What Is Norway In A Nutshell?
With the US dollar being at an all-time high against almost all other currencies, my cousin and I thought it would be a great time to do a mini 2-week tour of Scandinavia this past summer and visit Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Estonia, and Latvia.
Since some of the most popular tourist activities in Scandinavia are to visit the amazing fjords to take in the breathtaking natural scenery, we knew we wanted to do that.
Since we were cramming quite a few cities into our 2-week trip, after doing some research using Rick Steves, we decided it was best for us to do the world-famous Norway In A Nutshell Tour which basically takes you to all the fjord highlights via ferry, train, and bus.
We almost ended up booking a 1 day Norway In A Nutshell Tour itinerary until we saw the price which was a whopping $210 USD A PERSON!
To add insult to injury, we found out that the entire Norway In A Nutshell Tour is actually done using public transportation…
Thankfully after doing some research, we found out it was possible to book the EXACT SAME Norway In A Nutshell tour yourself using the EXACT SAME public transit options so we ended up doing just that!
In the end, we saved $60 each over booking directly with Norway In A Nutshell. It might not sound like a lot but if you are a family of 4, that is $240 saved.
If you are on a budget, I highly suggest trying to book it on your own as it isn’t that difficult and you will appreciate the tour more. We booked it all ourselves and had zeros issues.
There aren’t any Norway In A Nutshell discount codes or coupons that I know of so if you want to save money on Norway In A Nutshell tour, this is the best way to do so.
Depending on which tour you book and how early in advance you book, you could potentially save even more than $60 USD on the Norway In A Nutshell itinerary.
As stated above, we are doing the 1 day Norway In A Nutshell Tour, however there are many different options so you can easily use the same resources below to book a custom 3+ day Norway In A Nutshell Tour on your own so you don’t feel rushed.
If you are planning a trip to Norway to do Norway In A Nutshell, we highly suggest using PlanMoreTrips free travel planning app. It will make your life way easier as you try to coordinate your travel itinerary.
For our “Do It Yourself Norway In A Nutshell Tour”, we opted to fly from Copenhagen to Bergen on Norwegian Air and start in Bergen and then take the 1-day tour to Oslo.
However, if you are starting in Oslo, you can take the tour to Bergen and then fly out of there or you can do a return to Oslo via train. It is all up to you!
Is Norway In A Nutshell Worth It?
Is Norway In A Nutshell worth it? That is the number one question we get in the comments.
The short answer is YES!
Now that we have completed the entire Norway In A Nutshell tour, I can say you should 100% do it.
While even the do it yourself Norway In A Nutshell tour was still “expensive”, if I had to give a Norway In A Nutshell Tour review, I would say that it is 100% worth every penny. If you don’t believe me, you can check Trip Advisor.
I don’t think there is anywhere else in the world where you can experience such awe-inspiring natural views except maybe Iceland (which is also super expensive haha).
How To Book Norway In A Nutshell On Your Own - Full Instructions
Step 1: Find a Norway In A Nutshell Itinerary
The first thing we need to do is find a Norway In A Nutshell itinerary we want to go on.
As stated above, to the best of my understanding, all the Norway In A Nutshell Tours are done on Norwegian public transit.
What is great about the official Norway In A Nutshell website is that they provide the exact itineraries and timetables for all of their tours!
So I suggest going onto Norway In A Nutshell‘s website and choosing the itinerary you would like to do and then copying it step by step.
We did the 1 day Norway In A Nutshell itinerary from Bergen to Oslo on the left (click image to enlarge)which we used as an exact blueprint to book our tickets.
Step 2: Find Train Schedule
Once you have your Norway In A Nutshell itinerary, you just have to go to public transit sites and book your tickets.
Leg 1: Bergen – Voss
According to our official itinerary, at 8:39am we needed to catch the Bergen – Voss train. To search for this train, we went to NSB website and searched Bergen to Voss.
As you can see, you can only book regional trains via NSB so we were not able to book this local train leg on the NSB website, however we were at least able to confirm that it matched up with the Norway In A Nutshell official itinerary.
When we arrived in Bergen the night before our tour, we simply went to the NSB train station office in Bergen and bought these tickets.
Step 3: Find Bus Schedule
Leg 2: Voss – Gudvangen
For the second leg, we needed to take a local bus from Voss to Gudvangen so we searched for this on Skyss.
On the Skyss website, there were multiple station options, so after a little help from this TripAdvisor forum, we found that we needed to go from Voss station (Voss) to Gudvangen kai (Aurland). Similar to NSB, since this was a local bus, we couldn’t book it online.
On the day of the trip, we bought the ticket on board the bus and there were plenty of buses and space.
You can’t get left behind because there are like 20 buses.
For the bus, there isn’t an option to book on Skyss and according to TripAdvisor you can simply buy the tickets onboard the bus for 100 NOK. Just make sure you have exact change! That is what we did and didn’t have any issue.
From our experience in July, there were plenty of buses all lined up and it was not a problem getting a seat on the bus.
Step 4: Find Boat Schedule
Leg 3: Gudvangen – Flam
For the 3rd leg, we needed to take a ferry from Gudvangen to Flam.
VisitFlam where I was able to see all the ferry times, as well as book.
We chose the Nærøyfjord regular boat service one way which lined up with the Norway In A Nutshell official itinerary.
They accept any credit cards and email you a PDF of your tickets.
Step 5: Find Train Schedule
Leg 4: Flam – Oslo
For the final leg from Flam to Oslo, we returned to NSB and did another search.
For this leg, the departure time from Flam was off by 2 minutes compared to the official Norway In A Nutshell itinerary but I was still fairly certain this is the correct train because it arrives into Oslo S at the same time as the official itinerary. In the end, I was right and it was the same train.
Also I suggest booking as far in advance as possible because NSB offers discounted Minipris tickets and these are approximately 40% off the full fare ticket. So book EARLY because these sell out quickly!
Unfortunately, the booking process is bit annoying because some of the websites don’t process US credit cards.
Since I wrote this article, they may finally allow online booking but if they don’t then use the steps below.
For all the train legs, the NSB website and mobile app doesn’t process US Visa and Mastercards so don’t waste your time with either!
Once we had found the trains we wanted to book, we had to call NSB in Norway at +47 23 62 0000 to book them over the phone.
While it is really annoying having to call Norway, the operators do speak perfect English!
Once you get connected just ask if they speak English and explain you are from the US and are having trouble booking and would like to do it over the phone.
You can then feed them the trains you want to book.
You can then either pay over the phone with American Express or they can email you a Paypal link so you can pay with Visa or Mastercard (I did American Express).
Once you pay, they send you a PDF with your tickets.
As for actually calling Norway, the easiest way is to sign up for Skype and then either do pay-per-minute (2.3 cents to Norway) or do what I did which was simply sign up for a free 1 month trial of Skype worldwide unlimited, make my Norway calls, and then cancel before the month was over (just remember to cancel!).
Also if you are based in the US, the best time to call is before 11 AM Eastern time because Norway is +6 hours to Eastern time and their call center closes at 5pm Norway time (GMT +2).
Full details about the NSB call center are here.
Frequently Asked Questions About Norway In A Nutshell
I will try to answer all your questions about Norway In A Nutshell. If I don’t answer your questions, please leave a comment below and I will do my best.
Can you bring luggage on Norway In A Nutshell?
Yes, you can bring luggage on Norway In A Nutshell. We saw plenty of people who had rolling suitcases. We both had our carry on backpacks and had no issue at all. It is a bit annoying to carry around your baggage but yes it is possible to bring your suitcase on Norway In A Nutshell.
How much does Norway In A Nutshell cost?
It depends on the exchange rate but at the time we went 4 years ago, Norway In A Nutshell cost around $210 USD a person. In the end, we booked it all ourselves, so that saved us $60 each, so it was only $150 a person. Is that still expensive? Yes but everything in Norway is expensive so it is something you have to get used to if you are going to visit there.
Any advice before I go on Norway In A Nutshell?
I would recommend bringing a jacket and food. We went in July and it was cold on the boat. Also it is Norway so food is super expensive so bring a lunch if you want to save some money.
Is Norway In A Nutshell worth the cost?
Yes I 100% recommend you go on the tour. Norway In A Nutshell is expensive but Norway in general is expensive. I promise at the end of it, you will also be happy you did the tour.
Are there any Norway In A Nutshell coupons or Norway In A Nutshell discount codes?
From my research, I don’t think there are any Norway In A Nutshell coupons but the trains do give student and senior citizen discounts. If you book early, you can usually get the best price.
When is the best time to go on Norway In A Nutshell?
We went in July and it was great weather. If you go in winter, the weather could be an issue, as you will be outside and it gets dark early so I would recommend going in Summer.
Can I book Norway In A Nutshell from Oslo to Bergen?
Yes! We booked our Norway In A Nutshell from Bergen because we were flying in from Copenhagen and we headed towards Oslo. However if you are starting in Oslo, you can certainly book your trip from Oslo to Bergen, just go onto the Norway In A Nutshell website and copy their itineraries that start in Oslo.
Can I stay over for a night in Flam or any other cities along the way?
Yes! You can certainly stop in any of the cities along the way and break up your journey. We were in a bit of a rush so we didn’t stop but the small towns along the tour are quite nice. If you want to stop in any of the towns, just follow the same itinerary and book your next leg starting the next day.
My Final Review Of Norway In A Nutshell
If I had to give a final review of Norway In A Nutshell, I’d say it was amazing and worth doing.
Overall I am extremely happy that we ended up booking the tour ourselves instead of just booking it directly from Norway In A Nutshell.
Although it certainly took more time, I felt like I learned way more about the tour and the cities we visited than had we booked it directly. Not to mention it is nice to have $60 USD extra in our pockets.
If you have any questions about booking or the Norway In A Nutshell tour, please leave a comment below and I will do my best to answer any questions.