This two-week summer adventure through Norway travels during a key period when the sun never sets on these gorgeous views. You'll start off visiting Norway's lower half (Oslo, Bergen and the Sognefjord) before flying north to the Arctic Circle for a self-drive tour. From here, you'll head to the rugged landscapes of Norway's second largest island (Senja), and partake in active outings like cycling, kayaking, and swimming before ferrying to another less-populated island (Andøya) where spotting whales is practically a guarantee. Hike the coastal trail on the Queen’s Route before heading back to the lively cities of Tromsø and Oslo for festivals and outdoor restaurants.

Highlights

  • Explore  Bergen, an UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • Visit the Norwegian Booktown with second-hand bookstores, cafes, and art galleries
  • Ride Tromsø's cable car or hike to the top for the best views
  • Get a serious dose of nature and outdoor activities in Norway's Arctic
  • Visit Oslo's up-and-coming neighborhoods 

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Oslo Oslo
Day 2 Train to Flåm - Ferry to Balestrand Balestrand
Day 3 Fjordcruise to Fjærland - Ferry to Bergen Bergen
Day 4 Explore Bergen with a Local Bergen
Day 5 Bergen - Flight to Tromsø Tromsø
Day 6 Tromsø - Drive to Senja Senja
Day 7 Explore Senja Senja
Day 8 Ferry to Andenes - Whale Watching Andenes
Day 9 Hike the Queen's Route Andenes
Day 10 Andenes - Drive to Tromsø Tromsø
Day 11 Explore Tromsø in Summer Tromsø
Day 12 Tromsø - Flight to Oslo Oslo
Day 13 Explore Oslo's hidden gems with a local expert Oslo
Day 14 Depart Oslo  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Oslo

Akrobaten pedestrian bridge in downtown 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: Train to Flåm - Ferry to Balestrand

Jaw-dropping views surround the village of Flåm

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 (approximately two hours) to the picturesque harbor town of Balestrand 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. 

You'll arrive with enough time to have dinner in this fjord-side town, known for its 19th-century architecture. Some great local restaurants include Vikingertreff, Pilgrim, and Ciderhuset.

Day 3: Fjordcruise to Fjærland - Ferry to Bergen

Wildflowers growing near a glacial lake

With several boat rides today, you'll have plenty of chances to gawk at the stunning views surrounding this part of Norway.

The day will start with breakfast in Balestrand before you take a summer fjord cruise* north through the Fjærlandsfjord (a branch of the Sognefjord) to the village of Fjærland. Keep an eye out for Jostedalsbreen, the largest glacier in continental Europe.

Once you're back on dry land, you can head for Fjærland's village center, called Mundal, and explore the Norwegian Booktown, which consists of several second-hand bookshops, some that are combined with cafés, art galleries, and souvenir shops located in old farmhouses and sheds.

Also not to miss is the Norwegian Glacier Museum, an award-winning architectural marvel situated at the head of the Fjærlandsfjord. This hands-on museum is the leading center in Norway for knowledge regarding glaciers and climate change. 

If you're feeling more active, there is a connecting bus to Jostedalsbreen National Park where you can take part in one of several glacier hikes. 

In the early afternoon, you'll return to Balestrand by boat and connect to your afternoon ferry (about four hours) to Bergen. This trip takes you through more of the Sognefjord, arriving in the evening with enough time to check out the city's vibrant bar and restaurant scene. 

*Please note this seasonal fjord cruise is only available from June 1st until August 31st.

Day 4: Explore Bergen with a Local

Historic neighborhoods to explore with the help of a local

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: Bergen - Flight to Tromsø

Aerial view of Tromsø 

This morning, you'll take a flight to Tromsø, the largest city in Northern Norway!

When you arrive, get to know the "Gateway to the Arctic." Surrounded by snowcapped mountains, Tromsø is a lively place with 65,000 inhabitants. The city has a large student population, and is famous for its robust music and film culture.  

A good place to start is taking a ride on the cable car, which runs up to a mountain ledge in just four minutes. The two gondolas, known as Seal and Polar Bear, each have a capacity of 28 passengers. From the viewing platform at the upper station, you can enjoy spectacular panoramic views of Tromsø and the surrounding islands, mountains and fjords. 

Day 6: Tromsø - Drive to Senja

Forests and rivers on the way to Senja

After breakfast in Tromsø, hit the road and take a three-hour drive for 130 miles (210 km) to Senja, Norway's second largest island. Stop at
Nordkjosbotn along the way for a snack or lunch—this tiny village is located at the end of the Balsfjorden where the river Nordkjoselva meets the fjord. 

Once you reach Senja, check out the staggering diversity of the landscapes around you, with ocean views, mountains, beaches, lakes, forests, and fields within short distances of each other. Staying here allows you to partake in a wide variety of adventures all on the same day: hiking, kayaking, fishing, cycling, or just lying on the beach! 

Restaurants and eateries in Senja also reflect the region’s scenery and nature. To get a real taste of local delicacies, keep your eye out for char from Altevatn Lake, cod from Senja, and goat cheese from Balsfjorden.

Day 7: Explore Senja

Rugged mountains along the coastline

Wake up and enjoy a leisurely breakfast as you take in the natural surroundings (keep an eye out for white-tailed eagles). With summertime's extended daylight hours, there will be plenty of time to jump in the car and explore the island's traffic-free roads.

It's a good idea to stick to Senja's National Tourist Route, where villages are linked by roads with amazing views. You can drive along most of Senja's coast, stopping to wander around rocks sculpted by the elements and colorful fishing villages in sheltered coves; meanwhile, Senja's inland is filled with mountains, lakes, and forests, and its mainland-facing coast offers unexpectedly green fields.

There are a wealth of trails to choose from for hiking and biking, as well as one of the world’s best fishing areas. Another option is to rent a kayak and paddle the calm waters, taking in the bird life and majestic scenery. Hop out for lunch or a swim at one of the many sandy beaches on the island and stay well into the night, watching the landscape become bathed in golden light from the midnight sun.

Day 8: Ferry to Andenes - Whale Watching

Get up close to these magnificent creatures

Following breakfast at your hotel, pack up your car and take a 1.5-hour ferry* to Andenes on Andøya Island, within the archipelago of Vesterålen — just north of the more touristy Lofoten Islands.

Nature lovers will be in heaven here, for the varied landscapes span from calm and peaceful beaches to craggy, alpine mountains and dramatic fjords.

Most Norwegians know Andenes as a year-round whale watching destination and the northernmost point in the world where you can observe sperm whales. Even short trips offer a very high chance of spotting a whale, so take the afternoon to enjoy a 2-4 hour boat trip with a local whale watching operation, where you can get a glimpse of the mighty sperm whales as well as other aquatic life and seabirds. 

*Please note this is a summer ferry and there are no departures after September 3rd.

Day 9: Hike the Queen's Route

Aerial view of this lesser-visited region in Norway

After a hearty breakfast, set out towards the fishing village of Stø — a beautiful 2.5-hour drive from Andenes, 93 miles away (151 km).

From here, you'll hike along Dronningruta, the Queen’s Route. This moderate, 9-mile (15 km) round trip takes you along the shoreline and over the mountain between Stø and the old fishing village of Nyksund, in the far north of Langøya, Norway's third largest island.

Named after Queen Sonja, who first visited the island in 1994, the route itself is much older and has been used by many people, including (according to legend) the midwife of Stø on her way to births in Nyksund. The route is now a combination of two well-marked hiking trails (a low and high route) running along the ocean's edge. Together, they form an incredibly beautiful walk.

When you're done hiking, take time in the late afternoon for a drive on the National Tourist Route along the west coast of Andøya— one of the best ways to experience the region's coastline and its characteristic fishing villages with colorful wooden houses.

Day 10: Andenes - Drive to Tromsø

Tromsø's picturesque waterfront

Get an early start and take the ferry back to Gryllefjord in Senja, and then drive 136 miles (219 km) to Tromsø, which will take you about three and a half hours. Here's your final chance to take a detour for any adventures you may have missed along the way.

Upon arrival in Tromsø, a local guide will meet you for a three-hour walking tour of the city. Visit the largest metropolis in the north -- street by street -- and take in its rich culture and beautiful architecture, including historic wooden houses dating as far back as 1789. View relics and buildings dating back to medieval times, and learn about the city’s extensive fishing culture, which was established when trade in Norway was at its peak. You will also tour the Arctic Cathedral.

This is your last evening in Norway, so enjoy the city's great restaurants and fun nightlife.

Day 11: Explore Tromsø in Summer

The bridge entering Tromsø, a city of about 50,000 people

After breakfast, you will have the whole day to explore Tromsø. Here are a few suggested tours and activities that can be arranged with local guides:

Walk Through History: Meet your local guide and set off on a three-hour walking tour of Tromsø. Visit the largest city in the north—street by street—and take in its rich culture and beautiful architecture, including historic wooden houses dating as far back as 1789. View relics and buildings dating back to medieval times, and learn about the city’s extensive fishing culture, which was established when trade in Norway was at its peak. You will also tour the modern Arctic Cathedral. 

Hike to Mount Fløya: This easy to moderate in-town hike draws visitors, especially in the evening, who want to see the city's best place to watch the Midnight Sun. That being said, you can hike up any time of day for a great view of the city and surrounding islands. There are several ways to get to the top: some choose to ride the cable car to Storsteinen and then walk further up the hill, while others climb 324 steps along the “Sherpa staircase”, which starts close to the lower station located on Tromsø’s mainland.

Kayaking under the Midnight Sun: Explore the Arctic wilderness by sea kayak under the magical light of the Midnight Sun. This full-day activity led by a professional guide passes small picturesque villages, mountainous fjords, and small islands with opportunities to encounter jellyfish, sea stars, otters, sea eagles, puffins, and bottlenose dolphins. During a break on a nearby island, you will enjoy the warmth of an open wood fire with grilled sausages and hot beverages.

If you remain in the city in the evening, great restaurants and lively nightlife await.

Day 12: Tromsø - Flight to Oslo

Holmenkollen Ski Jump

This morning, you'll have breakfast in Tromsø and then make your way to the airport for a short flight to Oslo. Once you arrive, you'll be transferred to your hotel for your last day (and night) on the town! 

Depending on what time you arrive, you can hook up with a private guide and get an exclusive tour around town. Here is a shorter tour option that past travelers have enjoyed:

Holmenkollen Ski Jump: 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 13: Explore Oslo's hidden gems with a local expert

Wooden architecture in Oslo's historic center

After breakfast, get ready to meet your local expert. He/she will show you Oslo from a local's perspective. Get the trip tailored to your interest or surrender into the hands of your local expert and be surprised! Taste the real Oslo from a walk in Damstredet and its beautiful small street with wooden houses from the 1800's to the urban Grünerløkka via the vibrant food court Mathallen. A walk along the Akerselva River should not be missed as it is a central part of the history of Oslo!  

Make sure to get recommendations of your interests from your expert and indulge in the local expertise.

The opportunities for experiencing culture in this amazing city are endless! Oslo is located 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 by metro. Oslo is known for its museums, some of which celebrate the famous works of Edvard Munch or the stunning ships of the Viking Era, while others celebrate niche interests such as music and ski history. 

The city also has a popular café culture, with locals and visitors enjoying some of the best coffee in the world. In warmer weather, there's nothing like sitting outside on the patio with coffee and a pastry or sandwich on freshly baked Norwegian bread. On chilly days, stepping into one of Oslo's local cafes will make you feel cozy and warm. 

Enjoy Oslo!

Day 14: Depart 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.