Destination Norway; why Flam is our Favorite

Destination Norway; why Flam is our Favorite

Flam is a tiny village in #Norway that totally captured our hearts. We took the coolest #cruise, which embarked from an ancient Viking village. We also stayed #active by doing a snow shoe #trek, which my son was just crazy about. All in all, Norway reminded me why I love travel.


Our Favorite Norwegian Destination; Flam, Norway

If ever there was a place where the trolls once lived, it must be Flam. Built at the inner end of the Aurlands Fjord—a branch of the Sogne Fjord, this tiny little village wrapped in snow capped mountains and laced with teenie-weenie farmhouses is quite possibly one of the most magical places I’ve ever seen. And the journey to get there, just as magical.

Nothing like a heck of a trian view! On our Norway in a Nutshell ride to Voss where we will catch the bus to Gudvangen for our cruise to Flam
Nothing like a heck of a trian view! On our Norway in a Nutshell ride to Voss where we will catch the bus to Gudvangen for our cruise to Flam

Before I get to the lush greenery and the swooping mountains, I’m going to take you back to our journey. Now for your convenience I want to add in that there are a few ways to get to Flam however, I did not take these methods. We chose the more adventurous route which took us by train, bus, then a three hour cruise along the UNESCO World Heritage Site Naeroyfjord, the Sognefjord and Aurlandsfjord, which is by far the most beautiful thing I’ve ever laid my eyes on.

We chose the more adventurous route
This is what you’ll see from your Norway in a Nutshell ride…no complaints here!
This is what you’ll see from your Norway in a Nutshell ride…no complaints here!

The Logistics Deets

From Bergen, we took the Norway in a Nutshell train to Voss which changed over to a bus ride that would leave us at Gudvangen to catch a cruise.

Couldn’t help ourselves
Couldn’t help ourselves

The train ride was beautiful. The ride by bus was about an hour and it landed us in Gudvangen, an ancient Viking village surrounded by snowcapped mountains and complete with an eatery and gift shop. According to Wikipedia, the name Gudvangen (Old Norse: Guðvangir) comes from the old farm name. The first element is gud meaning a “heathen god.” The vang(en) word is still in use referring the open space in front of a place of worship like Aurlandsvangen and Vossevangen. In Gudvangen, there have been several places of worship since pre-Christian times.”

A Viking ship in Gudvangen
A Viking ship in Gudvangen
A pretty bridge for photo ops. Everyone seems to crowd onto this… wait a few minutes they die down
A pretty bridge for photo ops. Everyone seems to crowd onto this… wait a few minutes they die down
What you will see at Gudvangen. Gift shop, restrooms that sort of thing
What you will see at Gudvangen. Gift shop, restrooms that sort of thing
This Viking statue mans the door to the gift shop at Gudvangen
This Viking statue mans the door to the gift shop at Gudvangen

Here we had about a half hour until boarding a three hour cruise to our destination. If you don’t get to the bathroom here, there is PLENTY of time for it on the cruise.

LOL I have a thing for Viking things… in Gudvangen waiting for our cruise
LOL I have a thing for Viking things… in Gudvangen waiting for our cruise
Statue carved from wood at Gudvangen
Carved from wood, this statue stands at the point of Gudvangen where you catch your cruise to Flam
Carved from wood, this statue stands at the point of Gudvangen where you catch your cruise to Flam

Let’s Talk About the Cruise

This cruise merits a blog post on its own. Not only was it totally rad that we were embarking from an ancient Viking village, but the natural beauty is utterly indescribable. Be prepared to take lots of pics and b-roll footage if you’re taking this method.

Just so you have an idea… this is the cruise ship. See how small it looks next to these towering mountains? Trust me, the cruise ship was NOT small ha!
Just so you have an idea… this is the cruise ship. See how small it looks next to these towering mountains? Trust me, the cruise ship was NOT small ha!

TRAVEL TIP: The cruise ship is big. We found it most comfortable to stay at the bottom where we had plenty of opportunity to take amazing footage and pics. That said, there’s plenty of time to go to the upper deck where everyone is packed like a can of sardines. 

from  $69

Fjord Cruise and Flam Railway

ActiveAspirational
 Flåm Railway, Aurland, Norway
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My advice, chill on the lower deck and pop up for refreshments.

Norwegian folklore tells of the Fjords being created by the claws of trolls. If that’s the case, thank you trolls!
Norwegian folklore tells of the Fjords being created by the claws of trolls. If that’s the case, thank you trolls!
View is just as nice from the ship’s hallway! LOL. A good spot to dip in and warm up
View is just as nice from the ship’s hallway! LOL. A good spot to dip in and warm up
There’s no shortage of beauty in Norway. Especially on this cruise
There’s no shortage of beauty in Norway. Especially on this cruise
Special moment for us on the cruise. Just loving life and appreciating this amazing world
Special moment for us on the cruise. Just loving life and appreciating this amazing world
There’s so much to explore here. As you can see the Little is eager to scout wildlife
There’s so much to explore here. As you can see the Little is eager to scout wildlife
A small village on the Fjord which we saw while taking our cruise to Flam
A small village on the Fjord which we saw while taking our cruise to Flam
It’s hard to not imagine trolls in a place like this! Just one of the many beautiful landscapes on the journey to Flam
It’s hard to not imagine trolls in a place like this! Just one of the many beautiful landscapes on the journey to Flam
There’s no shortage of charm here. What a peaceful retreat, for many a home
There’s no shortage of charm here. What a peaceful retreat, for many a home
Little villages peek out from majestic mountains all along the Fjord. Most only reachable by boat
Little villages peek out from majestic mountains all along the Fjord. Most only reachable by boat

The Approach to Land

Even in the bitter cold of Norway’s mid spring my heart was completely warmed at the sight of tiny scattered villages along the fjords. I mean picture taking the cutest little farm-like village house you can muster from a Pottery Barn catalog and plop 10-50 of them right at the base of the most breathtaking mountains you’ve ever seen. That’s what I’m talking about. The contrast of red, yellow and white family cottages seemed as though they were as meant to be there as the grass itself. I couldn’t help but imagine how peaceful living along these fjords must be. Snapping away, village by village, we made our way to Flam.

The contrast of red, yellow and white family cottages seemed as though they were as meant to be there as the grass itself
This is what an approach to Flam looks like via a Fjord Cruise
This is what an approach to Flam looks like via a Fjord Cruise
Our charming and very cozy mountain chalet hotel. 2 thumbs up!
Our charming and very cozy mountain chalet hotel. 2 thumbs up!

Where to Stay; the Fretheim Hotel

I’ll never, ever, ever forget my awe as I stepped off the Fjord Cruise. Nothing but complete beauty surrounded me. Towering snow-capped mountains as far as my eyes could see all pointed to the Fretheim Hotel, a little yet spectacular hotel in classic white. 

from  $177.55

Hotel Fretheim

 Flam, Flam, Norway
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I knew from the moment I laid eyes on this little town that it was my favorite place in Norway. I was smitten. And after an epic journey by train, bus and cruise, I felt a bit like I had just taken some lifetime adventure to get there…and I liked it this way.

No complaints about this view! We are on the ground here but our room was right above!
No complaints about this view! We are on the ground here but our room was right above!

The Fretheim Hotel is charming, elegant, and appointed, fitting perfectly with its surroundings. Inside it was very much inviting and warm with a fireplace and portrait windows which you could sit and stare out of for hours. We enjoyed a room with a view and we loved every inch of it.

Getting geared up for big snow!
Getting geared up for big snow!

Our Afternoon With Fjord Safari

We weren’t there to spend the afternoon indoors, we were busting at the seams with excitement, ready to explore this perfect little slice of earth. There was much adventure to be had, starting with a snowshoeing trek to the top of 1,000 meters for one of the most breathtaking view of Norway.

from  $81

Snowshoe Hiking Adventure in Flåm

Active
 Flåm, Norway
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Winter Fjord Safari in Aurlandsfjord

When we made it to the top he was so proud of himself
A pre-Easter treat from Fjord Safari, oranges (traditional Norwegian Easter snack) hot current (spiced juice), and chocolate (a fav Norwegian every day snack). The Little with our awesome guide Maritha
A pre-Easter treat from Fjord Safari, oranges (traditional Norwegian Easter snack) hot current (spiced juice), and chocolate (a fav Norwegian every day snack). The Little with our awesome guide Maritha

We met with Fjord Safari, an adventure tour company offering snowshoeing and speed boating and more. We got suited up in our warmest gear and head up the mountain for a 2 hour trek. The Little wasn’t even nervous! He was more excited to be in the snow than anything. When we made it to the top he was so proud of himself, he said, "Mom, I’m a big boy now, I know karate and I’m six, and I can snowshoe a mountain in Norway”.

This tiny village really changed me. It made me realize that I will never stop seeing this amazing world

I couldn’t help but to take him aside and give him a big squeeze. My little man growing up so fast… there we were, the two of us just looking over this insanely beautiful mountain into a seemingly endless fjord. In that moment I felt so small, but so grateful for everything I have. This tiny village really changed me. It made me realize that I will never stop seeing this amazing world. I can only hope it did the same for the Little.

In this moment, not only was I the proudest mom, but I knew beyond any doubt that I would never abandon my promise to show him this incredible world
In this moment, not only was I the proudest mom, but I knew beyond any doubt that I would never abandon my promise to show him this incredible world

TRAVEL TIP: The best time of year to visit is May or September. This is before the schools break and after school starts. The spring has come and summer is ending. There are snow caps bit still greenery and blooms at the base of the mountains. You really get the best of all worlds in these months. 

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