Falls and Fjords: Exploring South West Norway
The start of our trip to Norway was slow, to say the least – mostly due to poor planning. What could’ve been a quick and easy 2-hour flight from London to Oslo turned into a 6 hour journey with a layover that just kept getting longer.
Once we were finally in Oslo, we got a decent nights sleep and hopped on a bus to Bergen. Originally, the plan was to get the train to Bergen – known to be one of the most scenic trains in the world. But it was all booked out! Oops! So instead, we had a (long…long, long, long) bus ride. On the plus side – it was even more stunning than we’d hoped. We left Oslo with a spectacular sunrise, that magically lasted at least an hour as we cruised past cityscapes and big open lakes. Then eventually we found ourselves in snow-covered landscapes, winding up and down and all around the mountains. So, a long ride, but definitely worth it.
Arriving into Bergen, absolutely pouring down with rain, we quickly made our way to our apartment. Tucked up on a hill, just outside of town, it offered a great view – but the rain and fog meant we couldn’t see it just yet.
Early the next morning we picked up our hire car and set off north. I’ve decided the E16 highway must be the most scenic road in Norway. Maybe even the world. On one side, we had a fjord and glorious mountain views. On the other side, we were treated to an endless show of waterfalls. Some of them are huge and others are just a gentle downfall, but they were absolutely constant. Here I was thinking Iceland was spoilt for waterfalls… I think Norway may have just exceeded it!
Even more ridiculous and amazing, some of the waterfalls were frozen!! Yes, FROZEN! Just huge lumps of frozen water, draped down the side of some rocks. Incredible.
One of my favourite stops of the day was a particularly epic waterfall: Tvindefossen. Surrounded by snow, this immense waterfall could not have been more impressive. Walking carefully and slowly on the snow and ice, we got as close as possible – but the spray of the freezing cold water eventually persuaded us not to get any closer!
Flam was another incredibly scenic stop, though we got there as it was getting dark. The vast fjord provided impressive views, even with the fog and limited light.
Day two of road tripping south west Norway was equally jam-packed with stunning views. You just can’t go wrong with mountains, fjords and waterfalls.
The best waterfall of the day was without a doubt Fossen Bratte. The huge waterfall leads down to a river that winds between beautiful snowy mountains. A few quaint little houses are dotted around the mountains, and once again we almost had the place all to ourselves.
We followed a path up to the top of the falls, where it started SNOWING! That’s right – snow on Christmas Eve. That counts for a white Christmas, doesn’t it?!
As we continued driving we found ourselves diving into heavy snow. It was absolutely magical to drive through it. I don’t know quite how it works – but it just looked like it was floating out in front of us! We stopped a bunch of times to enjoy the white-covered villages, lakes and mountains.
Steinsdalsfossen was another impressive waterfall. A path lead all the way up to the top, and in summer you can continue walking and go behind the falls – but it’s closed off in winter, unfortunately. Even without going behind, we got an impressive view from the top.
I’ll be honest, south western Norway has set the bar high for the rest of this trip! The landscape is phenomenal. My only request is more snow, and occasional blue skies, pretty please Norway (The northern lights wouldn’t go astray either…)
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