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.
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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.
Read more: What to pack for Norway in winter – Norway winter clothing
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.
The whole of Norway in the winter is magical. Winter in Norway might also be my favourite season (apart from the summer, of course, when there are more hiking and outdoor opportunities).
#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!
Read more: Want to try dog sledding? Find out if it’s ethical and where to find the happy Huskies near Oslo.
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!
Read more: 10 perfect ideas for mountain lovers for every budget.
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
Make sure you take proper Norway winter clothing with you. For the full list check here.
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.
Read more: The most interesting things to do in Bergen in winter (indoors and outdoors)
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.
Read more: Norway winter travel – the best road trip itinerary to experience winter wonderland
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!
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32 thoughts on “Discover Magical Norway in a Nutshell in winter & on your own”
Wow the pictures are incredible! Norway looks stunning 🙂
Thank you, Becky! It really is 🙂
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!
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 🙂
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!
Thank you! I can’t agree more for travelling in winter, but maybe you can visit Norway twice – in summer and in winter? 🙂
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!
Thank you! I’m sure you are going to love it 🙂
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!
Yes, I want to see that too 😉
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!
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
I love your pictures. Norway looks so incredibly beautiful at this time of year! Thanks for this inspiration! I may aim to visit next winter.
Your amazing shots are making me want to visit Norway right now, so beautiful! Norway is such a natural wonder, isn’t it?
Thank you, you should maybe visit soon?:) It really is!
Wow this looks incredible! Thanks so much for the tips 🙂
I’m glad you like it! 🙂
Wow! Norway is beautiful. It looks like such a fun trip!
Norway is very beautiful and the trip was great!
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. 🙂
Thanks so much 🙂 I hope you’ll manage to go to Norway soon!
I’m really excited to head to Norway in May! It’ll be my first time <3
Sending you love from GLT!
That’s exciting! I’m sure you’re gonna love it 🙂
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 😉
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!
Thank you very much for your response! 🙂
That’s so beautiful! Are the trains (Oslo to Bergen and to Flåm) just as accessible in winter? I’ve also noticed there aren’t many fjord tours in winter but you managed to take one right? Which one did you take? Thanks for all your great tips.
Hi Sophie, yes, the trains run in winter as well. We didn’t take any fjord tour this time, but the ferries run also in winter, a bit less frequently. Here you can see the schedule https://www.visitflam.com/globalassets/pdf/rutetider/rutetider-2018/fjord-cruise-naroyfjord-2018.pdf
Ive spent hours reading your blogs thank you theyre perfectly detailed without being overwhelming! I was worried about travelling in winter but after reading your info feel so much more confident…alas not confident about driving in winter we have never had to drive in snow!
Is this just as easy to do using the trains?
Hi Cam, I’m glad you find them helpful.
If you’ve never driven in snow before, then probably it’s best idea to not to try it in Norway – the conditions can get quite bad. You will be able to do a similar trip to ours also with trains and buses – you can check trains on vy.no website.
Hello from Australia,
Norway in a Nutshell!! Thoroughly enjoyed every
aspect of that trip. Saw quite a bit of Norway and would love to go
back and see even more.
Thank you for the informative blogs and Happy Travels.?
Hi Vera, glad you liked the trip and Norway!