Expedition Overview

Expedition Overview

  • Travel aboard the famous Flåm Railway, named by National Geographic Traveler as one of the top ten train journeys in Europe.
  • Discover two UNESCO World Heritage sites: Bergen’s old wharf and the west Norwegian fjords, including Naerøyfjord and Geirangerfjorden.
  • Hear about adventurer Thor Heyerdahl’s history-making seafaring expeditions from a close family connection.
  • Learn about life in the rural mountain communities of Western Norway while meeting with cheesemakers and choral singers, and on a special after-hours visit to the Norwegian Fjord Centre.

Itinerary

Itinerary

In western Norway, deep fjords cut through snowcapped mountains, and remote valleys are only accessible by railways and roads that are masterworks of engineering. Traverse some of the world’s most scenic railways and roadways to experience the country's astonishing natural beauty from Oslo to Bergen. Cruise the waters of the Aurlandsfjord, Naerøyfjord, and Geirangerfjorden, and delve into a rich seafaring history as you encounter Viking longships and medieval churches.

Day 1: Oslo, Norway

Arrive in Oslo and check in to our historic hotel situated in the city center. Gather for a welcome reception and dinner at our hotel this evening.

Meals Included:Dinner
Accommodations:Grand Hotel Oslo
Day 2: Oslo

Explore Norway's cosmopolitan capital, situated at the head of a more than 60-mile-long fjord. Wander through Vigeland Park, filled with hundreds of life-sized human figures by native artist Gustav Vigeland. Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant before venturing to the Bygdøy Peninsula to see some of the world’s best-preserved Viking longships at the Viking Ship Museum. At the Kon-Tiki Museum, enjoy a specially arranged meeting with a family member or biographer of Thor Heyerdahl and learn about his family’s scientific seafaring adventures, chronicled in the pages of National Geographic magazine. Then view the famed Kon-Tiki raft, the papyrus boat Ra II, and other artifacts of seafaring history.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch
Accommodations:Grand Hotel Oslo
Day 3: Flåm

Catch a train to Myrdal, and then board the Flåm Railway, named by National Geographic Traveler as one of the top ten train journeys in Europe. Take an unforgettable ride along one of the steepest normal-gauge railroads in the world, descending a steep valley through 20 tunnels and past thundering waterfalls to the fjord village of Flåm. Settle into your hotel overlooking Aurlandsfjord, and spend an afternoon at leisure. This evening, sample beers and enjoy dinner at a local brewery.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodations:Fretheim Hotel
Day 4: Undredal/Gudvangen/Flåm

Begin the day with a stroll through the picturesque village of Undredal, where you’ll sample the town’s world-famous brown goat cheese and visit Scandinavia’s smallest stave church. Meet with members of a local choir and enjoy a performance before lunch at a local restaurant. Board a boat for a cruise across two spectacular fjords—Aurlandsfjord and Naerøyfjord, which together with Geirangerfjorden is a World Heritage site. Savor views of towering cliff faces sprinkled with waterfalls, then disembark in charming Gudvangen before returning to our hotel in Flåm.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch
Accommodations:Fretheim Hotel
Day 5: Geiranger

Travel overland to Geiranger, winding through the mountains and stopping en route at Loen Skylift. Take the cable car 3,300 feet up Mount Hoven for astonishing views and choose from a variety of light hikes before enjoying lunch at the mountaintop restaurant. Upon arrival in Geiranger, settle into our hotel overlooking Geirangerfjorden.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodations:Hotel Union
Day 6: Geirangerfjorden/Trollstigen

This morning, enjoy a special visit to the Norwegian Fjord Centre before it opens to the public. Peruse exhibits on the region’s natural and cultural history, learning how the dramatic fjord landscape was created and how people came to inhabit the extreme terrain. Then set out by ferry for an unforgettable cruise on the World Heritage-listed Geirangerfjorden, a ten-mile passage lined with sheer rock walls and punctuated with waterfalls. Disembark at Hellesyltand and visit Geiranger Skywalk—a panoramic viewpoint perched nearly 5,000 feet above sea level. From here, take in spectacular views of Geirangerfjorden and look across the surrounding mountain peaks to spot the Blåbreen glacier. Later, return to our hotel.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodations:Hotel Union
Day 7: Rauma Railway/Trondheim

Transfer to Andalsnes via the famed Trollstigen—the Troll’s Footpath. Wind through the mountains along 11 hairpin turns, keeping an eye out for troll statues inspired by Norwegian fairy tales. Board the Rauma Railway upon arrival. Take in stunning scenery through panoramic windows on a rail journey past craggy alpine peaks, glacier-fed waterfalls, and the emerald waters of the Rauma River. Cross the historic Kylling Bridge and marvel at the 3,300-foot Trollveggen, Europe’s tallest vertical rock face. In Dombås, switch trains for the ride to Trondheim, where we’ll check in to our hotel.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodations:Britannia Hotel
Day 8: Trondheim

Said to have been founded in the tenth century by Viking King Olaf I Tryggvason, Trondheim served as Norway’s capital until the early 1200s. Today, high-tech culture mingles with medieval architecture in this university town. On a city tour, visit the Nidaros Cathedral, a cherished landmark built on the gravesite of Norway’s patron saint and prized for its stained glass windows. Take a “secret tour” of the cathedral's concealed chambers, hidden rooms, and medieval tombstones. Continue across the Nidelva River to Bakklandet, and enjoy lunch in this charming neighborhood of colorful wooden houses. Enjoy an afternoon at leisure.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch
Accommodations:Britannia Hotel
Day 9: Bergen

Fly to the coastal city of Bergen, once an important trading center of the Hanseatic League, which dominated commercial activity in northern Europe in the Late Middle Ages. Discover the city’s maritime history on a tour of Bryggen—the colorful old wharf, and a designated World Heritage site. Dine on your own tonight.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch
Accommodations:Hotel Opus XVI
Day 10: Bergen

This morning, we'll explore the KODE museums, one of the largest art complexes in Scandinavia. The collection is showcased in four buildings, each with its own theme. Peruse contemporary and modern artwork, examine the works of homegrown master artist Edvard Munch, and gaze at Norway's dazzling national silver collection. Spend your final afternoon at leisure, then gather for a festive farewell dinner at a restaurant serving traditional Norwegian dishes.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Dinner
Accommodations:Hotel Opus XVI
Day 11: Bergen

After breakfast, transfer to the Bergen airport and catch your flight home.

Meals Included:Breakfast