Nordic Countries or Nordics or Norden consists of five beautiful Northern European countries of Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Norway, and Iceland along with their associated territories of Svalbard, Greenland, Faroe Islands, and Åland Islands.
Why am I telling you this?
the terms Scandinavia (Scandia) and Nordics are used interchangeably by foreigners (I’ve been a culprit too before I explored the Nordic region) but they aren’t.
Finns and Icelanders are always quick to correct travelers who call them Scandinavians.
In point of fact, the term ‘Scandinavia’ is commonly used ONLY for Denmark, Sweden, and Norway while the term ‘Nordic countries’ is used for Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Iceland, Greenland, Faroe Islands, and Åland Islands.
However, the associated territories of Svalbard (Norwegian archipelago) and Greenland are technically neither Scandinavia nor Nordics.
The Scandinavian Peninsula (not to be confused with Scandinavia Region) geographically comprises of Norway and Sweden only.
To sum up, Northern Europe consists of Nordics (Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland, and Iceland) and Baltics (Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania). Some definitions of Northern Europe also include the United Kingdom and Ireland.
I guess, this topic makes for another blog post. Let’s now move to Nordics itinerary, the sole reason you’re here 🙂
I’ll be using Scandinavia and Nordics, both terms in my post for the ease of getting found by people randomly searching the terms Scandinavia and Nordic Countries.
The Nordic region is one of the most beautiful and family-friendly regions in Europe. Also, it’s one of the most expensive regions in Europe. Believe you me, exploring the region’s worth every penny.
Summer in Scandinavia
We spent 3-weeks in Scandinavia during the summer. The summer is magical here. It’s the time of the year when the sun refuses to go down and shines through the entire day and night. Seriously.
Summer and winter are, in fact, two extremes in Nordic countries.
If winter in Nordics brings sub-zero temperatures, dark days, snow-covered landscapes, and Northern Lights; summer brings endless days, nightless nights, vibrant landscapes, and Midnight Sun.
The desire to witness the Aurora Borealis dancing in the night sky is at such a mad rush among the travelers all around the world that they overlook the region’s beauty during summer.
Witnessing the Midnight Sun in summer is as magical as the Northern Lights in winter.
Having said that, the Nordics region deserves two essential trips – one in summer and one in winter and some more to drink in its ethereal beauty.
Our itinerary lets you explore four epic Nordic countries in 3 weeks.
This is how a brief itinerary looks like –
Copenhagen (6 nights) – Ystad ( 2 nights) – Molle ( 1 night) – Helsinki ( 3 nights) – Rovaniemi ( 2 nights) – Oslo (2 nights) – Bergen ( 2 nights) – Hardanger (1 night) – Flam ( 1 night) – Oslo ( 1 night)
Here’s a detailed itinerary –
- Day 1: Fly into Copenhagen
- Day 2: Explore Copenhagen
- Day 3: Explore Copenhagen
- Day 4: Explore more of Copenhagen
- Day 5: Day Trip to Dragor
- Day 6: Day Trip to Helsingor
- Day 7: Road Trip to Malmo (Sweden) via Orseund Bridge
- Day 8: Explore Ystad
- Day 9: Explore Skane County. Drive to Kullaberg (Molle)
- Day 10: Kullaberg to Kastrup, Copenhagen. Fly to Helsinki.
- Day 11: Explore Helsinki
- Day 12: Day Trip to Porvoo
- Day 13: Fly to Rovaniemi
- Day 14: Explore Rovaniemi
- Day 15: Fly to Oslo
- Day 16: Explore Oslo
- Day 17: Oslo to Bergen train
- Day 18: Explore Bergen
- Day 19: Hardangerfjord
- Day 20: Flam
- Day 21: Flam to Oslo
- Day 22: Fly back home
Here’s a map showing the points of interest or places to visit with 21 days in Nordics:
Before we elaborate on our Scandinavia itinerary let’s first discuss the basics for a trip to Scandinavia.
Best Time to Visit Scandinavia
It all depends upon your choices. If you’d love to witness the white nights and want to soak in the Midnight Sun, plan during the months of June, July, and August.
If you dream of sleeping under the Northern Lights, September to March is the best time to go.
The months of May and September see lesser crowds and thus, are less expensive in terms of accommodations.
How much does a Trip to Scandinavia cost?
Scandinavia is infamous for being the most expensive region in the world. To some extent, it’s true. Scandinavia can be exorbitant if you’re not watchful about how you spend your money.
There are ways to cut your costs in Scandinavia –
- A little planning goes a long way. You save money when you plan and book well in advance.
- Prefer apartments over hotels.
- Shop at local grocery stores and cook your own food. If cooking isn’t your thing, you can go for pre-made meals from supermarkets. Aldi, Lidl, Kiwi, Rema 1000, Netto, and ICA are some of the budget-friendly supermarkets in Scandinavia. K-Market in Finland and Coop Prix in Norway are good discount stores.
- Food Market Halls like Kauppahallit in Helsinki or Torvehallerne in Copenhagen are another great option to cut costs on food. They are way cheaper than restaurants yet a great local food experience.
- Take Self-guided city tours and look for free attractions. Almost, all major cities in Scandinavia have tons of free and budget things to do and see.
- Buy City Tourist Cards like Copenhagen Card or Oslo Card that save money on attractions and transport. They work wonders when it comes to saving time, money, and hassle. You can buy them online and collect them at the airport.
- Bring an eco-friendly reusable water bottle. It saves money plus the environment. A water bottle in Scandinavia costs about $5.
- The Everyman’s Right (Right to Roam) in Nordic countries except Denmark makes it easy to camp in the wild. You can save a lot of money on accommodation if you’re traveling to Nordic countries during the summer.
- We found Norway the costlier of all other Nordic countries. You can maybe cut your time in Norway and spend more time in other Nordic countries to save some money.
We roughly spent about $2500 per person for 22 days in Scandinavia.
Getting to and from Scandinavia
From Asia, the USA, Australia, New Zealand, Africa, and the UK, the most convenient way of getting to and from Scandinavia is to fly. If you’re in Europe, you have the option to travel by train, bus, car, or ferry.
From India, only two airlines fly direct to the Scandinavian capitals. Air India flies into Copenhagen direct from New Delhi while Finnair flies into Helsinki direct from New Delhi. There are no direct flights to Oslo and Stockholm from New Delhi.
There are a few airlines that fly direct to the Nordic capitals from North America. Norwegian Air flies into Oslo, Finnair flies into Helsinki, and SAS flies into Stockholm, and Copenhagen, direct from New York.
We use and recommend Skyscanner for the best flight deals.
Getting Around Scandinavia
With flexible and range of transport options, Scandinavia is easy to navigate.
We used a rental car for most of our time in Scandinavia though we tried other modes of transportation like flights, trains, buses, and ferries to make our trip more varied and interesting.
Renting a car in Europe has its own set of rules. You can read our detailed guide to renting a car in Europe that’ll help you get started.
We always use and recommend Rentalcars.com for our car rental needs wherever we travel in the world.
We traveled by train from Oslo to Bergen that’s considered one of the world’s most scenic train journeys (you gotta experience it), took a ferry from Stockholm to Helsinki, and boarded flights from Helsinki to Rovaniemi and Rovaniemi to Oslo.
I’d recommend taking a night train (Santa Claus Express) from Helsinki to Rovaniemi if you’ve more time on hands. Also, Norway in a Nutshell package is a great way to explore the dramatic fjords of Norway.
Make sure to book all your intercountry transportation tickets in advance.
Scandinavia Itinerary: Explore Nordic Countries in 3-weeks
As always, our itinerary is packed with activities and leaves less time to just sit and doing nothing. We love to explore and mini-me too loves to be on the move. She’s that restless.
This itinerary is made in a way that’ll fit all kinds of travelers, be it family travelers or a solo traveler or couple travelers.
You can make slight changes and modify the itinerary as per your needs like it misses the famous hiking attractions in Norway (Trolltunga and Preikestolen) that can be added if hiking is what appeals to you.
First Destination: Denmark
Days to Spend: 6 Days
You’ll start your Scandinavia exploration with the world’s most bike-friendly city and capital of Denmark, Copenhagen.
How to Get to Denmark
There are regular airline connections from the rest of the world to Copenhagen, Denmark. If you have got a direct flight, that’s awesome else book a flight with the least layover time.
You’ll fly into Kastrup International Airport in Copenhagen which is just about 15 minutes away from the city center.
You can rent a car at the airport or else you can take a train or bus to Kobenhavn H (Central Train Station) from where you can take a subway, bus, or taxi to reach your hotel or apartment in Copenhagen.
If you’re not renting a car, it’s best to book a hotel in and around the city center for ease of access.
Where to Stay in Denmark
Travelers usually keep Copenhagen as the base and prime destination in Denmark. Other cities worth visiting and spending a night or two in Denmark include Aarhus, Aalborg, Skagen, Ribe, and Odense. Dragor, Helsingor, and Roskilde can be visited on a day trip from Copenhagen.
Here are our recommendations for the best places to stay in Danish cities:
- citizenM Copenhagen Radhuspladsen, Copenhagen
- Villa Provence, Aarhus
- Bed & Breakfast Aalborg
- Autentisk skagenhus, Skagen
- Den Gamle Købmandsgaard Bed & Breakfast
- Hotel Odeon, Odense
Day 1 – Arrive in Copenhagen
Today, you’ll arrive at the Danish capital, Copenhagen. The day is at leisure.
You can explore the streets of Copenhagen and get familiar with the city depending upon the time you get here or can head to your hotel to relax after a tiring flight journey.
Where to dine in Copenhagen on day 1?
Laundromat Cafe is quite a nice place to have a quick bite. Kids will love it.
Day 2 – Explore Copenhagen
Start early to beat the crowds and make the most of your day.
The attractions you’ll be visiting today include:
- Frederik’s Church
- Amalienborg Palace
- Rosenborg Castle
- Statens Naturhistoriske Museum
- Round Tower
- Christiansborg Palace.
Where to dine and drink in Copenhagen on day 2?
Special Recommendation: A scoop or two of organic ice-cream at Hansens Is.
You can visit all the Day 2 attractions on foot. The day-wise itinerary is crafted in a way that needs minimal walking.
Transportation and many attractions are free with the Copenhagen Card. It’s such a time and money saver!
Day 3 – Explore Copenhagen
This day is reserved for kid-friendly attractions. I mean, today you’ll explore the best things to do with kids and kids-at-heart 🙂
The attractions you’ll be visiting today include:
- Copenhagen Zoo
- Frederiksberg Palace
- Assistens Cemetery
- Superkilen Park
Recommended dining in Copenhagen for day 3:
Day 4 – Explore more of Copenhagen or Take a Day-Trip to Roskilde
If you’re done with Copenhagen (which I doubt), you can take a trip to Roskilde.
Or you can explore:
- Freetown Christiana
- Gefion Fountain
- The Worker’s Museum
- The Copenhagen Lakes
- Tivoli Gardens
Food recommendations in Copenhagen for the 3rd day:
Day 5: Day Trip to Dragør from Copenhagen
Head to Dragor, a cute little fishing town on Amager island in Denmark.
The visit to this beautiful historic village gives you enough time to relax and take a break from the helter-skelter of sightseeing.
Make sure to take your kids to Den Blå Planet (National Aquarium Denmark), the largest aquarium in northern Europe. It’s on the way to Dragor.
If you plan to spend a night in this quaint village, we suggest booking the classic and beautiful Dragør Fort Hotel.
Day 6 – Day Trip to Helsingor from Copenhagen
How can you visit Denmark and not visit Helsingor aka Elsinore, the home of Shakespeare’s Hamlet?
Encircled by Orseund, the Sound, the expanse of water between Sweden and Denmark, Helsingor is a colorful town with cobbled streets and rich history.
Kronborg Castle, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Helsingor has been a perfect setting for Shakespeare’s Hamlet. The castle hosts Shakespeare’s Festival every summer where international stars portray Prince Hamlet.
You can also visit the Maritime Museum of Denmark, the Culture Yard by AART, and the Danish Museum of Science and Technology.
Note: You can add Aarhus to your Denmark Itinerary if you have an extra day or two. You’d love its Aros Aarhus Art Museum and Infinite Bridge.
How to Get Around Copenhagen? For the most part, Copenhagen is very well accessible by foot and public transportation. A rental car is good for day trips but not suggested for city excursion of course for obvious reasons. Guided tours are also a pretty good option to explore the city without any tension.
Second Destination: Sweden
Days to Spend: 3 Days
On the sixth day of your Scandinavia adventure, you’ll say goodbye to Denmark as Sweden welcomes you with a friendly and warm smile.
How to Get to Sweden
Our itinerary needs you to have a rental car as you’ll be exploring the Swedish countryside which is otherwise inaccessible by public transportation.
It’s quite easy to get from Denmark to Sweden by air, bus, or train. There are buses and trains from Copenhagen to Gothenburg, Malmo, and Stockholm.
If you are planning to explore the far north of Swedish Lapland like Kiruna and Abisko, there are regular flights by Norwegian Air and SAS from Copenhagen.
Where to Stay in Sweden
There’s umpteen number of good stay options all across Sweden. Stockholm, being the capital and major city of Sweden offers a variety of hotels, apartments, and hostels for all budgets. Gothenburg, Gotland(Visby), Kiruna, and Skane (Ystad, Malmo, Molle, and Helsingborg) are other popular destinations in Sweden.
Malmo can be easily visited on a day trip from Copenhagen.
Here are the hotel recommendations for popular cities in Sweden:
- NOFO Hotel; BW Premier Collection, Stockholm
- Hotel Vanilla, Gothenburg
- Hotel Villa Borgen, Visby
- True Nature, Kiruna
- Charming Townhouse, Ystad
- Hotel Kullaberg, Mölle
- The Vault Hotel, Helsingborg
Day 7 – Drive from Copenhagen to Malmo | Explore Malmo | Drive from Malmo to Ystad.
Take a beautiful drive to Malmo from Copenhagen via Öresund Bridge.
Check with your car hire company if your rental agreement allows you to cross international borders. Our car hire company gave us a paper that we showed at the border check.
If you don’t have a rental car, you can take a train (ACP Rail) or a bus (Flixbus, Netbuss, or Gråhundbus) from København H (Copenhagen Central Station).
Whichever mode of transport you choose, it usually takes about 40 minutes to reach Malmo from Copenhagen.
Great coffee with cakes and croissants at Noir Kaffekultur, that’ll all you need for a great head start.
You’d love to check Turning Torso, Malmo Castle, and St. Peter’s Church before you have lunch at Sajvva, a great place in Malmo for vegans and vegetarians like me.
Once done with lunch, fasten your seat belt for another beautiful drive from Malmo to Ystad.
It’s a real delight to drive the awe-inspiring Sweden countryside.
We stayed at a lovely holiday cottage in Löderups strandbad.
That’s all we needed – I mean a secluded cottage in the middle of the lush forest with a beach nearby, a perfect summer holiday.
Spend the day taking long walks through the forest and soaking in the warmth of the Midnight Sun while sitting at the beach with a glass of wine while kids cycle, run around, and play with the sand.
It’s always good to add such destinations in your otherwise action-packed itinerary. Isn’t it?
Here, you are needed to visit the nearest supermarket as you’ll have to cook your own dinner at your cottage.
If the idea of cooking on a vacation scares you, check out the best hotels to stay in Ystad, Sweden.
Day 8 – Explore Ystad
Ystad, a gorgeous town located in the Skane county on the southern coast of Sweden with its cobbled streets lined with medieval, pastel-colored half-timbered houses, white-sand beaches, centuries-old historical sights, and ravishing rolling countryside all around is well worth a visit.
I instantly fell in love with its beauty.
Kurt Wallander crime series by Henning Mankell was set in Ystad. If you’re a Scandi-noir and Wallander fan, you can take one of the Wallander guided tours to see all the locations where the scenes were shot.
Don’t forget to visit the largest film studio in Scandinavia, Ystad Studios.
Day 9 – Explore More of Skane County | Drive to Kullaberg
There are a whole lot of things to do in and around Skåne County (Scania) but we chose a few those as we only had a day to explore Skåne.
We started our day with Ales Staner, a ship-shaped henge. It’s located in a tiny and beautiful village of Kåseberga. Legend has it that the ancient stone ship stands on a grave of a mythic king, King Ale.
Forget about history, the site where the stones are erected in the shape of a ship is utterly impressive. As soon as you hike the hill, you can’t help but admire the views overlooking the Baltic Ocean.
Our next stop was Skånes Djurpark in Höör Municipality, Skåne – a must-visit with kids. The zoo has more than a thousand wild as well as tame Nordic animals – elks, foxes, wolves, lynx, bears, seals, and many more.
Kids had unlimited fun getting up-close with animals, trying the horse-riding, enjoying the Shaun the Sheep theme park, and climbing the wooden bridges in the trees. Definitely, the best family fun in Skåne.
It was time for us to head to Kullaberg in Mölle, Sweden. It took us a little over an hour to reach Kullaberg Nature Reserve, a haven for outdoor lovers.
You can take scenic hikes, experience Porpoise Safari, check out the mysterious caves and coves, go fishing, admire the views from vantage points, paddle, swim, and so much more.
We enjoyed the Porpoise Safari in a RIB boat. The tour lasts for about an hour and costs kr 450 per adult and kr 300 per child.
We stayed at Pensionat Strandgården in Mölle. Wowzers it is! Highly recommended.
Where to eat near Kullaberg Nature Reserve? There aren’t many places to eat near the nature reserve. We tried Molle Krukmakeri and Ransvik Havsveranda and found them decent.
We wanted to extend the time in Sweden and explore Gothenburg and Stockholm and then take a ferry to Turku, Finland or flight from Stockholm to Helsinki, Finland but we came back to Copenhagen to catch our flight to Helsinki because car rental companies charge exorbitantly high if you pick your rental from one country and drop it in another.
Our car rental charges for 8 days (pick up and drop at Copenhagen Airport) were 8,000 INR ($ 100) and if we returned the car in Gothenburg, we’d had to pay 65,000 ($ 900).
Third Destination: Finland
Days to Spend: 5 Days
You’d fall for this little country wrapped cozily into the far up north. Day 9 of the Scandinavia itinerary takes you to Finland.
How to Get to Finland
There are quite a good number of regular flights (Sichuan Airlines, Norwegian, SAS, and Finnair) from Copenhagen, Denmark to Helsinki, Finland. The journey takes a little less than 2 hours.
Where to Stay in Finland
Finland has awesome and unique stay options. For travelers, Helsinki remains the prime or first location in Finland. Summer or winter, you gotta plan a stay in Finnish Lapland to experience Midnight Sun or Northern Lights.
Here are our recommendations for Hotels in Finnish cities:
- Hotel F6, Helsinki
- Aikatalo Hostel Helsinki City Center
- Hostel Cafe Koti, Rovaniemi
- Santa Claus Holiday Village, Rovaniemi
- Villa Karhunpesä, Saariselka
Day 10 – Fly from Copenhagen to Helsinki | Explore Helsinki
Today, you have to drive back to Kastrup Airport (2-hours drive) and leave your car at car rental drop to catch a flight to Helsinki.
Take a taxi, train, or a bus to your hotel in Helsinki to drop off your bags and spend your day exploring the Finnish capital, Helsinki.
Take a self-guided or guided walking tour starting from the Helsinki Central Station to explore the beautiful churches, charming streets, and markets of Helsinki.
Where to dine and drink in Helsinki on day 1?
- Lunch at Zucchini
- Coffee and Snacks at Karl Fazer Cafe
- Dinner at Kauppatori Market Square
Day 11 – Explore Helsinki
On your second day in Helsinki, you can go on the island-hopping. Take a ferry from the Market Square that takes you to the Suomenlinna Sea Fortress, Vallisaari, and Lonna.
Once you’re done with the island-hopping, have a cup of coffee and snacks at Cafe Regatta.
If you’re traveling with kids, take them to the Linnanmaki Amusement Park or else you can try the famous Finnish Sauna at Löyly.
Where to eat in Helsinki on day 2?
Day 12 – Day Trip to Porvoo from Helsinki
Want a break from city sightseeing? Hop on a bus and head to the little fairytale town of Porvoo. Less than an hour away from Helsinki, Porvoo makes for a perfect day trip.
What’s so special about it? Well, you’d know once you’re there 🙂
It’s so pretty that you’d want to just pack it in your bag and take it back home 😉
Stroll the cobbled streets adorned with pretty rows of pastel houses, museums, and cafes and make sure to taste the Runeberg’s Torte and Brunberg’s truffle.
If you’ve time, you can take a bus from Porvoo to visit Klovharun, fondly known as Moomin Island.
Where to eat in Porvoo? Ani’s Cafe, Zum Beispiel, Sinne, and SicaPelle are some of the best places to dine and drink in Porvoo.
If you plan to stay in Porvoo, please, please book this Small historic wooden house in Porvoo old town.
Day 13 – Fly from Helsinki to Rovaniemi | Explore Rovaniemi
This day is solely for kids – the most awaited experience for kids. You are off to Rovaniemi – the official hometown of the kid’s beloved Santa Claus.
Norwegian Air and Finnair have regular flights from Helsinki to Rovaniemi. It takes about 1 hour 20 minutes from Helsinki to Rovaniemi by air.
Santa Express Train is another good option provided you’ve enough time on hands.
Pick up your rental car from Rovaniemi Airport and spend your day exploring Santa Claus Village – Cross the Arctic Circle, meet Santa Claus himself, feed the reindeers, and visit the Husky Park.
Take that mandatory pic with the jolly man in the red!
Relax at your hotel and apartment before you start your hike to Ounsvara to witness the most unique and iconic natural phenomenon, Midnight Sun.
Rovaniemi is one of the best places in northernmost Finland where you can experience full Midnight Sun when the sun stays above the horizon for about 70 days.
You can spot the magical phenomenon from May to August with June and July being the best months.
Where to eat in Rovaniemi on day 1?
- Lunch at Kotahovi Lapland Restaurant
- Coffee and Snacks at Coffee House
- Dinner at Restaurant Valdemari’s
Day 14 – Explore Rovaniemi
Today, you’ll take a day trip to Ranua Wildlife Park, home to about 200 Arctic animals like polar bears, foxes, and lynxes.
Where to eat near Ranua Wildlife Park? We found the Wild Arctic restaurant good.
Try Rosso for Dinner and don’t forget to try Nordic’s pure ice-cream by Arctic Ice Cream Factory. They are many outlets in Rovaniemi.
Fourth Destination: Norway
Days to Spend: 7 Days
Think Norway, think fjords. Majestic Norwegian fjords – there’s no match to them. There are 1000s of them dotting Norway’s coastline. It’s time to explore the sheer and unmatched natural beauty of Norway.
How to Get to Norway
Rovaniemi, Finland to Oslo, Norway is about 4 hours away by flight with a stopover in Helsinki. There’s no direct flight from Rovaniemi. You can come back to Helsinki and spend a day maybe before catching a flight to Oslo.
Where to Stay in Norway
Norway’s’ capital, Oslo has amazing accommodation options. Other cities of interest in Norway include Bergen, Flåm, Stavanger, Tromsø, Trondheim, the Lofoten Islands, Kristiansund, and Ålesund.
Here are the hotel recommendations for major Norwegian cities:
- Thon Hotel Storo, Oslo
- Camillas Hus, Oslo
- Scandic Flesland Airport, Bergen
- Flåm Ferdaminne, Flåm
- Historical apartments in the heart of the old town, Stavanger
- Tromsø Centrum Studio Apartment, Tromsø
- Apartment at Ranheim, Trondheim
- Sennesvik Apartments Lofoten
- Ola Bua Near The Atlantic Road, Lyngstad
- Hotel Brosundet, Ålesund
Day 15 – Fly from Rovaniemi to Oslo | Explore Oslo
From Rovaniemi, it’s about 4 hours flight to Oslo including a short stopover at Helsinki. Take a shuttle train (Flytoget) to the city center and maybe a taxi from there to your hotel, drop off your luggage and freshen up before you start the sightseeing.
It’s always a good idea to book a hotel in the city center to save time and money on transportation.
On your first day in Oslo, you’ll explore:
- Oslo Opera House
- Frogner Park
- Karl Johans Gate
- Nobel Peace Center
- Oslo City Hall
Where to eat in Oslo on day 1?
- Lunch at Tunco
- Coffee and snacks at Funky Fresh Foods – DogA
- Dinner at Freddy Fuego Burrito Bar Tjuvholmen
There are many awesome places to dine in Oslo but are expensive. I’ve suggested the ones we found cheap yet best – the absolute value of money.
Where to stay in Oslo? Mad Architect’s Shared Apt – Sørenga – Homestay, Thon Hotel Storo, and Camillas Hus.
Day 16 – Explore Oslo, Norway
The second day in Oslo starts with Oslofjord cruise and then a ferry to the Bygdøy peninsula. The peninsula is brimming with famous Norwegian museums like the Kon-Tiki Museum, Fram Museum, Viking Ship Museum, and the Norwegian Museum of Cultural History.
Make sure to grab an Oslo Pass to save money on museums and other major attractions in Oslo.
We recommend visiting the Norwegian Museum of Cultural History (Norwegian Folk Museum), Fram Museum, and Kon-Tiki Museum.
Dining recommendations for your 2nd day in Oslo: Mamma Pizza Osteria, Haralds Vaffel, Habits Coffee, and Oslo Street Food.
Try Statholdergaarden if you want to splurge on food.
Day 17 – Oslo to Bergen on Bergen Railway | Explore Bergen
The day 16 of your Nordic Countries tour is beautiful. Today, you’ll ride one of the most scenic train journeys in the world, Bergen Railway (Bergensbanen) from Oslo to Bergen.
This train journey is a part of famous Norway in a Nutshell tour but that needs you to get down at Myrdal to board the Flåm Railway (Flåmsbana), another popular scenic train ride from Myrdal to Flam.
We didn’t take the package so traveled till Bergen.
The journey is exhilarating and the best introduction you can have to Norwegian landscape.
If you book Norway in a Nutshell Tour, your transportation is managed by them but if you’re exploring Bergen (Gateway to the fjords) and Norwegian fjords on your own like us, the best way is to rent a car.
The car rental services aren’t available at the Bergen Railway Station which means you’ll have to catch a bus (Flybussen) to reach the Bergen Airport and rent a car.
Once you’ve rented a car, check-in your hotel, relax and spend the evening strolling the colorful lanes and pretty harbor of Bryggen and check out the Bergen fish market.
Where to dine in Bergen?
- Coffee and snacks at Lovetann Kaffebar
- Dinner at Trekroneren
Where to stay in Bergen? Thon Hotel Rosenkrantz Bergen, YM40, and Bjørnestrand Fjordside View
Day 18 – Explore Bergen
The entire day is dedicated to exploring Bergen. Ride the Fløibanen funicular and/or the Ulriken cable car to get the 360-degree panoramic views over the city.
Visit the KODE Art Museums, especially KODE 4 that has Kunstlab where kids can learn the art while playing.
Next, you can visit Bergen Science Center Vilvite (kid-friendly) or Bergenhus Fortress depending upon the time and interest.
You can take the cruise along the Osterfjord if you’ve time and energy. The cruise leaves from the fish market pier. The last cruise leaves at 6 pm during the summer season and 2 pm otherwise.
Dining suggestions for 2nd day in Bergen:
- Lunch at Bare Restaurant
- Coffee and snacks at Godt Brod
- Dinner at the Horn of Africa
With more time, you can take one of many beautiful day trips from Bergen.
Day 19 – Drive to Hardangerfjord from Bergen | Explore Hardanger
The day finally is here when you’ll witness the majestic Norwegian fjord up-close. A beautiful drive from Bergen to Hardangerfjord takes less than 2 hours.
The third-longest fjord in the world and second-longest in Norway, Hardangerfjord is wild and stunning.
There are many ways you can revel in the beauty of the fjord – hiking, walking, cruising, kayaking, and many more.
Where to eat in Hardanger? Hardangerviddahallen Restaurant & Cafe, Restaurant Fjell & Fjord, and Mabodalen Camping and Hyttesenter.
Where to stay in Hardanger? Hardangerfjord Hotel, Mo Gardsferie, Apartment in Herand, Vik Pensjonat Og Hytter, and Jaunsen Gjestegjevarstad.
Day 20 – Drive to Flam | Explore Flam
Today, drive the beautiful stretch from Eidfjord to Flam. There are many beautiful stops on the way to Flam like Voss, Gudvangen, and Stalheimskleiva.
Don’ rush but try to soak in the experiences.
You can opt for a Norled express boat from Bergen to Flam along the Sognefjord if you’ve enough time. The round-trip takes the entire day and the single-journey takes over 5.5 hours. The boat leaves at 8 am and make brief stops at fjord villages on the way before it reaches Flam. The return trip starts at around 3 pm in the afternoon.
Once you reach Flam, take a fjord cruise or fjord safari through UNESCO Nærøyfjord, the most dramatic and wildest arm of the Sognefjord.
The three-hours tour passes through endless waterfalls, mountainside farms, little fjord villages, and colossal mountains.
One of the tours (Heritage Taste Fjord Safari) lets you get down at a beautiful village of Undredal, famous for its authentic goat cheese.
You can taste different varieties of cheese and jams at Eldhuset.
Once you’re done with fjord cruise, board the Flamsbana for the most enchanting train journey from Flam to Myrdal and back.
Where to eat in Flam? Fretheim Hotel Restaurant, Flam Marina and Appartement Cafe, Green Norway Flam, and Bakkastova.
Where to stay in Flam? Flam Marina, Flåm Ferdaminne, Apartment in Flåm, and Visit Undredal.
Day 21 – Road Trip from Flam to Oslo
Day 21. Sigh! We are almost done with our Nordic Countries exploration. Wait! The best is yet to come 🙂
Today, you’ll drive one of the loveliest road trips you’ve ever driven in your life. Believe you me.
The road trip from Flam to Oslo passes through the exciting tunnels, medieval churches, cute towns, mountain passes, national parks, dramatic fjords, and whatnot.
The entire road journey (300+ km) takes around 5 to 6 hours including the time spent at stopovers.
You can retire to your hotel or can check out the Holmenkollen Ski Museum and Tower in the evening. Climb the observation deck on top of the jump tower to enjoy the panoramic views over Oslo. The evenings are special as they bring beautiful sunsets over Oslofjord.
Day 22 – Fly Back Home
Finally, it’s time to say goodbye to Nordics. I don’t like the endings especially when it comes to the beautiful trips but as they say, “All good things must come to an end.”
You’ll fly out from Oslo to head home, wherever in the world it is. If you have a flight late afternoon or evening, you can spend some time exploring more of Oslo or maybe shopping for souvenirs. We recommend Way Nor for souvenirs.
Phew! This is an exhaustive guide to Scandinavia and we hope it helps travelers across the world to travel to this beautiful region in Northern Europe.
You can add Iceland to this itinerary to explore the entire Nordic region. I purposely left Iceland as we have planned to visit it sometime soon during the Northern Lights season 🙂
So, when are you planning your trip to Scandinavia?
Scandinavia and Nordic travel guides and itineraries on our blog:
- Train from Oslo to Bergen on a Scenic Bergen Railway
- Driving from Bergen to Oslo
- Undredal – a Fjord Village in Aurland, Norway
- Oslo, Norway
- Helsinki, Finland
- Finnish Lapland in Summer
- Copenhagen, Denmark
- Dragør, Denmark
Europe travel guides and itineraries on our blog:
- Best Things to do in Budapest, Hungary
- Lake Balaton, Hungary
- 7 Best Places to Visit in Croatia
- 5 Coolest Things to do in Dubrovnik, Croatia
- The Blue Cave in Croatia
- The Island of Vis in Croatia
- Best Things to do in Split, Croatia
- Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia
- Zagreb, Croatia
- Top 5 Things to do in Montenegro
- Vintgar Gorge, Slovenia
- Lake Bled, Slovenia
- Kranj, Slovenia
- Ljubljana, Slovenia
- Bratislava, Slovakia
- Vienna, Austria
- Wachau Valley, Austria
- Hallstatt, Austria
- Salzburg, Austria
- Driving the Epic Grossglockner Hochalpenstrasse
- 7 Gorgeous Places to Visit in Austria
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