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“When, How, and Why Norway Makes My Must-Visit List for 2018!”

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“When, How, and Why Norway Makes My Must-Visit List for 2018!”

Million Mile Secrets“When, How, and Why Norway Makes My Must-Visit List for 2018!”Million Mile Secrets Team

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Team member Joseph wants to pack a bag and head east – and very north!  I asked him to talk about where he wants to go next, and why!

Joseph:   Daraius, I’ve made up my mind.  I’m going to Norway next year.

I’ve had a crush on Norway for as long as I can remember.  The jagged landscape speaks to me.

I get a rush from pictures of echoing fjords and unsettlingly high cliffs (search YouTube for Trolltunga or Preikestolen and tell me your palms don’t sweat!).

When How And Why Norway Makes My Must Visit List For 2018
I Usually Gravitate Towards Mountains Instead of Beaches. And Norway Is Next!

I’ve been delaying the trip, but I stumbled across something that finally provoked me to begin making plans.

The YouTube Video That Broke the Camel’s Back

There are 2 things I’m wary of when finding travel inspiration:

  1. While drone video is often the absolute most stunning on-site footage, it’s also a vantage point I’ll never see with my own eyes.  For some reason, every location becomes magical when you’re above the treetops.  I savor the videos, but try to dismiss them so I’m not disappointed.
  2. Music is very powerful, and can invigorate a mediocre destination video.  The right musical backdrop can make a dumpster fire look appealing.  When I’m YouTubing a location, I try extra hard to remember Lindsey Stirling won’t be following me around.

A prime example of these things is Erik Conover’s video about his recent trip to Norway.

I LOVE THIS VIDEO.  It persuades me more than any travel video I’ve watched in a long time.  And I’m having a hard time differentiating my love for drone footage and inspirational music with my love for Norway.

Two things in particular grab me by the collar in this video:

1.   Midnight Sun

During the summer months, the Arctic Circle does NOT get dark.  The sun drops, but refuses to completely disappear.  It instead travels lazily along the horizon, and climbs back up a few hours later.

From the videos I’ve watched, the midnight sun is basically a really long sunset, depending on your latitude situation.  And I’m all about sunsets.

When How And Why Norway Makes My Must Visit List For 2018
Everybody Likes a Good Sunset! I Think This One From Saint Lucia Looks Like an Emerging Genie

If nothing else, I’d certainly visit the Arctic Circle to enjoy a prolonged sunset.  A few hours of orange sky and a bottle of red zin is the ideal evening. 🙂

2.   Atlantic Ocean Road

One of my favorite things about San Francisco is driving the 7-mile San Mateo Bridge across the bay.  It’s really unnerving, and it feels like you’re in the middle of the ocean.

The Atlantic Ocean Road is smaller than the San Mateo Bridge, but looks infinitely more terrifying.  It consists of 8 bridges, which are pummeled with large waves during storms.

Even if I don’t get to drive through a storm, the windy curvy roller coaster nature of the road will still be an experience!

How to Get There

Flying to Norway with miles & points is simple enough.  But I don’t think I’ll use them!

That’s because Norwegian Air publishes absurdly cheap flights to Norway from lots of US cities, like Boston, Denver, Orlando, Las Vegas, New York, and Seattle.  And they frequently have sales, which can drop the price of a flight to Norway (and beyond) to ~$200 round-trip!

Norwegian Air is a low-cost airline, so I’ll have to pay extra for bags, seat assignments, etc.  But I can’t justify spending airline miles for a flight I can reserve for under $300 all-in.  I’ll buy my ticket with cash, and road trip to the closest Norwegian flight (or use a few points to fly there).  And I’ll use the Norwegian Air trick to get the flight for an additional 20% off.

Note:   If you have any suggestions or advice for an upcoming trip to Norway, or if you think there’s another Scandinavian country that does it better, I’m willing to hear you out!

Bottom Line

Team member Joseph has been wanting to visit Norway for a long time.  And a recent video from Erik Conover inspired him to begin planning the trip!

I like the idea that we may all be a YouTube video away from dropping our procrastination and fulfilling our travel bucket list.  How do y’all find your travel inspiration?

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Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

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If you are from the SF Bay Area (you mention San Mateo Bridge in your article) then you would fly from Oakland to Oslo non-stop on Norwegian.

Try to get a seat in the bulkhead row of coach. Of course that’s a good thing for any economy airline. With Norwegian, though, you don’t pay any premium when you book an exit row seat. Yeah, you pay for a seat reservation but it’s a flat rate for all economy seats, whether they are front bulkhead or last row, middle seat.

If you’re looking to save every penny possible, I guess you could chance it at the airport the day of departure but those flights to Scandinavia, especially from US West Coast, are REAL LONG. If you are a wide person, be aware that the bulkhead seats on the sides of the plane are slightly narrower than normal and the armrests don’t go up. The middle three seats could be better in that case.

The food on the plane is unimpressive at best but paying 40 USD for a small dinner and smaller breakfast will get you accustomed to both Norwegian prices and portion sizes so you might do that to get in the mood.

On the other hand, the food once you reach Norway will be amazing. As usual with Europe, consider staying in a place that has breakfast buffet. Eat breakfast late-ish, like 0900 (with the Midnight Sun, it won’t be a drag on your trip to wake up late), and then ask if you can pack lunch from it.

It’s called “niste” and yes even the nice places let you do it. In fact, if you stay at a mountain “chalet” or hostel, niste will be included in the “full board” rate. If it’s not, you pay 50-100 kr ($8-15) and you can get bread, fish/meat, cheese, and coffee/tea. Now you shouldn’t take like a gross amount of food when you get the niste but usually enough for two (small) open-faced sandwiches along with a thermos/water bottle full of drink.

If you don’t do that, then at least make your main meal of the day lunch. Again, like in most of Scandinavia, that’s the cheaper option compared to dinner. And you can eat lunch as late as 3 or even 4:30 in some places so after that, you grab a light dinner and all your food needs are taken care of.

The route you describe above is real nice but just keep in mind that you aren’t the only person who wants to do it. Lofoten (the island chain) is not entirely convinced that mega-tourism is in its best interests and there will be fewer amenities on that road than other popular tourist drives in other countries.

And just a friendly word: keep track of how much of that bottle of zin you drink at sunset before driving to your resting place. You really don’t want to get a ticket for DWI as it is very expensive and the blood alcohol limits may be different than you expect.

Enjoy it. Norway is one of those fairytale destinations that you’ll remember for the rest of your life.

Extremely actionable advice, thanks for taking the time to write that. I’ve never flown Norwegian so this will be my first time. Also, LOVE the techniques to save money on food. I owe you $$$.

That photograph looks an awful like the Haiku Stairs or “Stairway to Heaven” on Oahu. Where in Norway was this pic taken?

It is indeed the Haiku Stairs!! Absolutely breathtaking experience, though the hike itself is an (extremely dark) gray area.

I don’t have pictures of Norway, I haven’t been there yet. Hah.

Norway is indeed a beautiful country. Our daughter married a young man from Norway this summer in the US but his family held a reception for them in Norway in August. So we had two weeks in Norway, with only one hotel night and two meals out because of all the family there. Have to agree that it is beyond expensive, so be prepared for that. One meal for the four of us was $120 with no drinks. Because we were staying in a small village in southern Norway with family, we really got the non-tourist feel of the place. If we had just done a cruise and stopped in Norway ports, it wouldn’t have even been close to seeing the REAL beauty of Norway. We hiked Gaustatoppen in Telemark and went to Rjukan. We fished off rocks and went night crabbing. We rode his grandpa’s boat through the fjords to their cabin only reachable by boat. We visited sites where the Germans had taken over their country during WW2 and built forts, placed guns, etc. We walked with sheep on the beach and saw lighthouses, stood beneath one at night which is something I’ll never forget. It was an unbelievable time. Try to get off the tourist path and discover a small village somewhere that only has one store which is closed on Sundays and be outside as much as possible!! Enjoy!!

Mercy sakes, I don’t know that I could ever plan a trip to match that. Sounds truly once in a lifetime. I definitely intend to stray from the tourism, and I’ve added those destinations to my itinerary. I’ll let ya know if they work out!

I just got back from a two week trip to Norway in October. We hiked Priekestolen, Trolltunga, the Kjeragbolten and the Vidden Trail. Truly wonderful trip. However, everything in Norway is expensive. I don’t mean regular “Europe expensive”, I’m talking stupid expensive. Glad we researched and budgeted well. One burger, a side salad, an order of fries and two beers went for almost $80 in Bergen at what would be considered a sports bar in the US. So, be prepared and enjoy!

I’ve never been to Scandinavia, but I’ve heard the same from others. That is an offensive price for a mid-range meal. Thanks for the insight.