Cool tours to see fiords

Q & A

June 29, 2008|By San Jose Mercury News

My mom and I are great travelers together, and this year, we'd like to see the fiords of Scandinavia. Knowing we're likely to travel here only once, we'd like a tour to take care of the details. But the Web sites are voluminous, and I feel I'm wasting time digging through it all. Please point me in the right direction.

A tour operator should lessen the hassles. A plan-it-yourself vacation can be easier on the pocketbook, but tours allow you to tap into the expertise of specialists, so you don't have to worry about logistics or language barriers. For recommendations, we went to Harald Hansen, public relations manager with Innovation Norway (formerly the Norwegian Tourist Board).

"There are other countries in the world with fiords," he said, "but what sets the Norwegian fiords apart is that they are accessible by boats, buses, trains and planes; ... people are living there in small villages and on farms; and the traveler will thus experience the real people, our culture and history - something that is closely interwoven with the nature surrounding them."

Innovation Norway is a member of a larger tourism agency, Go Scandinavia (goscandinavia.com), which also includes Denmark, Finland, Iceland and Sweden. They recommend these tour operators for fiord excursions: Borton Overseas (bortonoverseas.com); the Nordic Co. (nordicco.com); ScanAm World Tours (scandinaviantravel.com); Nordique Tours (nordiquetours.com); 5 Stars of Scandinavia (5stars-of-scandinavia.com); and Hurtigruten (hurtigruten.us).

Hansen said one of his favorite trips, offered by Fjord Tours, pairs boat and train travel through the dramatic scenery of Sognefjord, Norway's longest and deepest fiord. Find tour details at fjord-tours.com/flam-railway.

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