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Norway in a Nutshell Best of Norway’s Fjords and Mountains on a Budget

Featured image norway in a nutshell DIY

Norway in a Nutshell is a popular packaged tour that covers the highlights of Norway spanning over a day to a week! Norway has stunning landscapes, majestic fjords and snow-capped peaks, that are unlike anywhere else that I’ve been to! But let’s be real – it can be a bit pricey to experience it all! That’s where Norway in a Nutshell comes to the rescue.

Norway in a Nutshell includes a scenic train ride from Oslo to Bergen, a ferry cruise along the Nærøyfjord and the Aurlandsfjord, and a bus ride through the mountains. It’s a convenient and hassle-free way to see the best of Norway in a short time.

But did you know that you can do Norway in a Nutshell, and save money in the process? Yes, you can book the tickets yourself, choose your itinerary and pace, and add more stops and activities along the way. You can also find cheaper accommodation, food, and transportation options, and enjoy more flexibility and customization than a prepackaged tour.

In this guide, I will show you how to do Norway in a Nutshell on a budget and have more fun than a prepackaged tour. I will compare the costs and benefits of each option, and give you a step-by-step guide on how to book the tickets, what to expect, and what to do.

I have done Norway in a Nutshell, and I can tell you that it was one of the most beautiful journeys I’ve been on!  And I did it all without breaking the bank.

Are you ready to discover Norway in a Nutshell on a budget? Let’s get started!

Why You Should Do Norway in a Nutshell, Yourself

Before we jump into the nitty-gritty of DIY-ing Norway in a Nutshell, let’s weigh the options: prepackaged tour versus taking the reins yourself. And see why the latter is better. Fjord Tours is your go-to for the prepackaged experience, offering a variety of itineraries and add-ons to suit your preferences. It’s convenient – they handle the bookings, timing, and accommodations – you just sit back and enjoy the journey.

But here’s the kicker – it comes with a hefty price tag. Depending on the season and route, you could be shelling out anywhere from 1,800 NOK ($210) to 4,000 NOK ($470) per person. Ouch, right? Plus, you’re locked into a set schedule, potentially missing out on a fun little detour along the way.

That’s why I recommend doing Norway in a Nutshell yourself. You can save a lot of money by booking the tickets yourself and finding cheaper accommodation, food, and transportation options. You can also have more flexibility and customization, as you can choose your itinerary and pace, and add more or fewer stops and activities along the way.

Doing Norway in a Nutshell yourself is not as hard as it sounds. You just need some planning, some research, and some tips and tricks, which I will provide in this guide. You will also need some adventurous spirit, some curiosity, and some sense of wonder, which I’m sure you already have.

Are you convinced yet? If so, let’s move on to the next section, where I will show you how to do Norway in a Nutshell yourself, step by step.

How to Do Norway in a Nutshell Yourself: A Step-by-Step Guide

Ready to take charge of your Norwegian adventure and make memories to last a lifetime? Let’s dive into the ins and outs of DIY-ing Norway in a Nutshell, saving money, and having a blast along the way.

In this section, I will give you a step-by-step guide on how to do Norway in a Nutshell yourself. I will break down the process into clear and easy steps, and provide detailed and specific instructions on how to book the tickets, what to expect, and what to do. 

Now, let’s talk Norway in a Nutshell itinerary. The classic Norway in a Nutshell route looks something like this:

  1. Train from Oslo to Flåm
  2. Ferry from Flåm to Gudvangen
  3. Bus from Gudvangen to Voss
  4. Train from Voss to Bergen

You can tackle this in a single day or spread it out over two or more, depending on your preferences. Already in Bergen? Flip the route and start from Bergen instead. The beauty of DIY-ing is that you’re the boss – feel free to add extra stops and activities along the way, like hiking, kayaking, or exploring local attractions.

Now, let’s talk money. While the cost can vary depending on factors like season and options, you can expect to shell out around 1,500 NOK to 1,800 NOK per person. Compare that to the prepackaged tour, which can set you back a cool 4,000 NOK ($470) or more per person – yikes!

So, without further ado, here are the steps to do Norway in a Nutshell yourself.

Step 1: Book the Train from Oslo to Flåm

To kick off your Norway in a Nutshell adventure, let’s start by booking the train from Oslo to Flåm. This leg of the journey is split into two scenic train rides that promise to whisk you away to some of Norway’s most breathtaking landscapes.

First up, you’ll board a train from Oslo to Myrdal. This picturesque ride takes you from the bustling capital to the serene mountain village of Myrdal, treating you to stunning views of forests, lakes, waterfalls, and snow-capped peaks along the way. Keep your camera handy – you won’t want to miss a single snapshot!

Next, it’s time for the highlight of the journey: the train from Myrdal to Flåm. Brace yourself for an unforgettable ride as you descend from the mountains to the fjords on one of the world’s steepest and most scenic railway lines. Marvel at cascading waterfalls, verdant valleys, and charming villages before arriving in the postcard-perfect village of Flåm, nestled at the end of the Aurlandsfjord.

How to book the tickets from Oslo to Flåm?

To book your train tickets, head to Vy, the Norwegian state railway company’s website. Tickets typically become available 90 days in advance, and prices vary depending on factors like season and demand. Pro tip: snag the best deals by booking early or travelling during off-peak times.

How to book tickets from Oslo to Flam. for norway in a nutshell

How long is the journey from Oslo to Myrdal?

The journey from Oslo to Myrdal takes approximately 5 hours and 40 minutes. If you are doing Norway in a Nutshell in a day, consider catching the 8:25 departure from Oslo, arriving in Myrdal at 13:04 – the perfect segue to your next transport. 

How long is the journey from Myrdal to Flåm?

The train from Myrdal to Flåm is operated by Flåm Railway & is about 50 minutes. For a one-day Norway in a Nutshell tour, the most convenient departure from Myrdal is the 12:58 pm train, arriving in Flåm at 1:55 pm. This perfectly connects with the next leg of your journey: the ferry from Flåm to Gudvangen. It’s the ideal timing to keep your adventure flowing smoothly!

Which side of the train to sit on during the Norway in a Nutshell journey? 

Sit on the left side of both the train from Oslo to Myrdal & Myrdal to Flåm

Once you’ve secured your train tickets from Oslo to Flåm, you’re all set for the next leg of your adventure: booking the ferry from Flåm to Gudvangen. Let’s dive into the next step and discover how to make it happen.

Step 2: Book the Ferry from Flåm to Gudvangen

Now, let’s sail into the next step of your Norway in a Nutshell journey: booking the ferry from Flåm to Gudvangen. This leg of the adventure is all about relaxation and soaking in the stunning scenery of Norway’s majestic fjords. The ferry offers a leisurely cruise through iconic UNESCO-listed fjords like the Nærøyfjord and the Aurlandsfjord. Picture-perfect mountains, cascading waterfalls, and charming villages will be your backdrop as you glide along the crystal-clear waters.

How to book the tickets for the Fjord cruise?

Booking your ferry tickets is a breeze. Simply hop online to book it on their website. In off-peak season, you can even book one at the station. Tickets are usually available 90 days in advance, with prices varying based on factors like season and demand.

Another cheaper option is the Lusrabaatane ferry, although they don’t run all year round and are not as luxurious as the other one. But if you are tight on budget, compare prices before booking. 

How long is the journey from Flåm to Gudvangen?

The ferry journey from Flåm to Gudvangen takes approximately 2 hours, with multiple departures throughout the day. For maximum convenience, consider catching the 15:00 departure from Flåm, arriving in Gudvangen at 17:00 – perfectly timed to seamlessly connect with the next leg of your journey: the bus from Gudvangen to Voss.

Of course, if you fancy lingering a bit longer in Flåm or adding extra stops for activities like hiking or kayaking, feel free to choose a departure time that suits your schedule.

With your ferry tickets in hand, you’re one step closer to experiencing the wonders of Norway in a Nutshell. Next up: booking the bus from Gudvangen to Voss. Let’s keep the adventure rolling!

Step 3: Book the Bus from Gudvangen to Voss

The third step to do Norway in a Nutshell yourself is to book the bus from Gudvangen to Voss. Get ready to witness some of Norway’s most breathtaking waterfalls, including the awe-inspiring Stalheimskleiva and the majestic Tvindefossen – weather permitting!

How to book the tickets for the bus from Gudvagen to Voss?

Operated by Skyss, the bus journey from Gudvangen to Voss is a popular route, especially during peak season. You can easily purchase your tickets onboard at the time of boarding. The bus authorities are well-versed in coordinating timings with cruise arrivals, ensuring there are plenty of buses available.

If you prefer to plan ahead, you can also use the Skyss billete app to book your tickets in advance. It’s a convenient option that guarantees your seat on the bus.

How long is the journey from Gudvagen to Voss?

The journey from Gudvangen to Voss takes approximately an hour. For seamless connectivity, opt for the 17:30 departure from Gudvangen, arriving in Voss at 18:30. This timing allows for a smooth transition to the next leg of your journey: the train from Voss to Bergen.

Once you have booked the bus from Gudvangen to Voss, you are ready for the final step, which is to book the train from Voss to Bergen. Let’s see how to do it.

Step 4: Book the Train from Voss to Bergen

Congratulations! You’ve reached the final step of your Norway in a Nutshell adventure: booking the train from Voss to Bergen. This leg of the journey offers a smooth transition from the tranquil countryside to the vibrant city, allowing you to experience the rich diversity of Norway.

How to book the train tickets from Voss to Bergen? 

Operated by Vy, booking your train tickets is a breeze. Simply hop online to their website or app to secure your seats. 

How to book tickets from Voss to Bergen

How long is the journey from Voss to Bergen?

The journey from Voss to Bergen takes approximately an hour and a half, making it a quick and comfortable ride. For optimal convenience, consider catching the 19:13 departure from Voss, arriving in Bergen at 20:40. This timing seamlessly connects with the previous leg of your journey – the bus from Gudvangen to Voss – ensuring a hassle-free transition to your final destination.

Of course, if you’re keen to explore Voss a bit longer or add some extra activities to your itinerary, feel free to choose a departure time that suits your preferences.

What next?

Congratulations! You’ve successfully completed your DIY Norway in a Nutshell adventure, saving money and having more fun than a prepackaged tour. But wait – your journey doesn’t end here. You’ve arrived in Bergen, Norway’s second-largest city and its cultural hub.

Bergen offers a treasure trove of attractions, from the iconic UNESCO-listed Bryggen Wharf to the bustling Fish Market and the panoramic views from Mount Fløyen. Don’t miss the chance to explore the charming Old Town and soak up the city’s vibrant atmosphere.

Short on time or craving a new adventure? Consider heading north to Tromsø, the gateway to the Arctic, for an unforgettable experience under the northern lights.

I hope this guide has equipped you to navigate Norway in a Nutshell with ease and enjoy an incredible time in Bergen. If you have any questions or feedback, feel free to reach out to me on Twitter or Instagram. Safe travels and happy exploring!

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FAQs on Norway in a Nutshell

What is the Norway in a Nutshell tour?

The Norway in a Nutshell tour is a popular guided or self-guided tour that offers a comprehensive exploration of Norway’s stunning landscapes, including fjords, mountains, and charming villages.

What are the highlights of the Norway in a Nutshell itinerary?

The Flåm rail journey is touted as one of the most beautiful rail journeys in the world. You also pass by UNESCO-listed fjords in Norway, such as the Nærøyfjord and the Aurlandsfjord.

How do I book the Norway in a Nutshell tour?

You can easily book the tour online through the official website or local travel agencies. But I recommend doing the tour yourself. 

What modes of transportation are included in Norway in a Nutshell tour?

The tour typically includes train, boat, and bus transportation to explore various destinations.

How long does the Norway in a Nutshell tour take?

The tour typically takes a full day, but you can extend it to explore more at your own pace. Some do it for as long as 7 days!

What are some recommended stops along the Norway in a Nutshell route?

Recommended stops include Flåm, Aurlandsfjord, Kjosfossen, Berekvam, Drammen, Hønefoss, or Geilo along the route.

Is the Norway in a Nutshell tour suitable for families with children?

Yes, the tour is suitable for families with children and offers a memorable experience for all ages.

Can you do Norway in a Nutshell in one day?

Yes, it’s possible to complete the tour in one day, but you can also choose to extend it over multiple days for a more relaxed pace.

Which direction is best for Norway in a Nutshell?

Both directions offer unique experiences, so the best direction depends on your preferences and starting point.

How far in advance to book Norway in a Nutshell?

It’s recommended to book in advance, especially during peak seasons, to secure your spot and accommodations.