After arriving, you can explore the cobblestoned wharf city of Bergen, hike to the top of Mount Fløyen for views over the city, and enjoy a fjord cruise to Balestrand. You'll then take a ferry, with fjord views, to Flåm where you'll spend two nights in a Riverside Farm Lodge in the Norwegian countryside before enjoying a Nærøyfjord cruise. You'll then take the steep and scenic Flåm Railway to Oslo, with a stop in Myrdal, and spend your final two nights in Oslo.

Highlights

  • Ride to the Fløibanen funicular for views over Bergen
  • Travel to the longest and steepest fjord in Norway during a cruise
  • Discover the artwork in the longest tunnel in Norway
  • Discover unforgettable views of Norway during a steep train journey
  • Visit an island outside Oslo during a local tour

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Bergen Bergen
Day 2 Local Bergen Tour - Fjord Cruise Bergen
Day 3 Fjordcruise to Balestrand Balestrand
Day 4 Transfer to Flåm Aurland
Day 5 Slow Travel in Aurland Aurland
Day 6 Nærøyfjord cruise - Flåm Railway to Oslo Oslo
Day 7 Explore Oslo with a Local Oslo
Day 8 Depart Oslo  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Bergen

A view of Bergen City from Mount Fløyen
A view of Bergen City from Mount Fløyen

Welcome to Norway!

Bergen, a cobblestoned wharf city (one of the oldest ports in Europe) on the west coast is surrounded by ocean, mountains, and fjords. This includes Sognefjord, the country’s longest and deepest fjord.

Rich in culture and seafaring history, this walkable city boasts a vast selection of cultural and outdoor activities, not to mention lively restaurants and nightlife that's kept alive by a young student population.

If there's time, you can ride to 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. Afterward, take a leisurely stroll back down the path while discovering hidden troll sculptures along the way.

You can also check out the Bryggen, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that's downtown of Bergen. Here, you can view the waterfront wooden houses that characterize the city and date back to the 1700s.

Day 2: Local Bergen Tour - Fjord Cruise

Bergen's afternoon colors  in summer
Bergen's afternoon colors in summer

After breakfast, you will meet up with a local guide for a custom tour of Bergen.

Your guide, who was born and raised in Bergen, will arrange a tour for you based on your interests.

Here are a few walk or hike ideas that past travelers have enjoyed:

  • Walk through history: This three-hour walk starts from the city center and takes you through narrow streets up to the mountainside known as “Sandviksbatteriet” with spectacular views over the city. From here, the trail leads 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: 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 that are not frequented by tourists. 

At midday, your trip will end at the pier for a two hour guided sightseeing and fjord cruise with our comfortable sailing boat “First Player”. On the way, our captain will inform you of the trading and shipping city of Bergen, its fortifications, Old Bergen, and the shipyards⁠—which you'll be able to see for yourself. 

Day 3: Fjordcruise to Balestrand

Fjordcruise through the Arctic Ocean
Fjordcruise through the Arctic Ocean

Enjoy your breakfast before strolling down to the pier for the ferry to Balestrand.

This fjord cruise takes you into the longest and deepest fjord in Norway. With mountain walls reaching 3280-feet above and undersea, prepare for some spectacular views.

Plan your trip to Norway
Customize your trip with help from a local travel specialist.

Day 4: Transfer to Flåm

A viewpoint by the Aurland Fjord
A viewpoint by the Aurland Fjord

You'll have the morning to explore Balestrand before walking to the pier to cross the fjord to Flåm. The crossing takes around one and a half hours. You should arrive in Flåm at around 1:30 pm.

The town of Flåm is a small and exciting travel hub with steep mountainsides. It also connects Flåmsbana Railway to the UNESCO world heritage Nærøyfjord. 

After arriving by ferry, get ready to embark on a waterfall hike to Turlidfossen. Feel the ice-cold spray from the waterfall as your hosts tell you about the local myths and stories related to nature and area. You can then enjoy coffee, tea, and cinnamon rolls while overlooking the village and beautiful Aurland fjord. Fjord means "ferd" which is a journey in the old Norwegian language. The first Vikings to set foot on Iceland sailed out the Aurland fjord.

While staying at the Riverside Farm Lodge, you'll enjoy three-course dinners that are prepared with local and organic ingredients. You also have three room options that offer different views including the farmyard and garden or overlooking the Turlidfossen waterfall and the river. Each room has a unique history and story that the lodge owners can tell you upon arrival.

Day 5: Slow Travel in Aurland

Farm view in Aurland
Farm view in Aurland

While staying at the farm lodge, you'll enjoy life in slow motion.

After breakfast, we'll drive to the Stegastein lookout point, which is a local and national landmark on the Snowroad across the Aurland mountain. 

Afterward, we will visit some local handicrafts at the famous Aurland Shoe Workshop, which dates back to the1930s. It was claimed that Nils Tveranger was inspired by the traditional moccasins of the Iroquois tribe in America. The shoemaking tradition in Aurland has roots going back to the 1880s. Many believe that the English salmon-fishing aristocracy who came to Aurland at this time was an important reason why shoemaking flourished in Aurland. 

We will then visit artists working with glass before visiting Marianne's bakery.  

We'll then continue to Lærdal and visit Borgund Stave Church. The church here dates back to 1180. 

On the way back to Aurland, we'll visit old Lærdal and the protected wooden houses in pastel colors. We'll also drive through the longest tunnel in Norway, Lærdalstunnelen, which is decorated by artist Marianne Heske.

In the afternoon, you can relax and enjoy the sauna and hot tub at the farm!

Optional: Instead of the above tour, you can opt to go for a guided hike to Aurland Valley where you'll discover a hanging bridge over a waterfall.

Day 6: Nærøyfjord cruise - Flåm Railway to Oslo

A street in Oslo
A street in Oslo

After breakfast, you will join a fjord cruise in one of Norway's most popular fjord areas which is also on the UNESCO World Heritage List. The narrow and spectacular Nærøyfjord is surrounded by steep valley sides and snow-covered peaks which rises 5,900 feet above sea level with thundering waterfalls and picturesque villages along the fjord. 

In the afternoon, you'll take the Flåm Railway to Myrdal. This train journey, which is considered one of the most beautiful and steepest in the world,  includes several stops for travelers to enjoy the views. In Myrdal, you'll change the train towards Oslo and here you will see a change in landscape from fjords to mountains.

You will arrive in Oslo by evening.

Day 7: Explore Oslo with a Local

The Oslo Opera House
The Oslo Opera House

After breakfast at your hotel, you will meet up with your guide for a custom private tour of Oslo. Although the town is fairly small—it takes 30 minutes to travel from one end to the other—there's still a lot to see and do. The city is known for its rich history and museums, some of which celebrate the macabre works of the Norwegian expressionist painter Edvard Munch. Oslo also has a fascinating maritime culture in the form of stunning Viking-era ships. 

Your guide, a native of Oslo, will organize the tour based on your personal interests.

Here are a few ideas that travelers have enjoyed:

  • Akerselva River Walk (4-5 hours): During this tour, you'll take the tram to the Akerselva River, an important waterway that offers an abundance of local history. You will start with the Norwegian Museum of Science and Technology (on the north side of the river) and then head south to the Labour Museum (part of the Oslo City Museum) as your guide shares stories about the heart of Oslo's history. The river is five miles (eight km) long and passes waterfalls, swimming areas, forested areas, and wildlife—with lots of photography opportunities!
  • From Fjord to Forest (full-day): This outdoor tour takes you to a beautiful island just outside Oslo's harbor, which takes about 30 minutes by tram from the city center. No cars are allowed here and the island offers a wide array of outdoor activities. You can choose an activity depending on the season or simply walk around one of the lakes while your guide shares the local history.
  • Holmenkollen Ski Jump (2-3 hours): If you have less time to spare, this tour will take you to a popular area called Holmenkollen, where a wooded range of hills can be reached by light rail from the city center in about 35 minutes. Open year-round, the Ski Museum & Tower offers over 4,000 years of snow sports, polar exploration, and an exhibition on snowboarding and modern skiing. You can head for the observation deck which offers panoramic views of Oslo and then walk down to the ski jump while your guide shares stories about local trolls, legends, and castles.

For dinner, you may choose to wander around the city's historic core which is buzzing with restaurants and outdoor cafés. If you're looking for Oslo's trendiest local scene, head east for Grünerløkka, which many inhabitants refer to affectionately as "Løkka." This once-run-down sector of Oslo is now the site of refurbished apartments, fashionable cafés, and hip restaurants.

During summer months, Oslo comes alive to celebrate extended daylight hours, with various festivals and celebrations happening each week.

Day 8: Depart Oslo

The historic Damstredet neighborhood in Oslo
The historic Damstredet neighborhood in Oslo

It's time to say farewell to Norway!

Enjoy your last few hours walking around Oslo's character-filled neighborhoods, relaxing in a café, or visiting local boutiques for some last-minute souvenirs before heading to the airport for your flight home.

Map

Map of Best of Norway: Bergen, Balestrand, Aurland, & Oslo - 8 Days
Map of Best of Norway: Bergen, Balestrand, Aurland, & Oslo - 8 Days