The Discovery Route - is this Norway’s most sustainable journey?
Get ready to stimulate all senses!
April - September
Best suited for
Discoverers who appreciate nature, local food, great people and a sustainable lifestyle
The famous travel company Thomas Cook created the Discovery Route in the 1880s – the first-ever high-end fjord package holidays to be sold in Norway. Their clients at the time were mainly rich Englishmen. This new Discovery Route will take you through the incomparable beauty of Norway in all its diversity. Conquer Preikestolen, look out over Allmannajuvet and, after an active day, relaxation and local food and drink will provide the perfect end to your adventures.
Sustainability means different things to different people. For us, it's about making a positive environmental, social and economic impact wherever we go. We have knitted this journey together with Sustainability Professional Ina Vikøren and our partners along the Discovery Route (see video). It’s designed to inspire travellers to make better choices AND have fun in the process! You’ll experience authentic culture, hear stories from yesterday and imbibe some wisdom you can use tomorrow. Sustainability in action – Norway-style – has never felt so luxurious.
Itineraries are designed by our travel curators in collaboration with our partners to give you the most rewarding experience possible.
Please note that itineraries can be tailored to your specific wishes when you make an inquiry.
New stories on ancient ground
Arrival in UNESCO Heritage City Bergen
You’ll begin and end in Bergen, home to one of Norway's eight UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The best known of these is ‘Bryggen’, Bergen’s historic harbourside wharf. We invite you to spend your first night right next to this lovely feature, in a boutique hotel. Dinner tonight is a ‘Helaften’ served at Restaurant 1877, situated just a stone’s throw away in a former meat market dating from 1877. The 8-course menu is seasonal and sourced from local suppliers. As you eat at the heart of Norway’s cultural and nature capital, you’ll feel the past coming to life around you.
Cruising through waterfalls
Bergen – Voss
Pick-up your Tesla and hit the road. Fun fact: Norway has been an enthusiastic adopter of electric vehicles, and there are more than 51,000 Tesla cars in Norway – a whopping 19 per cent of the market. Charging stations are easy to find, for hassle-free green motoring. Set the GPS for Voss and it won’t be long before you can turn off the main road and follow one of Norway’s 18 Scenic Routes to today’s destination.
The Scenic Route Hardanger is framed by our beautiful and valuable waterfalls. Today you’re about to feel the spray from one of those falls and understand why Voss is often called Norway’s adventure capital.
Kitted out with a harness, wetsuit and helmet, you’ll abseil 100 metres down next to the spectacular Skjervsfossen waterfall. No previous climbing experience is required, but your adrenaline will definitely start racing! Afterwards comes a Nordic sauna and outdoor jacuzzi by the river before checking into an eco-certified family-run hotel for the night. Dinner can be served paired with handcrafted beer from Voss brewery, famous for using the special yeast Kveik in their beers.
Other activity options in Voss include some of Norway’s best rafting and playing in the high rope park.
National romance at its best
An hour’s drive will take you to the fjords! The historic Hotel Ullensvang in Hardanger balances rich traditions with modern facilities, such as the infinity pool with its view over fjords, mountains and orchards. The iconic hotel supports many small businesses in their community, creating year-round job security for its staff.
With Hardanger as your base, you can relax, breathe the fresh air, and explore the fjord, waterfalls, mountains, glaciers and abundant orchards. No matter what you choose, you will discover why this location has been a source of inspiration to great personalities for centuries.
Fjord cruising through Arctic artisan cider
Isn’t cider just cider? No, actually!
Nurtured at 60 degrees north under golden Arctic light, Hardanger’s wonderful apples are high in acidity which makes them world-class. The region’s first fruit trees were planted by Cistercian monks in the early 13th century. A change in the law in 2016, allowing farmers to sell cider independently, made it possible for cider farmers to concentrate on full-time artisan brewing. The process reflects a unique cultural heritage, earning these precious drops of ‘Sider frå Hardanger’ the status of ‘European Union Protected Designations of Origin’.
The award-winning ciders from this region serve as a perfect example of how collaboration makes us stronger. The cider farmers are working tightly together to develop Hardanger as a world-leading cider destination, and we bet you can taste the passion they put into their craftsmanship in their produce. We will make sure you don’t leave Hardanger without having stopped by a local farm and have had the chance to wander at liberty between farms and orchards in the picturesque hills overlooking the fjord. As a traveller in Hardanger, you not only get to taste the impressive produce but also take advantage of the Norwegian allemannsretten – the public’s legal right to roam.
Today we invite you for a cider fjord cruise on the beautiful Hardanger fjord where you will sail on a modern hybrid boat along the fjord and stop for cider tasting and lunch in one of the small settlements scattered in the midst of majestic mountain peaks, contrast-filled glaciers, and fruit trees as far as the eye can see. You will easily understand why Sørfjorden has been a favourite destination since the 19th century.
The Trolltunga Via Ferrata Sunset Sunrise Combo
The ultimate active pursuit
Let’s hear the story about Trolltunga – the Troll’s Tongue. Once upon a time in the 1850s, Odda was an attractive recreational hub for wealthy French and British tourists. When hydropower boosted energy-intensive industries such as carbide production in the early 20th century, natural resources were compromised, and the destination lost its appeal. 100 years later, the industry was re-greened and the fjords were cleaned up. Some enterprising locals had the clever idea to commercialise the village’s tongue-shaped rocky outcrop, and guess what? This distinctive feature is now one of the area’s biggest hotspots for visitors.
Your day starts with a 6 km off-road bike ride, then a short hike followed by a 250 m climb up the extraordinary ‘via ferrata’ – an iron-runged ladder firmly embedded in the mountain rock. Based on similar ladders installed in the Dolomites to assist soldiers navigating mountains during World War I, these mountain routes now give climbers and hikers amazing access to nature’s gems like the Trolltunga. At the top, take in the view of the Ringedalsvatnet lake and the soaring waterfalls, and enjoy your moment on the ‘tongue' itself as you gaze at the setting sun. Dinner is served in an Arctic domed tent – your home for the night.
A leisurely 14 km stroll
From Trolltunga to Odda
Wake to the morning sun and fresh coffee while you’re snuggled up in your sleeping bag. Descending after breakfast, you can smugly pass the new day’s hikers on their way to the top. Settle in at the Trolltunga Hotel, built as a villa in 1928 and sympathetically renovated in 2017.
You might choose to doze here for the afternoon and share stories with fellow travellers, or maybe you’d like a closer encounter with the glacier Buerbreen, just a short hike away. A visit to the Norwegian Museum of Hydro Power is also recommended!
Fun fact: In Norway, 98 percent of our electricity comes from renewable energy, where hydropower is the main source of production. Hydropower is known as the basis of Norwegian industry and an important reason for the development of our welfare state. Norwegians started to utilise the energy in rivers and waterfalls to produce energy in the late 1800s. Ever since then, Norwegian hydropower has become an increasingly important part of Norwegian society.
Waterfall Cruise and Tractor Safari
To Åkrafjorden and a place ‘der ingen skulle tru at nokon kunne bu’
At Eikemo, you will be greeted by one of this isolated community’s four (!) residents. Bachelor Geir Arne has constructed a special tractor-trailer in order to guide visitors to his exotic homestead. After an afternoon in a place so remote that there’s no mobile phone coverage, we welcome you to spend the next two nights at the architecture hub Energihotellet. Run by hosts Gunhild and Olav with a passion for architecture, design and culture, Energihotellet has become a hub for architects and culture vultures from all over the world. The pair have brought vitality to the local community, where legendary industrial architect Geir Grung has designed both the power station and the hotel. Energihotellet demonstrates how a cyclical economic process can help a local community thrive.
For those who love glamping and want to get even closer to nature, we can book you in a dome located on the mountain shelf ‘Hidleren’ surrounded by 700 metres of mountain peaks dropping into the stunning fjord.
Scenic Route Ryfylke and Salmon Safari
A salmon experience you never knew you wanted so bad
Until you have tried it, you will never realise how much you needed to spend time drifting down the crystal-clear river Suldalslågen. Wearing a drysuit, snorkel and mask, you will float along with the current and commune with salmon in their natural environment. Watch the fish swimming by, and marvel at the intense colours of underwater vegetation as it changes in the shimmering light.
Return to Energihotellet on the idyllic Scenic Route Ryfylke where design treasures (or sheep) await you at every turn.
For architecture and design lovers, we can arrange a guided tour in the Allmannajuvet zinc mines.
The Trefadder-forest and a Floating Sauna!
Suldal – Hagalid – Preikestolen Basecamp
As you drive on the small country road to Hagalid mountain farm, you will rise 300 metres above the Jøsenfjord. The idyllic surroundings are home to the Hagalid family, their café and gallery, one hundred sheep and – soon – a million trees. These trees make up the Trefadder forest and are planted as an initiative to improve the climate through carbon capture as well as creating local jobs.
You can choose a hike at different challenge levels ranging from the five-hour expedition to the 700-metre peak Skomakernibbå (The Shoemaker’s Crag) to an easy nature trail around the farm itself. Whichever it is, you will be rewarded with stunning fjord views.
Lunch will be served in the gallery café or garden. Afterwards, you can continue on a drive or short walk to the forest for a professional introduction to carbon capture. Included in your visit is an emission-trading quota equivalent to a ton of carbon.
Your evening will be topped off by 'sailing' on the Refsvatnet lake in a floating sauna. What could be better?
Dinner and overnight at a serviced Norwegian Trekking Cabin at Preikestolen Basecamp.
Preikestolen Off the Beaten Track & Taste of Layman’s Life
From a timeless rocky icon to the spirit of the 1850s
Today you’ll be accompanied by an expert guide who’s educated and trained to ensure your hike remains enjoyable and safe. Get off the main tourist trail and hike through the remote backcountry that surrounds the Pulpit Rock with incomparable views into both ends of the Lysefjord, including views of the Pulpit Rock itself.
Your home for tonight is loaded with exclusively Norwegian character. Haukali 33/3 is a charming timber cottage evoking life in the olden days. Host Reidunn is a strong believer in remembering the stories of the past in order to enrich the future. A stay in her cottage lays the ground for such an experience; you may choose to dress up in the 1850s-style clothing provided, or go for a dip and try the rowing boat on the nearby lake.
Check-in for two nights and spend your second day practising the art of doing nothing.
Back to the City via a Baker’s Paradise
Haukali – Stavanger - Sola Strand
From Oanes Pier, you're picked up by boat and taken on a scenic trip on the Lysefjord. Now you get to see the Pulpit Rock from below! You will be taken to Bakeren’s Paradis; a recreational destination for bakers from Stavanger since 1920. This former dance- and bingo hall has been lovingly restored. Get a taste of the old day's thanks to the justly celebrated house specialties – fish soup made with pickled salmon, washed down with the house beer.
Continue to Sola Strand – a Norwegian resort located on sandy Jæren beach – and check in for the last two nights.
If you want a more central city location for your last two nights, we’ll book a room or suite for you at one of our favourite boutique hotels in town.
A day in Norway’s Energy Capital and a VR Voyage to the Viking Age
The full Stavanger experience
Stavanger on the west coast easily matches the charm of Bergen. With its picturesque white wooden houses in the old town, its street of coloured houses and cafes, and a busy city pier, Stavanger is great to explore on foot. Today we will guide you around our favourite attractions, including a virtual reality voyage onboard a Viking ship – an impressive display of technology to relay stories about our Viking past.
Since oil was discovered in the North Sea in the 1960s, Stavanger has grown into the centre of Norway’s oil wealth – a fortune that is invested in the world’s largest pension fund. The fund serves as a long term savings plan so that current and future generations get to benefit from the nation’s oil resources. The fund takes environmental and social factors into account, with the aim of ensuring that investments are (or will become) ethical.
Demand from Stavanger visitors on oil-related business, as well as a passion for sourcing food from the local sea, fjord, forest and mountain, has given life to chef Sven Erik Renaa’s restaurants: the Michelin two-starred Re-naa and the more casual Re-naa Matbaren. Whether you’re an oil sheikh or a foodie, these are culinary experiences served in an unforgettable atmosphere.
We’ll help plan and book your day in Stavanger based on your interests and preferences.
Travel the Seaway Back to Bergen
Stavanger to Bergen
The daily ferry departs from Stavanger at 07.00, arriving in Bergen at 13.30. The two ferries MS Stavangerfjord and MS Bergenfjord are the first in the world to sail-powered by environmentally friendly gas. They sail through inshore waters for the entire voyage, so you are always parallel with natural landscapes and impressive landmarks such as two gigantic suspension bridges stretching over one kilometre in length. This mini-eco-sea voyage marks the end of what we hope has been a sustainable and adventurous trail of discovery.
Final night in Bergen.
From Bergen, we will help you arrange your onward travel.
I love using nature as my playground!
We are all a part of something bigger than ourselves, and by taking care of the past and the present, we create new stories for our future! So with this I challenge you; you as a traveller, you as a person - what is your commitment for a fun future?
Travelled in 2020
Personalize and book the Discovery Route
This journey has been curated to offer the new Discovery Route inspired by Thomas Cook. It will take you through the incomparable beauty of Norway in all its diversity. The journey can be booked as proposed or further personalized to you.
With our flexible terms, we hope to provide you with all the certainty and adaptability you need when booking a well-deserved escape.
Read more about our pricing here.
Explore some of our other journeys
Hop on the Arctic Circle Express Train
Finding 'Kos' by Travelling Slow
Bergen, Ålesund & Beyond - Heritage Awakened
5 Reasons to Travel Up
Norway is a treasure trove brimming with pristine places to visit, unparalleled adventures to experience, and remarkable people to meet. We know where the gems are hidden and we’re eager to share them with you.
Up Norway’s professional team of insiders, partners and exclusive pathfinder-hosts genuinely care about giving you an unforgettable experience. Our extraordinary staff understands exactly what the modern traveller is looking for.
Our mission is to deliver an experience matching the interests of a singular client. Whether they’re a hardcore explorer into mountain walks and kayaking, an intrepid foodie chasing after the taste of the North, or in need of some serious down-time in tranquil, luxurious surroundings, we always match exactly the right thing for the right traveler.
Not only do we help to find the right ingredients for a dream holiday, but after the trip is booked, we ensure all tickets, reservations, booking information, contacts, and schedules are available on one convenient digital app. We have a 24-hour emergency chat-line and clients can reach us by phone.
Our partners are committed to sustainable services, our nature-based activities support local wildlife and cultural heritage, and our rural destinations provide investment in local economies and communities. Everyone wins, including the planet.