- Check out Oslo's hip neighborhoods and sculptures in Frogner Park
- Walk along the city's Akerselva River for museums and swimming areas
- Kayak in the Sognefjord and learn about the culture and history of nearby villages
- Tour Norway's leading center on glaciers and climate change
- Hike around Bergen and visit the city's open-air Fish Market
|Arrive in Oslo
|Explore Oslo with a Local
|Train to Flåm, Ferry to Balestrand
|Kayaking Tour of the Sognefjord
|Ferry to Fjærland, Explore
|Ferry to Bergen
|Explore Bergen with a Local
Day 1: Arrive in Oslo, Explore
Welcome to the capital of Norway! Surrounded by mountains and sea, this is a beautiful city for walking. Meanwhile, outlying neighborhoods 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.
- Walk along the Havnepromenaden (harbor promenade) — a new five-and-a-half-mile waterfront park that 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. The sculptures depict the ups and downs of life and the raw emotions of human beings. Bring your camera!
- During summer months, Oslo comes alive to celebrate extended daylight hours, with various festivals and celebrations happening each week.
Day 2: Explore Oslo with a Local
After breakfast at your hotel, meet up with your local guide for a custom private tour of Oslo. Your guide, a native, 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): Start the tour by taking the tram to the Akerselva River, an important waterway that offers an abundance of local history. You will first visit 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 five miles (8 km) long and passes waterfalls, swimming areas, forested areas, and wildlife, so bring your camera!
From Fjord to Forest (full day): For outdoorsy types, this 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 like hiking, biking, and swimming in the summer months. 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 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.
The rest of the afternoon and evening is yours to explore on your own! 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 3: Train to Flåm, Ferry to Balestrand
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, have lunch and take a walk 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 4: Kayaking Tour of the Sognefjord
After breakfast, your guide will take you on a three-hour kayaking tour (lunch included) in the Sognefjord. Kayaking is one of the best ways to absorb the natural beauty of these stunning mountains against the crystal-clear sea. After some basic instruction on how to paddle your kayak, set out on the water while an experienced guide shares his/her knowledge of the culture and history of these surrounding towns.
When back on dry land, your guide will bring you back to your hotel, and you'll have the rest of the day to explore the town of Balestrand. Suggested activities include:
- Hiking on the outdoor trails surrounding the town
- Visiting St. Olav's Church
- Explore the Norwegian Museum of Travel and Tourism
Day 5: Ferry to Fjærland, Explore
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
After breakfast in Balestrand, you'll get back on the water and take a fjord cruise north through the Fjærlandsfjord (a branch of the Sognefjord) to the village of Fjærland. Keep an eye out for the largest glacier in continental Europe, called Jostedalsbreen. A good place to start is by visiting Fjærland's village center, called Mundal. This is where you can 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.
Day 6: Ferry to Bergen
After breakfast, it's time to decide which ferry to take to Bergen. This depends on whether you'd like more time in Balestrand (afternoon ferry) or if you're ready to get to Bergen (morning ferry). Either way, once you arrive in Norway's second-largest city, the rest of the day is yours to explore on your own. Bergen has a picturesque and compact downtown with a fun 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
- 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 7: Explore Bergen with a Local
After breakfast, you'll embark on a custom tour with a private guide who was born and raised in Bergen. 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. 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.
Hike Mount Sandviken (2.5 hours): This hike heads to Mount 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!
Hike Three of Seven Mountains (5-7 hours): On this longer hiking trip, you will have the opportunity to climb three of the seven mountains surrounding Bergen: Mount Ulriken, Mount Rundemannen, and Mount Fløyen. Lunch will be served at a scenic spot along the trail along with the Norwegian treat "Kvikk Lunsj," plus coffee or tea.
Spend the rest of the day exploring the city on your own. Consider picking up a 24-Hour Bergen Card for unlimited bus travel and free admittance to most museums (as well as other attractions).
Day 8: Depart Bergen
It's time to say farewell to Norway! Enjoy your last moments in this picturesque with a relaxing breakfast, a neighborhood stroll, and/or souvenir shopping before you head to the airport for your return flight home.
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