Trace the impact of the sea and the country's maritime heritage across Norway's fjord coast on this weeklong journey. From charming Bergen, set sail for modern-day fishing villages and remote islands where you can not only sample the day's catch, but also dive into pristine environments now home to diverse aquatic wildlife and numerous seabirds. Urban and rural outdoor pursuits from hiking to cycling to kayaking are daily highlights of this active trip.

Highlights

    • Visit charming cafés and restaurants in Norway's 2nd largest city
    • Ride local ferries to get to fishing villages and islands in the North Sea
    • Rent bikes on Værlandet and look for wild species of birds
    • Take a hike to nearby Hornelen, the tallest sea cliff in Europe
    • Spend a night in Balestrand on Norway's longest fjord

Overview

With the colorful city of Bergen as your starting point, prepare your sea legs as you travel around Norway’s rugged west coast by boat. You'll first take two local ferries to the tiny, charming village of Kalvåg where old sheds and boathouses pay reminder of the fishing industry that made the town a commercial center in the 19th century. 

Next are more ferries to an even more remote area — Bulandet — an achipelago offering plenty of natural scenery. You can explore Værlandet and neighboring islands by bike, kayak, or join a guided tour to spot an amazing array of birds, including white-tailed eagles. 

Instead of returning to Bergen the way you came, take a bus to the village of Balestrand for a day of hiking or kayaking. Ferry back to Bergen through the Sognefjord and get your last dose of Norway's 2nd largest hub, perhaps visiting the country's oldest fish market or riding the funicular to catch a sunset.

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive to Bergen  Bergen
Day 2 Bergen - Ferry to Kalvåg Kalvåg
Day 3 Explore Kalvåg Kalvåg
Day 4 Island Hopping to Værlandet Værlandet
Day 5 Explore Wild Værlandet - Florø Florø
Day 6 Florø - Bus to Balestrand Balestrand
Day 7 Balestrand - Ferry to Bergen Bergen
Day 8 Depart Bergen  

Day 1: Arrive in Bergen

Bergen is surrounded by water and mountains.

Welcome to Bergen! Situated on Norway's west coast, this small wharf city (one of the oldest port cities in Europe) is surrounded by ocean, mountains, and fjords, including Sognefjord, the country’s longest and deepest.

Explore the town 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 city boasts a vast selection of cultural and outdoorsy activities.

  • Hike to the top of Mount Fløyen — one of Bergen's seven peaks — for the best views of the city.
  • Learn about Hanseatic merchants at the Hanseatic Museum, which is located in one of the oldest wooden buildings in Bergen.
  • Check out the Bryggen area of downtown — a protected UNESCO World Heritage Site dating back to the 1700s.

The cobblestoned streets are compact and walkable, so get out and explore Bergen's lively restaurants and nightlife, thanks in part to a young student population. 

Day 2: Bergen - Ferry to Kalvåg

Get to Kalvåg in time for the sunset.

Take the express boat from Bergen to Florø, a relaxed way to enjoy the views of this stunning coastline. You have time between your arrival in Florø and the departure of the local boat to Kalvåg to explore this charming little seaside village and savor a small lunch or coffee break.

Kalvåg is an old fishing community on the North Sea. Its pleasant atmosphere, good food, and coastal culture makes Kalvåg a standout in the region. 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.

Day 3: Explore Kalvåg

Rent a kayak and look for rare bird species.

After a hearty breakfast, you'll be ready to get outdoors and discover Kalvåg's environs. A bicycle is a great way to visit local sights while taking in the seaside atmosphere. The nearby Vamråk Herring Saltery — today part of the coastal museum — gives an exciting glimpse into the evolution of the modern fishing industry. Further down the road, the 17th-century Smørholm Trading Center was an important gathering place for travelers, locals, and fishermen between Nordfjord and Bergen. Finally, you won't want to miss the Artist Trail, a year-round open-air art exhibition.

Bird lovers and wildlife photographers should instead spend the day sea kayaking from Kalvåg. The coast is home to numerous species and experiences two major avian migrations of hundreds of thousands of birds each year.

If you're looking for an adventure, catch a ride to nearby Hornelen, the tallest sea cliff in Europe, for some hiking or even rock climbing.

Day 4: Island Hopping to Værlandet

Slow down and enjoy the relaxed pace of island life.

In the morning, take the boat back to Florø, then onto Askvoll before catching the local ferry to Værlandet, the perfect place to absorb Norway's island culture. Here, fishing and fish farming are still the most important industries, but Værlandet is also famous for its greenstone breccia rock formations.

Explore the beautiful archipelago Værlandet and Bulandet at your own pace. Or simply unwind and take in the views from your room! Endless horizons and the majestic cliff island of Alden await.

Day 5: Explore Wild Værlandet - Florø

Rent a bike in Værlandet for the day.

Set off on a bicycle to sample the best of what Værlandet has to offer:

  • Visit the Nordsjøporten (North Sea portal) –- a network of six bridges connecting the area's small islands like a string of pearls.
  • The Norwegian Seabird Center illustrates the close ties between humans and seabirds along Norway's coast.
  • Rest 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 island of Sørværet's nature reserve protects a unique wetland home to a wide range of birds and marine life.

Take the boat to Florø in the late afternoon and stay overnight.

Day 6: Florø - Bus to Balestrand

Check out Balestrand's beautiful architecture.

This morning, take a bus to Balestrand. You have to change in Førde, but it is all part of the local experience! Balestrand is a lovely village along the Sognefjord with 19th-century architecture and you can spend the afternoon go for a hike or kayaking.

Use the long summer evening to your advantage to continue exploring the village on your own.

Day 7: Balestrand - Ferry to Bergen

Return to Bergen for your last night on the town!

After breakfast, you can decide which ferry to take to Bergen. This depends on whether you'd like more time in Balestrand (afternoon ferry), or if you're anxious to get to Bergen (morning ferry). 

Either way, once you arrive in Bergen, the rest of the day is yours to explore on your own. This is a picturesque and compact city rich in culture and history with a great bar and restaurant scene, so get out and walk around the cobblestoned streets.

Some great local options 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 

Take one last stroll before your flight.

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.