“Waouh, look at this! Best room with a view ever!” We couldn’t stop congratulating ourselves for finding such a great camping spot (above). After a day of travel from Trondheim, it looked like we (I travelled with my brother) found our little corner of paradise, here in Romsdal.
Norway is among the most expensive countries to live in and to visit, it was not my first time there and I knew that. But this trip to convinced me once more: it really worths it and with a bit of flexibility and creativity you can have an amazing time with a reasonable budget. ( Note for the inpatients: you can directly scroll at the end of the article to see our budget. For the others: keep reading!).
Choosing Åndalsnes as our camping base
Starting from Trondheim, the region of More and Romsdal was a natural choice, not too far and an area we hadn’t explore before. Åndalsnes, with plenty of outdoor activities and scenic roads to discover, was a great base to explore the area for 3 days. We decided to camp, first because it’s the best way to feel close to the nature but also, because it was much cheaper. If you want to do so, be aware than temperature can fall close between 5-10C during the night, even in summer (pack long underwear to sleep!).
A scenic journey, by train, bus or ferry
The journey to get there was an activity itself as we took the scenic Rauma railway from Dombås to Åndalsnes. It takes 1h40min, passes 32 bridges and 6 tunnel, included a horseshoe shape tunnel of more than a kilometer! You get breathtaking views on the valley, waterfalls and the summits of Trollveggen. The journey could be one of a fairytale or a fantasy quest (you can even see the Rauma Railway in some sequences of “Harry Potter and the half blood prince”).
For our journey back to Trondheim, we choose a totally different experience: for 4 hours we took a cruise along the Norwegian coast, on the very same itinerary taken by the famous Hurtigruten. Under a beautiful sun, we passed thousands of islands and stop in small villages, some of them don’t have a connection to the main land.
Exploring the famous “Trollroad” by bike and foot
We planned to take a bus to go take a look at the famous Trollstingen. But travelling in low season also have its downsides: buses don’t run on this road, like they do in summer. Our only option was to join an expensive and short tourist tour, which we refused and decided instead to rent bikes (200NOK).
This was a cheaper and more rewarding option -, but -needing less to say, much more difficult! If the road to reach the beginning of Trollstingen seemed flat on the map, it is actually quite hilly. At the bottom of the 11 hairpins of Trollstingen, we locked our bikes and follow the old horse track, which was the only way to pass the mountain until the road was built (1936). It’s a beautiful path and you really get close to the elements (at the end of the path, we had to pass through a small waterfall using chains to help us). It’s not dangerous but I would not recommend doing this with young children. Also make sure you have hiking shoes as the path is slippery.
We could regret that the summits where in the clouds that day, preventing us from having an open view on the valley. But it is part of how you should experience the country, and the mist had character to the place.
Romsdalseggen, a spectacular 360degrees panorama over the all region
If you are in the area, hiking Romsdalseggen is an activity not to miss. You have different paths options that will give you breathtaking panorama on the fjord and the Rauma valley and by clear sky, open view until the coast. I cannot recommend this hike enough, it is rare to have such an amazing view with only a few hours hike from a fairly accessible town.
In summer, buses are organised so that you can complete the 7-8h hike, starting from Vengedalen and back to Åndalsnes. The hike is still possible in low season, but you will have to do the return journey by the same path and therefore to cut the last hours (or arrange transportation back to your starting point). In 2hours, you will have time to reach the suspended platform over the fjord and come back to the starting point in Åndalsnes . With 3-3.5hours, you can reach the hut located around 800m high. Both these hikes are accessible with children. More info here
A trip to the Norwegian fjords confirms that the best things are for free… you just have to pay to get there :-).
Exploring Romsdal, fjords and valley – make it happen:
How to get there:
From Trondheim, take the train to Dombas and then the scenic train to Andalsnes. Take the bus to Kristiansund (change in Molde), and from there take the ferry back to Trondheim.
Even if you can afford to rent a car, it may worth the trouble of travelling by public transportation: the train between Dombas and Andalsnes is among the most beautiful of Europe and taking the passenger ferry travelling on the hurtigruten route is a great experience, especially if the weather is sunny.
Where to stay: Andalsnes camping, 3km from the bus/train station
How to get around: in low season, you will have to walk/bike. In summer, you can hope for one bus a day to some destinations (Trollstingen for ex).
And oh by the way, what was the price of the view?
Our budget for 4 days in Rauma valley and Romsdalsfjorden from Trondheim, base 2 people
- transportation (bus, train, ferry): 1331NOK for adult, 800NOK for a student.
- accommodation (camping): 510NOK for 3 nights and 2 showers each. 85NOK/person/night
- food (own cooking and picnic): 1200 NOK. 150NOK/person/day
- activity (renting a bike for a day): 200NOK/person (1 day)
- small extras (coffee, 1 beer each, postcard): 120NOK/person
- –> total adult: 2761 NOK, $460 or 340EUR.
With an average of $115/85EUR per day, Norway confirms its status of expensive destination. But I can help thinking it definitely worth it, as a former TV commercial was saying “There are some things money can’t buy. For everything else …”
Based on a 4 days trip end of may/beg of June 2014