Southern Norway and Iceland:

Discover Nordic Beauty and Traditions

May 15 – 29, 2016 OR June 18 – July 2, 2016

During this incredible journey, participants experienced the splendor of dramatic landscapes and the warm hearts of the people who live there. This tour was a feast for the eyes as we explored the beautiful southern coastline of Norway, with waterfalls, mountains, and fjords, and the island country of Iceland, with geysers, glaciers, and volcanoes. Along the way, we got to know the history and art of these areas, rich with tradition and culture.

The tour began in Oslo, the capital city of Norway, and travel through the region of Telemark, stopping in Kristiansand and Stavanger, and then along the Hardangerfjord to the picturesque city of Bergen. Some of the wonderful places we visited included Heddal Stave Church; Hardangervidda National Park Centre in Skinnarbu; Norwegian Industrial Workers Museum in Vemork; Rauland Folk School; Vest Telemark Museum in Eidsborg; Byrkjedal; Posebyen (old town) and Fish Quay in Kristiansand; the Hardanger Folkemuseum; and Gamle Stavanger. We sailed on the replica of the Restauration, dined at the historic Utne Hotel, and visited the famous colorful wooden buildings of Bryggen, the old wharf of Bergen.

From there we flew to “the land of fire and ice,” home to diverse geological features, hot springs, mountains, lava fields, amazing bird cliffs, moonlike landscapes, and fishing villages. In Iceland we visited Reykjavík, the most northerly capital in the world. We wandered the cobblestone streets and colorful tin houses of Old Town and toured Hallgrímskirkja, a unique church in the middle of the city. We traveled alongside the Hekla volcano and visited the Hjálparfoss waterfall. Nearby, we explored the Viking farm ruins at Stöng and visited three of Iceland’s most important spots—Geyser hot springs, Þingvellir National Park, and Gullfoss “the golden falls.“ At Westman Islands we explored bird cliffs, walked up the volcano crater, and visited “Pompeii of the North,” a volcanic excavation project.

Full Itinerary for May 15-May 29, 2016
Full Itinerary for June 18 - July 2, 2016
Full Itinerary for May 15-May 29, 2016
  1. Day 1 Sun., May 15: Minneapolis-Oslo
    Depart Minneapolis on your transatlantic flight to Oslo, Norway, via Reykjavik.
  2. Day 2 Mon., May 16: Oslo (D)
    Arrive at Gardermoen Airport in Oslo. Transfer to your hotel and take a few hours to explore this beautiful city before the “Welcome Dinner” and overnight at Thon Hotel Bristol, Oslo.
  3. Day 3 Tues., May 17: Oslo-Gaustablikk (B/L/D)
    Celebrate Syttende Mai (Norway’s Constitution Day) in Oslo. Watch the children parade in their bunader (traditional Norwegian costumes) from the Storting to the palace. Lunch at Cafe Christiania before we depart for the region of Telemark and a visit to Heddal Stave Church. Dinner and overnight at Gaustablikk Høyfjellshotell, Rjukan.
  4. Day 4 Wed., May 18: Telemark Area (B/L/D)
    Begin the day with a visit to Gullsmed K.E. Sando AS to see a demonstration of how to make traditional silver jewelry for a bunad. Next, take a guided tour of the Norsk Industrial Workers Museum and learn about the importance of this heavy water plant during WWII. Lunch and guided tour will follow at Hardangervidda National Park Center. Enjoy the beautiful scenery as we drive to the Historic Dalen Hotel for dinner and overnight.
  5. Day 5 Thurs., May 19: Eidsborg-Lofthus (B/L/D)
    A special visit and lunch is arranged by our friends at Vest Telemark Museum, including a tour of the Eidsborg Stave Church. Drive through the amazing Hardangervidda to Lofthus, where we will have dinner and overnight at Hotel Ullensvang, Lofthus.
  6. Day 6 Fri., May 20: Lofthus-Kinsarvik-Bergen (B/L)
    Explore the inspirational Hardangerfjord and gaze at majestic mountains, waterfalls, and glaciers. Today’s visits include a guided tour of the Hardanger Tinn Factory, a guided tour of Steinstø Fruit Farm with lunch, and a visit to Steindalfossen where you can walk behind the waterfall. Continue on to Bergen, where you have the evening free to dine in one of their many lovely restaurants. Overnight at Radisson Blu Royal Hotel, Bergen.
  7. Day 7 Sat., May 21: Bergen-Haugesund (B/D)
    Morning is free to explore Norway’s second largest city. Walk along the Bryggen, visit the Hanseatic Museum, or ride the Fløibanen up the mountain to see the spectacular view. The choice is yours. In the afternoon we depart for the quaint city of Haugesund where we will have dinner and an overnight stay at Scandic Maritim, Haugesund.
  8. Day 8 Sun., May 22: Haugesund-Finnøy-Stavanger (B/L/D)
    A special treat has been arranged for today. Ride on the replica of the ship Restauration, which set sail from Stavanger on July 5, 1825, carrying the first emigrants from Norway to the United States. Lunch, visits to a WWII fortress, and a guided tour of the Lauvsnes Greenhouse complete this fantastic day. Dinner and overnight at Clarion Hotel Stavanger.
  9. Day 9 Mon., May 23: Stavanger (B)
    In the morning take a guided city tour of Stavanger, including Gamle Stavanger (old town), Norsk Olje Museum, and the Stavanger Cathedral. Have the afternoon and evening free to explore the rich cultural life of this amazing city. Overnight at Clarion Hotel Stavanger.
  10. Day 10 Tues., May 24: Stavanger-Kristiansand (B/L)
    Enjoy the wonderful view of Norway’s southern coastline as we drive to Kristiansand. Some stops along the way include the quaint city of Egersund, the houses built under a cliff by the Jossingfjorden, a beautiful overlook in Feda, and the Lindesnes Lighthouse located on the southernmost point of mainland Norway. Overnight at Hotel Norge, Kristiansand.
  11. Day 11 Wed., May 25: Kristiansand-Grimstad-Oslo (B/D)
    After breakfast, take a guided tour of Kristiansand including Posebyen (old town) and Fish Quay, where the lively fish pier is an experience in itself! See fish and shellfish swimming in tanks and small boats chugging through the canal. Lunch on your own and then board the motorcoach as we head back to Oslo for our flight to Iceland. Dinner at Michel Seylmagers Hus in Porsgrunn and overnight stay at Radisson Blu Airport Hotel, Oslo.
  12. Day 12 Thurs., May 26: Oslo-Reykjavík (B/L)
    In the morning, fly from Oslo to Reykjavík. Stop in route to the Reykjavík city center at Bessastaðir, the residence of the President of Iceland. After lunch we will take a city tour, including Hallgrímskirkja Church, Handcraft Association, Perlan, Harpa, and the Parliament. Dine on your own with an overnight at Centerhotel Plaza.
  13. Day 13 Fri., May 27: Southern Area of Iceland (B/L/D)
    Explore some of the natural wonders of Iceland. At Þingvellir National Park visit the law rock (the site of the original parliament). We’ll see Geysir, a fountain geyser in the geothermal area of Iceland. Our next stop is Gullfoss, a massive waterfall, which falls 105 feet in two steps. Lunch is served at the Gullfoss Café. Last stop is Skálhólt, an ancient seat of the Icelandic bishops. Drive to Fosshotel Hekla for dinner and overnight.
  14. Day 14 Sat., May 28: Southern Area of Iceland (B/L/D)
    After breakfast at the hotel, we’ll have another full day of beautiful sights. First, we’ll see Hjálparfoss, which tumbles in two chutes over twisted basalt columns and into a blue pool. Next, depart for Þjóðveldisbærinn for a visit of the Stöng Viking Longhouse and Museum, one of Iceland’s best kept secrets. Lunch follows before the drive to Eyrabakki to see the black sand beach. On the way back to Reykjavík, visit the geothermal area of Krísuvik and Kleifarvatn Lake. “Farewell Dinner” and overnight at Centerhotel Plaza.
  15. Day 15 Sun., May 29: Reykjavík-Minneapolis (B/L)
    Free time to explore the capital city of Iceland. After lunch transfer to the airport for Trans-Atlantic flight home.

The tour operator reserves the right to make changes necessary in order to give travelers the best experience possible.

Full Itinerary for June 18 - July 2, 2016
  1. Day 1 Sat., June 18: Minneapolis-Oslo
    Depart Minneapolis on your transatlantic flight to Oslo, Norway, via Reykjavik.
  2. Day 2 Sun., June 19: Oslo (D)
    Arrive at Gardermoen Airport in Oslo. Transfer to your hotel and take a few hours to explore this beautiful city before the “Welcome Dinner” and overnight at Thon Hotel Bristol, Oslo.
  3. Day 3 Mon., June 20: Oslo-Gaustablikk (B/D)
    Morning is free to explore the capital city of Norway. Lunch on your own before we depart for the region of Telemark and a tour of the Heddel Stave Church. Dinner and overnight at Gaustablikk Høyfjellshotell, Rjukan.
  4. Day 4 Tues., June 21: Telemark Area (B/L/D)
    Begin the day with a visit to Gullsmed K.E. Sando AS to see a demonstration of how to make traditional silver jewelry for a bunad. Next have a guided tour of the Norsk Industrial Workers Museum and learn about the importance of this heavy water plant during WWII. A private lunch and guided tour follows at Hardangervidda National Park Center. Enjoy the beautiful scenery as we drive to the Historic Dalen Hotel for dinner and overnight.
  5. Day 5 Wed., June 22: Eidsborg-Grimstad-Kristiansand (B/L/D)
    A special visit and lunch is arranged by our friends at Vest Telemark Museum, including a tour of the Eidsborg Stave Church. Free time to explore Grimstad before dinner at Hesnes Gartneri & Kjokken. Drive along the old road between Grimstad and Kristiansand for our overnight stay at Hotel Norge.
  6. Day 6 Thurs., June 23: Kristiansand (B/L/D)
    After breakfast, take a guided tour of Kristiansand, including Posebyen (old town) and the Fish Quay, where the lively fish pier is an experience in itself! See fish and shellfish swimming in tanks and small boats chugging through the canal. What could be more exciting than a Midsummer celebration organized by Lisa Kristen Roppe, daughter of our guide! Overnight at the Hotel Norge.
  7. Day 7 Fri., June 24: Kristiansand-Lindesnes-Varnes-Stavanger (B/D)
    Enjoy the wonderful view of Norway’s southern coastline as we drive to Stavanger. After a visit to the Lindesnes Lighthouse, located on the southernmost point of mainland ,Norway, we will join the celebration at the American Festival in Varnes. A high number of inhabitants immigrated to the United States from 1825 to 1975 and then returned to live in Norway, bringing back American music, clothing, and housewares. From there, drive to Byrkjedal with some stops, including a beautiful overlook in Feda and houses built under a cliff by the Jossingfjorden. Dine in the intimate atmosphere of Byrkjedalstunet before an overnight stay at Clarion Hotel Stavanger.
  8. Day 8 Sat., June 25: Stavanger (B/L)
    In the morning take a guided city tour of Stavanger, including Gamle Stavanger (old town), Norsk Olje Museum, and the Stavanger Cathedral. Spend the afternoon and evening exploring the rich cultural life of this amazing city. Overnight at Clarion Hotel Stavanger.
  9. Day 9 Sun., June 26: Stavanger-Finnøy-Lofthus (B/L/D)
    A special treat has been arranged for today. Ride on the replica of the ship Restauration, which set sail from Stavanger on July 5, 1825, carrying the first emigrants from Norway to the United States. Lunch, visits to a WWII fortress, and a guided tour of the Lauvsnes Greenhouse complete this fantastic day. Dinner and overnight at Hotel Ullensvang, Lofthus.
  10. Day 10 Mon., June 27: Lofthus-Kinsarvik-Steinstø-Bergen (B/L)
    Explore the inspirational Hardangerfjord and gaze at majestic mountains, waterfalls, and glaciers. Today’s visits include a guided tour of the Hardanger Tinn Factory, a guided tour of Steinstø Fruit Farm with lunch, and a visit to Steindalfossen where you can walk behind the waterfall. Continue on to Bergen where you will have the evening free to dine in one of their many lovely restaurants. Overnight at Radisson Blu Royal Hotel, Bergen.
  11. Day 11 Tues., June 28: Bergen (B/D)
    This day is free to explore Norway’s second largest city. Walk along the Bryggen, visit the Hanseatic Museum, or ride the Fløibanen up the mountain to see the spectacular view. The choice is yours. Dinner and overnight at Radisson Blu Royal Hotel, Bergen.
  12. Day 12 Wed., June 29: Bergen-Reykjavík (B)
    In the morning, enjoy some free time before the flight from Bergen to Reykjavík. In Reykjavík, tour the Handcraft Association and Hallgrímskirkja Church. Dinner is on your own with an overnight at Centerhotel Plaza.
  13. Day 13 Thurs., June 30: Southern Area of Iceland (B/L/D)
    The Reykjavík city tour continues this morning and includes Perlan, Harpa, and the Parliament, followed by an exploration of some of the natural wonders of Iceland. At Þingvellir National Park we’ll see the law rock (the site of the original parliament). Our next stop is Gullfoss, a massive waterfall, which falls 105 feet in two steps. Lunch is served at the Gullfoss Café. The last stop is Skálhólt, an ancient seat of the Icelandic bishops. Drive to Fosshotel Hekla for dinner and an overnight stay.
  14. Day 14 Fri., July 1: Southern Area of Iceland (B/L/D)
    After breakfast at the hotel, we’ll have another full day of beautiful sights. First, see Hjálparfoss, which tumbles in two chutes over twisted basalt columns and into a blue pool. Next, depart for Þjóðveldisbærinn for a visit of the Stöng Viking Longhouse and Museum, one of Iceland’s best kept secrets. Lunch follows before the drive to Eyrabakki to see the black sand beach. On the way back to Reykjavík, visit the geothermal area of Krísuvik and Kleifarvatn Lake. “Farewell Dinner” and overnight at Centerhotel Plaza.
  15. Day 15 Sat., July 2: Reykjavík-Minneapolis (B/L)
    Free time to explore the capital city of Iceland. After lunch transfer to the airport for Trans-Atlantic flight home.

The tour operator reserves the right to make changes necessary in order to give travelers the best experience possible.

Tour Info

For more information about upcoming tours:

Katherine Johnson
563-382-9681, ext. 240

Tour Guide and Leader

Mari Anne Roppe

Mari Anne Roppe is a native Norwegian from the Toten area. With over 35 years of experience in leading tours throughout Norway, she brings unparalleled insight, knowledge and enthusiasm.

Michelle Whitehill

Michelle Whitehill is Vesterheim’s Coordinator of Tours to Norway. She has planned 14 tours, has been to Norway 8 times, and led tours in 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2014. Her organization and friendliness allow participants to sit back, relax, and enjoy the trip.

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