Norway in a Nutshell is one of the most popular tourist routes in Norway, it is a great way to see Norway with kids. The easy to follow Norway in a Nutshell 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.
For those wanting to have a Norway Frozen itinerary and adventure to the land of trolls, waterfalls, and fjords then a few days in Oslo followed by the Norway in a Nutshell itinerary and a few days in Bergen makes the perfect family-friendly Frozen inspired vacation.
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.
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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 family friendly itinerary I saved approximately a third of the cost by booking each component separately.
- You can only book your train ticket yourself 90 days in advance, where as the package tour can be booked further out so the Flam railway may be fully booked in peak times.
- The price of each individual leg goes up depending on popularity so there is no guarantee it will be cheaper
- If you want to price out DIY Norway in a Nutshell you will find the links at the bottom of the page.
READ NEXT: How to organise a magical Lapland winter holiday with kids, the won’t break the bank!
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.
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
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 carriage 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, he soon realised a few photos weren’t going to cause any harm and he was soon playing up to his new found fans.
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.
READ NEXT: Planning a Baltic Cruise? Here is what to do at each port without paying for an expensive excursion.
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.
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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.
The views were idyllic, it was so quiet I could hear the rush of the waterfall in the distance.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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 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.
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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.
Try to take a seat near the front for the best views. The bus goes up to the Stalheim Hotel and then loops back down to the back to the mainroad via the famous Stalheimskleiva, one of the steepest roads in Northern Europe, with 13 hairpin bends and fantastic views back down. The road passes waterfalls that are so close they spill onto the roadside.
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.
READ NEXT: What to do in Bergen, Norway
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.
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.
- Bus Purchase tickets from the driver, timetable here. Choose Gudvangen ferjekai, Aurland for Departure and Voss stasjon, Voss for arrival. Check that the stop “Stalheim” is listed as buses that do not stop here and only stop at “Stalheim kryss” do not take the scenic road.
- What to do in Bergen
- What to do in Oslo
If you enjoyed this post please take the time to leave a comment and share with others who might find it helpful.
Interested in more outdoor destinations in Europe, check out my post on hiking in the Czech Republic, visiting Transylvania in Romania or the Black Forest in Germany.
If you are looking for more ideas of great destinations to travel with kids check out this post with the top 18 destinations for families and tips for flying with a baby here.
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Totally inspired by your blog. I’ve always loved getting out and about around the world with my backpack, but turns out I’ve lost my confidence since becoming a single mum. I’ve been wondering what the realistic options are once travelling is an option post COVID restrictions…. this has to be it! My son will be 2 in the summer and you’ve made up my mind that we’ll be heading here in the summer. Thank you 😊
Hi, we are trying to book the train tickets, but we can’t find anything online and the link you have posted isn’t working.
Do you have any updated information? Many thanks!
Thanks, I’ll check the link, here is the website http://www.vy.no/
Hi there, we love your blog and were very inspired to do the same trip to Norway. We are planning on going end of July with our 2,5 year old daughter. I was going trough the comments but couldn’t find advise on clothing for your 2 year old girl. What would you recommend for a week? I always have the feeling of like I am moving out of the house when we go somewhere and would like to keep it light and simple with a backpack like you. Thank you in advance and have a wonderful journeys this year! Xx
I wouldn’t definitely recommend rain gear a jacket, rain pants and boots. A warm fleece and then I usually take 5 outfits which can stretch out to a week with mixing and matching. There can be some beautiful days that time of year but it can also be cool so taking some tights and some clothes that can be layered to layer up and down as the temperature changes during the day.
Thanks for this great post! It was super helpful for planning my family trip with a baby. Love your blog and will be coming back for tips on other trips!
Great post. It was very informative and helpful. I was wondering what the email address to the train company is so that I may email them in regards to a car seat. Thank you
You don’t need a car seat for the train for the bus I found a contact on this website https://www.skyss.no/en/ All of the buses have a permanent car seat on board, the only problem would be if there is more than one baby then requesting an extra ahead of time would be helpful.
Thanks for the informative post! What do you think of the idea of bringing only a baby backpack carrier? The type for hiking? The risk is possibly the lack of nap/rest time on the train…I have a nearly 2 year old and wanted to limit the amount of things we lug on the train/boat. I see there’ll be plenty of rain and we have a cover for the backpack but may need waterproof pants for her too!
I think just travelling with a backpack carrier is a great idea. I often did that when I was with my husband, with the 2 kids by myself I wasn’t able to carry my luggage and my daughter at the same time which is why I brought the stroller. Rain pants are great, also good for catching ice cream drips too = less washing!
Thank you the wonderful post! Very helpful and informative. I was wondering what the email address of the bus company was in regards to the car seat
You don’t need a car seat for the train for the bus I found a contact on this website https://www.skyss.no/en/ All of the buses have a permanent car seat on board, the only problem would be if there is more than one baby then requesting an extra ahead of time would be helpful.
I wanted to thank you for posting this! We recently did the exact itinerary from Bergen to Oslo! Your blog was very nice and informative and Made my life so easy! Thank you thank you thank you 🙏
I am so thrilled to hear that! This is what is all about for me, helping other families have fun adventures.
taking tips as well from your great post, since me and the fam are thinking of going to Norway in October for 10 days. We are, however, planning a short stop in Oslo and then a few days in Tromso. Any tips for that??? love and hugs x
I have a half finished Oslo post, this will be good motivation for me to finish it and put it up. In the meantime take a look at this post. https://happinesstravelshere.com/baltic-cruise-port-guides/#oslo Be sure to pack some warm clothes. xx
Enjoyed your blog!
We are considering a trip to Norway (Oslo, Bergen, Balestrand) with our 1.5-year-old. How did you go about requesting a car seat on the bus portion of the Nutshell tour?
Also, I would assume car seats are required for taxis in Scandinavia, but what’s the policy on shuttles, public buses and so forth?
I emailed the bus company you can find contacts here. https://www.skyss.no/en/ All of the buses have a permanent car seat on board, the only problem would be if there is more than one baby then requesting an extra ahead of time would be helpful. We used an airport shuttle in Bergen and they provided a car seat and we used the train from the airport in Oslo as well as a tram which did not require a car seat. You can request a car seat if you call for a taxi. I hope that helps. That age can be difficult as they are out of the snap and go capsule but a car seat is too bulky to travel with, now that my kids are older we use a mifold booster seat for travel.
Hi. A very informative blog infact. I am planning to visit Norway in June. From Göteborg to onwards with my family and my friends family. Do you have any idea or information regarding kids activities or safari park where children can play?
Sorry I haven’t travelled from that direction but Norway is really family-friendly so you won’t have any trouble finding playgrounds for the kids.
This is awesome! Thanks so much. We have just started planning for Sept 2020. We are coming from Melbourne so this is going to be an epic trip and I imagine once in a lifetime!!! I will go and read more now. I can’t wait!! Cheers 🙂
You will have so much fun!
We followed your advice and did this same trip last summer with our three kids (8, 5, and 1). It was amazing! Thanks for all the great advice especially the family car!
Oahn, I am so please to hear that!
Hi, this has been a really helpful blog, thank you! I have used it thoroughly to plan our own trip there with my almost 2 year old this year in July. I do have a few questions, however. Firstly, how do you request the family carriage? When I booked my tickets it just automatically set my seats. Secondly, is there enough room on the trains etc for our luggage? We’ll be taking everything with us. And finally, do you have the contact details of the bus company so I can pre-book a child seat? Thanks.
Hi Lucinda, When are you going in July? Since you can only book train tickets 3 months out if you are travelling in the second half of July the tickets aren’t available yet. If you are booking as a package you may need to email or call Fjord Tours and ask them to book you in the family carriage. The other thing could be that you are booking a local train rather that the intercity train, the local trains don’t have the family carriage. Also you will only have the option to book the family carriage if you add a child to your ticket. There is space at the end of each carriage for luggage, you can also book an extra space for your push chair (these are limited) this means you can leave it up and the baby can use it as a seat. We didn’t get one of these so folded the stroller and put it in the luggage compartment. I did contact the bus company to make sure there was a seat available, I’m not sure if this is necessary or not but it was good for my peace of mind. I hope that helps, let me know how you get on. The tripadvisor Norway forum also has some good up to date advice if you get stuck. Good luck.
Hi Kaylie, thank you for this, all of this information is helping me plan our trip with our 2 and 5 year old children 🙂 i can’t seem to open the link of the trains though. The NSB site wont let me book more than 3 months ahead and i would like to book now for this summer in order to get seats on the family carriage. All of the other sites where i can book ahead of time have crazy prices. more than $200 for the train ride. Thanks for your time 🙂
Hi Keren, Set yourself an alarm for 90 days prior and remember the time difference, the only way to do it ahead that I know is to book the Norway in a Nutshell package. If tickets aren’t available it will be because they have been assigned to a package tour and usually by choosing a different time you will be able to get a ticket since the Norway in a Nutshell day trip packages leave at a fixed time first thing in the morning. I hope that helps. The TripAdvisor forum for Norway can also be helpful, just search what has been already asked first as they don’t like repeat questions.
PS I have a fantastic 1 week itinerary for Switzerland- would be perfect for your aged kids if you are interested.
I’d love to hear your recommendations on Switzerland, we don’t have plans to visit again any time soon but it will be on our list in the future.
Thanks for your great posts, really helpful in planning my trip with 6 and 1.5 yo for June. I saw a mention of ChooseFI which is my other passion after family, friends and travel:) Along those lines, did you fly back home from Bergen? Flights to Oslo are quite cheap right now- from Bergen not so much. But probably not worth taking an overnight train….any thoughts about taking a day to make the trek back from Bergen–> Oslo? Would you go the same route as Norway in a Nutshell or other options? Thanks again
So cool to find another Choose FI follower. We actually flew to Stockholm from Bergen, you can definitely train straight back Bergen-Oslo but also look into flying into Bergen and then doing Norway in a Nutshell backwards.
Hi, I’m off to Norway in the summer with my 3 year old as part of a trip around Scandinavia. How do I book the family carriage? I have a feeling it’s going to be a blessing! Your trip sounds amazing and just made me realise I really need to stay in Flam rather than Voss. Thank you.
Thanks so much for the very informative post! I’m planning to copy your trip when we are in Norway this August. I will be traveling with my husband and three kids ages 8, 5 and 1. Can you share the email address of the bus company? I want to email them as you suggested to ensure the availability of car seats. Thanks again for all the detailed information!
I’m glad to hear you enjoyed the article.
This is the email address I used: Kunde@skyss.no
Be sure to check out my post on Bergen as well if you haven’t already. Have a fantastic trip.
Norway is one of my absolute favorite countries! It is such a beautiful spot I’m glad you got to visit with your kids <3
What an adorable kids! Seems like they’re having so much fun and adventure. Love the views and your photos are amazing!
What an awesome experience! Would it make sense to do it over several days, or is there only enough for two days?
If you wanted to do it over longer you could take a Ferry from Flam to some of the smaller villages on the Fjords. Bergen is great though so make sure you have at least a couple of days there.
I am exploring going to Norway and Iceland with my family of 3 this October. Our toddler is turning 4 then and thanks to your post, I now know that it’s possible to bring my stroller there. Was worried that it’s not stroller friendly and had to only depend on a carrier.
Love the pictures you took, they are beautiful. And your kids looked like they had lots of fun!!
Truly hope our trip will come true. 🙂
Have a great trip. Book your trains in Norway early so you can get the family carriage. It was AMAZING having the kids happy and entertained for the whole journey. I would go back in a heartbeat.
Have a fantastic trip. I’m a few days away from writing an updated post on Bergen. The funicular, fish market and troll forest are a lot of fun and all stroller accessible. Be sure to check back next week to take a look at the post.
Loved your report!!! We are going in August this year. Your report was so helpful!!!
Enjoy your trip, August will be a great time to visit!
Hi thanks for your informative travelogue. I am planning to do Norway in a Nutshell alone in april, just wondering is it safe to leave the luggage on the train when one gets out to enjoy the water falls?
Great question, yes it is safe to leave your luggage on the train, the waterfall isn’t accessible other than by the train you are on so no chance of anyone jumping into the carriage and running off with something. Like always keep your wallet and passport on you but leaving a suitcase or backpack on board would be no issue. Have a great time, it is a fun trip and you will really enjoy it.
Tavira Island looks so beautiful.
Great article very informative. We are planning a trip next Easter.
Enjoy, dress warm, you’ll still find some snow around at that time of the year. Look out for the beautiful painted eggs as well.
Thanks for sharing, I have booked this independently for my husbands birthday next week and as I planned everything without consultation, I’m a bit nervous of it running to plan. We are doing it the other way round though. I have booked all the trains, ferry etc but not the train from Bergen to Voss and the bus from Voss to Gudvangen. The bus only arrives 10 minutes before the ferry leaves so I’m a bit worried in case there’s a delay but I read somewhere that the ferry will wait for the bus? Any thoughts? Thanks again x
The train from Bergen to Voss is a local train so you won’t have any problems getting tickets. The buses are timed with the ferry, I’ve never heard of anyone having a problem. I know how you feel though. With so many moving parts it can be a bit nerve-wracking. Let me know how you get on. If you feel up to sharing I’d love to see some photos, feel free to tag happinesstravelshere on facebook or instagram so I can take a look.
Sounds beautiful kaylie 😍 I’ll refer my parents to your blog. They’ve been clocking up some travel miles recently.
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.
I agree, trains are so much more fun for kids than sitting in the back seat of a car poking each other!
With beautiful waterfalls, large green spaces with hills it is a perfect place for me as I love nature. You and your kids have enjoyed a lot.
Norway looks so beautiful. I would love to visit with my kids soon. The Fjords are top of my list.
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.
What a wonderful trip! Thanks for sharing.
That’s a great blog Kaylie. What an awesome trip you and your kids had!
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.
Bergen at the end of the Norway in a Nutshell route also had fantastic hiking.
Thanks for sharing! It sounds like you all had a great trip – love the waterfall photos. And using socks as mittens is a clever idea.
This is impressive! Your kiddos are great little travelers!
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.
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. 🙂
Looks so dreamy and like a great vacation spot with kids! Definitely on my bucketlist!!!
What a fun and awesome adventure for the whole family! Norway is on my bucket list!
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!
Thank you for your kind words and have a great time by the sea, being by the ocean is always my happy place.