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  • Foto do escritorDanae Bianco

The best of Norway in 12 days - and itinerary suggestions for 7, 10, 15 and 20 days

Atualizado: 21 de mai.

Norway, a country that seems to have come straight out of a fairy tale with its stunning landscapes, majestic fjords, and rich culture, had been on my wishlist for years. After finally visiting, I dream of returning to experience those incredible vistas again.


Located on the Scandinavian Peninsula, with a coastline carved by numerous fjords, Norway borders Sweden, Finland, and Russia, making it a must-visit destination in any trip through the region.


We had only 12 days to explore this absolutely amazing country, so we had to make the most of every minute. After extensive research, I’m sharing the itinerary we followed (and later on, what we would have done if we had more or fewer days available).

Naerofjord, picture taken from Gudvangen village, Norway itinerary for 7, 10, 12, 15 and 20 days
Naerofjord, picture taken from Gudvangen village
 

Itinerary and Things to Do in Norway for 7, 10, 12, 15, or 20 Days:

 

But first and foremost, the burning question:


Is it expensive to travel in Norway?


For those planning a trip, it's important to know that Norway is an expensive country to live in and visit. It was one of the most expensive destinations we've visited in recent years, more so than Japan, the United States, and Spain, for example.

However, the beauty of its landscapes makes every cent worth it. When you leave, you think: I could have saved more and stayed an extra day here!


With simple strategies and proper planning, it's possible to reduce the cost of the trip and still enjoy everything Norway has to offer.


**Geiranger Fjord, Norway, on an overcast day.**  You can see waterfalls along the fjord. It was the third stop on our itinerary through Norway.
Geiranger Fjord

Our Itinerary: The Best Things to Do in Norway in 12 Days


We had only 12 days to visit this absolutely incredible country, so we had to make the most of every minute we had there. After extensive research, here’s what we decided to do, and I can say it was perfect:


1️⃣ Arrival in Oslo: Our flight from London landed in the afternoon, allowing us to enjoy the evening—still bright—in the city.


2️⃣ Oslo


3️⃣ Travel to Voss by train: We rented a car and spent the late afternoon at our Airbnb in Oppheim/Voss.


4️⃣ Flåm: Morning boat tour through the Naeroyfjord and Aurlandsfjord; afternoon train ride on the Flåmsbana from Flåm to Myrdal, returning by bike (rented at Café Rallaren).


5️⃣ Flåm: Kayak tour on the Aurlandsfjord, lunch in Gudvangen, afternoon at Viking Valley (recommended for children) and the Stalheim Hotel viewpoint. We had also planned to visit Undredal and the Aurland Shoe Shop but opted for a beer at the Ægir Brew Pub and a relaxing evening at our Airbnb.


6️⃣ Flåm: Stegastein viewpoint and then the scenic drive to Geirangerfjord, with many stops along the way. We chose to bypass the convenience of the Laerdal Tunnel (Europe’s longest) to enjoy the beautiful curves of the old Gamle Aurlandsvegen road, one of Norway’s scenic drives. It significantly increased travel time but was incredibly beautiful.


7️⃣ Geirangerfjord: Said to be the most beautiful fjord in Norway. I can’t confirm this as I haven’t seen them all, but it’s certainly one of the most impressive landscapes I’ve ever seen.


8️⃣ Drive back to Voss: Return the rental car and continue by train to Bergen.


9️⃣ Bergen: Enjoy the city, the charming historic district of Bryggen, the Bergenhus Fortress, take the funicular to Floyen, visit museums, cafes, and savor the best of Norway in this wonderful city.


🔟 Bergen in the morning: Travel to Stavanger in the afternoon (we took a bus as there is no direct train line between the two cities).



1️⃣2️⃣ Stavanger


1️⃣3️⃣ Flight back home: Our flight departed at 6:00 AM to Frankfurt. We spent the day in Frankfurt and caught the evening flight back home.


(Okay, it was actually 13 days, but this last day doesn’t really count as Norway, right?)


If you have more time to spend in Norway or need to make your trip shorter, at the end of the post I’ll share what I liked the most, what I would skip, and what I would add if I had a few extra days.


Undredal village, on Aurlandsfjord , Norway, seen from the boat on the fjord, on a clear summer day.
Undredal village, on Aurlandsfjord

How to Get Around in Norway


We arrived by plane in Oslo from London and took the train from the airport to Oslo Central Station, just a few blocks from our hotel.


From Oslo to Voss/Flåm, we traveled by train, enjoying the stunning scenery. We rented a car in Voss to explore the Flåm area.


A few days later, we drove to Geiranger, one of Norway’s scenic routes. I recommend taking your time on this travel day, making the most of the stops along the way. The journey is about 300 km on the map, but believe me, it will take the entire day.


We spent a day in Geiranger and drove back to Voss the next day. This time, we took a different route with fewer stops, and it took about 6 hours to complete the trip. Both on the way there and back, we had to take a ferry.


We had planned to travel from Voss to Bergen by train, but the train line was closed for maintenance that week, so the train company arranged for a bus instead.


From Bergen to Stavanger, the best way is by bus (there are no direct train lines between the two cities), with two ferry crossings along the way.


We flew from Stavanger directly to Frankfurt, where we caught our connecting flight back with Lufthansa.



Where to stay in Norway


We were traveling with seven people: three adults and four children, aged 8 to 11. We prioritized accommodations that provided space for the kids and privacy for the adults.


Except in Oslo, we stayed in houses rented through Airbnb. I was very pleased with all the places we stayed. Having a kitchen at our disposal allowed us to save on food costs by preparing breakfast and most dinners at home.




Where to Stay in Oslo:


You may have heard—and I’m here to confirm —that Norway is an expensive country to visit, and Oslo is its most expensive city, so be prepared.


The best cost-effective accommodation I found was Citybox Oslo, a minimalist self-service hotel with an excellent location, very close to the city’s central station. We booked a family room with a double bed and a bunk bed.



Where to Stay in Flåm:


I intended for us to stay in the little town of Flåm, but when I went to make reservations, all the hotels and guesthouses within our budget (and even those outside it) were already fully booked.


So, here’s a tip: book your accommodation in Flåm as early as possible! My top choices were the Fretheim Hotel, Flam Hostel, or the amazing Flamsbrygga Hotel.


We ended up finding an Airbnb in a place called Oppheim, about 40 km from Flåm (with a 16 km tunnel on the way), a very comfortable house by Lake Oppheimsvatnet. This town is near Voss, known as one of the best regions in the country for adventure and extreme sports, and great for winter activities.


Geiranger Fjord, the most majestic in Norway, on an overcast summer day. Numerous waterfalls cascade down the fjord, photo taken during a boat tour through the fjord. Norway
Geirangerfjord

Where to Stay in Geiranger:


I really wanted to stay in a hotel with views of the Geirangerfjord, like the Grande Fjord Hotel or the Hotel Union Geiranger Bed & Spa.

I’d love to say we didn’t stay there because they were fully booked, but it was actually because they were out of our budget. The more budget-friendly hotels, like the Havila Hotel Geiranger, were fully booked, so we stayed in an Airbnb in Stranda: a cozy wooden chalet with a jacuzzi on the porch and a great view. In winter, there’s a ski lift that passes just a few meters from the chalet.



Where to Stay in Bergen:


We stayed in a house in Bryggen, the historic district of Bergen, with its narrow streets and wooden houses. The house was, as expected, old, full of charm and history—not the most pristine, but the most immersive, making us feel like locals.


If you prefer a hotel, the Radisson Blu Royal is very well located in Bryggen and is always a great choice. A more charming option is the Thon Hotel Rosenkrantz Bergen and the Klosterhagen Hotel, which seems to offer great value for money.


Preikestolen, or Pulpit Rock, viewed from a distance, with many people on its top on a summer day with a blue sky. Stavanger, Norway
Preikestolen - Pulpit Rock

Where to Stay in Stavanger:


In Stavanger, we again opted for a house. We chose one in a suburb, requiring a bus ride to the city center. Everything was super easy and organized, with the bus running on schedule, as you’d expect in Norway.


In the city center, the main hotel is the Radisson Blu Atlantic Hotel—buses for the Preikestolen hike depart from right in front. Other options are the Thon Hotel Stavanger and the classic Hotel Victoria, housed in a building dating back to the early 1900s.

Detailed map


Below is a map showing details of everything we did, where we stayed, and the best places we visited. There are different layers with different colors for each area we visited. The blue line marks the route we drove.


Save the map to your Google account, so when you plan your next trip to Norway, you'll know where to start. ;-) Here's a blog post explaining how to plan a trip using Google MyMaps—check it out!



15-Day Norway Itinerary


I would have loved to spend a few more days (or even weeks) exploring Norway.


For a 15-day itinerary in Norway, I would follow exactly what we did, with the following additions:


  • After Geiranger, I would go to Ålesund. From there, you could either drive back to Voss (as we did, it’s only 60 km more), or return the car in Ålesund and fly to Bergen (this would be more expensive but certainly more convenient).


  • I would spend an extra day in Stavanger to do the Kjerag hike—the one with the famous photo of the small rock wedged between two massive fjords!

  • If you’re up for it, set aside two days to hike Trolltunga, using Bergen as a base (the trailhead is 150 km from Bergen, in a place called Odda).

(Note that my 15-day itinerary proposal is actually 16 days 😂)


In short, for 15 days, I recommend doing everything we did and adding some of these activities or even spending an extra day in Oslo or Bergen if you enjoy exploring cities and their museums at a leisurely pace.


20-Day Norway Itinerary


With an extra week in Norway, I would definitely visit the Lofoten Islands.


You can drive there—it must be a beautiful journey, but it’s 1,300 km from Geiranger, the northernmost point of our route, or 1,230 km from Ålesund.


The most practical way to get to Lofoten is by flying to Leknes or Bodø. There are flights from Oslo, Bergen, and Stavanger.


If We Had Less Time...


It would have been very difficult to choose which of these places to skip...


I think it all depends on your interests: Are you someone who loves culture, art, and museums? Then Oslo and Bergen should be on your itinerary; you might skip Stavanger and even Geiranger.


Are you a nature lover who can’t pass up an adrenaline rush? Then you could skip Oslo and even Bergen.


Do you want a taste of everything the country has to offer but have even less time than we did? Then choose just one fjord area to visit: Flåm or Geiranger. Both are stunning and offer similar activities, but only in Flåm can you do the train and bike rides, which were, in my opinion, incredible and unmissable.


Short on time? Skip Flåm and do the Norway in a Nutshell tour, which includes a round-trip to Flåm from Bergen.


My Suggested Itineraries for Less Time in Norway:


10-Day Norway Itinerary


1️⃣ Oslo

2️⃣ Oslo

3️⃣ Train to Flåm

4️⃣ Flåm

5️⃣ Flåm

6️⃣ Train to Bergen

7️⃣ Bergen

8️⃣ Bergen in the morning, travel to Stavanger in the afternoon

9️⃣ Preikestolen

🔟 Stavanger


7-Day Norway Itinerary


1️⃣ Oslo

2️⃣ Oslo

3️⃣ Train to Bergen

4️⃣ Bergen

6️⃣ Stavanger

7️⃣ Preikestolen



 

Other Posts about traveling in Europe:

 

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The best of Norway in 12 days

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