Visitor’s Guide to Norway | Roadtripping with Toby Midgen
When my dear friend Toby told me she was planning an incredible trip to Norway, I knew I had to get all of the details to share with you! If you’re planning a trip to Norway, read on to find out Toby’s recommendations for the best places to stay and eat, and can’t-miss activities for your visit!
Q: What made you want to go to Norway, and what were your favorite things about your trip?
A: My husband and I recently visited Norway this summer as part of our honeymoon. We had heard about the stunning scenery, majestic Fjords surrounded by sheer cliffs, endless summer sunshine and quaint fishing villages. All of this made us want to explore Norway’s picture perfect west coast. Who doesn’t love a road trip filled with this kind of magic with Scandinavian chic design elements thrown in?!
So, we planned a ten day itinerary starting in Oslo. Although Norway has many beautiful areas, our trip was concentrated in the Sunnmore region.
We landed in Oslo and went straight to the city centre. I love a beautifully appointed small boutique hotel/apartment and found the perfect one; it was called Revier. It had gorgeous hardwood floors and warm mood lighting with tons of candles and lanterns. Delightful bedding, gorgeous pillows, and cozy sheets complement the high-end Scandinavian-designed furniture. The hotel also features a Michelin star restaurant, Savage, a rooftop bar terrace, and a yummy Italian restaurant, Null Null. The location was within walking distance to everything you would want to see and it was a historic and quiet street.
Oslo is a delightful modern city with colorful streets and lots to see in two days. First, we walked on the roof of the Opera House and toured The Munch Museum (home to “The Scream”). Highly recommend the rooftop cafe at the Museum (reservations needed) with a brilliant view of the sea and city with fresh delicious food! Then, we visited the Astrup Fearnley Museum which features gorgeous modern architecture.
We enjoyed tons of outdoor cafes along the water, especially the Tim Wendelboe Cafe. The New York Times states that this coffee microroastery has the feel of a neighborhood cafe but operates like a Michelin-star restaurant. Tim is the World Barista Champion and it did not disappoint. In the stylish and funky area of Grünerløkka, we loved the waffles at Harald’s Vaffel and the food hall at Mathallen Oslo, which is located in a beautifully renovated former iron foundry. And the Norwegian Royal Palace with fresh flowers and gorgeous gardens is definitely worth a stroll.
For the following part of our trip, we flew from Oslo to Alesund (a quick 55 minute flight) and rented a car for 5 days of adventure.
We stayed one night in Alesund at the Hotel Brosundet which is part of the picturesque town of Alesund. It has incredible food, carefully selected art, a massive fireplace in the lobby, and the most delicious fresh breakfast anyone could ask for. Note: The rooms are very small and I would recommend requesting a larger room when booking.
We loved the Sugar Loaf hike, which offers the best 360-degree view in the city, and found that the small city of Alesund is perfect for one night. Keep in mind it is a port city with cruise ships, which means it can get pretty crowded with tourists.
Hotel Union Oye
From Alesund, we began our road trip adventure and headed to the historical Hotel Union Oye for three nights. Set in the small village of Oye, this hotel is a historical favorite for royalty, writers, artists and the romantically inclined. Built in 1891, this exquisite hotel features 27 rooms with tranquil and dramatic surroundings. The dining room serves gorgeous, delicious meals and offers views overlooking the fjord and the mountains.
Individually decorated with antiques, the amenities include a library, game room, and bar. Additionally, there is a floating sauna with views of the majestic mountains at the end of a dock where you can jump straight into the water.
While at the hotel, we rented bikes, kayaked through the Fjords, and went on stunning hikes all from the activity center. Mount Saksa nearby offers breathtaking views and is about 3.5 miles of challenging yet worthwhile climbs. The outdoor experiences are divine and inspirational and this place is pure magic.
Note: Make sure you don’t miss the unique storytelling experience every night at 10pm in the living room by the fireplace after dinner! Each night, a member of the staff unfolds the history of the hotel along with ghost stories.
Driving from one hotel to the other through the Fjords and the landscape is really breathtaking. From the Hotel Union Oye, we drove to our next destination which was the Storfjord Hotel. We drove through sheer skyrocketing mountains, long ribbon-like waterfalls, and idyllic lakes and rivers. We like to get out of the car to take photos and adventure out into the wild. On the journey, we also drove through a valley called Valldal, known for its delicious strawberry farms (yes, we got out and sampled boxes and boxes of these delicious berries!). Next, we drove through the scenic Trollstigen road, a collection of 11 hairpin bends.
The Storfjord Hotel faces a Fjord and is built into the forest. The surroundings are gorgeous and stunning as is this unbelievable chic stylish lodge/hotel with designer furniture, open fireplaces, and massive timber logs. The hotel’s builders handcrafted it in the traditional “laftehytte” Norwegian style, paying beautiful attention to detail that exudes luxury throughout. Additionally, the suites are unique and spacious with probably the most comfortable bed I have ever experienced.
From this hotel we hiked into the forest with dramatic views over the Fjords, kayaked, and cycled. Five minutes away in the private pier, you can rent a private boat to take you on a tour of the world famous UNESCO site, the Geiranger Fjord. And oh my, the cooking and the food. Wow. They craft the fine gourmet Nordic dining using the best ingredients. We found both traditional and modern menus, along with the best attention to service and detail.
All of these hotels offer activities that make it very easy to create a bespoke experience. We absolutely loved our Norwegian adventure and can’t wait to go back! Next time, we look forward to discovering new areas of Norway and also seeing these landmarks in the winter. The people are so friendly and warm, the food divine, the scenery magnificent, and the hotels gorgeous and sophisticated. It was a fairytale honeymoon.
If you’re planning a trip to Norway soon and would like any more details on these recommendations, send me an email at email@example.com and I will be happy to help!