- Check out the new architecture on Oslo's waterfront promenade
- Climb up Ålesund's Sugar Top Hill for panoramic sunset views
- Take an overnight ride on the famous Hurtigruten to get to Florø
- Get to know two fishing islands known for wildlife and Viking history
- Let a Bergen guide show you a hiking trail built by sherpas from Nepal
|Day 1||Arrive in Oslo||Oslo|
|Day 2||Train from Oslo to Åndalsnes - Bus to Ålesund||Ålesund|
|Day 3||Explore Ålesund - Hurtigruten to Florø||Onboard Hurtigruten|
|Day 4||Arrive in Florø - Ferry to Kalvåg||Kalvåg|
|Day 5||Explore Kalvåg||Kalvåg|
|Day 6||Ferry to Florø - Ferry to Svanøy||Svanøy|
|Day 7||Guided Viking Tour - Ferry to Bergen||Bergen|
|Day 8||Explore Bergen with a Local||Bergen|
|Day 9||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.
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: Train from Oslo to Åndalsnes - Bus to Ålesund
Today, you'll take an epic train journey northwest of Oslo towards the mountaineering base of Åndalsnes, a scenic town located in the Romsdalen glacial valley. You'll pass some of Norway's most dramatic landscapes along the route, including a beautiful river, as well as steep mountains, waterfalls, and famous bridges.
First, you'll take a 4-hour train ride through Lillehammer to Dombås, and then switch to a one-hour, 20 minute-train from Dombås to Åndalsnes. In this particular section, your train conductor slows down to give passengers the best possible view with photo stops at the famous Kylling Bridge and Trollveggen, Europe’s highest perpendicular mountain wall. The beautiful, emerald-green River Rauma follows the train route for much of your trip, and you can watch it shift between gentle sections and fierce rapids.
Once you arrive, you'll connect to a 1-hour, 40-minute bus ride to the town of Ålesund, where you will have time to wander the city's beautiful streets and have dinner.
Day 3: Explore Ålesund - Hurtigruten to Florø
After enjoying a delicious breakfast at your hotel, you have the day to explore the city.
Ålesund is known as one of the prettiest and most charming cities in Scandinavia with a 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 with an array of museums, a sea park, a lighthouse (Alnes), and charming streets to explore on foot, not to mention numerous outdoor activities such as hiking and stand-up paddleboarding.
If you're looking to get 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.
For a hearty and authentic Norwegian meal, consider dinner at Café Lyspunktet—also a place to come for great coffee, live music, and local art exhibitions.
In the late evening, you will embark on the Hurtigruten for an overnight cruise to Florø. Relax in your cozy accommodations and enjoy the journey at sea!
Day 4: Arrive in Florø - Ferry to Kalvåg
Enjoy breakfast onboard the Hurtigruten before you arrive in the charming coastal town of Florø. When you deboard, you'll be able to store your luggage at the harbor, which can be retrieved before your afternoon ferry to Kalvåg. In the meantime, you'll have several hours to explore the area on your own.
Start by walking around the charming streets of Florø and visit the Kystmuseet Museum containing boats and an exhibition about daily life on the coast. You can also check out the nearby small island of Kinn, one of the westernmost points in Norway, with the oldest church in the area—a masonry building from the 12th century.
For further exploration, this off-the-beaten-path region of Norway is dominated by mountains and islands dotted with glaciers and tiny villages, with long stretches of fjords and coast that are untouched by roads. Bordering Nordfjord and Sunnfjord, fishing and fish breeding are major contributors to the local economy. The seaport environment is well preserved, while nearby Rugsund and Smørhamn, two trading towns from the 17th century, are both signs of a time when much of life took place at sea.
The combination of scenic topography guarantees plenty of outdoor activities in the area as well, especially hiking and sea kayaking.
In the evening, you will take the ferry and bus to Kalvåg where you spend the night.
Day 5: Explore Kalvåg
Enjoy the entire day in Kalvåg, which has one of the best-preserved fishing village milieus in Vestlandet. The little houses stand close together around the small bay to create a charming setting. Spend the day doing any number of outdoor activities that take advantage of the varied landscapes like hiking, biking, and kayaking, or visit some of the town's cultural sights.
Some suggestions include:
- Vamråk Herring Saltery: Get an exciting glimpse into how the fishing industry has evolved from the 1800s to today. Guided tours are available.
- Smørholm Trading Center: Dating back to its heyday in the 1600s, this trading center was an important place for travelers, fishermen, and locals passing between Nordfjord and Bergen. Many of the original houses are still standing.
- Art Galleries: Kalvåg is an artist community and has art exhibitions all year round, so poke around town. For instance, Galleri Frøya opened in the summer of 2003 and artworks include pictures and sculptures made from wool. Kalvåg is also home to permanent art exhibitions throughout much of the summer.
- Sea Kayaking: A relaxing activity, trips are available for both beginners and experienced kayakers. Take either a three-hour tour or up to a full-day trip that heads into a deserted island at the mouth of a fjord.
- Trek Hornelen: Hit the trail and climb the tallest sea cliff in Northern Europe.
Day 6: Ferry to Florø - Ferry to Svanøy
After breakfast, return to Florø on the local ferry. While here, enjoy any free time in town before taking another scenic ferry to an even more off-the-beaten-path location: the island of Svanøy.
Upon arrival, walk to your apartment close to the pier. Once settled, get out and explore the island's multi-faceted history. In previous centuries, the island was the most important center in the region, with a high level of export and shipping activity. The island is home to Svanøy Manor House, which was both a nobleman’s dwelling and an episcopal residence.
Today, about 70 people live on the island, and Svanøy is widely known for its high-quality salmon and venison. In fact, you can visit Norsk Hjortesenter—the Norwegian Deer Center—a national center of expertise on wild and farmed deer, which lets you experience the deer at close quarters. You can also pick up a free map of the island and hire bikes at the general store. Cycling around this lush island is a fantastic experience.
Day 7: Guided Viking Tour - Ferry to Bergen
Today, you'll have the morning to relax and enjoy more of Svanøy. Perhaps you'll want to join a local guide who can teach you about Eric Bloodaxe, a Viking-era warrior who was born on the island. Bloodaxe is said to have had short-lived terms as both King of Norway and King of Northumbria. For many people, the name Eric Bloodaxe conjures up an immediate image of the archetypal Viking warrior: huge, heroic, and the proud owner of a large axe.
In the afternoon, take the ferry back to Florø and then connect to the express boat towards Bergen. Situated on Norway's west coast, this small wharf city (one of the oldest port cities in Europe) is surrounded by ocean, mountains, and fjords, including Sognefjord, the country’s longest and deepest.
A good place to start is the Bryggen area of downtown to view wooden houses dating back hundreds of years (a protected UNESCO World Heritage Site), along with Bergen's best historical sites and museums. The cobblestoned streets are compact and walkable, so get out and explore Bergen's lively restaurants and nightlife, thanks in part to a young student population.
Day 8: Explore Bergen with a Local
After breakfast at your hotel, meet up with a local resident 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.
Explore Bergen's Parks & Architecture (3 hours): This easy walking tour visits notable exteriors and city parks starting with the largest church in Bergen: St. Johannes. From there, you will walk through the botanic garden and onwards to Bergen's largest and most beautiful park: Nygårdsparken. You'll then walk through the city's narrow streets lined with traditional Bryggen houses and eventually visit Nordnes, another great park. Your guide will share stories of life in Bergen, as well as offer lesser-known activity and restaurant recommendations not frequented by tourists.
- 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!
The rest of the day is yours to continue exploring the city on your own. If you get a 24-Hour Bergen Card, that will allow you free bus travel and free admittance to most museums (as well as other attractions), so take advantage!
Day 9: 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.