This 20-day Nordic journey is ideal for outdoor enthusiasts who want to maximize their time in the country's stunning mountains and fjords. Start off with an authentic cabin-to-cabin trek in a wilderness area halfway between Norway's two largest cities: Oslo and Bergen. You'll stay in Norway's great hiking lodges with fellow trekkers, ending each day in a different staffed abode that serves dinner and breakfast. The latter hiking portion of this trip takes place in the Lusterfjord where you'll stay in a charming guesthouse with access to 30 hiking trails in the area. It's not all about hiking, though: you'll get urban culture, restaurants, and nightlife in the two aforementioned cities to round out this awesome adventure.

Highlights

  • Explore Olso's up-and-coming neighborhoods and new waterfront promenade
  • Spend a week meeting and dining with fellow trekkers in cozy cabins
  • Take a ferry through Norway's longest fjord to get to Bergen
  • Accomplish more hiking trails along the Lusterfjord with forests, rivers, and waterfalls
  • Take one of the steepest trains in the world through central Norway to finish the adventure

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Oslo Oslo
Day 2 Explore Oslo's hidden gems with a local expert Oslo
Day 3 Train to Geilo - Hike to Hakkesetstølen Geilo
Day 4 Hakkesetstølen to Tuva Tuva Turisthytte
Day 5 Tuva to Krækkja Krækkja
Day 6 Kjækkja to Finse Finse
Day 7 Day Hike to Sandalsnuten - Return to Finse Finse
Day 8 Finse to Aurlandsdalen Geiteryggshytta
Day 9 Aurlandsdalen to the Aurland Valley Aurland
Day 10 Aurland Valley to the Aurlandsfjord Aurland
Day 11 Aurland - Ferry to Bergen Bergen
Day 12 Explore Bergen with a Local Bergen
Day 13 Bergen Free Day Bergen
Day 14 Bus to Sognal - Transfer to Nes Gard Sogndal
Days 15-17 Hiking in the Lusterfjord Høyheimsvik
Day 18 Return to Sogndal - Bus to Flåm Flåm
Day 19 Flåm - Train to Oslo Oslo
Day 20 Depart Oslo  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Oslo

Akrobaten 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: Explore Oslo's hidden gems with a local expert

Frithjof Fure

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 for 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 3: Train to Geilo - Hike to Hakkesetstølen

Ride the local regional train

After an early breakfast, take a three-hour train ride on the Bergen Railway to the beautiful mountain village of Geilo—an area well-known for its hiking and mountain biking opportunities, as well as white water rafting, fishing, and horseback riding. Hiking season starts at the end of June and lasts until snow falls (usually October).  

From Geilo station, you can hike the 1.25-mile (2 km) trail that takes you to Hakkesetstølen, a traditional Norwegian cabin where you will stay overnight and have dinner. Alternatively, if you're traveling by car or bus, there is also road access.

Day 4: Hakkesetstølen to Tuva

Take in breathtaking scenery in the Norwegian highlands

After breakfast is prepared at your lodge in Hakkesetstølen, hit the trail towards Tuva Turisthytte, one of the longest-running cabins in Hardangervidda National Park. Open since 1915, the place has been family-owned for three generations.

The distance of this moderate hike is nearly 10 miles (15.7 km) and takes about five hours to complete. You'll see remarkable landscapes as you walk along the peaceful Norwegian highlands. Alternatively, those with a car can take a road all the way to the cabin. 

Once you reach your destination, you'll have time to relax before dinner is prepared by the staff.

Day 5: Tuva to Krækkja

Wild tulips growing in the summer

Wake up this morning with breakfast at your lodge in Tuva, which, according to locals, is known to serve the best Norwegian waffles in the country. 

From here, you'll have an 11.8-mile (19 km) hike to Krækkja, which should take about six hours to complete. This trail is a bit more challenging than yesterday's and therefore better suited for active adults. However, there are several shorter hikes available for those with a car. Either way, you'll experience stunning views of the Hallingskarvet mountain range stretching all the way to Finse.

Stay overnight at a historic lodge with 85 beds in two-bunk, three-bunk, and four-bunk configurations, as well as a larger room and dormitory. The place is equipped with bathrooms, showers, and a diesel generator. Relax with a hearty dinner prepared by staff.

Day 6: Kjækkja to Finse

The scenery is worth every step along the way to Finse

After filling up on a hearty breakfast at the cabin, you'll hike to Finse along a 14-mile (23.3 km) route. This trip is quite demanding and suitable only for adults. Otherwise, you can take an alternative method of transportation.

For those hiking, you will encounter a beautiful lake (Finse Lake) and meet the famous bike trail known as Rallarvegen. For a good portion of the trek, the mighty Hallingskarvet will be on your right hand, while Northern Europe's largest mountain plateau will be on your left.

Once you arrive at your destination, enjoy a three-course dinner at Finsehytta lodging in Finse.

Day 7: Day Hike to Sandalsnuten - Return to Finse

Pristine scenery near Sandalsnuten

After breakfast this morning, you can leave your belongings at the lodge for a day-hike to Sandalsnuten in Hallingskarvet National Park.

The route starts by following the trail to Geiterygghytta. You'll then take a right-hand turn before the summer bridge, and then head up the mountain along an unmarked trail where you'll be rewarded with amazing views at the summit including Hallingskarvet, Skarvheimen, the glacier, and Finse. Return the same way you came, or keep walking to Jomfrunut and head back down to the lodge along a different route. Today's hike is 3.2 miles (5km) and takes about 3-4 hours. 

Tonight, sit back, relax and enjoy another three-course dinner served at Finsehytta with your fellow trekkers.

Day 8: Finse to Aurlandsdalen

Headed towards Aurlansdalen

After you refuel this morning with breakfast, pack a lunch from the buffet before hitting the trail towards Aurlandsdalen. Today's hike will cover 9.6 miles (15.5 km) and takes about five hours.

Along the route, you will have great views of Gausta, Hardangerjøkulen glacier, and parts of Jotunheimen National Park. There will be several beautiful spots to stop and enjoy your lunch—it will be difficult to choose!

You'll eventually arrive at the Geitetygghytta lodge in the mid-afternoon where you'll stay overnight with other hikers. Enjoy the natural surroundings while the staff prepares a three-course dinner.

Day 9: Aurlandsdalen to the Aurland Valley

Hiking in Aurlandsdalen

Wake up today with breakfast served alongside your fellow hikers—you'll want to eat well as today is a big trek! After the meal, pack up a lunch from the buffet and then set out the 13.7-mile (22 km) route, which will take about 6 to 7 hours.

Good news: The trail will mostly be downhill. After about three hours, you will reach Stein Bergdal cabin where you can stop for lunch. You'll then continue further through Steinberg Valley and keep going until you reach a lodge in Aurland Valley where you'll be served a 3-course dinner.

Day 10: Aurland Valley to the Aurlandsfjord

The Aurland Valley reaches the Aurlandsfjord

Enjoy breakfast with your fellow hikers and then pack a lunch from the buffet. You'll then get started on the last day of this cabin-to-cabin trek. Today's route passes through the wild and beautiful Aurland Valley, known as one of the most beautiful hiking areas in Norway. The route will be 11.8 miles (19 km) and should take about 6 hours.

Once you reach the fjord, you'll transfer to your hotel for the night. Depending on availability, you'll either stay in the peaceful area of Aurland or take a bus to the nearby village of Flåm.

Day 11: Aurland - Ferry to Bergen

Views of Bergen from above

Today, you'll be dropped off at the port to travel to Bergen by ferry (about four hours) along the Sognefjord—Norway's longest and deepest fjord.  

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 12: Explore Bergen with a Local

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 13: Bergen Free Day

Bergen's colorful waterfront.

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.

Be 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, and take a leisurely stroll back down the path while discovering hidden troll sculptures along the way.

Otherwise, there are more guided options for travelers who want a unique experience near the city center. For example:

Boat to Mostraumen: This day-trip departs from Bergen's port and takes you through a deep fjord to Modalen, which is one of the smallest municipalities in Norway with about 380 residents! You will sail along Osterfjorden and pass steep mountains and spectacular waterfalls. 
 
Mt. Ulriken Zip Line: This fun zip line adventure travels through the hilly forests near Bergen.

Day 14: Bus to Sognal - Transfer to Nes Gard

Fewer tourists near Sogndal

After breakfast in Bergen, you'll catch a five-hour bus ride to Sogndal, located on the northern shore of the Sognefjord. Keep your camera close and try to get a window seat as this will be a beautiful drive through western Norway. 

Upon arrival at Sogndal Bus Station, a private driver will pick you up and transfer you to your guesthouse accommodations, called Nes Gard, where you'll spend the rest of the afternoon and evening.  Nes Gard offers panoramic views to the Lusterfjord and Feigumfossen—you can stretch your legs and explore the area before dinner, which is included and served onsite. 

Days 15-17: Hiking in the Lusterfjord

A village along the Lusterfjord

Over the next few days, you'll have the freedom to explore dozens of trails surrounding the Lusterfjord, the innermost arm of the Sognefjord. This beautiful area is home to some of the most spectacular mountains in Norway, including Breheimen, Jostedalen, and Sognefjellet.

The staff at Nes Gard will orientate you about all the different options and levels of difficulty the area has to offer and will provide descriptions and maps for each route. Return to Nes Gard each afternoon where you'll have dinner and stay the night. 

A few examples of the 30 different trail options in the neighborhood include: 

Molden (4 hours): This trail focuses on a mountain called Molden, situated on a peninsula in the Lusterfjord. At the top of this well-marked trail, you will get a panoramic view to the fjord, Jostedal glacier and the mountain peaks of Jotunheimen.

Feigumfossen waterfall (4-5 hours): This scenic trail reaches one of the highest waterfalls in Norway with an impressive vertical drop. 

Mørkrisdalen (5 hours): This trail heads through one of Southern Norway´s most spectacular, untouched valleys. You will walk along a big river with several scenic waterfalls for great photo ops. 

Day 18: Return to Sogndal - Bus to Flåm

Flåm is a popular stopping point between Oslo and Bergen

After breakfast today, it's time to say goodbye to Nes Gard and the Lusterfjord! You will be transferred back to the bus station in Sogndal where you'll connect to a bus, via Nettbuss Express, towards Flåm (pay on the spot).  The scenic ride (grab a window seat!) will take just under two hours.

Upon arrival, spend the rest of afternoon and evening as you wish in this beautiful village along the Aurlandsfjord, perhaps visiting the museum, enjoying more hiking, or just relaxing at one of the restaurants in town. A few options include:

  • Aegir Brewery & Pub: This popular restaurant offers authentic Viking culture inside the restaurant's historic wooden structure.
  • Flåm Marina and Apartment Café: The peaceful atmosphere and lighter fare of this café creates a nice lunch or dinner spot. 

Day 19: Flåm - Train to Oslo

A sunset in Norway's capital

Today, after breakfast, you'll experience one of southern Norway’s most popular attractions: the quaint, old-timey Flåm Railway, considered to be one of the steepest and most beautiful rail journeys in the world. The route passes 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 "Løkka" neighborhood and check out a slew of hip restaurants and bars. 

During summer months, the city comes alive to celebrate extended daylight hours, with various festivals and celebrations happening each week, so keep your eyes and ears open.

Day 20: 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.