Norway in a Nutshell: In A Nutshell

(Note: as of early 2016, this tour is temporarily discontinued. But you can still ride the scenic train route between Oslo and Bergen! We’ll keep this post updated with any changes.)

We’ve written before about the train ride between Oslo and Bergen — widely considered to be one of the most scenic train routes in the entire world. This route is just one part of the Norway in a Nutshell Tour — the whole tour combines train, bus, and boat travel so that you can experience the stunning beauty of the Norwegian fjords from every angle.

As you’ll see, you have a few different options to choose from in terms of your itinerary. It’s basically like a choose your own adventure story, with every outcome leading to beautiful Norwegian landscapes. Prettiest win-win situation ever.

Norway in a Nutshell: Choose Your Itinerary

So you have a lot of options when it comes to choosing your tour itinerary — hence why we’re including the map pictured here. It helps to visualize what we mean by all of these Norwegian words we’re going to throw at you in a moment.

Fjord Tours map - Norway in a nutshell

Seems like a pretty straightforward route, right? And, well, it is straightforward, but you do have a lot of options to choose from in terms of which direction you want to travel and where you want to start and end your trip. And this is great, because it means that you can customize the Norway in a Nutshell tour to include exactly what you, personally, want to see.

Keeping the above map in mind, you can choose from 5 itinerary options. As you’ll notice, the core of the tour remains the same: it’s that circle in the middle of the route that includes Myrdal to Flam, Flam to Gudvangen, and Gudvangen to Voss. The beginning and ending of each of these itineraries differ slightly depending on whether you want to start or end in Oslo, Bergen, or elsewhere.

norway-in-a-nutshell-overview-1

1. Voss – Voss

This particular itinerary is the core part of the route we mentioned above. It’s essentially a small circle, starting and ending in Voss.

Train: Voss-Myrdal, 1 hour
Train: Myrdal- Flam, 1 hour
Ferry: Flam- Gudvangen, 2 hours
Bus: Gudvangen- Voss, 1 hour

2. Bergen – Bergen

This itinerary is just an expansion of #1 — it adds a train to and from Bergen at the beginning and end of the trip.

Train: Bergen- Myrdal, 2 hours
Train: Myrdal- Flam, 1 hour
Ferry: Flam- Gudvangen, 2 hours
Bus: Gudvangen- Voss, 1 hour
Train: Voss- Bergen, 1 hour

3. Oslo – Voss – Bergen

This itinerary is more of a line than a circle. You can start in Oslo, head over to Myrdal by train and then complete that core Myrdal-Flam-Gudvangen circle we keep mentioning, and then finish the trip by heading over to Bergen. You know how sometimes people say they are going to take the scenic route somewhere? We like to think of this one as taking the really, really scenic route from Oslo to Bergen.

Train: Oslo- Myrdal, 5 hours
Train: Myrdal- Flam, 1 hour
Ferry: Flam- Gudvangen, 2 hours
Bus: Gudvangen- Voss, 1 hour
Train: Voss- Bergen, 1 hour

4. Oslo – Voss – Oslo

This is similar to Itinerary #2, but with Oslo instead of Bergen.

Train: Oslo- Myrdal, 5 hours
Train: Myrdal- Flam, 1 hour
Ferry: Flam- Gudvangen, 2 hours
Bus: Gudvangen- Voss, 1 hour
Train: Voss- Oslo, 6 hours

5. Oslo – Voss – Bergen – Oslo

This is for those people who want to leave no part of the Norway in a Nutshell tour uncharted. If you want to see everything this tour has to offer, this is the one for you.

Train: Oslo- Myrdal, 5 hours
Train: Myrdal- Flam, 1 hour
Ferry: Flam- Gudvangen, 2 hours
Bus: Gudvangen- Voss, 1 hour
Train: Voss- Bergen, 1 hour
Train: Bergen- Oslo, 7 hours

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Here are a couple things to keep in mind about these itineraries.

1. Stopovers are allowed.

So let’s say you choose option #5 above for your itinerary. When you get to the second to last leg of that tour — the train trip from Voss to Bergen — you decide that you want to stay in Bergen for two nights before you continue on to Oslo. Fine with us! The only stipulation is that you have to complete all of your travel within 2 months of the date you started.

2. You can choose your direction of travel.

Let’s use itinerary #5 as an example again. Let’s say you want to do that route but you want to start and end in Bergen instead of Oslo. Totally fine! You’ll just take the tour in the reverse order of what we listed above.

Keep in mind that this doesn’t mean that you can completely rearrange each aspect of this trip — you can just reverse an entire itinerary if you want to.

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Photo entered in our Picture Perfect Contest by John C

What is there to see in each of these stops?

So now we’ve told you all the different ways you can travel between these stops, which is great and, you know, kind of essential, but it also helps to know what there is to see in each of these cities and/or towns. That’s why you’re making this trip in the first place, right?

Bergen

Often overshadowed a bit by Oslo, Bergen is one of Norway’s prettiest cities, encircled by 7 mountains.

Today it’s known for its waterfront, banking, and having one of the country’s best universities. Bergen is also an important cultural center, thanks in part to the famous Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra founded in 1765.

Bergen gets pretty cold! In the winter, when the deep freeze sets in, many locals and tourists head inside to drink in one of the many beer taverns. Strandgaten 81, which is said to be Bergen’s oldest known tavern, allegedly dates back to the 17th century. Summer is when most choose to visit – perhaps to see the sun never set and party until dawn (whenever that is.)

Oslo

Whether you know Oslo for the Nobel Peace Prize, or for being the capital of Norway (and probably where you’ll fly in if coming from North America), or for its tendency to show up on pretty much every list of the world’s happiest cities, chances are you know it better than many of the other places on these itineraries.

Oslo is the capital of Norway and also its largest city. Pay a visit to the Munch Museum, where you’ll find the famous The Scream painting along with more of the artist’s work (he left all of his artwork to Oslo after his death). Oslo also has a Viking Ship Museum to pay tribute to this part of the country’s history, and of course you’ll need to pay a visit to the City Hall, where the Nobel Peace Prize is awarded each year in December.

Voss

Voss is a small town in Norway, with a population of about 14,000 people. It’s popular among bird-enthusiasts — for such a small place it has quite the varied climate and is home to a wide array of bird species. It’s also a hub for winter sports in the colder months, mainly biathlon, alpine skiing, nordic skiing, and more.

Myrdal

Myrdal is tiny. In fact, the only structure to be seen for miles is the train station you’ll pass through. The scenery that surrounds it is all beautiful hills and greenery though — just your typical stunning Norwegian landscape.

How to Book Norway in a Nutshell

Now that you know what the tour actually is, how do you go about booking it? You can find our complete Norway in a Nutshell booking page on our website. You’ll just need to choose the option for the route you want to take (and you can see there is also an option for those traveling with a Eurail Pass). Easy as that!

We hope this post simplified the logistics of this epic trip for you — feel free to ask any other questions you have in the comments, and we’ll answer to the best of our ability!

And if you venture out to the fjords of Norway, share your photos with us! You can find us on Instagram @raileurope.

As always, happy traveling!

About the Author

Jackie

Jackie is a freelance writer from Los Angeles currently living in Brooklyn. She worked as a travel consultant at Rail Europe for two years before switching over to Marketing & Community Manager (focusing on social media) in June 2014. In her free time Jackie travels whenever possible & maintains a personal travel blog at www.jackietravels.com.

2 Comments

  1. Sheri

    If someone is completing the Oslo-Bergen itin in a single day, is there someone to help passengers with what to do from point to point? How/where do you go between modes of transportation?

    | Reply
  2. amal delmar

    What about our luggage with all those transfers between trains , ferry and buses ? I see some people do it all in one day !! I have 4 days . Do you think staying by staying in a hotel in Bergen , I could go to a different place every day ?
    Thanks for your help

    | Reply

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