You'll be at the helm of this unique Norwegian adventure, as you make your way through some of Scandinavia's most spectacular natural landscapes with stops in the country's two biggest cities. It starts with a train ride from Oslo that connects to a three-day trek in the Aurlandsdalen Valley, or what is known as the Grand Canyon of Norway, where you'll stay in cozy mountain lodges with fellow trekkers. From here, ferry to Bergen via the Sognefjord and grab a rental car as you make your way to coastal villages and mountain towns on your way back to Oslo.

Highlights

    • Stay three nights in mountain lodges that serve meals
    • Trek past views of rivers, fjords, and national parks
    • Tour the hilly city of Bergen with a local private guide
    • Drive up the coast for fresh seafood and art galleries
    • Check out the Nordfjord near the largest glacier on mainland Europe

Overview

Since you won't have a car until the latter part of the trip, this gives you a chance to ride the Bergen Railway to Finse — the highest stop on this scenic train ride — which takes around 4 hours, leaving you to walk to your first lodge in the peaceful Aurlandsdalen (a warm-up for what's to come). From here, you'll spend the next three days hiking through the valley until you get to to the Aurlandsfjord, where you will connect to a ferry to Norway's second largest city.

In Bergen, you'll have two nights to explore this historic Hanseatic wharf city, which stays young and fun with a large student population. Then hit the road. Drive north to Kalvåg, an old fishing village as beautiful as it is historic. Spend time kayaking the port, or take another hike up to the top of Hornelen, the tallest sea cliff in Europe. Before heading back to Oslo, stop in Otta for a night for one last hike around the fjords, or take a detour to Jotunheimen National Park. 

Spectacular vistas aside, this trip includes plenty of cool Scandinavian culture in Norway's capital city. You'll start and end the trip with free time to explore Oslo's museums, modern architecture, and New Nordic cuisine. 

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Oslo  Oslo
Day 2 Oslo - Train to Haugastøl Mountain Lodge
Day 3 Train to Finse - Hike to Geiteryggshytta Mountain Lodge
Day 4 Hike to Østerbø Mountain Lodge
Day 5 Hike to Vassbygdi - Ferry to Bergen Bergen
Day 6 Explore Bergen with a Local Bergen
Day 7 Bergen - Drive to Kalvåg Kalvåg
Day 8 Kalvåg - Drive to Otta Otta
Day 8 Otta - Drive to Oslo Oslo
Day 8 Depart Oslo  

Day 1: Arrive in Oslo

Oslo's up-and-coming neighborhood. 

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. 

Day 2: Oslo - Train to Haugastøl

The Rallarvegen path is only available for hikers and trekkers.

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 dinner on-site before you go to bed.

Day 3: Train to Finse - Hike to Geiteryggshytta

Follow the well-marked path that crosses rivers and streams.

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.

Hike Duration: 11 miles

Day 4: Hike to Østerbø

Views as you enter 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 three-course dinner.

Hike Duration: 12.5 miles

Day 5: Hike to Vassbygdi - Ferry to Bergen

The hike ends near the Aurlandsfjord, a branch of the Sognefjord.

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 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.

From Vassbygdi, take a local bus to Aurland and catch a 5.5-hour ferry to Bergen. You'll arrive in the evening and stay overnight in Bergen's city center. 

Hike Duration: 12.5 miles

Day 6: Explore Bergen with a Local

Climb Bergen's hills for the best views of town.

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 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! 

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 7: Bergen - Drive to Kalvåg

Pretty landscapes as you head north to the coastal village.

After breakfast, pick up your rental car and start the drive north to Kalvåg. This is an old fishing community on the North Sea with a unique coastal culture. You'll discover numerous fishing huts within walking distance around the small bay. This evening's dinner will be one to remember, as locals pride themselves on serving fresh seafood straight from their own nets.

If you have time before dinner, consider the following:

Vamråk Herring Saltery: Get an exciting glimpse into how the fishing industry has evolved from the 1800s to today. Guided tours are available.

Smørholm Trading Center: Dating back to its heyday in the 1600s, this trading center was an important place for travelers, fishermen, and locals passing between Nordfjord and Bergen. Many of the original houses are still standing.

Art Galleries: Kalvåg is an artist community and has art exhibitions all year round, so poke around town. For instance, Galleri Frøya opened in the summer of 2003 and artworks include pictures and sculptures made from wool. Kalvåg is also home to permanent art exhibitions throughout much of the summer. 

Sea Kayaking: A relaxing activity, trips are available for both beginners and experienced kayakers. Take either a three-hour tour or up to a full-day trip that heads into a deserted island at the mouth of a fjord. 

Trek Hornelen: Hit the trail and climb the tallest sea cliff in Northern Europe. 

Driving Distance: 194 miles

Day 8: Kalvåg - Drive to Otta

Drive along the Nordfjord and look for wildflowers.

Today, after breakfast at your hotel, you will leave the coastal area of Kalvåg and drive inland to a more mountainous area near Otta. This will be a beautiful day of driving as you make your way up and down along fjords until you start climbing upwards towards the mountain plateau. Take your time and stop for photographs as often as you please! 

When you reach the village of Otta, you'll stop for the night. Spend the afternoon taking a short hike in the area or relaxing at the hotel with a view. You will see a dramatic change in landscape from where you have stayed the past few days.

Driving Distance: 195 miles

Day 9: Otta - Drive to Oslo

Grünerløkka's street art. 

After breakfast at your hotel, take your time and enjoy a four-hour drive to Oslo. It is nice to take your time and enjoy the mountain fresh air, stopping for lunch along the way!

When you get to Oslo, spend the rest of the afternoon enjoying Oslo's lively waterfront and historic center!

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, street art, and hip restaurants. 

Driving Distance: 178 miles

Day 10: Depart Oslo

Oslo's bustling city center.

It's time to say farewell to Norway! Enjoy your last few hours walking around Oslo's neighborhoods, relaxing in a café, or visiting local boutiques for one-of-a-kind souvenirs.

Map

Map of Nordic Self-Guided Trek & Road Trip - 10 Days
Map of Nordic Self-Guided Trek & Road Trip - 10 Days