- Discover the fast-growing & lively capital of Oslo
- Hike the famous heights of Pulpit Rock
- Explore Bergen's historic waterfront
- Sail past steep mountains & waterfalls on the Hardangerfjord
|Day 1||Arrive in Oslo||Oslo|
|Day 2||Explore Oslo's Hidden Gems with a Local Expert||Oslo|
|Day 3||Oslo - Train to Stavanger||Stavanger|
|Day 4||Hike Preikestolen||Stavanger|
|Day 5||Stavanger -> Ferry to Bergen||Bergen|
|Day 6||Bergen City Tour||Bergen|
|Day 7||Fjordcruise to Hardangerfjord||Bergen|
|Day 8||Depart Bergen|
Day 1: Arrive in 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's Hidden Gems with a Local Expert
Today you'll embark on an excursion to get to know the real Oslo in the most authentic way possible: with a local expert guide. And there's quite a bit to see in a relatively small space (it takes a mere 30 minutes to travel from one end of Oslo to the other by metro.) The city is known for its rich history and museums, some of which celebrate the macabre works of the Norwegian expressionist painter Edvard Munch. Others recount fascinating maritime history in the form of stunning Viking-era ships, while a few highlight music and even ski history.
Your guide will tailor the experience to your preferences and interests, or you can defer to their expertise as they lead you around the city on an impromptu adventure. Visit the sites mentioned above as well as strolling the cobbled streets of Damstredet in central Oslo. This historic road is lined with well-preserved wooden houses dating back to the late 18th century. A walk along the Akerselva River should not be missed either, as it is an iconic landmark in the city.
Then, should you choose, you can visit Grünerløkka, a bohemian enclave that abounds with street art, funky cafes (which offer some of the best coffee in the world), dance clubs, and independent fashion boutiques. It's is also the location of the Mathallen Food Hall, where you can savor the flavors of Norway and abroad at its more than 30 eateries. Here you'll find everything from paella and Southeast Asian street food to Norwegian cheeses and cured meats.
Day 3: Oslo - Train to Stavanger
After breakfast at your hotel, walk to Oslo Station and board a train towards Stavanger—a dynamic city at the southwestern tip of Norway. Although the journey is over seven hours long, this is no ordinary train ride: sit back, relax, and watch the changing coastal landscape of southern Norway glide past you.
By evening you'll be in Stavanger and will have the chance to explore picturesque narrow streets with white wooden houses offering charming restaurants and pubs before turning in for the night.
Day 4: Hike Preikestolen
Dust off your hiking boots today as you arrive early in the city of Stavanger and then take the Lysefjord ferry to Preikestolen (Pulpit Rock) for a moderately difficult trek on one of the most beautiful trails in the world. This is a self-guided seasonal hike (May through October), but you won't be alone as it's one of the most popular spots in the country. The trip takes about five hours roundtrip on hilly terrain and includes time to enjoy and photograph the famous views from Pulpit Rock, which rises 1,981 feet (604 m) above sea level.
For a more challenging experience, join a guide and visit Pulpit Rock a different way, taking little-known forest trails that are off the tourist map. You'll cross a lake by canoe before hiking in near solitude to a stunning viewpoint above Preikestolen that few people ever get to see. Then, you'll head to the plateau for a rest as you savor the sweeping panoramas of this singularly beautiful locale.
Either way, it is recommended that you start your hike early to conserve daylight and avoid crowds, and be sure to wear comfortable hiking shoes and base layers because the climate in Norway is constantly changing. In the winter months, it is also possible (and recommended) to join a guide to hike to Pulpit Rock.
Return to Stavanger for the evening, where you can rest your legs and refuel at one of the town's charming restaurants.
Day 5: Stavanger -> Ferry to Bergen
Today you'll take a ferry to Bergen along Norway's western coast. The scenic journey takes about five hours, so keep your camera close for regular photo ops. Pack a picnic for the trip or take advantage of the onboard snack and refreshment bar.
Once you get to Bergen, head out to explore the charming streets of this walkable waterfront city and find a perfect spot for dinner.
Day 6: Bergen City Tour
After breakfast, explore on your own or meet up with a guide for a local tour of Bergen—the second-largest city in Norway with about 300,000 residents. Rich in culture and seafaring history, this walkable city boasts a vast selection of cultural and outdoorsy activities.
Be sure to take the Fløibanen funicular (or hike the trail on foot) 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. Check out the Bryggen area of downtown to view old wooden houses dating back to the 18th century (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.
For a more active excursion, consider a day-trip to Modalen, one of the smallest municipalities in Norway, with about 380 residents. You'll depart from Bergen's port and sail along Osterfjorden, passing steep mountains and spectacular waterfalls.
Day 7: Fjordcruise to Hardangerfjord
This morning you'll head to the harbor to catch a lovely cruise to Rosendal. This trip will sail through the fjords of Bergen to the Hardangerfjord, known as the "queen of the fjords." Keep your camera close as you encounter spectacular views of steep mountains and cascading waterfalls along the route.
Arrive in Rosendal for a 3.5-hour visit, which includes a guided tour of a manor dating back to 1665. For lunch, relax with a two-course meal prepared with fresh herbs and vegetables grown on-site, along with coffee, tea, and pastries. After lunch, continue your tour in the manor's romantic rose garden before returning to Bergen.
When you return, the rest of the evening is yours to enjoy. Some great local restaurant options to consider for your last night in Norway include:
BarBarista: A funky coffee shop, restaurant & music venue.
Bryggeloftet & Stuene: A traditional mountain lodge restaurant.
Zupperia: An eclectic European restaurant right on the Bryggen wharf.
Bare Vestland: A basement-level eatery specializing in Norwegian tapas.
Pygmalion Økocafe and Galleri: A healthy, organic restaurant located in a historic space with a fireplace and an art gallery for art exhibitions and live music.
- Matbørsen: Three restaurants in one serving international cuisine in a gorgeous, airy space—the former Bergen Stock Exchange, circa 1862.
Day 8: Depart Bergen
It's time to say farewell to Norway! Enjoy your final moments in this beautiful city with a leisurely breakfast, neighborhood stroll, or souvenir shopping before you head to the airport for your return flight home.