3 Weeks in Norway Itinerary

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Norway is a Nordic country located in Northern Europe in the Scandinavian Peninsula. It is bordered by Sweden to the East, Skagerrak Strait to the South, and Finland and Russia to the Northeast.

Norway is well-known for its fjords, the Northern Lights, Norwegian salmon, Vikings, and more. Plus, if you’re into hiking, it’s an exciting place. You can hike up mountains like Preikestolen for epic views of the fjords, which are these massive, beautiful waterways surrounded by cliffs.

Simply put, 3 weeks in Norway offers cultural and natural wonders to local and international tourists. It is filled with snow-capped mountain peaks and beaches where numerous adventurous activities await.

THINGS TO KNOW BEFORE GOING TO NORWAY

4 images - top left is the aurora borealis. Top right are the colourful houses in Bergen. Bottom right is the storting parliament in Oslo. Bottom left is the rock cliff in Trolltunga - 3 Weeks in Norway Itinerary

Norway is one of my favourite places to visit because of how easy it is. For a country where English is not the main language, the locals and the government surely made it easy to get around. Here are some other travel information you should know:

When is the best time to go to Norway

The best time to visit Norway is during the summer, from June to August when the weather is warm and the days are long. Peak season is in these summer months, so expect more tourists and higher prices especially since this is also the time the locals are travelling domestically.

The rainy season varies by region, but it’s generally wetter in the autumn. Winter, from November to March, is cold and snowy, perfect for skiing.

The shoulder seasons, May and September, offer milder weather and fewer tourists, making them great times to visit if you prefer avoiding crowds. It’s still a bit cold during these months, but there are less tourists.

Are 3 weeks enough for Norway

20 days is not enough to see all of Norway, but it’s plenty to explore its top sites such as Oslo, Bergen, and the Fjords, and do some hiking. It’s important that you plan to visit cities that are near one another or have easy access or transportation to save time.

What to pack

Even in summer, Norway can be cold at night, so plan to pack at least a lightweight jacket, sweater, or hoodie. If you’re visiting in summer, lightweight and breathable clothing is a good idea. But for spring, autumn, and spring, you want to plan to layer your clothes and bring a scarf and hat to stay warm.

It’s not cheap to buy winter jackets here, so you better bring your own to be comfortable.

How to get around

The best way to get around Norway depends on your priorities. Trains and buses are the most convenient for reaching major cities and offer scenic views. For speed, domestic flights connect major cities quickly.

The most affordable option is often buses, followed by trains, especially with advance bookings. Car rental is a good idea for flexibility and exploring remote areas at your own pace, though it can be pricier due to rental fees and high fuel costs.

Consider your budget, destinations, and whether you value speed, convenience, or scenic routes to decide the best option for you.

Language and currency

The main language in Norway is Norwegian. Yes, tourists can easily get around using English, as it’s widely spoken throughout the country. Most Norwegians, especially in urban areas and tourist spots, speak English fluently.

Signs, menus, and information in tourist areas are often available in English as well. Communicating in English should pose no significant issues for visitors, making it convenient for English-speaking tourists to explore the country, interact with locals, and enjoy their travel experience in Norway.

The main currency in Norway is the Norwegian Krone (NOK). Tourists cannot usually pay with other major currencies like USD or EUR in most places. Card payments are widely accepted and preferred over cash in Norway, including in shops, restaurants, and public transport.

Many Norwegians live almost cashlessly, using cards or mobile payment apps for transactions. It’s advisable for tourists to use cards or mobile payments for convenience and to withdraw or exchange a small amount of cash for places that might not accept cards.

Average travel cost for Norway

Norway is an expensive destination, that’s a common fact. But it doesn’t mean you’ll have to shell out too much. With good planning, you can still travel on a budget and book everything in advance or plan your trip outside the peak season.

Here are some cost ranges for spending 3 weeks in Norway:

  • Affordable: Budget travellers can expect to spend around $1,500 to $2,000. This includes staying in hostels, using public transportation, eating at inexpensive places, and enjoying free activities.

  • Mid-range: For a more comfortable experience with private accommodations, some restaurant meals, and domestic travel, the cost is about $3,000 to $5,000.

  • Luxury: Luxury travellers looking for high-end hotels, fine dining, private tours, and exclusive experiences might spend upwards of $8,000 to $12,000 or more.

These estimates include accommodation, transportation, food, and activities but exclude international airfare. Prices in Norway can be high, so planning and budgeting according to your travel style is important.

Visa

Norway is actually not part of the EU, but it is a member of the Schengen State. It can be confusing since the Schengen Area is the most successful product of the EU. Anyway, this means that Norway implements the same visa policy as the EU.

For travellers with a passport from Australia, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, and most places in America, you can enter and travel to Norway without a visa and stay for up to 90 days (or in the Schengen Area collectively).

Other nationalities must apply for the Schengen visa through the Norwegian Embassy or Consulate near you.

Other travel tips

PINNED MAP OF MUST-SEE PLACES IN NORWAY

Click the enlarge button on the top right corner. Credit: map data: Google

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3 WEEKS IN ITINERARY

Aside from the rugged coastline and mountains, Norway has numerous expansive museums. With everything it offers, staying in Norway for at least 20 days is ideal.

There are also a couple of fjords spread out all over the country, so if you can’t visit one in a specific location, you could do so on your next destination as long as you get to the coast.

This is an overall slow travel itinerary, so the modes of transport depend on your preference. You can rent a car if you prefer privacy and flexibility regarding travel times. There are also tons of public transport available here for those who prefer less expensive options, including buses, trains, tramways, and ferries.

On the other hand, maybe you want to spend 3 weeks in Scandinavia instead which covers Norway, Denmark and Sweden in one trip.

Oslo for 5 days

Oslo is the capital and the most populous city in Norway. It is classified as both a county and a municipality.

This city is well-known for its modern design, architecture, fjords, and forest landscapes, so this place perfectly balances nature and a scenic city vibe. Aside from that, Oslo is said to be the birthplace of modern skiing, specifically in Morgedal.

It is the perfect place to start your trip because its airport accommodates domestic and international flights. There are also tons of car rental shops here for those who prefer to use cars as modes of transportation.

Aside from multiple must-see places here, they also have day tours to Hadeland Glassverk, Kistefos Museum and Sculpture Park, Edisvoll, and more.

Things to do in Oslo

  • The Royal Palace
  • Grunerlokka
  • Norwegian Mining Museum
  • Holmenkollen Ski Jump
  • Heddal Stave Church
  • The Oslofjord
  • The Opera House
  • Akershus Fortress

Accommodations in Oslo

2 images - on the left are the colourful houses in Bergen. On the right is the tower of Oslo Cathedral

Stavanger for 3 days (Pulpit Rock)

Stavanger is the third-largest city and third-largest metropolitan area in Norway. I recommend staying here for at least 3 days for those waiting for three weeks in Norway. Stavanger is known for having the most extensive collection of wooden houses in Northern Europe, found in the old town of Gamle.

Aside from that, Stavanger is also a bus ride away from Preikestolen and Kjeragbolten, which are both natural wonders that can be hiked in a day. It also houses Solastranden, named one of the world’s most beautiful beaches.

The distance between Oslo and Stavanger is 547.7 km. To reach Stavanger in record time, you must ride the train to Oslo Lufthavn Stasjon, fly, and then ride the bus from Sola to Stavanger.

The travel time for this is 3 hours. Other options include riding the bus, which has a travel time of 8 hours, riding the train, night train, or driving.

Things to do in Stavanger

  • Lysefjord
  • Petroleum Museum
  • Stavanger Museum of Natural History 
  • Norwegian Printing Museum
  • Over Holmegate
  • Annual NuArt Festival
  • Gladmat food festival
  • Fjord Cruise

Accommodations in Stavanger

Bergen and Floyen for 4 days (Fjords)

You cannot plan 3 weeks in Norway vacation without visiting Bergen. It’s is a city and municipality in Vestland County on the West coast of Norway. It is also known as the city of seven mountains because it is surrounded by mountains.

It is considered one of the UNESCO sites in the country and is known to be home to some of the world-renowned classical composers, including Ole Bull and Edvard Kreig. It is also well-known for its nightlife and being a gateway to the fjords, plus the traditional colourful houses.

Floyen is one of the seven mountains surrounding Bergen and is perfect for hiking and checking out the panoramic views. They offer walking tours with various duration and hardship levels and bicycle rentals. They also have a climbing park and zipline.

The distance between Stavanger and Bergen is 207.5 km. There are numerous ways to get to Bergen if you’re coming from Stavanger. The fastest is by flying, which has a travel time of 40 minutes. Other options include riding the Fjord Line ferry, taking a bus, or driving.

Things to do in Bergen and Floyen

  • Day trip to the famous Trolltunga
  • Hanseatic Museum
  • Mount Floyen trail hike
  • Kode Museums
  • Bergenhus Fortress
  • Vilvite and the Aquarium
  • Canoe paddling
  • Biking

Accommodations in Bergen and Floyen

Alesund for 3 days (Fjords)

Alesund is the 13th most populous city in Norway. It is known for its concentration on Art Noveau architecture. It is also surrounded by a diverse and magical landscape that makes Alesund look like a city straight from a postcard. It is considered to be the most beautiful fjord city.

Aside from its incredible scenery, Alesund offers numerous activities such as kayaking, Hiking, SUP boarding, or e-bike city tours. With all these things and more, I suggest you stay for at least 3 days in Alesund if you spend 3 weeks in Norway.

The distance between Bergen and Alesund is 421.8km and has a driving time of more than 7 hours. Other options include riding the bus or the ferry. The fastest option would be to fly, with a travel duration of almost 4 hours.

2 images - on the left is the building of Storting Parliament in Oslo. On the right is the glacial mountains in Reine

Things to do in Alesund

  • Atlantic Sea Park
  • Alesund Museum
  • Alnes Lighthouse
  • Hike up Slogen
  • Boat trip to Hjorundfjord
  • Go kayaking
  • Ski touring
  • Art Nouveau Center

Accommodations in Alesund

Tromso for 5 days (Fjords)

Tromso is the 12th largest municipality in Norway. It houses the world’s northernmost planetarium, university, and botanical garden. It is well-known for its magnificent ice domes and fjords and is known to be among the best locations to witness the Northern Lights.

There is an annual Northern Lights festival here, and one of the cruise lines offers an aurora supper cruise.

Aside from that, Tromso is also where you’ll experience the midnight sun and polar night phenomenon. With all of that being said, Tromso is indeed an otherworldly place.

Alesund is quite far from Tromso, with a distance of 1,423.9 km, so I recommend flying to reach Tromso faster. The travel time for this is more than 5 hours, and tickets cost anywhere between $113 to $330. Other modes of transportation are riding the bus and then train, riding the ferry, or driving, but all of these have more than 24-hour travel durations.

Things to do in Tromso

  • Polaria, the northernmost aquarium
  • Fjellheisen cable car
  • See the northern lights
  • Whale-watching fjord tour
  • Reindeer sledding
  • Tromso Ice Domes
  • The Polar Museum
  • Snowshoeing

Accommodations in Tromso

2 images - on the left is the rock cliff of trolltunga. on the right ithe aurora borealis

BONUS: Svalbard

If you’re up for more, you can go to Svalbard. It is a Norwegian Archipelago in the Arctic Ocean. It is a separate island and must-visit because you can see polar bears here, bird species are abundant, they offer exclusive wildlife tours, and you can also visit the northernmost brewery, Svalbard Bryggeri.

There are also tons of activities to do here, like going on a safari, exploring ice caves, snowmobile tours, dog sledging, visiting the Global Seed Vault, exploring ice caves, and more.

If you go here, you can skip Alesund and spend fewer days in Oslo and Tromso.

MUST-TRY NORWEGIAN DISHES AND DRINKS

3 images of Norwegian dishes - on the left is a bowl of roasted potatoes and lutefisk. In the middle is a bowl of risgrot. on the right are three glasses of dill aquavit - 3 Weeks in Norway Itinerary

If you have travelled to other Scandinavian or Nordic countries, the food in these places is quite similar, although each of them has its own versions. Here’s a quick list of dishes and drinks to try from Norway:

  • Rakfisk – Fermented fish, often trout or char, served with flatbread and sour cream.
  • Fårikål – Mutton and cabbage stew, seasoned with whole black pepper and often served with potatoes.
  • Kjøttkaker – Norwegian meatballs, usually served with gravy, potatoes, and lingonberry jam.
  • Lutefisk – Dried whitefish (usually cod, but ling and haddock are also used) rehydrated and cooked with lye, often served with peas and bacon.
  • Rømmegrøt – Sour cream porridge, a rich and tangy dish, often served with sugar, cinnamon, and butter.
  • Pinnekjøtt – Dried and salted lamb ribs, rehydrated and steamed, served as a traditional Christmas dinner.
  • Smalahove – Smoked sheep’s head, traditionally eaten before Christmas.
  • Brunost – Brown cheese, a sweet, caramel-like cheese made from the whey of goat’s milk.
  • Krumkake – Thin, rolled cake similar to a waffle, filled with whipped cream or other fillings.
  • Risgrøt – Rice porridge, often served with sugar, cinnamon, and butter, and sometimes served as a Christmas dessert.
  • Multekrem – Dessert made of cloudberries and whipped cream, sweet and tangy.
  • Akevitt (Aquavit) – A distilled spirit that is often flavoured with herbs such as caraway seeds; it’s a traditional Norwegian spirit.
  • Kaffe – Norwegians love their coffee, often enjoy black, and it’s an integral part of daily life.
  • Mjød (Mead) – An ancient drink made from fermented honey, experiencing a resurgence in popularity in Norway.

SUMMARY OF 3 WEEKS IN NORWAY

Norway is a nature lover’s haven through and through, with its fjords, mountains, and quaint fishing villages. However, that’s not all there is in Norway.

It has numerous trendy cities and well-preserved cultural heritage, and of course, let’s not forget the countless snow-related activities, festivals for those who prefer adrenaline-filled activities and the hustle and bustle of crowds.

Whatever your preferences are, you can experience them in this country. That’s why I highly advise staying for at least 3 weeks in Norway because it has so much to offer.

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