This road trip itinerary combines some of Norway's best fjords, mountains, villages, and cities. Start in Oslo where you'll have time to check out the exciting capital before taking the train and ferry to pick up your car. Then, travel at your own pace to various hiking trails, UNESCO-listed marvels, picturesque fjords, and even a national park boasting the country's highest peaks. To end the adventure, return your car and catch a fjordcruise to Bergen—a lively wharf city surrounded by seven mountains.

Highlights

  • Explore a new five-and-a-half-mile waterfront park in Oslo by foot or bicycle
  • Travel by train, ferry, and two national scenic roads for plenty of scenery
  • Visit Fjærland's historic Hotel Mundal and Norwegian Booktown
  • Accomplish a range of hiking trails in overlooking fjords and mountains
  • Photograph Bergen's iconic harbor, dating back to the 16th century

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Oslo Oslo
Day 2 Explore Oslo with a Local Oslo
Day 3 Train to Flåm - Ferry to Leikanger - Drive to Gaupne Gaupne
Day 4 Visit Urnes Stave Church - Hike to Molden Gaupne
Day 5 Drive to Fjærland - Mundal Valley Hike Fjærland
Day 6 Drive from Fjærland to Hjelle Hjelle
Day 7 Explore Hjelle Hjelle
Day 8 Drive from Hjelle to Lom, via Gamle Strynefjellsvegen Lom
Day 9 Hiking in Lom & Jotunheimen National Park Lom
Day 10 Drive from Lom to Leikanger, via Sognefjellet Bergen
Day 11 Explore Bergen with a Local Bergen
Day 12 Depart Bergen  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Oslo

Akrobaten pedestrian bridge in downtown 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: Explore Oslo with a Local

Get to know more of Oslo on a half- or full-day tour
Get to know more of Oslo on a half- or full-day tour

After breakfast at your hotel, meet up with your guide for a custom private tour of Oslo. Your guide, a native of Oslo, will find the right tour for you based on your interests. Here are a few ideas that past travelers have enjoyed:

  • Akerselva River Walk (4-5 hours): On this tour, you'll take the tram to the Akerselva River, an important waterway that 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. The river is 5 miles (8 km) long and passes waterfalls, swimming areas, forested areas, and wildlife, so bring your camera!

  • From Fjord to Forest (full-day): 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 (2-3 hours): 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 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.

The rest of the afternoon and evening is yours to explore on your own! For dinner, wander around the city's historic core buzzing with restaurants and outdoor cafés. 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.

During summer months, Oslo comes alive to celebrate extended daylight hours, with various festivals and celebrations happening each week.

Day 3: Train to Flåm - Ferry to Leikanger - Drive to Gaupne

Jaw-dropping views surround the village of Flåm
Jaw-dropping views surround the village of Flåm

After an early breakfast in Oslo, take a train to Myrdal where you'll transfer to 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 to Leikanger 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. 

After the ferry ride, you'll be picked up and transferred by taxi to a local rental car company to pick up your vehicle for the road trip portion of your journey. From here, you'll make the one-hour drive to Gaupne, beautifully located by the fjord, where you will stay for the night.

Day 4: Visit Urnes Stave Church - Hike to Molden

Urnes Stave Church
Urnes Stave Church

This morning, you'll drive to Solvorn and take the ferry to Urnes. This short ride will take you to one of the 28 remaining stave churches in Norway, the UNESCO-listed Urnes Stave Church. It was built in the 12th and 13th centuries and is an outstanding example of traditional Scandinavian wooden architecture with traces of Celtic art, Viking traditions, and Romanesque spatial structures.

After the visit, you will make the short drive to experience the powerful 715 foot high (218 m) Feigumfossen Waterfall. There is a marked path up to a lookout point under the waterfall. It takes about 45 minutes from the parking lot to the viewpoint which is 492 feet (150 m) above sea level.

From here, take the ferry back to Solvorn in time for lunch. If feeling energized, you can take a bigger hike—about four hours—with stunning views of the Lustrafjorden with Nes and Høyheimsvik in the foreground. As you begin, you'll eventually head along a path that rises steeply until you reach Svarthiller with its fine view towards Urnes on the other side of the fjord. The path winds its way past steep crags and then levels out where you'll continue to the cairn on the top of Molden, 3661 feet (1116 m) above sea level.

Following your hike (or hikes), return to Gaupne.

Day 5: Drive to Fjærland - Mundal Valley Hike

Spend a night in Fjærland

After breakfast today, you will drive to the fjord-side village of Fjærland, with Jostedalsbreen Glacier as its backdrop. The village with almost 300 inhabitants is officially an international Book Town, with 10 second-hand bookshops in a variety of abandoned buildings—from ferry waiting rooms, stables and local banks to post office and grocery shop.

When you arrive at your hotel, there will be time to relax and have lunch before you meet up with your guide in the reception area for a seasonal hike that is great for families (3-4 hours; easy to medium difficulty).

Then head into the Mundal Valley past green fields that have been farmed for generations (since the Viking Age). As you walk along gentle terrain, you'll be able to view staggering peaks that rise towards the sky like little giants. The hike traverses a loop, and most of the time on a trail in the woods while the last bit is on the road along the fjord going back to Mundal. 

Following your hike, you'll visit the Norwegian Glacier Museum, an award-winning hands-on museum, situated in Fjærland at the head of the Fjærlandsfjord. The museum is the leading center in Norway for the dissemination of knowledge with regard to glaciers and climate. Return to your hotel for dinner following the day's adventures!

Day 6: Drive from Fjærland to Hjelle

Hjelle's fjord-side setting
Travel to Hjelle's lesser-known fjord-side setting

Today, it's time to depart Fjærland and drive for about 2 hours to Hjelle.

A recommended stop along the route is the village of Loen where you can ride the spectacular skylift! This aerial tramway climbs to the top of Mount Hoven, above the Nordfjord with a gradient that reaches 60° (one of the steepest in the world). Here, you can enjoy the views of the fjord landscape from the restaurant on top—in other words, this is a great place for lunch.

When you arrive in Hjelle, explore the idyllic, peaceful surroundings at your own pace.

Day 7: Explore Hjelle

Hjelle's undeveloped scenery
Hjelle's undeveloped scenery

Today, you'll have a free day to explore Hjelle and its surroundings at your own pace.

This idyllic village is beautifully situated on the east side of Strynsvatnet Lake at the end of Hjelledalen Valley. Lesser-known by tourists, this peaceful spot surrounded by spectacular scenery, which has retained the atmosphere of Norwegian rural districts from days gone by. For instance, Jostedal Glacier National Park Centre is just a few miles away!

During the summer months, you also have options for guided tours that could include visiting a nearby mountain farm as well as Briksdal Glacier.

Day 8: Drive from Hjelle to Lom, via Gamle Strynefjellsvegen

Scenery along the Gamle Strynefjellsvegen
Scenery along the Gamle Strynefjellsvegen

After breakfast in Hjelle, it is time to drive to Lom in Jotunheimen National Park. This drive includes some spectacular scenery along what is called the Gamle Strynefjellsvegen, a historic route from the 19th century that was built by Swedes and Norwegians. 

As is often the case in Norway, the road itself is a destination and this is an example of that. Look for old stone masonry and long rows of guard stones that provide a sense of journeying backward in time. The historic road offers impressive contrasts in the landscapes, like rounded shapes bearing the stamp of the ice age as well as steep mountainsides. The total distance is 17 miles (27 km) and there are plenty of places to stop and enjoy the view. 

You will eventually reach Jotunheimen National Park, home of the highest peaks in Norway including Galhøpiggen. Check into your hotel in Lom and enjoy a traditional Norwegian dinner upon arrival.

Day 9: Hiking in Lom & Jotunheimen National Park

This park is nicknamed 'Home of the Giants'

After breakfast in Lom, hit the trails and glaciers, of which there are enough to spend a week or more. Hiking in the Lom area gives you the opportunity to choose between a range of different destinations; from easy and family-friendly to more extreme and advanced.

An obvious choice is Jotunheimen National Park, an area with the largest concentration of mountains (more than 275 summits) higher than 6,000 feet in Northern Europe and offers some of the most scenic hiking on the continent ranging from short strolls to difficult treks led by a private guide (optional).

You can go hiking in the afternoon for a mere 2-3 hours and still climb one of these mighty peaks! For a full-day experience, combine a glacier- and summit-tour. For the more advanced mountaineer, there's an option including glacier-crossing and summiting as many as ten peaks!

For a moderate, family-friendly glacier hike, consider a guided trip on the popular Bøverbrean glacier, with a duration of 5-6 hours. 

On your return to Lom, visit the area's local farms. This region in Norway has a long culinary tradition and some popular local produce include herbs, cured meat, sausages, cheese, jam, and bread.

Day 10: Drive from Lom to Leikanger, via Sognefjellet

Enjoy the views as you head back to the Sognefjord
Enjoy the views as you head back to the Sognefjord

This morning, you'll make the 4 to 5-hour drive back to Leikanger on the Sognefjord. Before you hit the road, make sure to visit Norway's most famous bakery, called Bakeriet I Lom, and stock up on goodies for the drive. 

This National Scenic Route called Sognefjellet includes Northen Europe's highest mountain pass at 4700 feet (1434 m). This path was also an important trading route linking the coast to the inland areas for items like salt, fish, butter, and leather.

From the starting point in Lom, your expectations will only increase as you find yourself surrounded by towering mountains. Make your way up the summit with the option to stop at various viewpoints and soak in the beauty of the natural surroundings.

Stop at Mefjellet to see Knut Wold’s stone sculpture and unique views of the mountain landscape. Continue downhill towards the Sognefjord, and watch the landscape change again when the Hurrungane massif towers up to the sky. You'll eventually head towards the final point on this stretch reaching the beautiful Sognefjord with water that changes color from green to blue depending on the sky.

Once you return your car in Leikanger, you'll make your way to the pier for your fjordcruise to Bergen, one of the oldest port cities in Europe. Rich in culture and seafaring history, Bergen boasts a vast selection of cultural and outdoor activities, as well as great restaurants and nightlife, so get out and explore the cobblestone streets.

Day 11: Explore Bergen with a Local

Hilly, cobblestone streets ooze with charm
Hilly, cobblestone streets ooze with charm

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!

  • Evening Segway Tour (2 hours): This fun guided excursion travels all over Bergen on two-wheeled motorized personal vehicles. You'll visit a number of key stops, including the top of Mount Fløyen for a beautiful sunset view.

The rest of the day is yours to continue exploring the city on your own. If you purchase 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 12: Depart Bergen

A summer sunset in Bergen
Summer sunset in Bergen

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.

Map

Map of Western Norway Summer Road Trip - 12 Days
Map of Western Norway Summer Road Trip - 12 Days