Norway's Trains and Fjords

  • Trip Type: Land/Train
  • 10 Days | Oslo to Bergen
  • Group Size: Max 25

Expedition Details

 

In western Norway, deep fjords cut through snowcapped mountains, and remote valleys are only accessible by railways and roads that are masterworks of engineering. Climb aboard five different trains to experience the country's astonishing natural beauty from Oslo to Bergen. Cruise the waters of the Sognefjorden and the Geirangerfjorden and delve into a rich seafaring history as you encounter Viking longships and medieval churches.

Trip Highlights

  • Travel on five scenic trains, including the Flåm, named by National Geographic Traveler as one of the top ten train trips in Europe.
  • Discover three UNESCO World Heritage sites: Geirangerfjorden, the mining town of Røros, and Bergen’s old wharf.
  • Attend a lecture by a paleontologist who has done field research for National Geographic and hear about his work in Norway’s far north (his schedule permitting).
  • Sample Norway’s culinary delights during a tasting at a cider house and on a visit to a farm in the heart of the fjordlands.

Itinerary - 10 Days

Day 1 — Oslo, Norway

Arrive in Oslo and check in to our hotel. Gather for a welcome dinner tonight.
Grand Hotel Oslo (D)

Day 2 — Oslo

Explore Norway's cosmopolitan capital, situated at the head of a more than 60-mile-long fjord. Wander through Vigeland Park, filled with hundreds of life-size human figures by native artist Gustav Vigeland. Attend a lecture by a paleontologist who will share stories about a National Geographic Explorer's discovery of a primate fossil in Norway's far north. Then visit the Munch Museum to see the works of Edvard Munch, including The Scream. Venture to the Bygdøy Peninsula to visit the Norsk Folkemuseum, an open-air assemblage of historic buildings from across the country, and see some of the best-preserved Viking longships in existence at the Viking Ship Museum.
Grand Hotel Oslo (B,L)

Day 3 — Røros/Trondheim

Norway’s several thousand miles of railways stretch from the southern tip of the country to above the Arctic Circle, offering breathtaking views of rolling hills, mountains, lakes, and fjords. Climb aboard the Røros Railway and travel to the mining town of Røros—a World Heritage site and one of the oldest wooden towns in Europe. Explore the Olavsgruva copper mine that made the town famous, then stroll past 17th- and 18th-century buildings where residents still live and work. Later, catch a train to the lovely city of Trondheim, situated on the southern shore of Trondheimsfjorden at the mouth of the Nidelva River.
Scandic Nidelven Hotel (B,L,D)

Day 4 — Trondheim

Said to have been founded in the tenth century by Viking King Olaf I Tryggvason, Trondheim served as Norway’s capital until the early 1200s. Today, high-tech culture mingles with medieval architecture in this university town. Visit the Nidaros Cathedral, a cherished landmark built on the gravesite of Norway’s patron saint and prized for its stained glass windows. Take a musical tour at the Ringve Music Museum and enjoy a mini-concert performed on antique instruments. Later, explore on your own or discover the city on an optional urban kayaking excursion.
Scandic Nidelven Hotel (B,L)

Day 5 — Rauma Railway/Geiranger

Catch a morning train to Dombås and board the Rauma Railway. Take in stunning scenery through panoramic windows on a journey past craggy alpine peaks, glacier-fed waterfalls, and the emerald waters of the Rauma River. Cross the historic Kylling Bridge and marvel at the 3,300-foot Trollveggen, Europe’s tallest vertical rock face. Continue by coach to Geiranger along the famed Trollstigen—the Troll’s Footpath. Wind through the mountains along 11 hairpin turns, keeping an eye out for troll statues inspired by Norwegian fairytales. Stop en route to taste local produce at a farm.
Hotel Union (B,L,D)

Day 6 — Geirangerfjorden/Balestrand

Set out by ferry for an unforgettable cruise on the World Heritage site of Geirangerfjorden, a ten-mile passage lined with sheer rock walls and punctuated with waterfalls. Disembark at Hellesylt and drive to Balestrand, located on the Sognefjorden—the longest and deepest fjord in Norway. Along the way, skirt the edges of Nordfjord, passing tumbling cascades, lush pastures, and lakes. Stop in Sandane for lunch and view a spectacular panorama of fjordlands and mountains. This evening, settle into our historic hotel overlooking the Sognefjorden.
Kviknes Hotel (B,L,D)

Day 7 — Sognefjorden/Balestrand

Cross the Sognefjorden by ferry for a visit to the Hopperstad Stave Church, one of Norway’s most intact medieval churches. Back in Balestrand, visit a cider house to taste local ciders, fruit wines, and brandies. Then discover the town’s history as a hub for 19th-century European artists who were inspired by the Sognefjorden’s captivating scenery. Walk along the fjord’s edge, dotted with villas built in the popular Swiss style of the period, and keep an eye out for dragon heads atop the gables—a motif from Norse mythology.
Kviknes Hotel (B,L,D)

Day 8 — Flåm Railway/Bergen

Take a scenic cruise across the Sognefjorden and up the narrow Aurlandsfjorden to the village of Flåm. Board the world-famous Flåm Railway, named by National Geographic Traveler as one of the top ten train journeys in Europe, and make a thrilling ascent of some 2,837 feet in just one hour, passing through 20 tunnels. At the mountain station of Myrdal, transfer to the Bergen line and continue across the spine of Norway to the coastal city of Bergen.
Clarion Collection Hotel Havnekontoret (B,L)

Day 9 — Bergen

Bergen was once an important trading center of the Hanseatic League, which dominated commercial activity in northern Europe in the Late Middle Ages. Discover the city’s maritime history on a tour of Bryggen—the old wharf—and stroll through the local fish and flower market. This afternoon, explore the former home of celebrated Norwegian composer Edvard Grieg, nestled in the hills above Bergen, and enjoy a private piano recital of Grieg’s music. Then sit down to a farewell dinner at a restaurant with splendid views overlooking the city.
Clarion Collection Hotel Havnekontoret (B,L,D)

Day 10 — Bergen

After breakfast, transfer to the airport for your flight home.
(B)

Related Trips

National Geographic Expert

David Silverberg

David   SilverbergDavid Scott Silverberg is a geographer working on conservation projects spanning six continents. His mix of exploration, research, and digital photo-video storytelling has been popular with National Geographic travelers for many years. A National Geographic grantee and a fellow of both the Royal Geographical Society and the Royal Asia Society, David was the executive science director at Earthwatch Institute, set up and managed Boston University environmental field research programs in British Columbia and eastern Africa, and was a founding White House staff member for AmeriCorps. David has worked in more than 100 countries, manages the Environmental Learning Institute, and teaches at several international universities.

David will join the following departures:

Jul 01 - 10, 2018
Jul 15 - 24, 2018
Jul 29 - Aug 07, 2018

Dates

2018
  • Jun 17 - 26, 2018
  • Jul 01 - 10, 2018
  • Jul 15 - 24, 2018
  • Jul 29 - Aug 07, 2018

Expedition Cost

2017-2018

$9,495

Price is per person, double occupancy. For a single room, add $975.

International airfare to Oslo and return from Bergen is not included in the expedition cost.

Featured Traveler Photo

Activity Level

Light

Travelers should be in good health and comfortable walking or standing for extended periods of time. Daily activities may include city walking tours, visits to sites, game drives on bumpy roads, or easy hikes.

Click here for a description of all activity levels.

What To Expect

Although included excursions are not strenuous, guests should be able to explore on foot for up to several hours at a time and be capable of boarding trains and buses using stairs that may be steep. There is no porter service at train stations or aboard express boats, though larger luggage can be sent ahead. Guests will manage their own overnight bags for some journeys. This expedition is not suitable for anyone with a serious medical condition or limited mobility.