This five-day jaunt highlights Bergen, where you'll explore hilly streets, UNESCO-listed architecture, and surrounding mountains on your own and with a local guide. Take a day-trip through the Hardangerfjord to a manor in Rosendal, ride the scenic Flåm Railway, and ferry through the longest fjord in Norway—all while returning to the city each night to enjoy a lively restaurant scene.

Highlights

  • Explore Bergen's 16th-century wooden architecture and historic wharf
  • Ride on the Flåm Railway—one of the steepest train rides in the world
  • Get up close to mountains and waterfalls as you cruise into the Hardangerfjord
  • Don't miss Bergen's nightly sunsets and waterfront dining options

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive to Bergen Bergen
Day 2 Explore Bergen with a Local Bergen
Day 3 Train to Flåm - Fjordcruise to Bergen Bergen
Day 4 Fjordcruise to Hardangerfjord Bergen
Day 5 Depart Bergen  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive to Bergen

Start the adventure in this colorful wharf city
Start the adventure in this colorful wharf city

Welcome to Bergen! Situated on Norway's west coast, this wharf city of about 300,000 residents (one of the oldest port cities in Europe) is surrounded by ocean, mountains, and fjords, including Sognefjord, the country’s longest and deepest. Rich in culture and seafaring history, Bergen boasts a vast selection of cultural and outdoorsy activities.

A few suggestions for your first day:

  • Be sure to take the Fløibanen funicular (or hike the trail on foot) to the top of Mount Fløyen—one of Bergen's seven peaks—for the best views of the city, and take a leisurely stroll back down the path while discovering hidden troll sculptures along the way.
  • Check out the Bryggen area of downtown to view old wooden houses dating back to the 1700s (a protected UNESCO World Heritage Site), along with Bergen's best historical sites and museums. For a rest, stop in one of the charming local cafés and bakeries.

The cobblestoned streets are compact and walkable, so get out and explore Bergen's lively restaurants and nightlife, thanks in part to a young student population.

Day 2: Explore Bergen with a Local

Hike above town for a panoramic view of Bergen
Hike above town for a panoramic view of Bergen

After breakfast at your hotel, meet up with a local resident for a custom private tour of Bergen. Your guide, who was born and raised in Bergen, will find the right tour for you based on your interests. Here are a few walk or hike ideas that past travelers have enjoyed:

  • Walk through History (3 hours): This walk starts from the city center and travels through narrow streets up to the mountainside known as “Sandviksbatteriet” with spectacular views over the city. From here, the trail takes you to a small, hidden cabin rich in World War II history. During the walk, your local guide will offer local stories of Bergen's history and culture.
  • Explore Bergen's Parks & Architecture (3 hours): This easy walking tour visits notable exteriors and city parks starting with the largest church in Bergen: St. Johannes. From there, you will walk through the botanic garden and onwards to Bergen`s largest and most beautiful park: Nygårdsparken. You'll then walk through the city's narrow streets lined with traditional Bryggen houses and eventually visit Nordnes, another great park. Your guide will share stories of life in Bergen, as well as offer lesser-known activity and restaurant recommendations not frequented by tourists. 
  • Hike Mt. Sandviken (2.5 hours): This hike heads to Mt. Sandviken, one of the seven mountains surrounding Bergen, including a visit to Stoltzekliven—a local favorite consisting of 900 steps built by sherpas from Nepal. This trail is home to the steepest race in the world and features spectacular views from the top!

The rest of the day is yours to continue exploring the city on your own. If you get a 24-Hour Bergen Card, that will allow you free bus travel and free admittance to most museums (as well as other attractions), so take advantage!

Day 3: Train to Flåm - Fjord cruise to Bergen

Keep your camera close on this steep and scenic train ride
Keep your camera close on this steep and scenic train ride

This morning, after an early breakfast at your hotel, you'll take the train to Myrdal and then connect to the famous Flåm Railway. This is known as one of the steepest railways in the world, with spectacular views of mountainous peaks and fjords. Be sure to watch for the Kjosfossen waterfall (the train will stop here for photographs before departing again for Flåm.)

Once you arrive, you'll have some time to explore this small village along the Sognefjord. You may want to set out on a nearby hiking trail, visit the Flam Railway Museum, or tour the Flåm church—constructed from wood in 1667. Be sure to sample traditional Norwegian cuisine at one of the many cafes, pubs or restaurants in town.

In the mid-afternoon, you'll head to Flåm's port to travel to Bergen by ferry (about five hours) along the Sognefjord. Enjoy spectacular scenery and refreshments as you set sail and learn about local villages along this route. For instance, you'll cruise along the spectacular Aurlandsfjord, a branch of the Sogneford which flows through Aurland and Undredal for your viewing pleasure. You'll also have an opportunity to gawk at the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Nærøyfjord with towering mountains rising 5,600 feet (1,700 m) high.

Your afternoon ferry arrives in the evening with enough time to have dinner in town.

Day 4: Fjord cruise to Hardangerfjord

Jaw-dropping views of the Hardangerfjord
Jaw-dropping views of the Hardangerfjord

After breakfast at your hotel, you'll head to the harbor to catch a lovely cruise ride to Rosendal. This trip will sail through the fjords of Bergen to the Hardangerfjord, known as the "queen of the fjords"; keep your camera close as you'll encounter spectacular views of steep mountains and cascading waterfalls along the route. 

Arrive in Rosendal for a 3.5-hour visit, which includes a guided tour of a manor dating back to 1665. For lunch, relax with a two-course meal prepared with fresh herbs and vegetables grown onsite, along with coffee, tea, and pastries. After lunch, continue your tour in the manor's romantic rose garden before returning to Bergen. 

When you return, the rest of the evening is yours to enjoy. Some great local restaurant options to consider for your last night in Norway include:

  • BarBarista: A funky coffee shop, restaurant & music venue.
  • Bryggeloftet & Stuene: A traditional mountain lodge restaurant.
  • Zupperia: An eclectic European restaurant right on the Bryggen wharf.
  • Bare Vestland: A basement-level eatery specializing in Norwegian tapas.
  • Pygmalion Økocafe and Galleri: A healthy, organic restaurant located in a historic space with a fireplace and an art gallery for art exhibitions and live music.
  • Matbørsen: Three restaurants in one serving international cuisine in a gorgeous, airy space—the former Bergen Stock Exchange, circa 1862.

Day 5: Depart Bergen

Walkable streets in Bergen's city center
Walkable streets in Bergen's city center

It's time to say farewell to Norway! Enjoy your last moments in this beautiful city with a leisurely breakfast, neighborhood stroll, and/or souvenir shopping before you head to the airport for your return flight home.