History buffs and nature lovers can check off two UNESCO World Heritage Sites, peaceful villages, and dramatic vistas on this self-drive tour through Western Norway. Start off with a local tour of Bergen, a former Hanseatic League trading post with colorful wooden houses on the old wharf. From here, drive north and explore Norway's two biggest fjords: Nordfjord and Sognefjord. Finish the adventure with a ferry ride across the Lusterfjord to a UNESCO-listed stave church built in the 12th century. History aside, this trip offers plenty of amazing scenery, a world-class glacier museum, and even guided hikes -- all while staying in some of Norway's best family-run hotels.

Highlights

  • Explore lesser-known areas of Bergen with a local (choose between a walk or nearby hike) 
  • Drive scenic roads as you make your way towards the unpopulated Nordfjord
  • Take a hike with a private guide near Europe's largest mainland glacier
  • Get to know charming fjord-side villages like Fjærland, known for second-hand bookstores
  • Catch the views from ferry crossings with your car as you make your way back to Bergen 

Overview

Travelers seeking off-the-beaten-path destinations in Norway will love this road trip allowing you the freedom to drive at your own pace and stop as you please. And with overnights in three memorable and historic hotels, this itinerary is ideal for those who want to make the most of their five days with a mix of city culture and jaw-dropping rural landscapes.

A major portion of this itinerary focuses on the country's two largest fjords, of which there are over a thousand along the coast: Nordfjord and Sognefjord. In fact, the entire west coast of Norway is a maze of waterways, cliffsides, and mile-long views. This particular driving route takes you through charming villages along these two fjords including Sandane, Solvorn, Urnes, Fjærland and Flåm. 

This trip also appeals to those who want to experience the beauty and history of Bergen, Norway's Hanseatic wharf city. You'll get to spend a half-day exploring Bergen with a local guide, while your first and last nights offer the chance to explore the city's lively restaurants and nightlife. Any amount of time in Norway won't seem like enough, but five days is a great start. 

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive to Bergen for a Local Tour Bergen
Day 2 Drive to Nordfjord & Hike Sandane
Day 3 Drive to Fjærland -> Solvorn Solvorn
Day 4 Ferry to Urnes -> Drive to Bergen Bergen
Day 5 Depart Bergen  

Day 1: Arrive to Bergen for a Local Tour

Walk uphill to experience Bergen's gorgeous vistas.

Welcome to Norway! Bergen's cobblestoned center (one of the oldest ports in Europe) is rich in culture and seafaring history. This walkable city boasts a vast selection of cultural and outdoorsy activities, not to mention lively restaurants and nightlife thanks in part to a young student population.

Once you're settled, meet up with your guide for a custom private tour of the city. 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 ideas that past travelers have enjoyed:

Hidden Streets & Local Gems (3 hours): This walk starts from the city center and continues uphill toward one of Bergen's seven mountainsides through quaint neighborhoods along narrow streets. You'll walk up the Skredderdalen trail, and then to a hidden viewpoint behind Fløyvarden that only locals know about. After enjoying the magnificent vistas, you'll have the option to walk down to Fløyen for more views, or take an alternative way down which is called “tippe tue”.

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.

Also make sure to check out the Bryggen area of downtown to view the waterfront wooden houses that characterize the city, dating back to the 1700s (a protected UNESCO World Heritage Site).

Day 2: Drive to Nordfjord & Hike

Escape the crowds as you head north to the Nordfjord.

Today, you'll have an early breakfast at your hotel and then embark on a five-hour drive north towards the Nordfjord (Norway's second largest fjord), situated between the largest mainland glacier in Europe and Norway's wildest coast. Expect to see mountains and valleys, rolling farmland, and glimpses of the Norwegian Sea along the route.

When you arrive in the village of Sandane, you'll take an afternoon hike to Haugsvarden with a private guide who will point out area highlights and share stories about the land. This is an easy, well-marked trail with fantastic scenery -- suitable for the whole family. The trip starts at a farmhouse settlement and continues on foot towards Haugsvarden where you'll reach the peak and stop for a break.

Day 3: Drive to Fjærland -> Solvorn

Stay overnight in Solvorn and enjoy a four-course dinner.

Spend a relaxing morning in Sandane before you drive two hours towards the idyllic village of Solvorn, stopping at fjord-side Fjærland on the way. 

This is your chance to take in the views of Norway's longest and deepest fjord, called Sognefjord. 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.

Day 4: Ferry to Urnes -> Drive to Bergen

A ferry ride brings you to this UNESCO World Heritage Site.

This morning, you'll take a scenic 35-minute ferry across the Lusterfjord between Solvorn and Urnes to see a wooden church built in the 12th century. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, this Romanesque structure (and Norway's oldest place of worship) is an outstanding example of traditional Scandinavian wooden architecture, bringing together traces of Celtic art and Viking traditions. Your ticket will include a fascinating 45-minute guided tour.

Stay and have lunch in the village before driving back to Bergen on the scenic route. Travel along the south side of Sognefjord by catching the short ferry crossing (Manheller to Fodnes) towards Flåm. Continue through Gudvangen and make your way towards Bergen. Arrive with enough time to enjoy your last night in Norway!

Day 5: Depart Bergen

Bergen's walkable streets offer great museums, restaurants, and shops.

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 Western Norway's Hidden Gems Road Trip - 5 Days
Map of Western Norway's Hidden Gems Road Trip - 5 Days