Lisa Stentvedt is a 26-year-old travel blogger from the beautiful fjords of Norway. She’s equipped with a pretty severe coffee addiction, chronic sarcasm, and a serious case of wanderlust — and LOVES sharing her adventures and discoveries over at Fjords And Beaches. Lisa is also cursed (blessed?) with a constant longing for the ocean. Paired with where she grew up, this is where the name Fjords and Beaches came from!
I’ve always dreamed of exploring the amazing scenery of Norway, so for today’s Where Is…? interview series, I’ve invited Lisa to share with us what it’s like to live there!
Welcome Lisa! What’s it like to live in Norway?
I live in Aurland, which is a beautiful village near the end of the Sognefjord (aka the world’s longest fjord). Here we welcome hundreds of tourists in the day during the summertime, and head off skiing in the winter! I was born and raised here, and it is also my base in between trips.
Aurland is home to the Flåm Railway, one of the world’s most beautiful rail journeys, and the Nærøyfjord, which you’ll find on UNESCO’s World Heritage list. The majestic nature around me reminds me of how lucky I am to get to experience the world, and I am so proud to share the scenery with visitors to the fjords.
What is the weather like at this time of year?
The weather these days is pretty miserable, depending on what your preferences are. I definitely consider myself a sun chaser, and Norway in the winter can get pretty depressive. You try three months without direct sunlight. Luckily spring is just around the corner, and the snow is slowly melting!
Where do you live?
I am staying at “Hotel Mama”, aka at home, which is where I always crash when I’m the village. There are some great hotels in the area, though, and some locals are even starting to get into AirBnB!
What activities do you do in your spare time?
As I am from the area, I know my activities well. My favourite things to do nearby, and what I always recommend, include a trip to the Stegastein Viewpoint (a panoramic viewing platform 650 meters above sea level), the Nærøyfjord Fjordcruise (taking you through the UNESCO fjord) and the FjordSafari trip (a closer look at the surrounding nature). These are all great activities!
Can you recommend any must-do activities for visitors?
The Flåm Railway is a must for visiting the Aurland/Flåm area, but many visitors find that it is sold out when they arrive. If you can’t get a ticket to the railway, don’t fret, as the activities I have mentioned above are just as great!
Are there any other off-the-beaten-track activities you can recommend?
If you really want to get off-the-beaten-track in the Sognefjord area I advise you to go to Undredal, a tiny village along the fjord. There is a package you can get that includes the fjord cruise through the Nærøyfjord, a guided tour around the village and a cheese tasting, with room for only 16 people a day! There definitely won’t be many people who can say they did that!
Any other travel tips you would like to add?
I always advise travellers to Norway to start planning early and prepare for everything to be expensive. The worst thing is to arrive at your destination only to get bummed out by the prices. Norway is really expensive, especially in the tourist-saturated areas.
Another tip: let go of your camera once in a while. The fjords are some pretty epic creatures of nature, and if you stare at them through your camera all day, you won’t really get a feel of the majestic and insane nature around you.
Where are you off to next?
My next planned trip is to the Spanish Mainland, where I have never been yet (I’ve been all about the islands up until now). I’m also currently planning a trip to the US, which I hope will include New Orleans, which is a place I’ve always dreamed of!
What three must-have items are in your luggage and why?
I am obsessed with my Kindle that I got for Christmas and have been bringing it everywhere with me for the past 2 months. Flights, pools, airport lounges – you’ll never catch me without it.
Bringing a portable charger is also something I’m trying to get better at, as I have boarded one too many a flight only to realise it’s not possible to charge my phone there. #NoMusicForMe
I always travel with at least 2 different sets of headphones. They seem to constantly break, tangle or disappear from me, so I never take any chances.
And finally, what has been your favourite destination so far?
It’s a tie between the Maldives, where I went last year and got my PADI Certification, and Mexico. Both trips were made within a month of each other, so it’s practically impossible to choose one! The Maldives was the most beautiful place I’d ever seen, and there was just something about being on a remote island with no responsibilities whatsoever that left me heartbroken when it was time to leave.
Mexico was just such a perfect trip, with the ideal balance between relaxing and lounging on the beach and getting up early, exploring and staying active. Swimming in underwater cenotes, ziplining into the clear water and snorkelling with turtles were some of the highlights of my year!