the most epic 12-day european trip
We planned this trip for mid-April in 2019 and after we found an amazing flight deal for Bergen, Norway we booked it!!! From there we decided to drive across the country and have some fun. I was extremely nervous about driving in Norway... especially not knowing what the weather was going to be like. BUT it worked out amazing (thank you in-car GPS). Then we took a flight from Oslo, Norway to Amsterdam where we met my family for a few days of fun! It's really simple to fly between countries in Europe. I'm talking $100 from Oslo to Amsterdam (not bad!). From Amsterdam, we took an easy 3-hour ride train to Brussels and walked to our airbnb. From Brussels, my cousin and I flew back to Oslo and took the famous European train ride back to Bergen for our flight back to the states (we won't talk about what happened during our 14 hour layover in London).
Road Tripping in Norway
Driving across Norway is so easy! Rent a car from the airport (with installed GPS), take screen shots of exact addresses you want to visit and you're there! My favorite spots between Bergen and Oslo include
- Voss (have a Hansa at one of the outdoor patios overlooking the mountains).
- Odda (Plan a day to hike Trolltunga and bring your biggest water bottle to fill up in the streams - it will be the best water you've ever had. bet.)
- Stegastein Lookout - This is one of the most incredible views of the fjords BUT beware, the drive up and back is terrifying (it's basically a one way road with minimal guardrails :))
visiting the tulip gardens in amsterdam
I'm not sure how we got so lucky to visit Keukenhof during the tulip season (which is only about 4-5 weeks from March-April).. but I'm so glad we did! There's a reason they call it the "Most beautiful garden in the world". Spent an entire day here, rent a bike and ride along the property and just get lost in the beauty. Make sure to buy the pass with transportation since it's about 30 minutes from downtown Amsterdam.
Take the Train to Brussels, Belgium
You won't regret this trip! We spent 2 days in this beautiful place. I didn't know what to expect when we arrived and boy was I shocked at the beauty of this city. We stayed in the heart of downtown and were able to walk everywhere! Take a walk down to the Grand Place, to the Mont des Arts, and the Place Royale (Koningsplein)!
There are so many things to do in Brussels, but below are some of favorite!
Skip the starbucks (yes they have one) and go straight to the Grand Place for a classic Belgium waffle... no syrup needed! Holy crap, this is still the best breakfast I've ever had. You won't be disappointed! Grab a pint after from any of the amazing breweries around town.
Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert
Want to look at local art, eat some macaroons and sit with a strong cup of coffee?? This place has it all. The structure, the stores, everything is so elegant and just so amazing to look at. Highly recommend for an afternoon in Brussels.
St. Michael and St. Gudula Cathedral
This is one of the most beautiful cathedrals I've ever seen. Make sure to check the hours when they let people in... we missed it the first time! You will not regret it.
After 15+ trains, 5+ flights, 7 airbnbs, 1 car rental.... I wouldn't change a thing. But a few things to note.
- I liked that we went to Norway during off-season (spring or fall)... meaning it wasn't overcrowded. However, we went over Easter weekend, and there were BARELY any stores open. Like none. Luckily gas stations actually had amazing groceries available, and we saved money on food. So I guess it's a win? Also - yes the food and alcohol are expensive.
- You don't need to spend multiple days in Oslo. You can hit all the spots in a day - also, if you drive into the city.... be careful. Cross walks are not really a thing, and it can be very stressful to drive in town.
- If you hike Trolltunga in the off-season you HAVE to be with a guided tour. The weather can be unpredictable! Also, bring 3x the amount of food you actually think you need for a 12 hour hike.
- Don't be afraid to ask the locals for help navigating the train stations / destinations you want to go to.
***** All photos belong to Annie Albrecht Photography, LLC********