Norway in 7 Days
Norway is one of those storied destinations that evokes mystery and magic by its very name. Even if you haven’t been there, you probably know enough to envision vast, otherworldly landscapes, a symphony of snow-topped peaks, fjords that curl and reach deep into the coastline, and towns full of welcoming people whose warmth and friendliness seem to belie the often wintry weather.
In this case, everything you've heard is true—and your first trip to Norway will confirm that the magnificent scenery is just as you've imagined it. The only problem? Norway is a huge country, and if you're short on time, it can be hard to choose what to do and see. With the right planning, however, you can get pretty far with only a week to spend—especially if you follow one of these itineraries.
Traveling in winter? See our overview of Norway's best winter itineraries.
Itinerary #1: Oslo, Aurland & Bergen
|Day 1||Arrive in Oslo||Oslo|
|Day 2||Oslo City Tour||Oslo|
|Day 3||Flåm Railway - Riverside Farm Lodge||Aurland|
|Day 4||Aurland Slow Travel||Aurland|
|Day 5||Aurland - Sognefjord - Bergen||Bergen|
|Day 6||Bergen City Tour||Bergen|
|Day 7||Depart Bergen|
This classic itinerary through southern Norway gives you a taste of everything the country has to offer and is very accessible to visitors who may not have a lot of time but want the full picture.
First, get to know Oslo, where you can visit impressive historic buildings like the Royal Castle, City Hall, and Parliament, as well as contemporary stunners like the waterside Oslo Opera House. The Edvard Munch Museum celebrates one of the country’s most beloved artists, and the trendy Grunerløkka neighborhood offers hip shops, quaint cafes and artisanal restaurants.
You’ll spend several nights exploring the beauty of the Norwegian countryside as you journey by train to Myrdal, where you’ll hop aboard the Flåm Railway, considered one of the world’s most beautiful train rides, and definitely its steepest. You’ll be able to experience two fjords—the mighty Sognefjord (the longest and deepest in Norway) and one of its branches, the Aurlandsfjord – in all their majesty, even getting out on the water in a rowboat or kayak, and visit Turlidfossen waterfall. Your time out in the countryside will also include a hike through Aurland Valley, plus a stopover at the Stegastein lookout point, where you can gaze out over the famed Snowroad.
From there, it’s just a short boat ride to the city of Bergen, known for its colorful wooden quayside buildings and picturesque historic warehouses near the waterfront, as well as its Hanseatic history, which you can explore at a medieval fortress and a museum. Be sure to stop at the city fish market, which will give you a vibrant glimpse into local daily life.
Itinerary #2: Oslo, Bergen & the Sognefjord
|Day 1||Arrive to Oslo||Oslo|
|Day 2||Explore Oslo with a Local||Oslo|
|Day 3||Train to Flåm - Ferry to Balestrand||Balestrand|
|Day 4||Kayaking Tour||Balestrand|
|Day 5||Ferry to Fjærland||Balestrand|
|Day 6||Balestrand - Ferry to Bergen||Bergen|
|Day 7||Explore Bergen with a Local||Bergen|
|Day 8||Depart Bergen|
Start this adventure with plenty of cool Scandinavian culture in Norway's largest city. Explore the capital's museums, modern architecture, and New Nordic cuisine on your own before you meet up with a local guide for a private tour of the city.
The middle portion of this itinerary, much like the option above, takes you by scenic train to the village Flåm on the Sognefjord, Norway's longest and deepest fjord, one of a thousand along the coast. But instead of staying in Aurland (on the Aurlandsfjord), you'll ferry to the village of Balestrand, known for its 19th-century architecture. Based here for three nights, your day-trips include a guided kayaking tour and a ferry through the Fjærlandsfjord, a branch going north off the Sognefjord towards the village of Fjærland, known for charming bookstores and a world-class glacier museum. Speaking of, keep an eye out for the largest glacier in continental Europe, called Jostedalsbreen.
From Balestrand, you'll take another ferry to get to Flåm and then connect to the ferry going to Bergen—in other words, this is a great option for those who love to be out on the water! When you arrive, your last two nights will be based in Norway's historic Hanseatic wharf city, which stays young and fun with a large student population.
Itinerary #3: Arctic Norway Summer Road Trip
|Day 1||Arrive in Tromsø||Tromsø|
|Day 2||Explore Tromsø in Summer||Tromsø|
|Day 3||Drive from Tromsø to Senja via Nordkjosbotn||Senja|
|Day 4||Hiking in Senja||Senja|
|Day 5||Scenic Drive Around Senja||Senja|
|Day 6||Explore Sommarøy, Senja to Tromsø||Tromsø|
|Day 7||Depart Tromsø|
This road trip itinerary takes you through some of northern Norway's most intriguing Arctic sites. You'll start in the city of Tromsø, home to 65,000 inhabitants. Many of those are students, which helps give the city its lively film and music culture. You'll get a full day to explore the city, whether that's via cable car, walking tour, or kayak.
Your trip continues to Senja, your base for the next three nights. This island's diversity of landscapes offers you plenty of potential activities, whether you're looking for beach, mountain, or forest. Hike the extensive network of trails, including the rewarding and scenic gradual ascent up Husfjell, for views of Ersfjorden, Steinfjorden, and the Okshornan mountain range. Then hop in your car for a drive along the island's dramatic National Tourist Route, visiting the fishing community on windy Husøy Island, lounging on the white sands of Ersfjordstranda beach, and taking in the views from the Tungeneset and Bergsbotn viewpoints.
On your way back to Tromsø, you'll head to Sommarøy, the Summer Island. While it started as a summer grazing spot for cattle, it's now a spot for herring fishing and processing for its human inhabitants. Explore its surrounding waters on a kayak tour or sea safari and see if you can spot the local white-tailed eagles, otters, porpoises, and puffins. Spend your final night back in the restaurants and pubs of Tromsø before you head home.
Itinerary #4: Tromsø & Alta Winter Adventure
|Day 1||Arrive in Tromsø||Tromsø|
|Day 2||Explore Tromsø & Chase the Northern Lights||Tromsø|
|Day 3||Silent Whale Watching||Tromsø|
|Day 4||Drive to Alta & Explore||Alta|
|Day 5||Dogsledding & Northern Lights||Alta|
|Day 6||Winter Activities in Alta||Alta|
|Day 7||Depart Norway|
Set out to see the famous Northern Lights on this Arctic itinerary. The first half of your trip takes place in Tromsø, where you'll find a bustling cultural scene amidst the mountains. Explore the city on a guided walking tour by day, then set out away from the city to see if you can find the Aurora and enjoy a bonfire. You'll also venture into the fjords surrounding the city on a silent whale-watching tour, looking for orcas and humpbacks aboard a hybrid boat to cause minimal disturbance to these majestic creatures.
Keep the quest going in Alta, a small town at the top of the Altafjord. The Alta Museum is home to Northern Europe’s largest concentration of hunter-gatherer rock art, with carvings and rock paintings that date back thousands of years. Hop on a dogsled, strap on a pair of skis or snowshoes, or zoom along on a snowmobile. As it gets late, settle in to your lavvu in the wilderness to look for the Northern Lights out of floor-to-ceiling windows.
Itinerary #5: Southern Norway's Fjord Coast
|Day 1||Arrive to Bergen||Bergen|
|Day 2||Bergen - Ferry to Kalvåg||Kalvåg|
|Day 3||Explore Kalvåg||Kalvåg|
|Day 4||Island Hopping to Værlandet||Værlandet|
|Day 5||Explore Wild Værlandet - Florø||Florø|
|Day 6||Florø - Bus to Balestrand||Balestrand|
|Day 7||Balestrand - Ferry to Bergen||Bergen|
|Day 8||Depart Bergen|
Set aside a week for this itinerary to see some of Norway’s rugged west coast and you will come away with a newfound appreciation for the power of nature.
After arriving in Bergen, you’ll have the chance to take in the views from two high points—Skredderdalen and Fløyvarden—that are local favorites few visitors know about. A half a day's journey from Bergen, the tiny, charming fishing village of Kalvåg is one of Norway’s westernmost points. The nearby Vamråk Herring Saltery and Smørholm Trading Center provide a glimpse into two industries that made the town a commercial center in the 19th century. The Artist’s Trail is also a thrill, showing the works of local artists in the natural landscape. You can choose to go kayaking, diving, or hike up majestic Hornelen with its cliff lookout over the sea.
If you’re itching to get even further away from the world, Værlandet is your ticket—a tiny island that’s big on wild scenery. You can explore the island by bike, or join a guided wildlife tour to spot an amazing array of birds, including white-tailed eagles. A network of photogenic bridges known as the Nordsjøporten (North Sea Portal) connect this string of islands, or you can go by boat.
The last couple of days you can take the long way back, stopping over at the fjord village of Balestrand and perhaps taking a ride on the famed Flåm railway from Myrdal down to the village of Flåm. Then savor one last day in Bergen to catch up on all you might have missed, like the colorful waterfront or the busy fish market.
Itinerary #6: Western Norway Fjord Road Trip
|Day 1||Arrive to Bergen||Bergen|
|Day 2||Explore Bergen with a Local||Bergen|
|Day 3||Drive to Undredal -> Aurland||Aurland|
|Day 4||Drive to Flåm -> Cycling Trip||Aurland|
|Day 5||Drive to Borgund -> Skei||Skei|
|Day 6||Drive to Geiranger -> Fjordcruise||Geiranger|
|Day 7||Drive to Ålesund||Ålesund|
|Day 8||Depart Ålesund|
This gorgeous west coast road-trip itinerary allows you the freedom to drive at your own pace and stop as you please. And with overnights in five distinct places, this option is ideal for those who like to be on the move with a mix of small city culture and jaw-dropping rural landscapes.
The self-drive route takes you through charming villages including Undredal, Aurland, Flåm, Borgund, and Skei. It's not all about sitting in a car though—you'll have opportunities to park the wheels and travel by train, foot, bicycle, and boat. For instance, one day-trip takes you on one of the most scenic trains in the world to Myrdal so you can cycle back down to Flåm. On another day, you'll park the car in Geiranger and take a fjord cruise in the deep blue UNESCO-protected Geirangerfjord to the village of Hellesylt.
This trip also appeals to those who want to experience the culture and history of Bergen and Ålesund—two of Norway's most attractive cities, given the architecture, surrounding mountains, and coastal views. You'll get to spend a half-day exploring Bergen with a local guide, while your last few days of the trip offer the chance to explore Ålesund's stylish restaurants and bars.
Itinerary #7: Norwegian Viking Heritage Tour
|Day 1||Arrive in Bergen||Bergen|
|Day 2||Bergen Viking Heritage Walk||Bergen|
|Day 3||Bergen to Gulen & Gulating Ancient Meeting Ground||Gulen|
|Day 4||Gulen to Svanøy & Explore Svanøy||Svanøy|
|Day 5||Viking History of Svanøy & Svanøy to Lusterfjorden||Lusterfjorden|
|Day 6||Stave Church Heritage Tour & Lusterfjorden to Gudvangen||Gudvangen|
|Day 7||Viking Valley & Depart Bergen|
If all you know about Vikings involves horned helmets and pillaged villages, it's time for you to embark on this itinerary. The Vikings had a complex civilization and—in addition to some pillaging—traveled in search of trade and knowledge. Your trip starts in the seafaring city of Bergen, where you can take in the many museums or ride up the Mount Fløyen funicular. You'll follow a guide through the city's streets and learn about its past as Bjørgvin, featured in the classic Norwegian saga of Heimskringla, also known as Norske Kongesoger (Norwegian King sagas), by Snorre Sturlason.
Leave Bergen and get on the road. Your first stop is the Gulating, which was once an ancient court of law and political assembly, as well as a gathering place for trade and information. From there, take the ferry to Svanøy island. While the island is a scene of peaceful rural Norwegian life today, in Viking times it was the birthplace of Eirik Bloodaxe. Take a Viking history tour of the island to learn about this historical figure as well as boat building, the christening of Norway, and over 1,000 years of Norwegian history.
Continue to Lusterfjorden and the Sognefjord region, also once a popular seaport, and visit the Urnes Stave Church, which is still standing today as it was in 1130. Head to the UNESCO-listed Nærøyfjord and neighboring Flåm and Gudvangen, where you'll dine Viking-style at a Norse microbrewery and explore the Njardarheimr Viking Valley, a recreation of a Viking village, before you return to Bergen for your departure.