Norway is loaded with attractions that the entire family can enjoy. Surveys have shown that if kids have a vote, Oslo and Bergen are their favorite stopovers. From Viking ships to open-air folkloric parks and from cable-car rides into the mountains to amusement parks, Norway is filled with summer fun. The only problem may be that at midsummer the sun doesn't set, and it may be hard to get kids to go to bed.
Beginning in Oslo in the east, this itinerary traverses the south coast of Norway, with overnight stopovers in Kristiansand S and Stavanger before a descent onto Bergen, where we'll spend 3 nights. Using Bergen as a base will allow time to explore Norway's greatest attraction, the fjord district, which appeals to all ages.
Days 1 & 2: Oslo: Gateway to Norway
Flying into Oslo, you can spend 2 busy days having fun even before renting a car and setting out on a motor trip through the southern regions to the fjord district in the west, centering on Bergen. After checking into an Oslo hotel for 2 nights, set out on a Viking adventure. Reached by ferry from the harbor at Oslo, Bygdøy is your best bet. Once on this peninsula, you can spend 3 to 4 hours and also have lunch here. That amount of time will allow you to explore the polar exploration ship Fram, the world-famous balsa log raft Kon-Tiki, the Norwegian Maritime Museum, the Norwegian Folk Museum, and the Viking Ship Museum. The latter seems to have special fascination for kids of all ages. In the afternoon, head for Tryvannstårnet, the loftiest lookout tower in Scandinavia, with a viewing gallery at 570m (1,870 ft.). You can even see Sweden in the east, and the views of the Oslofjord are panoramic.
In the early evening, take the entire family for a walk along the complex of restaurants and shops that line the harbor at Aker Brygge. This is one of the most colorful parts of the city and an ideal place to have a Norwegian seafood dinner. The restaurants serve meat, too, though kids may balk at eating reindeer, a meat as popular in Norway as steak in Texas.
On the morning of Day 2, plan a 2-hour summer cruise, which will take in the blue beauty of the Oslofjord, with its islands and narrow sounds. You'll be back in Oslo in time for lunch. After a meal, take kids to see the Children's Art Museum, designed especially for them. Later go for a stroll along the precincts of Akershus Castle & Fortress. Cap the afternoon by going to Norgesparken Tusenfryd, the largest amusement park in Norway. It's a smaller version of Copenhagen's fabled Tivoli Gardens.
Day 3: Kristiansand S: The Summer City
Get an early start on the morning of Day 3 and prepare for a long but scenic drive along the southeastern coast of Norway -- all the way to the country's fifth-largest city, Kristiansand S, lying 342km (212 miles) southwest of Oslo. Kristiansand is reached by following the E18 all the way.
After lunch, set out for some summer fun by booking a ticket on the Stesdalsbanen in Grovane, an 1894 locomotive running on a narrow-gauge track for 4.8km (3 miles). Follow that up with a stroll through the Agder Museum of Natural History and Botanical Garden before rounding off the late afternoon and early evening with a visit to the Kristiansand Zoo and Amusement Park, the biggest family attraction in the south. It's been called Norway's version of Disneyland. Overnight in Kristiansand before heading west the following day.
Day 4: Stavanger: Capital of the Southwest
On the morning of Day 4, leave Kristiansand and drive northwest along E18 into Stavanger, a distance of 247km (153 miles). Anchor into a hotel for the night and set out to explore. The most important pilgrimage is to Preikestolen, or "Pulpit Rock," towering 609m (1,998 ft.) over beautiful Lysefjord. It's more scenic to take the boat trip instead of a bus or car to the destination. Back in Stavanger, you can spend 2 hours exploring Gamle Stavanger, or Old Town, one of the northern Europe's best preserved, with a visit to its Domkirke or cathedral. You can visit the Norwegian Children's Museum, the greatest playpen in Norway for kids 5 to 12 years old.
Days 5, 6 & 7: Bergen: Queen of the Fjords
On the morning of Day 5, leave Stavanger and head for Bergen, a journey by car and ferry that locals can do in 4 1/2 hours, although most foreign visitors spend at least 6 1/2 hours because of stopovers. The trip is complicated but the most scenic in the southwest of the country.
Once you finally arrive in Bergen, check into a hotel for 3 nights. If you arrive in the late afternoon, you'll still have time to take the Fløibanen funicular to the top of Fløien, one of Bergen's famous seven hills. Follow up with an early evening stroll along the historic Bryggen waterfront, where you may want to have a family dinner.
On the morning of Day 6, set out to explore some of the major attractions of Bergen, beginning with the Bergen Aquarium and Gamle Bergen, the latter a collection of wooden houses from the 18th and 19th centuries set in a park. In the afternoon, visit Troldhaugen, Edvard Grieg's beautiful Victorian summer villa, which makes a pleasant excursion.
On the morning of Day 7, go out with a bang: Take a 1-day tour, lasting 12 hours, through some of Norway's most dramatic fjords and towering mountain peaks. This will be one of the most scenic journeys of your lifetime.
In Bergen, you can make train or plane connections back to Oslo, which most likely will be your departure point from Norway.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.