Character quest in Norway

I plan to fly to Stockholm to spend time with family and friends, then take the train to Oslo. Can you suggest a hotel in Norway's capital that has character? I'm then going to travel by Flam Railway to Bergen. Can you suggest a hotel with character in Bergen? I'm then going to Torsby in Sweden. What is the best way to get there from Bergen? I'd rather not fly (Bergen-Oslo-Stockholm) as I can see so much more by train.

- R. Ericsson, Newport, NSW.

Oslo's Rica Hotel Bygdoy Alle (rica-hotels.com) is a Gothic-style hotel with modern rooms in one of the city's smartest shopping and commercial districts. Another prime choice might be the patrician and slightly more expensive Hotel Continental (hotelcontinental.no). This family-operated, century-old hotel is a classic and the location - close to the waterfront, the Royal Palace and the shops on Karl Johans gate - is hard to beat.

In Bergen, the Grand Terminus Hotel (ght.no) has the mannerisms of a jazzy 1920s art deco club, transplanted to the present with a stylish makeover. The hotel is close to the railway station and the harbour. Since you will have already made the spectacular train journey between Oslo and Bergen, you might not want to retrace the route when you leave Bergen for Torsby. One option would be the Flaggruten catamaran (flaggruten.no) from Bergen to Stavanger, a beautiful journey through fiords and stretches of open sea.

From Stavanger, you could take a train for the eight-to-nine-hour trip to Oslo, and continue from there by train to Torsby via Charlottenberg.

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