- Walk, bike, or jog along Oslo's five-and-a-half-mile waterfront park
- Stay overnight in two charming villages overlooking Norway's 2nd longest fjord
- Take a kayaking tour and taste some of the purest drinking water on the planet
- Hike Bergen's hilly streets and then reward yourself with its lively restaurants
|Day 1||Arrive in Oslo||Oslo|
|Day 2||Train to Geilo - Bus to Eidfjord||Eidfjord|
|Day 3||Explore Eidfjord||Eidfjord|
|Day 4||Fjordcruise to Utne||Utne|
|Day 5||Explore Utne & Cider Tasting||Utne|
|Day 6||Fjordcruise to Norheimsund - Bus to Bergen||Bergen|
|Day 7||Explore Bergen with a Local||Bergen|
|Day 8||Depart Bergen|
Day 1: Arrive in 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 Geilo - Bus to Eidfjord
After an early breakfast at your hotel, you'll take a train out of the city towards the mountain village of Geilo. Located along the scenic Bergen Railway, Geilo enjoys close proximity to two of the country's best national parks: Hallingskarvet and Hardangervidda. This mountainous area of Norway offers magnificent photo opportunities and year-round activities for all ages.
When you disembark the train, you'll simply walk over to the bus station to connect to your midday ride to Eidfjord. In about two hours, you will arrive at this small village along the Hardangerfjord (the 2nd longest fjord in Norway). With dramatic mountains and waterfall sightings, it's easy to see why Eidfjord is considered to be one of the most beautiful fjord-side towns in Norway.
Once you check into your guesthouse, you'll have the rest of the day to explore the area. Start by having tea or coffee at one of the waterfront cafés to enjoy the view, like the terrace at the Fjell & Fjord Hotel, then have a walk around to decide which restaurant you'd like to try for dinner. This is an ideal starting point for trips around the Hardangervidda, so there are plenty of activities to start thinking about.
Day 3: Explore Eidfjord
After breakfast at your hotel, you'll have a full day to take advantage of activities in and around Eidfjord! There are several options you can choose from including sunbathing and swimming, checking out the local food scene, or taking a day-trip to one of Norway's most famous waterfalls. Active types can go hiking in the mountains or kayaking in the fjord. Some suggested activities include:
Kayaking: This guided 3-hour paddle tour along the Hardangerfjord is a great way to enjoy the beauty and peaceful landscape around Eidfjord. An instructor will teach you the basics of kayaking and safety procedures before you set out, while an experienced guide will explain the history and wildlife of the area. During the trip, there will be short stops including one where you can fill your drinking bottle with some of the purest water on the planet that comes from a small waterfall. This trip is suitable for ages 10 and up.
Vøringsfossen Waterfall: Take a day-trip to experience Norway's most famous waterfall, which offers copious amounts of water plunging from the top at 597 feet (182 m) allowing the Hardangervidaplateden to meet at Måbødalen.
Visit Kjeåsen Mountain Farm: Located high above sea level is this historic farm and settlement with outstanding views of Hardanger. The road to the farm starts in Simadal outside of Eidfjord and travels 3.2 miles (5 km) with a section that travels through a narrow tunnel (it's not possible to go by foot or bike through here). You can also hike up a trail that traverses the steep mountainside, starting below the Sima Powerplant. This hike is about 1 to 1.5 hours each way.
More Hiking Trails: There are many more marked hiking trails to choose from in the Hardanger area. Something to consider is a trip to the Viking Burial Mounds—the largest Iron Age site in western Norway. The tourist office can point you in the right direction and offer a basic map with a marked 90-minute walking trail. Another way to reach these mounds is with the Troll Train that drives up to the Hæreid Plateau where the most accessible graves are.
Norwegian Nature Centre Hardanger: If it's a rainy day, pay a visit to this modern center for Norwegian nature, climate, and environment. With interesting exhibits and a high-tech cinema showcasing a 225-degree panoramic film about the Hardangervidda, the Hardangerfjord, and the beautiful waterfalls in the region, you'll feel as if you are part of the journey taking place on-screen. Stay and have lunch at the on-site wooden and stone restaurant, which recreates the atmosphere of the area's rugged mountain farms and hunting cabins.
Day 4: Fjordcruise to Utne
Today, you can enjoy a relaxing breakfast at your hotel and more time exploring Eidfjord before you get ready to set sail! You'll head to the port in the early afternoon to catch your two-hour fjordcruise headed west for the town of Utne. Keep your camera close as the ride offers scenery in every direction.
When you arrive at Utne in the heart of the Hardangerfjord, you'll walk to your hotel and home base for the next two nights—one of Norway’s oldest hotels. Utne Hotel has been in continuous operation in the same building since 1722 when Peder Larsson Børsem was granted his innkeeper’s license. Careful thought is given to architectural details, amenities, and decor.
In the evening, wander around Utne's streets and then stop for dinner either in town or on-site. If choosing the latter, the restaurant at Utne Hotel is decorated almost the same way as it was in 1930 when it was designed in cooperation with the architect Torgeir Alvsaker.
Day 5: Explore Utne & Cider Tasting
After breakfast at your hotel, you'll have the whole day to spend in the Utne area! Some suggested activities include:
Hike the Valley of Husedalen: Just across the fjord from Utne is the Husadalen area, known for its four gorgeous waterfalls, located one after the other, on the way from Kinsarvik to Hardangervidda. Choose between a longer hiking route that passes each of the waterfalls (and back), which takes 5-6 hours, or a shorter option with fewer waterfalls. Keep an eye out for fruit orchards and roadside stands, which are common in this valley.
Hike Trolltunga: Experience the impressive Trolltunga (Troll's Tongue) rock formation with this longer and more challenging day-trip. Located above Ringedalsvatnet Lake in Skjeggedal, Trolltunga's popular vantage point offers fantastic views of the area. This trip takes 8–10 hours with a height gain of 2952 feet (900 m).
- Hardanger Folk Museum: This regional open-air museum in Utne features embroidery, traditional costumes, and Norway's largest collection of old Hardanger fiddles. Explore temporary and permanent art exhibitions, and several historic buildings including farmhouses and boathouses, artifacts, as well as outdoor art installations along with a museum shop and café.
In the evening, you'll take part in a local cider tasting at the hotel. Apples have been a popular crop in the area since the 13th century and this cold-pressed cider, between 3% and 12% alcohol, has a long tradition in the area. During the tasting, you'll try several variations and learn about the culture behind this important product.
Day 6: Fjordcruise to Norheimsund - Bus to Bergen
Today, you'll make your way to Norway's 2nd largest city by taking another ferry and bus combination.
But first, you'll have a leisurely morning to enjoy breakfast at your hotel and perhaps one last walk around Utne. In the late afternoon, you'll start your journey with a ferry ride from Utne to the town of Norheimsund. On arrival to Norheimsund, you will connect with a local bus that is heading to Bergen, arriving in the early evening.
Situated on the western coast, this small wharf city (one of the oldest port cities in Europe) is surrounded by ocean, mountains, and fjords, including Sognefjord, the country’s longest and deepest. You'll find that Bergen's cobblestoned streets are compact and walkable, so get out and explore the city's lively restaurants and nightlife, thanks in part to a young student population.
Day 7: Explore Bergen with 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 8: Depart 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.