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Two girls in traditional costumes playing fiddles outside of Fretheim Historic Hotel
Fretheim Hotel.
Photo: Fretheim Hotel
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Several highlights of Norway’s activities, dining and iconic nature can be experienced in a single, three-day trip, through the cooperation of top hotels and restaurants.

Text: Mikael Lunde

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“You’ll wake up to an incredible landscape. You’re at the highest point of the Bergen Railway. To the south, the Hardangerjøkulen glacier is twinkling in the sun across lake Finsevatnet”, says Trygve Norman, chairman of the hotel.

You’ll see an endless expanse of wild nature. And it’s calling for you to head out.

Rallarvegen
Rallarvegen.
Photo: Sverre Hjørnevik / Visitnorway.com

Stunning vistas

You might have seen this place before. Finse is where they filmed the famous set piece “Battle of Hoth” for the 1980 Star Wars sequel The Empire Strikes Back. Yet in summer, the area is completely transformed. It is covered, not in snow, but in the warm shades of green from moss and heather. There are no trees this high up.

This is also a starting point for Rallarvegen (the navvie’s road), built between 1902 and 1904 as an access road for the construction of the railway, and is crammed with history.

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Fretheim Hotel

Fretheim Hotel.
Photo: Fretheim Hotel

Fine dining

“In any one of these round trips, you get a taste of Norway – in more than one sense”, says Nils Henrik Geitle, CEO of De historiske. The organization includes 58 hotels and 22 restaurants around the country – and even a ship.

Their common denominator is that they have deep roots in history. Membership is a mark of quality, as all who apply face rigorous quality tests. Only a few ever pass.

The round trips are a way to combine several of the top hotels, restaurants, and activities into a single experience. “They are very popular, especially the trips to Trolltunga and Preikestolen”, says Geitle. He refers, of course, to the natural rock formations that are two of Norway’s – indeed, the world’s – most famous natural viewpoints. Trolltunga and Preikestolen are both found deep within the untouched Norwegian nature, so they require a little bit of effort to reach (dress code: mountain boots, not high heels). Then again, the one-of-a-kind views at the end are all the more rewarding. As are the multi course dinners when you return (now the heels are appropriate).

“Dining is an important part of the trip. No two places have the same menu, and so each will offer a different taste experience”, says Geitle.

A group biking along a lake at Rallarvegen
Rallarvegen.
Photo: Morten Knudsen

“Matpakke”

Back at Finse, the day starts with a good breakfast. The bread is freshly baked and the produce, meats, and fish are all local. If you had lamb or reindeer the night before, then on the way down to Flåm later in the day you’ll pass the farm that delivered it – Haugen Gardsmat. You should also take a good, long stop to enjoy your “matpakke” – the traditional Norwegian packed lunch. “We don’t serve lunch at all at Finse. It is in the Norwegian spirit that you should get out and enjoy your food in the open. On a bike, you’ll get well beyond the watershed before you need to stop for lunch”, says Trygve Norman.

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Whilst remaining far inland amid tall mountains, this small town also has one of Norway’s busiest cruise ship ports, connected to the sea through the Sognefjord. Whilst the town can admittedly be rather busy on a summer’s day, the surrounding areas are largely untouched. Any pictures you might have seen from the Norwegian fjord landscape are likely taken right here.

“By bike, you’ll go down the valley through some 23 hairpin turns. You then enter a wonderful cultural landscape. The first thing you’ll pass is a goat farm selling cheese, and then you’ll be surrounded by waterfalls in every direction”, says Norman. “Luckily, the valley is spared from being exploited for tourism – it is remarkably authentic. We recommend our guests to go straight to Fretheim, keep to their relaxed garden and enjoy a well deserved ‘Rallar beer’”.

Ægir, Flåm

Ægir, Flåm.
Photo: Thor Brødreskift

Deep roots

The beer comes from Ægir. The microbrewery in Flåm is one of Norway’s very best. “Many of our guests go there for beer tasting”, says Connie Konglevoll, chief of sales at Fretheim hotel. Ægir opened in 2007, and local food is really nothing new in the area. You’ll get cheese and cured meats from livestock that roam age-old mountain pastures. Fruits and wild berries make for juices, cider and jams. The recipes are probably as old as the hotel, or older.

“The origins of the hotel go back to the 19th century, when it was a farm”, says Konglevoll. “The farmer Christen Fretheim then started housing English lords who came as tourists to fish in the Flåmselva river and hunt in the mountains.” It became a popular destination and was soon transformed into a hotel.

“It is beautifully located at the inner end of the Aurlandsfjord, a creek of the Sognefjord – framed by tall mountains. Nature is stunning”, Konglevoll says. Nearby is the incredibly narrow Nærøyfjord, which is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. “Another place we recommend to visit is Otternes – a wonderful old mountain hamlet where you can relax with food and coffee and just take in the view of the fjord”, Konglevoll adds.

There are several days worth of nature and activities to explore around Flåm. But thanks to the ferries and railways, it is also a hub to get around easily to other parts of the country – and possibly on another tree or four day round trip.

Historic Hotels & Restaurants in Norway

Rallarvegen “the navvie’s road” tour
Finse1222 is the hotel which is located on the highest point of the Bergen Railway, 1222 meters above the sea level. Finse is only reachable by train… Read more
Finse 1222
Rallarvegen, the old works road alongside the Bergen Railway and the Flåm Railway (Haugastøl – Finse - Myrdal - Flåm) is Norway's most popular… Read more
Rallarvegen - The Navvies’ Road
Each year, several hundred thousand visitors arrive in Flåm to ride the Flåmsbana Railway, cycle Rallarvegen, or go hiking in the dramatic… Read more
Flåm
Welcome to the Historical Fretheim Hotel Since the mid-1800s when English Lords would travel into the Sognefjord with their yachts, hunting for new… Read more
Fretheim Hotel
Ægir is our very own brewery, which opened in 2007 and is one of the best craft breweries in Norway. The building is inspired by Norse mythology… Read more
Ægir BrewPub
The city, fjords and Arctic round trip
The calm fjords, the busy capital, or the barren Arctic – take a round trip and see them all.
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Beautiful hotel located in the heart of fjord Norway only 30 kilometers from Bergen and the airport. High standard, great views and spa facilities. Read more
Solstrand Hotel & Bad
First-class boutique hotel with seven unique guest rooms in a house from 1845. Camillas Hus is located in an quiet area behind the Royal Palace,… Read more
Camillas Hus
Hotel at the top of Holmenkollen with 85 guest rooms, a restaurant and banquet and meeting facilities. Hiking trails, ski tracks and a ski resort are… Read more
Lysebu
We opened the doors to the newest department at Svalbard Hotell & Lodge in February 2015. With 31 brand new rooms, newer and better facilities, we… Read more
Svalbard Hotel | Polfareren
"Huset” is one of Longyearbyen’s most legendary buildings. During the dark season you see it lit up at the top of the valley, the… Read more
Huset
Historic Hotels in Norway
The Historic Hotels and Restaurants is a chain that includes some of the finest and most charming hotels and restaurants in Norway.
Read more about Historic Hotels and Restaurants
Det Lille Hotel offers 17 comfortable "maritime suites". The suites are unique and are tastefully furnished to reflect the town's rich seafaring… Read more
Det Lille Hotel Maritime Suites
Gloppen hotel is a Swiss-style hotel dating back to 1866. The hotel has a restaurant and bar, and is located in the center of Sandane. Gloppen… Read more
Gloppen Hotell
In the old village Sogndalstrand - around 1,5 hours drive from Stavanger - you will find Sogndalstrand kulturhotell. In its newly restored wooded… Read more
Sogndalstrand kulturhotell
We offer comfortable rooms and apartments of hotel standard. TV and Wi-Fi in all rooms. Dining facilities with a first class à la carte… Read more
Vertshuset Røros, Rooms and apartments
Beautiful small hotel close to the University, railway station and walking distance to city center. Read more
Hotel Park
Hotel at the top of Holmenkollen with 85 guest rooms, a restaurant and banquet and meeting facilities. Hiking trails, ski tracks and a ski resort are… Read more
Lysebu
Svinøya Rorbuer is centrally situated in Svolvær harbour. Read more
Svinøya Rorbuer
Grand Terminus is centrally located in the city center opposite the railway station and bus station. Charming hotel with an elegant, classic style. Read more
Grand Terminus
Høyevarde lighthouse is an exclusive and unique cultural heritage. When you arrive at the location, either with boat or car, you will feel that the… Read more
Høyevarde - Lighthouse hotel
With its welcoming hosts, historic buildings and beautiful gardens, Hoel Farm can offer that little extra for events such as corporate dinners,… Read more
Hoel Guest farm
Enter the new oasis of Grand Hotel Egersund! We have recently expanded our hotel to 101 rooms with a total accommodation capacity of 200 guests. We… Read more
Grand Hotel Egersund
Welcome to Røros Hotell! One of the largest hotels in the area, with 157 comfortable rooms in different sizes. We are a family-friendly hotel,… Read more
Røros Hotell Bath & Wellness
Nermo Hotel is a small, family run hotel dating back to 1877. At Nermo, you will find warm hospitality, friendly staff, first-class food and a… Read more
Nermo Hotell
Fru Haugans Hotel in Mosjøen is North Norway's oldest hotel - anno 1794. Located in the charming Sjøgata and along the river Vefsna. Sjøgata has the… Read more
Fru Haugans Hotel
Welcome to the Historical Fretheim Hotel Since the mid-1800s when English Lords would travel into the Sognefjord with their yachts, hunting for new… Read more
Fretheim Hotel
Hotel, meeting facilities and banquet rooms on an island in Drøbaksundet, 35 kilometres south of Oslo. Oscarsborg also has galleries,… Read more
Oscarsborg Hotel & Resort
Bergen's oldest family-run hotel with a fine combination of modern, prize-winning interiors and traditional style. Centrally located in Bergen city… Read more
Augustin Hotel
Adress: Gamle Engøvei 25, 3145 Tjøme Phone: (+47) 33 39 00 48 Throughout the year, guests can find peace and tranquillity at Engø Gård, a… Read more
Engø Gård Hotel & Restaurant
Squeezed in between the Hegge Fjord and Jotunheimen, Norway's highest mountain range, in the Norwegian province of Valdres, one can find the village… Read more
Herangtunet Boutique Hotel Norway
A.D. 1600 - 48 rooms Bekkjarvik Gjestgiveri is located on one of the beautiful islands in Austevoll municipality, south of Bergen, with the sea and… Read more
Bekkjarvik Gjestgiveri
Lillesand Hotel Norway is a full service hotel located in the middle of Lillesand city center, just a stone's throw from the pier and the skerries. Read more
Lillesand Hotel Norge
Rederiet Hotel, located in the town centre, is a natural choice for accommodation, small courses and conferences in Farsund. Read more
Rederiet Hotell
Sola Strand Hotel is idyllically situated by one of Norway's most beautiful beaches, close to Stavanger Airport Sola. Great city life attractions in… Read more
Sola Strand Hotel
A small hotel in the center of Røros, right next to the church. The building dates from the 1600s and is marked by the same atmosphere as the other… Read more
Erzscheidergaarden
Refsnes Gods has a lovely location, with a large garden sloping pleasantly down to the Oslo Fjord. Read more
Hotell Refsnes Gods
Bårdshaug Herregård is situated in quiet and peaceful surroundings in Orkanger, 42 km southwest of Trondheim. This historic manor was the home of the… Read more
Bårdshaug Herregård
Finse1222 is the hotel which is located on the highest point of the Bergen Railway, 1222 meters above the sea level. Finse is only reachable by train… Read more
Finse 1222
The hotel has a beautiful location by the lake Selbusjøen, by RV 705. Only 1 hours drive from Trondheim. Full service hotel with 58 rooms. Open all… Read more
Selbusjøen Hotell & Gjestegård
Fjord Norway's best kept secret - your home away from home. Welcome to YOUR Åmot Read more
Åmot
One of Norway's oldest hotels, with a unique combination of modern comfort and venerable traditions dating back to medieval times. Sundvolden is… Read more
Sundvolden Hotel
Beautiful hotel in the centre of Balestrand. 190 rooms, most with balcony and fjord view. 10 demi-suites in the main building. Conference facilities… Read more
Kviknes Hotel
The hotel enjoys a beautiful southern view that comprises Suldalsvatnet lake and the village of Nesflaten. The hosts and staff do their utmost so that… Read more
Energihotellet
A 5-minute drive from Sandnes city centre, Kronen Gaard Hotel offers elegant, traditional accommodation in quiet surroundings. Each of the modern… Read more
Kronen Gaard Hotel
Røisheim Hotel, in the beautiful Bøverdalen Valley, consists of 14 preserved buildings, mostly from the eighteenth century. All the buildings have… Read more
Røisheim hotel
Fjærland Fjordstove Hotel is a small hotel with 15 rooms and several large living rooms. The hotel is situated next to the fjord and has panorama view… Read more
Fjærland Fjordstove Hotel
In Sandnes town centre, near the railway station and Norway's longest pedestrian street (Langgaten) you will find a unique and exciting hotel. But… Read more
GamlaVærket Hotell & Restaurant
In the village of Øye by the Norangsfjord you will find one of the most distinct hotels in all of Europe. It has been a place where visitors come to… Read more
Hotel Union Øye
Hospitality since 1906. Friendly and welcoming atmosphere. Read more
Fossheim Hotell
Hotel Ullensvang is a first class hotel, owned by the same family in 5 generations throughout more than 160 years. Located in beautiful surroundings… Read more
Hotel Ullensvang
Do you like good atmosphere, good food and autentic coastal culture? If so, Knutholmen and the fishing village of Kalvåg is a place you will enjoy.… Read more
Knutholmen
Bergen Børs Hotel is located right in the heart of the city. The old stock exchange is now an exquisite hotel with a delicate classic / modern style. Read more
Bergen Børs Hotel
Store Ringheim Hotell & Restaurant is a small and unique boutique hotel situaded only 1,2 km from Voss town centre. Read more
Store Ringheim Hotell and Restaurant
Fredriksten Hotel is situated on the historical ground of Fredriksten Fortress. Through centuries major battles and tough negotiations has been played… Read more
Fredriksten Hotell
Have you seen the TV series "The heavy water war"? You now have the opportunity to stay in this historic villa that was used as the home of the Hydro… Read more
Rjukan Admini Hotel
Historic hotel in the centre of Drøbak, a small town by the Oslo Fjord 35 kilometres south of Oslo. Reenskaug is a modern hotel with all types… Read more
Reenskaug Hotel
Are you looking for a unique place packed with activities to spend your holiday? Look no further. The innermost part of the mighty Sognefjord offers… Read more
Walaker Hotel
Hotel, conference facilities and banquet rooms in historic surroundings at Kongsvinger Fortress, 95 kilometres from Oslo. The fortress was built… Read more
Festningen Hotel & Resort
Dalen Hotel is a beautiful fairytale hotel build in 1894 in grand romantic style with dragon heads, towers, pinnacles and balconies. Read more
Dalen Hotel
Beautiful hotel located in the heart of fjord Norway only 30 kilometers from Bergen and the airport. High standard, great views and spa facilities. Read more
Solstrand Hotel & Bad
An oasis for the good life. Savour the flavours of a bygone era in the restaurant, wake up to the smell of newly-baked bread fresh from… Read more
Haaheim Gaard
The outer walls of Hotel Brosundet extends directly into the waters of Brosundet, Ålesund’s true town centre. Hotel Brosundet offers a… Read more
Hotel Brosundet
The hotel has a spectacular location on top of the Stalheimskleiva - overlooking the Nærøydalen valley. Lounge which is adorned with an… Read more
Stalheim Hotel
Utne Hotel is one Norway's oldest hotel in continual operation, licensed since 1722. It was founded in 1722 by Sergeant Børsem, who was granted… Read more
Utne Hotel
Losby Gods is set in an area of natural beauty offering a broad variety of outdoor pursuits and recreation. The manor's main attraction is the… Read more
Losby Gods
Historic restaurants
Oslo's oldest venue for artistic and cultural events offers personalised hospitality and rich experiences in a setting of historic atmosphere and… Read more
Gamle Logen meeting and concert venue
Private dining facilities in a lighthouse right outside the Bygdøy peninsula, where it has welcomed guests to the harbour of Oslo since 1874. Dyna Fyr… Read more
Dyna Fyr
Værtshuset ("The Inn") is a classic and timeless place. Our "Norwegian-inspired Kitchen" has mainly Norwegian food on the menu. Read more
Værtshuset Bærums Verk
In the inner parts of Fredriksten fortress we find Restaurant Curtisen, with a fantastic kitchen on historic ground. Read more
Restaurant Curtisen
Bergen's oldest known tavern, the Altona, dates back to approx. the 17th century. Read more
Altona Vinbar
Bryggen Tracteursted serves traditional food based on solid craftsmanship a modern cuisine inspired by Norwegian and Hanseatic traditions. Read more
Bryggen Tracteursted
Røros' oldest café in the middle of Kjerkgata. Home-made food, tasty and varied daily fare. Sandwiches – cakes – light meals… Read more
Kaffestuggu
This is a culinary gem in the Bymarka recreational area serving local food accompanied by wonderful views. Lian Restaurant was established in the… Read more
Lian Restaurant
Cosy fish restaurant serving gourmet dishes from the sea. Located in the heart of Brosundet, in the beautiful and newly renovated Hotel Brosundet. Read more
Maki Brosundet
Statholdergaarden is Bernt Stiansen's gourmet restaurant. In 1993 Stiansen became Norway's first culinary arts world champion. The restaurant, with… Read more
Statholdergaarden
Oslo's original city hall from 1641 is the home of Gamle Raadhus Restaurant. Food has been served here since 1856, and today lunch and dinner is made… Read more
Gamle Raadhus Restaurant
Elegant brasserie at Akershus Fortress with views of City Hall Square and Aker Brygge. Read more
Festningen Restaurant
Gourmet restaurant in a functionalist-style building with stunning views of the city Read more
Ekebergrestauranten
Grand Hotel wishes the cafe and bar to be both a preferred place with good small dishes and a place with great atmosphere. You can buy a cup of… Read more
Grand Cafe & Bar
Summer restaurant in a historic building considered to be one of the main works of Norwegian functionalist architecture. Here you can come straight… Read more
Ingierstrand Restaurant
Fløien Folkerestaurant from 1925 is one of Bergen's most distinguished restaurants, situated on Mount Fløyen, with a spectacular view over Bergen. Read more
Fløien Folkerestaurant
"Huset” is one of Longyearbyen’s most legendary buildings. During the dark season you see it lit up at the top of the valley, the… Read more
Huset
A restaurant for memorable culinary experiences and a cosy atmosphere, both in- and outdoor. The bar features an open hearth and a modern café.… Read more
Lothes Mat & Vinhus
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