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

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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.

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

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 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.

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.

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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.

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Norway 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.

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

Degustation at Flam Brewery, family friendly restaurant in Flam, Norway.

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.

Narrow Fjord Ferry to Gudvangen. Norway in a Nutshell. 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.

Norrow Fjord Ferry leaving Flam in Norway with kids on board. 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.

Toddler and a Child on the Ferry in Norway Fjords. Norway is great for kids.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 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.

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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.

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 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.

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:

  • Trains
  • Ferry
  • 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.

If you enjoyed this post please take the time to leave a comment and share with others who might find it helpful.

If you are planning a trip to Norway sign up to my email alerts I will let you know when my upcoming articles about Oslo and Bergen are published.

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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Norway in a Nutshell is an itinerary that showcases the best of Norway. Travel across the country on train, boat and bus and enjoy breathtaking scenery. Norway in a Nutshell DIY or as a set itinerary, find out how plan your own trip now. #Norway

 

39 Comments

  1. 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.

  2. 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!

  3. Caitlin Boylan Reply

    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

  4. Joy Generoso Reply

    What an adorable kids! Seems like they’re having so much fun and adventure. Love the views and your photos are amazing!

  5. What an awesome experience! Would it make sense to do it over several days, or is there only enough for two days?

    • Kaylie Reply

      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.

  6. Hi Kaylie,

    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. 🙂

    Cheers,
    Jenny

    • Kaylie Reply

      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.

    • Kaylie Reply

      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.

  7. Martha twist Reply

    Loved your report!!! We are going in August this year. Your report was so helpful!!!

  8. 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?

    • Kaylie Reply

      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.

    • Kaylie Reply

      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.

  9. Samantha Stovin-Clark Reply

    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

    • Kaylie Reply

      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.

  10. Michelle Ford Reply

    Sounds beautiful kaylie 😍 I’ll refer my parents to your blog. They’ve been clocking up some travel miles recently.

  11. Muhammad Zeeshan Reply

    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.

    • Kaylie Reply

      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!

  12. 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.

  13. 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?

    • Kaylie Reply

      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.

  14. Katherine Clark Reply

    That’s a great blog Kaylie. What an awesome trip you and your kids had!

  15. 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.

    • Kaylie Reply

      Bergen at the end of the Norway in a Nutshell route also had fantastic hiking.

  16. 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.

  17. Neely Moldovan Reply

    This is impressive! Your kiddos are great little travelers!

  18. 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.

  19. 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. 🙂

  20. Looks so dreamy and like a great vacation spot with kids! Definitely on my bucketlist!!!

  21. 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!

    • Kaylie Reply

      Thank you for your kind words and have a great time by the sea, being by the ocean is always my happy place.

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