This zealous (yet relaxing) and unbelievably scenic 14-day itinerary checks off Norway's three biggest cities traveling by train, ferry, and fjord cruise for a true Scandinavian adventure. Start off in Norway's buzzing capital with its new waterfront promenade before you take one of the steepest trains in the world to the village of Flåm. You'll ferry through the longest fjord in Norway and explore Bergen on your own and with a local guide. From here, board the Hurtigruten—a mighty coastal steamer—stopping in the Art Nouveau city of Ålesund for a night. Back on the Hurtigruten, you'll sail to Trondheim by way of the Geirangerfjord and then return to Oslo by train for one last night on the town.

Highlights

  • Take walks along Oslo's sea and riverfront and visit the city's best museums
  • Ferry to Bergen and explore its hilly neighborhoods with a local guide
  • Hike up to Ålesund's hilltop (Sugar Hill) for excellent views of the city, fjord, and coast
  • Sail through the spectacular Geirangerfjord passing sheer cliffs and impressive waterfalls
  • Check out Trondheim's 11th century architecture, museums, and café culture

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Oslo Oslo
Day 2 Explore Oslo's hidden gems with a local expert Oslo
Day 3 Train to Flåm - Transfer to Aurland Aurland
Day 4 Hiking & Goat Farm Tour Aurland
Day 5 Aurland - Ferry to Bergen Bergen
Day 6 Explore Bergen with a Local Bergen
Day 7 Fjordcruise to Hardangerfjord Bergen
Day 8 Explore Bergen - Hurtigruten Onboard Hurtigruten
Day 9 Hurtigruten Northbound - Overnight in Ålesund Ålesund
Day 10 Ålesund - Hurtigruten - Geirangerfjord Onboard Hurtigruten
Day 11 Hurtigruten - Arrive in Trondheim Trondheim
Day 12 Explore Trondheim Trondheim
Day 13 Trondheim - Return to Oslo by Train Oslo
Day 14 Depart Oslo  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Oslo

Akrobaten pedestrian bridge in downtown Oslo
Akrobaten pedestrian bridge in downtown Oslo

Welcome to Oslo! Norway's rapidly growing capital is still considered a small city, helped by the fact that it's surrounded by mountains and sea. Not only is the city center made for walking, but outlying neighborhoods—filled with charm and character—are easily accessible by public transportation, so jump on a tram, train, or bus and explore all of what Oslo has to offer.

Suggested activities include: 

  • Take a half-day and 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 sort of courtyard for the city of Oslo and brings together both tourists and locals alike to enjoy the great food, atmosphere, and entertainment.
  • Spend the afternoon visiting the Viking Ship Museum and the Norwegian Open-Air Folk Museum by way of public transportation. Both museums are in the same area, so they pair well together! 
  • Walk along the Havnepromenaden (harbor promenade)—a new five-and-a-half-mile waterfront park, which combines sightseeing, history, art, architecture, and a little bit of adventure.
  • Visit the Vigeland Sculpture Park, where 200 larger than life sculptures are placed throughout this green lung in the middle of the city. 

For dinner, explore the city's historic core buzzing with restaurants and cafés that stay cozy in cold weather, with several options that offer outdoor seating during summer months.

Day 2: Explore Oslo's hidden gems with a local expert

National Oslo Opera House
National Oslo Opera House

After breakfast, you'll embark on an excursion to discover the real Oslo in the most authentic way possible: with a local expert guide. And there's quite a bit to see in a relatively small space (it takes a mere 30 minutes to travel from one end of Oslo to the other by metro). The city is known for its rich history and museums, some of which celebrate the macabre works of the Norwegian expressionist painter Edvard Munch. Others recount fascinating maritime history in the form of stunning ships of the Viking Era, while others celebrate music and even ski history. 

The guide will tailor the experience to your preferences and interests, or you can defer to their expertise as they lead you around the city on an impromptu adventure. This includes visiting the sites mentioned above as well as strolling the cobbled streets of Damstredet, in central Oslo. This historic road is lined with well-preserved wooden houses dating back to the late 1700s/early 1800s. A walk along the Akerselva River should not be missed either, as it is an iconic landmark in the city. 

Then, should you choose, you can visit Grünerløkka, a bohemian enclave that abounds with street art, funky cafes (which offer some of the best coffee in the world), dance clubs, and independent fashion boutiques. This is also the location of the Mathallen Food Hall, where you can savor the flavors of Norway and abroad at its more than 30 eateries. Here you'll find everything from paella and Southeast Asian street food to Norwegian cheeses and cured meats. 

In the evening you'll return to your hotel.

Meet up: 9 am at your hotel
Duration: 3 hours

Day 3: Train to Flåm - Transfer to Aurland

A branch of the Sognefjord
A branch of the Sognefjord

After breakfast, you'll have some free time to spend in Geilo before taking the train to Myrdal. From here, you'll switch to the world-renowned Flåm Railway, which is even more scenic than the Bergen Railway, as it passes through steep fjord landscapes and waterfalls. 

When your train arrives in Flåm, you'll be transferred to the peaceful town of Aurland, north along the Aurlandsfjorden. If there's time, you may want to visit Stegastein Viewpoint—an open-air lookout designed by a renowned Norwegian architect with stunning fjord views. Finish the day with dinner at one of the area's restaurants, like Duehuset Pub with an outdoor terrace and fjord views.

Day 4: Hiking & Goat Farm Tour

The Aurlandsfjord
The Aurlandsfjord

After breakfast in Aurland, you'll head to Flåm Harbor. This is the embarkation point for a fun speedboat tour through the Aurlandsfjord and the Nærøyfjord. Afterward, you'll transfer to just outside the wharf town of Skjerdal, where you'll begin a 1.5-hour (3.5 km) hike towards Leim Goat Farm.

During the hike, you'll be surrounded by breathtaking fjord views and waterfalls. At the goat farm, you'll learn the secrets behind the making of traditional goat cheese before taking part in a cheese tasting and delicious lunch utilizing local produce. After, you'll hike back down to Skjerdal and drive back to Flåm's Harbor by minivan.

From here, you'll head back to Aurland for a peaceful evening in the village.

Day 5: Aurland - Ferry to Bergen

Views of Bergen from above
Views of Bergen from above

Today, you'll be dropped off at the port to travel to Bergen by ferry (about four hours) along the Sognefjord—Norway's longest and deepest fjord.  

Bergen's cobblestoned center (one of the oldest ports in Europe) is rich in culture and seafaring history. This walkable city boasts a vast selection of cultural and outdoorsy activities, not to mention lively restaurants and nightlife thanks in part to a young student population.

Also make sure to check out the Bryggen area of downtown to view the waterfront wooden houses that characterize the city, dating back to the 1700s (a protected UNESCO World Heritage Site).

Day 6: Explore Bergen with a Local

Historic neighborhoods to explore with the help of a local
Historic neighborhoods to explore with the help of a local

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 7: Fjordcruise to Hardangerfjord

View of the Hardangerfjord
View 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 8: Explore Bergen - Hurtigruten

Explore the cobblestoned streets by foot or bicycle
Explore the cobblestoned streets by foot or bicycle

After enjoying breakfast at your hotel, you will have more time to explore Bergen and its mountainous surroundings on your own. If you'd like to take a day-trip excursion near the city, consider the following:

  • Boat to Mostraumen: This day-trip departs from Bergen's port and takes you through a deep fjord to Modalen, which is one of the smallest municipalities in Norway with about 380 residents! You will sail along Osterfjorden and pass steep mountains and spectacular waterfalls. 
  • Mt. Ulriken Zip Line: This fun zip line adventure through hilly forests is located close to the city center.

In the evening, transfer to the pier and set sail on the Hurtigruten. Cruise along the Norwegian coast while you enjoy a relaxing buffet dinner and a restful sleep in your private cabin. Also make sure to take in the spectacular landscapes, wither from on deck or in the panorama lounge.

Day 9: Hurtigruten Northbound - Overnight in Ålesund

Alesund blossoms in spring and summer
Alesund blossoms in spring and summer

If you wake up early the next day, you'll have the chance to enjoy the breathtaking beauty of the Nordfjord, followed by a delicious breakfast. You will sail past the West Cape and head out on the open sea. The ship then navigates through skerries and islands before reaching the city of Ålesund.

This is known as one of the prettiest and most charming cities in Scandinavia with a breathtaking location stretching out into the Atlantic Ocean. The heavy presence of Art Nouveau architecture, distinguished by its numerous spires, towers, and highly-ornate buildings, is a result of rebuilding efforts following a devastating fire in 1904—the fashionable style at the time.

Day 10: Ålesund - Hurtigruten - Geirangerfjord

UNESCO-listed Geirangerfjord
UNESCO-listed Geirangerfjord

After breakfast at your hotel, you have the day to explore the city. 

Ålesund is the cultural center of the region with an array of museums, a sea park, a lighthouse (Alnes), and charming streets to explore on foot, not to mention numerous outdoor activities such as hiking and stand-up paddle boarding. 

If you're looking to get beyond the city's typical sites, take a hike up Ålesund's Sukkertoppen (Sugar Top) hill, which affords excellent views of the city, fjord, and coast. Plan at least 2.5 hours for this excursion.

For a hearty and authentic Norwegian meal, consider dinner at Café Lyspunktet — also a place to come for great coffee, live music, and local art exhibitions.

You'll board the Hurtigruten in the afternoon and set course for the spectacular UNESCO-listed Geirangerfjord passing sheer cliffs and impressive waterfalls en route. 

Enjoy a three-course dinner of local Norwegian food in the evening and stay overnight onboard.

Day 11: Hurtigruten - Arrive in Trondheim

Walk through the intimate city center
Walk through the intimate city center

Today you'll arrive by boat to the city of Trondheim in the early morning, but the ship will remain in port long enough to enjoy breakfast onboard before you deboard and transfer to your hotel.

Few large cities have managed to preserve their intimacy as effectively as Norway’s third largest city. Today, you'll have time to explore Trondheim by foot, or by renting one of the red-painted bicycles at bike racks scattered around the city.

The streets are scenic with beautiful parks and cultural sights, including the slightly out-of-kilter antique wooden houses. Walk across the historic Old Town Bridge — a 17th-century iron structure — for photographs. Visit the impressive Nidarosdomen Cathedral, built over the grave of St. Olav, the King of Norway in the 11th century. Head to popular museums including the National Museum of Decorative Arts, the Trondheim Museum of Art, the Archbishop’s Palace Museum, and the Rockheim, Norway’s national museum of popular music. 

The intimate city center is also great for shopping with independent boutiques, along with local dining establishments, including pubs, cafés, and restaurants — many that serve locally-brewed beer.

Day 12: Explore Trondheim

Aerial view of Norway's 3rd largest city
Aerial view of Norway's 3rd largest city

Today, you'll have time to explore Norway's third largest city by foot, or by renting one of the red-painted bicycles at bike racks scattered around the city.

Trondheim is scenic with beautiful parks and cultural sights, including the slightly out-of-kilter antique wooden houses. Walk across the historic Old Town Bridge—a 17th-century iron structure—for photographs. Visit the impressive Nidarosdomen Cathedral, built over the grave of St. Olav, the King of Norway in the 11th century. Head to popular museums including the National Museum of Decorative Arts, the Trondheim Museum of Art, the Archbishop’s Palace Museum, and the Rockheim, Norway’s national museum of popular music.

The intimate city center is also great for shopping with independent boutiques, along with local dining establishments, including pubs, cafés, and restaurants—many that serve locally-brewed beer.

Day 13: Trondheim - Return to Oslo by Train

An overhead view of Trondheim's cathedral
An overhead view of Trondheim's cathedral

Wake up with breakfast at your hotel in Trondheim before you take a relaxing train ride back to Oslo.

When you arrive, take advantage of anything you may have missed in Oslo at the beginning of the trip. Perhaps you'd like to head back to the waterfront and historic core for dinner. If you've already done this and want to try something new, head to the up-and-coming "Løkka" neighborhood and check out a slew of hip restaurants and bars. 

During summer months, the city comes alive to celebrate extended daylight hours, with various festivals and celebrations happening each week, so keep your eyes and ears open.

Day 14: Depart Oslo

Modern waterfront architecture in Oslo
Modern waterfront architecture in Oslo

It's time to say farewell to Norway! Enjoy your last few hours walking around Oslo's neighborhoods, relaxing in a café, or visiting local boutiques for one-of-a-kind souvenirs.

Map

Map of Discover Norway's Cities and Fjords - 14 Days
Map of Discover Norway's Cities and Fjords - 14 Days