So, living in Europe with 5 children, we have traveled much and seen much, but my husband and I are being gifted 4 days to ourselves, and we are headed to Norway. We fly into Oslo, but do not plan on staying there, as it's the countryside we long to see. I want to hike a glacier, ride a boat along the fjords or kayak, have a peaceful setting with a lovely dinner, visit a stave church, and see a little Norwegian culture/history. I'm a little overwhelmed by how to get to these various places. I feel like the Nutshell route is probably the way to go for scenic purposes, but am not insistent upon it. I would much rather ride the train and use public transportation, but I don't know if this is possible to reach all these places (hiking, churches, etc.) Any suggestions (or detailed itinerary instructions) would be gladly welcomed!! Thank you in advance!
The Nutshell trip is exactly what you're looking for. Except for the part about hiking on the Glacier. Here's the website with info about getting to the Glacier, including a bus option: http://www.jostedal.com
From my experience, you'll want a car if you want do the glacier hiking, since you have only four days, this is the way you can be most efficient. Driving is expensive in Norway, but on the plus side, there's little traffic outside of Oslo. My only word of caution, is that some roads marked as highways on the map along the fjords can be narrow to the point of requiring the use of pullouts if a large truck is coming the other way. If you meet a large truck head on sometimes you may have to reverse to a wider part of the road.
If I were you, I'd spend a day in Oslo to visit the Gol stavkirke out on Bygdøy, do the nutshell trip to Bergen the next day, stay in Bergen for two nights and fly back from Bergen. This way you get your fjord boat trip, see a stavkirke and can use public transport.
Four days isn't really enough considering travel time first to Oslo (or Bergen) then out into the bush. That said, I would either pick a Fjord or Mountain holiday.
For Fjords, the easy choice would be a Norway in the Nutshell type trip taking the train from Oslo to Sogneford and exiting via Bergen. An example excursion offered by Fjord Tours can be replicated with a self-arranged trip using the NSB.NO train booking website: http://www.visitnorway.com/sognefjord/
Sognefjord in a Nutshell. This trip includes a trip by express boat on
the Sognefjord with Norled and train journeys through spectacular
nature on the Flåm Railway and the Bergen Line. Along the way you have
a chance to stop in quaint villages like Balestrand, Flåm and Voss.
The trip can be a day excursion or as a longer journey over several
For the mountains, hike (summer) or ski (winter) the Jotunheimen (mountain of the giants):
The problem will be a day to get there and a day to get back to Oslo.
Otta on the Dovrebanen railway line is the nearest train station. from
there, there are local buses to several places in the Jotunheimen area
An alternative to Jotunheimen also reached from Otta is the Rondane National Park:
NSB, the Norwegian state railways, has several daily departures from
Oslo to Otta (approximately three and a half hours) and from there you
can get to Rondane by local bus or taxi.
My Rondane favorite is Sjuksjoseter Fjellstue :
http://www.smuksjoseter.no/public.aspx?pageid=79263&plId=69002 (English page)
The mountain lodge (fjellstue) is about 5 km above the village of Hovringen:
Høvringen is about 950 [meters] above sea level and is the western gateway to
Rondane National Park. The name means “hoof ring” (horseshoe) and
probably comes from the way the mountains form a semi-circle around
the many summer farms. The area of ranches was once the largest in
Norway, with over 40 summer farms
Thank you both for your detailed suggestions! I truly appreciate any guidance at this point. Looks like nutshell might be the best route, but will be looking into the car rental as well. It would be a shame to miss glaciers.