Difference between revisions of "Hordaland"
Revision as of 11:31, 1 August 2008
Cities and towns
By car, Hordaland can be entered from all its neighbouring counties, Rogaland, Sogn og Fjordane, Telemark, and Buskerud. From Oslo, the most common route is following European route E16 through Akershus, Buskerud and Sogn og Fjordane. When following this route, the first town that is encountered is Voss, in north-eastern Hordaland. If you want to get to Bergen or anywhere else on the coast as fast as possible, continue following this road.
From Voss, you can also drive southwards to Hardanger. Having driven approximately 25 kilometers, you end up at the mouth of a 7 km long tunnel, where you have the choice of either driving through the tunnel, to inner Hardanger, or to Granvin, outer Hardanger and finally Bergen. This road is designated "National Tourist Road" by the Norwegian government, and goes through four small towns (Granvin proper, Øystese, Norheimsund and Samnanger) before meeting European route E16 just after entering Bergen municipality. The first option, however, does not end up in Bergen. Once you reach the Hardanger fjord, you can either cross the fjord by ferry, or drive towards Ulvik. From the terminus of the ferry connection, follow RV 13 westwards, towards Odda. From Odda, you can continue following RV 13 southwards into the southernmost part of Hordaland, Rogaland or Telemark. You can also drive through the Folgefonn tunnel, slightly north of Odda, and onwards to Rosendal and southern Hordaland.
Entering Hordaland from Rogaland (south) is rather straightforward. There are three alternatives; E39, the main road to Bergen from Stavanger, which leads through Stord and is rather ferry-heavy, and the aforementioned E134 and RV13, which both end up at Odda. The same can be said about entering from Sogn og Fjordane (north); there are two alternatives, E39, which runs near the coast and is, again, rather ferry heavy, and E16, which is the main road between Bergen and Oslo and is described above.
Hordaland has two airports of interest to the traveller; Bergen Airport, Flesland, Norway's second largest airport, and Stord Airport, Sørstokken. Bergen Airport has flights to all major and several smaller Norwegian airports; the Bergen-Oslo route is among the 10 most busy in Europe. It also has regular direct flights to many European destinations, as well as to Narita International Airport in Tokyo. Stord Airport is vastly smaller, and has regular flights to Oslo and Århus in Denmark.
Trains go from Bergen to Oslo, and a large part of the railway line goes through Hordaland. Among the stations are Dale, Voss and Finse, the highest station on the line. Local trains stopping at all stations are fairly frequent between Bergen and Voss and have open seating. Express trains don't stop at all stations, and seats there are frequently reserved, especially on Fridays and Sundays you may have trouble getting a seat. Trains are operated by the Norwegian national rail company, NSB.
Passenger boats along the coast are an option, especially if you are visiting islands such as Stord. Even if you are travelling by road, chances are good that you will come to a stretch of water where there is no bridge, and you will need a car ferry to get across. The frequency varies considerably, car ferries are part of the Norwegian road infrastructure and are usually, but not always, fairly frequent. The fast passenger boats are not so frequent. Most boats are operated by the transportation company Tide and schedules can be obtained from their website (unfortunately, only in Norwegian) passenger boat schedules, ferry schedules.
If you need a bus, there are some express busses operated by NORWAY Bus express, and more local busses operated by Tide. Outside of Bergen and its vicinity you will probably find busses to be rather infrequent, but the network does cover most areas.
Where trains, boats and buses are not available, you will need to travel by car. Norwegian roads are frequently ridiculed for poor standards. The standard varies from location to location. As in the rest of Norway, renting a car is very expensive. However, as a car is needed to get to many rural areas, which are often the most interesting, renting one is still strongly recommended. All car rental companies present in Norway have offices in Bergen, at the airport and/or the city centre.