- Get up close to Norway's prettiest waterfalls in Husedalen Valley and Eidfjord
- Hike and bike to your heart's content in three distinct national parks
- Take a guided kayaking tour in the country's longest and deepest fjord
- Stay overnight in charming towns and experience a taste of local life
Outdoor enthusiasts who prefer to be at the helm will love this two-week adventure through spectacular coastal and inland regions of Norway. Upon arrival, you'll pick up your car in Bergen and make your way east along the Hardangerfjord towards the adventure hub of Ullensvang for several days of hiking and biking. After overnight stops in Haugastøl and Lom, head west towards Norway's longest and deepest fjord before driving through a peaceful road known for waterfall sightings. You'll return the car in Bergen and spend your last few days enjoying this historic wharf city by foot.
While Norway is a year-round destination, June, July, and August make up the country's high season with long days of sunshine and bright summer evenings (and safe weather conditions for driving). Active locals and visitors take every opportunity to spend time outdoors during these months, so when not enjoying the scenery on your own, you'll be in good company. Consider traveling in late spring or early fall for fewer crowds.
|Day 1||Arrive in Bergen - Drive to Ullensvang (Hardanger National Scenic Route)||Ullensvang|
|Day 2||Hiking in the Hardangerfjord||Ullensvang|
|Day 3||Drive to Haugastøl (Hardingervidda National Scenic Route)||Haugastøl|
|Day 4||Explore the Hardangervidda National Park||Haugastøl|
|Day 5||Explore Hallingskarvet National Park||Haugastøl|
|Day 6||Drive to Lom (Valdresflye National Scenic Route)||Lom|
|Day 7||Explore Lom||Lom|
|Day 8||Drive to Sogndal (Sognefjellet National Scenic Route)||Sogndal|
|Day 9||Kayaking in the Sognefjord||Sogndal|
|Day 10||Explore Fjaerland and Solvorn||Sogndal|
|Day 11||Drive to Bergen (Gaularfjellet National Scenic Route)||Bergen|
|Day 12||Explore Bergen with a Local||Bergen|
|Day 13||Bergen Free Day||Bergen|
|Day 14||Depart Bergen|
Day 1: Arrive to Bergen - Drive to Ullensvang (Hardanger National Scenic Route)
Welcome to Norway!
Upon arrival in Bergen, you'll pick up a rental car and start driving towards the Hardangerfjord where you'll spend the first two nights of the trip. This is the 2nd longest fjord in Norway — over 100 miles — from the Atlantic Ocean all the way to Norway's dramatic Hardangervidda plateau.
There are a few routes to get to Ullensvang, but the most scenic is taking the Fv7 road to the Rv13, passing through postcard mountains, orchards, and charming villages like Utne, Kinsarvik, and Lofthus. Look for fruit stands along the way in late summer, as this has been a farming industry hub since the 14th century. In other words, this transportation link goes back a long way.
A good place to stop for lunch is the Kompaen Bistro and Café in Lofthus for an assortment of sandwiches and gourmet takeaway items.
If you'd like, you can keep driving along the Hardangerfjord until you get to the mountain town of Odda. This is the base for adventurists who are hiking in the region, and for those interested in glaciers, waterfalls, and fjords. Check out urban coffee shops and unique restaurants in and around Odda, like the Floating Bear and Tjødnadalen, where you can experience organic dining at a working farm.
Driving time: 2-3 hours
Driving distance: 94 miles (152 km)
Day 2: Hiking in the Hardangerfjord
After breakfast in Ullensvang, set out and explore the Hardangerfjord. There are more beautiful drives in the area, small villages, and plenty of hiking opportunities.
For a moderate route, the trail through Husedalen Valley is considered one of the most beautiful hikes in Norway. The scenery is jaw-dropping with four distinct waterfalls: Tveitafossen, Nykkjesøyfossen, Nyastølsfossen, and Søtefossen. The entire trail visiting all the waterfalls (and return) takes 5-6 hours. For a shorter and easier hike (though fewer waterfalls), Hardanger Fossasti starts in the center of Kinsarvik.
While in Kinsarvik, visit one of the oldest churches in Norway (circa 12th century) — a stone structure featuring Romanesque architecture and Norman arches.
For those who want a serious hike, take a full-day trip to Trolltunga from Skeggedal — 10 miles (17 km) outside of Odda. (Guided tours are recommended as this is a challenging hike that requires wind- and waterproof clothing and enough food and water for the day.) The views from here are spectacular and are among the most photographed in all of Norway.
Day 3: Drive to Haugastøl (Hardingervidda National Scenic Route)
After breakfast in Ullensvang, make a relaxing journey towards Haugastøl where you will stay within close proximity to two national parks: Hallingskarvet and Hardangervidda. This is an area well-known for its hiking and mountain biking trails, as well as whitewater rafting, fishing, and horseback riding.
This scenic route is a path that has been used for hundreds of years and crosses the biggest mountain plateau in Northern Europe. Here you will see the original cart tracks from centuries ago, dramatic mountains, lush valleys, fjords, and glaciers in the distance. The Hardangervidda also boasts one of the largest populations of wild reindeer in Europe, so keep your camera close.
Along the drive, stop in the village of Eidfjord and visit Vøringfossen waterfall. This is an easy 30-minute hike up to one of the most spectacular waterfalls in all of Norway, and well worth the trip, especially with its rare and beautiful flora. Once you’ve reached the high mountain plateau, you will experience a stunning panorama with the Hardangerjøkulen glacier in the background.
Other suggested activities in the area include:
The Kjeåsen Mountain Farm: Up until 1974, this farm — located high above the fjord — was not reachable by road, highlighting the determination and hard work of the owners who ran it for centuries. Thanks to the car tunnel, one can drive up just to enjoy the view, or groups can book a visit at Bjørg Wiik’s courtyard.
Hardangervidda Nature Center: This exciting indoor experience combines three floors of exhibits on Norwegian nature, climate, and the environment. In the cinema, you can see the panoramic film "Fjord—Mountain—Waterfall", with a helicopter flight through fjords, high mountains, canyons, and waterfalls. Adjacent to the center is the Hardangerviddahallen Restaurant serving a mix of traditional dishes and modern cuisine for lunch.
Driving time: 1-2 hours
Driving distance: 60 miles (96.1 km)
Day 4: Explore the Hardangervidda National Park
Today, after breakfast, you'll have a free day in the Hardangervidda area. This is Norway's largest national park and you could walk for days amongst a network of marked trails. Hiking season starts at the end of June and lasts until snow falls (usually October).
In the late afternoon, you should consider checking out some local towns in the area. There are several notable places that can easily be reached by car, like Dagali, Ustaoset, and Hol, as well as Geilo, the area's main shopping and dining center.
Day 5: Explore Hallingskarvet National Park
Today, you can take the opportunity to visit the area's other national park: Hallingskarvet.
Like Hardanervidda, there are several hiking trails for every age and fitness level — some that are 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 a bigger adrenaline rush, there are also dozens of bike trails ranging in length and difficulty. A good place to start is by renting a bike from Haugastøl Turistsenter in Haugastøl — Norway's largest provider of rental bikes for all ages and sizes. The friendly staff will provide everything you need for a day of biking including protective gear, tutorials, and area maps.
Customize your trip with help from a local travel specialist.
Day 6: Drive to Lom (Valdresflye National Scenic Route)
After breakfast in Haugastøl, you'll make the drive to the village of Lom along the Valdresfly National Scenic Route.
Enjoy this open and serene landscape as you come across endless vistas with excellent views towards the Jotunheimen National Park. The journey also passes through summer farms in the mountain pastures where you will have the opportunity to buy fresh produce, butter, and cheese.
You can make a stop almost anywhere for short hikes in the mountains. The areas of Bygdin and Gjende are important starting points for magnificent mountain hiking in Jotunheimen, while Gravolskampen is recommended for an easy hike. The terrain here is mostly flat with a few small hills. If you are looking for a longer 3-4 hour route, start at Garli (parking fee) and hike via Grønekinnkampen to Gravolskampen and around Gravolstjernet back to Garli.
Driving time: 5 hours
Driving distance: 181 miles (292 km)
Day 7: Explore Lom
Wake up with breakfast in the beautiful town of Lom and choose how you want to spend your day.
If you want to relax in Lom, head for the village's beautiful rushing river and famous Stave church constructed in 1170. This delightful Norman-style design sits in the center of town near the water and is one of Norway's finest. Entry to the grounds, free of charge, is open all year-round. Make sure to come back at night and see the church when its lit in a wonderful glow.
There's also a museum with a collection of 19th-century farm buildings and an old hut where St. Olav is said to have stayed.
If you're up for a for a hike, Jotunheimen National Park, 'Home of the Giants', is about 45 minutes by car from Lom. This largely undisturbed mountain area in Eastern Norway covers an area of more than 2,100 miles. The mountain range is Norway’s most popular national park and includes the country’s two highest mountains Galdhøpiggen and Glittertind, as well as rivers, valleys, lakes, waterfalls, and more than 60 glaciers.
In fact, the area has the largest concentration of mountains (more than 275 summits) higher than 6,000 feet in Northern Europe and offers some of the most scenic hiking on the continent ranging from short strolls to difficult treks led by a private guide (optional).
When you're done at the park, visit the area's local farms. Jotunheimen has a long culinary tradition and some popular local produce include herbs, cured meat, sausages, cheese, jam, and bread.
For a dinner treat, consider dining at Brimiland — one of Norway's best restaurants in a beautiful mountain setting near Lom.
Day 8: Drive to Sogndal (Sognefjellet National Scenic Route)
This morning, you'll make the 5-hour drive to Sogndal, located on the northern shore of the Sognefjord. Before you hit the road, make sure to visit Norway's most famous bakery, called Bakeriet I Lom, and stock up on goodies for the drive.
This National Scenic Route called Sognefjellet includes Northen Europe's highest mountain pass at 4700 feet (1434 m). This path was also an important trading route linking the coast to the inland areas for items like salt, fish, butter, and leather.
From the starting point in Lom, your expectations will only increase as you find yourself surrounded by towering mountains. Make your way up the summit with the option to stop at various viewpoints and soak in the beauty of the natural surroundings.
Stop at Mefjellet to see Knut Wold’s stone sculpture and unique views of the mountain landscape. Continue downhill towards the Sognefjord, and watch the landscape change again when the Hurrungane massif towers up to the sky. You'll eventually head towards the final point on this stretch reaching the beautiful Sognefjord — Norway's longest and deepest fjord — with water that changes color from green to blue depending on the sky.
Driving time: 4-5 hours
Driving distance: 179 miles (180 km)
Day 9: Kayaking in the Sognefjord
After breakfast at your hotel, head to the waterfront to meet your guide for a kayaking tour in the Sognefjord. Kayaking is one of the best ways to absorb the natural beauty of these stunning mountains, which rise against the crystal-clear sea. After some basic instruction on how to paddle your vessel, set out with your group while an experienced guide teaches you about the culture and history of the fjord and surrounding towns.
After the tour, sit on the terrace and have lunch at Kafe Krydder for an array of salads, sandwiches, paninis, and afternoon cakes. When you're done, take the rest of the day to enjoy the beautiful village of Sogndal. This is a natural starting point for both indoor and outdoor activities including museums, stave churches, the Flåm Railway, hiking trails, and fjord cruises.
Day 10: Explore Fjaerland and Solvorn
Today, you'll have the freedom to spend the day as you please, perhaps driving to cultural towns around the Sognefjord.
A good place to start is by visiting Fjærland's village center, called Mundal. This is where you can explore the Norwegian Booktown, which consists of several second-hand bookshops, some that are combined with cafés, art galleries, and souvenir shops located in old farmhouses and sheds.
Also not to miss is the Norwegian Glacier Museum, an award-winning architectural marvel situated at the head of the Fjærlandsfjord. This hands-on museum is the leading center in Norway for knowledge regarding glaciers and climate change.
From Fjærland, you can head eastward toward the idyllic village of Solvorn. Take a scenic 35-minute ferry across the Lusterfjord to Urnes and its wooden church built in the 12th century. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, this Romanesque structure (and Norway's oldest place of worship) is an outstanding example of traditional Scandinavian wooden architecture, bringing together traces of Celtic art and Viking traditions. Your ticket will include a fascinating 45-minute guided tour.
Stop for a coffee break in Urnes, then return to Solvorn on the ferry and drive back to Sogndal.
Day 11: Drive to Bergen (Gaularfjellet National Scenic Route)
After breakfast in Sogndal, you'll you'll make the 5-hour drive to Bergen along the Gaularfjellet National Scenic Route.
This slow, winding road is truly a special hidden gem. It opened in 1938 as a key transportation route in the area, while today it remains a peaceful alternative to newer, faster roads that get most of the traffic. Enjoy the serene mountains, waterfalls, and rushing rapids (trout fishing is big here) with various stopping points where you can get out and enjoy the views. In fact, take the 15-mile (25 km) waterfall path from Nystølen to Eldal, and make sure to walk the bridge over the Likholefossen waterfall.
Your last stop of the trip will be Bergen, one of the oldest port cities in Europe. The cobblestoned streets are compact and walkable, so get out and explore its lively restaurants and nightlife, thanks in part to a young student population.
Driving time: 4-5 hours
Driving distance: 173 miles (279 km)
Day 12: Explore Bergen with a Local
After breakfast, meet up with a local for a custom private tour of Bergen. Your guide, who was born and raised in Bergen, will find the right tour for you based on your interests. Here are a few walk or hike 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 nearly 1,000 steps built by sherpas from Nepal. This trail is home to the steepest race in the world and features spectacular views from the top!
Hike Three of Seven Mountains (5-7 hours): On this longer hiking trip, you will have the opportunity to climb three of the seven mountains surrounding Bergen: Mt. Ulriken, Mt. Rundemannen, and Mt. Fløyen. Lunch will be served at a scenic spot along the trail along with the Norwegian treat “Kvikk Lunsj”, plus coffee or tea.
The rest of the day is yours to continue exploring the city on your own. If you get a 24-Hour Bergen Card, that will allow you free bus travel and free admittance to most museums (as well as other attractions), so take advantage!
Day 13: Bergen Free Day
After breakfast, you'll have the entire day to explore Bergen on your own.
Be sure to take the Fløibanen funicular (or get exercise by hiking along the trail) to the top of Mount Fløyen — one of Bergen's seven peaks — for the best views of the city, and take a leisurely stroll back down the path while discovering hidden troll sculptures along the way.
Also check out the Bryggen area of downtown to view old wooden houses dating back to the 1700s (a protected UNESCO World Heritage Site), along with Bergen's best historical sites and museums. For a rest, stop in one of the charming local cafés and bakeries.
Bergen has more to offer travelers who want a truly local experience. Here are a few suggested day tours and activities that can be arranged with local guides:
- Boat to Mostraumen: This day-trip departs from Bergen's port and takes you through a deep fjord to Modalen, which is one of the smallest municipalities in Norway with about 380 residents! You will sail along Osterfjorden and pass steep mountains and spectacular waterfalls.
- Mt. Ulriken Zip Line: This fun zip line adventure through hilly forests is located close to the city center.
Day 14: 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.