- Explore a new five-and-a-half-mile waterfront park in Oslo by foot or bicycle
- Ride one of the steepest railways in the world to get to the Sognefjord
- Ferry to a UNESCO-listed church from the 12th century, followed by two hikes
- Visit an award-winning museum to learn more about glaciers and climate change
- Take the Loen Skylift from fjord to the top of Mt. Hoven in just five minutes
|Day 1||Arrive in Oslo||Oslo|
|Day 2||Oslo City Tour||Oslo|
|Day 3||Train to Flåm - Ferry to Leikanger - Drive to Solvorn||Solvorn|
|Day 4||Ferry to Ornes - Hiking - Drive to Fjærland||Fjærland|
|Day 5||Mundal Valley Hike - Glacier Museum - Drive to Loen||Loen|
|Day 6||Ride the Loen Skylift - Drive to Balestrand||Balestrand|
|Day 7||Ferry to Flåm - Boat Safari in the Nærøyfjord||Flåm|
|Day 8||Fjordcruise from Flåm to Bergen||Bergen|
|Day 9||Bergen Free Day||Bergen|
|Day 10||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: Oslo City Tour
The opportunities for experiencing culture in this amazing Scandinavian city are endless. Oslo is located in the heart of Norway between the water and evergreen forests—and though it's the capital of Norway, it only takes 30 minutes to travel from one end to the other on its metro system.
If you really want to feel like a local and experience all that Oslo has to offer, hook up with a private guide and get an exclusive tour around town. 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 which 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 five 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 Holmenkollen 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.
For dinner, 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.
Day 3: Train to Flåm - Ferry to Leikanger - Drive to Solvorn
After an early breakfast, catch a ride on the Flåm Railway, regarded as one of the most beautiful train rides in the world. The journey is steep in places and passes through waterfalls and stunning landscapes, so keep your camera close.
When you get to the picturesque village of Flåm, sit back and have lunch at a café or the local microbrewery. Enjoy the serene nature or go for a stroll through town before you catch your mid-afternoon ferry ride to Leikanger through a portion of the Sognefjord—Norway's longest and deepest fjord. As the mountains come closer and higher, keep an eye out for eagles and seals.
Upon arrival in Leikanger, you'll pick up your rental car and make the drive (less than an hour) to Solvorn with a beautiful location next to the fjord.
Day 4: Ferry to Ornes - Hiking - Drive to Fjærland
This morning, you'll depart Solvorn by taking the ferry to Ornes. This short ride will take you to one of the 28 remaining stave churches in Norway, the UNESCO-listed Urnes Stave Church. It was built in the 12th and 13th centuries and is an outstanding example of traditional Scandinavian wooden architecture with traces of Celtic art, Viking traditions, and Romanesque spatial structures.
After the visit, you will make the short drive to experience the powerful 715 foot high (218 m) Feigumfossen Waterfall. There is a marked path up to a lookout point under the waterfall. It takes about 45 minutes from the parking lot to the viewpoint which is 492 feet (150 m) above sea level.
You'll then take the ferry back to Solvorn in time for lunch. If feeling energized, you can take a bigger hike—about four hours—with stunning views of the Lustrafjorden with Nes and Høyheimsvik in the foreground. As you begin, you'll eventually head along a path that rises steeply until you reach Svarthiller with its fine view towards Ornes on the other side of the fjord. The path winds its way past steep crags and then levels out where you'll continue to the cairn on the top of Molden, 3661 feet (1116 m) above sea level.
Following your hike, you'll make the drive to Fjærland, where the Sognefjord meets Jostedalsbreen Glacier with its white and blue arms hanging down steep mountains. The village with almost 300 inhabitants is officially an international Book Town, with 10 second-hand bookshops in a variety of abandoned buildings, from ferry waiting rooms, stables, and local banks to a post office and grocery shop.
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
Day 5: Mundal Valley Hike - Glacier Museum - Drive to Loen
Today's adventure starts with a seasonal guided hike near Fjærland (3-4 hours; easy to medium difficulty).
Once you meet your guide, you'll begin a peaceful walk in the Mundal Valley past green fields that have been farmed for generations (since the Viking Age). As you walk along gentle terrain, you'll be able to view staggering peaks that rise towards the sky like giant trolls.
The trail mostly traverses a gravel road, but the last section is on a narrow track, leading you to a meadow used seasonally for grazing milking cows and sheep. This is where you'll have lunch before returning the same way you came.
Following your hike, you'll visit the Norwegian Glacier Museum, an award-winning hands-on museum, situated in Fjærland at the head of the Fjærlandsfjord. The museum is the leading center in Norway for the dissemination of knowledge with regard to glaciers and climate.
From here, you'll get back on the road and make the drive to Loen for your overnight.
Day 6: Ride the Loen Skylift - Drive to Balestrand
Today, you'll start the morning with an amazing view over the fjords, valley, and settlements with a ride on the Loen Skylift, which brings you from fjord to the top of Mt. Hoven in five minutes via two cable cars: Hugin and Munin. This spectacular new attraction (open in 2017) allows you to enjoy the fjord views from 3317 feet (1011 m) above sea level.
After this airy experience, continue your driving adventure along a scenic road called Gaularfjeller, which passes Gaular Mountain, before you reach the charming and very beautiful village of Balestrand for your overnight.
Day 7: Ferry to Flåm - Boat Safari in the Nærøyfjord
Today, you'll take a ferry from Balestrand to get to Flåm in time for your day-time excursion.
Upon arrival, you'll meet up with your RIB boat crew and experience both the Aurlandsfjord and the UNESCO-listed Nærøyfjord during a soft adventure. Your RIB boat can take a maximum of 12 guests, ensuring a personal experience with your guides, as well as a chance to get close to small villages and waterfalls along the way.
During the two-hour excursion, you can enjoy the magnificent scenery and history (as told by your guides) along with potential sightings of seals, porpoises, and eagles along the way. You will be provided with all the necessary gear for a safe and comfortable experience in the fjords.
From here, you'll have the rest of the afternoon to enjoy the village of Flåm.
Day 8: Fjordcruise from Flåm to Bergen
At the designated time today, you'll return to Flåm's port to travel to Bergen by fjordcruise (a journey of about five hours) along the Sognefjord. Enjoy spectacular scenery and refreshments as you set sail and learn about local villages along this route.
Once you get to Bergen, make sure to check out the Bryggen area of downtown to view old wooden houses dating back to the 1700s (a protected UNESCO World Heritage Site). The cobblestoned streets in town are compact and walkable, with lively restaurants and nightlife, thanks in part to a young student population.
Day 9: Bergen Free Day
After breakfast, you'll have the entire day to explore Bergen at your own pace, perhaps taking advantage of any sites or walks you may have missed on your first day.
A few suggestions:
- If you haven't done so yet, make 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. Then, take a leisurely stroll back down the path while discovering hidden troll sculptures along the way.
- Join a fun zip line adventure through the hilly forests near Bergen at a place called Mt. Ulriken Zip Line (seasonal/weekend activity).
- Choose between one of several options for walking tours in the city center and/or hiking excursions in the surrounding mountains.
- Take an evening Segway tour that travels all over Bergen, including the top of Mount Fløyen, for a beautiful sunset view.
Museums to check out:
- Old Bergen (Gamle Bergen) is a reconstruction of Bergen from the 18th century. It's best to take a bus to the stop called Gamle Bergen in order to arrive.
- KODE 4 is an art museum with paintings by Munch, Astrup, Dahl, and other Norwegians, plus work by Picasso.
- Bergen Maritime Museum offers exhibits of boats and ships, both historic and modern.
- Bergenhus Fortress Museum reveals the military history of Norway, with exhibitions on historical wars, WW2 and modern warfare.
- Magic Ice Bar is an ice-art gallery with sculptures inspired by famous works by Norwegian and international artists, all made in crystal clear ice.
Recommended restaurants include:
- Altona Vinbar & Kjøkken is Bergen's oldest known tavern.
- Pingvinen is an intimate eater/bar in the heart of Bergen, featuring traditional Norwegian food.
- Restaurant 1887 is a modern eatery in Bergen's old meat market.
- Cornelius is one of Norway's best seafood restaurants.
- BARE Vestland offers traditional western Norwegian food in a modern gastropub.
- Skyskaperen is Bergen's highest restaurant, with spectacular views from the top of Mt. Ulriken.
Day 10: 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.