What is Norway in a Nutshell?
Norway in a Nutshell tour takes you through Norway’s most breath-taking UNESCO-protected fjord and mountain scenery. It is a packaged tour that combines a scenic ferry ride on two connected fjords (Naerotfjord and Aurlandsfjord), a bus ride on the steep hairpin bends of Stalheimskleiva and a spectacular railway journey in the mountains.
This tour is targeted towards travellers on whirlwind tours of Norway and is a very convenient way to the see the ‘best of the best’ of Norway in limited amount of time. Even though this is meant to be a round trip (Oslo – Bergen – Oslo), we only did as a single journey from Oslo to Bergen with an overnight stop in Flam. Because we did the tour in December where the days are short, we wanted to stay overnight at the beautiful Flamsbrygga Hotell, a chalet- tyle hotel overlooking the fjord. I am so glad we did it in this way as we were able to enjoy lovely views spaced out in two days.
This was our Norway Itinerary: (December 2019)
Day 1: Arrive in Oslo in the early morning.
Day 2: Oslo
Day 3: Oslo – Flam. Overnight stay in Flam
Day 4: Flam – Bergen.
Day 5: Bergen – Tromso (Take a late-night flight to Tromso).
Day 6 – 9: Tromso.
In order to save money, we pieced together our very own Norway in a Nutshell tour. This was super easy to do as we purchased tickets separately for each part of the journey. We bought the train tickets in advance and just bought tickets for the fjord cruise and the Flam Railway separately.
Train journey to Flam!
Starting from Oslo, we set out on a westbound train journey through scenic mountain terrain on the Bergen Railway which is about 4.5 hours. Upon arrival in Mrydal, we disembarked the train. This sleepy Nordic town looks to be straight out of a postcard as the views from this station are stunning. We then changed trains to the legendary Flam Railway. The Flam Railway was built in the 1920s. It finished in 1940 and took around 200 men to build the line, 10 stations, 20 tunnels and bridge. This is a 20.km long branch of the Bergen Line and this train ride is often named one of the most beautiful train journeys in the world. It is also one of the steepest train lines from 863 metres at Myrdal to sea level at Flam. For 45 minutes, you will be able to witness THE MOST spectacular views of the Norwegian mountains and local villages as it glides through steep valleys.
The Flamsbana scenic route makes one short stop along the route for photos at the base of Kjossen Waterfall. Even though it was frozen, it still made for an awesome spectacle.
The train rides end in the fjord town of Flam at 2pm, which is where we stayed for the night.
Overnight Stay in Flam
There are only a few different hotel options in Flam but we stayed in Flamsbrygga Hotell and it was sooooo cosy. It’s just a lovely, rustic quintessential Norwegian hotel located in the harbour of Flam. The room was lovely with a balcony overlooking the fjord and the mountains. The room was very warm and the shower was so hot and powerful. I loved how quirky the room was decorated.
After checking into the hotel, we just walked around the city. It was tiny and literally took us 15 minutes to discover it all!
We went back into the hotel, had a lovely warm shower and then changed into our pyjamas. It was only after that we realised, we forgot to check out Aegir Brewery and Pub as it was shut when we first walked around. I dragged my husband out after he insisted, he just wanted to chill in the room and do a tiktok dance. This is a great place for pub food, such as burgers, ribs and soup. As we went in the evening, the pub takes on a Viking theme with a roaring hearth. After sitting by the fireplace and chatting, we went back to the hotel room.
The hotel breakfast the next day was also on point. Like Oslo, the most delicious smoked salmon was served in this breakfast buffet, which I just stacked my plate along with some eggs and bread.
Travelling from Flam to Bergen
First thing in the morning, we had breakfast in the hotel and boarded the boat. We bought the tickets a few months in advance from their official website. This was by far the most favourite part of the tour – a 2 hour cruise through some of Norway’s best fjord scenery, including the picturesque Aurlandsfjord and the dramatic Naerofjord. Naeroyfjord is one of the narrowest fjords in Europe and is also on the UNESCO’s World Heritage List. It was so lovely just standing on the deck with the mountains towering over us.
The weather wasn’t the greatest but luckily the boat has both indoor and outdoor seating. We then arrived in the small village of Gudvangen. From here we boarded a bus that took us through Naeroydalen to the small town of Voss. You can only pay for this bus ride on the bus itself, not in advance. In Voss, we boarded another train with some beautiful scenic nature landscapes and charming villages before arriving in Bergen at 6pm.
We had such a good time doing this tour in the Winter and I would highly recommend doing it yourself if you can! You save lots of money and you share the exact same journeys and transport with those who paid double the price!