Of course, there is no “one size fits all” answer when it comes to how long you should spend in Norway. While some visitors only have a few days, others may have weeks at their disposal. To make things a bit easier, we’ve outlined some of the best itineraries, ranging from a few days up to a few weeks.
Norway in less than 3 days
With just a couple of days, you won’t be able to get much further than the capital, Oslo. That being said, getting around here is fairly quick and easy, without the hold up of crowds or traffic jams. For most travelers, a full day can be spent on the museum island of Bygdoy enjoying favorites such as the Viking Ship Museum and the State Gallery. Another is easily split between exploring the city center and strolling the harbor. If you have an extra day, a boat cruise or day trip to the surrounding countryside offers a more leisurely means of spending your time here.
Norway in 3-5 days
If you have more than just a weekend, Bergen and Sognefjord are the perfect addition to get a sense of life outside the city. While Bergen itself is quite tiny, the surrounding fjordlands are vast with endless opportunities for fun. We suggest spending the better part of one day touring the historic old Bryggen wharf and riding up the Mount Fløyen funicular. However, once outside the city, it is best to have at least two full days for your endeavors as most hiking, biking, or boating excursions will take at least a half day. Others, such as the infamous Norway In A Nutshell tour, require a lengthy twelve hour day to complete. And this doesn’t even take into account some down time for soaking in the scenery, for which our local specialists often recommend spending at least one night in a small village nestled along the fjord.
Norway in 5-7 days
With around a week, the options for venturing further out expand dramatically. Welcome on any itinerary, Alesund and its environs have a surprising number of activities and options to take advantage of. We recommend spending a full day taking in the Art Nouveau scene, local museums, and Alesund Aquarium. From there it is a shame to not spend at least a day exploring the fairytale-like Geirangerfjord, with all its snow capped mountains and streaming waterfalls. And if you have an extra day or two, trips to nearby Jostedalsbreen & Jotunheimen National Parks are well worth the time and effort. The former is home to the largest glacier in continental Europe, while the latter hosts the famous Besseggen ridge walk.
Norway in 8-10 days
If you happen to have eight days or more, it becomes possible to explore the far northern reaches such as Tromso. During the summer, the extended daylight hours allow visitors to get nearly a week’s worth of Arctic wilderness experience in just two or three days. On the other hand, if you plan to visit in the fall or winter months in search of the Northern Lights, it is helpful to keep in mind that the longer you stay, the better your odds are of seeing the Aurora Borealis. As such, a minimum of three nights is recommended to make sure you catch a glimpse of the dazzling phenomenon.
Longer trips to Norway
For the lucky few of us that have more than ten days, we suggest heading to some of the more remote Norwegian frontiers. Getting to and from the Lofoten Islands can easily take nearly an entire day each way. But with activities ranging from hiking to skiing and surfing and colorful fishing villages at every turn, you may want to move in permanently. Make sure you have at least three days to take in everything this unique archipelago has to offer. Further north lays the islands of Svalbard, which are most accessible outside of the winter months. During the height of the summer, at least three full days is recommended as the endless sunlight and peak wildlife season create an environment you won’t be so eager to leave. If you do plan to be in the area during the late spring or early fall months, be sure to allot an extra day or two as animal sightings are not as prolific during this time of year.
Conclusion: How long should you spend in Norway?
No matter how much time you have in Norway, the journey is sure to be magical. While shorter trips can give you a sense of the country, having at least a full week will allow you to fully delve in Norway's natural beauty and culture. When in doubt, though, we suggest planning for at least three nights in each area.