One Week in Norway
Norway was at the top of my must-visit list for a long-time, if only because of its fjords, but it also seemed out of reach: It is, by some accounts, the most expensive country in the world. In 2012 however, I finally overcame my fear of prices in Norway and made my maiden voyage there.
The key, it turned out, to traveling in Norway (or anywhere in Scandinavia, for that matter) without going broke, was to travel to a small list of destinations for a relatively short time – specifically, one week in Norway. If you’re planning a trip to Norway and are conscious of either time or money (they’re really one in the same in Norway), I have a feeling you’re going to love this trip idea.
When to Visit Norway
Norway is beautiful 365 days per year, but most people visit during summer (June-September, when temperatures are warm-ish and days are freakishly long) and winter (December-February, when short days and frigid temperatures are the price you pay for beautiful blankets of snow and flickering aurora).
Where to Stay in Norway
Norway is one of the most expensive countries in the world (more about that in a second), which not surprisingly trickles down to its hotels. The good news is while you’re unlikely to find a hotel priced under about $150 per night, you’re also unlikely to find a hotel that isn’t at least very good in quality. For example, The Thief in Oslo, Bergen’s Thon Hotel Rosenkrantz or Scandic Solsiden in Trondheim.
How to Get Around Norway
Norway has sophisticated road and rail networks, which should take care of all your transportation needs unless you’re traveling to the extreme northern part of the country (say, the Lofoten Islands) and you have less than one week in Norway. In that case, it’s best to fly using Norwegian, the country’s (sort of, but not really) national carrier.
Money, Costs and Communication
Norway is unbelievably expensive—I can’t imagine traveling there for under about 200 USD per person, per day, which equates to 1,725 of the country’s Krone currency as of January 2017. On the other hand, you get what you pay for, both in terms of the aforementioned accommodation and transportation, as well as fast and plentiful Wi-Fi and good mobile connectivity, if you purchase a Norwegian SIM card when you begin your one week in Norway.
Your trip to Norway will almost certainly begin in Oslo, Norway’s capital. It’s the most urbanized place in Norway and, arguably, lacks the rustic charm of much of the rest of country (some would even go so far as to say Oslo is boring), but it’s worth at least a couple days of your week in Norway.
You’ll want to spend as much of your time in Oslo as possible along its waterfront, whether you rub elbows with locals in the trendy Aker Brygge district, or go back in time at the Akershus Fortress medieval castle, located on the other side of the bay. Alternatively, explore the stunning Oslo Opera House, which is my favorite place in Oslo, or hang out in hipster-filled Grünerløkka.
In total, I recommend spending 1-2 days of your week in Norway in Oslo.
Bergen has gained a reputation as the wettest city in Europe, but since I was lucky enough to enjoy sunshine (midnight sun, no less) during the time I spent there, I ascribe a different superlative to it – Bergen is the most beautiful city in Europe, without a doubt.
Bergen is geographically similar to Oslo, which is to say that its center is built around a bay, and that it backs up to mountains and fjords. Yet Bergen’s architecture (most notably Bryggen, a long row of old buildings from the 18th century) and bustling harbor give it a charm that is noticeably lacking from Norway’s capital.
One of my favorite experiences during my entire week in Norway was taking the Fløribanen funicular railway up to the top of a mountain above Bergen, which afforded me a gorgeous, panoramic view of the city. No matter what you do with your time in Bergen, I recommend spending 2-3 days of your week in Norway in Bergen.
My priority in visiting Norway has always been seeing the fjords, so I devoted the majority of my week in Norway to seeing them. Due to both its great price and convenient logistics, I went against my normal style of travel and booked a fjord tour to assist me in my pursuit.
By boat, train and on foot, I explored the scenery of Norway’s magnificent fjords, from the iconic Hardangerfjord, to the Voringføssen waterfall and many others in-between. Along the way, I not only enjoyed spectacular views and vistas, but traditional Norwegian architecture, birds and other wildlife and delicious culinary delights.
I recommend spending the majority of your week in Norway exploring the fjords – I spent four days of my one week in Norway amid the fjords.
Other Norway Destinations
Got more than one week in Norway? There’s an entire world of other destinations available, whether you step out onto the death-defying Trolltunga lookout, visit cities like Stavanger, Trondheim or Trømso, or come in winter to see the fantastic Northern Lights.
I’m eagerly awaiting my next trip to Norway, when I’ll hopefully be able to stay for longer than a week and explore some of these other destinations. Until then, I hope this guide to one week in Norway has proven helpful to you!