Saving Money in Scandinavia: Bergen

In my last post, Penny and I had spent a whirlwind two days in Oslo, Norway. Two VERY different days. Then we skedaddled and hopped on one of Europe’s most famous train rides, from Oslo to Bergen. It took about 11 hours. It was comfy, we had snacks and we laughed so hard we cried… several times. I also took a lot of pictures from the window.

I was that person.

As you can see from the photos… the weather changed a great deal as we snaked through the mountains. It always happened so suddenly!

And who are these lone wolf types who have the only house for miles, barely visible at the foot of a snowy mountain? WHO ARE YOU?

Behold, a season that seems to be exclusive to Norway… “Sprintumn”!

We arrived in Bergen around 11pm, and were worried that we wouldn’t be able to check in to our hostel, but they had received my email that I sent from the train and were waiting for us! It was dark and rainy when we arrived, but the view that met us the next morning…

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Morning view of Bergen from hostel

We had seen a sign in the lobby the night before, about a hike happening the next day, so we hit the hay right away (after the most needed and most appreciated shower in my life) to get some rest. Then we were up and at ’em early the next morning to climb some things and see some stuff, with our intrepid guide: Vincent the Lost Frenchman. 😂❤️

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He was a great guide, despite his tendency to look at the map upside-down. Haha! We made our way to the cable car at Mount Fløyen (from I think the trailhead at Eikeviken), along a trail that seemed to be created by a devilish 12-year-old. We climbed ladders and stairs, pulled ourselves up ropes, crossed questionable bridges… but the reward was a great day in the sun, amazing views of Bergen, and preparation for… Trolltunga.

We spent the next day hanging around Bergen and checking out museums, the old town, the fish market (so good), and finally picking up the rental car that would take us to Trolltunga the next morning.

We were up at 5am or so. It’s not a long drive in terms of distance, but because of the twisty roads and reduced speed limits, it took 3 hours. It was recommended to get there early in the day, to ensure you’d be back and safe before dark.

So off we went, and up we went. And up. And up. And up. For 11km.

It took 6 hours. :O

We weren’t expecting (or prepared for) AS MUCH snow as there was. The first couple kilometres were damp and spring-like, with rushing rivers and streams all around/underneath you. But after that, we were just trudging through snow, on a steady incline. The views were spectacular, and I had the very weird feeling of being completely alone in the middle of snowy nowhere. Even though there were other hikers, there could be miles between each one. We got to the tongue, took some photos and I headed back almost right away. My boots were not waterproof and I was nervous my feet would freeze. So I hoofed it back (only took 3 hours to go down!), took a wrong turn, had to cross a raging river on some random medieval bridge I found (???), and made it back to the parking lot to warm up the car for Penny (and as it turned out, for two Polish boys as well, who had no ride to Bergen and had frozen their butts off camping on the Tongue the night before).

I was 70% sure they’d never murdered someone before.

I’m too nice sometimes.

The next morning, we returned the car, got a cab to the bus station and hopped on a bus to a quaint little town to the north, called Ålesund!

Overall costs in Bergen:

  • Hostel: (breakfast included): $46.12 per person per night
  • Bergen Card: $48 for 48 hours of busses, trams, museum admissions, etc.
    • We visited the Bryggens museum (and read naughty ancient runes), Old Bergen and Haaken’s Hall.
  • Car Rental: $117.74 each
  • Gas: $25.97 each
  • Tolls: $24.34 each *you don’t really notice them. You get charged for them afterward.
  • Cab to Bergen bus station: $16 each
  • Trolltunga Parking: $16.25 each
  • Meals
    • Breakfast was included, and we even got packed breakfasts/lunches two of the days, due to the hikes we had planned. I bought GF bread at the store and gave it to them to prep my ham and cheese sammies.
    • We ate at the fish market one night, where we sampled four fancy types of fish. It was amazing! I believe it cost about $50 each (no alcohol, just food).
    • We took advantage of the grocery store nearby, and cooked some food at the hostel and bought a bunch of food and water for the Trolltunga hike. I would guess we probably spent about $40-50 in groceries over the 3 days.
      • NOTE: when buying big bottles of water for a hike, make sure it’s not fizzy… oops!!! 😛

It works out to about $133/day. The rental/gas/tolls definitely bumped us up a bit, but it was absolutely worth it to be able to hike Trolltunga, especially considering the only fee to hike was for parking!

That being said, being a pair was especially helpful in Bergen due to the vehicle-related costs that one would otherwise have had to shoulder alone. It definitely pays to travel in pairs/groups if there will be car-related expenses.

We were quite torn between seeing Bergen or Stavanger, knowing we really didn’t have time for both. But in the end, I was very happy we chose Bergen, because the staff at the Montana Youth Hostel were absolutely fantastic. They answered sooooo many questions, Vincent made cappuccinos for tea-time one afternoon, the view was crazy, and parking was free. Also, Bergen reminded me of a bigger, hillier Lunenburg, Nova Scotia. ❤️

(Psst: if you reallllly love driving, as I do, make sure “driving in Norway” is on your bucket list! Long tunnels through mountains, roundabouts IN tunnels IN mountains, winding roads through fjords… it was gorgeous. Penny and the Polish boys slept through it all…. hahaha, but I can’t wait to do it again!)


Total trip cost so far: $107/day, plus flights ($1022.34) = $2422.34 (with 10 days left!)

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