I’ve made so many trips around Norway in the past four years I’ve been living here, so I thought it could be helpful for me to gather all of my itineraries in one place. I also find that I often get questions from people trying to organize their Norway trips that I’ve already answered in past itineraries, so I wanted to make it easier to find all the information in one place.
Okay, so here’s a collection of all my top Norway itineraries, organized in order of length.
I’ve started with weekend trips, where I’m just giving suggestions for single places to visit, but if you scroll farther down I’ve linked my longer one and two week + itineraries later in the post.
And of course if you have lots of time you can mix and match these destinations and itineraries to fit your schedule! Just keep in mind that Norway is really big. Like I think people way underestimate its size because we’re only five million people here.
I can’t tell you how many people have come to me saying they have five days in Norway and will start in Oslo, then get the train over to Bergen and then drive up to Tromsø to see the Northern Lights. Um, Bergen is an overnight train journey from Oslo, and driving from Bergen to Tromsø will take you 28 hours without stops.
And no, sadly Norway’s train line does not go all the way up to Tromsø – it ends in Bodø.
I’ve written more about transportation in Norway here, and you can find all of my Norway accommodation guides here. And if you’re visiting Norway on a budget, don’t worry – it is possible to have a great time without spending an absolute fortune here. You’ll find all my guides to Norway on a budget here.
Table of Contents
Norway Weekend Itineraries
If you’re coming to Norway for just a weekend I’d really recommend sticking to one place. Norway is a big country, public transport doesn’t run that often and can have delays, and moving around to a bunch of places in a short time frame can get expensive.
That said, you could also consider renting a car and exploring a bit of the area if you can, as the best part of Norway is getting out of the cities and towns and seeing some of the beautiful nature here. Norway is also an easy country to drive in, as there is so little traffic here.
Though if you get motion sickness definitely bring some tablets or sea bands, as the winding roads here can do a number on your stomach! I’ve written a more detailed guide to things to know when planning a road trip in Norway here.
Sometimes I feel guilty when I’m in Oslo because it’s such a fun city, but I am always telling visitors to Norway to skip it, or at least cut their time there short.
Oslo is fun for locals and the only city in Norway that actually feels like a big city, but there are a lot of other cities in Europe that do what Oslo does best even better. In other words, Oslo is a great city for Norway, but I wouldn’t necessarily consider it one of Europe’s great cities.
And that’s totally fine, because Norway isn’t really about cities.
Okay, maybe I’m being harsh, and maybe it’s because I’ve received too many messages from people telling me how disappointed by Oslo’s “fjord.” Yes Oslo is technically on a fjord, but if you’re looking for those famous mountainous fjords you’re going to need to head west or north.
But if you do have your heart set on Oslo, it does have some great shopping, amazing restaurants, sort of okay nightlife (lol), and lots of museums. You won’t be bored. I’ve written a bit more about visiting Oslo here, the Oslo Christmas markets here, and a guide to finding the best Oslo accommodation for your budget here.
If you’ve found a cheap flight to Oslo for a weekend trip but now I’ve scared you off spending all your time there, consider spending a night or two in Rjukan! You can book a bus to Rjukan here, but I’d really recommend renting a car if you can, as the drive to Rjukan via Gaustatoppen is truly spectacular.
Rjukan is a quirky mountain town with an important World War II history. It’s also listed as a UNESCO Industrial Heritage Site and it’s really cool to see the old factories and worker accommodation.
But I also love that it’s at the foot of both Gaustatoppen, one of Norway’s most beautiful mountains, and Hardangervidda, Northern Europe’s largest high mountain plateau (which is also home to Norway’s largest herd of wild reindeer).
I used to live half an hour from Rjukan so I visited the town many times (and even briefly considered moving there), and I’ve written a guide to things to do and where to stay in Rjukan here.
This would be an especially great place to visit with kids, with lots of fun sites like the Krossobanen cable car, the Gaustabanen funicular, and the Vemork WWII museum.
Bergen is probably the most popular destination for a weekend trip to Norway – and for good reason. The city is gorgeous (sorry Oslo, but Bergen is way prettier), and there are loads of international flights here.
This is also an easy base from which to take a day trip out to the fjords, and as it’s a big tourist hub there are lots of activities and tours organized out of Bergen. I’ve written about how to have an amazing weekend in Bergen here and the best Bergen accommodation here.
This is also where you can take the famous Norway in a Nutshell tour, which goes up the Flåm Railway and through the gorgeous Aurlandsfjord. But! Before you book the tour, read this to find out how you can save tons of money on Norway in a Nutshell.
If you want any easy weekend destination in Norway, Bergen is perfect. You’ll get a very Norwegian experience and everything is set up perfect for tourists, from all the lovely hotels here to the unique activities and adventure tours offered here.
If you fly into Bergen, you could also rent a car and drive down to Hardangerfjord to spend a night or two.
Hardangerfjord is beautiful and so peaceful, especially in the spring when the orchards are in bloom. I’ve written more about driving through Hardangerfjord here.
And if you do spend the night here, I can recommend staying at Utne Hotel, which dates back to 1722 and is perfect for anyone who enjoys unique, historical accommodation. Check current rates and availability here
Or if you want something a bit cheaper but equally lovely, stay at Ullensvang Gjesteheim, which is in the prettiest part of Hardangerfjord. Check current rates and availability here
A lot of people head here to hike Trolltunga, or the famous Troll’s Tongue that you’ve probably seen all over Instagram and Facebook. Just be aware that it’s an advanced level hike and extremely popular – these days you’ll usually find a long line of people waiting to take photos on the rock. You can read more about hiking Trolltunga here.
Whenever someone asks me where they should go in Norway if they only have a few days, I tell them to go to Ålesund or Lofoten.
Ålesund really gives the best introduction to Norway, because you get to experience a Norwegian city and then you can drive up to Trollstigen for those amazing mountain views, and then over to Geirangerfjord to see Norway’s most beautiful fjord!
Ålesund is such a beautiful city, and the surrounding nature is seriously stunning. Like, I definitely think this is one of the prettiest corners of Norway, and I’m always shocked that most tourists choose to visit Oslo and Bergen instead. I’ll never understand.
But that’s also good news for you if you like to get off the beaten path a bit!
Ideally I would recommend spending a night or two in Ålesund and then renting a car and spending a night or two in a quieter area on the fjords. I’ve written a guide to things to do and where to stay in Ålesund here, and where to stay around Geirangerfjord here.
Another great weekend destination in Norway is Trondheim – my old home!
Trondheim has a rich history and in fact at over 1,000 years old Trondheim is the oldest of Norway’s major cities. It was the religious center of Northern Europe during the Middle ages and has a beautiful old town and Norway’s most impressive cathedral, Nidaros Cathedral.
It’s a really walkable city and the airport is just a short bus or train journey away, so it’s definitely one of the easiest places to spend a weekend in Norway.
Trondheim is a big foodie city with several award-winning restaurants, so if you like to go out to eat, Trondheim is perfect.
It’s also a university city so there’s a great young vibe here and lively night life. And then of course the old town area Bakklandet is one of the prettiest corners of Norway.
Trondheim – Oppdal
I’d say the only thing missing with a weekend trip to Trondheim is that you don’t really get to experience Norway’s beautiful landscapes. I mean, the city is on the coast and there is a lovely park area to go hiking in above the city, but it’s not the sort of dramatic landscape that Norway is so famous for.
But if you wanted you could spend a night or two in Trondheim (I’d say one full day in Trondheim is plenty to see the main sights) and then rent a car and drive down to Oppdal. I spent a weekend here while living in Trondheim and it’s one of my favorite memories from my time there.
The drive is beautiful and the scenery there is amazing as you climb up into the mountains. This is the perfect place to experience Norwegian cabin life, just relaxing inside at night and hiking or skiing during the day, and there are lots of cabins available on Airbnb, like this big cabin and this traditional Norwegian cabin.
This is the ultimate Norwegian experience, because this is how Norwegians spend their free time in Norway – in their cabins!
Like I already said, when someone says they only have time to visit one place in Norway, Lofoten is one of my top choices.
I mean, Lofoten sort of has it all. Okay, it doesn’t have any big cities, but Svolvær is quite a large town with a lot going on, and then you’ll find mountains, beaches, fjords – you’ll even find people surfing here!
It also has a historical significance as a center for fishing, which is why the islands are covered in those iconic red fisherman cabins. You’ll get a great sense of Norway’s fishing history here, as well as the Viking history here.
But mostly, the Lofoten Islands are just really, really beautiful. In fact probably most Norwegians would say Lofoten is the most beautiful place in Norway, and I wouldn’t argue.
Lofoten has also grown in popularity in the past few years, and they’ve done a good job of keeping up with the increase in tourism by establishing more unique accommodation options and tour activities. There’s seriously so much to do here, and so many cool places to stay.
You could either fly into Bodø, rent a car there and take the ferry over to Lofoten, or fly into Svolvær and rent a car from there. It is possible to explore Lofoten by public transport, but you will be limited by bus schedules and will end up missing out on a few of the more off the beaten path areas.
I’ve written a guide to planning a Lofoten road trip here, a sea eagle RIB safari and Northern Lights chasing here, and horseback riding here. And here are 11 things to know before visiting the Lofoten Islands.
I love the Helgeland coast and while you would need more than a weekend to properly explore it, you could very easily visit just one of the islands.
The Helgeland coast has the same dramatic landscape and fisherman cabins of Lofoten, without all the tourists. This is seriously such a hidden gem in Norway. I’ve also heard people say that the friendliest people in all of Norway are on the Helgeland coast. You will be warmly welcomed here!
You can fly or take the train to Bodø, and then from Bodø get the express ferry to Støtt. I’ve written more about Støtt, how to get there, and where to stay here.
This would be a really unique weekend trip to Norway, as not many foreign tourists plan trips here. So if you like to get off the beaten path and discover the local culture, and if you love beautiful landscapes, definitely consider spending a weekend here.
Tromsø, Senja & Dyrøy
After Bergen Tromsø might just be the second most popular weekend destination for tourists coming to Norway – at least in the winter during the Northern Lights season!
I’ve written more about things to do in Tromsø and where to stay here. To be honest I didn’t super click with Tromsø when I visited last summer and this past December, and I’ve heard so many locals complain that now it’s getting way too full of tourists. Then again I know a lot of people who absolutely adore Tromsø, so you might love it!
But what I really loved was flying into Tromsø and then driving down to Senja and Dyrøy. The drive is beautiful and both islands are so magical.
You’ll probably only have time to go to one unless you take a long weekend (we had four nights so we flew into Tromsø and then spent two nights on Senja and two on Dyrøy). Senja has more dramatic scenery and famous hikes, while Dyrøy is the loveliest quiet escape into nature.
I’d say Senja will give you those big bucket list experiences with its Instagram famous hikes, whereas Dyrøy would give you a really authentic, off the beaten path local experience in Norway. I’ve written about visiting Senja here and visiting Dyrøy here.
There are lots of other nice places to spend a weekend in Norway as well, but these are the main ones I’d recommend, especially if you’re new to the country and want to see a highlight. I do include other spots in my longer itineraries for when you have more time to spend in Norway.
So I’m sorry if I missed out on your favorite spot – don’t be mad at me!
Five Days to One Week in Norway Itineraries
Bodø – Helgeland – Lofoten – Vesterålen
If you only have a week in Norway, I really recommend sticking to the north and skipping Oslo and Bergen altogether.
Okay, you might think I’m biased because I live in the north, but actually I chose to move to the north largely because it’s the most beautiful part of Norway and is the region I’m most excited to write about and photograph. I love the open spaces here, there are fewer people (and tourists), and the landscape is much more dramatic than in the south.
If you want to cover a lot of ground, this Bodø – Helgeland – Lofoten – Vesterålen itinerary will show you the best of Northern Norway. It’s a busy schedule, but if you want to see as much as you possible can in one week, this is for you! I did this in the winter, but it would be equally amazing in other seasons as well.
You’ll spend a couple of nights on a quiet island on the Helgeland coast, a day or two experiencing city life in Norway, you’ll get to explore the famous Lofoten islands with their mountains and fjords, and then go up to quieter Vesterålen to see reindeer and whales. So you’ll really get to see all of the highlights of Norway within one week.
Tromsø – Senja – Dyrøy
My friends and I flew into Tromsø and then drove straight to Senja, where we spent two nights, and then we headed to the island of Dyrøy for another two nights. We left Dyrøy early so that we’d have the morning in Tromsø before our flight, but if you have a full week you could spend a night or two in Tromsø as well.
I wouldn’t spend more than two days in Tromsø, as there’s not a great deal to do there. The city center is small and there are a few nice restaurants and cafés but that’s sort of it. It’s also a big tourist destination for Northern Lights tours, so downtown is full of tour offices, so if you want to get away from tourist crowds I’d recommend getting out of the city. But the surrounding nature is breathtaking!
Again, I did this trip in the winter, but Senja is a great hiking destination in the summer, plus in the summer you could stop by Sommarøy to see the amazing beaches there.
If you want a less hectic itinerary without so much driving, just spend a week on Lofoten!
The first time I visited Lofoten I stayed one week, and even after returning several times over the past few years I still feel like I have so much left to see on Lofoten. So you definitely won’t get bored.
This way you’ll be able to really explore the island, go on hikes, and get into the nature. I’d actually love to spend a full month on Lofoten one day, as there really is so much to explore there.
Narvik – Kiruna – Vesterålen – Lofoten
If you’re looking for those big Arctic bucket list experiences, this Narvik – Kiruna – Vesterålen – Lofoten itinerary is for you. You’ll get to see reindeer, huskies, and whales, and in the summer the midnight sun and in the winter the Northern Lights, and you’ll even get to sleep in an Arctic Dome – one of the best experiences I’ve had in Norway.
When my friend who hates the cold came to visit me in Norway in January, this was the itinerary I made to win her over – and it did!
Bodø – Helgeland Coast
The Helgeland coast is so dreamy, and still relatively undiscovered, especially amongst foreign tourists. Plus the people here are so, so friendly. It’s a totally different experience than visiting the super crowded and touristy areas of southern Norway (where the locals don’t always love all the tourists).
I still have so much of the Helgeland coast left to explore, so I’ll definitely be updating this with a couple of itineraries once I make some more trips here this spring and summer.
But for now I would suggest flying or taking a train to Bodø and spending a day there, and then getting the express boat to Støtt and a few of the other small islands along the coast. If you stick to the small islands you won’t need to rent a car, as you can get around them by foot or by renting a bicycle.
Plus the small islands are so special. You’ll get an immediate sense of Norway’s culture and history here, and the locals really are so friendly.
You can get the Travel Pass Nordland for 990 NOK, which gives you access to all of the buses and express boats (not the ferries) in Nordland for one week, so you can island hop as much as you want.
Alternatively you could get the train or fly to Mosjøen and then rent a car there and explore the coast by car.
I’m going to try to do this trip both with and without a car and report back this summer!
Mosjøen – Helgeland Coast
Like I said, I still have a lot more of the Helgeland Coast to explore, but I did recently take a trip from my home in Mosjøen out to the islands of Dønna and Herøy, which many locals had told me were two of the prettiest islands along the coast here. And they weren’t wrong!
I drove from Mosjøen to Sandnessjøen and then caught a ferry to Dønna from there, but you could also fly directly to Sandnessjøen and then you wouldn’t even necessarily need to rent a car, because the islands are so small. Or it would be really fun to rent a bicycle in Sandnessjøen to explore the islands by bike!
Kiruna – Hammerfest – Hamningberg – Kirkenes – Rovaniemi
This is the most recent one week trip of taken, and it was one of my all time favorites! And as a bonus, this will also take you through Sweden and Finland, so you get three countries in one trip.
This Kiruna – Hammerfest – Hamningberg – Kirkenes – Rovaniemi itinerary will take you to the very top of Europe, the border of Russia, and through some of the most beautiful spots in the Arctic. I did this trip in the summer under the midnight sun, but you would have an equally amazing trip in the winter under the Northern Lights.
Okay so while I personally prefer northern Norway, I know a lot of people want to see the iconic destinations of the south like Oslo, Bergen, and the most famous Pulpit Rock and Trolltunga hikes.
And the most famous of Norway’s fjords are in southern Norway, so it’s not like the north has all the looks.
So don’t worry, I’ve made some itineraries for southern Norway too!
Oslo – Rjukan – Odda – Hardangerfjord – Bergen
If you want to do the traditional Oslo – Bergen – fjord loop but add in some special stops along the way, this Oslo – Rjukan – Odda – Hardangerfjord – Bergen itinerary is probably my favorite one week itinerary for southern Norway. This is the first itinerary listed in the blog post.
You’ll start in Oslo, then spend a night in the lovely town of Rjukan, drive along Hardangerfjord, and get to see Bergen. This is a busy itinerary with quite a bit of driving, but I think you will love it!
Oslo – Kristiansand – Stavanger – Bergen – Hardangervidda
If you want to do the famous hikes like Pulpit Rock and Kjeragbolten (the rock stuck between two cliffs), then this Oslo – Kristiansand – Bergen – Hardangervidda itinerary is for you! This is the second itinerary listed in the blog post.
You’ll take a train from Oslo to Kristiansand, which is known as Norway’s “riviera,” and then you’ll head through some amazing mountain and coastal scenery through Stavanger towards Bergen. Then from Bergen you’ll drive over Hardangervidda, Northern Europe’s largest high mountain plateau, and through Telemark back down towards Kristiansand. You’ll see a huge variety of landscapes, as well as both villages and cities, so it makes for a great introduction to Norway.
Oslo – Røros – Trondheim – Kristiansund – Alesund by public transport
Most of the itineraries I’ve mentioned require you to rent a car, partly because I always love a good road trip, and partly because a lot of areas of Norway don’t have frequent public transport. But this Oslo – Røros – Trondheim – Kristiansund – Alesund itinerary uses only public transport, with a combination of trains, ferries, and buses. This is the third itinerary listed in the blog post.
So usually when people want to see Norway by public transport they do the famous Oslo – Bergen Norway in a Nutshell route. But there’s a reason I’m not recommending that itinerary here.
I mean, if you really want to do it you can read more about how to plan Norway in a Nutshell here, but to be honest I really don’t think that route shows off the best of Norway, or the most beautiful sites. It’s a good route if you want something really easy, because you’ll basically be following the same route as everyone else on the buses, trains, and ferries, so you can just follow the crowd.
But if you’re a little more independent and want to get off the beaten path a bit and see even more impressive views, do this itinerary instead. It’s so much better, I promise!
You’ll get to see Røros, a really beautiful historic town, Trondheim and Ålesund, which are my top two favorite cities in Norway, and you’ll see some of the most stunning landscapes in southern Norway.
Ten Days to Two Weeks in Norway Itineraries
Both of my ten day/two week itineraries for Norway are for northern Norway, though if you’d prefer the south then the one week itineraries I mentioned above could easily be stretched out longer. In fact the Odda – Hardangerfjord – Bergen itinerary mentions an optional extension by adding Ålesund and the Atlantic Road.
But otherwise I recommend heading north!
Oslo – Bodø – Helgeland – Narvik – Tromsø – Lyngen – Alta – Lofoten
My favorite two week trip I’ve done in Norway was this Oslo – Bodø – Helgeland – Narvik – Tromsø – Lyngen – Alta – Lofoten itinerary. You’ll get to see a huge portion of the country on the train ride up from Oslo to Bodø, and all of the stops on the way are some of my favorite places in Norway.
And if you have any longer, I would definitely consider adding a detour to Senja and even Dyrøy to your itinerary when you’re driving from Narvik up to Tromsø. You could also stop for a day in Oslo and Trondheim on your way up north.
And then if you have even more time, drive all the way up to the North Cape from Alta. It’s an extra 3 and a half hours of driving, but since you’ve made it this far north in Norway you might as well go as north as you can get!
Narvik – Kiruna – Vesterålen – Lofoten – Bodø – Mosjøen – Trondheim
If you want to check off a bunch of arctic bucket list experiences like husky sledding, staying with reindeer, overnighting in an Arctic dome, and whale watching, take a look at this Narvik – Kiruna – Vesterålen – Lofoten – Bodø – Mosjøen – Trondheim itinerary.
Plus you’ll get to go to Sweden as well!
This is the full trip that my friend Danielle and I did when she visited me in Norway, so if you’re wondering what I personally recommend to my friends coming to Norway for the first time, this is it!
I wanted to include Narvik for a stay in an Arctic Dome, which is Norway’s answer to the glass igloo, and then Kiruna has both the husky and reindeer Airbnbs which I love so much.
And then Vesterålen is amazing for whales, reindeer, and nature views, and Lofoten is one of the most beautiful places in Norway. The train ride from Bodø to Mosjøen is the most beautiful train ride in all of Norway, and you’ll end up in Trondheim to see big city life in Norway.
In Trondheim we went to a bunch of fancy restaurants and quirky cafés, and then Danielle flew straight out of Trondheim Airport instead of having to go back down to Oslo.
That’s all my Norway itineraries for now, but I’ll be sure to update this as I write about more of my Norway trips.
Getting to Norway
Lots of airlines fly into Oslo, so you shouldn’t have a problem finding good flights.
And if you’re on a budget you’re in luck – Norwegian is a budget airline with some of the cheapest connections between the US and Europe.
I fly Norwegian all the time, but just remember that it is a budget airline so you’ll have to pay extra for checked luggage, meals on board, and even water during your flight. I always bring several sandwiches and lots of snacks and a big water bottle that I refill at the airport (after security of course!) to tide me over.
But the planes are really nice with big windows, lots of overhead space, and they’ve designed the lighting to help combat jet lag (not really sure how or if it really works, but I like to think that it does!). There’s also an option to fly their premium class, which I believe comes with meals and maybe checked luggage – I’ve never flown premium on Norwegian though so I can’t say if it’s worth it or not. I do know that it’s not as fancy as business class on other airlines.
Oh and be sure not to exceed the carry on luggage limit if you don’t pay for checked luggage with Norwegian, because they are super strict. My friend recently flew Norwegian to visit me in Norway and she had to pay $200 to check her bag at the airport, which was about how much her flight had cost! I mean, at least her flight had been super cheap to start with, but it was still a bit of a blow.
I do love Norwegian, but sometimes you can find even better deals with other airlines, and if you do it’s definitely nicer to fly a non-budget airline. Luggage fees add up and it’s so much nicer to fly an airline with meals and drinks included. I often fly KLM and Finnair as well.
I’ve also flown Icelandair directly out of Trondheim, though they’re also a budget airline and super strict with luggage – a flight attendant once really yelled at me for having two bags with me, even though my second bag fit under the seat in front of me and my larger bag was a backpack that was smaller than most of the suitcases other people had brought on as carry ons. I definitely hadn’t broken any rules but she was so mean about it anyway, and clearly I’m still feeling very bitter about the whole experience, haha.
So yeah, try to find a flight with a non-budget airline if you don’t want the added stress.
My go-to for finding flights are Skyscanner and Kiwi.com. Kiwi.com especially is a sneaky travel hack tool that can find great connections that other search engines don’t include – I’ve written more about Kiwi.com and how to use it here.
You’ll probably be flying into and out of Oslo Gardermoen Airport which seriously is one of the nicest airports in the world. And guys, I travel for a living so I spend a lot of time in airports.
Pro tip #1: if you want to look like a local, head straight to the Tax Free shop once you land. It’s always funny getting off flights in Oslo because every Norwegian will go straight to Tax Free to buy alcohol, and it’s only the tourists that skip it, haha. But seriously, if you do want to drink in Norway and are on a budget, you’ll save a lot of money by picking up something here.
Pro tip #2: Don’t get the Flytoget, or Airport Express Train, into Oslo from the Airport. It’s only three minutes faster than the regional train and costs twice as much!
Again, it’s only ever tourists who get the express (“express”) train while all Norwegians get the Vy train. You’ll see the Vy (formerly NSB) ticket machines on your right once you exit customs and you can buy your tickets there. You can also check the train schedule at vy.no.
What to Pack for Norway
The most important thing about packing for Norway is to bring lots of layers. The weather here is really unpredictable so it’s important to be ready for lots of different temperatures throughout the day.
Oh and you’ll definitely want waterproof shoes here, whether that’s hiking boots in the summer or winter boots in the winter.
It’s also a good idea to buy travel insurance for your trip to Norway, as storms can often cause delays and if you’ll be hiking or doing outdoor activities you want to be covered in case of an accident. Plus Norway isn’t exactly a cheap destination, so you don’t want to end up losing money due to weather delays or unforeseen events.
I always get travel insurance wherever I travel, as several incidents in the past have taught me that it’s always worth it.
I personally use World Nomads because that’s what I used as a backpacker and I’ve had to file claims twice with them now and they paid me promptly, no additional questions asked. They also helped get me to a hospital in Beijing when I was too overwhelmed/dying to find one on my own, so I am forever grateful to those guys.
You can find a quote on World Nomads here, or pop your travel details into the chart below: