This 8-day itinerary is a great way to experience a historic side of Norway that most visitors miss. Between the 8th and 11th centuries, Vikinger was a form of adventure, drawing plunderers but also poets, scholars, and traders. Starting and ending in Bergen, you'll travel through Viking-era settlements, islands, and fjords, including the former stomping grounds of one of the most famous Vikings of all: Eric Bloodaxe.

Highlights

  • Explore Bergen's oldest streets and neighborhoods with a private guide
  • Visit a juridical Viking settlement, which had a legislative body and court of law
  • Stay a night on the island where a famous Viking-era warrior was born
  • Join an authentic Viking-style dinner at a microbrewery in Flåm
  • Enjoy a series of relaxed routes (by car and ferry) with beautiful scenery

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Bergen - Explore Museums & Restaurants Bergen
Day 2 Viking Heritage Walking Tour Bergen
Day 3 Drive from Bergen to Gulen - Explore Gulating Gulen
Day 4 Drive from Gulen to Florø - Ferry to Svanøy Svanøya
Day 5 Explore Viking History in Svanøy - Drive to Sognefjord Leikanger
Day 6 Ferry to Urnes Stave Church - Drive to Gudvangen - Viking Dinner Gudvangen
Day 7 Explore the Viking Valley - Return to Bergen Bergen
Day 8 Depart Bergen  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Bergen - Explore Museums & Restaurants

Walk to Bergen's historic waterfront
Walk to Bergen's historic waterfront

Welcome to Bergen! Situated on Norway's west coast, this wharf city of about 300,000 residents (one of the oldest port cities in Europe) is surrounded by ocean, mountains, and fjords, including Sognefjord, the country’s longest and deepest. Rich in culture and seafaring history, Bergen boasts a vast selection of cultural and outdoorsy activities.

A few suggestions for your first day:

  • Be sure to take the Fløibanen funicular (or hike the trail on foot) to the top of Mount Fløyen—one of Bergen's seven peaks—for the best views of the city. Then, take a leisurely stroll back down the path while discovering hidden troll sculptures along the way.
  • Check out the Bryggen area of downtown to view old wooden houses dating back to the 1700s (a protected UNESCO World Heritage Site), along with Bergen's best historical sites and museums. For a rest, stop in one of the charming local cafés and bakeries.

Museums to check out: 

  • Old Bergen (Gamle Bergen) is a reconstruction of Bergen from the 18th century. It's best to take a bus to the stop called Gamle Bergen in order to arrive.
  • KODE 4 is an art museum with paintings by Munch, Astrup, Dahl, and other Norwegians, plus work by Picasso.
  • Bergen Maritime Museum offers exhibits of boats and ships, both historic and modern.
  • Bergenhus Fortress Museum reveals the military history of Norway, with exhibitions on historical wars, WW2 and modern warfare.

Recommended restaurants include: 

  • Altona Vinbar & Kjøkken is Bergen's oldest known tavern.
  • Pingvinen is an intimate eater/bar in the heart of Bergen, featuring traditional Norwegian food.
  • Restaurant 1887 is a modern eatery in Bergen's old meat market. 
  • Cornelius is one of Norway's best seafood restaurants.
  • BARE Vestland offers traditional western Norwegian food in a modern gastropub.
  • Skyskaperen is Bergen's highest restaurant, with spectacular views from the top of Mt. Ulriken.

Day 2: Viking Heritage Walking Tour

Bergen's historic fortress
Bergen's historic fortress

After breakfast at your hotel, it's time to meet your guide in the lobby for a three-hour walking tour of the city formerly called Bjørgvin. This name was cited in Norway’s key saga Heimskringla, a collection of sagas about former Norwegian kings written by Snorre Sturlason for anyone interested in medieval Scandinavian history.

The walking tour begins with a bus ride to the former king's residence. From here you will relive the same views as Norse royalty while walking through the neighborhood of Kalfaret towards the remains of Nonneseter Monastery. Then, follow your guide as you walk through more of Norway’s oldest streets while he/she shares stories and explains more about the culture, soul, and diversity of both historic and modern-day Bergen.  

Following the tour, you'll have the rest of the day to spend at leisure.

Day 3: Drive from Bergen to Gulen - Explore Gulating

Fjord views in western Norway
Fjord views in western Norway

After breakfast, you'll pick up a rental car and set out for a scenic journey along the western coast of Norway as you make your way to Gulen. Take your time, as the drive is stunningly beautiful. You can even take a detour to Byrkens, past several bridges on narrow roads accompanied by amazing views. If visiting during warmer months, you'll even have opportunities to stop for a swim!

Finally, you'll reach Gulating, a juridical settlement during the Viking era which had a legislative body, court of law, and political assembly for 400 years. It was also a meeting place where trade occurred and where people came together for the latest news. Farmers even met here to deliberate amongst themselves and offer direct negotiations with the king.

The legislative assembly convened in the village of Eivindvik, where you’ll find stone crosses dating from the 10th and 11th centuries, as well as Herresalen, the former home of Dean Dahl, an important figure in the village’s history. Make sure to check out the Gulating Millennium Site decorated with Bård Breivik’s monumental artworks commemorating Norway's importance as a nation. The park is open to the public all year round.

From here, check into your hotel in Gulen and enjoy the rest of the day at leisure.

Day 4: Drive from Gulen to Florø - Ferry to Svanøy

Views on the way to Florø
Views on the way to Florø

After breakfast, it's time to depart Gulen and continue your scenic road trip to the small town of Florø, a gateway to many of the nearby small islands. Have a walk around Florø before you embark on a ferry to Svanøy, an island with a long and multi-faceted history, by sailing through the magnificent landscape of Svanøy Bay. 

You'll have the rest of the day to check out the island's surroundings. Not only does Svanøy hold Viking history, but it's also an authentic experience of rural life in Norway. In previous centuries, the island was the most important center in the region with a high level of export and shipping activity. Today, only 70 people live on the island and it is widely known for its high-quality salmon and venison. It's also famous for the Norsk Hjortesenter—a national center of expertise on wild and farmed deer that lets you experience the mammals at close quarters.

Day 5: Explore Viking History in Svanøy - Drive to Sognefjord

The beauty of the Sognefjord
The beauty of the Sognefjord

This morning, you'll be met by a local who will show you around the peculiar island of Svanøy that is said to be the birthplace of Eric Bloodaxe, a Viking-era warrior speculated to have had short-lived terms as both King of Norway and King of Northumbria. His death in 954 brought the independence of Viking Northumbria to an end, but his sons later succeeded in establishing themselves as kings in Norway. For most, the name Eric Bloodaxe conjures up an immediate image of the archetypal Viking warrior: huge, heroic, and the proud owner of a large axe.

The walking tour includes visits to the birthplace of Erik Blodøks, as well as Viking graves and a boat-building site.  After your walk, you'll take the ferry back to Florø where you'll pick up your car and drive for about three hours towards Solvorn, via the beautiful Fjærland

Rich in resources like agriculture, fishing, and trade, the Sognefjorden was a popular destination during the Viking era. Not only did the fjord give quick access to the sea for Viking boats, but it also provided easy access to mountain passes where goods like iron came through. Sognefjorden was also known to be the place where wise men could educate the king’s son before becoming a king. Harald hårfagre, Eirik Bloodaxe's father, was most likely born in Leikanger.

You'll stay tonight in a historic hotel next to the fjord, which has been owned by the same family since 1690. It is, therefore, the oldest family-run hotel in Norway, with more than 370 years of history-making in Norway.

Day 6: Ferry to Urnes Stave Church - Drive to Gudvangen - Viking Dinner

Urnes Stave Church
Urnes Stave Church

After breakfast, you'll take a ferry from Solvorn to the UNESCO-listed Urnes Stave Church—a great example of craftsmanship from the Vikings, built around 1130 or shortly thereafter. It is one of the oldest stave churches in the world and allows you to see both Viking and Christian art forms combined.

Following your visit return to Solvorn, you'll drive towards Gudvangen by way of the road and car ferry. Once you check-in, you'll take a passenger fjord cruise from Gudvangen to Flåm by sailing through the UNESCO-listed Nærøyfjord, which also played a significant part during the time of the Viking era.

Upon disembarking in Flåm, walk to Ægir Restaurant for dinner, a Norse-style microbrewery that serves food in Viking style! The restaurant is also famous for its beer so feel free to imbibe since you're traveling back to Gudvangen by shuttle bus.

Day 7: Explore the Viking Valley - Return to Bergen

Viking Village
Viking Village

After breakfast, you'll visit the Njardarheimr Viking Valley, which lies in the heart of the unique UNESCO-listed Norwegian fjord landscape. The area brings to life the real history and culture of the Viking age where you can experience how the Vikings lived, worked and impacted the world. Notice how the streets of this valley are populated by an international community of Viking enthusiasts.

After your visit, you can drive back to Bergen and enjoy the rest of the day at leisure, perhaps experiencing anything you may have missed at the beginning of your trip.

Day 8: Depart Bergen

Evening panorama of Bergen from the water
Evening panorama of Bergen from the water

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.

Map

Map of Norwegian Viking Tour - 8 Days
Map of Norwegian Viking Tour - 8 Days