Norway in a Nutshell in Winter – the Best Time to visit Norwegian Fjords and What to do in Flåm (and around)!

Try Norway in a nutshell in an alternative way. Visit Norwegian fjords in winter, by car and doing something different. One thing I can assure you of – you’re gonna love it!

The area famous for Norway in a Nutshell, the route linking Oslo with Bergen and passing through the UNESCO fjords and mountains on the way. Typically, travelled by train and a boat. It goes through Geilo (where you can try dog sledding), Flåm and Myrdal. It’s the most popular in the summertime.

But how is it in winter? Why do I think it’s the best time to visit the Norwegian Fjords? What to do in Flåm, is it worth to visit Aurland and what else is hidden around.

Nærøyfjord

This area in Norway is particularly famous because of the beautiful gift of nature – a long and narrow fjord. Nærøyfjord is a part of the UNESCO World Heritage List and every year draws in a lot of tourists. The little village in the area, that got famous because of the railway is called Flåm. A bit bigger one, lying nearby, is Aurland.


Read more: Norway winter travel – the best road trip itinerary to experience winter wonderland


Why is winter the best time to visit Norwegian Fjords and Norway in a Nutshell?

The crowds are gone

Summer means summer holidays, many tourists visiting Europe, higher temperatures, and easier travel. That’s also the season, when the most popular touristic route in Norway – Norway in a nutshell, gets the busiest. You need to book your tickets well in advance, fight for accommodation and squeeze in next to the window to see the views.

Winter is different.

You won’t find many people around. You can be alone with the majestic fjords, admiring the nature. The prices will be cheaper, the bookings more available. Some of the places might be closed and it’s getting dark earlier, but this just means later sunrises and earlier sunsets, which are easier to catch.

It’s quiet

I loved sitting in the evening by the edge of the fjord and looking at the peaceful mountains (that were still visible because of the snow) and listening to the silence. We often don’t realize how much noise is in our everyday life and it’s so refreshing to cut out of it for a bit and enjoy the peace.

It’s so beautiful

I’m not saying it’s not beautiful in the summer. I’m sure it is. But the winter landscape just blows me away. The peaks covered with snow, the low sunlight, the fluffy snow covering the paths, the fireplace in the cozy cottage. This is real Norway feel for me.


Read more: Want to try dog sledding? Find out if it’s ethical and where to find the happy Huskies near Oslo.


What to do in Flåm and Aurland area and how to spend the best time in Nærøyfjord in winter?

Take a cruise (or not)

One of the most popular activities is to take a cruise that goes from Flåm to Gundvangen (and back) through beautiful and dramatic Nærøyfjord. In winter the fjord looks spectacular. We preferred to view it from the peacefulness of our cabin and from the hike in the mountains, but trying the cruise in winter might be even better than in the summer – as there won’t be many people around.

Norway in a nutshell fjord cruise
Norway in a nutshell fjord cruise

Take a train (or not)

Flåm Railway has been named one of the most beautiful train journeys in the world and is also one of the steepest. As you can imagine, it’s a big tourist attraction of the area. The train takes you from Flåm at the sea level, to Myrdal, located at 867 meters. You can’t get to Myrdal by driving, so train, cycling or walk is the only way. 

norway winter travel road trip itinerary - Norway in a nutshell Flam railway
Norway in a nutshell – winter edition. Flam railway

Pass through the longest tunnel in the world

Lærdal Tunnel measures 24.51 kilometers and it’s the longest road tunnel in the world. The journey through it is rather dull, but it’s always something different, at least when you do it for the first time 😉 You would need to pass through it if you drive through the mountains to get to Aurland or Flåm. The journey itself is amazing!

The longest road tunnel in the world

Admire the view from Stegastein viewpoint

The viewing platform, hanging 650 meters above Aurlandsfjord, makes big impression. Stegastein viewpoint sticks out 30 meters from the mountain and provides great views to the fjord and Aurland below. The road leading to it, is the beginning of the Snow road, hair-pinning above the water. If you do a winter road trip in Norway, it’s easy to get there from Aurland by car.

Stegastein view platform
Stegastein view platform
View from Stegastein viewpoint
View from Stegastein viewpoint

Read more: 10 perfect ideas for mountain lovers for every budget.


Hike the Snow road 

Aurlandsfjellet, also called a “snow road”, because of the amount of snow falling there in winter, is one of the 18 Norwegian Scenic Routes. It connects Aurland with Lærdalsøyrican and can be driven in the summer months when the snow melts. In winter, however, Snow Road is a perfect place for winter hiking or cross-country skiing. Going off the road into the hills will lead you to the wonderful landscape and open a view to the fjords below. You can hike with snowshoes or your own equipment. Remember to always have a map and a compass with you in the mountains. If you are not experienced in winter hiking, you can take an organized tour.

Snow Road
Snow road in winter
Winter hike Aurland
View from the hike

Visit Undredal village

Populated by 100 people and 500 goats, Undredal is famous for its delicious goat cheese. In the local shop in town, you can find different varieties of the cheese, including famous Norwegian brown cheese. The cheese production is very important for the local economy and the Undredal farms produce up to 10 900 kg of cheese per year. In the center of town, you can even find a monument of Undredal’s goat.

We bought some young matured goat cheese and goat sausage. The seller in the shop let us try different types. One of them was Gamalost, traditional Norwegian cheese made from soured cows milk and then cured for weeks. I wasn’t the fan.

Undredal is also home to the smallest stave church in Northern Europe. The church was closed when we arrived, but it was very tiny. You probably don’t need the big one for just 100 people in the village, as I believe the goats can wait outside 😉

Undredal in winter
Undredal in winter

 

The Undredal goat cheese shop
The Undredal goat cheese shop
Undredal wintertime
Undredal wintertime
The smallest church in Scandinavia in Undredal
The smallest church in Scandinavia in Undredal
Road to Undredal in winter
Road to Undredal in winter

Read more: Experience winter in Polish Tatra mountains.


Stay by the fjord

When you are in the beautiful location, like this one, I like to treat myself to the 24-hour view 😀 Be it camping under the stars or staying in the cozy cottage overlooking the mountains by the fjord. The last one is perfect for those winter evenings. Mulled wine on the terrace with the view – what else do you need? Book your stay in Vangsgaarden Gjestgiveri here.

Cottages by the fjord
Cottages by the fjord

Aurland view

wine with a fjord view
Wine with a fjord view

Would you like to visit Nærøyfjord in winter and try different activities that Norway in a Nutshell in winter has to offer? Do you agree that winter might be one of the best time to visit Norwegian fjords? 😉 Let me know in the comments! I will be coming back in the summer, so stay tuned!


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26 thoughts on “Norway in a Nutshell in Winter – the Best Time to visit Norwegian Fjords and What to do in Flåm (and around)!

  1. Your images are beautiful and the list of places and activities really helpful. I’ve been dithering about winter or summer for Norway, as I hate crowds but I really don’t like the dark either, and I know the days are pretty short. But the views look so crisp and clean and stunning!

    1. I totally get your concerns and I had them too. But in the south of Norway it’s not that bad with the darkness. Now, it is already 8 hours of the daylight. And it doesn’t mean that it starts to be pitch black straight away after sunrise, you have the beautiful dusk light for a while before the night comes. I think both of the times are great, just depends what you need to do. I loved winter in the Nærøyfjord, because of the reasons in the post 🙂

  2. Your photos are amazing. I love travelling in the winter – it’s cheaper, there’s fewer people, no bugs, and no sweating! Norway is definitely on my list, but I’m thinking I’m going to have to go in winter!

  3. Your photos are drool worthy and have given me a serious case of wanderlust! We have always wanted to go to Norway and after reading this I want to make sure we go in the winter! WOW!

  4. You made me swoon so hard for these vistas. Seriously some incredible natural wonders, and picturesque towns. And EMPTY! just like I like them. Truly an incredible journey you took. Will be interesting to see the differences when you go in summer!

  5. It’s bautiful indeed!! It’s maybe more convenient to visit in winter but looks very cold.. How was the temperature? And also Norway always scares me with the prices. I’d like to know about what’d be the cost!

    1. It wasn’t that bad actually! I think it was around -2 to 0 Celcius when we were there. Prices in Norway are higher than in other countries, but it is possible to travel on a budget – just avoid going out for food and cook in the kitchen instead, or buy alcohol on duty-free if you drink 😉 I just moved here, so I will be writing the article about travelling in Norway on a budget at some point for sure

  6. Your amazing shots are making me want to visit Norway right now, so beautiful! Norway is such a natural wonder, isn’t it?

  7. Wow, I can’t get over the beauty of these photos! There’s so much great information in this! I’m definitely pinning it for later because Norway is high up on my bucket list. 🙂

  8. Hi, your pictures look amazing! I just came across your blogpost, because I’m also planning to do a Norway in a Nutshell tour on my own in a few weeks. I’ve wondered if you could give some more information of the hike you did on Aurlandsfjellet? Like where did you start, do you have an exact itinerary? Did you do it without snow shoes and how long did it take you? I’ve been looking at the guided snow shoe hike but I don’t know if it’s necessary since it already will be March by then and it would be nice to save some money on that 😉

    1. Hi Debby, We started the hike where it wasn’t possible to drive any further, so from the moment that the Snow road was closed, above the Stegastein viewpoint. It was at the junction which was going to some buildings nearby – when you get there, you will see it’s there. You can also park at the Stegastein car park (easier parking) and go up by the road. Then we followed the road for a bit and then after a while turned left and up the hill, when we saw the path in the snow, accordingly to the map. When we were there it was fine to walk on the Snow Road, but the snow was very deep on the sides. We just followed the steps that were already there, which made it possible to walk without the snowshoes. I think that this might have been the path that the snowshoe tours use, as I could see their marks on the snow. It depends what weather you will have when you are there – the snow in Norwegian mountains can stay even until May and if the path is not clear, it would be quite hard without the snowshoes. Hiking poles are also very handy. It didn’t take us very long, but I can’t remember how long exactly as we diverted and stopped for photos many times 😉 Good luck and be safe!

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