8 day Norway itinerary in August
May 12, 2024 9:41 AM   Subscribe

We'll be in Norway for 8 days with our 7 year old. We'd love an itinerary for how many days to spend where to see as much as we can of this beautiful country. We're flying in and out of Oslo but need recommendations for where else to visit.

What neighborhood of Oslo should we stay in?

Should we rent a car? Or get around by train between cities and public transportation/Uber within cities?

We love stunning nature views, hiking (less than 3-4 miles), quirky/unique/interesting city stuff. Budget travel is better, but happy to spend on experiences and tours that are worth it. Our kid doesn't need anything too kid-specific. He loves animals, nature, hiking and we'll make sure to stop by playgrounds when we have time. We'd love to try some kind of family-friendly via ferrata adventure course if there are good views.

We can make an effort to learn very basic Norwegian over the summer, but is a translation app enough to get around?

Any other general tips? Suggestions?
posted by dabadoo to Travel & Transportation around Norway (16 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: Forgot to mention -- we're also looking into renting an RV or sleeper van if it is easy to plan and find overnight spots. This would be our first time renting an RV but we've been wanting to do it for years.

Is there cell phone reception and data coverage everywhere? Which SIM cards are recommended for most coverage throughout the country?
posted by dabadoo at 9:58 AM on May 12

English is spoken fluently everywhere. Public transit is great and easy to navigate. I went up north to Tromso and having a car there was very useful, but in Bergen/Oslo, not so much.

I highly recommend visiting Bergen, definitely my favorite city there, and specifically taking the train Oslo<>Bergen.
posted by so fucking future at 10:01 AM on May 12 [1 favorite]

I really enjoyed this little constellation of naval museums. One of buildings has a 19th century polar exploration ship than you can walk around inside!

The sculptures at The Vigeland Park are too weird to be missed.

I have AT&T and cellphone worked everywhere for voice/data. Just check which plan you're on for international data!
posted by gregr at 10:45 AM on May 12 [1 favorite]

Go out to Bygdøy and see all the museums, including the folk museum. (Unfortunately, the Viking ship museum is closed for renovations.) This is a full day at least.

Go to Akershus castle and Akershus fortress and if your kid's into it, the Resistance Museum is pretty cool.

Vigeland is pleasant and interesting, but it might be weird if your kid is freaked out by nude statues. (I visited it lots of times as a kid, and it was okay, but definitely weird for american kids.)

A day spent wandering around the harbor (Aker Brygge) is a lot of fun in the summer, with plenty to do.

If you were going to be there longer, going to Bergen via the train is a good choice, but with only eight days, I'm not so sure I'd do that, because you're going to spend a day in travel, a day at least at Bergen and then travel back. It's fantastic, but I'm temperamentally not suited for a go-go-go vacation.
posted by RedEmma at 11:36 AM on May 12 [1 favorite]

Also... eating out and especially drinking is very expensive, so keep that in mind.
posted by RedEmma at 11:42 AM on May 12 [1 favorite]

The trains are incredible, actually have a space dedicated to kids (with small play area) in a specific car. Bergen is a bit far from Oslo, but worth it!

The castle on the bay is very walkable and your child should enjoy it with out too much walking… the WWII resistance museum is great for an adult, but maybe too boring for him/her
posted by aggienfo at 11:46 AM on May 12

What neighborhood of Oslo should we stay in?

Oslo is pretty small, so you'll be fine most places. Frogner is where a lot of the embassies are and is quite pretty. I've had friends stay just behind Slottsparken around Inkognitoterasse and they loved it. There's lots of nice places towards St Hanshaugen as well, while Grünnerløkka is a bit more "hip". Grønland/Tøyen is a focal point of immigration, so has a different vibe.

I'd avoid the area near the central station personally.
posted by knapah at 12:49 PM on May 12

One of the joys of Oslo is how quickly you can get out into the forest. Take a tram up to Kjelsås or Holmenkollen and you can be out walking in Nordmarka in no time.
posted by knapah at 12:57 PM on May 12 [2 favorites]

The train between Oslo and Bergen is indeed stunning, and I would highly recommend it. Maybe just one way since your timeline is a bit tight, then fly back.

I went to Svalbard when I was in Norway and it was amazing, but it's probably a lot to fit into your itinerary. It was worth it for me, though. If you can't do that, definitely try to make it somewhere north of the Arctic Circle; seeing the sun up all night is pretty mind-blowing.
posted by number9dream at 1:32 PM on May 12 [1 favorite]

The Norwegian cities are cool but Norway is really more about the stuff that isn't the cities. You need to see the really big fjords and waterfalls, maybe a glacier, hike up hill to somewhere with an amazing view. The far North is fantastic but 8 days is not enough to do that and the fjords. I am also going to say not Bergen. Instead train to the tourist jumping off point of Myrdal/ Flam, then ferry to somewhere like Sogndal or Balestrand, maybe pick up a minivan along the way if possible, then make your way up via the roads and car ferries to (for example) Alesund. You can visit the Jostedalsbreen glacier on the way if that appeals. Doing something like this will let you are more of the country. A minivan may be an issue to find outside the bigger cities but do also look to see whether hostels would have family rooms which would keep costs down for space and also give kitchen access.

From assume it's a short trip to Andalsnes and you can get a train from there back to Oslo.
posted by biffa at 2:26 PM on May 12 [1 favorite]

In Oslo I would stay as far away from the Rådhuset as possible! My choice would be around Grünerløkka.
posted by alby at 3:02 AM on May 13

Agreed that cities are not the thing to see in Norway. (Although Oslo and Bergen are certainly nice to visit!) But then, I'm easily impressed, even with things like tunnels, so YMMV. Public transport is cool, but the distances are big and the travel will take time that you could have spent admiring the views or having a snowball fight in the middle of summer. We used our own car in Norway. Had zero issues getting everywhere with just English.

A Norwegian friend warned us of two things:

1) do not count on weather being nice (case in point: it was raining for 10 days out of 14 that we spent in Norway during the nicest, warmest summer ever);

2) DO NOT EVER drive your vehicle on grass, only on asphalt/concrete - the ground is so wet due to all that rain, that you're going to inevitably get stuck in it (case in point: we witnessed 3 stranded RVs getting rescued by local farmers with tractors during those 14 days).
posted by gakiko at 3:06 AM on May 13

Ditto Alesund on the roads. That area has these amazing bridges that gently lope from island to island with the most incredible mountains and sea as the backdrop. Have only seen it in pictures but that's where I would go.
posted by wnissen at 10:19 AM on May 13

One of the highlights of our Norway trip with kids, last year, was the Høyt & Lavt ropes course park. We went to the one outside of Bergen, but it looks like they have them all over the country.
posted by maayan at 1:01 PM on May 13


From assume it's a short trip to Andalsnes and you can get a train from there back to Oslo.

should say:

From Alesund it's a short trip to Andalsnes and you can get a train from there back to Oslo.
posted by biffa at 2:50 PM on May 13

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