Have you ever thought of traveling famous Norway in a Nutshell in winter? Explore some of the most beautiful landscapes in Norway off season, with peace and tranquillity. Discover the magic of the Norwegian fjords in the snow.
Norway in a Nutshell Tour
Norway in a Nutshell is the most famous tour in Norway. The route passes through the stunning landscapes in Norway, through the UNESCO fjords and mountains, linking Oslo with Bergen. Typically, it is travelled by means of public transport, which includes trains, buses, and boats. It goes through Geilo (where you can try dog sledding), passes a little town of Flam (correctly spelled Flåm), and connects it with Myrdal with the scenic Flam Railway. The journey is world-famous and very popular in the summertime.
The route starts from Oslo, goes through Geilo, Finse, Myrdal, Flam, Gudvangen, Voss and finishes in Bergen. You can also do it the other way round, starting from Bergen. Or start and finish at any part, really. More about how to organize Norway in a Nutshell in winter on your own, below.
This area in Norway is particularly famous because of the beautiful gift of nature – a long and narrow fjord. Nærøyfjord is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and every year it 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.
This post may contain affiliate links, which means that I may receive a small commission, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase through a link. More details here.
Norway in a Nutshell in winter review
How to travel Norway in a Nutshell on your own? Why visit it in offseason, in winter? What to do in Flam, is it worth to visit Aurland and what else is hidden around?
We tried to do Norway in a Nutshell in a different way, rent a car and drive to the Norway fjords in winter. Below, you can see why it ended up being one of the best trips ever. If you plan to visit Norway in winter, put this option on your list.
5 reasons you should do Norway in a Nutshell in winter
The beauty of Norway in a Nutshell winter tour and the whole area it passes through, including Flam and Nærøyfjord, is in the fact, that it’s raw, natural, and… empty. Sure, the view of the fjords doesn’t change much even with thousands of people travelling there at the same time as you – but your experience will. And with proper Norway winter clothing, you won’t even notice any cold.
If you love the outdoors and the raw Norwegian nature, I highly recommend you to travel to the Flam area off the main season and try to visit Norway in a Nutshell in winter.
#1 The crowds are gone
Summer means summer holidays, many tourists visiting Europe, higher temperatures, and easier travel. That’s also the high 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 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.
#2 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.
#3 It’s so beautiful – Norway fjords in winter
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.
#4 It’s not that cold
In the area near Flam in winter, it’s not that cold. With proper Norway winter clothing you’ll be totally fine!
#5 You can do some winter activities in the area
There are a lot of things to do in Flam and around. In winter, you can hike the snow road, go cross country skiing, or snowmobiling. You can also go for a trip to visit Oslo in winter or discover Bergen winter. Both without the crowds and with fun activities!
The highlights of Norway in a Nutshell in winter
The Flam fjord cruise in Naeroyfjord
One of the most popular activities is to take a Flam fjord cruise. Trying the cruise in winter is even than in the summer – there are not so many people around. Flam to Gundvangen ferry goes through beautiful and dramatic Nærøyfjord. The Naeroyfjord is one of the most spectacular fjords in Norway. The narrow valley cuts in the tall mountains, towering up to 1800 meters above the sea level. In winter the views are even more breathtaking when the mountains are covered with snow.
A scenic Flam Railway train (Flåmsbana)
The Flam Railway has been named one of the most beautiful train journeys in the world. It is also one of the steepest. The train takes you from Flåm to Myrdal or the other way back.
When traveling from Flam, the right side of the train generally has the best views. One of the train’s stops before getting to Myrdal powerfull Kjosfossen waterfall. Also, as this is one of the most popular things to do in Flam or in Norway in general, expect many tourists, but in winter is quieter.
The winter view from the Stegastein viewpoint
The viewing platform, hanging 650 meters above Aurlandsfjord, makes a big impression, especially in winter. Stegastein viewpoint sticks out 30 meters from the mountain and provides great views to the fjord and Aurland below. I loved the view from there in winter. Another big plus is that there is a high chance that you will be there entirely alone – which never happens in the summer!
Hiking 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. You can hike with snowshoes or your own equipment. If you are not experienced in winter hiking, you can take an organized tour.
What to take for Norway in a Nutshell in winter
The basic clothes that you should have with you when you travel Norway in a Nutshell in winter are:
- Thermal underwear like merino wool top and merino wool bottoms.
- Mid-layer – fleece or woolen sweater, Norwegian sweaters are the best!
- Top layer – try top Norwegian winter jackets like parka jackets or Goretex jacket with more insulation or down jacket.
- Warm hat covering ears – a woolen hat or a hat with fleece lining is the best for the weather in the Nordics in winter.
- A scarf
- Gloves – I usually have thin thermal glove liners that I put underneath the bigger woolen mittens. I love the ones with Norwegian design one them, like those.
- Wool socks – I prefer merino wool, so they are not itchy, keep me warm or cool me down when needed. Here are similar ones to the ones I have.
How to organize Norway in a Nutshell in winter
If you want to do Norway in a Nutshell in winter on your own, you can rent a car and follow my Norway winter itinerary for a great winter road trip in Norway. You can start it in Oslo and finish it in Bergen, or the other way round.
If you want to take public transport, then you can either book a trip on official Norway in a Nutshell website or book individual journeys separately yourself. The second option, working out Norway in a Nutshell on your own, is cheaper, but takes more time and planning.
Bergen railway trip, together with Flåm railway, are part of one of Europe’s best train trips, so a little hassle might be worth it.
Where to stay during Norway in a Nutshell in winter
Norway in a Nutshell route goes through Oslo, Geilo, Finse, Myrdal, Flam, Gudvangen, Voss and Bergen. You can do the whole trip in one, or in several days. I recommend more than one, so you can really see the beauty of the landscape and get to know the cities and towns.
Where to stay on Norway in a Nutshell in Oslo
I wrote the whole post about where to stay in Oslo – the best Oslo hotels, so I recommend you go there for recommendations!
Where to stay on Norway in a Nutshell in Geilo
$ Øen Turistsenter – This is one of the cheapest options in Geilo. You can rent the apartment or the cottages, 4-people cottage start from 400 NOK. There is access to the sauna and outdoor hot tub. Book your stay or check the prices in Øen Turistsenter here.
$$ Geilo Hotel – an affordable option for a relaxing trip to Geilo, the hotel has sauna and steam rooms, a breathtaking view of the slopes. Book your stay or check the prices in Geilo Hotel here.
$$$ Geilo Mountain Lodge – a 5-star hotel with traditional Norwegian feen and an authentic interior. It features sauna, garden, and a terrace. Staying there is like a trip in time. Book your stay or check the prices in Geilo Mountain Lodge here.
Where to stay on Norway in a Nutshell in Flåm and Aurland:
In Flåm try one of these highly recommended hotels:
$ Brekke Gard Hostel – budget accommodation option in Flam. The hostel is located 1 km from Flåm Station and the Aurlandfjord shore. Prices for a bed starting from 240 NOK. Book your stay or check the best prices in Brekke Gard Hostel here.
$$$ Flåm Marina – Hotel located just by the Flam Marina, offering stylish rooms and amazing views to Sognefjord. Book your stay or check the best prices in Flåm Marina here.
If you want to go out of Flåm, and have a little bit more peace and quiet, I can recommend staying by the fjord in Aurland, in the Vangsgaarden Gjestgiveri. The hotel is the oldest building in Aurland, located by the shores of Aurlandsfjord, offering stunning views to the mountains from your window and the terrace. You can either stay in the main building or rent one of the cabins by the water. It’s one of the most beautiful places I’ve stayed in Norway. Book your stay or check the best prices in Vangsgaarden Gjestgiveri here.
Where to stay on Norway in a Nutshell in Bergen:
In Bergen, I can recommend a very nice and cosy hotel Marken Gjestehus. It’s a budget hotel, but it offers both private and shared rooms, so you can choose what suits you best. Book your stay in Marken Gjestehus here.
Read more about Norway:
- Norway winter clothing – what to pack for Norway in winter
- Best Norwegian gifts and souvenirs to bring back from your trip
- The most interesting things to do in Bergen in winter (indoors and outdoors)
- 13+ Best things to do in Svalbard
- Svalbard snowmobile tour to the East Coast
- Norway winter travel – the best road trip
- Dog sledding in Norway
- The best things to do in Oslo in winter
Published: February 2018, Updated: February 2020.
Would you like to do Norway in a Nutshell in winter and try different Flam activities? Do you agree that winter might be one of the best time to visit Norwegian fjords? Let me know in the comments!
Like it? Pin it to your Norway board on Pinterest!