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What country ranks first on the World Happiness Report? It's Norway! Home to Thor, Odin, the Midnight Sun and Edvard Grieg, it's a land of music, legend and lutefisk. Norway's fjords top National Geographic's list of most popular World Heritage Sites. Bike, hike, paddle and sail through the Sognefjord, Norway's longest, deepest fjord. Ride the Romantic Route beside the calm waters of the Lustrafjorden. Explore by train, kayak and rib boat. Challenge your legs on a climb to a year-round ski resort. Feast on fresh salmon, herring and artisan-made goat cheeses. You may never want to leave.
Meet in Bergen, a beautiful seaside city with 900 years of history. Ferry into the King of the Fjords - the Sognefjord. Bike along the placid shoreline to Balestrand.
Bergen is Norway's second largest city. Clambering up the hillsides overlooking the North Sea, its colorful houses are a sight from a storybook. Meet us here the morning of Day 1. Board the Express Boat to begin your 3-hour journey along the magnificent Sognefjord. Norway's deepest (over 4,000' at some points) and longest, it's often called the King of the Fjords. Lush green hillsides and waterfall-washed crags surround and protect its peaceful waters. Tiny villas cling to the slopes on either side. Stop at Nese for an afternoon snack and a bike fitting. Ride north along the idyllic shoreline to the ferry at Balestrand. Stay here tonight, at a hotel set on a peninsula jutting right out into the fjord. Ride: 40 m / 65 km
Bicycle the Gaularfjellet National Tourist Route beside clear blue waters and sparkling glaciers, then onward to the Walaker, the oldest family-run hotel in Norway.
Two ride options today. This morning's option: the Gaularfjellet National Tourist Route, a serene ride through waterfall-washed valleys studded with glaciers and panoramic views of the mountains. This afternoon: bike to the Walaker, oldest family-run hotel in Norway, tucked into the heart of the fjord in village of Solvorn. Savor a dinner of fresh seafood from the fjord, mushrooms and venison from the forest - even juicy apples and berries from the surrounding farms. Ride: 34 m / 55 km in the morning; 33 m / 55 km this afternoon.
Ride up to Jostedalsbreen National Park to see the largest glacier on Europe's mainland.
Take a challenging ride up through what English mountaineer W.C. Slingsby called, "The finest ice scenery in Europe." From the Walaker, follow the lone road beside the glacial-blue Storelvi river, where sculpted, polished rocks line a shoreline dotted with wildflowers and diminutive farms. Head up the valley to tiny, isolated Veitastrond, surrounded on three sides by Jostedalsbreen National Park, where you'll find the largest glacier on the European mainland. Snap a photo (or a dozen) and enjoy the best picnic of your life before a terrifically fun ride down again. Ride: 60 m / 96.5 km
Warm up with the Romantic Ride beside the water. Then challenge your quads on a ride up to the Summer Ski Resort at Sognefjellet.
Bicycle the Romantic Ride, a lovely route curving along peaceful roads beside the fjord. Take a break for coffee and a cinnamon roll at a roadside cafe. Continue riding to the Honestly Cafe for a sample of farm fresh juices. At the head of the fjord, it's time to climb. Tackle a road leading uphill - very uphill - into Norway's high country. Alpine scenery, glacier views, tiny farms and lots of wide-open spaces take you to to the Sognefjellet Summer Ski Centre. Spend the next two nights here. Ride: 46 m / 75 km (climb is 15.5 m / 25 km
Hike the glacier, go kayaking or cross-country skiing here at the top of Europe's highest mountain pass. The choice is yours.
Sognefjellet is perched at the top of Europe's highest mountain pass, at 4,593'/ 1400m. Enjoy a great breakfast at the hotel, then choose your adventure for the day. Hike on the glacier? Take a kayak expedition? Maybe even head out for a day of cross-country skiing - you can do that nearly year-round here.
Ride downhill to Over Ardal this morning, then bicycle the Aurland Valley, 'Norway's Grand Canyon.'
After another great breakfast at the hotel, ride downhill to Ovre Ardal, at the head of Lake Årdalsvatnet. Ride onward through the massive views of the Aurland Valley, hailed as Norway's Grand Canyon. Stay at Vangsgaarden tonight, a lovely hotel on the shores of the Sognefjord.
Choose your adventure again today: a rib boat ride, a hike to a local farm or up onto the glacier, a bike ride.
It's another Choose Your Own Adventure day. Take a fjord safari in a rigid-hulled inflatable boat (a 'Rib Boat'). Sample handmade artisanal goat cheeses at a local summer farm. Take a hike on the glacier or go for a bike ride. Sit and soak up the sunshine. Enjoy a final dinner celebration tonight.
Ride to Myrdal Station. The train back to Bergen is hailed by National Geographic Traveler as 'one of the Top 10 train journeys in Europe.'
This last morning, ride to Myrdal Station. You're in for a treat: the train for the ride back to Bergen boasts National Geographic Traveler's award as 'one of the Top 10 train journeys in Europe.' Ride 25m / 40km
As an optional extra, a person traveling solo on any inn-to-inn trip may reserve a room for his or her exclusive use. This will guarantee you a private room and private bath every night. Unlike other tour companies, if you're willing to share a room, there is no extra charge for coming solo, no matter when you sign up for the tour - even if you wind up with a private room by default.