“Take a tonne of cash”
“It’s so expensive in Norway”
Thats pretty much all I got told when I booked a 4 day trip to Norway. If you think that would put me off, think again, as I love to travel and on a budget. Budget travel = more trips each year in my mind, right? And anyway, you can always make more money.
When I booked our first trip to Norway, nor way (see what I did there) did I imagine I would be sleeping in a fancy hotel, partying the night away or spending my time shopping. I booked Andy and I a 4 night 5 day trip to Norway to escape from it all. We live busy lives and commute long hours to work each day and only really have the weekends together. This trip was about escaping the rat race and spending quality time together, being amongst nature and breathing in the fresh Norwegian air from the top of mountains. I couldn’t wait to have my blood pumping around my body, my heart rate increased and at the end of the day kick back and relax my achy legs. I.just.wanted.to.be.
Return flights £90pp! Norwegian Air are a fantastic budget airline and I purchased x2 single outbound flights and x2 single inbound flights from London Gatwick to Stavanger, Norway for August 2018, back in September 2017 for a total cost of £180. The early bird catches the best deals.
4 nights accommodation £400 which believe it or not, is pretty darn reasonable and borderline cheap for Norway! In general, I don’t like to spend crazy amounts on accommodation unless its a once in a lifetime kinda place, a unique experience or I decide to balance high end accommodation with a few nights somewhere basic, clean and safe. I would much rather spend my money on seeing or doing stuff (or have another mini break) rather than on a hotel where I don’t spend much time in. I found the most perfect apartment via Booking.com in the best location in Stavanger city centre, named Home Again. For 4 nights it set us back just £400 and had free cancelation and a shit load of free Nespresso coffee pods! The bed was heavenly, just what your body and soul needs after a gruelling hike. I couldn’t rate our apartment enough – the location, comfort and design and I would definitely stay there again. If you really are on a budget or want to really escape, camping is free – just pick a spot and pitch up your tent! Next time, camping at the top of Pulpit Rock needs to happen.
The hikes we went on, Stavanger to Preikeolsten or better known as Pulprit Rock and also Stavanger to Kjerag to stand on top of the instafamous boulder, were free. Its just the public transport that costs. We booked our seat on the bus one day before each “tour” at the tourist office in Stavanger port. If you book online in advance at Gofjords.com you can save a few quid rather than just turning up at the departure point on the day. There is a real risk that you will not get a seat on the bus too if you take that risk of turning up on the day. Also there is only 1 bus per day for Kjerag. We were warned the weather may not be great, but as we came all this way to specifically hike, that didn’t matter. Luckily for us the weather was perfect on both hikes, with clear blue skies and gentle crisp breeze.
Our first hiking tour was Stavanger to Pulpit Rock which cost £40pp and had multiple departure times and even involved a ferry across the fjord. This was an easy 5 mile hike that would take about 2 hours each way and is suitable for all ages and fitness levels, rewarding you with incredible sweeping views of the fjord at the summit for as far as the eyes could see. I am not usually afraid of heights but atop of that mountain, we all looked so small and insignificant against mother nature. The drop from Pulpit Rock was 600m and I did feel a bit uneasy about being near the edge – no way could I sit down and hang my legs over the edge for that perfect photo. As I got closer to the edge, I felt a magnetic pull but I just had visions of me slipping to my death. We grabbed our bags and went in search of somewhere quiet to relax and eat our lunch. We found a perfect little spot that overlooked the fjord. It was quite special sitting there, soaking up the views, enjoying the stillness and silence of it all with the sun warming our sweaty backs. It was hard to leave, it was just so beautiful. I saw some hikers had pitched up their own tents. I wish we had thought of that – how magnificent would it be to wake up on the top of a mountain with nothing but views and peacefulness? Next Time.
The morning after we hit up our second hiking tour from Stavanger to Kjerag which cost £60pp and took 2hrs 30mins to travel to the hiking start point by bus. A 6-8 hour round hike which was a bloody strenuous 7.5 mile hike/scramble/crawl/run/slip. Bam! Straight from the get go, this hike was a killer – holding onto rails to help you climb the steep rock face. It did occur to me why the hell am I doing this – even a few hikers turned back. Nothing worthwhile comes easy, so on we went. The views were again incredible and at times it felt like we were hiking on the moon – the landscape was so varied, rugged and raw. I took a lot of photos of rocks that day. as we hiked along for a few hours, I had decided that I would stand on top the insta famous boulder that is wedged between two rocks. Who was i kidding?! When i saw the minuscule ledge and how hikers were getting across to it there was NO FUCKING WAY I was doing it for a photo. Sod doing it for the ‘gram. Miraculously, no-one has ever died from falling off that boulder which is 1100m above the ground, but knowing my luck I would be the first. Sometimes, its about the journey and not the destination and on that day, I was totally fine with missing that photo out.
I am so glad we did the hikes in this order because the first hike was fairly doable but oh my good God, the hike to Kjerag was a real challenge right from the get go. Both totally beautiful and should not be missed.
Stavanger city centre is pretty cool, a real juxtaposition and all reachable on foot – my favourite way to explore a new city as I like to keep an eye out for cool coffee shops, street art and doors…Stavanger didn’t disappoint.
Yeh, its really pricey to eat out in Norway, even the food is considerably more expensive in the supermarket than in the UK. For example, a chocolate bar like a mars bar, would cost £3. As we had a self catering apartment we shopped at the local supermarket Kiwi, just by the ferry terminal and a 3 minute walk from our apartment. It didn’t have the best range, but we did cook spaghetti bolognese for £10 (mince, pasta & sauce). Although I hate cooking and would usually opt to eat out, we both really enjoyed cooking together after a long day hiking, fresh from the shower in our own apartment, beer in hand and we didn’t have to talk to anyone. It was perfect. The apartment even came with a dishwasher. Breakfast we had eggs on toast, fruit, coffee and juice. To keep costs down we also made our own packed lunch to take on our hikes. Another great thing about Norway, the tap water is drinkable and so it saves on purchasing bottled water and saves the environment too. Be sure to take your own reusable bottle.
So our 3N 4D trip to Stavanger, Norway from London, England set us back £1000 for 2 adults – flights £180, self catering accommodation £400, hiking tours £200 and food/drink £220.