When to go to norway and how long to stay
Best time to go to norway is certainly July and August, although June and September might be nice as well. However, be prepared that the weather can change quite rapidely. A beautiful sunny day with temperatures around 25 degree centigrade followed by a wet, rainy day with cold 15 degrees is not unusual. After all, it's a mountain region located at the sea.
Considering the length of your stay...we traveled 3 weeks through the southern part of norway and saw all the major attractions. But to be honest...it was only a quick visit for each attraction. It's certainly better to take more time and find all the hidden places but then you'll have to limit your trip to a small number of places and come back another time for the other ones.
Getting to norway
Main entry points to norway are Oslo (by air and ferry) and the small cities at the south coast having a harbour. However, it's also possible to further fly from Oslo to smaller towns around the country. Most people go to norway by their own car and they usually prefer one of the carferries going fom the north coast of continental europe to the south coast of norway. You have several options ranging from 15-hour-rides from Luebeck (Germany) to Oslo up to quick 2-hour-trips from Rostock (Germany) to Trelleborg (Sweden). Nowadays it's even possible to drive via Denmark and Sweden not having to use a ferry at all...this is, of course, a very long trip. We took the ferry from Hanstholm (Denmark) to Egersund (Norway) which takes you roughly 5 hours. Advantage: you are right at the fjords and don't have to drive the long way from Oslo.
Airfares to Oslo from major european cities can be quite low (look for specials), so if you don't have your own car (or don't want to go by car) it's worthwhile to check it out. You can, of course, also take the train in continental europe to one of the ferries and then take the ferry to norway. Keep in mind that the train prices can get quite high, depending on your starting point.
Getting around in norway
By bus and train:
No way to get to all the places in a reasonable ammount of time by bus or train! I know that there are some busroutes and railways between major cities but the big attractions are usually off the mainroutes. You would then have to use guided tours, but with your own car you're a lot cheaper and more flexible.
As I mentioned above, there are some companies offering flights to smaller towns around the country. The prices are, however, usually not cheap. It might still be cheaper than taking your own car (or even a rental car) especially for places far north like the Lofotes. So if you know that you stay at one place all the time and don't have to use a car there, a flight to that place might actually be an option.
By far the most relaxing and flexible way to get to know norway. Not only is it a must to reach all the places I describe on my website, it also allows you to save money on your accomodation (see below).
Best way is, of course, to use your own car. All the roads we used were paved and in excellent condition, so don't worry about that. You only have to pay for the gas which is a little more expensive than in the rest of europe.
Rental cars are rather expensive like in all the northern countries of europe. Unless you are a party of four, sharing one car, it's certainly a waste of money. Unfortunately, most of the individual tourists coming from overseas don't really have another option. It might then be cheaper to book your car in advance at a local travel agency.
Accomodation in norway
Surprisingly, accomodation in norway is less expensive than in most european countries. There are many well equipped campsites along the roads, which have standard pricing, however, the real way to be accomodated in norway is to rent a summer hut. Most of these wooden houses are in excellent condition, very well furnished and usually located very beautifuly. Some of them even have fireplace or sauna. Prices range in between 50 and 100 Euros per night and hut. So if you're more than 2 people this is a very affordable way to spend the night. To find the hut of your choice, simply stop at a visitor center of the area you want to spend the night and ask for overnight accomodations concerning huts like this (this is where your car saves you time and money). They usually have some options (even in peak season) and also call up the owners to arrange everything for you. There are also small huts at the campsited which are very primitive, offering only a sleeping place for the night. I would not recommend these ones, however, if your budget still disagree with the huts described above, this is your accomodation of choice for rainy days. Prices for such a 2star-hut are around 25 Euros per night and hut (which fits up to 4 person).
Larger cities like Bergen and Oslo have typical european prices for hotels, starting at around 50 Euros for a double room. I would also recommend to check with the visitor center.
Groceries and prices
Every smaller town has at least one supermarket with good selections. However, prices are extremely high, up to four times as high as in continental europe. Especially the prices for meat, vegetables and liqueur are really shocking. Keep also in mind that in some regions of the country, distances between smaller towns can get quite large.
I hope, that helped a little bit for those of you who are planning on going to norway. If you have questions, email me.
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