Three weeks ago I was back on Azura and this time it was just me and husband for a relaxing week to the Norwegian Fjords. This was our third time of sailing there so we didn’t prebook any excursions and just disembarked and walked around each port independently. I am often asked what to do in each port so here are my suggestions and highlights of each port.
Alesund : Lovely town where you are able to walk off the ship and walk to either the Art Nouveau City centre or if feeling energetic you can climb Mount Aklsa (418 steps to the top) When you disembark the ship there will be the hop on hop off buses waiting and there was also a trolley train – both would take you to the top of Mount Aksla without climbing the steps. We chose to do the train the first time we called here and after going to the Mount it then took us all around the Art Nouveau city centre and the trip took just over an hour. There is also an Aquarium in Alesund and the hop on the bus will stop here. On the second time, we just walked into the town centre which took 5 minutes – the town itself is quite hilly so bear that in mind.
Olden: I have called into this port three times – the first time we did a shore excursion to the Briksdal Glacier (one of the main things to do in Olden) and you can either choose to walk up the whole route or go up in the troll cars and walk the last 10 minutes – we chose to do the troll cars. On the second time we decided to get on the Trolley train outside where the ship berths and this then took us on an hour tour around the small town and round to the lake where we could stop for photos. There are a few shops within the town and opposite the port, and again you can hire bikes or there are some hiking routes you can go on. You can now also take the bus from the Quayside to the Loen Skylift and is approx £76 pp -we are planning to do this next year when we are on Iona.
Bergen: Is easy to walk from the ship into town and just takes 10-15 minutes however sailing on Britannia then they berth at a different place and run shuttle buses into town. We made sure we were some of the first off so we could get to the funicular railway before the tour group did. The views at the top are stunning if on a clear day and there is walking trails at the top if you want to go off walking. From leaving the ship if you go along the harbour you will pass the Fort. the Bryggen (wooden buildings), the fish market and then into the town centre.
Stavanger: The town is normally a 5-15 minute walk from the ship (depending on which berth you are in) One of the main highlights apparently is the Lysefjord pulpit rock which is an excursion which takes you out on another boat for about 3 hours and takes you to the pulpit rock – I have never done this so can’t comment on this excursion. I normally walk off the ship and into the town through the streets (a bit like the lanes in Brighton) For the men there is the petroleum museum you can visit. There is a hop on hop off bus available.
We didn’t call in at either Flam, Skjolden or Geiranger but I have been to these before and here are my suggestions for those two ports
Flam: If you are the only ship in that day you will be alongside the quay, otherwise you will be on a tender. Flam is a small village and the main highlight of this village is the Flam railway which takes you up through the mountain to Myrdal. The train station is 100 yards from the quay and as we were the only ship in we took the risk and waited until we docked on the day to get our train tickets – we were able to get on the 07:20 train and the tickets cost £40 per person. I would recommend checking the cruise timetables and seeing how many other ships are in that day as it does get booked up and if this would be a highlight of your trip then to pre-book the train before going. The train will have a 5 minute stop on the way down by the waterfall and there is also a small surprise entertainment for the train passengers. In the town itself, there is a couple of souvenir shops, a cafe, the railway museum which is free and a pub.
Skjolden: This is a tiny village with one cafe/pub, a souvenir shop and a library. However there are fantastic views to be had in this fjord, you can walk into the little village and will take about 15 minutes casually strolling. You can also hire bikes and some people went out on a RIB and taken round the fjord.
Geiranger: This is a stunning scenic port and there is an airbridge which will link the ship to the quayside but not all cruise lines pau for this so then tenders will be required – I believe Iona will be using the airbridge. On the quayside, there are about 3 souvenir shops and that’s it. I took the tour up to Mount Dalsnibba whilst I was here and there was a lot of hairpins turns so don’t book this tour if that is something you won’t like. On top of Mount Dalsnibba, the weather had changed from 17 degrees at the bottom to be -4 degrees at the top so wrap up warm for this trip. There are also many walking trails so if you are into hiking then this is a great place to walk.