- Find trolls hidden in the peaks around Bergen
- Cruise Norway's "King of the Fjords"
- Take a private boat trip to the enchanting Fjærland
- Experience quaint wharf towns and traditional wooden architecture
|Arrive & Explore Bergen
|Fløibanen Hike & Troll Forest
|Ferry to Balestrand & Explore the Town
|Scenic Boat Trip to Fjærland
|Discover Balestrand: Cultural Walk & Beach
|Ferry to Bergen & Explore the City
Day 1: Arrive & Explore Bergen
Welcome to Bergen, one of Europe's oldest port cities. An easy ride from the airport on the Bybanen (city rail), this charming city of about 300,000 residents is surrounded by the ocean, mountains, and fjords―both beautiful and historical, you'll find plenty here to entertain your family. Bergen is compact, so you can get a good sense of it simply by following your nose along its cobbled streets. Get a feel for Norway's medieval past with stops at the Fantoft Stave Church, a reconstructed example of traditional architecture, and the Rosenkrantz Tower, home to the city's leaders for hundreds of years.Next, check out the historic downtown wharf area of Bryggen (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) to view colorful wooden houses dating back to the 1700s. The kids will be excited to see the streets that inspired the design of Arendelle in the movie, "Frozen." Nearby you'll find some of Bergen's best historical sites and museums, including the Maritime Museum, which contains boats and artifacts from throughout the city's seafaring history. Stop for a rest at one of the charming local cafés and bakeries, and when the sun goes down, continue the adventure with dinner in one of Bergen's world-class restaurants.
Day 2: Fløibanen Hike & Troll Forest
The Fløibanen funicular in Bergen is one of Norway's best-known and most visited attractions, with the journey up Mount Fløyen (1050 ft/320 m above sea level) taking about six minutes. The view from the top is spectacular, so be sure to take a few photos of the city, mountains, and fjord before heading off on one of the many scenic hiking trails. While some hikes are more challenging, there are plenty of stroller-friendly options. Keep your eyes peeled for the friendly goats, and hike to the lake for free canoeing.
Take a walk in Troll Forest, beloved by locals and visitors, and let the kids spot the mysterious creatures hidden there. Adjacent is Bergen's largest nature playground, suitable for kids of all ages, with more traditional activities and the opportunity to climb and zipline. Good news for parents―there is also a café up here next to another great playground, so grab a coffee while you watch the kids and then pile in there to dine on traditional svele (pancakes) before you head back down.
Day 3: Ferry to Balestrand & Explore the Town
This morning, travel like a local: by ferry. A four-hour cruise to the scenic town of Balestrand takes you through inlets, along the North Sea coast, and within the country's longest and deepest fjord, Sognefjord. This "King of the Fjords" is a narrow waterway offering views of cliffs, snow-capped mountain peaks, forested hillsides, and colorful villages, and was the inspiration for much of the landscape in "Frozen." Balestrand has been popular with tourists since the 19th century―famous for its scenery and light, it has been the residence of some of Norway's most famous artists.
To get an overview, walk the 1.2-mile (2 km) Heritage Trail, which will take you past many villas built by resident artists in the 1890s and 1900s. Don't miss the village's boutique galleries, especially The Golden House. Stop off at Saint Olaf's Church, built in the traditional stave style in 1897, and let the kids find the two decorative dragons on the exterior. Fans of "Frozen" will be further enchanted: the interior inspired Elsa's coronation scene, and the kids will recognize the name "Olaf" straightaway!
Day 4: Scenic Boat Trip to Fjærland
Go off the beaten track with a three-hour private boat trip along the Fjærlandsfjord. Along the way, you'll see majestic waterfalls and picturesque homesteads while you hear all about the area from your guide, a renowned local fisherman and storyteller. The tour can be adapted to include fishing at all the best local spots―see which family member brings in the biggest catch! This is a great chance for kids and adults alike to get up close to marine life: as well as fish, you'll probably come across starfish, crabs, and perhaps even sea eagles or porpoises.
When you arrive in Fjærland, you'll have time to explore the quaint village there, Mundal. Famed as a "book town," the kids will have fun spotting bookshops in the unlikeliest places, from pig pens to bus stops to small honesty stands on the shore. There are plenty of foreign-language titles, so take some time to browse. Mundal is also known for its peaceful natural surroundings, best enjoyed simply by going for a walk. A short bus ride will bring you to the Norwegian Glacier Museum, which has plenty of child-friendly displays. You can choose to overnight in Mundal or head back to Balestrand in the evening.
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
Day 5: Discover Balestrand: Cultural Walk & Beach
Make the most of Balestrand's famous surroundings today by hiking one of its family-friendly trails―try the one-hour Nature Trail or the Klibberg Trail to discover remnants of an 8,000-year-old stone-age settlement and scenic fishing spots along the way. For stunning views, walk a section or two of the appropriately-named Waterfall Path. Take a picnic with you or enjoy lunch back in town. In the afternoon, why not relax at the beach? Gamleheimsfjøra is a lagoon only 1 mile (1.5 km) from the village center.
If the day is inclement, take the kids to some of the town's indoor attractions. They can learn about local underwater life in the Sognefjord Aquarium (take advantage of the one-hour free canoe/rowboat ride if the weather clears). The Aquarium site also houses the Munken Gallery, a collection of 50 carved depictions of the town's history, and a cinema where you can learn more about the fjord. Stop at the Norwegian Travel Museum for a modern and engaging overview of Norway's tourism history and highlights, and refresh yourself at the on-site café.
Day 6: Ferry to Bergen & Explore the City
Take the scenic ferry back to Bergen, savoring the view from the sundeck. Once in town, take the rest of the day to explore a few more sights, such as the colorful Fish Market. One of Norway's most popular outdoor markets, it's been a meeting place on its various sites for locals, merchants, fishermen, and farmers since the 1200s. Packed with stalls and restaurants, this is a great place to grab a bite to eat with the kids―the fish and chips will be some of the freshest you've ever had, and there's an ice cream store to boot.
Afterward, head to the renowned Vilvite Science Center. Modern and highly interactive, this will be a favorite with the kids. If yours is a nature-loving family, try the Aquarium (don't miss the entertaining penguin and seal shows) or the Urban Zoo. For the art history fans among you, the four KODE Museums clustered around Bergen's center are a must-see. Enjoy old master and modernist collections, as well as silver, gold, and antique displays. Make sure to allow ample time for KODE 4, which contains the free Kunstlab, an interactive art museum for children.