Five days makes for a quick trip to Norway, but with some careful planning, you can craft a well-rounded itinerary that takes less than a week to complete. Take in the cultural scene of southern cities like Oslo and Bergen, or hike around scenic villages - whatever you choose, you’re sure to enjoy the towering mountains, otherworldly glaciers, and mirror-smooth waters of Norway's iconic fjords. Read on to find the itinerary that's right for you.
Itinerary #1: Explore Bergen, Fjords & Waterfalls
This accessible itinerary is great for first-timers who want to base themselves in one hotel. Instead of Oslo, the typical first stop for most visitors, you'll explore the beautiful, coastal city of Bergen and some of the most picturesque parts of southern Norway. In addition to centuries of history and a noteworthy UNESCO World Heritage Site, Bergen offers loads of culture, nearby hiking trails, and restaurants and nightlife thanks to its young student population.
You'll even get to spend a half-day exploring the city via a private tour (customized to your interests) with a local guide before embarking on two day-trips involving boats and trains with amazing panoramas in every direction. In fact, a big portion of this itinerary focuses on two of Norway's most famous fjords (of which there are over a thousand along the coast): Osterfjord and Sognefjord. Some of the tallest waterfalls in the world are located here, and many of them provide a link between the mountains and the fjords.
On your last full day, you’ll travel on the Flåm railway, one of the world’s most beautiful train rides, before taking a scenic five-hour ferry back to Bergen via the Sognefjord -- Norway's longest and deepest fjord. Soak up your last moments in Bergen, and make sure to get your fill of the colorful wooden houses on the Bryggen wharf, its lively fish market, and a stately museum exploring the history of the Hanseatic League.
Itinerary #2: Oslo to Bergen Fjord Adventure
This exciting and fast-paced itinerary checks off several must-see destinations for those who like to be on the move. You'll start off in Oslo, Europe's fastest growing capital and have the rest of the day to walk along the Havnepromenaden (harbor promenade) -- a new five-and-a-half-mile waterfront park. If there's time, check out Oslo's charming historic quarters, outdoor sculptures, and museums along the Akerselva river (running from Maridalsvannet through the center of Oslo), not to mention cool cafés and restaurants serving New Nordic cuisine. For those seeking a millennial vibe, head for up-and-coming neighborhoods like Aker Brygge and Grünerløkka, the site of some of Oslo’s hippest shops, bars, and entertainment venues.
The next morning, you'll take a scenic train and ferry ride on the stunning Sogneford to Balestrand, so keep your camera within easy reach. After a night in this fjord-side village, known for charming 19th-century architecture, continue north to Fjærland for glacier views and an award-winning museum before getting on another boat -- this time to Bergen where you'll spend your last two nights.
You'll have the opportunity to tour the city streets with a private, custom tour with a local guide who will show you the best of Bergen and its seven surrounding mountains. There will also be plenty of time to wander through neighborhoods on your own, where you can browse the shops and get a taste of some of the world’s best seafood, including a visit to the Fish Market, one of Norway's oldest (circa 1200s!) and most-visited outdoor markets, selling seafood, fruit, and vegetables.
Itinerary #3: Western Norway's Hidden Gems Road Trip
For road-tripping travelers seeking a self-drive tour through Norway's spectacular scenery and peaceful villages, not to mention two UNESCO World Heritage Sites -- all while staying in some of Norway's best family-run hotels -- this itinerary is for you. Like the first option on this list, this journey bypasses Oslo and starts and ends in the country's second-largest city of Bergen.
When you arrive, you'll meet up with a local guide who will take you along the Skredderdalen trail towards a hidden viewpoint behind Fløyvarden that only locals know about. Another option is to walk up to the mountainside known as Sandviksbatteriet and head to a small, hidden cabin rich in World War II history. Or, if you'd prefer to explore the city's streets, your guide will take you through the highlights while sharing stories about Bergen's history and culture. The next morning, grab your rental car and drive north towards the Nordfjord (Norway's second largest fjord), situated between the largest mainland glacier in Europe and Norway's wildest coast. This majestic fjord receives few crowds, so expect to see undisturbed mountains and valleys, rolling farmland, and glimpses of the Norwegian Sea along the route.
When you arrive in the village of Sandane, you'll take an afternoon hike to Haugsvarden with a private guide who will point out area highlights and share stories about the land. You'll then drive towards the idyllic village of Solvorn, stopping at fjord-side Fjærland on the way, known for the Norwegian Booktown, which consists of several second-hand bookshops, some that are combined with cafés, art galleries, and souvenir shops. Also not to miss is the Norwegian Glacier Museum, an award-winning architectural marvel situated at the head of the Fjærlandsfjord.
The next morning, hop on a scenic ferry across the Lusterfjord between Solvorn and Urnes to tour a wooden stave church built in the 12th century, Norway's oldest place of worship. Travel back to Bergen along the south side of Sognefjord by catching the short ferry crossing (Manheller to Fodnes) towards Flåm, and arrive to your hotel with enough time to enjoy your last night in Norway!
Itinerary #4: Oslo to Bergen: Sparkling Fjords, Mountain Trails, and a Charming Train Ride
This accessible itinerary is great for first-timers. You'll start in Oslo, the first stop for most visitors to Norway, and end up in the beautiful, coastal city of Bergen via some of the most picturesque territories in southern Norway. Take the train to the quaint town of Geilo, a favorite destination for Norway’s skiers, hikers, and bikers. Get a taste of Norway's unique natural world with two nearby national parks: Hallingskarvet and Hardangervidda. The town itself is full of cute cafes and great local restaurants, as well as welcoming shops where you can browse local handicrafts.
Next, you’ll travel to Myrdal to catch the Flåm railway, one of the world’s most beautiful train rides. In summer, you’ll coast through lush landscapes cut through with the icy waters of the Aurlandsfjord, and in winter you’ll marvel at the crystalline formations of frozen waterfalls as you make your way down to Flåm. Finally, after taking adequate time to enjoy the wonders of nature, you’ll be on your way to Bergen, a city known for colorful wooden houses on the Bryggen wharf, a lively fish market, and a stately museum exploring the history of the Hanseatic League.
Note: It is just as easy to do this trip in reverse, starting in Bergen and ending in Oslo, where you can catch your flight home.
Itinerary #5: Tromsø and Lofoten: Arctic Towns, Fishing Villages, and a Scenic Boat Journey
This exciting option checks off several must-see destinations in the north, offering a great big helping of land, sea, and sky. Tromsø is Norway’s dynamic northernmost city, and the photogenic Lofoten archipelago is a convenient gateway to some seriously stunning scenery. But first, you'll alight in the city of Bodø, where you can visit the traditional trading post Kjerringøy Handelssted as well as the Norwegian Aviation Museum.
The next day, you'll board the Hurtigruten, the best means of travel along the Norwegian coast, skirting the coastline as you head for the Lofoten islands. Pro tip: Don’t forget to look up for a possible Northern Lights sighting! You’ll disembark in Svolvaer, a town on Lofoten, and pick up your rental car, which will allow you to explore the area at your leisure over the next two days. You'll be able to visit Reine, for example, a tiny fishing village on Moskenesøya, another Lofoten island, stopping as often as you wish for photos along the way.
Once back again, you'll transfer to Svinøya, a quaint little fishing village on a separate island. This is the home of the famed Rorbuer – old wooden fishing cabins built partially on land and partially on sea – as well as a jumping off point for countless activities like hiking, fishing, and wildlife spotting. Finally, you'll allow the Hurtigruten to escort you to your last stop of Tromsø, where you’ll have the day to wander the city, touring its museums, browsing its shops, and getting a taste of some of the world’s best seafood.
Itinerary #6: Trolltunga and Aurlandsfjord: High Cliffs, Valley Vistas, and Enchanting Lakes
Feeling adventurous? This itinerary lets you take in the nature of Norway with camping, hiking, biking, and a journey on the charming Flåm Railway. You’ll start off in aforementioned Bergen, the culturally rich city in Norway’s southwest, where you can wander the colorful wooden houses on the Bryggen wharf on your first day in-country.
The next morning, it’s time to pack up. Make sure you have warm clothes, good shoes, and a hearty breakfast behind you, as you’ll be hiking to the top of Trolltunga. This striking cliff offers one of the best views in Norway over Ringedalen Lake, the Folgefonna glacier, and snow-capped mountains beyond. You’ll be pitching a tent right beside it all, enjoying a campfire dinner and sunset views over the majestic wilderness. The next day includes a visit to the charming village of Aurland, where Vikings were said to have set out to discover Iceland over 1,000 years ago, and a hike to the Stegastein Viewpoint – a scenic lookout over a fjord and valley, further enhanced by a sleek, contemporary wood-and-steel viewing platform.
Finally, you’ll get some good sightseeing in - as well as a proper workout - with a journey on the Flåm Railway up to Myrdal, and a bike ride all the way back down to Flåm. On your last day, you’ll enjoy the splendor of Aurlandsfjord and part of the UNESCO-listed Nærøyfjord on FjordSafari, a guided fjord cruise.
Throughout, you’ll be accompanied by guides who know the terrain like the backs of their hands, not to mention the legends, stories, and local knowledge that have given visitors to this country a longstanding sense of mystery and awe.
Itinerary #7: Norwegian Riviera by Bike: White-Painted Towns, Coastal Islands, and Sea Vistas
This exhilarating itinerary will give you a taste of Norway’s southern coast – known as the Norwegian Riviera – at your own pace. The picture-perfect towns that hug the coast are known for their old white wooden houses, narrow streets, and summery atmosphere. Norway is at its brightest and warmest here - perfect for a bike with the warm sun on your face and the sea breezes to cool you.
You’ll start with a train ride from Oslo or Kristiansand to the first coastal town of Risør, spending the night there before gathering your bicycles. Make sure to visit the potholes at Sild just outside town – perfectly round, smooth rock formations formed in the Ice Age over 10,000 years ago.
Over the next few days, decide where to go and how fast to get there on your own trusty set of two wheels. A ride through the woods gets you to Lyngørporten/Gjeving, from which you can also visit the island of Lyngør by ferry. Check out the instagram-worthy towns of Tvedestrand, Arendal with its famous Pollen harbor, and Fevikkilen, home of the historic Strand Hotel Fevik. Side trips to Hisøy and Tromøy or the historic port of Merdø, with its lighthouses in the distance, are also absolute must-sees.
Finally, you’ll stop off in the quaint town of Grimstad, with its old-fashioned boats, cute boutiques, and charming alleyways, before heading to Lillesand via another enchanting forest pathway. Your last night in Kristiansand (reached via bike, or bus if you’d like a break) will be a chance to rest, recover, and reflect on a biking trip well done.
Itinerary #8: Trollheimen Hike: Majestic Mountains, Shining Lakes, and Lush Nature
This challenging itinerary will get you up close and personal with some of Norway’s most astounding natural wonders, all on your own two feet. Pack a good pair of hiking boots and some weatherproof gear for one of Norway’s greatest hikes. Start in Oppdal, where you’ll get ready for your trip in consultation with your guide, and visit the nearby Viking graveyard – the largest in Norway. The next morning, set out for Trollheimenand Lake Tovatna, passing jagged peaks along the way. In Kårvatn, put your feet up and relax while your guide cooks you dinner at the Summer Farm.
The next two days will overwhelm you with their beauty, but you’ll have to work for it! Hike to Innerdalen, considered one of Norway’s most beautiful valleys, with its glacial rivers and crystal-clear lakes and streams. Save some energy for the hike to the top of Bjøråskaret, with its wide-ranging mountain views. The next day the summits of Kringlehøa and Storsalen await you – challenging routes that reward trekkers with truly breathtaking views of Storlidalen valley. Lake Tovatna is a welcoming sight at the very end of these daylong workouts, and if the weather cooperates, it will be simply glorious to jump into the water from the sandy beach and wash your cares away.
A car will take you to your final night at the Summer Farm, and you’ll wake up on your last morning for one more glorious hike – this time to the summit of Innerdalstårnet, the majestic, pointed peak you surely spotted on your hike through Innerdalen days before. This way, you can literally look back on your trip: gazing over the valley below to see just how far you’ve come.