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Beginning Planning-2 Weeks in Norway next July (with a 6 yr old)

I am a single mom with a six year old daughter planning a trip to Norway next July for about 14 days.

I will only be using public transportation to make our way around the country.

We will fly in and out of Oslo.

Aside from visiting Oslo and Lillehammer I am not sure where else we should go. I want to stay out of big cities (aside from Oslo) per se but will need to go places that can be accessed by trains or boats/buses. Ideally staying in about 4-5 cities for 2-4 days at a time. On our travel days I'd prefer not to travel more than 2 hours at a time if possible.

So, if you were planning a trip or if you have been before, what cities would you go back to? Which places would you pass on?

I will start to look more at specifics soon but just want to flesh out a general itinerary first. I have seen the Norway in a Nutshell tours but I am not sure those would be best with a young child. I would likely look at some day tours within some of the base citieis in order to see more things we can't see without a car.

Looking forward to hearing your suggestions!

Posted by
246 posts

More pressing than the size of cities is first understanding your own desires for what you want to see and what your child can handle. IMO much of the really spectacular sightseeing in Norway is in the countryside, but you need to decide for yourself. I've never been a single mom, but IMO your best bet is to get a Norway guidebook (any brand) from your local library and flip through it jotting down things YOU would like to do & see and that your child can manage. Or surf through the many websites for traveling in Norway to see what's there that you like. Going back through previous postings on this Forum may be helpful to see what others have done. Then go back and figure out how much time is required to get to those places from Oslo and how much time you'd like to spend at each attraction. Once you hit 14 days total time, you are done. Having that process in mind, you need to understand that 1) Norway has few "big" cities other than Oslo, only 3 others have populations exceeding 100,00; and 2) Norway is rather spread out, e.g. Oslo to Bergen 288 road miles, Olso to Trondheim road 300 miles, etc. I assume rail miles to be similar to road miles. Of course air miles will be less. I'd expect the enjoyment of your trip will be directly proportional to your research time. Have a great trip.

Posted by
3247 posts

The only big city in Norway is Oslo.

Flying in and out of Oslo is a huge mistake. It’s an enormous country and slow going overland. Choose one flight in or out of Trondheim, Ålesund, or Bergen to prevent backtracking. Delta, SAS, Norwegian or Icelandair all allow this,

Bus services are excellent if you prefer not to drive.

I found Rough Guide to be the best guidebook. Rick Steves’ book misses 3/4 of the country.

Clarion hotel rates include an excellent dinner + breakfast so save money. They are an excellent use of 16,000 Choice hotel points if you have them or are willing to churn their credit card. Also consider Airbnb rentals to reduce high lodging and restaurant costs.

In fjord and mountainous, 2 hours won’t get you far, plan on 4.

Posted by
45 posts

Thank you- I saw that some hotels offer this breakfast/dinner option--which is perfect because she hardly eats anything and I don't like paying for food for her.

After reviewing my Lonely Planet book I think we will primarily be visiting Central, Southern and Western Norway.

Posted by
1724 posts

Important first step is pinning on a map what sites you want to see.
Most everyone will disagree with me, but have been to Oslo and consider it skippable.

Plenty of better cities in Europe that I prefer more and are less expensive as well ; so I am not traveling to Norway for the cities but the scenery so rather spend my time and money there than in Oslo.
Other than Oslo there are not any other big cities.
There other cities are large towns / very small cities in the US (depending on where you live in the US)
There small towns would not even be considered villages in the US ; at least compared to what I am used to in the population dense northeast.

As far as the sites/views that interest you, the ability of your 6 year old to hike and be safe at heights/ledges will be a factor that may limit some of the things you want to otherwise see. I went on some hikes considered "family friendly" for young children in Norway and would never in a million years classify them as safe for my own 5 year old daughter but if you grow up in Norway, the local kids are probably hiking these trails by the time they are 3.

2 hours of travel in some cases won't be enough or at least won't be beneficial to stay in some small town with nothing to do just to break up a 4 hour drive/bus into 2 stays.

Posted by
45 posts

The more I am reading about Oslo the more I think we might just stay one night before our flight out. It doesn't seem to have as much for children to do. It looks like some of the Southern towns are fairly easy to get to from Oslo airport so perhaps we will try to stay their first or go straight to Lillehammer.

Anyone have any favorite Southern Coastal towns?

Posted by
279 posts

Oslo has the Fram Museum ( Polar exploration) the Kon Tiki Museum, the Norwegian Maritime Museum, the Viking Ship Museum, and the Norwegian Folk Museum. These are all located relatively close together on the Bygdo peninsula. The Folk Museum has buildings brought in from all over the country. It is mostly outdoors. Some prior reading about Amundson, Thor Heyerdahl and the Vikings could make these very interesting. A six year old might also enjoy the Frogner Park with the Vigeland sculptures. The baby throwing a tantrum is famous. But the many huge sculptures of naked people might be off putting. Sitting at a table outside on Karl Johan's Gate could be quite fun.

There is a lot to see and do in Oslo! spend a couple of days.

Also, check out the Telemark canal that runs from Skien on the coast to Dalen in Telemark. The trip takes most of a day. You climb 72 meters through 18 locks.

Posted by
6 posts

Skip Oslo? Oh my gosh - no! I’m a single mom (of twin boys). We are here in Oslo now and we were here 5 years ago when they were 10.
First, we stayed in an AirBnb so we could eat in and saved A LOT of money.
We love Frognerparken (the sculpture park). The maze was very fun when my boys were younger (recommended by Rick Steves). There’s also a fun pool there.
Hiking around Holmenkollen is always great - and apple pie at Frognersettern (?). There’s also a huge troll on a hillside that was fun to climb on.
Take ferries to the little islands, definitely don’t miss the folk museum on Bygdoy.
Gol in the mountains was a nice town, we also went to Hemsedal which is cute. It does get chilly up there.
If the weather is nice, find a town along the coast to spend time in the water!
One of my favorite places we went to was Bergen! It was a surprisingly awesome little city. Tons of little walkways to explore, a great day ferry up the fjord, the funicular was pretty nice (great view). We took the train to/from Bergen. It was about 6 hours.
But don’t skimp on Oslo!

Posted by
2 posts

Hi, another single mom here! I just got home from a trip to Sweden & Norway with my 7 year old daughter :) We had the best time!!

In norway, we spent 1 day in Oslo, just walking around and exploring, we then spent 3 days in Laerdalsoyri. This was the highlight of the trip!
We stated at Laerdal Ferie - og Fritidspark which is a place with little cottages. Here they had multiple huge playgrounds, 4 or 5 giant trampolines, bike race tracks and a beach. My daughter never wanted to leave! This is pretty far out there though, so you would need to rent a car.
We then drove about 20 minutes into Flam, to take the fjord tour of the Naeryfjord and the experience was unbelievable!

How exciting for you and your daughter to have this experience together!

Posted by
3 posts

My one trip (winter 2016) to Norway, I enjoyed the train from Oslo to Bergen. There were many children on the bus and they seemed to enjoy the scenic ride. Bergen was amazing and I'm going back again for a concert there and will stay a few days in Bergen, with a side trip to Balestrand (if I can figure out how to get there by ferry or boat!).

Posted by
45 posts

Do you all think the towns are easily accessible from train stations? I am hoping for very short walking distances to get to the town centre as we will have 1 rolling bag with us. Right now thinking about visiting these towns by train:

Fly into Oslo and go straight to Sandefjord

Kristensand

Stavenger

Bergen

Lillehammer

Back to Oslo