Numerous fjords, steep-walled inlets shaped by glaciers, are perhaps Norways greatest claim to fame, but there’s plenty more to explore.
A massive country that stretches from Arctic islands to fast-growing Oslo, Norway has endless enticements. This journey begins with Oslo’s considerable charms, traverses the drama of Norway’s high country and precipitous fjords, and ends up in beautiful Bergen. Driving through Northern Europe’s highest and most striking mountain pass will truly take your breath away. From day 2- 7, your transportation works as a hop-on, hop-off scheduled weekly bus for a certain section. It isn’t a group tour as such but for a few days during this itinerary, everyone shares the same mini-coach, you make friends and enjoy the company of the Norwegian bus driver!
Day 1: Arrive in Oslo, the beautiful Norwegian capital. The hotel for the evening is an easy direct express train ride from the airport. Housed in the city’s original train station, the hotel’s building is conveniently located to Oslo’s central station, making it convenient to see the sights in Oslo.
Day 2: After a delicious Scandinavian breakfast buffet, it’s time to board the train at the Oslo Central Station for a two hour ride. Lillehammer, the small town that rose to international fame when it hosted the Winter Olympics in 1994 is yours to explore for the day. Browse the local shops, visit open-air museum Maihaugen, the Norwegian Olympic Museum, and you won’t want to miss the impressive Garmo Stave Church.
The hotel for the evening is a peaceful haven in central Lillehammer, situated among artisan and trading houses. This well-preserved area with its characteristic low wooden houses is an experience in itself.
Day 3: After breakfast, hop on the private minibus to Lom, a 3-hour scenic drive from Lillehammer. Lom is a small town encapsulating the very essence of the Norwegian countryside. Situated in the famous Jotunheimen National Park, Lom is surrounded by majestic nature. The bus trip travels through some of Norway’s most beautiful highlands and lush valleys. Experience the valley of Gudbrandsdalen surrounded by the national parks, an abundance of locally produced food, old architecture, and good hiking.
Spend the next two evenings at a historic boutique hotel, situated close to Jotunheimen National Park and about 15 minutes drive from Lom. The hotel has a long tradition both as a refuge for travelers between the western and eastern Norway as well as the natural base for mountaineers.
A 4-course menu is served every evening based on local food – game and vegetables in session. The wine cellar offers wines from different regions and varieties. A wine menu can be ordered – to suit the menu of the day.
Day 4: After a homemade breakfast, hop on the minibus for a day tour to Geiranger, which is 1.5 hours’ drive away from Lom. On arrival, join a fjord cruise and experience absolutely breathtaking scenery.
Before heading back to the hotel, stop at the famous Lom Stave Church, constructed in Norman-style in 1170. It still operates as the local church today.
Day 5: Depart Lom for another scenic journey through the spectacular mountain and fjord country of Breheimen and Jostedalsheimen. Stop at Sognefjellshytta (approx. 1 hr drive) for a coffee/tea break, then sit back and enjoy the scenery until your next stop at the cubist stone at Mefjellet. The final stop before descending down the mountain is at Nedre Oscarshaug – another fantastic spot for photos and great views.
After an early lunch, drive approx. 20-30 mins to Feigumfossen and continue to the charming Urnes Stave Church (a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the oldest church in Norway). Catch a ferry to Solvorn and continue over Aurlandsfjellet. Lastly, enjoy a stop at Stegastein before arriving to the peaceful village of Aurland.
The next two evenings will be spent at a private and traditional River Lodge located in Aurland. On an area settled since the Viking Age, 29/2 Aurland is a riverside farm lodge offering traditional living in style. The farm has provided lodging for anglers from Norway and abroad for several generations. Dine in the old Smokehouse, then sit in the hot tub outside the lodge and simply take in the incredible natural landscapes before you.
Day 6: Spend the day relaxing, hiking and taking in the views in the peaceful little town. Enjoy the harbor area with unspoilt views of the fjord and gardens. It is possible to hire a fly fishing guide at the lodge. Every year anglers from all around the world visit Aurland to take part in some of the best fly fishing the world has to offer.
Day 7: After another delightful Scandinavian breakfast transfer from Aurland to Flam, and step aboard the world famous Flam Railway. Rated as one of Europe’s best rail journeys, take an unforgettable ride along one of the steepest normal-gauge railroads in the world, descending a steep valley through 20 tunnels and past thundering waterfalls to the fjord village of Flam.
Return to Flam to board the express ferry to Bergen. Take in the fresh air on Norway’s longest fjord, the Sognefjord, during this 5-hour ferry-ride towards Bergen. Once the old capital, Bergen is famous for its history as a trading town and fishing community.
Tonight, experience a classic yet modern luxury hotel, located in the very heart of Bergen with just a few steps from the Fish Market and Bryggen. The hotel offers a restaurant, bar and a classic café.
Day 8: The trip can end today in Bergen and you will be transferred to the airport for the return flight home, or continue the journey in this magical country.
Known as the “city of seven mountains” and “the gateway to the fjords,” Bergen’s location is nothing short of spectacular. Just wandering around the harbor and the town is a great way to get acquainted with Bergen’s beauty. Of the seven surrounding mountains, Mt Foyen is the most accessible. The walk to the top takes around an hour or take the funicular ride which climbs 1000 feet in 7 minutes.
The Hanseatic museum depicts the way the German Hanseatic merchants lived their day-to-day lives and conducted their trading business. The interiors are furnished in the style of the 18th and 19th centuries.
Day 9: After breakfast, it’s time to head to the train station for the trip to Oslo. Traverse one of the world’s most scenic railway and experience the country’s astonishing natural beauty from Bergen to Oslo. The 308 mile trip, taking seven hours is described by many as one of the most beautiful stretches in the world. Like all trains in Norway, services covering the Bergen-Oslo route have everything you need to stay comfy onboard, including decent seating, plenty of toilets, a café/restaurant and free onboard wifi.
Upon arrival at the train station, hop in a taxi for a five minute ride to your hotel for the next two nights. Overlooking the Oslo Fjord waterfront, is a cutting-edge art, architecture and world-class gastronomy hotel. Chic restaurants and bars along the harbor are steps away; it’s an easy 15-minute walk to the sights of the city center.
Day 10: On your last full day, take full advantage of this cosmopolitan capital, situated at the head of a more than 60-mile-long fjord. Wander through Vigeland Park, filled with hundreds of life-sized human figures by native artist Gustav Vigeland. Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant before venturing to the Bygdoy Peninsula to see some of the world’s best-preserved Viking longships at the Viking Ship Museum.
This evening, take an optional dinner sunset cruise in the surrounding natural beauty of Oslo and the fjords.
Day 11: After breakfast, you will be transferred to the airport for the return flight home.