Grandeur of Norway

Our fully guided Norway tour takes you by land, water and rail to experience this visual feast of fjords, mountains, glaciers, and waterfalls. Along the way, you’ll delve into Viking history with our engaging Norwegian Trip Leader and experience the country’s idyllic pace of modern life.

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Map for Grandeur of Norway


Destination & Sightseeing

ITINERARY

Day 1 – Welcome to Oslo, Norway
On arrival, you’ll be warmly greeted and escorted to the Thon Hotel Opera. Distinguished by its modern and colorful Nordic style, our deluxe hotel offers a prime location in the heart of town close to the waterfront and lively Karl Johan Street. This evening’s welcome dinner promises congenial conversation with your fellow travelers and Tour Leader.  Meals D

Day 2 – Discover Oslo + The Bygdøy Peninsula
After breakfast, you’ll join our in-the-know Norwegian Trip Leader to explore the highlights of the capital, a truly charming city surrounded by nature and boasting a striking architectural landscape. Among these highlights are the 19th-century Royal Palace and the Opera House which opened in 2008 with a unique marble-embellished roof that slopes directly down to the waterfront. Leaving the city center behind, you’ll head out to the Bygdøy Peninsula, a leafy residential district home to several of Oslo’s most important cultural institutions. At the Viking Ship Museum, you’ll behold some of the most important Viking artifacts ever found including two magnificent longboats from the 9th century. Your morning sightseeing ends with a guided walk through Vigeland Park, a beautifully landscaped outdoor museum with more than 200 sculptures of bronze, granite and wrought iron. Back at your city-center hotel, the rest of your afternoon and evening are at leisure to explore at your own pace.  Meals B

Day 3 – To Myrdal + The Flåm Railway
Ascending from sea level to nearly 3,000 feet in elevation, this morning’s rail journey transports you from Oslo to Myrdal, a mountain railway junction inaccessible by road! You’ll have a chance to take in the surrounding alpine landscapes as you change to the Flåm Railway, hailed as one of the world’s most scenic train rides! This is also one of the steepest standard-gauge railway lines in the world and it makes the dramatic descent to the spectacularly beautiful Aurlandsfjord through 20 tunnels and past numerous viewpoints overlooking waterfalls, streams and deep mountain valleys. For our active guests, we can provide bicycles and helmets so you can make the 12-mile descent from Myrdal along one of Norway’s most spectacular cycling routes. This once-in-a-lifetime adventure will take you about two hours, but of course you can stop as you wish to take in the spectacular natural scenery. This route covers the last section of the historic Rallar Road that was built at the end of the 19th century as part of the construction of the Bergen Railway. At the end of your rail or cycling journey is the tiny village of Flåm, cradled by steep mountains at the end of a narrow fjord that branches off from the world’s second-longest fjord. Check in to the historic Fretheim Hotel and delight in this magnificent setting at water’s edge. Tonight, we’ll dine together here at our hotel.  Meals B+D

Day 4 – The Aurlandsfjord and Nærøyfjord #WHS#
After breakfast, stroll with our Trip Leader down to the waterfront to embark on a thrilling safari that will take you along the full length of the captivating Aurlandsfjord! In our modern 12-passenger open-air boats, you’ll have breathtaking views in every direction as we make the journey to the point where the Aurlandsfjord meets with the Nærøyfjord, celebrated for its archetypal fjord landscapes. Recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the fjord’s exceptional natural beauty is derived from the narrow, steep-sided crystalline rock walls that rise up more than 4,500 feet from the sea and plunge another 1,600 feet below water! As we make our way into Nærøyfjord, you’ll have inspiring views of the Sagfossen Waterfall. Visible only from the water, this breathtaking cascade drops almost 2,000 feet from a plateau high above the fjord! At mid-morning, we’ll step off at the dock in the tine waterside hamlet of Skjerdal. An invigorating walk will be well-rewarded with beautiful views along the length of the Aurlandsfjord and a chance to see several cascading falls. Arriving at a family-run mountain farm, we’ll learn how they handcraft a variety of artisanal goat cheeses; the adventurous might even try their hand at milking one of the goats! Retreating to the farm’s terrace, perched on the hillside high above the fjord, we’ll enjoy a delightful al fresco lunch with a sampling of their cheeses and fresh farm-grown organic fare. We’ll be back at our hotel in Flåm by mid-afternoon so you’ll have plenty of time to relax and enjoy this idyllic setting before we gather again for dinner.  Meals B+L+D

Day 5 – By Land + Water to Solvorn
With roots originating in the Vikings’ great skill and passion for building their wooden sailing ships, Norway’s stave churches #WHS# are beautifully constructed and often elaborately carved structures of timber posts and plank walls. This morning, you’ll visit one of the country’s most finely preserved examples - the Borgund Stave Church, built at the end of the 12th century with lavishly decorated portals and roof carvings of dragon’s heads. In the nearby riverside village of Lærdal, we’ll enjoy a guided stroll to see its beautiful wooden homes dating to the 16th and 17th centuries. Then we’ll board the ferry and cross to the northern shores of the spectacular Sognefjord, Norway’s longest, deepest and most famous fjord. Making our way up the narrow and picturesque Lustrafjord, we’ll step off the ferry in the village of Solvorn for a 2-night stay at the historic and charming Walaker Hotel. Surrounded by gardens on the very edge of the fjord, this enchanting retreat has been owned and operated by the same family since 1690!  Meals B+D

Day 6 – Atop the Nigardsbreen Glacier
This morning’s drive will take just an hour, but it’s an incredibly scenic journey that will take you even deeper into Norway’s ruggedly beautiful mountain landscapes. Our destination is the massive and impressive Nigardsbreen Glacier, where we’ll meet our experienced glacier guide. With their expert instruction and all required equipment including crampons and an ice axe, we’ll set out across the hard blue ice for a once-in-a-lifetime thrill. Ice caves, deep crevasses and towering pinnacles add to the excitement as our engaging guide shares insight into the origin of this powerful force of nature! Before returning to our hotel in Solvorn, you’ll have time to peruse the exhibits at the Breheimsenteret Glacier Center, a great way to enhance and deepen all that you’ve seen and experienced today.  Meals B+D

Day 7 – By Land + Fjord to Lofthus
After breakfast, we’ll depart Solvorn and drive south to Kaupanger to board the ferry bound for Gudvangen. Though the cruise takes less than 3 hours, it’s a wondrous experience that encompasses both the Nærøyfjord and Sognefjord. Highlighting the timeless scenery are small, generations-old homesteads that cling to the steep sides of mountains that plunge into the fjord. Looking up, you’ll see the rugged, usually snow-capped peaks of mountains that soar to nearly 6,000 feet. Arriving in Gudvangen, we’ll continue overland and along the shores of lovely Lake Oppheimsvatnet to Voss, a town popular for its year-round activities from hiking and white water rafting to alpine and cross country skiing. We’ll cross the 4,300-foot span of Hardanger Bridge, one of the longest suspension bridges in the world, and continue to Lofthus. On arrival in this idyllic village overlooking the Sørfjord, we’ll check in to the Hotel Ullensvang. Set at water’s edge, our inviting and historic hotel was founded in 1846 and boasts five generations of traditional Nordic hospitality.  Meals B+D

Day 8 – Along the Hardangerfjord + Sørfjord to Bergen
A short and scenic drive along the Sørfjord this morning brings us to Kinsarvik where we board the ferry that will take us to Utne. At the tip of a small peninsula, this tiny village sits at the confluence of the mighty Hardangerfjord and the smaller but equally picturesque Sørfjord. We’ll step off here to visit the Hardanger Folk Museum. Focusing on Norwegian culture, the museum’s exhibits include fine local embroidery, regional costumes and an impressive collection of old Hardanger fiddles. Set on the museum grounds overlooking the water, you’ll also find more than a dozen traditional homes and buildings from the Middle Ages to the 20th century. Our journey by water and land takes us next to the Steinstø Fruit Farm, which has been owned by the same family for eight generations. Take in the panoramic views over the Hardangerfjord and sit down to a congenial lunch of seasonal farm-to-table fare, including their famous apple pie – hailed by many as the best in Scandinavia. Not far from Steinstø, the magnificent Steindalsfossen Waterfall is one of the most picturesque cascades in Norway. Our day’s journey ends in Bergen where we’ll check in to the Hotel Bergen Børs. With an enviable location close to the harbor, our elegant hotel is situated on the upper floors of the Old Stock Exchange, built in 1862 and now meticulously restored.  Meals B+L

Day 9 – A Tour + Taste of Bergen
With roots dating back to the Viking Age, Bergen prospered as one of the main ports of the Hanseatic League that dominated trade and politics in the waning centuries of the Middle Ages. Today, it’s a modern university town that has preserved much of its traditional architecture, especially around the picturesque harbor. With our in-the-know guide leading the way, this morning’s walking tour has been specially designed to introduce you to Bergen’s past through its vibrant culinary scene. Many of the historic buildings along the old Hanseatic Wharf  are now home to restaurants and specialty shops. We’ll introduce you to their owners and staff, and you’ll learn much about Norwegian history, life and culture as you sample local specialties including salmon, reindeer, cheeses and sweets. Bergen is set against seven majestic peaks and just a short stroll from the city center the Fløibanen Funicular will take you to the 1,000-foot summit of Mt. Fløyen where you’ll have sweeping views of the city and the surrounding sea and mountains. You can linger here and explore the walking trails or return into town where your afternoon is free. Bergen is a friendly, easy-to-navigate town and our hotel is ideally situated so you can come and go at your convenience. This evening’s Farewell Dinner in Bergen’s historic district offers another chance to share experiences and memories with your fellow travelers.   Meals B+D

Day 10 – Departure
After breakfast, you’ll be escorted to the airport for your onward flight.  Meals B

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