This popular 10-day trip loops around southern Norway, mixing scenery, outdoor adventure, and history. Starting in Bergen, you'll hop on a bus to the pretty port of Stavanger, then ride a ferry through the Lysefjord to hike the longest wooden stairway in the world. Continuing east, visit charming island towns along the southern coast, then board a train to Oslo, Europe's fastest-growing capital. End the adventure with a ride on the Flåm Railway and boat across Norway's longest and deepest fjord.


  • Discover the cities of Bergen and Oslo with knowledgeable local guides
  • Join a full-day off-the-beaten-path hike to reach the famous Pulpit Rock
  • Ascend the longest wooden stairway in the world with a day trip to Flørli
  • Climb aboard the famous Flåm Railway to enjoy beautiful scenery
  • Venture by ferry through Norway's longest and deepest fjord

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Bergen Bergen
Day 2 Explore Bergen with a Local Bergen
Day 3 Bus to Stavanger, Full-Day Pulpit Rock Hike Stavanger
Day 4 Day Trip to Flørli Stavanger
Day 5 Train to Arendal, Free Time Arendal
Day 6 Day Trip to Merdø Island Arendal
Day 7 Train to Oslo, Evening Wooden Sailboat Cruise Oslo
Day 8 Explore Oslo with a Local, Oslo Bike Tour Oslo
Day 9 Train to Flåm, Ferry to Bergen  Bergen
Day 10 Depart Bergen  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Bergen

A view of Bryggen in Bergen, Norway
Bergen's historic and photogenic waterfront

Welcome to Bergen! Norway's second-largest city is one of the oldest ports in Europe and is surrounded by ocean, mountains, and fjords. Upon arrival, you could spend time exploring the easily walkable center, soaking in cultural highlights, delicious food, fun, nightlife, and outdoor activities. Start with a ride up the Fløibanen funicular to the top of Mount Fløyen—one of Bergen's seven peaks. You could also hike up from the bottom to enjoy the best views of the city from the top and discover hidden troll sculptures along the way. 

Later, explore downtown Bryggen to view the historic wooden houses along the waterfront. Dating back to the 1700s, the neighborhood is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Despite its rich history, Bergen has a youthful feeling thanks to its student population. When dinner rolls around, seek out local favorites such as hip coffee shop and music venue BarBarista, traditional mountain lodge restaurant Bryggeloftet & Stuene, or Bare Vestland, a basement-level eatery specializing in Norwegian tapas.

Day 2: Explore Bergen with a Local

Looking down at Bergen from a mountain trail
Looking down at Bergen from a mountain trail

On your first full day in the city, meet with a Bergen local for a customized private tour. Based on your interests, you and your guide might walk through history as you explore the city center's narrow cobbled streets or the traditional Bryggen houses while hearing stories from Bergen's past. Or maybe you'll choose to explore Bergen's nature, from the botanic garden to the green spaces of Nygårdsparken and waterfront Nordnes Park. The truly adventurous could take on Mount Sandviken, one of the seven mountains surrounding Bergen.

The rest of the day is yours to explore solo. Consider picking up a 24-hour Bergen Card, which offers free bus travel and free admittance to most museums (as well as other attractions).

Day 3: Bus to Stavanger, Full-Day Pulpit Rock Hike

Preikestolen or Pulpit Rock receives more tourists than any other fjord trekking site in Norway

Before breakfast, you'll board a bus headed south to Stavanger, the gateway to the Lysefjord and Norway's fourth-largest city. The journey will take four to five hours, and the scenery is stunning. Soak up views of the rugged Norwegian coast, tiny fishing outposts, and eventually, a ferry and undersea tunnel. Once you arrive in the pretty port city, meet your guides for a full-day hike to Preikestolen (Pulpit Rock), one of the world's most spectacular scenic viewpoints.

To beat the crowds, your guides will follow an alternative, off-the-beaten-path route. This difficult trail weaves through the area's backcountry and offers exclusive views of Preikestolen and Lysefjord. Explore the wild, beautiful, and peaceful landscape away from the crowds. This trail offers scenic vistas over both ends of the Lysefjord, including views from and onto Pulpit Rock, which rises 1,981 feet (604 m) above sea level.

Day 4: Day Trip to Flørli

A ferry headed to Flørli in the Lysefjord
Catch a ferry headed to Flørli in the Lysefjord

Put on your hiking boots—this morning you'll catch a boat headed deep into the Lysefjord toward Flørli. This roadless hamlet is best known for its tough climb to the top, and today you'll brave the longest wooden staircase in the world, with 4,444 steps (yes, that many!).

Flørli is also known for its hydropower history, and you can visit the Power Hall to learn more. Pack a picnic for the journey or take advantage of the on-site café for lunch. Better yet, finish the epic staircase climb with a rewarding beer at the pub. If you have time, rent kayaks or canoes and paddle at your leisure around this stunning area of the Lysefjord before your return ferry to Stavanger in the afternoon.

Plan your trip to Norway
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.

Day 5: Train to Arendal, Free Time

Arenal, the so-called "Venice of Scandinavia"
Arenal gained the nickname "Venice of Scandinavia" but it's not what you expect

Enjoy breakfast at your hotel in Stavanger, then start your scenic train journey eastward toward Arendal, one of the larger towns on Norway's southern coast. Expect it to take around four hours, and you may need to change services once. Arendal was once known as the "Venice of Scandinavia" thanks to its series of canals, which were turned into wide streets after a devastating fire. Nowadays, the town still oozes with charm, and the best place to start is in the historic center. Known as Tyholmen, it's renowned for its beautifully preserved 18th-century wooden houses.

Many artists and craftspeople have migrated here from Oslo, taking over the wood-framed structures and restoring them to their original glory. During the summer months, the town is popular with Norwegian tourists, who bring a fun and lively vibe. Pop by the harbor, where boats bob in the water and people crowd outdoor restaurants and bars. There's also a busy calendar of festivals and open-air concerts that take place by the water.

Day 6: Day Trip to Merdø Island

The quiet and car-free island of Merdø
The quiet and car-free island of Merdø is filled with wonderful nature experiences

The beautiful island of Merdø awaits! Today you'll take a day trip to this car-free island and popular summer destination. Merdø was once one of Norway's most important ports during the golden days of sailing, and like Arendal, you'll find lots of colorful wooden houses. Explore the island's coastal culture by hiking around its rugged paths. Sunbathe and relax on a couple of small sandy beaches, or climb on rocks and boulders while enjoying fantastic views of the lighthouses. History buffs should seek out two burial mounds that date from the Iron Age.

Bring a picnic, or dine at the island's appealing café. Then return to nature or seek out local culture at the Merdø Museum, where the buildings date from the 18th century and you can see how a small coastal farm works. In the afternoon, you'll return to Arendal by ferry.

Day 7: Train to Oslo, Evening Wooden Sailboat Cruise

Wooden sailboat Oslo
There are loads of classic wooden sailboats in Oslo 

Today you'll board a fast train to Oslo, zipping you up to the fast-growing capital in just three hours and 20 minutes. This small city is surrounded by mountains and set on a beautiful fjord. The city center is made for walking, but outlying neighborhoods, filled with charm and character, are easily accessible by public transportation. Wander around Aker Brygge, a scenic waterfront boardwalk lined with fun bars and abundant nightlife options. It acts as a courtyard for the city and brings together tourists and locals with great food, people-watching, and atmosphere.

Keep an eye on the time—later you'll board a classic wooden sailing boat and cruise along Oslo's fjord. Over three hours you'll take in the capital's waterfront sights, passing by the Akershus Fortress, Oslo Opera House, pretty islets, and more as you enjoy a snack of shrimp and watch a late summer sunset. 

Day 8: Explore Oslo With a Local, Oslo Bike Tour

Oslo Bike
Bike is the best way to explore Oslo, especially in the warmer months

After breakfast at your hotel, meet a guide for a private half-day tour of Oslo tailored to your interests. You could wander the Akerselva River Walk to the Norwegian Museum of Science and Technology and Labor Museum. Venture into nature, from the fjord to the forest, discovering a beautiful and wild island on an outdoorsy adventure. Or visit a popular area called Holmenkollen, where the Holmenkollen Ski Museum & Tower presents over 4,000 years of snow sports, including an exhibition on snowboarding and modern skiing, and the observation deck offers epic Oslo views.

As Norway's capital has an almost car-free center, the best way to explore is by bike. Meet another guide for a three-hour bike tour. With two wheels you'll gain a complete picture of the capital and its culture, from the social system and urban development to food culture and Norwegian politics. You'll pass the medieval Akershus Fortress, City Hall, the Royal Palace gardens, and the world-famous Vigeland Sculpture Park, and ride through endless neighborhoods and charming streets. For dinner, head east for Grünerløkka where you'll find chic apartments, fashionable cafés, and hip restaurants. 

Day 9: Train to Flåm, Ferry to Bergen

A ferry ride on Sognefjord, Norway's longest and deepest fjord
Take a ferry ride on Sognefjord, Norway's longest and deepest fjord

Enjoy the view as Norway's brilliant landscapes flash past the train window on the journey from Oslo to the village of Flåm. This seven-hour route is part of the famous Bergen Railway, connecting Oslo and Bergen across Hardangervidda, Europe's highest mountain plateau. You'll see mountains, rivers, valleys, hamlets, and fjords along the way—the most iconic Norwegian landscapes imaginable.

When you make it to Myrdal, board the famous Flåm Railway and experience one of the most beautiful train journeys in the world. Following the world's steepest train tracks, this engineering marvel snakes from the mountain at 2,845 feet (867 m) to sea level. When you get to the charming village of Flåm, sit back and have lunch at a café, such as Aegir Brewery & Pub. Enjoy the serene nature or go for a stroll through town before you catch your mid-afternoon five-hour scenic ferry ride back to Bergen by way of the Sognefjord, Norway's longest and deepest fjord.

Day 10: Depart Bergen

The colorful buildings of Bergen, Norway
Take a stroll through the colorful buildings of Bergen this morning before your flight

It's time to say goodbye to Norway! Hop aboard ByBanen, Bergen's light rail system, for your ride to the airport, or organize a taxi or private transfer. Safe travels!

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Map of Oslo, Bergen & Southern Norway - 10 Days
Map of Oslo, Bergen & Southern Norway - 10 Days