This trip combines the culture of Norway's cities with active excursions in nature, starting in the capital of Oslo. You'll explore its historic center and museums before heading west to hike the country's famous Preikestolen cliffs and view the wedged boulder of Kjeragbolten. Then take a scenic ferry ride north to the colorful city of Bergen to discover its hills, museums, and eateries.

Highlights

  • Explore Oslo's historic city center with its fjord islands and museums
  • Hike to the popular cliffside views of Preikestolen (Pulpit Rock)
  • Balance atop the country's famous wedged boulder, Kjeragbolten
  • Take a scenic ferry ride along Norway's west coast to the city of Bergen
  • Visit Bergen's museums and enjoy its hilly landscape

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Oslo - Explore the city Oslo
Day 2 Explore Oslo - Take the night train to Stavanger Stavanger
Day 3 Trek to the famous cliffside views of Preikestolen (Pulpit Rock) Stavanger
Day 4 Balance atop Kjeragbolten after an early-morning hike Stavanger
Day 5 Enjoy a scenic ferry ride to the city of Bergen Bergen
Day 6 Explore Bergen's hills, museums, and restaurants Bergen
Day 7 Depart Bergen  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Oslo - Explore the city

Views of Oslo from the Opera House
Views of Oslo from the Opera House

Welcome to Norway! You'll start your trip in the country's capital of Oslo. Still considered a small city—helped by the fact that it's surrounded by mountains and sea—Oslo's central core is pedestrian-friendly, with many of its outlying districts accessible by public transportation. This makes exploring the city easy by simply hopping on a tram, train, or bus and meandering its character-filled neighborhoods.

After settling into your accommodation, feel free to stroll through Oslo. Some suggested activities include:

  • Wander around Aker Brygge, an area on the Oslofjord made up of beautiful, modern buildings where you can find bars and abundant nightlife. It acts as a courtyard for Oslo, bringing together tourists and locals to enjoy the great food, atmosphere, and entertainment that the city has to offer.
  • Spend the afternoon visiting the Viking Ship Museum and the Norwegian Open-Air Folk Museum. The two museums are in the same area, making it easy to see both.
  • Walk along the harbor promenade, Havnepromenaden. This new, 5.5-mile waterfront park combines sightseeing, history, art, architecture, and a little bit of adventure.
  • Visit the Vigeland Sculpture Park where 200 massive statues and figures dominate the central green space acting as the city's "green lungs". 

For dinner, explore the restaurants and cafés in Oslo's historic center. While keeping cozy in cold weather, several pour out into the streets with trendy terraces come summer months.

Day 2: Explore Oslo - Take the night train to Stavanger

Parliament Building in Oslo
Parliament Building in Oslo

Enjoy a leisurely morning in Oslo with a relaxed breakfast and a stroll through the city's historic old town. If you want to explore the bulk of the city, you can buy a 24-hour Oslo Card, which gives you free transport and entrances to some of the most popular museums. These include the Viking Ship Museum and the Nobel Peace Center

If you want to explore on your own, then start in the city center at the 17th-century Oslo Cathedral. Nearby you'll find the Norwegian Parliament, which you can visit for free. Then enjoy a stroll through the parliament's park and by the 19th-century Nationaltheatret. This will take you right to the Royal Palace and many different museums.

You can also walk along the harbor and to the 13th-century Akershus Fortress, take the ferry to one of the islands in Oslofjord, or ride the tram into the forest for a walk in the hills.

In the evening, you'll take the night train to the scenic city of Stavanger.

Day 3: Trek to the famous cliffside views of Preikestolen (Pulpit Rock)

The Views of the Fjord
The Views of the Fjord

In the early morning, your train will arrive in the city of Stavanger. From the train station, you'll make your way to the harbor and catch a 45-minute local ferry to the village of Tau in Lysefjord. Upon arriving in Tau, a 20-minute taxi gets you to the trailhead of Preikestolen (Pulpit Rock). The moderately difficult trek takes about 4-5 hours and follows along one of the most beautiful trails in the world.

This is a self-guided seasonal activity available from May through October. You certainly won't be alone on the trail, as it's one of the more popular routes in the country. You'll see why when you reach Pulpit Rock and its famous views from the top, which rise 1,981 feet (604 meters) above sea level.

When you return from the hike, you'll meet the same driver at the trailhead and return to the harbor in Tau. You'll take the ferry back to Stavanger, rest your legs, and enjoy a well-deserved meal at one of the city's restaurants. Afterward, you can settle into your accommodation and enjoy the rest of the evening at your leisure.

Today's excursion can also include a sunrise hike. Professional guides and headlamps will lead you through the pre-dawn hours on trails that have recently been upgraded by Nepalese Sherpas. You'll experience standing atop Preikestolen before other tourists arrive, and watch as orange beams of sunlight illuminate the steep mountain walls that tower over Lysefjord. The sunrise excursion finished with a hearty brunch at Preikestolen Mountain Lodge. Keep in mind that this experience lasts about 9-12 hours depending on the time of year, weather, and pick-up location.

Day 4: Balance atop Kjeragbolten after an early-morning hike

Hike Kjeragbolten in the Kjerag Mountains
Hike Kjeragbolten in the Kjerag Mountains

Today's hike begins early in the morning, as you'll want to beat the crowds as you start your trek to Kjerag, enjoying the beauty of Lysefjord's steep mountains. This is a demanding 6-hour hike with a 2624-foot ascent (800-m) that ends at the famous Kjeragbolten, a massive boulder solidly wedged into the crevasse of the mountain. This is one of the most beautiful hikes in Scandinavia with stunning views of the mountains, fjords, and Norwegian countryside. 

You will return to Stavanger in the late afternoon. Take some time to rest at your hotel, then head back out into the city for dinner. You'll find plenty of bars and eateries in the city center, particularly in the colorful pedestrian-friendly area of Fargegaten.

Day 5: Enjoy a scenic ferry ride to the city of Bergen

The Harbor of Bergen, Norway
The Harbor of Bergen, Norway

After breakfast, you'll transfer to the port west of Stavanger, catching a 5-hour ferry up the country's rugged western coast to the city of Bergen. The scenic journey takes you along the picturesque coastline filled with island clusters, and eventually into the inlet that leads to Bergen. Depending on weather conditions, it's possible to view some wildlife along the journey. For lunch, you can enjoy a picnic or purchase food onboard the ferry. 

Upon arriving in Bergen, you'll settle into your accommodation and enjoy your first evening at your leisure. You'll find plenty of dinner restaurants clustered around the city's art nouveau theater, The National Stage.

Day 6: Explore Bergen's hills, museums, and restaurants

Bergen's Colorful Waterfront
Bergen's Colorful Waterfront

Today is yours to enjoy the beautiful city of Bergen at your own pace. There is plenty to do and see in this colorful city, but probably the most popular attraction is the Fløibanen Funicular. You can't miss the city views from the top of Mount Fløyen, one of Bergen's seven peaks. You can also reach the top via a hiking trail, which hosts an array of hidden troll sculptures. Other suggested activities include:

  • Enjoy a zip line adventure through the hilly forests near Bergen at a place called Mt. Ulriken Zip Line.
  • Choose between one of several options for walking tours in the city center and/or hiking excursions in the surrounding mountains. 
  • Take an evening segway tour that travels all over Bergen, including the top of Mount Fløyen for a beautiful sunset view.

You can also visit some of the city's museums, which include: 

  • Old Bergen (Gamle Bergen) is a reconstruction of Bergen from the 18th century.
  • KODE 4 is an art museum with paintings by Munch, Astrup, Dahl, and other Norwegians, plus work by Picasso.
  • Bergen Maritime Museum offers exhibits of boats and ships, both historic and modern.
  • Bergenhus Fortress Museum reveals the military history of Norway, with exhibitions on historic wars, WWII, and modern warfare.
  • Magic Ice Bar is an ice-art gallery with sculptures inspired by famous works by Norwegian and international artists, all made in crystal clear ice. 

In the evening, enjoy dinner in the city. Some recommended restaurants include: 

  • Altona Vinbar & Kjøkken: Bergen's oldest known tavern
  • Pingvinen: an intimate eatery/bar in the heart of Bergen, featuring traditional Norwegian food
  • Restaurant 1887: a modern eatery in Bergen's old meat market
  • Cornelius: one of Norway's best seafood restaurants
  • BARE Vestland: offers traditional western Norwegian food in a modern gastropub
  • Skyskaperen: Bergen's highest restaurant with views from the top of Mt. Ulriken

Day 7: Depart Bergen

Streets of Bergen
Streets of Bergen

Enjoy your final morning in Bergen. When you're ready, you'll transfer to the city's airport in time to catch your flight.