See the best of Norway... in as little as 3 days.

Norway is a beautiful country that tops many travelers’ bucket lists.  However, it’s no secret that Norway is a very expensive country to visit.  In fact, it’s often touted as the most expensive country in the world.  Because of the price of accommodation, food and drinks, many visitors choose to only spend a short time in Scandinavia.  Whether your travel constraints are due to cost, or (like my recent trip) you are faced with time constraints, here is a 3 day Norway itinerary to help you hit the highlights.

3 Day Norway Itinerary

Day One: Oslo

I found a great flight deal from the States to Oslo, Norway’s capital city.  From the airport, I took the express train to Oslo Central Station in the heart of the city center.  Unfortunately, my flight to Oslo was delayed, so I was relieved to find that my hotel, Comfort Hotel Grand Central, was just steps from the train station.  I’m not always a fan of staying in large chain hotels because they sometimes lack the personal attention and touches you’re more likely to find in a boutique hotel; however, I can assure you that the Comfort Hotel Grand Central is like no chain hotel I’ve stayed in before!  The trendy rooms were uniquely decorated and the hotel’s attention to detail was further evidenced through their expansive (and delicious) breakfast offerings.  You can find a great deal on your Oslo hotel room and book online here.

3 Day Norway Itinerary

By the time my flight landed and I checked in, I only had a few hours of daylight left, so I headed straight to the Oslo Opera House (only a three minute walk from the super conveniently located hotel).  The Opera House is said to have great harbor views from it’s roof, but unfortunately, my visit was in January and the sloped roof was iced over and closed to visitors.

3 Day Norway Itinerary

From the Opera House it was only a few minutes walk to Karl Johaus Gate Road where you can find many of the city’s tourist attractions.  The street is lovely for strolling and admiring The Grand Hotel, Parliament, The Royal Palace and The National Museum.  You may also want to head over to the Munch Museum where you can find Edvard Munch’s famous painting, “The Scream”.

3 Day Norway Itinerary

From there, I would recommend that you head towards the harbor, Aker Brygge.  The area is home to an old shipyard that has been turned into a trendy complex housing a plethora of options to shop, dine and socialize.  I was lucky enough to be shown the city by my friend, Eirick, an Oslo native, who confirmed what my guidebook told me – that many of Oslo’s best nightlife options can be found in his own neighborhood, Grünerløkka.  Grünerløkka has a Greenwich Village-type vibe and is filled with vintage shops, quirky cafes and trendy bars.  The area’s nightlife was lively and seemed to be the go-to part of town for hip, young professionals to socialize.

One day is enough to get a small taste of the city, but I would love to return to Oslo to explore more.  I would especially like to return during summer when I could better enjoy the beautiful waterfront harbor area.  (On a side note, the sunset I caught in Oslo was one of the most beautiful I’ve seen in any city in the world)!

3 Day Norway Itinerary

Day Two: Norway in a Nutshell Tour

With a short amount of time in Norway, the iconic Norway in a Nutshell Tour is a must.  The tour allows you to travel by train, bus and cruise to experience Norway’s mountains and fjords and is a popular way for tourists to get out of the cities and see more of beautiful rural Norway, especially travelers on a tight time frame.  The “tour” is not guided, but is instead a mix of transportation that takes you from Oslo to Bergen (or vice-versa).  You can choose to book your own trains, buses and cruise, or for nearly the same price, you can sign up for the “tour” through a tour company and pay them do the legwork and planning for you.

3 Day Norway Itinerary

Your day will start by catching an early morning train at Oslo Central Station.  (Another reason why staying at Comfort Hotel Grand Central was so convenient – there was no need to arrange a transfer or navigate public transportation early in the morning since the hotel is literally steps from the train station).  In my opinion, the clear highlights of the day will be your ride on The Scenic Flam Railway, and (my personal favorite) the fjord cruise.  It will be a long day (but totally worth it), and you’ll make it to Bergen in time for a late dinner.   Read about my experience on the Norway in a Nutshell Tour in detail here.

Related Post: Why You Should do Norway in a Nutshell in Winter

3 Day Norway Itinerary

Day Three: Bergen

Bergen was the city that I was the most excited to visit prior to my trip to Scandinavia.  Although Bergen is Norway’s second largest city, it has a “small town” feel and is positively charming! You could easily spend a day just strolling Bergen’s picturesque streets, shopping, cafe-hopping and sampling the city’s trendy restaurants.  Bergen is known for the colorful waterfront Bryggen, an UNESCO protected old merchants’ quarter which is the only preserved business district from the Hanseatic period.

3 Day Norway Itinerary

The Bryggen is lovely and is perfect for a stroll through, but my favorite activity in Bergen was the Floban Funicular.  From the center of town, it’s just a short walk to the funicular station.  The funicular takes you 5-8 minutes up Fløyen Mountain for a spectacular view of the city of Bergen.  If the weather is nice you can choose to walk down the mountain rather than ride down.  Before leaving Bergen you’ll also want to explore Bergen Castle (which is free of charge) and walk through the fish market.

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While in Bergen, I chose to stay at Augustin Hotel which was perfectly located (just a few minutes walk from the fish market and the harbor which provides fantastic views of Bryggen).  The hotel staff was eager to provide suggestions and answer my questions (and the hotel provides visitors with free beverages and Norwegian waffles)!  The best part?  The Augustin Hotel is home to the beautiful (and quite lively) 400 year old Altona Wine Bar, so no need to venture out for nightlife (or fantastic wine).  Check out great deals and book your Bergen hotel room online here.

3 Day Norway Itinerary

Have a few more days?

If so, you can slow down, add additional Norweigian destinations into your itinerary or choose the route I did and hop a flight to nearby Stockholm, Sweden.

Norway certainly didn’t disappoint, and I can safely say I’ll be back!  Next time during warmer weather and with enough time to visit the Lofoten Islands and Trolltunga, among other places.

Related Posts: 5 Things To Do in Stockholm (That Shouldn’t Be Missed)!, Save Me Scandinavia; Why You Should Do Norway in a Nutshell in Winter.

Have you traveled to Norway?  What would be your perfect 3 day Norway itinerary?  What cities would you add onto this trip?

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