High mountain tops, waterfalls, deep fjords, with scenic train rides and fjord cruises, Norway in a Nutshell tour from Oslo to Bergen is a memorable journey. The alternative “Sognefjord in a Nutshell” tour is maybe even more stunning. The tours can be done from Oslo to Bergen, reversed, or as a loop starting and ending in Oslo.
Sognefjord in a Nutshell
The “Sognefjord in a Nutshell” tour is a variation of the “Norway in a Nutshell” tour. The “Sognefjord in a Nutshell” tour will allow you to take a longer fjord cruise from Balestrand to Bergen. I highly recommend the Sognefjord tour at least during the summer months. Sognefjord, also called the “King of the Fjords”, is the longest fjord in Norway.
You can do the trip in a day, but I would recommend taking at least two days, with a stay in Balestrand, for the best experience. You want to enjoy the fjords, mountains, and beautiful surroundings and not rush through them.
Good to Know About Norway in a Nutshell Tour
“Norway in a Nutshell” tour is a popular and highly recommended way to explore the stunning natural beauty of Norway. It’s a flexible, self-guided tour that can be customized to fit your travel schedule and preferences. Here’s what you need to know:
- Itinerary: Norway in a Nutshell tour typically includes a combination of train, boat, and bus rides through some of the most scenic regions of Norway. The itinerary varies depending on your starting point and the options you choose. Some stops to include, outside of Oslo and Bergen can be Gudvangen, Voss, and/or Balestrand.
- Scenery: The tour is known for its breathtaking scenery, including fjords, waterfalls, mountains, and glaciers. You’ll pass through narrow, winding roads and scenic train routes. There is plenty of opportunities to take photos and soak in the incredible views.
- Activities: There are plenty of activities to do along the way, including hiking, biking, kayaking, and RIB boat adventure.
- Duration: The tour can range from a day to multiple days or more, depending on your pace and itinerary. Some people prefer to take it slow and spend more time in each destination. Others prefer to see as much as possible in a shorter amount of time.
- Accommodation: There are plenty of accommodation options along the way, including hotels, hostels, and camping sites. I highly recommend booking your accommodation in advance. It can get busy, especially during the summer months and high season.
Overall, “Norway in a Nutshell” tour is an excellent way to see some of Norway’s natural beauty in a short amount of time. It’s a perfect choice for those who love nature, adventure, and outdoor activities.
Highlights on Norway in a Nutshell Tour
The Flåm Railway – Most Scenic Railway in the World?
The Flåm Railway, or Flåmsbana, is a famous railway in Norway that runs between the town of Flåm and the mountain station of Myrdal. It is considered one of the most scenic railway journeys in the world. It’s a popular attraction for tourists visiting Norway. Here are some key things to know about the Flåm Railway:
- History: The Flåm Railway was completed in 1940 after 20 years of construction. The railway was built to transport goods and passengers between the remote village of Flåm and the main Bergen-Oslo railway line at Myrdal.
- Route: The Flåm Railway covers a distance of 20.2 km (12.5 miles) and takes about one hour to travel one way. The route includes steep gradients, sharp turns, and breathtaking views of fjords, waterfalls, mountains, and valleys.
- Train: The train used on the Flåm Railway is a specially designed electric train. The train has large windows to provide passengers with panoramic views of the stunning scenery along the route.
- Experience: The Flåm Railway is a unique and unforgettable experience that takes you through some of the most beautiful landscapes in Norway. Along the way, the train stops at Kjosfossen waterfall. The train ride is peaceful and relaxing, and the views are stunning.
Whether you’re a train enthusiast, a nature lover, or just looking for a unique and memorable experience, the Flåm Railway is sure to leave a lasting impression.
Nærøyfjord – The Most Narrowest Fjord
Nærøyfjord is a narrow and spectacular fjord located in southwestern Norway. It is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Norway, and is known for its natural beauty and dramatic landscape.
Nærøyfjord is located in the county of Vestland, stretching 20 kilometers from the Aurlandsfjord to the town of Gudvangen. It’s only 250 meters wide at its narrowest point. The fjord is a branch of the larger Sognefjord, which is the longest and deepest fjord in Norway.
The scenery along Nærøyfjord is breathtaking, with cliffs rising from the water, waterfalls cascading down the mountainsides, and small villages nestled along the shore. The fjord is surrounded by majestic mountains.
There are plenty of activities along Nærøyfjord, including hiking, kayaking, fishing, and boat tours. The most popular way to explore the fjord is by taking a scenic boat tour, which allows you to get up close and personal with the landscape. Nærøyfjord is home to a diverse range of wildlife, including seals, porpoises, otters, and a variety of seabirds.
UNESCO World Heritage Site: Nærøyfjord, along with the adjacent Geirangerfjord, was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2005. This recognition is due to the fjords’ outstanding natural beauty and cultural significance.
The Sognefjord – King of the Fjords
Sognefjord, also known as the King of the Fjords, is the longest and deepest fjord in Norway. It’s also one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country.
Sognefjord is located in western Norway and stretches over 200 kilometers (124 miles) inland from the coast, cutting through the heart of the region known as Fjord Norway. The fjord begins at the coast and extends to the village of Skjolden at the head of the fjord.
The scenery along the Sognefjord is breathtaking, with towering mountains, cascading waterfalls, and quaint villages dotted along the shoreline. Sognefjord is also home to numerous smaller fjords, including the Nærøyfjord, that we just talked about.
Sognefjord offers activities such as hiking, kayaking, fishing, and boat tours. The most popular way to explore the fjord is by taking a scenic boat tour, which allows you to get up close and personal with the stunning landscape.
Sognefjord region is also rich in culture, with a long history of agriculture, fishing, and boat building. Numerous museums, galleries, and cultural centers throughout the region showcase the history and traditions of the area.
With its stunning scenery, diverse wildlife, and rich cultural heritage, it’s no wonder why it’s considered one of the most beautiful places in the world.
Oslo Starting / Ending Point of Norway in a Nutshell Tour
Oslo is the capital city of Norway. It is known for its stunning fjord views, rich cultural history, and modern city amenities.
The city is home to many popular tourist attractions, including the Vigeland Sculpture Park, the Munch Museum, and the Oslo Opera House.
It also boasts a vibrant food and nightlife scene, with numerous bars, restaurants, and cafes offering a variety of cuisine and entertainment options. You can start or end Norway in a Nutshell tour in Oslo.
Accommodation Suggestion in Oslo Close to the Train Station:
Stops to Consider – Balestrand
Balestrand is a picturesque village located on the shores of the Sognefjord in western Norway. It’s known for its stunning natural beauty, rich cultural heritage, and welcoming community. Balestrand is located on the northern shore of the Sognefjord, approximately 180 kilometers (112 miles) north of Bergen.
The scenery in Balestrand is breathtaking, with crystal clear waters, mountains, and lush green forests. The village is surrounded by numerous hiking trails that offer spectacular views of the fjord and the surrounding landscape.
Balestrand has a rich cultural heritage, with numerous historic buildings and landmarks scattered throughout the village.
The Kviknes Hotel, which dates back to the late 19th century, is one of the most famous landmarks in Balestrand. It is renowned for its elegant architecture and stunning views of the fjord.
There are plenty of activities to do in Balestrand, including hiking, biking, fishing, kayaking, and boat tours. The village is also home to several art galleries and cultural centers that showcase the work of local artists and craftsmen.
Balestrand is known for its delicious local cuisine, which includes fresh seafood, local meats, and traditional Norwegian dishes. There are several restaurants and cafes in the village that specialize in local cuisine, as well as a weekly farmers’ market that sells fresh produce and artisanal products.
Stops to Consider – Gudvangen
Gudvangen is a small village located in the municipality of Aurland in Vestland County, Norway. It is situated at the end of the Nærøyfjord, a branch of the Sognefjord. Gudvangen is surrounded by steep mountains and waterfalls, making it a popular destination for tourists who come to admire the breathtaking natural scenery.
In addition to its natural beauty, Gudvangen is also known for its rich Viking history. The village is home to the Gudvangen Viking Village, a living history museum that recreates life in a Viking village. Visitors can see authentic Viking buildings and artifacts, watch traditional Viking crafts being made, and even participate in Viking battles.
Gudvangen is a popular point for exploring the Nærøyfjord and the surrounding area. Visitors can take a fjord cruise, hike in the mountains, or go kayaking or rafting on the river. The village also has several restaurants and cafes where visitors can sample local cuisine. There are also small shops selling souvenirs and crafts.
Overall, Gudvangen is a beautiful and historic destination that offers a unique glimpse into Norway’s Viking past and stunning natural scenery.
Stops to Consider – Voss
Voss is a municipality and town located in western Norway. The town of Voss is nestled between mountains and surrounded by stunning scenery.
Voss is famous for its outdoor activities and is often referred to as the “adventure capital of Norway”. It is a popular destination for skiing, snowboarding, and other winter sports. As well as, hiking, mountain biking, and paragliding during the summer months. Voss also has a world-renowned extreme sports festival, the “Ekstremsportveko“, which takes place every year in late June and attracts adrenaline junkies from all over the world.
Aside from outdoor activities, Voss is also known for its cultural heritage. The town has a long history dating back to the Viking era, and visitors can explore the Vangskyrkja, a 13th-century wooden church. You can also visit the Voss Folkemuseum, which showcases traditional Norwegian rural life.
Voss is also home to several annual events and festivals, including the Vossa Jazz Festival, which takes place every spring and attracts jazz musicians from around the world. The Voss Cup, is a popular youth football tournament held every summer.
Bergen Ending / Starting Point of Norway in a Nutshell Tour
Bergen is located on the southwestern coast of Norway, surrounded by fjords and mountains. It is the second-largest city in Norway after Oslo and is often referred to as the “Gateway to the Fjords.” Bergen is known for its picturesque scenery, cultural heritage, and vibrant food and music scene.
One of the most popular attractions in Bergen is the UNESCO-listed Bryggen. This is a historic wharf area with colorful wooden buildings that date back to the Hanseatic League in the 14th century. Visitors can explore the narrow alleyways, shops, and cafes, and learn about the city’s rich history.
Another must-see attraction is the Fløibanen Funicular, which takes visitors up to the top of Mount Fløyen for breathtaking views of the city and surrounding fjords. The ride itself is a popular attraction, with stunning views along the way.
Bergen is also home to several museums, including the Bergen Maritime Museum, the Hanseatic Museum, and the Bergen Art Museum. The city’s music scene is also a major draw, with the annual Bergen International Festival showcasing a wide range of music and performing arts from around the world.
In addition to its cultural attractions, Bergen is a great starting point for exploring the surrounding fjords, including the Hardangerfjord and Sognefjord, which are both easily accessible by boat or car. The city is also a gateway to Norway’s famous fjord tours, including popular Norway in a Nutshell tour.
Sample Itinerary Sognefjord in a Nutshell Tour, Oslo to Bergen
Oslo – Myrdal – Flåm – Balestrand
The tour “Sognefjord in a Nutshell” starts in Oslo (or Bergen). You will leave Oslo, on the Bergen Railway, and travel to your first stop, Myrdal. From here, you take the famous scenic train ride to Flåm, via the Flåm railway. The Flåm Railway takes about an hour. On this scenic train ride, you’ll enjoy picturesque mountain landscapes, waterfalls, and tunnels, before arriving in the town of Flåm.
In Flåm, explore the area before boarding the ferry for a scenic fjord cruise through the Sognefjord. During the cruise take in the breathtaking scenery of the fjord, including steep cliffs, waterfalls, and charming villages along the shoreline, before arriving in Balestrand. Here you will spend the night and enjoy some fun activities.
I highly recommend, spending the night at the Kviknes Hotel, located right by the fjord. Ask to stay in the old part of the hotel, this part of the hotel has an extra charm to it.
Balestrand – Bergen
In Balestrand, enjoy a morning tour in a small RIB boat to discover more of the fjords and their wildlife.
In the afternoon, your journey continues. From Balestrand, you will take a fjord cruise to Bergen. Arriving in Bergen in the evening, have your accommodation booked so that you can go directly to your hotel.
- Oslo – Amerikalinjen (great hotel, great location for catching an early train)
The Nutshell tours are self-guided tours that you can customize to your liking. We suggest that you book the following:
- Sognefjord in a Nutshell tour
- Day 1 – Part 1 Oslo – Balestrand
- Day 2 – Part 2 Balestrand – Bergen
- RIB boat tour in Balestrand, preferably in the morning Day 2
Sample Itinerary Norway in a Nutshell Tour, Oslo to Bergen
Day 1 Oslo – Myrdal – Flåm – Gudvangen / Voss
Day 2 Gudvangen / Voss – Bergen
In conclusion, the Norway in a Nutshell tour offers an incredible opportunity to experience the beauty and diversity of Norway’s stunning landscapes. This tour takes visitors on a breathtaking journey through some of the most picturesque and awe-inspiring regions of the country, from the majestic fjords and mountains to charming towns and villages.
With a combination of scenic train rides, scenic boat trips, and bus rides, the Norway in a Nutshell tour allows visitors to explore the stunning natural beauty of Norway in an unforgettable way.
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