This active adventure kicks off in Oslo where you'll explore Norway's capital on your own and with a guide, followed by a train ride to the starting point for a multi-day trek. Once you reach the Aurland Valley (by foot), you'll ferry to Bergen's lively wharf surrounded by fjords and mountains. Finish with additional boat transfers to a lesser-known—and bike-friendly—archipelago, known for authentic island culture.

Highlights

  • Hike on well-marked, self-guided trails while staying in comfortable cabins
  • End the trek in the Aurland Valley with a rewarding three-course meal
  • Ferry to Bergen to explore a UNESCO site and a student-fueled nightlife
  • Spend a day sea kayaking and visiting art galleries in a preserved fishing town
  • Start the trip in Europe’s fastest-growing capital with great dining and culture

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Oslo Oslo
Day 2 Explore Oslo with a Local Oslo
Day 3 Oslo - Train to Haugastøl Haugastøl
Day 4 Train to Finse - Hike to Geiteryggshytta Geiteryggshytta
Day 5 Hike to Østerbø Østerbø
Day 6 Hike to Vassbygdi - Transfer to Aurland Aurland
Day 7 Aurland - Ferry to Bergen Bergen
Day 8 Explore Bergen with a Local Bergen
Day 9 Express Boat to Askvoll - Ferry to Værlandet Værlandet
Day 10 Self-Guided Bike Tour in Værlandet Værlandet
Day 11 Ferry from Værlandet to Bergen - Depart Norway  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Oslo

Akrobaten pedestrian bridge in downtown Oslo
Akrobaten pedestrian bridge in downtown 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

Get to know more of Oslo on a half- or full-day tour
Get to know more of Oslo on a half- or full-day tour

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: Oslo - Train to Haugastøl

Trail along the Rallarvegen
A non-motorized road along the Rallarvegen

Today, after breakfast, you'll have the morning to explore more of Oslo before you head to the train station for a four-hour ride to Haugastøl—close to the highest and most mountainous point on the Bergen Railway between Norway's two biggest cities.

It's easy to get to your first trekking lodge by foot along the Rallarvegen. This route is a cultural and historical monument with scenery that spans from tall mountains and glaciers to lush valleys and fjord views. In fact, Haugastøl is located in the middle of national parks and protected areas, and it's a wonderful starting point for treks and biking. 

When you arrive, take in the quiet wilderness and enjoy a relaxing dinner on-site before you go to bed.

Day 4: Train to Finse - Hike to Geiteryggshytta

Views of Norway's rugged interior
An autumn view of Norway's rugged interior

Today, you'll spend time in the morning at the lodge having breakfast and preparing a packed lunch before getting ready for your first day of hiking. 

To begin the day's adventure, you'll walk back to the train and take it one stop to Finse. You'll find the track and start your self-guided hike, which takes about five hours to complete. You will have great views of Gausta, Hardangerjøkulen glacier, and parts of Jotunheimen National Park along this route.

In the afternoon, take a break and enjoy your packed lunch when you find a beautiful spot, which can be difficult as there are many to choose from!

You'll arrive at the Geiteryggshytta trekking lodge in the mid-afternoon where you'll stay overnight with other hikers. Enjoy the surroundings and a three-course dinner in the evening.

Day 5: Hike to Østerbø

Make your way to the Aurland Valley
Initial views of the Aurland Valley

This morning, eat well at breakfast with your fellow hikers at the lodge. Pack your lunch for the second day and get started on the trail.

Today's route will take about six to seven hours but it will be mostly downhill. The path descends diagonally along the mountain to Steinbergdalen and you'll continue until you pass the Grøna River bridge. You'll eventually reach the start of the beautiful Aurland Valley.

When you get to the trekking lodge in the afternoon, relax your legs and enjoy a home-cooked dinner.

Day 6: Hike to Vassbygdi - Transfer to Aurland

Historic stopping points along today's route

Wake up and have breakfast with your fellow hikers—this is the last day your last day of the trek! Pack your lunch for the day and get started on the trail, which will take about six hours. 

You will continue to make your way through the wild and beautiful Aurland Valley, known as one of the most beautiful hiking areas in Norway. Along the path, you will experience untouched nature combined with several notable stopping points as it passes through old cemeteries, wooden bridges, tiny farms, and steep descents assisted by handrails and steps. At Tirtesva, you can choose the newly restored upper route, giving you an even more spectacular view than the path following the river.

When you arrive in Vassbydi, you will take a local bus to Aurland (along the Aurlandsfjord) to spend the night in a lodge surrounded by beautiful scenery. 

Day 7: Aurland - Ferry to Bergen

Ferry through the Sognefjord
Ferry through the Sognefjord

Today, you can spend the morning as you like in Aurland, perhaps with some much-deserved relaxation following your trek. For some incredible views, head up to the Stegastein Viewpoint overlooking the dramatic Aurlandsfjord, a branch of the Sognefjord—Norway's longest and deepest fjord. 

At the designated time, you'll be dropped off at the port to travel to by ferry (about four hours) to get to Bergen via the aforementioned fjord. 

Bergen's cobblestoned center (one of the oldest ports in Europe) is rich in culture and seafaring history. This walkable city boasts a vast selection of cultural and outdoorsy activities, not to mention lively restaurants and nightlife thanks in part to a young student population.

Also make sure to check out the Bryggen area of downtown to view the waterfront wooden houses that characterize the city, dating back to the 1700s (a protected UNESCO World Heritage Site).

Day 8: Explore Bergen with a Local

Hilly, cobblestone streets ooze with charm
Hilly, cobblestone streets ooze with charm

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 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.
  • Explore Bergen's Parks & Architecture (3 hours): This easy walking tour visits notable exteriors and city parks starting with the largest church in Bergen: St. Johannes. From there, you will walk through the botanic garden and onwards to Bergen's largest and most beautiful park: Nygårdsparken. You'll then walk through the city's narrow streets lined with traditional Bryggen houses and eventually visit Nordnes, another great park. Your guide will share stories of life in Bergen, as well as offer lesser-known activity and restaurant recommendations not frequented by tourists. 
  • 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!

  • Evening Segway Tour (2 hours): This fun guided excursion travels all over Bergen on two-wheeled motorized personal vehicles. You'll visit a number of key stops, including the top of Mount Fløyen for a beautiful sunset view.

The rest of the day is yours to continue exploring the city on your own. If you purchase 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 9: Express Boat to Askvoll - Ferry to Værlandet

Your hotel in Værlandet
Your hotel in Værlandet

After breakfast in Bergen, you will head to the pier to take an express boat (about 3 hours) to get to Askvoll

When you arrive, you will connect to an even more local ferry to Værlandet—a beautiful and unique archipelago and the perfect place to absorb Norway's island culture. With only a few hundred residents, fishing and fish farming are still the most important industries here, but Værlandet is also famous for its greenstone breccia rock formations.

A good place to start is by following the signposted walk to Klettane where you'll pass a collection of picturesque small houses in Værøyhamna harbor. You can also make a dinner stop at Værlandet Guestharbour with a café and pub. Or simply unwind and take in the views from your room where endless horizons await.

Day 10: Self-Guided Bike Tour in Værlandet

Check out the island's attractions by bicyle
Check out the island's attractions by bicyle

Today, you'll set off on two wheels to sample the best of what Værlandet has to offer. A few suggestions include:

  • Visit the Nordsjøporten (North Sea portal)—a network of six bridges connecting the area's small islands like a string of pearls.

  • Check out the Norwegian Seabird Center, which illustrates the close ties between humans and seabirds along Norway's coast.

  • Steel your nerves and your legs with coffee and cake at Gallery Værlandet.

  • Join a guided Sealife Safari to spot white-tailed eagles, sea eagles, and other seabirds and aquatic animals. Alternatively, the nearby island of Sørværet's nature reserve protects a unique wetland home to a wide range of birds and marine life.

Day 11: Ferry from Værlandet to Bergen - Depart Norway

Snag lunch in between your ferry and flight
Snag lunch in between your ferry and flight

After breakfast in Værlandet today, you will take the ferry back to Askvoll and then connect to an express boat back to Bergen arriving midday. Stop and have lunch in Bergen (if time allows) before you transfer to the airport for your departure. Safe travels! 

Map

Map of Nordic Self-Guided Trek & Island Tour - 11 Days
Map of Nordic Self-Guided Trek & Island Tour - 11 Days