This summer itinerary encompasses a mix of fun travel modes for the ultimate Nordic adventure. It begins in Oslo, where you'll explore the fastest-growing capital in Europe on your own and with a local guide. Then take a scenic train west to hike with views of the Aurlandsfjord—a spectacular branch of the Sognefjord. From here, cruise to Bergen and Ålesund where you'll have quality time in each city—and surrounding fjords—before looping back to Oslo for one more night on the town.

Highlights

  • Check out Oslo's up-and-coming neighborhoods and restaurant scene
  • Hike to a scenic viewpoint in Aurland followed by a fjordcruise to Bergen
  • Explore Bergen's colorful and historic wharf dating back to the 16th century
  • Take a relaxing overnight ride on the famous Hurtigruten to get to Ålesund
  • Climb up Ålesund's Sugar Top Hill for excellent views of the city, fjord, and coast

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Oslo Oslo
Day 2 Explore Oslo with a Local Oslo
Day 3 Train to Flåm - Transfer to Aurland Aurland
Day 4 Hiking in Aurland - Ferry to Bergen Bergen
Day 5 Explore Bergen with a Local - Board Hurtigruten Onboard Hurtigruten
Day 6 Hurtigruten - Geirangerfjord - Arrive in Ålesund Ålesund
Day 7 Explore Ålesund Ålesund
Day 8 Bus to Åndalsnes - Train to Oslo Oslo
Day 9 Depart Oslo  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Oslo

Akrobaten pedestrian bridge in downtown Oslo
A modern 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.

Included: accommodation city center

Day 2: Explore Oslo with a Local

Get to know more of Oslo on a half- or full-day tour
Get to know more of Oslo on a half- or full-day tour

After breakfast at your hotel, meet up with your guide for a custom private tour of Oslo. Your guide, a native of Oslo, will find the right tour for you based on your interests. Here are a few ideas that past travelers have enjoyed:

  • Akerselva River Walk (4-5 hours): On 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) while your guide shares stories about the heart of Oslo's history. The river is 5 miles (8 km) long and passes waterfalls, swimming areas, forested areas, and wildlife, so bring your camera!

  • From Fjord to Forest (full-day): This outdoorsy tour takes you to a beautiful island just outside Oslo's harbor, reached by tram in about 30 minutes from the city center. No cars are allowed here, so the island is full of recreation options. Choose an activity depending on the season, or simply walk around one of the lakes while your guide shares local history.

  • Holmenkollen Ski Jump (2-3 hours): If you have less time to spare, this tour heads for 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 presents over 4,000 years of snow sports, polar exploration, and an exhibition on snowboarding and modern skiing. Head for the observation deck offering panoramic views of Oslo, and then walk down to the ski jump while your guide shares stories about local trolls, legends, and castles.

The rest of the afternoon and evening is yours to explore on your own! For dinner, wander around the city's historic core 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 3: Train to Flåm - Transfer to Aurland

Sit back and enjoy the scenery as you head to the fjords
Sit back and enjoy the scenery as you head to the fjords

After breakfast in Oslo, head to the train station for your transfer westwards towards the village of Flåm

This journey will take you through some of the highest train track elevations in the world. From small villages to the remote countryside, the views from your window will be nothing short of spectacular. At its highest point, the tracks will take you 4009 feet (1222 m) above sea level! 

After a quick train-change in Myrdal, you will continue to Flåm. Enjoy views of snow-covered mountains, deep fjords, and beautiful waterfalls as you make your way towards your destination. The train even makes a special stop at the Kjosfossen waterfall for photo ops. 

You will arrive in  Flåm just in time for lunch. Suggestions for dining include: 

  • Aegir Brewery & Pub for authentic Viking culture inside the restaurant's historic wooden structure. 
  • Flåm Marina and Apartment Café for a peaceful atmosphere and lighter fare. 

After lunch, check out the Flåm Railway Museum and learn about the challenges faced by Norwegian engineers during the construction of the Flåm railroad tracks. 

From Flåm, you'll be transferred to the small, peaceful village of Aurland for the night.

Day 4: Hiking in Aurland - Ferry to Bergen

Views of the Aurlandsfjord
Views of the Aurlandsfjord

Today, after a hearty breakfast, you'll explore Aurland's stunning surroundings with a local guide on a hiking trail. This half-day excursion heads to a place called Hovdungo, situated 2559 feet (780 m) above the beautiful Aurlandsfjord. The hike is listed medium in difficulty, however, some parts of the trail are very steep. From the top, you'll be rewarded with one of the best fjord views in the area before you make your way back on the same trail (you'll also stop for a picnic lunch during the hike).

In the afternoon, it's time to head to the quay to catch your fjordcruise to Bergen. Sit back and enjoy the views of Norway's longest and deepest fjord on this 5-hour journey through the Sognefjord, arriving in the evening. Once you're settled in your hotel, hit the city's cobbled street, loaded with restaurants.

Day 5: Explore Bergen with a Local - Board Hurtigruten

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

After enjoying breakfast at your hotel, you will 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 including Nygårdsparken and Nordnes. You'll also walk through narrow streets lined with traditional Bryggen houses while your guide shares stories of life in Bergen, as well as lesser-known activities and restaurants 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

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 6: Hurtigruten - Geirangerfjord - Arrive in Ålesund

Sail through the UNESCO-listed Geirangerfjord
Sail through the UNESCO-listed Geirangerfjord

Today, you'll wake up and enjoy breakfast with views of the passing Norwegian coast. Make sure to spend as much time you can on the deck for great views, especially when the ship cruises into Geirangerfjord*—arguably the world’s most famous fjord. The landscapes of these UNESCO-listed landscapes are stunning in any weather, and your pictures today will likely be among the best of your entire trip. 

Your vessel will continue to meander along the coast, taking you into more majestic fjords and depositing you in a quaint waterside city called Ålesund, known as one of the prettiest and most charming cities in Scandinavia. Distinguished by its numerous spires, towers, and ornate buildings, this town is renowned for its beautiful Art Nouveau architecture—a result of rebuilding efforts following a devastating fire in 1904. 

Deboard the Hurtigruten and stay overnight in a hotel in the city center.

*If you visit Norway between June and August, Hurtigruten will visit Geirangerfjord. In September, the cruise will visit Hjørundfjord.

Day 7: Explore Ålesund

Ålesund's photogenic views
Ålesund's photogenic views

Wake up in Ålesund and enjoy the views! Colorful streets come alive during summer months with outdoor cafés and a large boating community. 

As for activities, this city is the cultural center of the region with an array of museums, a sea park, a lighthouse (Alnes), and photogenic streets to explore on foot, not to mention numerous outdoor activities such as hiking, kayaking, and stand-up paddleboarding. 

Ålesund also boasts several festivals, including the Ålesund Theatre Festival, the Festival of New Norwegian Literature, the Norwegian Food Festival, and art and music festivals such as Jugendfest and Trandal Country Festival.

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

Day 8: Bus to Åndalsnes - Train to Oslo

Transfer from bus to train in the beautiful town of Andalsnes
Transfer from bus to train in the beautiful town of Andalsnes

After breakfast in Ålesund, get ready for your journey back to Oslo. First, you will take a bus to Åndalsnes on a two-hour ride. From here, you will take the train to Oslo on a scenic journey!

Once you arrive in Oslo, take advantage of anything you may have missed at the beginning of the trip.

Day 9: Depart Oslo

Modern waterfront architecture in Oslo
Sleek waterfront architecture in the capital

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.