1 Week in Norway: Itinerary, Budgets and Travel Tips
Apparently, one-half of my heritage comes from Scandinavia. After asking my dad where in Scandinavia we come from, he just waved his arms proclaiming, “y’know, around there somewhere”.
It sure does explain my pale complexion and long, lanky limbs.
The first time I was in Scandinavia was in Copenhagen for just a few nights. I was 20, on my first solo trip. I remember walking around Christianshavn in awe of all these beautiful blonde people, immaculately dressed, riding bikes so effortlessly. I’ve always been a late bloomer, so this was before I had ‘found’ my style, or really knew who I was – but straight away, I knew this was something I resonated with.
On my trip to Norway, 5 years later – with a style that fits right in – I felt right at home. Oslo was perfect. It was everything I wanted in a city – it’s like Melbourne’s older and way cooler sister who lives half way across the world.
We don’t often have a whole lot of time when we travel. Often, we try to cram it all in. But give Norway a week, at the very least.
7-Day Itinerary –
Day One: Arriving in Oslo
Base yourself in the Grünerløkka area. It’s a 30-minute walk from the city centre, with plenty of public transport options to get you there in under 10 minutes. Grünerløkka is full of hip cafes, restaurants and bars – particularly good to have near your home away from home in winter, when the sun sets pretty early in the day.
Once you arrive in Oslo, check in, dump your bags and get into the city. Not before pouring yourself a big glass of tap water – arguably the best tap water in the world. Seriously, feel the smoothness.
Whether you’re staying in the Grünerløkka area, or not, get walking. Even if it takes you 30 minutes to walk into the city, you’ll be surprised what you might find along the way.
Make your way into the city towards the Oslo Opera House, one seriously cool piece of architecture. Take the time to explore this incredible building, taking the incline up to the roof.
From there, take a walk over to Ekebergparken, up the hill to stunning views of the city and the water. Finish your day by watching the sunset from here.
Oslo is full of cafes and restaurants with delicious food, if you want to stay in the city longer, you really can’t go wrong. Or, make your way back to Grünerløkka, enjoying a delicious burger and beer dinner at Munchies on Thorvald Meyers Gate. If you’re after a few drinks after dinner, just take a stroll along Thorvald Meyers Gate, there are plenty of bars to chose from.
Day Two: Oslo
9am: First thing’s first, coffee.
Go grab yourself a coffee and baked treat from Tim Wendelboe. If you’re basing yourself in another area, check out my guide to the best coffee around Oslo. Be sure to spark up a conversation with the baristas and waiters, they’ll definitely have some local cafe and restaurant recommendations for you.
If you’re lucky enough to be in Oslo on a Sunday, be sure to stroll along Akerselva river on your way into the city, and check out the local flea markets.
Enjoy a stroll into the city to Rådhuset (City Hall) where you can jump on bus 30 to Bygdøy, getting off at stop Vikingshipshuset (Viking Ship Museum) – it’s 6 stops, taking you around 10-14 minutes.
The Viking Ship Museum costs NOK 80, and gives you an up close look at some of the best preserved Viking ships in the world. This museum is quite small, so you won’t need more than 45 – 60 minutes here.
11:30am: Norsk Folkesmuseet
Jump back on the bus back the way you came to stop Folkemuseet – you can also easily walk there. For a NOK 130 entry free, you can explore the vast grounds of the open air Norsk Folkemuseum (Norwegian Museum of Cultural History). This fascinating museum takes you back in time, into a rather large Norwegian village.
2pm: Time for lunch
Enjoy a warm lunch at the museum restaurant. If you’re saving money and packed your own lunch, skip this.
After lunch, jump back on bus 30 back to Rådhuset (City Hall), and walk 5 minutes north to Nasjonalgalleriet (The National Gallery) – free on Thursdays. Enjoy the many exhibits in this gorgeous old building, not to miss Edvard Munch’s ‘The Scream’.
5:30pm: Discover historic streets
Begin making your way back to Grünerløkka, taking a quick detour to wander the historic and magical streets of Damstredet and Telthusbakken, dating back to the 18th and 19th century.
Tonight we’re having dinner in Mexico at Mucho Mas, again on Thorvald Meyers Gate. Enjoy plenty of food and drinks at this fun little joint.
Day Three: Oslo
Start your morning how the locals like to at Godt Brød Grünerløkka. I’d compare Godt Brød to Canada’s Tim Hortons – a chain bakery café that has offers some pretty damn good food. If you’re a coffee snob, head back to Tim Wendelboe for your fix.
Jump on tram 12 Majorstuen, 15 stops to Vigelandsparken. This should take your about 25 minutes. Here you can explore Vigeland Sculpture Park with more than 200 sculptures by the sculptor Gustav Vigeland.
11am: Oslo City Museum
Inside the sculpture park is the Oslo City Museum (free entry), a quirky and free of charge museum where you can learn about the history of Oslo as a city.
I hope you packed your lunch, because Vigelandsparken is the perfect spot for a picnic. If you didn’t pack a lunch and would prefer to grab lunch out, head back into the city for a gourmet fish and chips lunch at Friskeriet.
2:30pm: Akershus Festning
Jump back on the tram to the city centre to Akershus Festning (Akershus Fortress). What was built back in 1299, now stands a spectacular medieval castle with a pretty rich history.
4pm: Get lost in the streets
Take this time to explore more of this glorious city centre by walking the streets, window shopping and people watching. Sometimes it's nice to just take it slow and just experience the city for what it really is.
Begin to make your way back to Grünerløkka. Either visit the supermarket for a quiet, cheese and wine night in. Or take a stroll down Thorvald Meyers Gate. We’ve got an early wake-up call tomorrow morning, so don’t go too hard.
TIP: The website Ruter is fantastic for looking up public transport routes in Oslo.
Day 4: Train to Bergen
Before jumping on the tram into the city, grab some bakery goods from Godt Brød Grünerløkka. You might need to get take away, or quickly down your breakfast because you’ve got a train to catch!
7:45am: Jump on a train to Bergen
Make your way to Oslo Sentralstasjon, because today, we’re heading across the country to Bergen.
Norway is well connected by its train network. Now, I’m very much a ‘do it yourself’ kind of traveller. I don’t really do tours, or group activities, and I like to always find my own way to get from point A to point B. Mostly, because I like to save money. But Norway is different. Norway, like a lot of Scandinavia, has made it simple for us travellers, and created a tour called Norway in a Nutshell.
Now, Norway in a Nutshell isn’t like your typical tour. It’s actually a ‘do it yourself’ style tour, that sorts out all your transport options for you. And you can organise it all online.
The 'Original' tour Norway in a Nutshell runs, is the best way to get from Oslo to Bergen. Although a flight is cheaper and quicker, it’s got nothing on this tour.
From Oslo, catch the train along the scenic Bergen Railway to Myrdal where you jump on the Flam Railway taking you passed spectacular mountainous landscapes. From the quaint town of Flåm make your way to Gudvangen on a fjord cruise passing the Aurlandsfjord, UNESCO-protected Nærøyfjord, and the stunning hairpin bends of Stalheimskleiva. From Gudvangen, take a bus to Voss and back on the Bergen Railway to Bergen. The trip takes up to 8 or 9 hours.
Norway in a Nutshell costs:
1-way trip from Oslo to Bergen including fjord cruise NOK 1890 ($300)
Round trip Oslo via Bergen including fjord cruise NOK 2790 ($440)
Tip: if you’re travelling in winter, daylight is limited, so it’s a good idea to stay the night in one of the towns to make the most of this glorious journey.
Day 5: Bergen
Sure, have a bit of a sleep in, you’re probably exhausted you’re your long trip yesterday. First, grab a coffee Kaffemisjonen – a stunning cafe in the back streets of Bergen’s town centre. Either have breakfast here, or visit your new favourite, Godt Brød Fløyen. Take it slow, enjoy your breakfast, and spend some time watching the locals. Be sure to take a stroll through the surrounding windy streets, the architecture around here is adorable. Trust me when I say, you’ll want to move in the moment you walk through the cobble stone, tree-lined streets.
11am: Explore Bryygen
Take a stroll through the narrow, enchanting alleyways of Bryygen, the city’s UNESCO-listed old wharf. These well-preserved, higgledy-piggledy old wooden houses are a reminder of the important role Bergen once placed in Norway’s history. Take your time, as you’re transported back in time and listen out for the stories this area has to tell.
11:45pm: Bergenhus Fortress
A little further up from Bryygn is the Bergenhus Fortress, one of the oldest and best-preserved fortresses and all of Norway. It’s free entry, and well worth a wander.
It's probably a good idea to have a packed lunch. You can eat it on the port, watching the ships come in and out.
Take your time to explore KODE, a collection of five spectacular art museums that house some damn inspiring work.
3:30pm: Coffee and people watching
Time for another coffee I think. Especially for what’s on the agenda next. Head over to Det Lille Kaffekompaniet, a small, ‘hole in the wall’ cafe, that boasts great coffee and homemade treats.
4:30pm: Mt Ulriken for sunset
Hike up Mount Ulriken to Bergen’s highest point. The walk up takes about an hour of zig-zagging – it kind of feels endless, like you’ll never get there, but once you do, it’s well worth it. With views of the town, the surrounding mountains and fjords, it’s the perfect spot to watch the sun set. If you’re not much into walking uphill for an hour, you can catch the cable car for NOK 110 ($17). You can either get a return ticket, or one way.
The truth is, restaurants in Bergen are quite pricey. I could be because, although it’s the second largest town in Norway, it’s still quite secluded. So if you’re going to enjoy a meal out, you can opt for a cheaper option like Chiangmai Thai Restaurant, make something simple at home. Or, you could go all out and treat yourself to dinner at Lysverket, with its incredibly lush, locally sourced set dinner menu. But be sure to reserve your table, you probably won’t be able to just walk in. If you'd like to experience Lysverket, but don't have a spare couple hundred dollars, you can have lunch there instead.
Day 6: Train or fly back to Oslo
Since you took the Norway in a Nutshell tour to Bergen, you don’t have to do it on your way back. You can either fly (approx. NOK 635/$100, less than 1 hour), or catch the train straight back to Oslo (included in round trip price). Flying will probably give you a bit more time to explore Bergen.
NOK 10* = AUD $1.60 | USD $1.25 | EUR 1.06 | GBP 0.95
Accommodation: NOK 255 ($40) per night
Food: NOK 222 ($35) per day
Transportation: NOK 95 ($15) per day
Activities: 95 NOK ($15) per day
Suggested daily budget: NOK 667 ($105) per day. This daily budget includes sharing a room with your partner, or if travelling alone, sleeping in a mid-range dorm room. Eating a small breakfast with coffee, a small lunch and a dinner out. Limited public transport, but no Ubers or taxis. Limited paid activities.
This suggested budget can add up. It is possible to lower to $50 per day. I'd recommend doing a grocery shop, eating breakfast at your home before heading out for the day and packing your own lunch. You can also limit the nights you eat dinner out and instead, cook dinner at home – often, both AirBnB's and hostels offer use of a communal kitchen.
* Note: Conversion is calculated the time of writing this article.
All prices in this itinerary are in Norwegian Krone (NOK) and Australian dollars ($).
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Are you travelling to Norway? Tell me all about your trip in the comments below! If you've visited Norway before, share your tips!