This active tour is excellent for travelers seeking to experience Norway's stunning fjords and rich Viking culture up close. It starts in Oslo, where you'll spend a few days in the walkable capital before heading west for exciting adventures in and around Bergen and its seven mountains. Then spend two nights at the base of Jotunheimen National Park—home of Northern Europe's two highest peaks—before finishing in Stavanger, where you'll hike to the iconic viewpoint, Preikestolen (Pulpit's Rock).


  • Spend a half-day in Norway's oldest city to see a replica of a famous Viking Ship
  • Ride a vintage train and sail through a UNESCO-listed fjord (on the same day)
  • Join professional guides for hiking and kayaking in Jotunheimen National Park
  • Climb the longest wooden staircase in the world (4,444 steps) on the Lysefjord

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Oslo, Explore  Oslo
Day 2 Day Trip to Tønsberg Oslo
Day 3 Oslofjord Sightseeing Cruise, Visit the Oslo Botanical Garden Oslo
Day 4 Norway in a Nutshell Tour Bergen
Day 5 Arrive in Bergen, Explore Bergen
Day 6 Hiking in Bergen, Boat Trip & Dinner at Cornelius Seafood Restaurant Bergen
Day 7 Private Hardangerfjord Tour: Voss Gondol & Mt. Hanguren Panorama Bergen
Day 8 Explore Folgefonna National Park Bergen
Day 9 Arrive in Årdal, Half-Day Kayaking Trip Årdal
Day 10 Guided Hike in Jotunheimen National Park Årdal
Day 11 Arrive in Stavanger, Explore  Stavanger
Day 12 Cruise the Lysefjord & Climb the Flørli Stairs Stavanger
Day 13 Stavanger Viking Tour Stavanger
Day 14 Hike Preikestolen (Pulpit Rock) Stavanger
Day 15 Depart Norway  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Oslo, Explore 

Hit the top attractions in Oslo's walkable city center

Welcome to Oslo! Upon arrival, you'll take a comfortable express train ride from Oslo Airport to the city center—a swift route that only takes 20 minutes. Depending on where your hotel is, you can either walk from the train station or take a taxi to your accommodation.

Once you check into your hotel, start exploring at your own pace. Norway's rapidly growing capital is still considered a small city, helped by the fact that mountains and sea surround it. Not only is the city center made for walking, but outlying neighborhoods are easily accessible by public transportation, so jump on a tram, train, or bus and explore what Oslo offers.

A good place to start is walking along Karl Johans gate, the main thoroughfare, from the city center to Palace Park, where the Norwegian monarchy resides. You can also spend the afternoon visiting the Norwegian Open-Air Folk Museum by way of public transportation. Or, wander through the Vigeland Sculpture Park, with 200 larger-than-life sculptures from Gustav Vigeland, making it the largest outdoor sculpture park featuring a single artist in the world.

For dinner, return to the buzzing core around Karl Johans gate with a wide range of restaurants and charming cafés, including several options that offer outdoor seating during the summer.

Day 2: Day Trip to Tønsberg

See a full replica of a Viking Ship in Tønsberg

Today you can enjoy a relaxing morning in Oslo, perhaps exploring Aker Brygge on foot. This scenic waterfront area on the Oslofjord comprises beautiful, modern buildings where you can find restaurants, bars, and museums, including the Nobel Peace Center and Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art. It acts as a sort of courtyard for Oslo and brings together both tourists and locals alike to enjoy the great food, atmosphere, and culture.

In the afternoon, consider taking a 90-minute train to Tønsberg for a half-day excursion. Norway's oldest city was founded by Vikings and is where the famous Oseberg Viking Ship was originally found in 1904. You can see a full replica of the Oseberg in the harbor that was built only using the methods and tools available to Vikings at the time they were originally constructed.

Tønsberg is also home to the largest ruin site in Scandinavia, Mount Slottsfjell (Castle Rock), which is home to a museum and a 13th-century tower. In addition to Viking artifacts, the museum offers exhibits on whale skeletons and medieval life. When you've finished exploring Tønsberg, ride the train back to Oslo in time for dinner.

Day 3: Oslofjord Sightseeing Cruise, Visit the Oslo Botanical Garden

Get a closer look around the Oslofjord, including this lighthouse, on a two-hour boat cruise

Sit back and relax this morning during a two-hour sightseeing cruise in the Oslofjord. Once aboard the comfortable boat, you will have the chance to purchase refreshments before settling down to enjoy the islands' natural beauty and dramatic waterways surrounded by the fjord's hilly landscapes. Keep your camera close as you pass through narrow sounds, deep bays, and a maze of islands dotted with picturesque summer homes. The fun tour will also provide the sort of views that the Vikings would have seen back in the days of their great explorations.

In the afternoon, you can spend a few hours exploring Oslo's Botanical Garden, part of the Natural History Museum of the University of Oslo. The indoor and outdoor oasis was first established in 1814 and offers 5,500 plant species divided into thematic gardens, including two greenhouses—Palm House and Victoria House—where you can explore ample botanical variety and diversity from around the world. In addition to the plants, you can check out large woven sculptures by the British artist Tom Hare, as well as a pond, a café, and grassy areas for picnics if the weather is nice.

Day 4: Norway in a Nutshell Tour

Scenery along the Nærøyfjord
Enjoy bucolic scenery along the UNESCO-listed Nærøyfjord

Today you'll depart Oslo and participate in a full-day Norway in a Nutshell Tour as you head west. This legendary and sustainable excursion takes you through some of Norway's most breathtaking fjords and mountains and can be adjusted to accommodate all types of travelers and lengths of time.

The journey has several highlights, such as the Flåm Railway—one of the world's steepest and most beautiful train journeys, and a fjord cruise on the Aurlandsfjord and UNESCO-listed Nærøyfjord. You'll also experience plenty of Western Norway's scenery on a bus journey as you head to Bergen, Norway's second-largest city, where you'll stay tonight.

Day 5: Explore Bergen

Bergen's historic and photogenic waterfront
Walk around Bergen's photogenic waterfront on your first night

Wake up today in one of the oldest ports in Europe. Bergen offers a spectacular setting surrounded by ocean, mountains, and fjords. Its walkable core provides a vast selection of cultural and outdoorsy activities, plus a lively restaurant and nightlife scene, thanks to its large student population.

An excellent place to start is the daily Fish Market, which leads to the Bryggen area of downtown, where you can view the waterfront wooden houses that characterize the city, dating back to the 1700s (a protected UNESCO World Heritage Site). You can hike to the top of Mt. Fløyen or hitch a ride to the top on the Fløibanen funicular. For some of the best views of the city from the top. Walk back down to have lunch and browse the charming boutique shops.

When evening rolls around, head out to dinner and immerse yourself in the city's delightful downtown. Some local recommendations include Moon, a restaurant owned by two French brothers, and Lysverket, which focuses on local seafood. 

Day 6: Hiking in Bergen, Boat Trip & Dinner at Cornelius Seafood Restaurant

Ride the cable car to the top of Bergen

Today you'll have a chance to ride the Ulriken643—a cable car that will take you up to the most popular mountain peak in Bergen. Both the ride and view from the top, at 2,110 feet (643 m) above sea level, allow you to enjoy magnificent views of Bergen and the surrounding sea, skerries, fjords, and mountains. You can also take a short hike around the viewing platform. When you're ready to descend, hop back on the cable car and return to Bergen.

In the afternoon, hike one or more of Bergen's seven mountains with several routes. One popular option is to walk the 772 steps up to the top of Mt. Stoltzekleiven. It's a fun and challenging hike, and just as your legs start shaking, you will see a sign for "Melkesyren," which means lactic acid in Norwegian—a bi-product of exercise. Fortunately, you will be rewarded with stunning views of Bergen and the seven mountains when you reach the top.

Plan your trip to Norway
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
Early this evening, you'll take a 25-minute boat trip from Bryggen wharf to a unique seafood experience on Holmen Island outside Bergen. Open all year round, Cornelius is one of Norway's best seafood restaurants and is situated on a small island with spectacular views of the fjord, mountains, skerries, and passing boats and ships. Every season offers unique culinary experiences. On beautiful summer days, it's possible to enjoy outdoor dining with lighter fare; during cooler months, you can sit inside a cozy dining room with a fireplace and candles. 

Day 7: Private Hardangerfjord Tour: Voss Gondol & Mt. Hanguren Panorama

Explore the Hardangerfjord on this scenic excursion

Today you'll take a full-day tour of Norway's second-longest fjord, the Hardangerfjord, with a private guide. Enjoy a breathtaking landscape of mountains, spectacular waterfalls, and blooming fruit gardens as you travel through Nordic villages such as Norheimsund, Øystese, and Eidfjord.

Stops include the Fossli Hotel viewpoint with a fantastic view of Måbødal valley and the Vøringsfoss waterfall, which has a total fall of 597 feet (182 m). Then, at Voss, you'll stop at the newest attraction, Voss Gondol (opened in July 2019), which takes you from the town to the top of Mt. Hanguren in less than 10 minutes.

From here, you can take the Mt. Hanguren Panorama hike. This easy walk is suitable for all ages and levels—even parents with strollers. The trail is 2,625 feet (800 m) and offers a beautiful panoramic view of Voss' mountains, lakes, and town center. At some point in the day, you'll have lunch at Hangurstoppen Restaurant, serving a range of cold and warm dishes made from local ingredients. At the end of the excursion, you'll return to Bergen.

Day 8: Explore Folgefonna National Park

This park is home to Norway's third largest glacier
This park is home to Norway's third-largest glacier

Today you'll depart Bergen and have the entire day to explore Folgefonna National Park, home of Norway's third-largest glacier. There are many activities to choose from, including several walking and hiking routes for all abilities—and even a guided ice hike.

For something more unique, you can also arrange an excursion like kayaking on a glacier lake. This kayak tour is about 1.8 miles (3 km) each way as you paddle along the shore to a glacier on the arm of the Folgefonna. You'll dock the kayaks at a beach and have lunch (bring your own or pre-order) while your guide tells you more about the surroundings' history. (If you don't kayak today, you'll have another opportunity to do so the following day.)

You can also visit the Folgefonn Centre in the village of Rosendal, which offers interactive exhibitions on Folgefonna National Park, aquatic life in the Hardangerfjord, and climate change.

Day 9: Transfer to Årdal, Half-Day Kayaking Trip

Paddle in the fjord with a knowledgable guide
Paddle a kayak with a knowledgeable guide

Today, you'll travel to Årdal, where you'll stay for the next few nights. This is the perfect base for a range of fjord and mountain experiences, particularly in Jotunheimen National Park, which you'll see tomorrow.

But first, let an experienced guide take you kayaking on a beautiful half-day kayaking excursion on a lake called Årdalsvatnet. Here you can enjoy the mountain views while paddling on crystal clear water from glaciers in Jotunheimen National Park. Beginners are welcome; you'll learn the basic skills to paddle safely on this half-day tour. You'll also learn about the area's local culture and history. The tour includes a stop for lunch on the lakeside.

Following the excursion, you'll have time to relax in Årdal, which is split into two villages: Årdalstangen (the lower part) and Øvre Årdal (the upper part). Here you'll find travelers' conveniences, including restaurants and bars that attract a post-hiking crowd.

Day 10: Guided Hike in Jotunheimen National Park

The Besseggen trail in Jotunheimen National Park
Choose between a range of hikes like the Besseggen trail in Jotunheimen National Park

Today you'll spend a full day taking a guided tour of Jotunheimen National Park, Norway's most popular national park and home of the country's two highest peaks.

With more than 50 marked hiking routes within the national park (and about 70 more in the surrounding areas), some options range from easy short strolls to multi-day epics. Let your private guide suggest a suitable hike for you, depending on your ability. For instance, one of the most popular and stunning hikes is the Besseggen ridge, which takes six to eight hours and best suits experienced hikers. 

Day 11: Transfer to Stavanger, Explore 

Explore Stavanger's historic streets, including the colorful Øvre Holmegate lined with outdoor cafés

This morning, you'll travel southwest to Stavanger, Norway's fourth-largest city. Upon arrival, you'll have the rest of the day to explore this charming port city and university town, known for its oil industry, cozy cafés, and architectural beauty. Stavanger's historic center has some of the best-preserved wooden buildings anywhere in Norway, many dating back to the 18th century.

Start in the pretty waterfront—an especially lively area during the summer months when boats and tourists flock here. Though most of the architecture is white, you can wander the city's narrow streets, like Øvre Holmegate, where quaint, wooden buildings in shades of green, turquoise, and pink house trendy bars, cafés, and boutiques. Make sure to stop for coffee and baked goods to experience some authentic Norwegian koselig—a feeling of coziness and contentment.

History buffs will also want to visit the Stavanger Cathedral, which was built in 1125 (Norway's oldest), or venture into one of the local museums depicting the history and culture of this tiny town. You'll have many options for dinner and drinks as this small city has a surprising number of sophisticated dining options.

Day 12: Cruise the Lysefjord & Climb the Flørli Stairs

Cruise the Lysefjord before your stair climb
Cruise the Lysefjord to get to your epic stair climb

Today is your chance to climb the world's longest wooden staircase on a day trip to the Lysefjord, where a whopping 4,444 steps await your arrival. The adventure first starts with a relaxing cruise that departs Stavanger in the morning and, after brief stops for boarding at Lauvvik and Forsand piers, continues into the Lysefjord.

From here, you'll sail through beautiful fjord landscapes, like the majestic Preikestolen (Pulpit Rock), which you'll hike in the coming days. When you reach the former power plant village of Flørli, you'll jump off the boat and have time to explore this idyllic, roadless resort that offers an exciting history of hydroelectric power. Of course, most visitors are here to climb the famous staircase that rises 2,461 feet (750 m) above sea level, with fantastic views from the top. There's even a cozy café where you can rest your legs before taking the cruise back to Stavanger. 

Day 13: Stavanger Viking Tour

Finish the tour at Sverd i fjell, a commemorative Viking monument
Finish the tour at Sverd i fjell, a commemorative Viking monument

Today, you'll take part in an exciting Viking tour around Stavanger. Your first stop is the Viking House, located in the heart of the city, where you'll experience a virtual-reality-based visitor center that shares the Viking history of the region.

Next is a visit to the Iron Age Farm at Ullandhaug, a reconstructed farmstead just a short drive from the Stavanger city center, with a magnificent view of the Hafrsfjord. The farm is the only one of its kind in Norway and is reconstructed on the original archaeological site. You'll meet people on the farm and visit three houses with the equipment and domestic utensils just as families did here 1,500 years ago.

Finally, you'll drive to Sverd i fjell (Swords in Rock), a monument consisting of three swords to commemorate the Viking battle in Hafrsfjord. It sits on a small mountain in the exact area where it is presumed the battle took place. The fjord is at its widest point here and, therefore, where Vikings situated their boats side-by-side during the fighting.

Day 14: Hike Preikestolen (Pulpit Rock)

End the trip with a hike to Pulpit Rock near Stavanger
End the trip with one of the most famous hikes in Norway, which is conveniently located near Stavanger

It's the last full day of your trip and the perfect time to accomplish the moderate Preikestolen (Pulpit Rock) hike, often considered one of the most beautiful trails in the world. This is a self-guided seasonal hike (May through October), but you won't be alone as this is one of the more popular spots in the country. The trek takes about five hours roundtrip on hilly terrain and includes time to enjoy and photograph the famous views from Pulpit Rock, which rises 1,981 feet (604 m) above sea level.

For a more challenging experience, you can join a private guide and visit Pulpit Rock a different way—by taking a series of little-known forest trails off the tourist map. First, you'll cross a lake by canoe before hiking in near solitude to a stunning viewpoint above Preikestolen that few people ever get to see. Then, you'll head to the plateau for a rest as you savor the sweeping panoramas of this singularly beautiful locale.

Either route you choose, it is recommended that you start your hike early to conserve daylight and avoid crowds—and be sure to wear comfortable hiking shoes and base layers because the climate in Norway is constantly changing. Following the adventure, return to Stavanger, where you can celebrate at one of the city's atmospheric restaurants.

Day 15: Depart Norway

Until next time, Norway!
Oslo in the evening
It's time to say goodbye to Norway! At the appointed time, you will head to the Stavanger Airport and catch your departing flight. Safe travels!

More Great Norway Itineraries

Looking for more inspiration for your trip to Norway? Check out these other Norway itineraries, explore different ways to spend 15 days in Norway, or discover the best time to visit Norway.


Map of Southern Norway Highlights: Oslo, Bergen, Årdal & Stavanger - 15 Days
Map of Southern Norway Highlights: Oslo, Bergen, Årdal & Stavanger - 15 Days