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Norway - A Spectacular Summer Destination

My curiosity with Norway first culminated in being voted the happiest place on earth. So when Inghams Holidays offered me a spot on their trip, I shook their hand! I've always thought of Scandinavia as a winter destination, boasting snowy landscapes and northern lights. But it's the western region that has a lot to offer in the spring and summer months, when I'm about to find out.

Norway - A Spectacular Summer Destination

Day 1

Base Camp

Norway - A Spectacular Summer Destination

After abandoning our bags at the hotel, we quickly made a plan for Bergen's Base Camp for our first taste of Norwegian food. Seafood is a Scandinavian specialty. Which - not being the biggest fan - makes me a little apprehensive. But after sampling the traditional salted cod, plus heaps of the best fresh shrimp I've ever tasted, I won. If you don't like seafood in Norway, you probably never will. Along with eating our weight in food, the tour also introduced us to some of the city's oldest and most prominent landmarks, including the iconic Bryggen - a series of colorful wooden buildings The property is located to the east of the port of Vagen - and a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site. And as a typical tourist, I was there, taking pictures at every given opportunity. I can't resist!

Norway - A Spectacular Summer Destination

Brilliant drinks

Norwegian beer has a long history dating back over 1000 years. So the right thing to do is that our next stop should be microbrewery - Bryggeriet. When we walked in, I immediately fell in love with the interior - think solid wooden beams, chairs and tables, plus fur chair throws and other subtle touches and knots. We've been spinning our afternoons here, sampling an impressive selection of tantalizing finger tips - from rich amber beers to zingy ginger ales - as we enjoyed the harbor views. We then ventured behind the scenes to climax at the cylindrical tanks as our hosts explained the brewing process and how different temperatures, yeasts and time frames can change flavors. taste. Tasting sessions typically require a minimum party size of ten, but anyone can book a tour or sample a Bryggeriet drink with their meal in the restaurant.

Seafood meal

Norway - A Spectacular Summer Destination

Also located in Bryggen is the fish restaurant Enhjørningen , where we stopped for our first dinner. This is the oldest restaurant of its kind in Bergen, serving a selection of traditional meals from salmon sashimi to the native Norwegian dish - whale carpaccio. Its quirky interior reflects 18th Century heritage, with period furniture, old world murals and sloping, rickety floors that will truly transport you to a bygone era. Realizing that I would be eating a lot of fish on this trip, I chose 'No Fish Olsen' - a delicious steak served with a divine red wine sauce. With fish being this restaurant's specialty, I was pleasantly surprised at how perfectly cooked the meat was.

Jealous of jazz music

Norwegians love their jazz. So, for evening entertainment, we headed to the city's Verftet neighborhood for the annual Nattjazz festival. As we approached the main site, it became clear that this was "the place to go". It's bustling with people of all ages - which explains why the rest of Bergen seems so quiet. Located right next to the Bergen fjord, with views along the coast, there is a distinctly relaxing atmosphere and a laid-back feel. This very venue - a former sardines factory - has had a number of acts playing different jazz styles and we found ourselves fumbling from room to room to get a feel for the music.



Norway - A Spectacular Summer Destination

Our second day began with us boarding Bergen's famous Fløibanen Funicular. This railway connects the city center with the Fløyen mountain in less than 8 minutes. While the incline is quite gentle, it's also very steep - which is worth noting if you're a photography buff. But if you have a head for height, you will definitely love this! Rising an impressive 1000 feet on the edge of the city, it's easy to see why this spot is one of Norway's most popular attractions. The sweeping vistas across the city are a great way to get your bearings and appreciate how diverse Hordaland's landscape is - with a backdrop of fjords, surrounding mountains and mountains. nearby island. And for animal lovers (like me), you'll also find a small voice - cute, though smelly - the free-roaming goats that live here during the spring and summer months.

Norway - A Spectacular Summer Destination

Norway - A Spectacular Summer Destination

Great fjord

Witnessing Norway's fjords first-hand is one of those bucket lists that you absolutely can do if given the chance. Often referred to as the Gateway to the Fjords, year-round sailing sailings depart nearly every day. So we took the three hour cruise to Mostraumen. The deeper we went, the more scared I became. It felt as if we were sailing through a picture postcard, with majestic mountain slopes, quaint fishing villages and clear blue waters surrounding us. The decks outside can get pretty chilly and although we're blessed with glorious weather (in our twenties) - we still find ourselves needing to wrap up in coats and woollies. If the wind and the elements are too much, you can always retreat to the floors below, where you'll find comfortable indoor seating surrounded by glass windows - so you don't have to miss the frames. spectacular scene. Halfway through, we sailed close to an enchanting waterfall where we sampled fresh Norwegian mountain water.

Following the fjord's itinerary, we headed to Lungegårdsvannet - a beautiful lake with green trees in the center of Bergen. It has a really quaint, family-friendly feel to it - somewhere you can imagine a day with a picnic or a good book.

Norway - A Spectacular Summer Destination

While we were here, was visiting Lysverket for lunch. This contemporary restaurant is part of the KODE 4 art museum - so as you might expect, its interior looks very artistic. The main menu offers seafood from the west coast, as well as homemade juices and local beer. We, however, ordered from the small plate menu. I opted for a grilled panini with cheese, pork and pickles. Although it was delicious, I still couldn't help but envy the food when I saw a mighty fried fish sandwich served on the side.

Norway - A Spectacular Summer Destination

Great festival

If you have a passion for the performing arts, you'll want to make time to visit late May to early June for the Bergen International Festival. This annual event sees more than 200 shows of music, ballet, opera, theater and dance taking place in and around the city. We had the pleasure of attending an evening show at the enchanting Troldhaugen - the former summer residence of the famous Norwegian composer Edvard Grieg - now a living museum including a music center. exhibition center with shop and cafe and of course the hut where he composed his music. Sitting in an impressive chamber music hall with great acoustics and views across the fjord, we eagerly awaited percussionist Collin Currie and trumpeter Håkan Hardenberger to take the stage. During that time, we stretched our legs around the yard while admiring the delightful views that have inspired much of Edvard's work.

Norway - A Spectacular Summer Destination


Handsome Handangerfjord

Norway - A Spectacular Summer Destination

After the scenic carriage ride from Bergen to Norheimsund, we hit the water again on another fjordcruise. This express train is like a bus for the fjord, stopping at several scattered locations along the Handangerfjord (the fourth largest fjord in the world). We watched a lot of tourists and locals being picked and dropped on the route. Our first harbor was the majestic Vøringfossen waterfall. With a whopping 182 meter drop, it's a truly remarkable sight. We made the most of the viewing platforms that allowed us to get a closer look at the water pouring down into the stunning Måbødalenat valley below.

Norway - A Spectacular Summer Destination

We boarded the boat back to our next stop - the Norwegian Nature Center in the Eidfjord. As a wildlife lover, I am in my composition as I wander through the three floors of the exhibition with interactive stations, videos and displays illustrating Norway's animals, nature and climate . Then came our delicious lunch - a fillet with bacon - which was my favorite dish of the whole trip (quite impressive as I'm not a big fish fan). It wasn't until we were here for over an hour that I saw goats casually grazing on the grassy terrace of the visitor center - a rather amusing but cute sight.

Norway - A Spectacular Summer Destination


Norway - A Spectacular Summer Destination

The final destination on the speedboat was Hotel Brakanes- our home for the night. Located on a fjord in Ulvik, its location really couldn't be better. Each of our rooms has breathtaking views of lush greenery and sparkling blue waters against the backdrop of majestic snow-capped mountains. These views are also accessible from the hotel's garden and patio area, leading directly to the water's edge - a perfect spot to enjoy a cup of tea or a refreshing drink. As a water baby, I planned to take full advantage of the hotel's heated indoor swimming pool when we arrived. But with such glorious weather, there was absolutely no way I would stay indoors. So we rushed to the hotel's private beach where we enjoyed an afternoon sunbathing and swimming in the fjord - an activity I never imagined I would be doing in Norway.

Norway - A Spectacular Summer Destination


Great walk

Known as The Orchard of Norway, Ulvik offers an excellent network of well-marked and varied trails that wind through grasslands, forests and cider farms. So, after breakfast, we reached for our suncream, shades and hats for our final tour of the trip. Not being the fittest, I'm a bit worried about the prospect of hiking. But I don't have to. The incline is gentle and pleasant enough for an amateur climber like me. Along the way we stopped at several cider farms where we got a little history lesson on Nordic cider making and some samples to taste.

With our return flight scheduled for that evening, we took a shuttle bus to Voss' train station to catch our train back to Bergen. Hailed as one of the most beautiful trains in the world, you can imagine our disappointment when we arrived only to discover our train service had been cancelled. With our flight departing in just a few hours, we couldn't wait for the next service. So we went on an alternative bus back to Bergen.

Arrive there

I've always had a bit of reluctance when it comes to airport reservations, preferring to put my spare coins into spending money. But a one-night stay at Gatwick's Bloc Hotel sold me out completely. No need to rush. No worries predicting delayed trains or traffic jams. And no need to set alarms for me ridiculous - hour. Everything about this hotel boasts comfort and convenience - from the fluffy white towels and soft linens to the shower and climate control system. Although the room was compact, it was truly amazingly peaceful and I was able to enjoy some good quality sleep without interruption before my flight - a novelty for an anxious traveller. quiet, like me. But the pros don't stop there. The icing on the cake is its place - almost right in front of the departure lounge, meaning I can leisurely prepare for my flight and squeeze in a few more winks. You really couldn't get more convenient!

The Bloc Hotel is located in Gatwick's South Terminal. Rooms start at £53

Bergen Card

If you plan on doing a lot of sightseeing in Bergen, you'll want to get a Bergen Card. With one of these, you can benefit from discounts at some of the city's restaurants. In addition, you will also get free admission to some attractions. The pass is valid for a period of 48 hours and prices start at 340NOK (about £31) for adults and 272NOK for seniors (about £25) and are purchased from an Inghams Representative on arrival.


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