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Norway - Excursions and general advice


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Hi guys! First of all: I LOVE this community! I know many of you are going on a RC blog cruise that will visit my country Norway next year (I am also British/Welsh, but Norway is where I am born,raised and currently live). So I wanted to give you all some general advice and tips for Norway whether you are going on the group event or another cruise that passes by here.

 

 

1. Tipping - Norwegians dont really give or receive tip. It is not frowned upon, but our wages are high and Tipping is not necessary (but ofcourse should you receive excellent service you could definitely tip them, however a good review on tripadvisor or Google f.i. would make a stronger impact) 

2. Asking for directions and so on. You will mostly get help from us Norwegians, but it is not only our country that is perceived as cold by foreigners. Many Norwegians are reserved, but when we warm up to you you got a friend for life. So try not to take it to hard if a Norwegian person avoids you.. 

3. Food. First of all Norway is definitely a Potato country.

We have 3 "national dishes" all contain potatoes 

 Kjøttkaker (mince meat pattys served with potatoes,brown sauce,mashed peas and lingonb3rry jam)

Fårikål (mutton,kale, and whole black peppers) served with potatoes and rutabaga

Kompe/Komle/Raspeball (potato balls) served with rutabaga, salt meat and melted butter

(If you go to Oslo "Bondeheimen/Kaffistova" is the place to go for traditional food)

Our most curious food for foreigners is probably brown cheese which is sweet with a caramelly taste (made from biproduct of cheese production). Also our chocolate is world famous, people usually bring with them Freia milk chocolate abroad, I however prefer Stratos (tell me if you like it!)

Also ofcourse Norway is the biggest exporter of Salmon, so if you like Sushi you will get the real deal in Norway (yes in Japan you get Norwegian salmon at the best Sushi restaurants!)

4. Culture. We have a lot of traditional culture in music, clothes and agriculture. You can see some of it on national holidays,otherwise in museums. Norway is also a liberal country and for instance same sex marriages are allowed, we even have a ordinated priest who is non-binary

5. Religion - which brings me to this. We have around 48% Christians, 40% Atheists/Agnostics and 12% other religions. 

 

Excursion ideas:

Whether you find a rc excursion, third party or organize yourself, here are some ideas.  

Stavanger:

Kongeparken (Theme park with a farm theme).

Lysefjorden/Prekestolen (beautiful scenery)

Jæren (Beautiful landscape and farms, also the homeplace of Erling Haaland the world famous footballer) 

Sandnes garn - a Greta place to buy yarn and knitting equipment

Figgjo - Porcelaine of all sorts

 

 

Kristiansand:

 

Dyreparken (Norways biggest zoo)

Aquarama (aquapark in case you go on a ship without it)

Bystranda/Hamresanden/Høllesanden - 3 great beaches (Kristiansand is the best summer spot in Norway, and it is like a mini Barcelona, disclaimer: I am from Kristiansand city.) 

Odderøya - small Island comnected to city centre (right by cruise terminal) 

Kilden - theatre and opera house (right by cruise terminal)

kunstsilo (opens may 2024!) - art museum with the largest european collection of contemporary art! (Right by cruise terminal)

fiskebrygga - fish market (right by cruise terminal)

Ravnedalen - Beautiful park

Myren Gaard - Another beautiful park

Kristiansand Festning - fortress that was crucial during ww2

Kanonmuseet - ww2 canon museum

Arendal/Arendelle - if you travel with kids the city from the Frozen movies (yes they sre set in Norway) is 45 minute drive from Kristiansand.

Vennesla bibliotek - world famous Library

( if you are going to Kristiansand, msg me, I could give you SO many more ideas 😅

 

Bergen:

Akvariet (aquarium),

Bergen Urban zoo (reptiles) - urban zoo is right next to cruise terminal

 

 

Oslo:

Freia (chocolate factory where you get to make and taste loads of lovely chocolate). Feel free to ask mote about specific ports and so on when you know your ports of call. 

Munch museum art museum

The castle - we have a King and he has a castle! 

The Opera - amazing building

 

Trondheim:

Nidarosdomen - (world famous Church)

Rockheim - (rock museum)

 

North Norway:

I have not been here much, but Lofoten is well worth a visit, so is the Polar circle

 

Other places:

General the west coast is great, I always reccomend western or northern Norway as opposed to eastern Norway (in the summer the south is amazing!) 

 

I have probably forgot LOADS! Feel free to comment with your ports of call in Norway and I will give you nore ideas.

 

-Chris-

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@Plasticbrain Sorry to see you go. I got to experience a Norway cruise a couple of years ago (July 2022) with @Lovetocruise2002, you can find our live blog in my signature if you are curious. I have to say, it was one of my favorite cruises to date. We visited Kristiansand, Alesund, Stavanger, and Flam. My kids continually talk about that cruise and want to go back.  Their favorite thing to eat were the waffles. I also thought they were quite tasty. 

I would love to go back and hike prekestolen. We did a boat tour into Lysefjord instead, which worked out better because it was cold and rainy that day. 

 

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3 hours ago, GregD said:

@Plasticbrain Sorry to see you go. I got to experience a Norway cruise a couple of years ago (July 2022) with @Lovetocruise2002, you can find our live blog in my signature if you are curious. I have to say, it was one of my favorite cruises to date. We visited Kristiansand, Alesund, Stavanger, and Flam. My kids continually talk about that cruise and want to go back.  Their favorite thing to eat were the waffles. I also thought they were quite tasty. 

I would love to go back and hike prekestolen. We did a boat tour into Lysefjord instead, which worked out better because it was cold and rainy that day. 

 

Welcome back!

Yes waffles is a big thing, many people prefer the light crunchy ones, personally i like them softer, darker with sour cream in the batter. 

Prekestolen is famous it even appears in one of the M.I. movies (disguised as being in Nepal) 

 

 

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I appreciate this. I am cruising to Norway for the first time in July. I am traveling with two elderly relatives who are hoping for a bus tour or two at best. Does that sound like something reasonable to hope for? Would you recommend a bus tour that does a big loop around several areas, or a small city bus tour or something like that?

 

some of us in the party are hoping to do some hiking or bike riding. Any specific recommendations there? Thank you so much.

 

We are in Kristiansand, Olden, Alesund, Stavenger.

 

this is very helpful information and I will be sharing with the group. Looks like there's a lot to do!

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37 minutes ago, She Sails Away said:

I appreciate this. I am cruising to Norway for the first time in July. I am traveling with two elderly relatives who are hoping for a bus tour or two at best. Does that sound like something reasonable to hope for? Would you recommend a bus tour that does a big loop around several areas, or a small city bus tour or something like that?

 

some of us in the party are hoping to do some hiking or bike riding. Any specific recommendations there? Thank you so much.

 

We are in Kristiansand, Olden, Alesund, Stavenger.

 

this is very helpful information and I will be sharing with the group. Looks like there's a lot to do!

I think Stavanger has good bus tour options (2 of the countries biggest bus companies are Stavanger based) , in Kristiansand we have a new city bus tour, that started 2 years ago, never tried it. Also we have a city train tour thats been around for years. That being said I would personally do a tour of Stavanger (even I get lost there) whilst the city centre of Kristiansand is literally named the square! All our streets are straight so you can always follow one south or west to the sea. Therefore i would easily say you can explore Kristiansand yourself.

Olden and Ålesund I do not know so much, but Olden is a very small place, here you should pay attention before docking, you will travel into one of the 2 most beautiful fjords in the world (Olden is not a city!) Ålesund is a city (9th largest in Norway) but a lot smaller than Stavanger (4th largest) and Kristiansand (5th largest) Also I must add that in both Stavanger and Kristiansand you could do great boat tours as well as bus tours or hiking.

Kristiansand is well suited for biking, there is good infrastructure here, I live 11km from city centre and I can ride my bike on a bikepath to the city, with only one crossing of the road. 

Hiking when in Kristiansand: I would by far recommend Odderøya 1. The island path starts only 3 minute walk from the cruise port 2. It has lovely scenery 3. There are benches so you can rest 4. There are 3 different paths, (go left/East if elderly people are with you, the eastern path is Rocky and the northern part has a long uphill climb). Also just walking the Beach promenade (just cross the bridge from the cruise terminal, and follow the coastline) is beautiful, you will get to see statues, fountains, the fortress and the city beach by walking here) 

When in Stavanger i always tell people to avoid the city centre, in my opinion it is not good. I would rather go to Sandnes if you want a city, Jæren/Bryne if you want a special coast and farmlands, or Lysefjorden if you want nature scenery.

I know Ålesund is built in a very special style, I have not been there, but I would none the less choose a city tour in Ålesund over Stavanger any day.

Hope that helps!

 

Feel free to message me here if you have more questions. 

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@She Sails Away When in Alesund, if activity level allows book through RC it's called Stranda Mountain Explorer. It's a bus tour that eventually takes you to a ski resort. You ride in a gondola to the top of the mountain. The transitions to the gondola are easy. There is a bit of an uphill walk from there, but it's very short and the views are breathtaking. Added bonus, there are waffles!

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11 hours ago, GregD said:

@She Sails Away When in Alesund, if activity level allows book through RC it's called Stranda Mountain Explorer. It's a bus tour that eventually takes you to a ski resort. You ride in a gondola to the top of the mountain. The transitions to the gondola are easy. There is a bit of an uphill walk from there, but it's very short and the views are breathtaking. Added bonus, there are waffles!

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That sounds amazing!! Our relatives would love that. Thank you!

 

what amazing photos!

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12 hours ago, She Sails Away said:

That sounds amazing!! Our relatives would love that. Thank you!

 

what amazing photos!

You're welcome. I took 1500 pictures while on that cruise

I also can reccomend the Lysefjord boat cruise while in Stavanger. You get to see quite a few things. At one point the captain of the boat nosed up to a waterfall, collected water to pass out cups to all the passengers. 

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1 hour ago, GregD said:

You're welcome. I took 1500 pictures while on that cruise

I also can reccomend the Lysefjord boat cruise while in Stavanger. You get to see quite a few things. At one point the captain of the boat nosed up to a waterfall, collected water to pass out cups to all the passengers. 

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Am I a lucky guy to be living in this country or what? Lysefjorden is a 3 hour drive from here so I have at least one trip there yearly (usually with my mom, her mom was from that area). There is a place called Voss (nesr Bergen sort of) where you literally drive down a vindy mountain road under several waterfalls, when you come down you meet a lot of goats and a farm where they make goat cheese.  

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On 2/10/2024 at 7:42 AM, She Sails Away said:

I appreciate this. I am cruising to Norway for the first time in July. I am traveling with two elderly relatives who are hoping for a bus tour or two at best. Does that sound like something reasonable to hope for? Would you recommend a bus tour that does a big loop around several areas, or a small city bus tour or something like that?

 

some of us in the party are hoping to do some hiking or bike riding. Any specific recommendations there? Thank you so much.

 

We are in Kristiansand, Olden, Alesund, Stavenger.

 

this is very helpful information and I will be sharing with the group. Looks like there's a lot to do!

We were in Olden last May. We did the Briksdal Glacier excursion. You can hike up to the glacier or pay extra for the "Troll cars" to take you most of the way up.

 

Loen Skylift is another great excursion. 10 minutes from the port. Phenomenal views from the top. A very good excursion for the elderly relatives.7A8421F7-50B7-4A0D-89C9-BE995B8C5CC4_1_100_o.thumb.jpeg.fc2c057c50baa2bd845ae28f0a4a849a.jpeg7A8421F7-50B7-4A0D-89C9-BE995B8C5CC4_1_100_o.thumb.jpeg.fc2c057c50baa2bd845ae28f0a4a849a.jpeg2E0A8EAA-FA37-4D27-867F-DE764AFD8A88_1_100_o.thumb.jpeg.ba4a3c130b8705ad0fdd035b1b7b2d12.jpeg2E0A8EAA-FA37-4D27-867F-DE764AFD8A88_1_100_o.thumb.jpeg.ba4a3c130b8705ad0fdd035b1b7b2d12.jpeg

 

 

 

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  • 3 weeks later...
  • 3 weeks later...

Instead of making yet a new topic, I decided to add some cruise related news from Norway to this post:

Norwegian newspapers report that this year there will be 5049 cruise ship dockings in Norwegian ports, a new record (pre covid record was 1985...), and that co2 pollution from cruise ships this year will SURPASS domestic flights! So as much as  you all love visiting my country, it is understandable that they are limiting cruise ship visits from next year... 

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6 hours ago, Plasticbrain said:

Instead of making yet a new topic, I decided to add some cruise related news from Norway to this post:

Norwegian newspapers report that this year there will be 5049 cruise ship dockings in Norwegian ports, a new record (pre covid record was 1985...), and that co2 pollution from cruise ships this year will SURPASS domestic flights! So as much as  you all love visiting my country, it is understandable that they are limiting cruise ship visits from next year... 

Ironically it's the pending change in emission regulations that led to cruise lines trying to maximize visits satisfying user demand since everyone knows there will be no more cruises to the heritage fjords in the foreseeable future.  

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  • 3 weeks later...

@Plasticbrain thank you for all this great information!

 

Was wondering if you had a take or advice for us!
 

We’re going to be in Haugesund on constitution day this year! Is there anything you would recommend as a must do/see/eat on constitution day? I see from videos on youtube there seems to be a fun parade which well hopefully get to go see, but would love to know if there’s anything else we can partake in! 🇳🇴

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2 hours ago, dougalsgirl said:

@Plasticbrain thank you for all this great information!

 

Was wondering if you had a take or advice for us!
 

We’re going to be in Haugesund on constitution day this year! Is there anything you would recommend as a must do/see/eat on constitution day? I see from videos on youtube there seems to be a fun parade which well hopefully get to go see, but would love to know if there’s anything else we can partake in! 🇳🇴

If they're open (not sure about how the public holiday might affect that), be sure to stop for cupcakes at the place linked below. They are very yummy. About a 20-25 minute walk from the ship, straight through the pedestrian shopping street.

https://www.fjordnorway.com/en/food-and-drink/jablom-bakst-cupcakehuset-haugesund

This is also the route you would take if you wanted to do the coastal walk, which also takes you past the national monument. There are public toilets at the campsite there (always useful to know 😉).

https://www.fjordnorway.com/en/inspiration/day-trips/haugesund/walk-the-coastal-trail-in-haugesund

 

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7 hours ago, dougalsgirl said:

@Plasticbrain thank you for all this great information!

 

Was wondering if you had a take or advice for us!
 

We’re going to be in Haugesund on constitution day this year! Is there anything you would recommend as a must do/see/eat on constitution day? I see from videos on youtube there seems to be a fun parade which well hopefully get to go see, but would love to know if there’s anything else we can partake in! 🇳🇴

Hey! So 1. Shops are closed on may 17th, but some restaurants and gas stations are open. All cities/towns have 1-3 parades (one for kids only, schools etc, one for everyone. As well as local parades in the villages. I do not know Haugesund too well, but I will see if I can find their program and translate it. 

I would def reccommend catching a parade,you will get to see the wobderful national costume "bunad" many cities have funfairs and games and activities too. 

 

Food: kids in Norway have the tradition of eating as many hot dogs and ice creams as they can. So thats for the kids. For adults salmon with potatoes for dinner and strawberries with whipped cream for dessert is the traditional thing.. 

Also waffels, always eat waffels, if you can get them with ice cream and strawberries even better! 

 

And I just checked their webpage, no program is ready yet, but it will be published here soon: 

https://www.haugesund.kommune.no/17-mai/nasjonaldagen/17-mai-time-for-time.10817.aspx

Then you can just copy paste it into Google translate

 

Hope that helps 

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4 hours ago, dougalsgirl said:

This is wonderful! Thank you @FionaMG do you know if this walking route would be suitable for a buggy? it looks like a lovely trail if the weather was dry! 🤞🤞
 

The toilet stop info is much appreciated, this is always a consideration going anywhere with the kids!

I think you probably could take a buggy. The day I went there were definitely people with small kids and dogs but trying to think back I honestly can't remember if there was anyone with a buggy. As I remember it, it's definitely more of a footpath than a hiking trail. It was absolutely the least demanding of the walks that DD and I did on that cruise and if I'm going to be completely honest with you, although pleasant enough, it pales into insignificance in comparison to the other ports we visited (Bergen, Olden and Geiranger). However, the fact that you're going to be there on Constitution Day will undoubtedly bring added interest to the stop. Plus, if you have littles they will probably be thrilled to see the sheep and goats along the way. Just watch where you're stepping at that point. 😂

Here are some pics I took along the way.

Sail in:

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View of the town from the bridge connecting it to the port area. Note that the Cruise Compass said it was a comfortable 10-15 minute walk from the port to the town. More like 20 minutes and DD and I are fit and fast walkers. With littles it could take you longer than that.

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A couple of shots taken along the way.

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Four-legged friends:

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This inlet was as far as we went. I'm not sure if the path continued farther on beyond it but you'd probably find this is plenty far enough for you anyway.

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The national monument. We stopped here on the way back by which time there was a noticeable increase in the number of people around. From this angle, the campsite with the toilets isn't visible but it's just beyond. Actually, I think it might be a caravan park rather than a campsite but that's a minor detail. You'll recognise it for what it is when you see it.

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You didn't mention what other ports you'll be calling at on your cruise but if you happen to be visiting any of the ones I mentioned then you might like to take a look at this thread where I shared my pre-cruise research in response to a question by another poster who was on the same cruise as me.

I hope this helps. I'm sure you'll have an amazing time. Words can't describe what a wonderful place Norway is.

 

 

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Thank you @Plasticbrain and @FionaMG absolutely amazing insight!

 

We’ve got a 2.5 year old and a 12 year old coming with us. I’m sure the 12 year old will be trying to convince us they can still fit in the buggy at some point! 
 

We’re 3 weeks out now, after booking so far in advance, I’m finding it hard to contain my excitement 🤣

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10 hours ago, dougalsgirl said:

Thank you @Plasticbrain and @FionaMG absolutely amazing insight!

 

We’ve got a 2.5 year old and a 12 year old coming with us. I’m sure the 12 year old will be trying to convince us they can still fit in the buggy at some point! 
 

We’re 3 weeks out now, after booking so far in advance, I’m finding it hard to contain my excitement 🤣

You are very welcome btw hotdog is "Pølse" (in bun is "Pølse i brød") 

And Icecream is "Is" (Sundae is "Softis") so you know what to look for 😉

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