- Walk or bike along a new five-and-a-half-mile waterfront park in Oslo
- Stay in Geilo for close proximity to two of the country's best national parks
- Dine on three-course dinners using organic, local ingredients while in Aurland
- Hike the coastal path along Bjørnefjorden followed by a spa treatment
- Explore a trail near Bergen that has 900 steps built by sherpas from Nepal
|Day 1||Arrive in Oslo||Oslo|
|Day 2||Explore Oslo with a Local||Oslo|
|Day 3||Train to Geilo - Hiking||Geilo|
|Day 4||Explore Geilo with a Local||Geilo|
|Day 5||Geilo - Flåm Railway - Transfer to Aurland||Aurland|
|Days 6-7||Free Day in Aurland||Aurland|
|Day 8||Guided Hike - Fjordcruise to Bergen - Transfer to Solstrand||Solstrand|
|Day 9||Free Day at Solstrand Hotel||Solstrand|
|Day 10||Transfer to Bergen - Fjordcruise to Rosendal - Guided Hike & Glacier Tour||Bergen|
|Day 11||Explore Bergen's Trails with a Local||Bergen|
|Day 12||Depart Bergen|
Day 1: Arrive in 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 with a Local
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 Geilo - Hiking
After an early breakfast at your hotel, take a train out of the city and towards the beautiful mountain village of Geilo.
Located along the scenic Bergen Railway, Geilo enjoys close proximity to two of the country's best national parks: Hallingskarvet and Hardangervidda. This stunning area offers magnificent mountain scenery and activities for all ages.
Hiking season starts at the end of June and lasts until snow arrives (usually October). There are several trails for every age and fitness level—some that are very easy (less than two miles) and some that are more difficult (up to 10 miles and more), so lace up your boots and pack a picnic. For an easy activity, take a spin on the summer chairlift with panoramic views of the region.
Restaurants in Geilo worth mentioning include Hallingstuene for wine bar ambiance, Dr. Holms Hotel for family dining, and Ro Kro, a longstanding café with outdoor seating.
Day 4: Explore Geilo with a Local
Today you can enjoy a relaxing morning at your accommodations in Geilo before you meet a local specialist for an off-the-beaten-track experience.
Here are some unique guided activities to choose from:
- Take a beginner's course in fishing. This is a great introduction to the sport and is suitable for children. Alternatively, you can sign up for a full-day fishing excursion, which can be customized according to the traveler's wishes. There's also a fishing tour in the nearby village of Ustaoset where you can feast afterward at Cafè Pesttun.
- Join a guided hike to Tregastein on a trail meant for advanced hikers. Alternatively, you can take a shorter, less rigorous hike in Ustaoset to a wonderful viewpoint for photos. There's also an overnight wilderness excursion in Ustaoset where you can sleep in a tent (meals included).
- Another hiking option is to Prestholt and the top of Hallingskarvet where you'll encounter breathtaking views, birdlife, natural monuments, and (possibly) Europe's largest wild reindeer tribe.
- You can also hike from Geilo's town center to Urundberget mountain. Once you reach Geilohovda (a common place to stop and turn around) continue with your guide along the route as the trail descends and joins the path along the Ustedalsfjorden.
- Take a day-trip by train to the otherworldly mountain village of Finse, which sits at an elevation of 4,009 feet (1,222 m) above sea level, making it the highest station on the entire Norwegian railway system. There is no road access to Finse—you can only get here by train, foot, or bicycle. Speaking of, you can rent a bike and cycle along the famous Rallarvegen while here.
- Sign-up for an evening bonfire and history session in Huldreforest where your guide will share entertaining stories about the region (great for kids).
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
Day 5: Geilo - Flåm Railway - Transfer to Aurland
Today you'll continue the journey west over the mountains to get to Myrdal, where you will change trains and embark on the Flåm Railway—one of the steepest trains in the world.
Sit back, relax, and take in snow-covered mountains, deep fjords, and beautiful waterfalls as you make your way towards the charming and scenic village of Flåm, situated along a branch of the Sognefjord, Norway's longest and deepest fjord.
Once you arrive in Flåm, you will be greeted by your guide and transferred to a special place in the secluded Aurland area—the eco-friendly Riverside Farm Lodge, a restored farm from the 19th century that feels a world away from the tourist scene in nearby Flåm.
Here, you'll be served Norwegian cuisine in the lodge's old converted smokehouse. After lunch, take a trip to Turlidfossen, a nearby waterfall, and learn about Norse myths and folklore related to the region. Snack on tea, coffee, and hot cinnamon rolls at the top of the hill overlooking the Aurlandsfjord.
Next, head back to the lodge and relax. There are seven rooms and two suites decorated with the help of a Norwegian interior designer named Gunvor Røkholt. Staying here is a comfortable, yet high-end experience allowing you access to stunning natural surroundings and unique activities.
In the evening, staff will prepare a three-course organic dinner using ingredients from the onsite garden and surrounding area. Dinner will be shared with the friendly family of owners and other guests staying on property.
Days 6-7: Free Day in Aurland
This morning, wake up at the lodge and enjoy an organic breakfast at your leisure. Take note of the local way of life, which seems to move in slow motion compared to the rest of the world.
There are several options on how to spend your free day here. Perhaps you want to take part in a peaceful activity like paddling a rowboat. In fact, there's a beautiful lake that very few people know about close to the lodge. You can also take a guided hike in the Aurland Valley, learn how to fly-fish, visit local artists, bakeries, and centuries-old historical sites, or simply read a book overlooking the view.
In the afternoon, hosts will serve lunch on the property. Make sure to take advantage of the lodge's sauna and hot tub before dressing for the evening! Like the night before, a three-course organic dinner will be shared with the owners and your fellow guests.
Day 8: Guided Hike - Fjordcruise to Bergen - Transfer to Solstrand
Today begins with a delicious Norwegian breakfast at Riverside Farm Lodge before you meet your guide for a lovely hike through the Aurland Valley on a trail that's considered to be one of the top ten hikes in the country. Feel the gravity as you cross the river on one of the breathtaking suspension bridges. Lunch will be served al fresco at a beautiful spot in the valley.
Following the hike, you'll say your goodbyes and then head to the quay to catch your cruise to Bergen. Enjoy views from the water as you sail through Norway's longest and deepest fjord, arriving in the evening. From the pier, you'll be picked up and transferred to Solstrand for your waterfront accommodations. This hideaway by the fjords is situated directly on the shore of Bjørnefjorden—18 miles (30 km) from downtown Bergen. Once you settle in, sit back and enjoy dinner and a lovely view of the fjord.
Day 9: Free Day at Solstrand Hotel
Today is a free day to explore the area any way you'd like! The Solstrand Hotel's location is perfect for enjoying activities throughout the year—both in the immediate vicinity of the property and its surrounding area.
Hikers will be spoiled for choice with a range of wonderful opportunities, and the area boasts magnificent views of the fjord and surrounding mountains.
For instance, there's a coastal path that runs along Bjørnefjorden from the Os town center, past Solstrand and onwards to Moldaneset. Relax, breathe in the fresh fjord air, and enjoy this leisurely stroll along the shore. There are more difficult hikes that can last 2-4 hours so make sure to chat with the hotel reception who can provide maps for different routes varying in length and difficulty.
If that's not enough, there are dozens of more walks and hikes on Lysøen and in the mountains that surround Bergen. The hardest part will be picking one!
Before dinner, consider an afternoon visit to the hotel spa where you can enjoy the heated outdoor pool or take a dip in the fjord at the bathing pier (year-round)—a great way to treat yourself!
Day 10: Transfer to Bergen - Fjordcruise to Rosendal - Guided Hike & Glacier Tour
After an early breakfast at your hotel in Solstrand, transfer to Bergen's Strandkaien pier, next to the fish market in the city center. The ferry for Rosendal departs at the very end of the pier and is clearly marked. Embark for your fjord cruise and relax on this scenic journey through the deep and narrow fjords surrounded by steep mountains dotted with a number of farms.
The one-way journey takes just under two hours. Onboard, there are drinks and snacks to purchase. Make sure to step outside on the top deck to feel the wind and snag some photos!
When you arrive in Rosendal, you will be picked up by your wonderful local hosts, Sjur and Laila, who will take you on your adventure to Bondhus glacier.
The trip starts with a drive along the beautiful Hardangerfjord, passing the waterfall called Furebergsfossen. From here, you'll start a nice and easy 2-hour walk while looking for wild strawberries, blackcurrants and other seasonal berries on the way.
For the intrepid, you can take a path towards the Vetledalen valley, where you can make a closer approach to the Bondhusbrea glacier itself. Breath in the fresh air and enjoy the view! Also consider bringing your swimsuit for a dip in the fresh, brisk glacier water.
After the hike, you will be driven to the harbor for your return trip to Bergen. From here, you'll check into your hotel in the city center and enjoy the evening as you like, perhaps exploring the city's historic cobblestoned streets and great restaurant options.
Day 11: Explore Bergen's Trails with 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 the area, will find the right hike or walk for you based on your interests. Here are a few 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.
- 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!
Following the tour, be sure to take 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 (especially at sunset), and take a leisurely stroll back down the path while discovering hidden troll sculptures along the way.
Day 12: Depart Bergen
It's time to say farewell to Norway! Enjoy your last moments in this beautiful city with a leisurely breakfast, neighborhood stroll, and/or souvenir shopping before you head to the airport for your return flight home.