This classic and incredibly scenic itinerary checks off several key Norwegian highlights in the span of a week after the summer crowds have left. Start off in Europe's fastest growing capital with a day in Oslo. From here, travel via the Flåm Railway, one of the steepest trains in the world, and stay a night in Aurland before taking a cruise through the UNESCO-listed Nærøyfjord. You'll then travel to Bergen and spend a few days exploring this colorful wharf city surrounded by seven mountains before returning to Oslo for one more night on the town.

Highlights

  • Check out modern architecture along Oslo's beautiful seafront
  • Spend an afternoon in the charming town of Flåm and visit the local brewery
  • Hike up to Stegastein Viewpoint for views of fall foliage before your fjordcruise
  • Explore Bergen's cobblestone streets and historic wharf 

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Oslo - City Tour Oslo
Day 2 "Norway in a Nutshell" Tour - Transfer to Aurland Aurland
Day 3 Fjordcruise to Gudvangen - Transfer to Bergen Bergen
Day 4 Explore Bergen with a Local Bergen
Day 5 Fjordcruise to Mostraumen Bergen
Day 6 Bergen - Train to Oslo Oslo
Day 7 Depart Oslo  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Oslo - City Tour

A sunset in Norway's capital
A sunset in Norway's capital

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, so jump on a tram, train, or bus and explore all that Oslo has to offer. A few ideas: 

  • 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.
  • 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. 

If you really want to feel like a local and experience all that Oslo has to offer, hook up with a private guide for an exclusive tour. Here are a few ideas that past travelers have enjoyed:

Akerselva River Walk: 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. 

From Fjord to Forest: 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: If you have less time to spare, this tour takes you to Holmenkollen. Open year-round, the Holmenkollen Ski Museum presents over 4,000 years of snow sports, polar exploration, and an exhibition on snowboarding and modern skiing. Head for the observation deck for panoramic views of Oslo, and then walk down to the ski jump while your guide shares stories about local trolls, legends, and castles.

Day 2: "Norway in a Nutshell" Tour - Transfer to Aurland

Flåm is surrounded by mountains and water
Flåm is surrounded by mountains and water

After an early breakfast, it's time to begin your "Norway in a Nutshell" tour.  This iconic tour service, which utilizes Norway's railways, ships, and buses, is known as one of the best ways to see some of the highlights of the fjord region in limited time.

Take an early train from the Oslo train station and start your journey to the west coast. In Myrdal, you will change trains and jump on the quaint, old-timey Flåm Railway, considered to be one of the steepest railways in the world with amazing views of the Norwegian mountains. The train will stop at the Kjosfossen waterfall for passengers to disembark and take pictures. From small villages to remote countryside, the views from your window will be nothing short of spectacular. At its highest point, the tracks will take you 4009 feet (1222 meters) above sea level!

When you arrive in Flåm,  you will have some time to discover this charming village on the Aurlandsfjord. Have a meal at the Ægir brewery for authentic Viking culture inside the restaurant's historic wooden structure. Later, you will be transferred to the quiet and peaceful town of Aurland and spend the night next to the fjords.

Day 3: Fjordcruise to Gudvangen - Transfer to Bergen

Early risers can visit Stegastein Viewpoint in the morning
Early risers can visit Stegastein Viewpoint in the morning

Early risers can take a morning trip to Stegastein Viewpoint overlooking the Aurlandsfjord before the crowds arrive! This national landmark was created by Todd Saunders, a well-known Norwegian architect. When you're done taking in the views, return to your hotel in Aurland for breakfast. 

Later in the morning, you'll head to the Flåm port to board your ship for a fjordcruise. You will sail through the Aurlandsfjord and Nærøyfjord while taking in some of the most beautiful scenery in the country. Your coastal voyage will end in the small town of  Gudvangen where you will board the bus to continue your journey, which winds through Nærøydalen, an area of charming villages and untouched landscapes and then continue your journey by train to Bergen. 

Bergen's cobblestoned center (one of the oldest ports in Europe) is rich in culture and seafaring history. This walkable city boasts a vast selection of cultural and outdoorsy activities, not to mention lively restaurants and nightlife thanks in part to a young student population.

Also, make sure to check out the Bryggen area of downtown to view the waterfront wooden houses that characterize the city, dating back to the 1700s (a protected UNESCO World Heritage Site).

Day 4: Explore Bergen with a Local

Walk high above town for a panoramic view of Bergen.
Walk high above town for a panoramic view of Bergen.

After breakfast at your hotel, meet up with a local resident 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.
  • Explore Bergen's Parks & Architecture (3 hours): This easy walking tour visits notable exteriors and city parks starting with the largest church in Bergen: St. Johannes. From there, you will walk through the botanic garden and onwards to Bergen`s largest and most beautiful park: Nygårdsparken. You'll then walk through the city's narrow streets lined with traditional Bryggen houses and eventually visit Nordnes, another great park. Your guide will share stories of life in Bergen, as well as offer lesser-known activity and restaurant recommendations not frequented by tourists. 
  • 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!

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 5: Fjordcruise to Mostraumen

Sail past powerful cascades and sweeping mountain views
Sail past powerful cascades and sweeping mountain views

After breakfast, your boat departs from Bergen's port and takes you through a deep fjord via Mostraumen strait to Modalen, one of the smallest municipalities in Norway with only 380 residents!

You will sail along the 16-mile (27 km) Osterfjorden and pass striking fjords, steep mountains, and spectacular waterfalls, so snag a spot on one of the sundecks to capture the views. Your captain will even sail the boat's bow right up to a rushing waterfall to get a splash of ice-cold mountain water before turning around in Modalen and retracing the magnificent landscape.

The trip will take about three hours, and the rest of the day is yours to further explore the city.

Day 6: Bergen - Train to Oslo

Return to the city for one last night on the town
Return to the city for one last night on the town

This morning, you'll have time to explore more of Bergen's walkable streets before you catch the train to Oslo. This 7-hour route passes beautiful villages such as Voss, Finse, Geilo, Gol, an Hønefoss, as well as waterfalls and stunning mountain landscapes, so you'll want to grab a window seat.

When you arrive back in Norway's capital, take advantage of anything you may have missed at the beginning of the trip. Perhaps you'd like to head back to the waterfront and historic core for dinner. If you've already done this and want to try something new, head to the up-and-coming Grünerløkka, or "Løkka", neighborhood and check out a slew of hip restaurants and bars.

Day 7: Depart Oslo

Modern waterfront architecture in Oslo
Modern waterfront architecture in Oslo

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.