What Norway shore excursions to book and not to book
By an ex cruise ship crew member
You´ve booked your cruise to Norway and you´re super excited. Congratulations! It´s going to be phenomenal! Now you have to decide what Norway shore excursions you want to book. And you have no idea what is worth it and what isn´t? But you don´t know how far out the ports are from the towns and if you need to book a tour or can just walk it on your own?
Don´t you worry, I got you. Since I´ve worked on one of those cruise ships, I have been to the ports and can tell you what you need to see. So, let me save you some money and make sure you still get all the Instagram pictures you want. Here we go!
Bergen – NO
No need to book excursions here. The cruise port is just a few minutes’ walk away from the center of town and there is so much to see you will have to hurry back to the ship! Also, there is free Wifi at the tourist office on the square – which is why you´ll see many of your crew hanging out here (they always know where to find free Wifi). Get a map and see this beautiful city for yourself!
Ålesund – NO
Again, sights are walkable from the cruise port and they have an Aquarium there that has penguins. Outdoors! No need to book a shore excursion.
Eidfjord – NO
If your cruise has a port of call in Eidfjord it is to show you how peaceful the fjords can be. So, enjoy the peace with a short hike. Yellow signs will guide you along an easy hiking trail that passes by a gorgeous clear lake.
Stavanger – YES/NO
This is a real tricky one. Here I´m going to have to say: it depends. That´s because two of the most epic travel pictures EVER you´ll only be able to take if you go on the excursion to Preikestolen and Kjeragbollen. Mr and Mrs Adventure posted some great shots from their hike there! Trust me, you are going to want those pictures. If you want to hike it is another question.
On the other hand, you also really shouldn´t miss out on the old town, Gamle Stavanger – UNESCO world heritage and my absolute favorite town in Norway. These white wooden houses with red flowers all over you also really have to see! And they are just a few steps away from the cruise port! Hence, my recommendation is this: try to see if you can get a half day excursion, so you can see both.
Trondheim – NO
No need. There is so much to see in Trondheim that you can easily walk to from the cruise port! For example Kristiansten Fortres, the Old town Bridge, the colourful old warehouses along the Nidelva river just to name a few.
The reason people go to Åndalsnes is Trollstigen. In case you googled it already, you will have noticed that almost all pictures of this place were taken from the same scenic route. It´s that scenic route, The Trolls´ Road, you´re going to want to see. You don´t have to take my word for it. Instead, take Sherry´s – she wrote a whole blog post about Trollstigen!
Geiranger Fjord – YES
If you only book one Norway shore excursion, make it this one. This fjord is breathtakingly beautiful. At the very end of it, where your cruise ship will most likely not even dock at a pier, but just anchor in the deep water, you will be taken ashore on tender boats.
They will offer a shore excursion to Dalsnibba, a skywalk with a view of the fjord like you have from nowhere else. Do it. For more info and inspiring picutures read this post on the highest fjord road in the world.
Cruise hack: if you´ve ever been to a port where you had to tender out before, you know that waiting for these little boats may take a long time. Booking a shore excursion, however, ensures that you´ll be out first, on a dedicated tender boat so you make the bus on time. The ship’s scouts will make sure of it.
Have you already been on any Norway shore excursion? Were they worth it? Comment below!
If you enjoy being on the water, you may also enjoy my post on the best sailing destinations in Europe