Good things. Busses, ferries and boast are
reliable and on time. The different routes are connected. Drivers
are friendly. If you loose something on the bus, you may get it
back. It is not very expensive, most lines are substizied by the
Less Good things. Distances are huge. The country is sparcely populated, there are not many busses. It is a service for school children, elders going to hospital, commuters. Except for a few summer routes tourists are not the main priority.
And the worst; the timetables are notorious complicated and difficult to read.
Travel slow. It takes time to travel in Norway. Most of our guests at Eplet stay 4-7 nights. Some stay only 2 nights. Everyboy underestimate the time it takes to travel in Norway, with car or public transportation. Look at the geography! The mountainous landscape makes distances longer than you think. Ferry crossings take time. We can't say it clear enough. If you plan to travel around in rural Norway and stay at Eplet, give it an extra day. Or two. Or three. It is simply just a good idea.
Select one region. Many first-timers to Norway wants to see all famous highlights of the contry - in one week. After many hours of bus riding every day it resembles more a chartered bus trip. You are exhausted afterwards and the only memories you have are the ones on your ipod. Norway is not a few nature spectacles spread out over a huge dead country. It is rather an endeless mountain playground with thousands of mountains just as spectacular as the ones you have seen on the posters.
After running a hostel for 15 years and seen tens of thousands of guests passing by I have one reccomodation; Take your time, open your eyes, get out in the nature and stay in one region!
Use seatbelt. It is obligatory to use seatbelt in busses. There are sometimes traffic checks and we have had guests that have had to pay a 1000 NOK fine.
Prices. Important to make your travel cheaper:
1. Train (www.nsb.no) and express busses (www.nettbuss.no) should be booked online a good time in advance to get best price. Unfortunately this only works with a Norwegian bank account. Other buses and express boats should not be booked online as paying on the bus and boat may give you other discounts (see below).
2. Mini-group discount. Express boats and all buses give 25 % discount if you are 2 or more people travelling together to the same place. You have to buy the ticket on the bus, boat or boat terminal (Bergen) and you have to ask for the discount. Just pair up with someone waiting for the bus :) There may be some summer tourist routes that dont offer this discount. Mini-group discount can not be combined with other discounts.
3. Student discount. Express boats and the bus route Bergen-Sogndal offers 50 % student discount if you have a valid student card. All other buses offer 25% student discount.
Prices on public transportation in Norway are regulated and there is a maximum fare, even for tourist routes. Nobody will try to con you, drivers are friendly and it is very safe.
Timetables. Find you own way.
1. Routes in Sogn og Fjordane: Kringom
2. Routes in whole of Norway: Rutebok.no This is still a "Beta" version, but it seems to work 100 % correct.
The routes are divided into summer holiday routes (approx. 20th June to 20th august) and winter routes (approx. 20th august to 20th June). A problem is that new timetables are relased just days before. But there are minor changes from year to year.
How to get to Eplet. You get to Sogndal from Oslo, Bergen, Flåm, Ålesund. From Sogndal you take local bus (same times all year) or taxi.
1. Monday-Friday: Bus from Sogndal 1710 and 2230
2. Saturday: Bus from Sogndal 1620
3. Sunday: Bus from Sogndal 1620 and 2230.
The local bus from Sogndal to Solvorn takes 20 minutes. Ask the bus driver to let you off at Eplet in Solvorn, then it is just 5 minutes walk to the door. The village is small and the you cannot get lost! If you have to wait for the bus a long time you can take a taxi. Price; approx. 500 NOK.
Staying at Eplet. The activities (hiking, biking, glacier, kayak) are daytrips, and you need one day for each. Those that are in a hurry often ask if they can visit the Stave church in the morning and then take the bus to Hellesylt. It is impossible. We dont try to keep you, it just takes time because the amazing landscape is the way it is. And dont forget; that is the reason you decided to come here. :)
How to get away. From Solvorn you take local bus or taxi to Sogndal.You get from Sogndal to Oslo, Bergen, Flåm, Ålesund. buss og taxi kan ikke besøke irken før man tar buss til ålesund eller hellesylt.
A. Summer (approx. 20th June to 20th August):
1. Monday-Friday: Bus from Solvorn 0835 and 1350
2. Saturday-Sunday: Bus from Solvorn 1350. We have to call for it 2 hours in advance.
B. Winter (approx. 20th August to 20th June):
1. Monday-Friday: Bus from Solvorn 0920 and 1350
2. Saturday: No connection
3. Sunday: Bus from Solvorn 1350. We have to call for it 2 hours in advance.
If you want to take the expres boat to Bergen 0705 we order a taxi for you at 06.30.
During summer there is a bus Otta (Train connection from Oslo) - Lom - Solvorn- Sogndal twice a day in both directions. It crosses the highest mountains in Norway and is HIGHLY reccomended.
You get to/from Sogndal to/from Oslo, Bergen, Flåm, Ålesund