New views of the old country
Discovering modern values in Norwegian heritage
April - October
Best suited for
People with Norwegian ancestry, genes and heritage, and those who simply seek inspiration from Norway’s lifestyle and society
Who are you, and where do you come from? The answer of course lies in the past. Nearly a million Norwegians emigrated to the USA – the land of opportunity – in the late 19th and early 20th centuries in search of a better life. Could one of them be your ancestor? Find out with a journey that will give a very personal resonance to your travelling experience – expertly tailored by Up Norway to bring you closer to your own family heritage.
We invite you to embark on this 10-day journey of discovery where we will curate connections which may take you closer to your own ancestry, learn more about your personal genealogy and find out about the Nordic culture that has shaped your way of living through generations. We’ll take you back to our roots, among fjords, mountains, forests and coastlines.
On this journey, you will come to understand why we Norwegians are among the happiest people on the planet and why we score among the highest in the UN’s sustainability goals. You will learn about the movement referred to as Norwegian Romantic Nationalism: a perfect example of today’s UN Sustainable Development Goal 11.4: ‘Strengthen efforts to protect and safeguard the world’s cultural and natural heritage.’ This is your chance to write your own story as you gain new perspectives on historic ground.
Highlights & Take aways
- An immersive journey through Norway’s natural landscapes and rich cultural heritage
- Travel from East to West like a local - using scenic railways and local express boats through fjords and along the coast
- Curated encounters with places and people; stories that give perspective
Insider Tips: Take this trip in May to make the National Day celebrations on May 17th part of your journey.
Back to the roots: Welcome to Oslo and Norway
A driver will pick you up from the airport and take you straight to your urban home, Amerikalinjen. 100 years after The Norwegian America Line opened their HQ in 1919, this iconic building has been reborn as a chic boutique hotel.
The journey began here for thousands of hopeful Norwegians travelling with the Norwegian America Line to the land of opportunity. Amerikalinjen commemorate this story in exceptional fashion. Outside, explore Oslo at your own pace using our insider recommendations based on our extensive local knowledge and network of local partners, curated to your unique interests.
Tonight we invite you to Winther at Aker Brygge Harbour where Siri and her team will introduce you to Norwegian cheese and Arctic cider at a tasting session followed by an informal dinner based on local produce. You’ll soon get why Norway is winning international awards for its cheese and cider!
Discover Oslo – Capital of Nordic cool
On an accompanied walking tour, your own guide will introduce you to the impressive urban development that has transformed Oslo from dull industrial capital to a vibrant cultural hub. Your digital Oslo Pass gives you free public transportation and entry to a range of local attractions. Gain insight into World War II history, stroll through sculpture parks and visit iconic attractions such as the brand new Munch and National Museums and the Oslo Opera House.
The Deichman Library - a modern architectural gem in a prime waterfront location - offers equal opportunities by inviting locals and visitors to a space where everyone can be alone together, with access to resources ranging from books, music and instruments to 3D printers and sewing machines.
Insider tip: Visit the large-scale outdoor art installation at Roseslottet which tells the story of the fight for democracy and freedom during Norway's occupation years. We will arrange a guide who will introduce you to stories from the war and how they are relevant today.
Feeling like a true Explorer
The 1909 Bergen railway is the highest major rail route in Northern Europe. Its construction presented unprecedented engineering challenges. Arctic explorer Fridtjof Nansen’s observations during ski trips across these mountains in 1884 helped determine the route.
On your way to Finse, the highest point on the railway 1222 meters above sea level, you will pass through desolate mountain terrain and see snow-covered peaks even in midsummer.
Overlooking the stunning Hardangerjøkulen glacier, Finse 1222 offers a balance between tasteful modern design and elegant history. The hotel has hosted polar heroes and prominent royals, and offers a distinct sense of calm while serving as an outdoor adventure playground. Check in for a 2 night mountain retreat, whether you’re an explorer or a mindful observer.
Blue Ice and the Blue Hour
Glaciers all around the world are retreating as a result of climate change. So it is at Hardangerjøkulen. Together with a local nature guide, you can spend today exploring its impressive and almost magical blue ice Up close, and at the same time understand the consequences of human behaviour and how we as individuals can play a tiny role in making a big positive difference.
With its impressive panoramic views, you may prefer to lounge back at the hotel with a good book. The majestic backdrops inspire reflections, especially during the magical blue hour between day and night. Grab a Rallarpils or some cocoa, settle in front of the fire and hear stories of great adventures from the past.
Journey on the Flåm railway and cruise to fjord village Balestrand
Step directly onto the train and continue on Europe’s steepest railway line to Flåm, dropping 862 meters (2831 ft) down to the fjord below. You’ll soon see why Flåm railway is called one of the most beautiful in the world.
At 205 km in length and 1303 m at its deepest point, the Sognefjord is Norway’s longest and deepest fjord, and the boat trip to fjord village Balestrand is spectacular. It's a truly out of this world experience: cruising through a fjord with mountains towering more than a thousand meters above your head.
Balestrand is important in Norwegian architectural history. Here you’ll find many examples of ‘dragon style’ wooden villas, built by artists or wealthy visitors in the late 19th and early 20th century. Kviknes Hotel is one of these. Check in for 2 nights and step into the age of national romance.
National Romance and Regeneration
After independence in 1814, the task began of defining a distinct Norwegian identity. Various folks collected artifacts of a distinctly Norwegian culture. These had an enduring impact on Norway’s cultural identity, which you can identify in its arts, classical music and literature.This movement is referred to as Norwegian Romantic Nationalism and is a perfect example of one of today’s Sustainable Development Goals: ‘Strengthen efforts to protect and safeguard the world’s cultural and natural heritage.’
Spend today exploring National Romance in your own way - stroll or cycle to The Cider House for a tasting and tapas lunch, visit St. Olav’s Church, admire the idyllic setting that inspired Disney’s Frozen (you can even take an invigorating mountain hike in it), and let a host from the Kvikne family walk you through the hotel’s extensive art collection by artists who were inspired by Balestrand’s magic.
Seafaring to Kalvåg coastal village
The arty community of Kalvåg is like a mini-Lofoten. A charming fishing village situated on a mountainous island surrounded by a picturesque archipelago teeming with birdlife. Knutholmen is an integral part of the local community: a family-run hotel with historic waterside houses in stunning surroundings, and a restaurant serving excellent seafood. Thanks to Svein Inge Fosse and his family, Kalvåg is a living example of sustainable philosophy, with historic buildings renovated into beautiful boutique hotel rooms and apartments flavoured with local colour.
Settle into the rhythm of life on the coast. Venture on a short village ramble with a member of the Fosse family and engage in stories about the people who have lived on the remote surrounding islands for thousands of years. Stroll through streets with restored wooden buildings housing craft shops, galleries and museums, while sea eagles circle overhead.
Indulge in seafood delicacies from the Knutholmen kitchen and enjoy the long summer night on the harbourfront.
Friluftsliv – a Brilliant Concept
The expression friluftsliv was coined by the famous Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen in the 1850s. It means the value of spending time in remote locations for spiritual and physical wellbeing. Simple recreation in nature, without destroying or disturbing anything. To promote friluftsliv, the Fosse family has donated the storm cabin Dosabu to be open to everyone.
You can hike to Dosabu in all weathers, with a guide. This extraordinary cabin perches on the edge of rocky terrain with panoramic views over the open sea. It’s well worth the hour it takes to get there: the view is outstanding, and so is the picnic lunch you’ll bring with you.
‘Gå på tur’ – ‘going hiking’ – is a collective obsession among Norwegians: everyone’s either doing it or talking about doing it. Understanding the Norwegian soul starts here, with the marvellous concept of friluftsliv.
A Musical Rhapsody in Bergen
Your voyage at sea finishes today as you embark on the last stretch from Kalvåg to Bergen on board one of Norled’s environmentally friendy express ferries. Today’s challenge for ferries and express boats is not just about running smoothly and on time, but also drastically reducing emissions. As one of the major ferry operators in Norway, Norled sees it as its duty to be at the forefront of innovative developments.
Their pioneering emission-free ferry is based on battery technology. They have also constructed some of the largest express boats in the world in carbon, which is lighter than aluminium and so uses less fuel. They are also testing ways of reducing emissions from older diesel ferries.
On arrival at Bergen, you will be met by one of your hosts from Opus 16: a boutique hotel in a prime location run by the Grieg family, whose hotel concept revolves around the life and music of composer Edvard Grieg (Opus 16 is his popular piano concerto). Your stay will include storytelling and a tour of the hotel’s Grieg exhibition.
Bergen’s historic trading significance is commemorated in the fresco paintings in Bergen Børs, next door to Opus 16. The UNESCO listed wharf is just a couple of minutes stroll away, with its iconic colourful wooden houses and vibrant cafe, bar and restaurant scene. Explore Bergen using our insider tips as your guide.
Around lunchtime, venture to Troldhaugen, the former residence of Edvard Grieg, for a classical concert which will introduce you to his work. ‘Morning Mood’, ‘Solveig’s Song’ and ‘In the Hall of the Mountain King’ have been used countless times in songs, films and TV programmes. This evocative music is saturated with Norway’s spectacular landscapes, legends, trolls and heroes like Ibsen’s Peer Gynt.
Tonight’s dinner is served at the historic Bryggen Tracteursted, an intimate restaurant on the wharf with a modern kitchen inspired by Bergen and Hanseatic food culture. Enjoy your victory feast!
New routes, folk roots
We hope to send you home enriched and inspired from your trip in Norway. You may also reflect on how an encounter with history and heritage – our own roots – can help us understand who we are, and how to make good ethical choices in our current lives and for the future.
At departure time the next morning, we’ll make sure there’s a driver ready to take you back to the airport, wave goodbye and invite you back to explore other parts of Norway - perhaps in a different season.
Insider Tips: The trip can be extended to include a specific area of interest in Norway if you know your descendants' origins and would like to explore that area. We can also arrange research by a genealogist.
New Views of the Old Country - Heritage Journey
‘The heritage trip planned for us by Up Norway was so amazing. The family hosted us on their farm in a valley near where my family had lived for centuries. Looking out over the valley where my family once lived was pretty emotional. It was hard to think of how difficult it was for them to leave that beautiful place.’
- Susan Hull
Personalize and book the New views of the old country journey
This journey has been curated to offer a journey of discovering modern values in Norwegian heritage. It can be booked as proposed or further personalized to you.
With our flexible terms, we hope to provide you with all the certainty and adaptibility you need when booking your well-deseved escape.
The indicated price is based on per person when a group of six travel together. Read more about our pricing here.
Want a journey fully tailored to you?
Our travel curators create bespoke itineraries based on your wishes.
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You might have questions about our journeys? Here are some of the most common ones.
The word curator comes from the Latin word curare which means to take care of, and refers to someone who specialises in looking after another's interests. In the context of travel, this is a professional who is specialised in understanding the traveller's interests and preferences, mapping out opportunities, recommending, choosing and putting together personalised and comprehensive travel proposals. As travel curators, we specialise in choosing and putting together experiences in a journey that suits you.
Our most frequent travellers are quality conscious leisure travellers who want a meaningful holiday designed for their unique interests and preferences. Among these are couples, families, groups of friends and solo travellers, sometimes even four-legged friends. We cater to travellers with disabilities who we know from experience often have special needs. Many of our travellers are part of the LGBTQI community and we aim to demonstrate why Norway ranks high on equality.
We also cater to small group themed tours, for example foodies travelling with their own guide, and corporate travellers who travel for incentive trips, workations or bleisure purposes.
Danny DoddTravel Curator