegian Air. Traveling to Europe from the U.S.? Read How to Fly from the U.S. to Europe for Under $200.
From Copenhagen you can fly to Oslo for $50-$100, and to smaller or farther-away cities for $150-$200+. It is also possible to book a flight directly into Stord from Oslo on Danish Air.
Where to Stay in Fjord Norway
We found an affordable place to stay for one month in Stord (in the fjord area of Norway) on Airbnb.com. Our one-month home was a private room in a family residence currently available for $65 per night, $330 per week or $775 per month.
Why Stord? For us it was hands down the best choice. It had the least expensive place to stay, with an opportunity to go sailing! It is important to note that Stord is much more rural than a buzzing Norwegian city like Oslo or Bergen. If you want a touch of urban life in your visit to Fjord Norway, I recommend staying in Bergen.
While there are a few hotels on the island, including Stord Hotell and Grand Hotell Stord, a room will cost you $150+ per night. This was too much for us as budget travelers. But if you are a bit flexible with location and willing to forego a bit of privacy by booking a room in someone’s house or apartment, you shouldn’t have trouble finding a place for under $100 per night. There are several private rooms available on Airbnb in Bergen for $50-$80 per night, and hotels for quite a bit more.
What to Wear in Fjord Norway
Despite what you may think about the climate in Norway, if you’re traveling to the fjord area, you won’t be dressing for snowy, sub-freezing weather. We visited Stord for the entire month of March 2014. The weather was cloudy and drizzly about half the time we were there and sunny for the other half, with the temperature regularly between 7-10 degrees Celsius (high 40s Fahrenheit). You’ll want to dress warm, and dressing in layers will come in handy.
TIP: The best place to check the current weather and forecast in Norway is yr.no.
Here’s what we wore on the colder days of our trip, when clouds, drizzle, and wind were more frequent, toward the beginning of March.
Rain is common throughout the year in Stord, but being out in the rain/drizzle is definitely tolerable if you bring waterproof gear. We each packed waterproof boots, an insulation jacket layer, and a waterproof shell jacket layer. (We brought our skiing jackets.) I brought some light packable rain pants, and we ended up purchasing a pair of rain pants for Ian since he hadn’t packed any.
When the weather warmed up as the sun shone regularly during the second half of our trip, we didn’t need to bundle up quite as much. We also stripped layers off during more active days, while hiking or riding bikes.
For more on what to wear in Norway, check out my post on Stylish Travel Girl: What to Pack for a Trip to Norway.
Lastly, if you want to dress like a Norwegian (nice and warm), you’ll want to pick up an authentic Norwegian wool sweater pullover during your visit.
Things to Do in Fjord Norway
(See how we spent our time in our photo section below!)
- Explore the island by bike
- Go for a hike
- Sail the Norwegian fjords
- Try some exotic food
- Learn about the area’s history and economy at a museum
- Take a day trip to a nearby island
Photos from Our Trip to Fjord Norway
March 2 – March 9, 2014
Week one was filled with flights, ferries, pølse and the Norwegian Petroleum Museum. View photos from our first week in Norway on Google +.
March 10 – March 16, 2014
Bike rides, eating in and a moonlit boat trip on the infamous Alhena characterized week two of our Norwegian exploration. Week two photos here.
March 17 – March 23, 2014
We got active in week three with snowball fights, a hike around Midtfjellet Vindpark, and a second sailing trip, and we tried reindeer meat (Sorry Sven!) View our week three photos here.
March 24 – March 30, 2014
In week four we ventured out in the starry night for photos; by day we did the Sunnhordland Museum, Bergen and Siggjo hike. Week four photos here.
March 31 – April 5, 2014
Our final week in Norway, like those before it, was characterized by quality time outdoors. We enjoyed the forests and sunshine, had one last dinner with our new friends, and hopped on one of the best train rides in the world. Photos from our final week in Norway here.
Get Ready for Your Trip to Fjord Norway
If you want to get to know the area of Norway we visited a bit more, read about Leirvik, Stord, Norway, and fjords on Wikipedia. Throw in a Google image search for ‘fjord horse’ while you’re at it. And then get excited for your trip with one of my favorite pastimes… Netflix!
Movies and TV Shows About Norway
1. Max Manus: Man of War (English subtitled)
Available for streaming on Amazon
Synopsis: Max Manus: Man of War is the true story of one man’s heroic actions as a Norwegian resistance fighter involved in liberating his country from the occupying Nazi forces during World War II.
(This movie is still on our list to watch, but it was highly recommended by our hosts in Norway.)
2. Trollhunter (English subtitled)
Available for streaming on Amazon
Synopsis: A trio of college students documents every move of a grizzled, unlikely hero – the trollhunter – risking their lives to uncover the secrets of creatures only thought to exist in fairy tales.
(The movie is a bit silly, but you’ll get a peak at some beautiful Norwegian scenery throughout the movie.)
3. Lilyhammer Season 1
Available on Netflix or DVD
Synopsis: After Frank The Fixer Tagliano testifies against his Mafia boss in New York, he enters the Witness Protection Program and makes an unusual demand: He wants to be set up with a new life in the Norwegian small town of Lillehammer.
(This is an entertaining series set in a colder, snowier Norwegian setting further north than Stord, but you can start to get an ear for the Norwegian language without constantly reading subtitles, as the conversations throughout switch back and forth from English to Norwegian.)
Available for streaming on Amazon
Synopsis: Fearless optimist Anna teams up with rugged mountain man Kristoff and his loyal reindeer Sven in an epic journey.
(Another great computer animated movie by Disney, complete with princesses, a singing snowman, and characteristically catchy songs, Disney gently pokes fun at things stereotypically Norway.)
I hope you enjoyed this introduction to Fjord Norway! See what other tips we’ve got up our sleeves for other destinations we’ve visited.
About the Author
- In March 2014, Diana called it quits on her traditional American working life and set out to explore the world with her partner in crime (and love of her life) Ian Norman. They now live a sustainable life of full time travel, working for themselves and seeking adventure at the same time. Here on North to South, Diana documents their journey in achieving and maintaining this "road less traveled" way of life.
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