When we decided to take our one-year olds on an international trip, we ultimately decided on Norway.
We lingered around Bryggen, the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site located along Bergen’s harbor. This is a wooden German settlement dating from the 1700s that offers a lot of charm. Meander in the whimsical alleys behind the crooked facades for a true treat.
We finished off the day with a trip up Floibanen, a funicular that goes to the top of Mt. Floyen overlooking Bergen. We were met with spectacular views of the city as well as a troll forest and playground for the girls. There are longer hiking paths to enjoy up there are well. We stayed until sunset and also watched a storm roll in at the same time.
From Gudvangen we took a breathtaking boat ride on two of Norway’s fjords: Nærøyfjord and Aurlandsfjord.
The boat ride ended in Flåm, a picturesque village at the end of Aurlandsfjord. From there you get to ride on the scenic Flåm railway, which is actually one of the steepest regular grade train ride in the world. It is 20 km from Flåm to the mountain outpost of Myrdal, and the elevation gain is 2,831 feet.
Afterwards, you can catch the main train from Myrdal back to Bergen to end your day.
Once in Odda we still had several hours left in the day and had planned to do the short (3-hour round trip) hike to the edge of the Buerbreen offshoot of the large Folgefonna glacier. Unfortunately upon arrival to the start of the trail it started downpouring, so we settled for the view of it you can see from the parking lot.
From there we took a bus out to the Bygdøy peninsula (just outside the city center) where the two museums we wanted to see were located: the Viking Ship Museum and the Norway Folk Museum. The Viking Ship Museum is a must-see if you are at all intrigued by Viking culture and was the main reason I made the side trip to Oslo in the first place. The museum is very small so you don’t need a lot of time there. We found this actually nice as we were trying to entertain two one-year-olds as well.
The bulk of our day was actually spent at the Norway Folk Museum, which I highly recommend, especially with young kids. The Norway Folk Museum is a 35-acre open air museum housing dozens upon dozens of Norway’s historical buildings. During the summer they are even staffed with in-character attendants that help the history of these buildings come alive. This is a great place to visit with toddlers as they are generally free to roam and explore as they wish. The highlight of the Norway Folk Museum is the Gol Stave Church. This was an extremely special site for me as my family is actually from Gol, Norway so my great great grandparents actually attended this church. The museum also featured farm dwellings from the 1200s through the 1700s as well as urban apartments and shops from various time periods.
We finished off our evening in Oslo by visiting Vigeland Sculpture park. This is a free park that houses / features many Vigeland statues. We strolled down the main thoroughfare of the park and made it to the top of the hill where the sundial was just as the sun was starting to set. The perfect ending to our tour of Norway.
In the end, I think the itinerary was the perfect pace for us traveling with toddlers. I would not modify it, but do wish we had gone a little sooner (August at the latest) to have better chances with the weather. I do hope to return and complete the Trolltunga hike. When I do, I will probably turn it into a hiking trip and redo Pulpit’s Rock, try the Buerbreen hike again and add on the hike to Kjeragbolten. We also plan to do another trip to Norway in the winter months to see the northern lights as well as explore some of northern Norway’s outposts; maybe even Svalbard and the polar bears! What other sights do you recommend seeing in Norway?
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