Norway always manages to defy expectations. Gaze across the endless Western Fjords, and you’ll truly believe that Norwegian landscapes were carved by the hands of gods. Hike to snowcapped mountain peaks under the Midnight Sun, be awed by the dancing, swirling colors of the Northern Lights, and dare to experience the dark depths of a Polar Night.
Norway is a land of extremes, a place that pushes the boundaries of natural beauty, and a destination that you can never hope to truly explore in just 14 days. But 2 weeks in Norway does present you with the opportunity to visit the country’s best attractions, and our detailed itinerary is designed to take you to the highlights – and to a few lesser-known places.
We’re certain you’ll have an incredible time, but we also know that as soon as you step back on the plane to fly home, you’ll already be dreaming of a return trip!
The best 2-week Norway itinerary starts in Oslo, the iconic capital, where you’ll delve into Norwegian history before seeing all that this modern city has to offer. In Bergen, you’ll uncover a maritime city founded by Vikings and made rich by the Hanseatic League, and in Bodø, you’ll visit a quirky, artistic city that’s set to be a European Capital of Culture.
Our itinerary takes you to the glorious Western Fjords, where you’ll stand in the shadow of Europe’s largest glacier. You’ll be mesmerized by the insane aesthetics of the Lofoten Islands, and you’ll fall in love with the outdoor life in Tromsø, where you’ll be deep, deep inside the Arctic Circle. Along the way, you’ve got epic opportunities for hiking, snow sports, cruises, and road trips.
You’ll also see awesome cultural sites like the Oslo Opera House, browse extensive collections of artwork by famous painters like Edvard Munch, and learn about Sami culture in the Arctic. You’ll enjoy some of the best coffee and Scandi-style breakfasts in Europe every morning and dine daily on some of the freshest seafood and farm produce in Scandinavia in the evenings!
But Norway’s natural and cultural beauty is only matched by its vastness, which is why you need to plan your Norwegian adventure carefully. That’s also why we’ve put together our ultimate 14-day Norway itinerary to help you get a head start on the road. Keep reading to find out more!
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Two Weeks in Norway
The Best Time to Visit Norway
As we’ve already said, Norway is a land of extremes. You’ll need to time your visit carefully, depending on what you hope to see and do, as in Norway, you really can be at the mercy of the weather.
If you’re here for hiking, then there’s no better time to visit than summer, when temperatures are at their highest from June through to August. This is when the days are longest, too, with areas within the Arctic Circle experiencing the phenomenon of the Midnight Sun (when the sun never sets) for up to two months of the year.
Summer is busy, of course, and high temperatures are always relative. In Oslo, temperatures reach highs in the low 20°C, while in Tromsø (far in the north!), temperatures rarely breach 20°C. The coastline, including the Western Fjords and Bergen, all experience a surprisingly mild climate. Temperatures are kept fairly constant by the Atlantic winds, although there can be lots of rain in winter, spring, and autumn.
We suspect that you’ve already had a look at the map and seen how far north Norway extends. This is a nation that seemingly stretches toward the North Pole, and indeed, as much as 50 percent of Norwegian territory is firmly located within the Arctic Circle.
In winter, the Arctic regions experience the Polar Night (when the sun never rises), and temperatures can stay well below freezing for days at a time. It’s going to be cold, but winter is the perfect time to enjoy Norway in the snow, explore Sami culture in the north, and see the Northern Lights.
Whenever you choose to visit Norway, always plan for the worst weather. Bring raincoats and warm clothes even in summer, and leave extra days where possible in case of canceled flights, disrupted ferries, and unexpected storms. These rules apply everywhere, but even more so once you cross the Arctic Circle.
Things to Know Before You Go
Norway is a modern, highly developed nation that’s typically a pleasure to travel around. Things just seem to work in Norway, but that’s what you should expect from a country with one of the highest per capita GDPs in the world.
Given the average salary in Norway is also around $70,000 a year, many travelers find Norway to be a comparatively expensive destination to visit. You can cut down on costs by booking in advance, staying in guesthouses and Airbnbs with kitchen facilities, and traveling in the shoulder seasons rather than in peak summer months.
Staying on the subject of money, the local currency is the Norwegian Krone (NOK), which has an approximate exchange rate of 10 NOK to the USD (at the time of writing). You can easily exchange money at banks and currency exchanges in Norway, but debit and credit cards are also widely accepted. In fact, you can generally get away with carrying no cash at all, as everything can be handled electronically.
Norway has two official languages. Norwegian is the primary language, which is spoken by everyone, although there are several regional dialects and variations across the country. In the north, Sami is the second official language, although it’s only spoken by around 30,000 people.
Norwegian is descended from old Germanic dialects and has some similarities to English. Sami, on the other hand, is closer to Finnish and is descended from languages once spoken in the Urals.
In Sami-speaking areas, you’ll find that there’s a revival of Sami culture, language, and history, which is fascinating to learn more about. Luckily, you’ll also find that the vast majority of Norwegians also speak perfect English, which makes things much easier when you’re traveling!
Norway is not a member of the European Union, but it is part of the European Union’s Schengen Zone. This makes it simpler when it comes to visas, as you’ll be granted access on either a Schengen Zone visa or given visa-free access for 90 days within 180 days if you’re from the UK, US, and many more countries.
Getting Around Norway
This is a long, long country, and with a coastline estimated to be over 50,000 miles long (taking into account all those fjords and islands), you’ll need to plan your visit if you want to see all the best places to visit in Norway.
The country is well developed and well connected, given its size and the vast distances between destinations, but you’ll still need to plan for delays (often caused by the weather) and be prepared for limited connections when you’re traveling to rural destinations. Always check the seasonality of transport routes, too, because many ferries only operate in the summer.
Our itinerary starts in Oslo, simply because the Norwegian capital is the best-connected city in Norway. You can fly here from almost any European city, as well as many destinations in North America, Asia, and the Middle East (check out Norwegian Air for budget flights!).
Because of the distances involved and the often difficult terrain, Norway has an extensive network of regional flights operated by Widerøe, Norwegian Air, and SAS. Even tiny villages are connected by air to Oslo or Bergen, and flying is the quickest way to get around.
You can also tackle the Oslo-Bergen railway, take the train north to Narvik, or enjoy scenic train rides like the Flåm Railway in the Western Fjords. Ferries connect much of Norway’s western coastline (check out the Hurtigruten routes) in summer, while buses fill in the gaps everywhere else.
For ultimate freedom, we recommend renting a car for all or part of your journey. For the itinerary below, a car is particularly useful for exploring northern Norway, from the Western Fjords upwards. Our itinerary ends in Tromsø, the largest city in the north. From here, you can fly back south to Bergen or Oslo to connect with international flights.
Norway Itinerary: 2 Weeks to Explore the Highlights of the Country
Oslo – 2 nights
Your 2-week trip to Norway starts in Oslo, the nation’s capital and largest city. With a population of 700,000 people, Oslo truly is a world apart from the rural, more sparsely populated Norway you’ll soon be exploring, so take the chance to enjoy a city break while you can!
Oslo is located in southern Norway, where the city enjoys a beautifully scenic position on the shores of the Oslofjord. You’ll want to take a sightseeing cruise along the fjord during your stay in order to appreciate the stark beauty that surrounds Oslo.
Cruises depart from the piers by City Hall, and you’ll spot famous waterside landmarks like the Opera House before sailing past islands and islets in the sound. The best cruises now operate on electric boats, allowing not only for a quiet experience but maximizing the chance that you’ll see marine wildlife, like orcas.
Oslo Opera House
Back on dry land, you can pop into the Oslo Opera House to learn more about the construction and design of one of Europe’s most distinctive works of contemporary architecture. In the evenings, you might be lucky enough to secure a spare ticket to an opera or ballet, which we have to say is one of the best things to do in Oslo.
The Royal Palace
Head over to the Royal Palace in central Oslo, where you can delve into regal history. Dating to the early 19th century, the grand palace is the current residence of Norway’s monarchy, but you can still take a grand tour of the stately rooms and royal halls.
History lovers can also visit the Akershus Fortress, a 13th-century medieval castle that was also built to protect Norway’s earliest kings.
Museums, Galleries, and Parks
Oslo is a city of museums and galleries, and you’ll be hard-pressed to fit everything into your itinerary. We recommend heading over to the Bygdøy Peninsula, where you can pack in a heap of museums in a short space of time.
This beautiful peninsula is home to five national museums, including the Kon-Tiki Museum (exploring the journeys of Thor Heyerdahl), the Norwegian Museum of Cultural History (better known as the Folk Museum), the Norwegian Maritime Museum (dedicated to maritime history), the Fram Museum (which delves into Norway’s polar expeditions), and our personal favorite, the Viking Ship Museum (where you’ll find the remains of Viking burial ships).
If you’ve still got time, then you art lovers won’t want to miss Frogner Park and Vigeland Sculpture Park or the Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art. Oslo’s botanical gardens offer a wonderful escape from the city, while the Nobel Peace Center provides insight into the work and lives of Nobel Peace Prize winners around the world.
The Western Fjords – 3 nights
From Oslo, your 14-day Norway itinerary continues as you begin your journey toward the Western Fjords. Oslo is separated from Norway’s west coast by hundreds of miles of high mountains, some reaching thousands of meters above sea level. Luckily, the enterprising Norwegians built Northern Europe’s highest-altitude railway back in 1909, and it’s now one of the most scenic rail journeys in the world.
Sit back and enjoy the views as you take the “Bergensbanen” from Oslo. The highest point of the journey is 1,237 meters above sea level, and there are 182 tunnels that traverse the mountains. The railway line connects Oslo with Bergen, Norway’s second-largest city, but you’ll be alighting at Myrdal, a journey of just under 5 hours from the capital.
At Myrdal, you’ll then switch to the equally scenic Flåm Railway, which will take you along 12 kilometers of heritage tracks and beautiful mountain passes to the fjord-side town of Flåm (the Flåm Railway is easily one of the best things to do in Norway!).
This charming Norwegian town overlooks Aurlandsfjord, which is itself a branch of the Sognefjord, Norway’s longest fjord. Book a room at the historic Fretheim Hotel, then enjoy a few craft beers at Aegir Microbrewery.
You’ll then have two full days to experience the Western Fjords with Flåm as your base. Start by taking a cruise from the Aurlandsfjord to the Sognefjord, then take your pick from hiking and biking, or in winter, snowshoeing or cross-country skiing.
We highly recommend visiting Fjaerlandsfjorden, another branch of the Sognefjord, where you’ll find a quirky “Book Town,” a floating sauna, and the Glacier Museum. The museum is at the base of Jostedalsbreen, which is the longest glacier in mainland Europe.
Bergen – 2 nights
Your next stop is Bergen, Norway’s second-largest city and the gateway to the Western Fords. Located on the west coast of Norway, in a sheltered harbor close to the ocean, Bergen is a city that was built on the North Sea trade and Atlantic cod.
From Flåm, you’ll take the Flåm Railway back down to Myrdal, then rejoin the Bergensbanen for the final leg to Bergen (alternatively, you can hop on a regional flight from Sogndal to Bergen). You’ll have 2 nights in Bergen and at least one full day (depending on your arrival/departure times), which is enough time for a whistle-stop tour of the city.
Start by exploring the historic merchant buildings and colorful townhouses of Bryggen. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is an archeological gem because this is where layer upon layer of Bergen history awaits you.
Bryggen is effectively the Old Town, and it’s here where Bergen was founded by a Norwegian king in the 11th century AD. The Hanseatic League turned Bergen into a commercial hub from the 14th century onwards, and you can learn more by visiting the Bryggens Museum.
Bergen is packed with art galleries and museums, and at Kode, you can explore the third-largest collection of Edvard Munch works in the world (the famous Norwegian artists had many ties to Bergen).
Mount Fløyen to Mount Ulriken
After that, take the funicular to Mount Fløyen, or ride the cable car to Mount Ulriken (where you can dine in style at the Skyskraperen Restaurant). You could even brave the icy waters of the fjord with a dip at the Nordnes Pool before warming up in their thermal pool and sauna.
Bodø and Lofoten – 3 nights
Now you’re leaving the south behind and venturing north into the Arctic Circle. Your first stop is Bodø, the second-largest arctic town in Norway and a hub for creativity. You can catch a regional flight direct from Bergen, or else it’s a long 21-hour drive!
Bodø is set to be a European Capital of Culture, and you can learn more about the local history at the Bodø City Museum. Join a street art walking tour, visit the Concert Hall, or time your trip to coincide with a local music festival.
Nearby Saltstraumen is home to the largest “maelstrom” in the world (where enormous tidal speeds create giant whirlpools!), and Kjerringoy is the location of an old trading post and beautiful beaches. Mountain peaks abound in Bodø. In summer, the Midnight Sun sits high in the sky, and in winter, you might just catch the Northern Lights.
Ferry Ride to Lofoten
Bodø is really just a pit stop, though, as you jump on the ferry to Lofoten, one of the best places to go in Norway. The slow car ferry is a five-hour scenic ride from Bodø to Moskenes, which sits on the southern end of the archipelago. From Moskenes, you can explore the raw beauty of the islands as you head north.
Lofoten is a collection of small islands in Nordland, and you’ll be awed by the sheer scale of the mountain peaks and the humble but colorful nature of the fishing harbors and villages found here.
You can road trip the archipelago, hopping from one island to another on the local ferries, or if you’re not pressed for time, you could even plan a bicycle tour. In summer, you can kayak, canoe, and hike to your heart’s content, while the ski season turns Lofoten into one of the most dramatic snow sports arenas in Norway.
Don’t forget your camera because whatever the season, Lofoten can’t fail to be photogenic!
Narvik to Tromsø – 3 nights
You won’t want to leave Lofoten behind, but you’ve still got a long way to go before the end of your 2 weeks in Norway. From Lofoten, you’ll make your way back to the mainland by ferry or plane, where you can spend one night in Narvik before traveling further north.
Narvik was the scene of an infamous battle at the start of World War II when Allied forces fought Nazi Germany for control of vital coal resources. Narvik is still very industrial today, but we recommend visiting the Narvik War Museum and the Narvik Museum to learn about the local history. There’s a famous cable car here, plenty of epic mountain hikes, and of course, the Midnight Sun or Northern Lights depending on the season.
Narvik is where Norway’s train line runs out, and from here, it’s a 4 to 5-hour bus or car ride to Tromsø, the Arctic capital. Tromsø is largely located on a sheltered island in a fjord, and with a population of 70,000, it’s one of the largest, most northernmost cities in the world.
Tromsø is a real highlight of your 2-week Norway itinerary, and you’ll love exploring the frontier history of a city that’s far removed from Oslo and Bergen.
There are more wooden buildings here than anywhere else in Norway (with the oldest dating back to the 18th century); you can delve into the history of Arctic exploration at the Polar Museum; and cross the epic Tromsø Bridge to visit the uniquely beautiful Arctic Cathedral.
You can also enjoy quirky bucket list moments, including eating at the world’s most northerly Burger King or Hard Rock Cafe! Tromsø is also a center for Sami culture in Norway, and you can gain an insight into the Arctic Circle’s indigenous peoples by joining a cultural excursion to a reindeer camp. In winter, Tromsø is a great location for a Northern Lights tour, as there are few other cities in Norway better placed for seeing this natural phenomenon.
Tromsø is the perfect place to end your Norway adventure, and from here, you can fly back south to Bergen or Oslo. Or you could extend your stay and fly further north to the Arctic realms of Svalbard, an island where polar bears often outnumber people.
There you have it! That’s our perfect 2-week Norway itinerary. Where will you be traveling on your trip to Norway?
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