Please sign in to post.

travel advice for 2 weeks in Norway with kids

We are planning our summer trip this year to Iceland and Norway and I gotta say I'm struggling with the Norway portion. Maybe it's because I have very little knowledge of Norway, but figuring out a plan is proving to be difficult. We usually rent a car on our trips, but I'm wondering if it would make more sense to just rely on the trains/ferries here, especially since my kids are very prone to car sickness. We love to just visit towns, take in the nature and sights, hike, bike, swim. My boys are 13 and 11, so old enough to do most things I'd want to do. We will be coming from Copenhagen, so my first question is if we should ferry over to Norway, or take the train up to Oslo? I know I want a few days in Oslo, and at least a day or two in Bergen. We much prefer to have only a few places to stay, and not have 1 night stays places. Is there a good central location to do this for when visiting fjords? I loved the idea of the Norway in Nutshell, however with four of us traveling for a month in very expensive countries to begin with, it's just outside our budget. Also, any highly recommended stops that kids enjoy?
I'm really searching for any and all suggestions at this point.
Thanks in advance!

Posted by
6551 posts

Planning a trip in Norway can be a bit tricky if you're not familiar with the country, so don't feel bad for that. How much time will you have in Norway? An entire fortnight or is that including Iceland and Denmark?

If your children have problems with motion sickness that will be an issue in Norway, the roads and hilly and winding. So using trains and ferries is a good idea. But a car can be helpful depending on where you want to go.

We will be coming from Copenhagen, so my first question is if we
should ferry over to Norway, or take the train up to Oslo?

If you just want to get to Oslo, the ferry is my suggestion. But the train is a good choice if you want to make a stop along the way. You can spend a night in Gothenburg and see a bit of Sweden also.

I know I want a few days in Oslo, and at least a day or two in Bergen.
We much prefer to have only a few places to stay, and not have 1 night
stays places. Is there a good central location to do this for when
visiting fjords?

No, transportation is slow in Norway in general, so it is probably a good idea to spend a night or two somewhere between Oslo and Bergen.

I loved the idea of the Norway in Nutshell, however with four of us
traveling for a month in very expensive countries to begin with, it's
just outside our budget.

The Norway in a Nutshell tour is just a combined ticket using what is mostly regular public transportation, so you can easily do it on your own just buying ordinary tickets.

Also, any highly recommended stops that kids enjoy?

Sorry for a boring answer, but you know them a lot better than I do. What do they enjoy?

Posted by
49 posts

Thank you for your thoughtful reply. Yes, I was worried about the driving there with my kiddos and car sickness, so I think the train and ferry is a good choice. Is Gothenburg in your opinion worth a stop? I was thinking we do a night there to break up the train ride. Currently my plan includes 11 nights, 12 days in Norway. My kids love swimming, biking, and just general exploring places. They are well traveled, and we usually just try to find a few days on our trips that are more kid focused. So it sounds like the Norway in a Nutshell is just a recommended route that anyone can do on their own?
Also, is there anything special about Lilehammer? I had friends recommend going there, but besides the Olympics being there (which doesn't excite me), I can't find any reason to go.
Thanks so much!!

Posted by
27352 posts

You can purchase all the components of the Nutshell route yourself. I did it last year. I think you'll probably save at least $100 (US) per person. However, it will still be expensive (welcome to Norway).

You can book the train between Oslo and Flam (or vice versa) in one chunk on the rail website vy.no. That avoids the need to buy the Flamsbana ticket separately. I don't think that gets you a discount on the Flamsbana, but the mainline (Oslo-Myrdal) component of the trip may be cheaper if bought early. Be sure you understand the cancellation policy. That website also sells train tickets between Voss and Bergen, or anything else you might want along the main rail line from Oslo to Myrdal, Voss and Bergen.

NorwaysBest.com sells the Flam-Gudvangen ferry tickets separately as well as in the complete Nutshell package if you want to buy them that way. They sell tickets for just one of the two companies running that route. The second company's boats are a bit cheaper, I think, but fhe various Nutshell links may work more efficiently with the ferry departures handled by NorwaysBest. I believe the second company is Lustrabaatane, but I may be wrong; I'm traveling and don't have access to my notes for Norway. Rick explains the two ferry companies in his guide to Norway, which ou really, really need to buy. The cost of that book is a pittance compare to the expense of taking a family to Norway, and if there's a good option for saving money, Rick is usually very good about explaining it.

The bus ticket from Gudvangen up to Voss can normally be purchased right from the driver. I haven't read any warning about full buses. It's possible the so-called "Visitor Center" in Flam (really just a ticket-seller, not a tourist-information office) sells tickets for that bus. If so, I don't know whether it marks up the price or instead gets a commission from the bus company. I did see some other visitors walk up to the bus with tickets in hand;I just never found out the source of those tickets.

Lodging in Flam (the logical place to break the Nutshell trip if you want to do so) is very limited and thus costly. That issue can be avoided by taking the trip straight through in one day, as many people do. It does make for a long day, but the fact is that, except for casual hiking, it's not so easy to plan an activity in Flam that won't break the bank if you just spend one night there. The activities designed for tourists (like RIB--fast-boat--trips) can be very expensive, and the public buses (themselves not cheap) tend to run very infrequently.

Posted by
6551 posts

Is Gothenburg in your opinion worth a stop? I was thinking we do a
night there to break up the train ride.

Yes, very much worth it. Gothenburg is a lovely city well worth a couple of nights.

Currently my plan includes 11 nights, 12 days in Norway.

That is quite a lot of time in Norway and you certainly have time for more than just the Oslo-Flåm-Bergen route. Maybe consider taking the train to Trondheim and then continue south along the coast. Where are you going after Norway? Iceland or home?

My kids love swimming, biking, and just general exploring places. They
are well traveled, and we usually just try to find a few days on our
trips that are more kid focused.

For swimming Norway might not be the best destination, neither for biking. Although there are certainly options for both.

So it sounds like the Norway in a Nutshell is just a recommended route
that anyone can do on their own?

Yes, you can book all the legs on your own and modify the route as you wish.

Also, is there anything special about Lilehammer? I had friends
recommend going there, but besides the Olympics being there (which
doesn't excite me), I can't find any reason to go.

It has a cute town centre so for that reason worth a visit if that interests you.

Posted by
979 posts

Also, is there anything special about Lilehammer? I had friends
recommend going there, but besides the Olympics being there (which
doesn't excite me), I can't find any reason to go.
It has a cute town centre so for that reason worth a visit if that interests you.

We used Lillehammer as a way to break up the long train/bus trip from Oslo to Alesund. Was a nice place for a night and half a day before taking the Rauma railway.