Discover magnificent areas of Western Norway in an exciting 10-day summertime itinerary. Your adventure starts in the capital city of Oslo, followed by a train ride along the emerald-green River Rauma, to the breathtaking city of Ålesund, known for its Art Nouveau architecture. Continue the journey to coastal islands and narrow fjords towards Bergen, before ending your trip back in Oslo for one last night of Scandinavian fun.

Highlights

  • Explore the modern (and highly walkable) city of Oslo with a local expert guide
  • Journey by train through glacial valleys to the mountaineering town of Åndalsnes
  • Visit the fishing village of Kalvåg, and explore pristine Western Norway landscape
  • Hike up to Mount Fløyen, and enjoy panoramic views of the wharf
  • Take a ride on the Flåm Railway, which travels along the deepest fjord in Norway

Overview

The Kingdom of Norway is a Scandinavian gem less visited by tourists than many other European nations. That means there's much for travelers to discover, from the rapidly growing capital city of Oslo, to picturesque fjords, snow-capped peaks and emerald-green rivers. The country's natural beauty is the stuff of legends. 

This 10-day itinerary allows you to fully experience Norway's epic scenery and rich culture during the warmer summer months. Whether you're aiming for a city experience filled with nightlife and culture, or outdoorsy pleasures like trekking and nature watching, you won't leave disappointed. Moreover, you'll end your journey feeling that you've experienced everything the country has to offer. 

Brief Itinerary

Day 1 Arrive in Oslo
Day 2 Explore Oslo with a Local
Day 3 Train to Åndalsnes - Bus to Ålesund
Day 4 Explore Ålesund
Day 5 Arrive in Florø - Explore Florø
Day 6 Ferry to Kalvåg - Explore Kalvåg
Day 7 Ferry to Florø - Boat to Bergen
Day 8 Explore Bergen with a Local
Day 9 Ferry to Flåm - Train to Oslo
Day 10 Depart Oslo

Day 1: Arrive in Oslo

Oslo is Europe's fastest growing capital
Oslo is Europe's fastest growing capital

Welcome to Oslo! Norway's rapidly growing capital is still considered a small city, and the surrounding mountains and sea have helped keep it this way. 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, bringing together 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 bit of adventure.
  • Visit the Vigeland Sculpture Park, where 200 larger than life sculptures are placed throughout this green oasis in the middle of the city. The sculptures depict the struggles of life and showcase raw human emotions. Bring your camera!

Day 2: Explore Oslo with a Local

Quaint cafe in Oslo
Quaint cafe in Oslo

After breakfast at your hotel, meet up with your guide for a custom private tour of Oslo. Your guide, a native of the city, will find the right tour for you based on your interests. The rest of the afternoon and evening is yours to explore on your own! Just know that during the summer months, Oslo comes alive to celebrate extended daylight hours, with various festivals and celebrations happening each week. So there's no shortage of activities.

For dinner, wander around the city's historic center, which buzzes with restaurants and outdoor cafés. If you're looking for Oslo's trendiest local scene, head east to the neighborhood of 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. Stay overnight in Oslo. 

Tour ideas include:

  • Akerselva River Walk (4-5 hours): Take the tram to the Akerselva River, an important waterway which offers an abundance of local history. You'll start with the Norwegian Museum of Science and Technology (on the north side of the river), then head south to the Labour Museum (part of the Oslo City Museum) while your guide details Oslo's rich history. The river is five miles (8 km) long and passes waterfalls, forested areas, and wildlife, so bring your bathing suit and 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 be prepared to explore it on foot. 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 encompasses a popular wooded range of hills called Holmenkollen, which is reached by light rail from Oslo's city center in about 35 minutes. Open year-round, the Holmenkollen Ski Museum & Tower details an over 4,000-year history of snow sports, polar exploration, and even includes an exhibition on snowboarding and modern skiing. Head for the observation deck, which offers panoramic views of Oslo, and then head over to the ski jump while your guide shares stories about local trolls, legends, and castles.

Day 3: Train to Åndalsnes/Bus to Ålesund

The Romsdalen glacial valley
The Romsdalen glacial valley

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, which include rivers, steep mountains, waterfalls, and famous bridges. 

First, it's a 4-hour train ride through Lillehammer to Dombås before switching to a 1-hour, 20 minute-train from Dombås to Åndalsnes. In this section, the train offers photo stops at the famous Kylling Bridge and at Trollveggen, Europe’s highest perpendicular mountain wall. The emerald-green River Rauma, teeming with rapids, follows the route for much of this trip. Once you arrive, you'll connect to a 1-hour, 40-minute bus ride to the town of Ålesund, where you can wander the city's beautiful streets, have dinner and stay overnight.

Day 4: Explore Ålesund

Bask in the Art Nouveau beauty of Ålesund
Bask in the Art Nouveau beauty of Ålesund

After enjoying a delicious breakfast at your hotel, you have the day to explore the city on foot. Ålesund is known as one of the prettiest cities in Scandinavia, with a breathtaking location next to 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), not to mention numerous outdoor activities such as hiking and stand-up paddle boarding.

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. 

Day 5: Arrive in Florø - Explore Florø 

The majesty of Western Norway
The majesty of Western Norway

Enjoy breakfast onboard Hurtigruten before you arrive in the charming coastal town of Florø. From here, you will have the rest of the day 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.

Day 6: Ferry to Kalvåg - Explore Kalvåg

The countryside around Kalvåg
The countryside around Kalvåg

This morning, you'll connect to a short ferry ride towards the village of Kalvåg (pay directly), located on Frøya Island. The ferry from Florø is a passenger ferry that takes about 25 minutes. 

Kalvåg has one of the best-preserved fishing village milieus in Vestlandet. The little houses stand closely 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 (additional cost may apply):

  • 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 7: Ferry to Florø - Boat to Bergen

Bergen's wharf, a UNESCO World Heritage Site
Bergen's wharf, a UNESCO World Heritage Site

Today, you'll take a ferry back to Florø (pay directly) and then connect to the express boat towards Bergen (included). Situated on Norway's west coast, this small wharf city (one of the oldest in Europe) is surrounded by ocean, mountains, and fjords, including Sognefjord, the country’s longest and deepest. Be sure to take the Fløibanen funicular railway (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. Returning on foot, discover the hidden troll sculptures along the hiking path.

Check out the Bryggen area of downtown to view 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. The cobblestoned streets here are compact and walkable, so get out and explore Bergen's lively restaurants and nightlife before turning in for the night.

Some great local nightlife and restaurant options include:

  • BarBarista: A funky coffee shop, restaurant & music venue.
  • Bryggeloftet & Stuene: A traditional mountain lodge restaurant.
  • Zupperia: An eclectic European restaurant right on the Bryggen wharf.
  • Bare Vestland: A basement-level eatery specializing in Norwegian tapas.
  • Pygmalion Økocafe and Galleri: A healthy, organic restaurant located in a historic space with a fireplace and an art gallery for art exhibitions and live music.
  • Matbørsen: Three restaurants in one serving international cuisine in a gorgeous, airy space -- the former Bergen Stock Exchange, circa 1862.

Day 8: Explore Bergen with a Local

View of Bergen
View of Bergen

After breakfast, meet up with a local 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. 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! 

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,” which offers spectacular views of 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.

Hike Mt. Sandviken (2.5 hours): This hike heads to Mt. Sandviken, one of the seven mountains surrounding Bergen, and includes 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! 

Hike Three of Seven Mountains (5-7 hours): On this longer hiking trip, you will have the opportunity to climb three of the seven mountains surrounding Bergen: Mt. Ulriken, Mt. Rundemannen, and Mt. Fløyen. Lunch will be served at a scenic spot along the trail along with the Norwegian treat “Kvikk Lunsj”, plus coffee or tea.

Day 9: Ferry to Flåm - Train to Oslo

The Sognefjord, the longest and deepest fjord in Norway
The Sognefjord, the longest and deepest fjord in Norway

After an early breakfast at your hotel, you'll take a scenic journey by boat and train to Oslo, starting with a five-hour ferry ride to the charming village of Flåm, by way of the Sognefjord—Norway's longest and deepest fjord. When you arrive, sit back and have lunch at a café. Suggestions for dining include the Aegir Brewery & Pub for authentic Viking culture. Also, the Flåm Marina and Apartment Café offers a peaceful atmosphere and lighter fare. 

Then, go for a stroll through town before catching a ride on the Flåm Railway, regarded as one of the most beautiful train rides in the world. The journey is steep in places and passes by waterfalls and stunning landscapes, so keep your camera close. After changing trains in Myrdal, you will continue to Oslo. When you arrive at your hotel, take advantage of your last night in the capital and head for any restaurant or neighborhood that you missed at the beginning of the trip! 

Day 10: Depart Oslo

Savor one more day in Oslo
Savor one more day in 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.

Map

Map of Western Norway's Rivers, Islands & Fjords - 10 Days
Map of Western Norway's Rivers, Islands & Fjords - 10 Days