Rappelling 330ft down the epic Skjervsfossen waterfall, unwinding within a floating sauna on the serene aquamarine waters of Refsvatnet Lake, and dining on Michelin-star cuisine. That’s just some of the things you will get to do on the ‘World’s Most Sustainable Journey’, a new eco-conscious 12-day adventure from travel specialists Up Norway, which will enable travelers to take in the country’s breathtaking Disovery Route in a whole new way.
The new itinerary by Up Norway will take travelers along the picturesque stretch from the cultural capital Bergen to Historic Stavanger — a route originally established in the 1880s when travelers came by horse and carriage to experience the astounding landscape made-up of glaciers, mountains, tumbling waterfalls, crystal clear rivers and pristine fjords.
Is the latest offering from Up Norway actually the world’s most sustainable journey? It’s hard to say, but of all the itineraries on offer, it certainly comes close. Combining personal wellness with the wellbeing of the planet, every inch of the journey has been considered and its impact minimized.
The award-winning travel company which launched in 2016 is committed to operating in a way that has a significant positive impact on its community and environment and will only work with partners that share the same ethos. Up Norway’s ‘World’s Most Sustainable Journey follows those same principles. Accommodation throughout the trip comes in the form of well-appointed cabins, eco-certified properties and historic family-run hotels with close community ties. Culinary choices are equally-green in approach and sustainably sourced from sea, fjord, forest and mountain. And, as most of the journey is by road, travelers will be given their own Tesla Model 3 for the duration of the trip.
Elite Traveler takes a closer look at what’s in store on the eco-conscious adventure.
Day one and Day two
Day one begins in UNESCO world heritage Bergen staying beside the historic harbor within the boutique hotel surrounds of Finnegaarden Trading House. In the morning you will set off along Scenic Route Hardanger, which is framed by orchards and waterfalls. Your next stop is Voss, Norway’s adventure capital, where you will be kitted out with a harness, wetsuit and helmet before abseiling down the spectacular Skjervsfossen waterfall, before heading to a Nordic sauna and outdoor jacuzzi by the river.
Day three and Day four
Day three is less high octane as you breathe in the surrounding fjords and snow-peaked mountains from the infinity pool at Hotel Ullensvang. The following day will be spent amongst the orchards of Hardanger as you sample arctic artisanal cider.
Day five to Day seven
The fifth day will be filled with epic adventure, taking on the legendary ‘Trolls Tongue’ rock formation. A 3.5-mile offroad cycle will be followed with an upward hike, rewarded with spectacular views. Dinner is served in an Arctic domed tent – your home for the night.
The following day is for relaxing before setting off for the stunning climbs of Åkrafjorden the next morning. Here you will enjoy an unforgettable Waterfall Cruise under Langfossen – a 2,000ft high waterfall.
Day eight and Day nine
You’ll head to the architecturally acclaimed Energihotellet hotel, taking in panoramic views of Suldalsvatnet lake before drifting downstream along the Suldalslågen river, decked in a drysuit, snorkel and mask on a unique salmon safari experience.
On day nine, a scenic drive awaits as you drive on the small country road to Hagalid mountain farm, rising nearly 1,000 ft above the Jøsenfjord. Choose to hike the five hours to the peak of 2,600ft Skomakernibbå, or opt for a more leisurely nature trail before lunch. The evening will be spent on a floating sauna on the stunning Refsvatnet Lake.
Day 10 to Day 11
On day 10 you will be accompanied by an expert guide for a day of adventure. You’ll start by canoeing across Refsvatn Lake before following unmapped trails. Hike in near solitude while encountering incomparable views of Preikestolen (Pulpit Rock) and the famed Lysefjord – which only a lucky handful actually get to see.
The following day you’ll be picked up by boat and taken on a scenic trip to experience the beautiful Lysefjord close up, before heading to the idyllic resort of Sola Strand located on sandy Jæren beach.
Your final day will be spent in the charming town of Stavanger before sampling the culinary delights of acclaimed Norwegian chef Sven Erik Renaa’s two-Michelin-starred Re-naa.