Last month I had the opportunity to travel to Norway with P&O Cruises, and it was one of the most incredible places I’ve been to. The air is crisp and clean, the people are friendly, and the scenery is jaw-dropping. P&O Cruise’s new ship Iona would be the perfect way to get a taste of the beautiful Norwegian Fjords (we didn’t travel on the cruise ship, but we stayed in a few of the towns it docks at!).
We went to Bergen and Stavanger, and this Norway travel guide will cover the best of both towns.
A COMPLETE NORWAY TRAVEL GUIDE
Where to Stay in Bergen
While in Bergen we stayed at the beautiful Hotel Norge. It was right in the center of town, so you could truly walk everywhere. I loved the Norwegian design touches as well – my room had a cozy chair swing in the corner! The breakfast buffet was also incredible, they had everything from eggs to croissants to yogurt and granola. I was in breakfast heaven!
Where to Eat in Bergen
- Cornelius: Located on Holmen Island, Cornelius is one of the best seafood restaurants in all of Norway. Be sure to book your dinner reservations well in advance as the restaurant only takes one seating per table each night. There’s a special ferry that takes guests to the island at 6pm and then returns to Bergen at 10:30pm. Each night the menu is different depending upon what was freshly caught that day, so you’ll never know exactly what you’re getting until you arrive (but whatever it is will be amazing!). I can’t recommend Cornelius enough!
- Fish Me: Fish Me is a fresh fish restaurant located in the Bergen indoor fish market. You can go and eat at the market, or buy fresh fish to take home and cook yourself.
- Bryggeloftet: We didn’t end up having time to eat here, but this restaurant comes highly recommended. With beautiful views overlooking the harbor, it’s a favorite of both locals and tourists.
What to Do in Bergen
- Do a gin tasting. We went to OSS CRAFT Distillery and were able to try local Norwegian gin Bareksten. It was really interesting to learn how the gin making process works!
- Go on a bike tour. I unfortunately had to skip this activity, as I was recovering from a cold while I was on the trip, but the rest of the group really enjoyed it. It sounded like a great way to see all that Bergen has to offer!
- Explore the old town. The old town of Bergen is incredibly quaint and picturesque. There are lots of cute little shops and cafes to stop in and explore – this would make a great rainy afternoon activity.
- Take the Bergen funicular up to the top of Mount Floyen. The views at the top are absolutely stunning! You can enjoy sweeping views over the Bergen harbor and beyond. You can also do a range of activities on Floyen, from hiking to zip lining. If you’re not feeling adventurous, there are also a few cafes and shops at the top, so you can relax and enjoy a cup of hot chocolate with a view.
- Go beer tasting. We went to 7 Fjell Brewery to learn about the beer making process, and also got to sample several local brews. During the tasting they had out local cheeses, meats, and cinnamon buns (a traditional Norwegian sweet treat!).
- Visit the ice bar. The Magic Ice Bar was a really cool experience – I’ve always wanted to go to an ice bar! You’re provided with parkas and gloves before you enter the bar as they keep it at 23 degrees. Everything from the seating to the glasses are made of pure ice. It’s a bit cheesy, but I would still recommend it, especially if you’ve never done an ice bar before.
Where to Stay in Stavanger
In Stavanger we stayed at the Radisson Blu Atlantic Hotel. My room had beautiful views over the waterfront and the town. It’s right in the heart of the city center, so you’re walking distance from all the great shopping and restaurants in the town. The breakfast buffet was also amazing here (Norwegians really know how to do breakfast!).
Where to Eat in Stavanger
- Fish & Cow: This is an incredible farm to table restaurant located in the heart of Stavanger. All of the dishes are made from fresh produce and local suppliers. We enjoyed a lovely 3 course dinner here. I recommend making a reservation in advance.
- Renaa: Renaa was actually one of my favorite meals of the whole trip! We came here for lunch one day and it was such a lovely spot to relax. It’s right in Stavanger old town, near lots of great shopping. They had really nice vegetarian options and I had an amazing cauliflower gnocchi.
What to Do in Stavanger
- Go on a boat tour of the Fjords. This is hands down of the coolest experiences I’ve ever had. The Norwegian Fjords are an absolutely spectacular sight to see, and our boat took us through the Fjords with a few fun stops along the way. We fed mountain goats, drank water fresh from one of the waterfalls, and stopped for waffles at a mountain side waffle stop! It was truly an epic afternoon.
- Hike to the Manafossen Waterfall. It only takes about 20 minutes (depending on your fitness level) but it’s definitely not a leisurely hike so keep that in mind! The waterfall was worth the climb though – its the most powerful waterfall I’ve ever seen.
- Enjoy a helicopter ride over the Fjords. The day we did this was a bit rainy and overcast, so we weren’t able to fly over the famous Pulpit Rock as planned. However, we were still able to do a lovely tour over Stavanger town. A helicopter is always an amazing way to see a city!
- Go paddle boarding. Unfortunately I skipped out on this activity because of my cold, but it looked amazing! Everyone said the views of the mountains from out on the water were absolutely incredible. It would definitely be a memorable experience.
Norway Travel Guide: Travel Tips
- I recommend spending 2 days in each town to get the most out of your trip.
- We flew from Bergen to Stavanger (only a 45 minute flight), but you could also rent a car and drive.
- I’ve never been to Oslo, but I’ve heard amazing things and I would definitely suggest adding it on to your Norway trip if you have the time. The train ride from Bergen to Oslo is said to be one of the most scenic train rides in the world!
- Try Norwegian brown cheese. It looks unappetizing, but it’s so good! It’s a very sweet cheese, and almost tastes more like fudge than cheese. I know this sounds terrible, but don’t knock it ’til you try it!
- Buy a fair isle knit jumper or hat. Chunky wool knits are very Norwegian, and you can find some really nice ones at nearly every shop.
- The local currency is the Norwegian Krone, but most places took credit cards.
- Pack layers, especially if going during the transitional months such as September. It got really chilly out on the boats, and up on the mountains.
We also had a film crew with us on the trip, and they put together this awesome little video for me! It’s only 45 seconds, so give it a watch and let me know what you think!
Have you ever been to Norway? If not, I highly recommend you add it to your bucket list!
Video by Stepping Stone Media
*** A special thank you to P&O Cruises for bringing me to Norway and sponsoring this post. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own. ***