Nærøyfjord, Norway

Norway in a Nutshell Tour: A Review

Tiếng Việt

Norway in a Nutshell is the most popular tour in Norway which allows visitors to have a brief look at Mother Nature’s finest masterpiece in a very limited time. 


Provided by Fjord ToursNorway in a Nutshell is a year-round tour that can be started at either Bergen or Oslo. The tour can be done within one day (or two days if you start from Oslo like us), but it can be extended based on your needs. For us, I can shortly summarize the whole trip as follow:

  • Day 1: Oslo – Bergen (train, it takes around 6 to 7 hours)
  • Day 2: Bergen – Voss (train), Voss – Gudvangen (bus), Gudvangen – Flåm (ferry), Flåm – Myrdal (Flåmsbana Railway), Myrdal – Oslo (train)

The tour is pricey (like everything else in Norway) but I could say it’s worth every cent. If you prefer to buy individual tickets, you can take a look at the Vy – the Norwegian State Railways, but the total price for individual tickets will be more or less the same. There are four highlights in this tour:

The Oslo-Bergen Railway

Often cited as one of the most beautiful rail journeys in the world, the Oslo-Bergen railway is an opportunity to catch a glimpse of Norway’s best scenery. It is a symphony of elements, in which earth, water, air and fire (represented by the sun) are harmoniously combined.

After passing through the forests of southern Norway, the train ascends to the snow-capped Hardangervidda Plateau and then continue down through the pretty woodlands around Voss and on into Bergen. At first, I did not believe the advertising of Norway in a Nutshell. But I was wrong because the scenery is truly breathtaking.

Oslo-Bergen Railway

Bryggen, Bergen

Setting amid a picturesque coastal landscape of seven fjords and seven mountains, Bergen is undoubtedly one of Europe’s most beautiful cities. The son of Harald Sigurdsson, King Olav Kyrre founded this city in the early 11th century. He named it Bjørgvin which means ‘the green meadow among the mountains.

For centuries, it served as a major trading centre in northern Europe. Its focal point is the UNESCO World Heritage-listed waterfront of Bryggen, an archaic tangled of wooden buildings dated back to the 13th century. Properties of the powerful Hanseatic League for over 400 years, were filled with goods such as stockfish from northern Norway and cereal from Europe.

Scorching sky at Bryggen
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Nærøyfjorden

Inscribed on the prestigious World Heritage List in 2005 by UNESCO, Nærøyfjorden is perhaps the most well-known fjord in Norway and certainly one of its finest. Its name derives from the Norse god Njord, who rules over the sea and the seafaring. This arm of Sognefjorden is only 18 kilometres long and it stretches between Gudvangen and the mountain Beitelen.

With merely 250 metres at its narrowest point, it is the narrowest natural attraction in Norway. The deep blue fjord is surrounded by towering high cliffs, some even reach over 1400 metres, hanging valleys and waterfalls plummeting from the height. A handful of hamlets and meadows are added to this dramatic landscape, making it even more picturesque.

Fjord Cruise

Flåm and Flåmsbana Railway

Tucked between imposing mountains, lush green valleys and deep blue fjord, the village of Flåm is a gem of Norway in a Nutshell. Since the 19th century, this charming hamlet at the inner end of the Aurlandsfjorden – another branch of the vast Sognefjorden – has been a major tourist attraction, drawing thousands of visitors annually.

The town is connected to Gudvangen via catamarans, or to Myrdal via the 20-kilometre Flåmsbana Railway – the world’s steepest railway tracks that run without cable or rack wheels. During this amazing train journey, you will be able to enjoy the beauty of Flåm where rivers cutting through deep ravines, waterfalls cascading down the sides of steep and mountain farms clinging dizzily to the cliffs.

Valley of Flåm
Flåmsbana Railway

Practical Information about Norway in a Nutshell

  • The most photogenic part of the Oslo-Bergen Railway is between Lake Finse and Myrdal Station, where the train goes upward to the Plateau (or downward, it depends on which direction you came from).
  • Taking photos through the window is a bit tricky because of the reflection. But it is doable, just keep in mind two things: 1) Covering all the bright surface around you with a cloth or anything in dark colour, 2) Pressing the lens flatly on the glass.
  • The scenery switches sides constantly, so if you want to have a good photo, you should be a bit active. Standing in the vestibule is also a good option (huge window, and easy to switch sides).
  • The Premium Cruise is more expensive than the ordinary one (around 300 Nkr) but you will have more time to explore Gudvangen and Flåm.
  • It’s recommended to bring a wind jacket on Norway in a Nutshell tour. Because the train trip from Finse to Myrdal and Gudvangen to Flåm is quite cold, even in summer.
  • Turn up early at the Flambana Station so you can have a window seat on the Flambana Railway.

It is difficult to capture Norway’s beauty in just a few pictures, so I decided to make a video for this journey. Enjoy!

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DISCLAIMER:

This post is written based on my personal experience. It was neither sponsored nor solicited by Fjord Tours or any third party. All texts and pictures reflect my own opinions and are provided solely for informational purpose. I will not be liable for any errors or damages by making use of this information.

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46 thoughts on “Norway in a Nutshell Tour: A Review”

  1. I read this blog post with great interest. Norway is somewhere I’ve always wanted to visit but haven’t because of how expensive it is. Great photos and I enjoyed the video too! I will check out more about Norway in a nutshell tour because your photos and video convinced me even more to maybe save a lot and catch 1.5 hour flight to Norway in the summer 🙂 I think you were lucky that the weather favored you as well! 🙂

    1. Yes, I think I had luck with the weather. There were some summer rains but overall it was good. If you have any question about the tour or Oslo, feel free to ask. I am not an expert but I will try my best 🙂
      Thanks a lot for reading! I am very glad that you like my post 😉

  2. Wow, breathtaking photos! I will definitely check out the tour if I go to Norway. How much did it cost for your tour? By the way, how do you embed the Youtube video on your post?

    1. Thanks for your compliments!
      Just put the Youtube link into your post 🙂 It will automatically be embedded when you post it.
      The whole Norway in a Nutshell cost me around 290€ (quite expensive). But it was during peak season, so I guess I cannot complain. Some said buying individual tickets are cheaper, but definitively not in July, except you bought the tickets a few months in advance .
      Hope it helps 🙂

  3. Your photos are gorgeous! I went to Bergen once for a weekend but I was visiting friends and didn’t do much nature sight-seeing. Guess I’ll have to settle for your amazing photography for now.

  4. Roberto Rodriguez – Buenos Aires, Argentina – Soy viajero por naturaleza y convicción. Mis viajes me han llevado por distintos países del mundo, y he decidido poner mis experiencias en palabras e imágenes para compartirlas en este blog. Incluiré recorridos y sugerencias en forma periódica para que aproveches mejor tu viaje, o para ayudarte también a elegir tu próximo destino.
    Roberto Rodriguez says:

    Thanks for sharing this information. It is very useful when planning a trip to Norway. I like the look & feel of your blog a lot. What is the name of the WordPress Thema you are using? It’s amazing. Greetings from Argentina.

      1. Roberto Rodriguez – Buenos Aires, Argentina – Soy viajero por naturaleza y convicción. Mis viajes me han llevado por distintos países del mundo, y he decidido poner mis experiencias en palabras e imágenes para compartirlas en este blog. Incluiré recorridos y sugerencias en forma periódica para que aproveches mejor tu viaje, o para ayudarte también a elegir tu próximo destino.
        Roberto Rodriguez says:

        Thanks for the data. It’s a great theme, looks awesome in you blog. Happy New Year to you too!

  5. Regina Martins – South Africa – I am a Certified Scrum Trainer® and Certified Scrum Professional® and enjoy my work as an agile coach and trainer. I am also a Kanban Management Professional® and an NLP® Practitioner – Masters. I have 15+ years of experience with managing IT projects in the financial services and telecoms industries. I discovered Scrum in 2010 and have never looked back from that. I get energized when I am involved in building self-organised teams and facilitating these teams to deliver value to business stakeholders. For fun, I engage in public speaking, reading, photography, travel and driving very fast. Visit my personal blog on http://reginamartins.com where I blog about things that make me look at the world with wide-eyed wonder.
    Regina Martins says:

    Beautiful photos. Makes me want to visit Norway soon.

  6. quarksire – Wolf Creek, Colorado – Quarksire's blog here , on a roll sumtimes others not..enjoy :)
    quarksire says:

    i watch froedes trike videos at nortrike.net an want to go fly norway it lewks like an awesome place to fly around 🙂

  7. We loved our Norway in a Nutshell experience. We chose to drive, but did take the Flamsbana and the Fjord cruises. Norway is an absolute must for any world traveler. A beautiful country with beautiful and kind people.

    1. I agree. I was stunned by its natural beauty. Even cities like Oslo or Bergen are beautiful as well. I can’t wait to visit the country again 🙂

  8. A great series of photos! Some stunning shots!

  9. Norway looks so spectacular and your photos are superb. The cost has unfortunately kept it pushed down my list but hopefully I’ll get there.

    1. Thank you, Caroline! I agree that costs is a deterrent factor. Not only in Norway, but in other Scandinavian countries as well 🙁

    1. Many thanks! I was pretty lucky on that day 🙂 Just 20 minutes ago, the sky was heavily clouded and there was a high chance that I couldn’t see the sunset.

  10. Forestwood – A philosophic Australian writes here, one who admits to loving Scandinavia. I'm interested in global politics, but scratch the surface and you'll find I am a practical Environmentalist with an Egalitarian bent trying to unleash a little creativity. Scandinavian culture, literature and traditions are close to my heart, even though I am Australian. Travel broadens the mind, so I travel whenever I can. I am an avid reader, I enjoy photography, writing and a variety of crafts, particularly traditional art forms. You are always welcome to stop by at S.t.P.A.
    Forestwood says:

    Thanks for reliving my memories of this trip some years back. I stood in the vestibule because it was difficult to get any seats in the carriage as loads of tourists snavelled all the seats. I had luggage and enjoyed the view through the vestibule doors. I couldn’t believe that most people on the cruise part got out playing cards to occupy themselves ( this was prior to smartphones) when there was so much to see. I stayed overnight at Stalheim ( only possible in summer), which was fantastic scenery. There is even a small museum there. You were lucky with the weather that day! Did you know that there is a ‘slow’ trip video on this train ride now?

    1. Well, the vestibule doors offer the best view 🙂 I had to leave my seat several times for that view. And many of my photos was made there.
      No, I didn’t know there was a video on the train ride. The only thing I noticed was the screen showing temperature 🙂

      1. Forestwood – A philosophic Australian writes here, one who admits to loving Scandinavia. I'm interested in global politics, but scratch the surface and you'll find I am a practical Environmentalist with an Egalitarian bent trying to unleash a little creativity. Scandinavian culture, literature and traditions are close to my heart, even though I am Australian. Travel broadens the mind, so I travel whenever I can. I am an avid reader, I enjoy photography, writing and a variety of crafts, particularly traditional art forms. You are always welcome to stop by at S.t.P.A.
        Forestwood says:

        Hi again Len, It is a camera mounted on front of the train. This one is from Bergen to Oslo. Great views.

      2. Wow! The view from the cockpit is really special. My most favourite part is when the train running through the snowy landscape. Thanks for letting me know 🙂

      3. Forestwood – A philosophic Australian writes here, one who admits to loving Scandinavia. I'm interested in global politics, but scratch the surface and you'll find I am a practical Environmentalist with an Egalitarian bent trying to unleash a little creativity. Scandinavian culture, literature and traditions are close to my heart, even though I am Australian. Travel broadens the mind, so I travel whenever I can. I am an avid reader, I enjoy photography, writing and a variety of crafts, particularly traditional art forms. You are always welcome to stop by at S.t.P.A.
        Forestwood says:

        There are a few other Norwegian train journeys like this too.

  11. It seems you were a lot luckier than me with the weather haha. Did you find Norway expensive? It was crazy for me.

    1. It’s expensive as hell >.< I remember paying 5-6 euro for a cup of muesli, which is five times more expensive than in Germany. Dining out is a real luxury there. The price in Sweden is slightly cheaper, but still hardly affordable 🙂

      1. Hahah so true! When we arrived to Sweden we thought “How reasonable” when it’s quite expensive too. Even supermarkets were super pricy. Here in the UK food is good and affordable. Going our is a bit more expensive but in Norway, as you say, a luxury

    1. It’s indeed. I would love to see winter in Norway (the aurora is definitely a must-see), but I’m afraid of the coldness 😛

      1. We went end of October but I think tou can see the Northern Lights from.mid September (maybe the weather is mild then?)…or just wrap it up it is well worth it!

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