Beautiful Norwegian Atlantic and Trollstigen road drives
Fancy driving a rollercoaster?, well your own, let me make it clear, driving a car on a rollercoaster track, yes exactly, sounds weird, that’s exactly what this beautiful road is all about, the Atlantic road is voted one of the best road trips, it begs to be driven and experienced.
The road link connecting the two fishing villages of Vevang in Eide with Karvag in Averoy links 11 small islands and skerries. This 8.2km route consists of small viaducts, causeways and 8 bridges and the most notable one is the Storseisundet Bridge.
Sharp turns, the beautiful curve of the bridge, wild nature and wonderful scenery awaits at every turn, no wonder this is one of the best roads to be enjoyed, there are lots of Panoramic view points and rest areas along the road.
The main highlight of this bridge is the feeling of going no where, the feeling of an abrupt drop, similar to being on a rollercoaster before the free run down the rails, it’s just amazing.
On this road trip to Norway, we drove 2 beautiful roads, this one and the Trollstigen mountain road, see more in pictures below.
Staying by the Atlantic road in Atlanterhavsveien Sjøstuer with nice views and plenty of options for fishing and camping, they have cozy little cabins for small and bigger size groups.
Not far from here is another beautiful and tourist road to Geiranger famously known as the Trolls path, 11 hairpin bends around the lofty mountains takes you to some fantastic view points, from the atlantic road its a 2 hour drive with a short ferry ride gets you to this scenic spot.
Trollstigen Camping provides a base for an overnight stay or a rest stop on the Trollstigen road with a nice restaurant and souvenir shop.
An Aurora hunting spectacular
The search for the Northern lights began last year in 2012, plans penned down, tickets booked, maps saved and key viewing spots all jotted down, the Dec of 2012 came and went and we couldn’t spot the Aurora in Northern Iceland due to heavy snow and cloudy conditions, but the trip was fantastic and we enjoyed every bit of it. Click on the link above to read more on the North Iceland trip.
The love for the Elusive Aurora grew even more stronger and we decided to plan another trip in 2013, this year the Aurora was supposed to be at its peak and what better place on earth would it be for Aurora viewing other than the famous city of Tromso in Northern Norway and we were not wrong, we had fantastic viewings for 4 days over the week we stayed, intense and dancing mystical lights, not something that can be missed.
After lots of Googling and reading up on the weather patterns, we chose September to be a safe bet and we were right and rewarded with some amazing Auroral displays.
Aurora displays are more active around the Solstices, so the Solstice around September 21 seemed apt, weather in Tromso was also mild with the start of the rainy season, so there are better chances of clear skies around these months than during the peak winter months.
Below are geo-coords of interesting Aurora view points around Tromso, helpful if you are on a Self Drive trip and have a satnav handy.
|(another side of sea) – 69.70005, 18.6163|
|(fjord view point) – 69.74139, 18.4748|
|Ringvassoy nordkjosen||69.96345, 18.9070|
|Ringvassoy dafjord||69.9966, 19.338|
|Ringvassoy hansnes||70.0220, 19.592|
|Skibotn||69.402, 20.270 (Popular with guides), (dry weather)|
|Skibotn astro observatory||69.34837, 20.3645|
|Lyngen view||69.591, 20.418|
|Alta via Skibotn||69.946, 23.183 (6 hrs from Tromso)|
So there is really no best time of the year, Auroral displays are visible during long and dark nights, So August to March is best and you need clear skies, so if you can avoid the peak winter and snow season you might increase the chances of a good display, and the best would be to spend a week or more increasing the chances of clear skies and better weather.
All you need to see the Aurora is some place in the Northern Hemisphere, some notable ones are Canada, Tromso, Iceland, Finland and the like…. and a dark area to look up at the sky away from the city lights.
There is nothing special you need other than a pair of eyes and lots of patience and some hot drinks to help you keep awake long into the chilly nights.
Auroras are difficult to predict with precision, but if you keep checking the aurora forecast often and plan accordingly, the chances of a viewing are greatly increased.
Watch out for the Aurora forecast at – http://www.softservenews.com/Aurora.htm Look out for the Kp Index, do not assume if the Kp Index is low, it stays low for the whole of the night, as we found out in our Auroral adventures, that’s not the case, Kp changes pretty often based on the solar sub storms
We love staying in small lovely cottages away from the hustle and bustle of the city, our first option would be to try to get a cottage if possible and Tromso is no stranger to mountain lodges and cottages, we did find one and we were attracted to it looking at the photos and the view.
Little Red House as its aptly named is a cosy little cabin an hours drive from Tromso, sits right on the water-front with views of the spectacular Lyngen Alps, photos do more justice to the beauty than words, so enjoy the beauty below.
If you are on an Aurora hunt, self drive seems to be the best option as you might have to stay very late into the night and far from your place of stay and you might have to do lots of driving around to find a clear spot with no clouds – Chasing the Aurora as we like to call it. There are car rentals in Tromso airport, book in advance for some good deals.
Breathtaking views of the Fjord from Pulpit rock
Preikestolen also famously known as the Pulpit Rock is a famous trekking destination and a natural attraction in Western Norway an hour from Stavanger.
It’s a massive cliff with an unusual formation where the top of the cliff is flat measuring 85 x 85 feet, the cliff is 604 meters above the Lysefjord and the views from the cliff are spectacular.
Reaching the cliff peak takes around 4 to 5 hours and you need to be reasonably fit as the climb is steeper in many places along the route and lots of rocky boulders to climb and ridges to cross along the way.
Make sure you have a good pair of trekking shoes, trekking poles will be helpful if you have one, water, food (there are no shops at the cliff top) and lots of enthusiasm and when you reach the top, there is nothing that matches the beauty of nature’s painting that beholds your eye, beautiful view of the Lysefjord with blue-green waters and the feeling of standing on top, its just gorgeous.
Trek Note: There are 2 paths that take you 2 the cliff, they separate approx 2/3rds of the way as seen in the track map above, the right hand side path takes you via the hilly area and its tougher than the left side Cliff walk, you might have to climb large rocks and navigate narrow crevices, but takes you to a higher point from where you can have a good view of the Pulpit rock itself. The cliff path leads direct to the pulpit rock.
The Pulpit Rock is in Ryfylke in Western Norway, the nearest ferry terminal is Tau and the nearest airport is Stavanger, the fourth largest city in Norway, 25 kilometers from Pulpit rock.
There is a flybus from the airport every 15 minutes that gets you direct from the airport to the ferry terminal.
During summer time (Mid May to Mid September) there are regular ferries (3 every hour) from Stavanger to Tau and you can get a local bus from Tau terminal to the base of the Pulpit rock hiking trail.
The road to the site ends at a parking facility at Preikestolen Fjellstue. There is a well-marked trail that extends from the parking facility to the site, which goes through a variety of mountain landscapes.
An alternative to view the pulpit rock from the fjord is available year round: a ferry trip sails beneath the Pulpit rock through the Lysefjord. The weather other than in the summer can be wet and cold, and clouds can then prevent seeing the rock. The ship stops at several small docks on the way in and out, including a layover at the end of the Lysefjord .
Sightseeing ferries start from the Stavanger Port which is a 10 minute walk from the Stavanger-Tau Ferry terminal, check tour timings before you plan and the total round trip is 3 hours.
There are other marked hiking trails starting from the base as well and gives you good views of the Pulpit rock from the other side and a walking path around the Refsvatn lake.
The nearby mountain Kjerag (which reaches the height of 1,110 meters, near the bottom of the Lysefjord) is also a very popular hiking destination, and its famous for the boulder rock wedged between two rock faces.
If you want to stay at the base after a hard days hike and can’t be bothered going back to Stavanger, then the only option is the Preikestolen Mountain Lodge.
We stayed at the Preikestolen Mountain Lodge (www.preikestolenfjellstue.no), which is situated at the beginning of the hike idyllically in the Ryfylke moorlands, overlooking the Refsvatn lake. The lodge is built to hotel standards and the new block was built in 2009.
Stavanger Sola airport to City centre by flybus – 100 NOK Per person (one way)
Ferry Stavanger to Tau – 46 NOK per person (one way)
Tau to Preikestolen YHTTA by bus – 85 NOK per person (one way)
Beautiful Norway by Flam Railway
Day 1 – Flew into Norway Torp airport, roamed around Oslo
Day 2 – Norway in a nutshell tour of the Fjords.
Day 3 – Trekked up mount Bergen
Day 4 – On the train back to Oslo
Day 5 – Back to London.
Norge, yes another name for Norway is a beautiful country with a lot of Valleys and mountains, I would call it the country of Tunnels, i have not seen such long tunnels and in numerous ones along the way, I almost lost count of how many there were.
The peak season actually is during April to July where the months of may and June being the most colourful with all the trees and flowers blossoming.
We were actually a month early and it was also one of the coldest this year at -13 degrees.
The trip had an amazing start right from the way we landed in Oslo airport, Ryanair was supposed to land in Torp airport, but due to heavy snow and low visibility, we had to land in Oslo city airport. After much difficult and the plane literally flying like a crow with its wings shaking up and down in the torrential wind and snow, the wheels touched the white tar on the runaway created by the intense snowing. Everybody clapped to have had a successful touch down.
We had breakfast in the airport and took the train to Oslo, checked into the Perminalen hotel.
We had no specific plans in Oslo, Oslo had a lot of Museums, so we did not care to visit them, just started a walk around the city, it was white all over the place, played in the snow in the parks throwing snow at each other.
This is one of the major attraction tours in Norway, advance booking can be done from Raileurope.co.uk, the ticket includes the train from Oslo to Myrdal
from Myrdal you need to take the Flam railway to Flam, this is one of the picturesque route with lots of waterfalls, valleys, gorges and beautiful mountains and houses all along the way, this train even stops along the way for capturing some beautiful scenery.
Once you reach Flam, you will have an hour there to look around and then a ferry awaits you to take you to Guduvangen, this ferry ride is also another major picturesque ride on the lake valley between two mountains.
From Gudvangen, a bus awaits there and takes you to Voss, from Voss you can take the train to Bergen, all these can be covered in a single day, but we stayed in Bergen for another day.
This day in Bergen was another eventful and exercising day trekking up mount Bergen. We started at 11 in the morning and as we started the ascend we were greeted by the Snow fall, as we went higher up, the snowing became very intense and the path was completely covered in snow, we played, danced, jumped in the snow to our hearts content and reached the peak.