NORWAY IN A NUTSHELL WITH KIDS

Norway in a Nutshell is one of the most popular tourist routes in Norway, it is a great way for families with kids to see some of the beauty in Norway  The easy to follow Norway in a Nutshell with kids itinerary includes 3 train rides, a bus, and a ferry. It may sound daunting to do Norway in a Nutshell with children, toddlers or a baby but it is very easy to follow, well set up for families and almost impossible to miss a connection. Read on for the information you need to plan your own DIY Norway in a Nutshell with kids. An adventure to the land of Trolls, Waterfalls, and Fjords.

This was my first solo backpacking trip with my 2 kids and it was the perfect trip to launch off with. Norway is a very child-friendly destination. I took a backpack and a stroller, a 2-year-old toddler, and a 5-year-old. You could equally do this with suitcases and it would be suitable for families with younger babies and also families with teenagers.

Norway in a Nutshell DIY Back packing with kids

A mirror selfie before we head off on our first backpacking adventure.

It is possible to complete the Norway in a Nutshell tour in one day, starting out early from Oslo and returning on the overnight train from Bergen but I highly recommend you stay overnight in Flam and spend some time in Bergen.

NORWAY IN A NUTSHELL WITH KIDS: How to Book?

You can purchase the Norway in a Nutshell one-day itinerary from the Norwegian State Railway or an overnight itinerary from Fjord Tours

For my Norway in a Nutshell with kids DIY itinerary I saved approximately a third of the cost by booking each component separately. But I couldn’t replicate the savings when I did a dummy itinerary while writing this post so be sure to check both options. I’ll include the links at the bottom of the post if you decide you want to try pricing out a DIY tour.

NORWAY IN A NUTSHELL PART 1: Train from Oslo to Myrdal

The Oslo train station is large sleek modern building, it is easy to navigate with clear signage. There are plenty of eateries and convenience stores where you can buy some snacks for the journey.

Book your train well in advance to ensure you can reserve a seat in the family carriage. The family carriage has a separate soft play area, a television with children’s programming and a large bathroom with a fold down change table. Babies and toddlers will ride on your lap but when making the booking you can also reserve a space for your pram or stroller free of charge, giving you somewhere for babies to sit and nap during the journey. These spaces are limited so you may need to collapse and stow your stroller with your luggage if they are already reserved.

Norway in a Nutshell with kids in the family carriage of the Oslo to Bergen train

Children are given an activity pack by the conductor. There is also free wifi in every carriage, and the ability to heat baby food and bottles in the cafe car.

The Norway in a Nutshell itinerary is as much about the journey as the destination so these extra facilities really add to the comfort and make the 4 and a half hour train journey a pleasure.

The trip from Oslo to Myrdal takes you through a picturesque national park.  The train passes through hilly green countryside, rugged desert like mountainous areas, and past lakes, which we found still frozen in early summer.

Blake and Ella spent most of the journey playing with other children in the play area. I was able to enjoy the scenery and catch up on some emails without once being asked: “Are we there yet?”. It was great to watch the kids, along with their new found friends, excitedly rush to look out the windows each time we rolled past a snow covered landscape.

For the best views try to reserve seats on the left-hand side of the train.

NORWAY IN A NUTSHELL PART 2: The Flam Railway from Myrdal to Flam

Norway Nutshell with kids. The Flam Railway. One of the most scenic train journeys in the world.The Flam railway is one of the steepest railways of its type in the world. The line drops 867 metres down to a tributary of the Sognefjord; Norway’s largest and deepest Fjord. Rolling past steep mountainside impressive waterfalls and through 20 tunnels it’s clear to see why the Flam railway has been voted one of the world’s most beautiful railways and is loved by train enthusiast the world over.

Our train arrived on the same platform as the departing train to Flam so it was easy to walk across the platform to board the next train. The schedule is coordinated to coincide with the arriving train from Oslo while still giving passengers enough time to transfer. Our train was running late and the Flam train had waited approximately 10 minutes after the scheduled departure time for our arrival.

According to our ticket, it was open seating meaning we could sit anywhere on the train, we soon found out this wasn’t the case after jumping onto the closest carriage we were soon told there were a number of carriages that were allocated only to tour groups. It was too late to change carriages so we were allowed to stay where we were until the next stop.

The carriage was taking a huge tour group from China. Ella with blonde ringlets and huge blue eyes is seriously cute and our fellow passengers obviously thought so too. We soon had a dozen passengers hovered over her with cameras clicking and bulbs flashing, this was quite upsetting to Blake who jumped in to protect her like Kevin Costner in the Bodyguard. Heart warming to see him so protective of his little sister and he soon realised a few photos weren’t going to cause any harm and he was soon playing up to his new found fans.

Norway in a Nutshell with kids. Enjoy stopping at a beautiful waterfall along the Flam Railway.It wasn’t long before the train came to a stop at one of the largest waterfalls, we were able to disembark to get pictures and change to the appropriate carriage.

Getting off the train you can immediately feel the spray from the waterfall so have rain jackets on hand. Up above the waterfall an opera singer in a flowing red velvet dress sang a haunting tune, this was all quite surreal, not to everyone’s taste but it certainly added to the drama.

Back onto the train and now seated next to a group of Scottish grannies whose cruise ship was in port in Flam.

 

Norway in a Nutshell DIY. Norway in a Nutshell with kids. The Flam railway is one of the rail journeys in the world.

We passed many more waterfalls, bursting with water and falling from a great height down sheer cliffs, the train travelled slow enough to have time to take in the view and take some pictures. The hour passes very quickly and looking back I wish I had considered taking the trip again the following day.

Flam itself is a small town set on the shores of the Fjord. It is easy to navigate on foot. We took the short walk across the river to Flam Camping & Youth hostel where I had booked a cabin. My initial thoughts had been to book a hotel, but with limited availability at the time of booking, a cabin at the campground was the only option. Sometimes these forced opportunities can be a blessing in disguise.

Norway in a Nutshell with kids. An overnight stay in a Cabin in Flam is perfect for breaking up the journey when travelling with Children.Our 2 bedroom cabin with kitchen and bathroom was set on the side of the hill in a position to maximise the view of the Brekkefossen waterfall and across the valley.

Norway in a Nutshell. Back packing with kids following the Norway in a Nutshell route.

The views were idyllic, it was so quiet I could hear the rush of the waterfall in the distance.

Norway in a Nutshell with a Toddler. A stay in Flam overnight is perfect with Children.The was plenty of space for the kids to run and also a playground on site for them to enjoy.

Flam is just a small town so you don’t need a lot of time here but we certainly needed some downtime after the day of traveling I chose to stay 2 nights.

Pick up a trail map of some of the hikes in the area from the tourist office, or download one here

Norway in a nutshell with a baby. How to book and plan your adventure to Norway.My plan had been to walk to the Brekkefossen Waterfall but we were warned the path was slippery after recent heavy rain. Instead, we took a trail that leads up onto farmland and gave a beautiful view out over the Fjord, a cruise ship was in port which dwarfed the town.

Norway in a Nutshell with kids. Follow this itinerary to plan your adventure to Norway.There were a number of playgrounds around the town and plenty of open space for the kids to run and play.

We took an early dinner in the Aegir Brew Pub, Flam’s own microbrewery. With a children’s menu and a cozy atmosphere, it is family friendly.

Norway in a Nutshell with kids. An overnight in Flam is a great way to break up the trip. Viking Brew Pub.The menu consists of refined Viking inspired meals made from locally sourced produce. For craft beer lovers there is an excellent selection of world class beers from hoppy IPAs to rich, chocolatey porters. I highly recommend the matched beer and food tasting menu

NORWAY IN A NUTSHELL PART 3: Naeroyfjord Ferry from Flam to Gudvangan

Norway in a Nutshell with kids. Follow the itinerary from Oslo to Bergen , which includes a ride on the Flam railway and down the Naeroyfjord.The ferry from Flam to Gudvangan travels down the Naeroyfjord. Listed as a UNESCO world heritage site and making up part of the larger Sognefjord.

Norway in a Nutshell with Kids.Waterfalls cascade down the steep sides of the fjord which seem to rise straight out of the ocean and then ascend steeply to snow covered peaks.

The dark colour of the deep fjord accentuates the brightly coloured buildings which make up the remote villages nestled on the shoreline.

The newer electric boat is a quicker journey. With an electric motor, it is able to cruise with almost no sound in keeping with the tranquility of the area. Large panoramic windows also allow the view to be enjoyed from inside the cabin.

Our trip was on the classic boat, which is a slightly longer journey. On the classic boat the best views are found on deck. Since it was a clear day we took a seat outside on the back deck.

As we pulled out from the port seagulls knowingly followed the boat, they cautiously ate bread scraps straight from the passenger’s hands. The kids were impressed, I was reminded of picnics at the beach chasing birds away from our fish ‘n’ chips.

Even though it was a sunny day in July the air was still cool. Not thinking we would need mittens at this time of year I had to get a bit inventive and fashioned gloves out of socks to give the kids a bit of extra warmth, be sure to have a few warm layers within easy reach.

Norway in a Nutshell with kids. A DIY itinerary allows more flexibility with children whether you are with a baby, toddler or teenagers. Back packing or with a Suitcase. This will be a memorable journey.

NORWAY IN A NUTSHELL PART4: Bus from Gudvangen to Voss

There were plenty of buses waiting at the terminal when our Ferry arrived. The ticket is included in the Norway in a Nutshell package but if you are doing DIY you can purchase a ticket from the driver. I had emailed the bus company on the advice of the Flam tourist board to request a car seat for Ella who by Norwegian law would be required to ride in one. There was a permanent car seat on each bus but I would recommend prearranging, for your own peace of mind, especially if you are travelling with more than one child.

I was blown away by the scenery on the bus ride, after already seeing so many beautiful landscapes I wasn’t sure how a bus ride could compare.

Norway in a Nutshell with kids. A DIY itinerary allows more flexibility with children whether you are with a baby, toddler or teenagers. Back packing or with a Suitcase. This will be a memorable journey.Try to take a seat near the front for the best views. The bus loops up the old postal road giving a fantastic view back down the valley while passing many waterfalls these are so close they almost spill onto the roadside at times.

Norway in a Nutshell with kids. A DIY itinerary allows more flexibility with children whether you are with a baby, toddler or teenagers. Back packing or with a Suitcase. This will be a memorable journey.Even once on the main road to Voss, there is still plenty to see, remote farmland, crystal clear rivers, lakes and many more waterfalls decorate the landscape.

NORWAY IN A NUTSHELL PART5: Train from Voss-Bergen

There is the option of taking a regional train or a local train from Voss. I chose to take the regional train since the timing worked well for our arrival and we could utilise the family carriage again. The default option when booking Norway in a Nutshell as a package is a local train. The journey only takes around 1 hour and 20 minutes so it is not really worthwhile adding extra transit time just to take the better train.  

Norway in a Nutshell with kids. A DIY itinerary allows more flexibility with children whether you are with a baby, toddler or teenagers. Back packing or with a Suitcase. This will be a memorable journey.Don’t expect the scenery to be any less impressive though, the train runs along a number of narrow lakes before following along the southern shoreline of the Sørfjorden. Choose seats on the right for the best view across the Fjord.

Norway in a Nutshell with children whether you are with a baby, toddler or teenagers.Arriving in Bergen marked the end of our Norway in a Nutshell itinerary and a successful first attempt at solo backpacking with kids.

It was raining in Bergen, considering it is one of the rainiest cities in the world this wasn’t unexpected. An easy short flat walk to our hotel where we enjoyed an afternoon tea of cardamom waffles and Norwegian brown cheese.  

DIY resources:

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Norway in a Nutshell with Kids. The ultimate guide for families.

Interested in more outdoor destinations in Europe, check out my post on the Black Forest in Germany.

 

Comments

  1. Great post! I think you are amazing for doing this. I have one 5 years old and we are only now going for a week by the sea in our country. I get tired just thinking about traveling like you did. Well done mama!

  2. I would love to travel with my kids and something like this would be perfect! Sounds like you guys had a great time. And I’m glad it was super family-friendly. 🙂

  3. This looks like a wonderful trip! I think that’s awesome how you traveled with two young kids and made everything seem so seamless, although I’m sure it took a lot of planning. What a great way to make some amazing memories. I’m definitely inspired to take a trip to Norway.

  4. Always wanted to go to Norway, plus…you had me a “great craft beer!” My husband and I are avid hikers and your post made me think this was a place that should be on our list. Awesome pics. Thanks for posting in the ChooseFI group! This was an enjoyable read.

  5. It’s a beautiful short trip to introduce one to Norway! But having done a longer trip, I know that this would have left me longing for more. Having said that, even after two weeks in Norway, I still long for more. 🙂 Such a beautiful nature destination!
    PS Despite the fact that Norway is one of the family-friendliest places I have ever been to, I still think that it’s really brave of you to do this alone with two young kids. Where to next?

    • I am definitely looking forward to returning to Norway, and after an amazing trip seeing the Northern Lights in Finland, I would love to go to Norway in the Winter.

  6. Hi- Did you consider driving as it gives more flexibility in terms of making your own schedule and visiting the places you want to see? As an added benefit, it is much cheaper too.

    If yes, what were the reasons you didn’t take that option. Just Feb, we were in NZ and drove over 3,500 kms so norway should be similar and easier distance wise.

    • It would also be great to drive if you had more time. I was alone with my 2 kids. With 2 little kids in the car, it can be tough to stay focused on the road so taking the train trip was the only option for me. And the trains are so fun.

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