Emigration Tour to Norway

June 24 – July 5, 2025

Commemorate the 200th Anniversary of the first organized emigration of Norwegians to the United States with Vesterheim in 2025! The single masted sloop, Restauration, left Stavanger on July 4, 1825, with 52 people on board. Often referred to as the “Sloopers,” they arrived in New York City harbor on October 9. Two hundred years later, a replica of that ship is going to recreate their journey. 

Join Vesterheim leader Rolf Svanoe along with expert local Norwegian guides for this tour through the fascinating history of Norway during the 1800s. We’ll begin in Oslo with a brief city tour and a visit to the Norsk Folkemuseum. We will also visit the Amerikalinjen Hotel, which was once the headquarters of the Amerikalinjen shipping company where many Norwegian emigrants began their trip to America with hopes for a better life.

Next, we visit the Norwegian Emigration Museum in Ottestad, the only museum and research center in Norway fully dedicated to Norwegian emigration history. 

Then we travel south to the Herregården in Larvik, the former home to one of Decorah’s most famous historical people, Elisabeth Koren. Her father was headmaster of the school in Larvik when she and her husband, Rev. U. V. Koren, emigrated. 

After an overnight in Kristiansand, we drive to Norway’s southernmost point for a tour of the Lindesnes Lighthouse. Then it’s on to Lista with its strong connection to the United States. We will attend the American Festival Parade held every year in Vanse, and make a brief visit to the American Emigration Museum in Kvinesdal. 

Our tour takes us along Norway’s west coast to the Utstein Monastery Hotel and home of the replica of the Restauration ship. We will meet with the Friends of the Restauration Association and also the Tysvær and Avaldsnes History Association. 

On July 4, we will join the celebrations in Stavanger as we watch the replica of the Restauration sail away on its recreation of the journey 200 years ago. The tour ends the following day with our hearts full of wonderful memories from our travels in Norway. 

Check back for a complete itinerary and price.

The Restauration replica. Photo courtesy restauration.no.
One of the tour stops – Helleren in Jøssingfjord.
The port of Stavanger.

Day 1, Tues., June 24: Oslo (D)

Check into Grand Hotel Oslo. This evening, we have a welcome meeting and welcome dinner. Overnight at the Grand Hotel.

Day 2, Wed., June 25: Oslo (B)

After breakfast, we’ll take a two-hour city tour, which ends at the National Folkemuseum with a museum tour and presentation on how the National Folkemuseum works with the theme of emigration. Enjoy the rest of the day at your own leisure. Overnight at the Grand Hotel.

Day 3, Thurs., June 26: Oslo (B, L, D)

Enjoy a leisurely morning in Oslo. After lunch, our bus takes us north to Hamar and the Emigration Museum where we have a presentation by the director, Terje Joranger. After dinner we will enjoy an outdoor drama about Norwegian immigrants written by Tor Karseth. Tor based his play on the lives of real emigrants from the Ringsaker parish, who settled in Belmond, Iowa, in 1869 and went about building a Norwegian-American community. The second part of the drama will be based on the Kjos family from Ringsaker, who settled in Red Wing, Minnesota, in the early 1850s. The play is a musical and will be mostly in Norwegian but with an English synopsis presented. Return to Oslo and the Grand Hotel.

Day 4, Fri., June 27: Larvik Herregård-Kristiansand (B, L, D)

After breakfast we drive south to the Larvik Herregård. Here we will enjoy a guided tour and a talk about Elisabeth Hysing Koren and her father by conservator Aina Aske. Elisabeth and her husband, Rev. U V Koren, emigrated to Decorah, Iowa, in 1853. Rev. Koren was the founding pastor for many Decorah area churches and is known as a patriarch for Norwegian-American Lutherans. Elisabeth is also the author of a famous diary detailing their journey to America and their first years as immigrants. After lunch at the Herregård, we drive to Kristiansand and have dinner at our city center hotel. Overnight at Radisson Blu Caledonien Hotel.

Day 5, Sat., June 28: Kristiansand-Lista-Kvinesdal (B, L, D)

We depart Kristiansund after breakfast and drive to Lindesnes Lighthouse, the southernmost tip of Norway, where we get a full guided tour and a lunch. After lunch, we drive to Lista. There are few places in Norway where the connection to the United States is as strong as in Lista. Walking through, you can find American street names, cars, houses, restaurants, and stores. We will go on a road trip of Route 8 taking us around the small island with a stop to visit Lista Museum. In Vanse, we will get to see the parade hosted each year at the American Festival. We take part in the celebration and then travel to our hotel in Kvinesdal. Overnight at Hotel Utsikten.

Day 6, Sun., June 29: Kvinesdal-Egersund (B, D)

After breakfast we visit the American Emigration Museum in Kvinesdal for a private tour. Then we continue our drive to Helleren I Jøssingfjorden. The bus takes us to Egersund, which has been voted Norway’s prettiest town. After dinner at the hotel, we will enjoy a showing of the short film: John – the Last Cowboy. It pictures John, a 90-year-old cowboy in Montana, whose parents grew up in Egersund. Overnight at Grand Hotel Egersund.

Day 7, Mon., June 30: Jæren-Mosterøy (B, L, D)

After breakfast we travel along the coast of Jæren, home to Norway’s longest beach. We stop at Orre Beach to stretch our legs. We will have a presentation to learn about the Jæren house, which we saw earlier in the tour at the Oslo Norwegian Folk Museum. The next stop is the statue Sword in Rock – a monument by Hafrsfjord that signifies the place where Harald Fair Hair gathered Norway into one kingdom in the year 872. Then we drive to Utstein Kloster on the Island of Mosterøy, where we will have a guided tour of the monastery and the home dock to the the sloop Restauration. After dinner we will have a presentation by Gunnar Nerheim and Gunleif Seldal. Nerheim is an expert on Cleng Peerson, the leader of the group that emigrated in 1825 aboard the Restauration, and Gunleif Seldal is an expert on Restauration. Overnight at Utstein Kloster Hotel.

Day 8, Tues., July 1: Avaldsnes-Haugesund (B, L, D)

Today we will go to Avaldsnes Historic Center. This museum depicts the history of the area from when it was the oldest king’s seat in Norway. We will have a guided tour of the Olav’s Church (Avaldsnes Kirke) next to the museum. Next we have a tour of the Visnes Mining Museum. We will also have a presentation on how Norwegian copper found its way to the Statue of Liberty. After lunch we have an additional presentation about Cleng Peerson. Overnight in Haugesund.

Day 9, Wed., July 2: Tysvær-Stavanger (B, L, D)

After breakfast, a local historian will show us Tysvær’s historic sights. Many of the original emigrants in 1825 came from this area. On our journey to Stavanger we will take a detour to Finnøy where we will visit the factory where they built the replica of the Restauration. We will also see the house where Cleng Peerson lived with his wife. Overnight at Clarion Hotel Stavanger.

Day 10, Thurs., July 3: Stavanger (B, L)

We start the day with breakfast and a walking tour of the old city of Stavanger. After lunch we have a free afternoon. The evening includes the Restauration Sailaway Party, where the Restauration replica will be the backdrop of the event. Overnight at Clarion Hotel Stavanger.

Day 11, Fri., July 4: Stavanger (B, L, D)

After breakfast, we take part in the celebration of the jubilee as the Restauration replica sets sail on its voyage to America! In the evening, we will enjoy a concert and have our farewell dinner in a private room at the hotel. Overnight at Clarion Hotel Stavanger.

Day 12, Sat., July 5: Stavanger (B)

After breakfast we catch a shuttle to the Stavanger airport and the end of our tour.

To be announced.
Deposit: $500 per person

Minimum 25 participants; Maximum 50

Please read “Tour Terms and Conditions”

Price Includes:
– Hotel accommodations for 11 nights
– Daily breakfast (B) 8 lunches (L), 9 dinners (D)
– Ground transportation in a comfortable motor coach
– Gratuity to bus drivers and local guides
– Admission fees to museums and attractions
– Use of a personal listening device
– Vesterheim luggage tags, name badges and tour information

Please Note: The tour will involve standing, walking (including cobblestones and uneven terrain), and stairs. There may not be elevators at all sites. You will handle your own luggage.

Reserve Your Spot on Tour

For more information about upcoming tours:

Rolf Svanoe
563-382-9681, ext. 240

Vesterheim is aware of concern about the impact travel has on the environment. We are committed to encouraging travel and cultural exploration, while taking responsibility for a fair share of the environmental cost tours incur. Starting in 2025, for each tour to Norway, Vesterheim will invest in the National Philanthropic Trust: Rick Steves’ Europe Climate Smart Fund. Read more here.

Tour Leader

LEADER: Rolf Svanoe

As Vesterheim Coordinator of Tours to Norway, Rolf has many connections to Norway and experiences leading tour groups. Find out more about him here.