Spend a week experiencing Norway's spectacular beauty up close on this outdoor-oriented family adventure. Head on kid-friendly hikes around fjords and up mountains, feel the spray of the Seven Sister waterfall on a kayak trip, and take a boat tour to a secluded section of the Sognefjord. All this, while sampling Norway's cuisine at local eateries and visiting museums and aquariums located in the country's most charming towns and villages.
Drive through a dramatic mountain pass to Åndalsnes
Kayak to the awe-inspiring Seven Sisters waterfall in Geiranger
Speed past old fjord farms on a rigid inflatable boat
Have a picnic overlooking fjords and mountains on the Nesahaugen hike
Arrive in Ålesund
Drive to Geiranger, Trollstigen Scenic Route via Åndalsnes
Kayaking Tour in Geiranger
RIB Boat Tour, Drive to Fjærland
Mountain Hike in Fjærland, Drive to Balestrand
Guided Hike to Orrabenken, Finnabotn Boat Tour
Drive to Bergen, Depart Norway
Day 1: Arrive in Ålesund
Welcome to Norway! On arrival at Ålesund, pick up your family-friendly rental car—your four-wheeled friend during your seven days in the country. Ålesund is a charming Scandinavian town with a breathtaking location stretching out into the Atlantic Ocean. The heavy presence of Art Nouveau architecture is a result of rebuilding efforts following a devastating fire in 1904.
On arrival, you may want to kick back and relax at your lodgings before heading out to explore. Great family-friendly activities include a sea park and a visit to a lighthouse (Alnes). Or, if the flight was a long one, stretch your legs by walking up to the Aksla Viewpoint, where you will be rewarded with a panoramic view of the archipelago, Ålesund's town center, and the Sunnmøre Alps. Keep the kids occupied by challenging them to count the steps up—there are 418!
Day 2: Drive to Geiranger, Trollstigen Scenic Route via Åndalsnes
Take your time this morning to load the car and drive the 1.5-hour journey east through Norway's exceptional countryside to Åndalsnes. Take the Trollstigen route, a dramatic mountain pass that zigzags through eleven hairpin bends in the Romsdalen Valley. One of the best-known and most visited tourist sites in Norway, enjoy the twisting road before continuing to Åndalsnes and exploring.
One of the best ways to fully appreciate Åndalsnes is to hike to Rampesteken Viewpoint. Stretch your legs and climb 1,804 feet (550 m) above sea level before being met with views that overlook the town of Åndalsnes and the fjord below. Despite the steepness of the ascent (the last leg in particular), this is a moderate hike that takes only takes about 2.5 hours up and back—perhaps three hours with little ones. It's also a popular excursion with locals, who do the hike for a bit of exercise and to enjoy the magnificent views.
Plan your trip to Norway Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
After filling your lungs with fresh air, jump back in the car and drive two hours south to Geiranger. Here you can experience open-air restaurants and sidewalk cafés, as well as shops and galleries for souvenirs. The town's restaurants and eateries take pride in creating fresh food with a local twist, like Geiranger Brewery partly located in a boathouse so you can enjoy more of those views. Rest at your Geiranger lodgings tonight.
Day 3: Kayaking Tour in Geiranger
Enjoy a large breakfast in one of Geiranger's many cafés before heading on your four-hour kayaking tour! Suitable for children eight years and above, this tour will take you to see the famous Seven Sisters waterfall. You will paddle past sheer cliffs and verdant mountains before reaching the waterfall, after which you will head back to your starting point. Once on land, revive yourself with some local food at a Geiranger restaurant.
Day 4: RIB Boat Tour, Drive to Fjærland
Get ready for an adrenaline-filled day today on inflatable boats! At the edge of the Geirangerfjord, you will be welcomed by the captain who will give you a brief safety talk before you get dressed in waterproof gear and get assigned your seat on the boat. On this speedy RIB (rigid inflatable boat), you will get to go close to waterfalls, such as The Suitor and The Bridal Veil waterfalls. Make some photo stops as you pass by the beautiful scenery and the fjord farms, which your captain will tell you all about. And kids, keep an eye out for porpoises!
After an adventurous morning, take it easy before your scenic drive south to Fjærland. Stop along the way at the village of Loen, where you can ride one of the steepest aerial tramways in the world to the top of Mount Hoven. Stop for lunch at the restaurant at the top and admire the view. Continue your drive until you reach Fjærland—your stop for the night. Here you can explore the town center, known as Mundal, famous for its many second-hand bookshops made from converted farmhouses and sheds. You could even stop in at the award-winning Norwegian Glacier Museum nearby.
Day 5: Mountain Hike in Fjærland, Drive to Balestrand
Get ready for views of fjords and glaciers today with the perfect family hike. Pack a picnic, and set out from Mundal in Fjærland. Begin the hike through the forest, after which you will pass an old summer farm at about 1,558 feet (475 m). After 30-40 minutes you will reach Nesahaugen and finally be able to enjoy the beautiful view while rewarding yourselves with your picnic.
On your return to Fjærland, pack your bags and head to Balestrand—a one-hour and 45-minute drive southwest. This route even includes a ferry crossing between Hella and Dragsvik. Upon arrival in the charming fjord-side town of Balestrand, you'll have the rest of the day to explore on your own. There are several hiking trails in the immediate area, including many family-friendly options. The kids might enjoy the local museums, and there's even a local aquarium. Spend the night enjoying the fresh air and quiet at your Balestrand lodgings.
Day 6: Guided Hike to Orrabenken, Finnabotn Boat Tour
Hike to the top of Orrabenken during a guided hiking tour today. You'll meet your guide at the Balestrand Tourist Information Office and learn a bit about what to expect before heading out. The hike's first leg takes you through Balestrand and on to Ja-steinen, where most trails in the village begin. The trail comprises gentle slopes, making it perfect for parents with children. Enjoy the scenery and breathe in the fresh air all the way to Balabu, a small hut with another viewpoint sweeping across the fjord, where you will enjoy a picnic lunch.
Once you're back in Balestrand, rest your legs on the Finnabotn boat tour. This tour takes you to a secluded section of the Sognefjord, where you won't find cell service, roads, or sounds—except for waterfalls and birds. Cruise through a narrow and shallow passage and enter a unique geological formation, a sort of fjord within a fjord called Finnabotn. This is bound to be an unforgettable experience for all members of the family. Children can keep an eye out for any interesting wildlife, before circling back to Balestrand and tucking into a hearty supper.
Day 7: Drive to Bergen, Depart Norway
Even though you're leaving Norway today, that doesn't make the day a write-off. Pack your things and drive 3.5 hours south to Bergen. You'll drive through the interesting Lavik, as well as pass by amazing views of the Sognefjord. One of the oldest ports in Europe, Bergen offers a spectacular setting surrounded by ocean, mountains, and fjords. Upon arrival, enjoy your time in the easily walkable center, with its vast selection of cultural and outdoorsy activities, plus a lively restaurant scene. If you have time, the kids are sure to love a ride on the Fløibanen funicular to the top of Mount Fløyen.
After walking down the cobblestoned streets and taking pictures of the Bryggen area's wooden houses, you'll be ready to drop your rental car off at the airport and bid farewell to Norway. Safe travels!