- Check out Oslo's new harbor promenade and modern opera house
- Visit farms in the mountain pastures for fresh produce and dairy products
- Hike to your heart's content with dozens of trails to choose from
- Join outdoor events and festivals in Ålesund
- Ride a sky tram and take a cruise through stunning fjords on Norway's west coast
|Day 1||Arrive in Oslo||Oslo|
|Day 2||Oslo City Tour||Oslo|
|Day 3||Drive to Lom (Valdresflye National Scenic Route)||Lom|
|Day 4||Hiking in Lom & Jotunheimen National Park||Lom|
|Day 5||Lom - Drive to Ålesund||Ålesund|
|Day 6||Explore Ålesund||Ålesund|
|Day 7||Ålesund - Drive to Geiranger||Geiranger|
|Day 8||Outdoor Activities in Geiranger||Geiranger|
|Day 9||Geiranger - Drive to Aurland (via Loen)||Aurland|
|Day 10||Fjordcruise in the Nærøyfjord||Aurland|
|Day 11||Aurland - Drive to Oslo||Oslo|
|Day 12||Depart Oslo|
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: Oslo City Tour
The opportunities for experiencing culture in this amazing Scandinavian city are endless. Oslo is located in the heart of Norway between the water and evergreen forests—and though it's the capital of Norway, it only takes 30 minutes to travel from one end to the other on its metro system.
If you really want to feel like a local and experience all that Oslo has to offer, hook up with a private guide and get an exclusive tour around town. Here are a few ideas that past travelers have enjoyed:
- Akerselva River Walk (4-5 hours): On this tour, you'll take the tram to the Akerselva River, an important waterway which offers an abundance of local history. You will start with 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): This outdoorsy 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. 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.
For dinner, 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: Drive to Lom (Valdresflye National Scenic Route)
After breakfast in Haugastøl, you'll make the 5-hour drive to the village of Lom along the Valdresfly National Scenic Route.
Enjoy this open and serene landscape as you come across endless vistas with excellent views towards the Jotunheimen National Park. The journey also passes through summer farms in the mountain pastures where you will have the opportunity to buy fresh produce, butter, and cheese.
You can make a stop almost anywhere for short hikes in the mountains. The areas of Bygdin and Gjende are important starting points for magnificent mountain hiking in Jotunheimen, while Gravolskampen is recommended for an easy hike. The terrain here is mostly flat with a few small hills. If you are looking for a longer 3-4 hour route, start at Garli (parking fee) and hike via Grønekinnkampen to Gravolskampen and around Gravolstjernet back to Garli.
Day 4: Hiking in Lom & Jotunheimen National Park
After breakfast in Lom, hit the trails and glaciers, of which there are enough to spend a week or more. Hiking in the Lom area gives you the opportunity to choose between a range of different destinations; from easy and family-friendly to more extreme and advanced.
An obvious choice is Jotunheimen National Park, 'Home of the Giants', which is about 45 minutes by car from Lom. This is a largely undisturbed mountain area in Eastern Norway, covering an area of more than 2,100 miles. The mountain range is Norway’s most popular national park and includes the country’s two highest mountains Galdhøpiggen and Glittertind, as well as rivers, valleys, lakes, waterfalls, and more than 60 glaciers.
In fact, the area has the largest concentration of mountains (more than 275 summits) higher than 6,000 feet in Northern Europe and offers some of the most scenic hiking on the continent ranging from short strolls to difficult treks led by a private guide (optional).
You can go hiking in the afternoon for a mere 2-3 hours and still climb one of these mighty peaks! For a full-day experience, combine a glacier- and summit-tour. For the more advanced mountaineer, there's an option including glacier-crossing and summiting as many as ten peaks!
For a moderate, family-friendly glacier hike, consider a guided trip on the popular Bøverbrean glacier, with a duration of 5-6 hours.
On your return to Lom, visit the area's local farms. This region in Norway has a long culinary tradition and some popular local produce include herbs, cured meat, sausages, cheese, jam, and bread.
Day 5: Lom - Drive to Ålesund
Today, after breakfast in Lom, you will have another gorgeous drive onward to Ålesund, often referred to as Norway's prettiest city. Distinguished by its numerous spires, towers, and ornate buildings, this town is renowned for its beautiful architecture.
The drive will take about 5 hours via Åndalsnes. Taking this route, you will have a chance to have a glance of Rondane National Park; in fact, stop in the village of Dombås for lunch and stretch your legs while enjoying the scenery!
Once you get settled in Ålesund, take in its breathtaking location stretching out into the Atlantic Ocean. The heavy presence of Art Nouveau architecture is a result of rebuilding efforts following a devastating fire in 1904. Today, the city is the cultural center of the region.
If you're looking for some exercise beyond the city's typical sites, take a hike up Ålesund's Sukkertoppen (Sugar Top) hill, which affords excellent views of the city, fjord, and coast. Plan at least 2.5 hours for this excursion.
Day 6: Explore Ålesund
Wake up in Ålesund and enjoy the views! Colorful streets come alive during summer months with outdoor cafés and a large boating community.
As for activities, this city is the cultural center of the region with an array of museums, a sea park, a lighthouse (Alnes), and photogenic streets to explore on foot, not to mention numerous outdoor activities such as hiking, kayaking, and stand-up paddleboarding.
Ålesund also boasts several festivals, including the Ålesund Theatre Festival, the Festival of New Norwegian Literature, the Norwegian Food Festival, and art and music festivals such as Jugendfest and Trandal Country Festival.
For an authentic Norwegian dinner, consider dinner at Café Lyspunktet—also a place to come for great coffee, live music, and local art exhibitions.
Day 7: Ålesund - Drive to Geiranger
After breakfast in Ålesund, drive 3 hours along a major section of National Scenic Route towards Geiranger where you'll encounter more mountains, strawberry farms, and lush valleys, with plenty of places to stop for photos.
When you get to Geiranger, take the car ferry and see the Geirangerfjord! The deep blue UNESCO-protected fjord is surrounded by dramatic snow-covered mountains, waterfalls, and lush vegetation, so keep your camera close.
You'll disembark at Hellesylt, allowing you to explore beautifully restored old farmhouses scattered around the hills and mountains. If there's time, visit Hellesylt Boutique & Bar for provisions like licorice-flavored meringues, and then take a short hike to check out the views from this side of the fjord.
You'll return to Geiranger in time to explore the town by foot. Here you can experience open-air restaurants and sidewalk cafés, as well as shops and galleries for souvenirs. The town's restaurants and eateries take pride in creating fresh food with a local twist, like Geiranger Brewery partly located in a boathouse so you can enjoy more of those views.
Day 8: Outdoor Activities in Geiranger
For the next few days, you'll base yourself in the village of Geiranger and enjoy any number of activities in the Geirangerfjord region at your own pace.
You can experience the fjords and the waterfalls from one of the many sightseeing trips either with a private guide or on your own. There are also several hiking trails for all levels throughout the fjord area that capitalize on natural surroundings. A recommended family-friendly hike is an easy trail to Vesteråsfjellet that offers a beautiful viewpoint, as well as sheep, goats, and lamas along the route.
Other popular activities in the area include fishing, kayaking, rafting, and biking.
Day 9: Geiranger - Drive to Aurland (via Loen)
Today, you'll say goodbye to Geiranger and head south towards Aurland Valley.
A recommended first stop along the route is the village of Loen where you can ride the spectacular skylift! This aerial tramway climbs to the top of Mount Hoven, above the Nordfjord with a gradient that reaches 60° (one of the steepest in the world). Here, you can enjoy the views of the fjord landscape from the restaurant on top—in other words, this is a great place for lunch.
You will also pass Fjærland along the way. This is your chance to take in the views of Norway's longest and deepest fjord, called Sognefjord. While here, you can head for Fjærland's village center, called Mundal, and visit the famous Hotel Mundal—an elegant wooden hotel from 1891.
Other noteworthy sites along the route include the Norwegian Booktown, which consists of several second-hand bookshops, some combined with cafés, art galleries, and souvenir shops. 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.
Continue onwards to Aurland and spend the night. The drive will take about 6 hours (excluding stops).
Day 10: Fjordcruise in the Nærøyfjord
Early risers can take a morning trip to Stegastein Viewpoint overlooking the Aurlandsfjord before the crowds arrive! This national landmark was created by Todd Saunders, a well-known Norwegian architect. When you're done taking in the views, return to your hotel in Aurland for breakfast.
Later in the morning, you'll head to the Flåm port to board your ship for a fjordcruise. You will sail through the Aurlandsfjord and Nærøyfjord while taking in some of the most beautiful scenery in the country. The Aurlandsfjord is known for being picturesque, while the Nærøyfjord is known for its steep mountains and narrow inlets (it is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site).
The fjordcruise lasts about two hours and ends at the village of Gudvangen where you'll be transferred back to your hotel. Alternatively, you can head back to Flåm and check out the museum and microbrewery that's notable for its Viking history.
Day 11: Aurland - Drive to Oslo
You'll likely want to hit the road early this morning in order to enjoy as much of the afternoon and long evening in Oslo taking advantage of anything you may have missed at the beginning of the trip.
For dinner and drinks, head to Aker Brygge, an area on the Oslofjord full 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. A great way to end the trip!
Day 12: Depart Oslo
It's time to say farewell to Norway! Enjoy your last few hours walking around Oslo's neighborhoods, relaxing in a café, or visiting local boutiques for one-of-a-kind souvenirs.