I am pleased to present a new Solo Travel Destination Post from Kay, a member of the Solo Travel Society on Facebook. Kay is from the United States, and submitted the following report about her trip exploring Norway's fjords and the Lofoten Islands. Do you have a solo travel destination that you would like to recommend? Submit your description here, along with a few photos, and share it with fellow travelers!
Solo Travel Rating: 1.5 (1 is easiest, 3 is most difficult. Please see chart below)
Languages Spoken: Norwegian, English
Costs at Destination: Reasonable (local transportation, dining, tours, events, and attractions)
Reasons to Visit the Lofoten Islands
When Norway reached the top of my trip list I created a several week itinerary to visit as many fjords as possible before reaching the hauntingly beautiful Lofoten Islands, located north of the Arctic Circle. With Bergen as my entry and departure city, my modes of transport were part of the fun, with travel by ferries, ship, jet boat, train, rental car, and small plane. Several one-day excursions allowed for convenient means to see and move between points of interest.
To get from Bergen to Flam, site of the popular Flam Railway, I caught an early morning ferry for a leisurely full-day cruise along the Sognefjord, one of Norway’s longest and deepest fjords. The beauty of this and similar ferry excursions proved hypnotic. Following an overnight in Flam, with dinner at the darkly atmospheric, pricey but delicious Aegir BrewPub, I was first in line in the morning for a round trip ride from Flam to Myrdal. It was as scenic and steep as promoted.
My immersion in the touristy town complete, I took a jet boat ride on the Nærøyfjord, with the driver/guide telling us what would be said again of other fjords, “this is the most beautiful fjord in Norway.” The jet boat dropped us near a bus, to catch a ride to the train back to Bergen.
I enjoyed the character and clean simplicity of Hotel Klosterhagen in Bergen’s historical Klosteret (“the Monastery”) neighborhood, along with dinner at Bara Vestland near the wharf.
The next day a scenic three-hour drive by rental car took me from Bergen to the historic Utne hotel in the tiny art-infused village of Utne, set amongst apple orchards on the northern end of the Folgefonn Peninsula, at the confluence of the Sørfjorden and Hardangerfjorden fjords. This was an idyllic base to explore by car and ferry nearby Ulvik and Eidfjord, providing opportunities for hikes to waterfalls.
Again, back in Bergen I boarded a well-appointed Hurtigruten ship, taking in the lingering sunset from a deckchair before retiring to a cozy berth for overnight passage to Alesund, an art nouveaue town situated at the entrance to the Geirangerfjord.
Not far from Alesund, a splurge at Storgjord Hotel was both a several days retreat and a base for exploration by car, ferry, kayak and foot, of the Geirangerfjord and Hjørundfjorden Fjords, the Romsdalen Valley and the Trollstiggen or “trolls road.”
Although accessible by ship, ferry or car, for ease of time I traveled to and from the Lofoten Islands via Wideroe, the small plane becoming part of the adventure.
The mystical beauty of the Lofoten Islands’ jagged peaks jutting from the Norwegian Sea is breathtaking. As I picked up a rental car and drove into Svolvaer, then checked into Svinoya Rorbuer, I barely noticed the rain. The little red fisherman’s hut at the end of a wooden walkway was a traveler’s dream, evoking only smiles, at a destination reached at the end of a day.
Solo Travel Destination Rating System
Safety – 1 (1 very safe, 2 safe in most areas, 3 be cautious at all times.)
Language – 2 (1 English is first language, 2 English speakers easy to find, 3 English speakers rare)
Navigation – 1 (1 easy to navigate by transit or car, 2 poor transit, car necessary, 3 not easy to get around)
Culture – 2 (1 Similar to North America or Western Europe, 2 Different from above but relaxed and easy, 3 Challenging)
Average Rating – 1.5 (1 is easiest, 3 is most difficult)