Our family spent a memorable 12 days in Norway in August. Norway is a beautiful, large and varied country and there was no possibility to see it all in the time we had. Thankfully, we had Torunn on our side! She listened and delivered on our request for an active, adventurous vacation with our kids (17 & 19 years old), mixed in with some downtime. Our trip did not disappoint.
Torunn suggested a loop that included mountains, forest and the coast, as well as varied transportation (train, car, boat and ferry), so that we could experience a wide range of what Norway offers. The lodging were all boutique hotels and while they may not have had typical luxury amenities, they were full of charm, local food and character, and really lovely people.
After exploring Oslo, we took the scenic Rauma Railway from Oslo to Lillehammer, followed by a bus to Andalsnes where we climbed the via ferrata (a real highlight!) and e-biked up the switchbacks of Trollstigen Road. The train was supposed to go all the way to Andalsnes but recent rains had flooded the tracks, which required us to switch to a bus midway. Torunn’s office seamlessly took care of switching our train tickets before we even knew there was an issue.
Next we drove The Geiranger-Trollstigen Scenic Route to Valldal, where we stayed in the most beautiful chalet at Juvet. We enjoyed the quiet scenery but balanced it with a canyoning adventure. Don’t miss the cinnamon rolls at the cafe at the waterfall across the street!
We continued along the Scenic Route Geiranger-Trollstigen towards the town of Geiranger. Once there we caught the ferry through the Geiranger Fjord. The drive and the ferry allowed us to see a wide range of Norwegian landscapes. On the way to our next stop, we went horseback riding on Norwegian Fjord horses, one of the oldest horse breeds in the world.
Our last stop was the fishing village of Kalvag, where Torunn’s team arranged for a typical Norwegian shrimp dinner to be in our apartment at the Knutholmen Hotel for our late arrival. We went out on a fishing boat with a local fisherman, eating our catch for lunch on an island that is no longer inhabited (unless you count sheep!). We also tried the (very hot) sauna on the pier, interspersed with (very cold) dips in the water, and went on a scenic hike.
We truly enjoyed the beautiful landscapes, unique lodging and warm, welcoming people. Our itinerary was well-designed; Torunn and her team made sure we had a smooth trip that encompassed all of our requests covering every detail, including reservations at fantastic restaurants in Oslo. We hope to return to Norway to explore the parts we didn’t get to on this trip!!
A small group of longtime friends planned an Arctic Expedition trip close to 2 years ago. As we approached the time of the trip it turned out that we had more time and could spend a week in Norway. We considered planning this extra time ourselves and actually renting a car and driving from Bergen to Oslo. When that plan was discarded we looked for help in putting together a cross-country travel plan. Family members who had lived in Norway for a long time offered some suggestions to get us started. It wasn’t until we hooked up with Torunn that the plan took shape. The only requests we made in the beginning was to do “Norway in a Nutshell” from Oslo to Bergen. Two of our group of 6 were continuing on another cruise up the western coast of Norway starting in Bergen, so we already knew that Norway in a Nutshell was the only way for our friends to see more of the interior of Norway. Norway in a Nutshell was delightful. It was easy to move from one form of transportation to the next — 3 trains, a ferry, and a bus — and 12 hours later we were in Bergen.
Torunn’s office made arrangements for porter service to pick up our luggage in Oslo and deliver to the hotel we had booked Bergen — THAT was a fantastic idea. We had an app that laid out the whole trip — from June 30th – July 5th. The app contained the schedules, descriptions of what we would see, all tickets, contact information for Torunn’s team in case we needed to contact them, and contact names for outings and activities pre-booked for us. Everything about this trip was easy. We were comfortable, we were confident, and we were ready to continue our trip.
We spent a few days in Bergen sightseeing, eating and got ready to leave again. The ferry dock was around the corner from our hotel, which was very convenient. It was close to 4 very scenic hours from Bergen to Balustrade. Upon disembarking from the ferry we were met by our booked driver, who took our luggage for us as we walked the short distance to the historic Kviknes Hotel. Family owned since 1752, it is charming with beautiful views of Sognefjord, and an extensive collection of artwork and antiques. Our time there included a private cider tasting and lunch before Gunnar brought the car around and we headed to Fjærland to via Gaularfjellet — the Norwegian Scenic Route. This route was established in the 1930’s as a transportation route over the the mountains. Now it is a scenic alternative to the main roads. Stunning waterfalls, wild rapids, peaks and valleys.
We arrived at Fjærland Fjordstove Hotel in the late afternoon — another charming historic property from the 1930’s. This is where Sognefjord meets the Jostedalsbreen Glacier. The hotel is small, 15 rooms, committed to sustainability, supporting local farmers to supply the restaurant, with amazing views of the fjords. The hotel manager enjoys conversing with guests, telling the history of the hotel, and information about the local community. Dinner was included with our stay and it was delicious. The next day we were booked for a guided hike to Besshovden, where we would have a picnic lunch and view of Fjærlandsfjorden. The morning was pouring rain and we decided to pass on the hike. Instead we walked to the Norwegian Glacier Museum. The hotel manager had talked about the museum during pre-dinner drinks the night before — how it started, why it was established, what it means to the community. It was a fascinating experience, then we walked back to Fjærland for lunch. Later we were booked for a session in a floating sauna down the street from the hotel. Floor-to-ceiling windows allow views of mountains, the lake, and glaciers (and a take-your-breath-away cold plunge into the lake).
In the morning, Gunnar gathered us up and drove us from the fjord to the mountains, to Geilo. Another scenic drive to a mountain resort and checked into Geilo Mountain Lodge.
This property was built in 1917, a private English home in the mountains. The lodge has an interesting history and the current owner and host, Jan, loves to share the story. Another fabulous dinner in a beautiful dining room with authentic English appointments. In the morning we were served a great breakfast, we walked around the area and village before Jan drove us to the train station to go to Oslo Airport. Another scenic train ride — terminated at the airport. We were booked into the Radisson Blu Hotel at the airport, which was so convenient for our morning flights the next day.
The trip that Torunn’s team planned and booked for us exceeded all expectations. More importantly, we never would have found any of those places ourselves. We are experienced travellers and most of the time we plan and book everything on our own. The decision that we made to engage Torunn’s office was so smart. We had one minor glitch — they were easy to get ahold of and they cleared it up immediately!!
Torunn quickly grasped our interests, desires, travel style, and preferences. She promised to connect us to the “real Norway.” This came to mean experiencing the spectacular environment, meeting people of all kinds, and learning about the Norwegian way of life. Our trip accomplished these goals in ways far beyond our expectations.
Norway is profoundly beautiful. The scope and diversity of our itinerary proved valuable. We could not stop taking pictures of the majestic fjords, omnipresent waterfalls, snow-capped peaks, the troll wall, and charming fishing villages. We also enjoyed cruise ports like Bergen, Alesund, and Oslo with their varied attractions and vibrant harbors.
Our interaction with the natural beauty of Norway was enhanced by Torunn’s clever use of variable forms of transportation. Targeted for just the right places, they included ferries, cars/drivers, fjord shuttles, buses, rental cars, and trains. Highlights were time spent on the water in fjords and the breathtaking Rauma train ride along the troll wall toward Dombas.
Weatherwise, we were lucky. No one could believe it but mid-June 2023 was unexpectedly sunny and warm. The hats, gloves, sweaters, jackets, and raingear Torunn had thoughtfully recommended packing remained in our suitcases the whole trip.
The people Torunn arranged for us to meet at various venues are special and memorable. They were warm, welcoming, informative, and above all, interesting. Among them is Sven, the entrepreneurial owner of Knutholmen in Kalvag who works harder to please his clients than anyone we have met. He became an instant friend. Fjord skipper Roy taught us about commercial fishing and graciously shared much of his life story, helping us learn what growing up in remote Norway is all about. Driver Per delighted in taking us to see a replica Viking ship. Dinner with Edith and Jon at their hilltop “summer pasture” cabin near Oye was a memorable experience filled with stories about Jon’s longtime mink business and special Norwegian delicacies to try, topped off with Edith’s handmade chocolates. Fjord skipper Daniel took us to his family guest house at Trandal where we were thrilled by the famous swing and braved deer-burgers and brown cheese ice cream, both delicious. Guide Britt, also an osteopath, was unusually informative and interesting. She took us on a delightful hike, showed us around the Tafjord village where she grew up, described her annual reindeer hunt, and escorted us to a friend’s guest house for a delicious lunch of deer lasagna.
Introductions to persons like these added immeasurable pleasure to our trip. But we also met many wonderful Norwegians while traveling, in shops, and even just seeking directions in the street.
Our hotels were superb and often historical. Without exception, they were situated in gorgeous surroundings and well managed with great service. The room types Torunn chose for us were perfect. Breakfast buffets were exquisite, and our included welcome dinners were delicious. Remarkable hotel staffers came from all over Norway and beyond. Each hotel was unique and memorable but our favorites were Knutholmen in Kalvag, Hotel Union Oye, and the amazing Storfjord Hotel.
The new-to-us comprehensive Trip Planner web app used by Torunn’s office made managing trip logistics remarkably simple. All the details and tickets were in one place. Thanks to Torunn’s colleagues Anja, Karin, and Mari, the chat feature made it easy to get questions answered and quickly resolve several minor hiccups.
As is evident, Torunn did indeed connect us to the “real Norway.” We will long remember this spectacular trip and the special people we met.
Torunn and her team planned a wonderful 3-week trip to Norway for us that we finished in June. We traveled from Oslo to Nesseby, which is past the Arctic Circle near the Russian border, spending 3 nights each in 7 venues. Torunn tailored the trip to our preferences which lean towards a bit of adventure and agri-tourism, and she provided some memorable experiences. In the north we stayed at a 2-room lodge run by a Sami fisherman and spent a morning crab fishing on his boat and an afternoon on an archaeological walk with his wife. He was an excellent cook and served foods he and his wife had caught, shot, or foraged from the landscape. He served the crab we caught in 3 different preparations, each of which was excellent. The next day we toured the area with a Sami reindeer herder. We also spent time on a small island well out in the Atlantic where we kayaked along the seashore to a lighthouse; foraged in Trondheim with a professional forager picking plants for our lunch; visited a dairy near Oslo producing a unique cheese product and advocating a more humane way to treat dairy cattle; and spent 3 nights at a farm with a gourmet chef specializing in dishes featuring fruit and vegetables from the farm.
We received very personal treatment from the hosts at our smaller venues and each of them indicated how much they valued their relationship with Torunn. There is no way we could have found these experiences on our own. The hotel and apartment selection in Trondeim, Inderoy, and Oslo was nicely curated as well.
Our wedding anniversary occurred during the trip and Torunn arranged a WOW Moment for us that was great fun. We were in Aurland at a farm set in a stunningly beautiful valley with steep mountainsides and many waterfalls. We were serenaded for our anniversary by a musician playing a Norwegian Hardanger fiddle, a type of double-strung violin. The venue was a small shelter with a magnificent view, and we toasted ourselves and the trip with homemade pear Kombucha made by the chef. We thoroughly enjoyed it.
Norway is a long country; it is farther to Nesseby from Oslo than it is from Oslo to Paris. Because we travelled as far north and to as many places as we did, we had several long travel days, mostly by train or ferry. Both modes of transportation travel through beautiful landscapes.
We recommend both Norway and Torunn’s team.
Truly a trip of a lifetime. My family of 4 (me, my husband and two adult boys) went to Alta in early January, where we went dogsledding, snowmobiling, and saw the northern lights. In Oslo we went on a very interesting architecture tour. The highlight was relaxing in the lodge sauna after a day spent snowmobiling and getting called by the lodge staff to come outside to watch the northern lights! The staff at all of the places Torunn and Mari sent us to were exceptional and would go out of their way to provide assistance. We can’t wait to go back sometime in the summer now and see the same location again.
My daughter and I traveled to the following locations in Norway between Oct 2-11, 2022: Oslo, Fjaerland, Hoyeimsvik, and Skabu. The trip was organized by Torunn Tronsvang, based in Oslo. I would rate every aspect of this trip as a 10 on a 1-10 scale. Torunn’s office was extremely thorough in working to understand what my daughter and I were most interested in seeing and doing during the trip. They arranged personally guided tours ranging from hikes to boat rides. They booked us into exquisite hotels and were also available for questions by text or phone at any point during our travels. In summary, they curated a magnificent trip for us and I would give them my highest recommendation.
Our trip to Norway was incomparable—far better than we could have imagined, and our expectations were high. That’s because we were supposed to make this trip in March 2020, and we postponed at the last minute because of impending COVID shutdowns. Our travel planner, Torunn Tronsvang, worked with us over the past 2.5 years to make sure that the trip could be made safely and easily. We can’t praise her and her team enough!
We’re very glad we traveled now, and so happy to have worked with Torunn.
Torunn and her team put together an itinerary that was full of special places: a luxurious yet rustic-feeling hotel on a fjord outside Ålesund, along with a fjord cruise and visit to a tiny fjord community; a night at an Art Nouveau hotel in Ålesund that was literally on the water; amazing visits to two islands above the Arctic Circle: Lofoten and Senja; a short, very wonderful stay in Oslo. We had amazing dinners, from fish tongues in Senja (they’re delicious!) to sophisticated French cuisine in Oslo to several tasting menu dinners that were each works of art.
When the trip was originally planned, we’d targeted March for the Northern Lights possibilities. But now when we were ready to travel, we didn’t want to postpone any longer and risk yet another outbreak in the fall-winter of this year. Torunn worked with us to shift the trip to September. By doing that, we saw Lofoten and Senja in an amazing array of fall colors. And although no trip planner can guarantee Northern Lights, Torunn helped us scout the best time in the fall (around the autumnal equinox) to improve our chances of seeing the Northern Lights. And we did see them, on two nights in Lofotfen!
We could not be more happy with Torunn. The live itinerary app that she uses was such a great tool! Her office updated it with any necessary changes (a couple meals shifted, for example), and they sometimes communicated airline gate changes to us faster than the airline’s own app. The chat function was super helpful as well.
All of the experiences, dining, and travel logistics felt COVID appropriate to us. COVID seems to have mostly abated in Norway, so it was not really a major consideration. But we always felt that the properties and people we were dealing with were aware of possible issues and attended to them.
We didn’t encounter any specific challenges or destination-related problems, but during our long planning process, Torunn did make changes from our original itinerary if she thought that she’d found a better accommodation or dining option. For example, our accommodation in Senja, a beautiful lighthouse-inspired tower on the doorstep of a national park, was a switch from the 2020 plan. We are so glad she made the suggestion. Not only was the lighthouse an amazing place to stay, the property’s owner, Hege, CEO of Norwegian Wild, was a warm and wonderful guide for us. She refashioned a planned night of Northern Light chasing when it became clear that the weather wasn’t going to cooperate. Instead, she spent a day with us, driving us to find the best photo spots. She also made two amazing meals during our stay: a salmon stew that she cooked on a wood stove in a fisherman’s hut on the edge of the fjord, and reindeer pizza in the cafe at the Norwegian Wild campground. We would never have met Hege without Torunn.
Without question, Torunn added value to our trip. She listened closely to what we were looking for in our trip and made those things happen. But she also planned for us lodgings, restaurants and experiences we would never have found on our own.
For example: Our host for an afternoon in a fjord village, Eli Anne, grew up there and is part of the community effort to keep the little town alive. She showed us the village school that her mother attended and which is now a little museum—and we met her mother at the lunch Eli Anne made for us at her home! She showed us the area’s steep gorges and described the importance of avalanche control in the area. She knows that from personal experience: Her grandfather and uncle died in a terrible avalanche in 1971—an event that changed how Norway addresses avalanche risks. You can’t possibly get that kind of experience unless the travel planner is very knowledgeable about the region and is attuned to the traveler’s interests.
If a traveler is going to work with Torunn, I would say to take her counsel on locations to visit, things to do and how long to stay in various places. For instance, we had asked about visiting Bergen, and she suggested Ålesund instead. The city center, which is composed of all Art Nouveau buildings, is so beautiful. But she also knew that Ålesund wasn’t worth more than a short stay. It is touristy, because it is a cruise-ship destination. Our hotel was a wonderfully calm place, and the overnight stay gave us a chance to buy some things we needed for the ongoing trip. She also told us about Senja, an island that is less well known to Northern Lights visitors than is Lofoten. It’s much less visited and possibly even more beautiful. We loved our time there and have talked about visiting again! There is nothing in the tour itinerary that I would have avoided!
PANDEMIC TRAVEL We are glad that we chose to travel in Norway, as there were so few Americans there. Torunn was wonderful to work with. While she initially came back with a plan that was $9000 over our initial budget, she worked with us and respected our desire to stay within our budget. She paid close attention to our wants and needs and arranged a great trip for us. She surprised us by popping in to visit us at a restaurant at dinner our first night in Norway. It was nice to meet her in person. Most impressively, she dealt with our cancelled SAS flight from the fjords to the Arctic. She worked hard to give us a similar experience that we were hoping for in the Arctic (a fishing village) and managed to give us the same experience and booked us new flights on a different airline, all within 24 hours!!!! This experience solidified my appreciation for using a trip planner. Torunn asked us for feedback when we finished the trip in order to plan for future travelers. We gave a detailed and very positive list, with only a few change suggestions. Thank you for leading us to Torunn. I would absolutely recommend her to travelers to Norway.
My husband, 2 older teen agers and I spent 10 days in Norway. Our trip, planned by Torunn, was wonderful and exactly as we had asked. Our favorite part of the trip was meeting local people and having time to hear stories and explore the way people live, including a meal in the summer farmhouse on the mountain high over the fiord, a ramble in the hills of a generations old sheep farm and a fiord cruise captained by a technology professor. We had a mix of active and quieter days and stayed in hotels and guest houses that put us in the middle of beautiful scenery and offered excellent and kind service. We had some dietary restrictions that were carefully attended to in all the delicious meals we ate. I appreciated having access to Torunn throughout our trip via an online app and found her and her staff to be professional, organized and flexible. Torunn listened carefully to what we wanted on our trip, so be sure to let her know how you like to travel and then enjoy meeting people who feel like friends and family.