A Family Brewcation in Norway

Beer and Fjords in Western Norway

“Wow. Just wow.” I utter, probably for the thousandth time. We emerge from yet another tunnel, carved through the belly of a mountain, only to be met–well, slapped in the face actually–with the dramatic panorama of steep mountain greeting water. A fjord.

A gorgeous view of Geirangerfjord

A gorgeous view of Geirangerfjord, Norway

Blue skies dappled with clouds give way to mountains dappled with snow and waterfalls. Our little rental car grips onto the road, switchback after switchback, as we climb higher–each turn granting us a different, jaw-dropping view. I grab the oh-shit handle above my head and gasp at how small the quaint farms and villages below us are beginning to look. “Slow down!” I plead to Hubs, going a dangerous 11mph. He hates it when I freak out.

We finally find a good place to stop for some pictures and pull over. I take a deep breath and try to commit to memory the feel of the air on my skin. It feels cool and soft, if that makes sense. I smell clean air, water and sheep. Positioning the sun to my back, I can’t help but marvel at how blue everything is–from sky to water. It is exactly how I always imagined Norway to be. This is the Norway I always wanted to see.

It doesn’t matter where we are, honestly. Our route is taking us from Gol to Flåm to Bergen, north to Geiranger and then back down to Oslo via Lillehammer. One thing about Norway is that beautiful views of the fjords are found everywhere. Much like great beer.

After cooperating for as long as toddler will, Wee Man wants to get too close to the edge and it’s stressing me out. We want a beer anyway. We reverse our path and head back down the twisty-turny mountain where the road is wide enough for one car but needs to fit two. I stick my arm out the window to feel more of that gentle air. I know this moment will leave an indelible mark on my mind, forever. We switch back again.

Tour bus.

“Slow down!” I freak out. Wee Man repeats. Oops.

How we did a family brewcation in Norway

We understand why the cruise ships–and their thousands of passengers–pull into places like Oslo, Bergen and Flåm. They offer the taste of the fjords and the unparalleled beauty of Norway. There’s great food, great beer and a certain charm in all three. But, as I mentioned, great food, beer and fjords are abundant in Western Norway. So we ventured a bit off the beaten path. And as far away from the cruise ship crowds as possible.

Wee Man is a great traveler and pretty adaptable (and eternally patient when mommy is still finishing her beer at 9pm…) So we’re fairly confident that we can trust him not to make a scene if there’s a particular pub that we want to go to. Nevertheless, there’s always a concern about bringing a small child into certain pubs, bars or restaurants. With that said, we found that even though we have a toddler in tow we weren’t restricted to child-friendly places with mainstream lagers and fish nuggets. Awesome.

Wee Man napped the whole time we were here. Happy times.

We made our trip during the last full week of May and we thought it was amazing. It’s still a couple of weeks before the high season but the weather was awesome and the crowds weren’t as big. I think maybe we saw two stores the whole time (outside of Oslo) that weren’t open for the season yet. We made the most of the long days while in Norway, which allowed us to cover a lot more than usual. Even though we’re still paying for Wee Man’s week of 11pm bedtime. Our itinerary had a couple of travel days where we had about a 5-6 hour drive. Wee Man didn’t love it but we broke it up with a stop at a waterfall or somewhere to eat and he managed quite well. This also meant that we switched hotels/AirBnBs daily, which wasn’t ideal but with a bit of planning, doable.

Obviously, every child’s and family’s preferences and personalities differ. But here are our tips for what worked (and maybe didn’t work) for us:

My tips for a family brewcation in Norway

  1. Rent a car. We rented a Volkswagen Golf. It was a diesel. We drove the whole route (pickup/return in Oslo) and filled up once. Booyah.
  2. Be flexible. Of course you’re already going to be flexible with children but I mean plan your driving days flexibly. We loved the surprise waterfalls, scenic viewpoints and 12th century churches we stumbled upon by following signs and having the time to do so.
  3. We felt comfortable having the Wee Man in most pubs until about 8pm. A bartender told us that technically you could “legally” have children in a pub for as long as they serve food (in most cases, about 10pm). That’s not how we roll.
  4. You’re going to find great beer pretty much everywhere you stop for a beer in Norway. Yippee! Take it slow.
  5. You can only buy beer in grocery stores until 8pm during the week, until 6pm on Saturdays and not at all on Sundays. And it won’t be over 4.7%. If you want something stronger, you’ll have to go to a Vinmonopolet during their store hours.
  6. Outside of the cities, you’ll have a hard time finding somewhere to stop to eat and most places stop serving at 9pm. We found that restaurants in hotels or resorts were serving a bit later.
  7. Not that we needed to, but most gas/petrol stations require a chip-and-pin card to pay. Many will have an attendant until about 9pm if you need to pay with cash.
  8. If you’re in Bergen, want to take the funicular to the top of Mount Floyen and there are cruise ships in town, well, don’t do it. If you must, buy your tickets in advance or walk up the hill (it’s not that bad) to the next stop on the funicular. Also plan to walk back down. It’s nuts how many people were waiting in line as their big “shore excursion.” They easily waited hours.
  9. Don’t bother eating at the fish market in Bergen. Overpriced, slow, not cooked very well and the fish wasn’t that fresh.
  10. If taking the Flåm train (Flåmsbana) sit on the right hand side going up and the left hand going down. Prettier views.

One final note: be prepared to shell out the cash in Norway or eat lots of hot dogs. It’s all true what they say. Roll with it or ditch the cable TV now.

Wee Man, me and a fjord.

Where to eat, drink, stay and see in Western Norway

Beer

Flåm

Ægir BrewPub
A-feltsvegen 25, 5743 Flåm
Norway
Phone: +47 57 63 20 50

Ægir is widely respected and the brewpub is a must-stop in Flåm.
Great variety of in-house beer available.
We started with a flight. I enjoyed but was not blown away by the Wasabi Saison.
Can buy beer on-site to take away or at a nearby grocery store.
Competent, knowledgeable waitstaff.
Also, viking decor.

Great food here too!

Open 12-4pm, 5-10pm Daily
(High season–May 1-Sep 30)

  • Children welcome

  • Children’s menu

  • Strollers possible on lower level

Voss

Fleischer’s Hotel
Evangervegen 13, 5704 Voss
Norway
Phone: +47 56 52 05 00

The hotel bar at Fleischer’s has a range of Voss Bryggeri and Voss Felles Bryggeri on tap. (Alas, no Vossaøl)
The staff is competent but not completely knowledgeable.
Nice to drink a local beer on the terrace with gorgeous view!

Open 10am-10pm, Daily
(Kitchen closes 9:30pm, Sunday)

  • Children welcome

  • Changing table available

  • Strollers accommodated

Bergen

Henrik øl & Vinstove 
Engen 10, 5011 Bergen
Norway

Arguably the best pub in Bergen and possibly even in the whole of Norway for Norwegian beer.
There are 54 beers on tap, most of them Norwegian although there are some great international beers on as well.
Competent, knowledgeable staff. MUST GO.

Open: 4pm-12:30am Sunday-Friday
2pm-12:30am Saturday

  • Children welcome (daytime)

  • Located upstairs. Nowhere great to leave strollers.

  • Not particularly child-friendly

Bergen

Bryggeloftet & Steune
Bryggen 11, 5003 Bergen
Norway
Phone: +47 55 30 20 70

This is not necessarily a great beer destination but I listed it because they still had a solid beer menu to go with dinner. I enjoyed a Nøgne Ø Wit and a 7 Fjell Fløien IPA here. It’s a restaurant first–nobody knows anything about the beer here.

I really liked the food here and it’s a great place to get some of the Bergen fish soup.

Open: 11am-11:30pm, Mon – Sat
1pm-11:30pm, Sun

  • Children welcome

  • Child-friendly

  • Children’s menu

  • The loftet is on the upper level, unsure about stroller access. The downstairs “steune” should suit.

Loen

Hotel Loenfjord
6789 Loen
Norway
Phone: +47 57 87 57 00

I was happy to see that they had bottles of Kinn Bryggeri available here.
I was impressed by the Kvitveis (Berliner Weisse) while Hubs liked the Humlehaud IPA
Beer was nice. Waitstaff competent but not completely knowledgeable.
Great way to be surprised!

Very impressive food here–we were pleasantly surprised as this is “just” a hotel restaurant.

Open: 5pm-9pm Daily (May 25-June 22)
1pm-9:30pm Daily (June 23-August 19)

  • Children welcome

  • Child-friendly

  • Children’s menu

  • Stroller friendly

Geiranger

Brasserie Posten
Geirangervegen 4
6216 Geiranger
Norway
Phone: +47 702 61 306

This place was one of the biggest surprises of the trip–I was very impressed by their beer menu.
The beer menu was extensive but I went with the local brew (of course) from Geiranger Bryggeri.
As a fan of brown ales, I was really happy with my choice of their Sølfest Brown Ale. Hubs liked his IPA as well.
Definitely worth a stop for great beer–but it’s a restaurant first.

Super great food and the freshest seafood we had in Norway.

Open: 12pm-10pm Daily (May-October)

  • Children welcome

  • Strollers possible

  • Public restroom nearby has a changing table

  • Children’s menu

Oslo

Amundsen Bryggeri (& Spiseri)
Stortingsgt. 20 , 0161 Oslo
Norway
Phone: +47 24 20 09 00

We paid a visit to the brewpub of the wildly known–and respected–Amundsen Bryggeri in Oslo.
Beer menu includes beers brewed on-site, 32 beers on tap and a very good bottle list of house, Norwegian and international beers.
Must go if you’re a fan of beer and you’re in Oslo.

Open: 11:30am-11pm (Mon-Fri)
12pm-11pm (Sat)
1pm-8pm (Sun)

  • Children welcome

  • Strollers possible (especially outdoors)

  • Children can order smaller portion of adult item for 1/2 price.

Oslo

Handverker Steune
Rosenkrantz’ gate 7,
0159 Oslo
Norway
Phone:: +47 22 42 07 50

Fantastic beer menu with at least 17 beers on tap and an extensive bottle list.
The staff are very knowledgeable and helpful and pour a really great beer.
The building itself (still owned by the Masons) is really interesting and this is probably one of the best places in Oslo to grab a beer.

Open: 4pm-12am Mon (Kitchen closed)
4pm-12am Tue-Sat (Kitchen closes 10pm)
Closed Sunday

  • Children welcome

  • Strollers possible (but may be in the way if busy)

  • Not particularly child-friendly

Oslo

Vinmonopolet Aker Brygge
Bryggegata 9, 0250 Oslo
Norway
Phone: +47 22 01 50 00

If only I had brought a completely empty suitcase with me. This Vinmonopolet had a really fantastic beer selection. I was there for the Norwegians only but there was also a great selection of international beers (from some of the most respected breweries). I had to make choices though so I had to leave some behind. Hopefully they found good homes. They also have a great selection of Akevitt. This is a bottle shop.

Open: 10am-6pm (Mon-Fri)
10am-3pm Sat
Closed Sunday

Food

Bergen

Coffee

Kaffemisjonen
Øvre Korskirkealmenning 5
5017 Bergen
Norway

Hubs and I visited this coffee shop not too far from the harbor and, as coffee snobs, we were super happy with the coffee here. They rotate through a collection of amazing mostly local coffee roasters. They’re serious about their coffee here. While they didn’t have the flat white that I normally go for, I was just as content with their cortado.

Open: 8am-6pm (Mon-Fri)
10am-6pm (Sat-Sun)

Bergen

Snack

Trekroneren
Kong Oscars gate 1, 5017 Bergen
Norway

Reindeer hot doggggggs! That’s mostly all you need to know. This little hot dog stand, within eyesight of the harbor, is the place to go if you A.) want a great snack or B.) are hoping to spend less than $437 on lunch. Or are hungry at 1am.

Open: 11am-4am, Daily

Bergen

Deliciousness

Godt Brød
Vetrlidsallmenning 19, 5018 Bergen
Norway
Phone: +47 55 10 20 20

We stopped here for one of the famous Bergen Skillingsboller. Or, a cinnamon roll as big as your face. There are several Godt Brød’s in Norway so it’s a bit of a chain but, and we ate a lot of cinnamon rolls, we liked these the best. This particular branch is right by the funicular station in the center of town. Relax here, and watch an entire cruise-ship’s worth of people wait to go up the mountain.

Open: 7am-6pm (Mon-Fri)
8am-6pm (Sat-Sun)

Geiranger

Deliciousness

Geiranger Bakeri
Geirangervegen 1, Stranda
Norway

So, umm, more cinnamon rolls here. And some custard-filled cinnamon rolls. And some other great pastries. And great coffee (locally roasted). We grabbed a few deliciousnesses and coffee then found a spot at a picnic table down on the main dock. On the fjord. Pretty epic.
Open: 9am-3pm (Wed-Mon)
10am-3pm (Tue)

Oslo

Coffee

Fuglen
Universitetsgata 2, 0164 Oslo
Norway

Apparently, we have a “type.” If you serve coffee and/or cinnamon rolls, we are there. We really loved Fuglen near the university in Oslo. Again, they have a varied selection of some of Oslo’s best coffee roasters and they make a mean cortado. We may have brought like five bags of whole bean coffee to take home. Not cheap but oh so good. They turn into a cocktail bar in the evenings and I’m sure they’re just as good as the coffee.

Open: Coffee/daytime 7:30am-7pm (Mon-Fri)
10am-7pm (Sat)
10am-6pm (Sun)

Lodging

Gol

Solstad Hotel & Motel
Sentrumsveien 107, Gol, 3550, Norway
Phone: +4732029720

  • Good breakfast (included)

  • Grocery store nearby

  • Clean and comfortable

  • Free WiFi

  • Pack n’ Play (travel cot) available

Grodås

First Hotel Raftevold
Grodås, Hornindal 6763
Norway
Phone: +4757879999

  • Great breakfast (included)

  • Clean and comfortable

  • Beautiful views

  • Free WiFi

  • Pack n’ Play (travel cot) available

Hafjell (Lillehammer)

Scandic Hafjell
Hundervegen 1, Hafjell, 2636
Norway
Phone: +4761056400

  • AMAZING breakfast (included)

  • Clean and comfortable

  • Great facilities and activities on site

  • Grocery store nearby

  • Free WiFi

  • Fold-down (Murphy) bed available

Sights and activities

A few “extra” stops that we loved

Borgund Stave Church

Our route from Gol to Flåm brought us up Highway 52 to the E16. Located just a couple of minutes off the main road, this 12th century stave church is definitely worth the detour. The associated visitor’s center has restrooms, a café, gift shop and small museum.

Open: 8am-8pm, Daily (June 11-Aug 21)
10am-5pm, Daily (April 16-Sep 30)

Price: Adults, 90 NOK/Children 70 NOK/Family 220 NOK


Stegastein Viewpoint

All the more reason to rent a car: the drive to and the view from the Stegastein Viewpoint. Meander your way up the mountain, past farms and homes until you reach the Stegastein Viewpoint overlooking the Aurlandsfjord. Hope you’re not afraid of heights but there’s a restroom there in case it gets to you. You may have to navigate some tour buses but it, hopefully, won’t be too crowded. Spectacular.

Oppedal to Lavik car ferry

Our route north from Bergen to Geiranger brought us up the E39 for a breathtaking drive. The E39 crosses the massive Sognefjord by this car ferry. Crossing regularly and lasting about 20 minutes across, this ferry trip is a nice chance to stretch your legs or go grab a cup of coffee on board. Pop up to the upper deck to catch a view of the spectacular snow-capped mountains in every direction.

Price varies (we paid about 140 NOK for two people and a car.)

Huldrefossen

Just off the E39 past the town of Førde, it would be a major mistake to NOT stop and enjoy walking around the rocks at the bottom of the Huldrefossen waterfall. Park in the lot and follow the dirt road to the pedestrian bridge. You’ll hear–then see–the powerful falls. If you’re lucky, you can pet the cows in the meadow. We didn’t notice any toilet facilities available. STOP HERE!

Innvikfjord

There’s a decent-sized pull off on the Fv60 road heading down into the village of Utvik that offers breathtaking views of the Innvikfjord. Definitely worth a stop to sit there in silence and take in what you’re seeing. Provided you don’t have a toddler.

Geiranger Skywalk at Dalsnibba

Taking route 63 from Geiranger to Langvatnet is a treat in itself but paying the toll to go up the Nibbevegen road to the top is bucket-list worthy. 1500 meters above the Geirangerfjord, this view is the highest fjord view in Europe. There are simply no words to describe.

Open:

Dalsnibba shop
Season May – September
09.00 – 16.30 in the low season
09.00 – 17.30 (15.6 – 15.8)

Toll road open 24 hours
Staffed May – October
09.00 – 17.00 in the low season
09.00 – 18.00 (15.6 – 15.8)

Price: 140 NOK for a car

Clearly, this was a (beer) trip of a lifetime for us. I hope that I’ve helped you get some great ideas for your own brewcation in Norway. Whether you’ve got a toddler with you or not!

Cheers,

Maggie

Ps: I’m keen to go back to Norway, so if you’ve got any suggestions for me please do leave them in the comments below!

Leave A Comment

Subscribe