- Head to Oslo's harbor promenade and wander the Aker Brygge canals
- Ride the Flåm Railway and have lunch in its namesake village
- Take in the views with several ferry rides through scenic fjords
- Wander around Bryggen's historic wharf dating back to the 1700s
- Tour lesser-known parts of Bergen with a local
With overnights in three separate locations, this itinerary is ideal for those who want to make the most of their five days with a mix of urban experiences and jaw-dropping landscapes.
A large portion of the trip takes you to villages near the Sognefjord, Norway's longest and deepest fjord, one of a thousand along the coast. In fact, the entire west coast of Norway is a maze of waterways, cliffsides, and mile-long views. In between Oslo and Bergen, you'll visit Flåm, Balestrand, and Fjærland along the Fjærlandsfjord, a branch going north off the Sognefjord.
Spectacular vistas aside, this trip includes plenty of cool Scandinavian culture in Norway's two largest cities. You'll have free time to explore Oslo's museums, modern architecture, and New Nordic cuisine, while your last two nights will be based in Norway's Hanseatic wharf city, which stays young and fresh with a large student population. Any amount of time in Norway won't seem like enough, but five days is a great start.
|Day 1||Arrive to Oslo||Oslo|
|Day 2||Train to Flåm - Ferry to Balestrand||Balestrand|
|Day 3||Fjordcruise to Fjærland - Ferry to Bergen||Bergen|
|Day 4||Explore Bergen with a Local||Bergen|
|Day 5||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. The sculptures depict the ups and downs of life and the raw emotions of human beings. Bring your camera!
Day 2: 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, sit back and have lunch at a café. Enjoy the serene nature or go for a stroll 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 3: Fjordcruise to Fjærland - Ferry to Bergen
With several boat rides today, you'll have plenty of chances to gawk at the stunning views surrounding this part of Norway.
The day will start with breakfast in Balestrand before you take a fjord cruise north through the Fjærlandsfjord (a branch of the Sognefjord) to the village of Fjærland. Keep an eye out for Jostedalsbreen, the largest glacier in continental Europe.
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.
In the early afternoon, you'll return to Balestrand by boat and connect to your afternoon ferry (about four hours) to Bergen. This trip takes you through more of the Sognefjord, arriving in the evening with enough time to check out the city's vibrant bar and restaurant scene.
Day 4: Explore Bergen with a Local
After breakfast, meet up with a local 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.
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!
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: Mt. Ulriken, Mt. Rundemannen, and Mt. Fløyen. Lunch will be served at a scenic spot along the trail along with the Norwegian treat “Kvikk Lunsj”, plus coffee or tea.
The rest of the day is yours to continue exploring the city on your own. You'll also be equipped with a 24-Hour Bergen Card allowing you free bus travel and free admittance to most museums (as well as other attractions), so take advantage!
Day 5: 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.