If you’re currently planning a Norway itinerary but haven’t visited the country before, you might be wondering how long your holiday should be and where you should try to visit during your time there. Spending 7 to 10 days in Norway is often ideal for a first trip, as it’s usually more than sufficient for you to see a few of the country’s biggest cities, as well as some of its stunning nature.
In this article, we’ll be outlining a sample itinerary for you to use to help plan your trip to Norway. Whether you’re looking at spending 7 days in Norway or are aiming to be there longer, read on!
How Many Days in Norway?
Norway may be a historic, unique, and jaw-droppingly beautiful country, but it’s also relatively compact. Its cities are on the smaller side and are generally fairly walkable, so if you’re primarily planning on exploring Norway’s metropolitan areas during your stay there, you can easily get a great feel for the place spending no more than 7 days in Norway.
This amount of time allows you to spend a couple of days each in a few of Norway’s larger cities, including its capital, Oslo, and Bergen, which is easily one of the most distinct and charming destinations in perhaps all of Scandinavia. Because, as mentioned above, these cities aren’t huge, a 7-day trip will give you ample time to explore them without feeling rushed.
With that being said, if you can, staying for 10 days in Norway or even longer is advisable if you want to explore some of the country’s wilder, more remote areas, or its national parks.
It’s common for these areas to be located at least a few hours’ drive from the nearest city; the nature of the Norwegian landscape, being crisscrossed by mighty fjords, waterfalls, mountains, and bodies of water, also means it often takes far longer to reach your destination than it would to travel there as the crow flies.
Getting To & Around Norway
The easiest point of entry and great starting point to a Norway itinerary is generally in the capital city of Oslo.
Oslo is serviced by a number of airports, with the two most accessible being Gardermoen and Torp. Gardermoen is also the larger of the two and offers access to a larger number of international flight routes and providers, while Torp, which is closer to the coastal city of Sandefjord and about an hour away from downtown Oslo, is a popular destination for budget airlines in particular. You can also book airport transfers here.
Alternatively, if you’re travelling to Norway from the south of Sweden, then you may want to consider taking the bus to Oslo, instead; a number of providers offer very affordable coach transfers from Gothenburg to Oslo, with a standard journey time of around 3-4 hours.
As far as travelling from Oslo to Bergen, flying is one option, taking a little over an hour – Bergen’s Flesland Airport is also a quick transfer away from the city’s downtown area via public transit or taxi.
However, if you don’t mind a longer journey, we highly recommend taking the Bergensbanen train, known as the Bergen Line in English, from Oslo to Bergen, instead. Regarded as one of the most scenic train routes in the world, the Bergen Line takes you right up into the mountains, through over 180 tunnels, and along a number of lakes, plateaus, and fjords.
Trains in Norway are remarkably comfortable, clean, and well-maintained, and the carriages generally have ample room for luggage storage in the form of overhead racks.
Reaching Stavanger from Bergen is fairly straightforward, too; travellers have the option of either flying or taking the NW400 Kytsbussen bus service. The direct service takes around 5 and a half hours and travels along a generous stretch of Norway’s beautiful western coast – so, you’ll more than likely find yourself glued to the window for the entire journey.
While it’s not necessary, renting a car in Norway for part of your trip will absolutely give you more freedom in terms of travelling around and exploring the countryside, though it won’t be of much use getting from city to city.
Having a rental car can be convenient to get off the beaten path or to some more far-flung natural areas that aren’t as quick or easy to access.
A true Norway road trip itinerary should give you more time to get from point A to point B to account for the long drives between the different cities there, rather than trying to see as much of Norway in 10 days as possible. If you’ve decided that a car rental is the right option for you, then you can browse options on Rentalcars.com
7 to 10 Days Norway Itinerary
Below is our sample itinerary for a trip that will allow you to see some of the highlights of Norway in 7 days, including Oslo, Bergen, and some of the highlights of western’s Norway’s natural landscapes. We’ve also outlined some ideas for a trip to Stavanger and Southern Norway, if you’re planning on staying in the country for 10 days, instead.
Day 1 – Oslo
Welcome to Norway! We recommend that you start your trip off in Oslo, the Norwegian capital.
Once you’ve arrived and settled in, you might want to head out for a walk to explore Oslo Sentrum. If you want to learn more about the history of the city, you can consider booking a walking tour or going on a bike tour.
Visit the Oslo Domkirke, stroll along the harbour at Bjørvika, visit the striking Opera House, and enjoy the view of the Oslofjord from the fortress of Akershus Festning.
If the weather is good, you may want to check out the sculptures at Frogner Park and Norway’s Royal Palace at Slottsparken, too.
If you can, finding accommodation to spend the night in Oslo’s downtown will help you see the most of the city. Those planning on staying in an Airbnb will likely have better luck in the neighbourhoods of Grünerløkka, Gamle Oslo, or the outskirts of the city.
Where to Stay in Oslo
Hotell Bondeheimen – This hotel located in the centre of Oslo is perfect for mid-range visitors to the city. They have a number of clean and comfortable rooms to choose from along with a great location for exploring all the city has to offer. Click here to check availability
Clarion Hotel Oslo – This luxury hotel is perfect for those who want a bit of the high life while in the Norwegian capital. They have a number of hip and modern rooms to choose from along with plenty of plush amenities for guests to use. Click here to check availability
Frogner House Apartments – These apartments are perfect for those after a private, self-catering option while visiting Oslo. They have a number of different flats to choose from and all come equipped with everything you may need. Click here to check availability
K7 Hotel Oslo – Budget and solo travellers will love this cool, centrally-located hotel in Oslo. Offering both dorm beds and private rooms, they have good common areas perfect for meeting other travellers. Click here to check availability
Not quite what you’re looking for? Click here to browse more Oslo hotels!
Day 2 – Oslo
Your first full day in Oslo is the perfect time to really explore sink your teeth into some of the city’s museums and galleries. You can visit the National Museum and National Gallery, or, if you’re a Munch fan, pay the Munch Museum, which is dedicated to his work, a visit.
Another option would be to head out to the island of Bygdøy for a day of museum hopping. It’s easily accessed via public transit and is home to the Norsk Folkemuseum, Fram Museum, Kon-Tiki Museum, and Viking Ship Museum, which are all incredible and well worth visiting in their own right.
The Norsk Folkemuseum is also home to the Gol Stavechurch, which is a real highlight of Norwegian church architecture.
Day 3 – Oslo
For your second full day in Oslo, we recommend exploring some of the fantastic nature spots just outside of the city.
The collective name for these areas is Oslomarka, and Oslomarka offers access to a number of lovely hikes and walks, many of which are easily reached from downtown Oslo via public transport.
You might like to head out to the lake of Sognsvann, which also makes for a fantastic place for a picnic in the warmer months. Alternatively, you can walk up to the viewpoint at Vettakollen for a fantastic view of the city of Oslo, as well as the Oslofjord and surrounding forest.
Note that most of the walks you’ll find in the Oslomarka are fairly leisurely, featuring minimal elevation gain or rough terrain.
Day 4 – Oslo to Bergen
Today, you’ll be travelling from Oslo to Bergen, the second-largest city in Norway and a fantastic hub for exploring the country’s spectacular west coast. Flying from Oslo to Bergen is one option, taking a little over an hour – Bergen’s Flesland Airport is also a quick transfer away from the city’s downtown area.
Otherwise, you can take the Bergen Line train from Oslo Central Station, a stunning journey which usually lasts between 5-6 hours.
If you’ve flown into Bergen, depending on what time you left Oslo, you’ll likely have at least half a day to explore the city. You might want to check out some of the art galleries in the city centre; the Kode complex is home to four separate, but equally interesting, museums with some fantastic works spanning a range of styles and periods.
On the other hand, if you’re planning on taking the train from Oslo to Bergen, then you may want to spend the rest of the day relaxing once you’ve arrived.
One option for a low-key, relaxed thing to do on your first day in the city is taking a stroll through Bergen’s Sentrum area and along the iconic Bryggen wharves – a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You can do this independently or take a guided walking tour.
Staying in Bergen Sentrum is also advised if possible, though the city is fairly small and the downtown can easily be reached from other neighbourhoods via public transport.
Where to Stay in Bergen
Hotel Park Bergen – This cosy, 3-star hotel is perfect for those visiting Norway on a mid-range budget, Located in the centre of Bergen, they have a number of bright rooms to choose from along with a great breakfast on offer in the mornings. Click here to check availability
Opus 16 – This hotel is perfect for those with a bit more cash to play around with or who are looking for luxury in Bergen. Located conveniently for exploring the city, they have a range of great rooms long with an on-site restaurant and other amenities. Click here to check availability
Fosswinckel Apartments – These apartments are perfect for those who’d like to have their own flat while visiting Bergen. They have a range of fully-furnished flats to choose from and a fantastic location for exploring all this lovely little city has to offer. Click here to check availability
Not quite what you’re looking for? Click here to browse more Bergen hotels!
Day 5 – Bergen
The fifth day of your Norway itinerary will be your first full day in Bergen. You can use day 5 to get your feet wet and explore the city’s historic Bryggen district if you haven’t already, as well as the medieval fortress of Bergenshus Festning.
If you’re interested, you can also take the tram out to the neighbourhood of Fana, where you’ll find Fantoft Stavkirke. This is a replica of an ancient stave church, that was tragically burnt down by an arsonist in the 1990s; unfortunately, the culprit was never found.
Alternatively, you can head out to the Grieg Museum, which is also a short trip away from downtown Bergen on public transport.
There, you can explore the renowned Norwegian composer Edvard Grieg’s former home, as well as its beautiful grounds. There is also a museum dedicated to his life and work onsite.
Day 6 – Hardangervidda National Park or Flåm
On day 6 of your Norway itinerary, you have a couple of options for day trips from the city. Hiking enthusiasts will likely want to use this day to visit the legendary Hardangervidda National Park, which is Norway’s largest.
We recommend taking the train from Bergen to Finse – the journey is about 2 hours and 30 minutes one way, and the township of Finse is actually located on the Northern edge of the Hardangervidda plateau. South of Finse is the glacier Hardangerjøkulen, and to the northwest is the boundary of another national park called Hallingskarvet.
If you’ve decided to rent a car for this part of your journey, then the drive from Bergen to Hardangervidda will, naturally, give you far more freedom in terms of what you can see on this day of the itinerary. The park is a fantastic place for hiking, cycling, climbing, fishing, and more, so go nuts!
On the other hand, if you’d prefer to explore more of western Norway’s system of fjords, then you can use this day to make a day trip out to the village of Flåm, which lies on the banks of the Aurlandsfjord, a branch of the Sognefjord.
This incredibly picturesque village takes just under 3 hours to reach via train from Bergen and is home to a charming railway museum, as well as some fantastic hiking and walking trails in its vicinity. You can take an organised day trip.
Day 7 – Bergen
For day 7 of your itinerary, we highly recommend exploring some of the nature spots within Bergen itself – namely, its two most famous mountains, Ulriken and Fløyen. If you have time, one thing that’s especially worth doing is the Vidden hike, which will take you from Fløyen’s viewpoint and across a number of plateaus before arriving at Ulriken.
If you won’t be spending more than 7 days in Norway, however, then you’ll be transferring back to Oslo today before flying out of the country. in this case, we recommend that you stick to hiking on and around Fløyen, rather than venturing further afield to Ulriken.
Accessing Fløyen from downtown Bergen is actually very straightforward; you can simply take the funicular from its station in Bergen Sentrum to the viewpoint near the mountain’s summit, which generally takes somewhere between 5-8 minutes.
While there is a cable car that can take you to and from the top of Ulriken, it’s not quite as accessible and, therefore, probably not the best choice if you’re going to be strapped for time.
Frankly, ticking at least one of these mountains off your list is a must if you’ll be seeing Norway in 7 days and is one of the best things to do in Norway. So, just heading up to the viewpoint on Fløyen is worth it to take in the vista it offers of Bergen, as well as the surrounding landscape.
If this isn’t the end of your journey, though, then we’ll see you in Stavanger!
Day 8 – Bergen to Stavanger
Are you planning on staying longer than a week in Norway? If so, then we recommend travelling from Bergen to Stavanger on this day of your Norway trip. Adding another city to your itinerary will allow you to see much more of Norway in 10 days.
As mentioned previously, the NW400 Kystbussen service will take you from one city to another, departing from Bergen’s bus terminal and arriving in Stavanger roughly 5 to 6 hours later.
Once you’ve arrived in Stavanger, you’ll likely be a little tired from your journey. We recommend taking a relaxed stroll along the waterfront or through downtown Stavanger to get yourself acquainted with the city.
Staying somewhere central in Stavanger is ideal, if possible, but the city is fairly compact and easily traversed using public transport.
Where to Stay in Stavanger
Hotel Victoria – If you’re looking for a cosy, central and comfortable place to rest your head in Stavanger, then this hotel is a great choice. They have a number of lovely rooms available along with an on-site restaurant/bar and breakfast available in the mornings. Click here to check availability
Sea Story by Frogner House – These apartments are an excellent option for those looking for a self-catering place to stay in Stavanger. Centrally located and equipped with everything you may need, they have one, two and three-bedroom flats to choose from. Click here to check availability
Not quite what you’re looking for? Click here to browse more Stavanger hotels!
Day 9 – Stavanger
For your first full day in Stavanger, we recommend checking out some of the city’s museums. The Norwegian Petroleum Museum and Norwegian Canning Museum might sound a bit, well, boring, but both actually feature pretty fascinating displays and collections of artefacts, in addition to offering visitors into two key areas of Norwegian industry.
Make sure to visit Gamle Stavanger, too, the city’s old town – with charming, cobbled streets and architecture typical of this part of Norway, it pretty much feels like a window straight into another era entirely.
Day 10 – Stavanger
For the last of your 10 days in Norway, we suggest that you head out to Sverd i fjell – easily Stavanger’s most famous landmark, the monument consists of three freestanding bronze swords, which commemorate the historic Battle of Hafrsfjord of 872.
Also highly recommended is one of the fjord cruises that depart from downtown Stavanger. These cruises such as this 2-hour boat ride will allow you to take in the mighty Lysefjord, as guides will typically be onboard to explain some of the local folklore, history, and culture along the way.
Have More Time?
If you’re looking to spend more than 10 days in Norway, then there’s plenty more to do and see! Why not head further north and explore the cities of Trondheim or Tromsø?
And, if you’ve rented or otherwise have access to a car, you can check out the famous hikes to Preikestolen — or Pulpit Rock — (which is near Stavanger) and Trolltunga (near Odda in the Vestland region), which are easily two of the country’s most striking, unique landmarks.
Planning a trip to Norway can be challenging; after all, the country has so much to offer visitors, that many people find it difficult to know where to go and what to see when we only have a finite amount of time to spend there.
Nevertheless, we hope that this sample itinerary is helpful for your travel planning and that you have an amazing trip to Norway!
Are you planning to visit Norway? Have any questions about this itinerary? Let us know in the comments!