What Norway shore excursions to book and not to book

By an ex cruise ship crew member

You´ve booked your cruise to Norway and you´re super excited. Congratulations! It´s going to be phenomenal! Now you have to decide what Norway shore excursions you want to book. And you have no idea what is worth it and what isn´t? But you don´t know how far out the ports are from the towns and if you need to book a tour or can just walk it on your own?

Norway shore excursions

Don´t you worry, I got you. Since I´ve worked on one of those cruise ships, I have been to the ports and can tell you what you need to see. So, let me save you some money and make sure you still get all the Instagram pictures you want. Here we go!

Bergen – NO

No need to book excursions here. The cruise port is just a few minutes’ walk away from the center of town and there is so much to see you will have to hurry back to the ship! Also, there is free Wifi at the tourist office on the square – which is why you´ll see many of your crew hanging out here (they always know where to find free Wifi). Get a map and see this beautiful city for yourself!

"Norway

"Norway

"Norway

Ålesund – NO

Again, sights are walkable from the cruise port and they have an Aquarium there that has penguins. Outdoors! No need to book a shore excursion.

Eidfjord – NO

If your cruise has a port of call in Eidfjord it is to show you how peaceful the fjords can be. So, enjoy the peace with a short hike. Yellow signs will guide you along an easy hiking trail that passes by a gorgeous clear lake.

Norway Shore excursion Eidfjord
Eidfjord
Norway Shore excursion Eidfjord
lake on the hiking trail in Eidfjord

Stavanger – YES/NO

This is a real tricky one. Here I´m going to have to say: it depends. That´s because two of the most epic travel pictures EVER you´ll only be able to take if you go on the excursion to Preikestolen and Kjeragbollen. Mr and Mrs Adventure posted some great shots from their hike there! Trust me, you are going to want those pictures. If you want to hike it is another question.

On the other hand, you also really shouldn´t miss out on the old town, Gamle Stavanger – UNESCO world heritage and my absolute favorite town in Norway. These white wooden houses with red flowers all over you also really have to see! And they are just a few steps away from the cruise port! Hence, my recommendation is this: try to see if you can get a half day excursion, so you can see both.

Norway Shore excursion Stavanger
Gamle Stavanger

Norway Shore excursion Stavanger

Norway Shore excursion Stavanger

Trondheim – NO

No need. There is so much to see in Trondheim that you can easily walk to from the cruise port! For example Kristiansten Fortres, the Old town Bridge, the colourful old warehouses along the Nidelva river just to name a few.

Norway Shore excursion Trondheim
Old Town Bridge Trondheim
Norway Shore excursion Trondheim
Trondheim cathedral

Åndalsnes -YES

The reason people go to Åndalsnes is Trollstigen. In case you googled it already, you will have noticed that almost all pictures of this place were taken from the same scenic route. It´s that scenic route, The Trolls´ Road, you´re going to want to see. You don´t have to take my word for it. Instead, take Sherry´s – she wrote a whole blog post about Trollstigen!

Geiranger Fjord – YES

This fjord is breathtakingly beautiful. At the very end of it, where your cruise ship will most likely not even dock at a pier, but just anchor in the deep water, you will be taken ashore on tender boats. They will offer a shore excursion to Dalsnibba, a skywalk with a view of the fjord like you have from nowhere else. Do it. For more info and inspiring picutures read this post on the highest fjord road in the world.

Cruise hack: if you´ve ever been to a port where you had to tender out before, you know that waiting for these little boats may take a long time. Booking a shore excursion, however, ensures that you´ll be out first, on a dedicated tender boat so you make the bus on time. The ship’s scouts will make sure of it.

Have you already been on any shore excursion in Norway? Were they worth it? Comment below!

Author :
traveler, globetrotter, expat with an insatiable appetite for travel, anything from backpacking to luxury hotels, currently based in Barcelona

17 thoughts on “What Norway shore excursions to book and not to book

  1. I’ve never really been interested in cruising, but your tip about booking a shore excursion to be first off the boat will definitely come in handy if I decide to sail in the future! (And if I do take a cruise, it will definitely be somewhere like Norway, not the Caribbean!)

    1. I totally get that. I never thought of myself as a cruise ship tourist. The fjords of Norway though are so amazing from the water side. If you don´t like the idea of a posh cruise ship where you have to change clothes three times a day, there are other options. Hurtigruten, for example – the post ship that literally sails to every town along the fjords, they allow passengers on board. Or maybe kayaking – like Nicky suggested in her comment?!

  2. Oh Norway! What a beautiful country. We went kayaking on the fjords a few years back and it was on of the most memorable experiences of my life. Highly recommend that!

    1. that sounds like an amazing experience too! I spent a few weeks kayaking the lakes of southern Sweden, which was a very grounding experience. I can only imagine how impressive in would have been to see the fjords from a tiny kayak, one with nature.

  3. Hmmm…I am not sure i’d want to go on a cruise BUT all these places sound amazing for a normal over-land trip to Norway too!

    I especially like the sound of the hikes and the Trolls´ Road!!

    As you must have been on all of these a few times, do you have any favourites? 🙂

  4. Oh no, now I really want to drop everything and go on a Norway cruise haha. I’d love to see the fjords and I’ve heard the people are so laid back. Sounds like an awesome job, too. When you worked on the ships, how often were you able to take days off for excursions? I’ve heard that sometimes the hours/shifts when working on cruises keeps you from getting to explore as much as you think, but it seems like you got a really thorough look at the country.

    1. thanks Claire! Actually the crew doesn´t get days off at all, it´s a 7 day work week. So it depends on the position you have on board how much spare time you have for excursions. I was lucky to work at the front desk, in shifts. So often I explored the cities just before I went to work 🙂

  5. I’ve always wanted to take a cruise around Norway. Ports of call all look so amazing. For me it’s always great to be able to choose between both, excursion days and also days that I have time to explore on my own. Great tips!

  6. Have never been to Norway but when we go now it will definitely be on a cruise! Great photos! Thanks for the tips. I love the honest advice on what’s worth the excursion cost and what’s not.

  7. I want to go to Norway though I don’t have a time frame yet, but this post is really useful. I’m thinking about to do a cruise, and here’s your post. Thank you so much!

  8. I am just over here drooling at the photos! What app and camera do you use? A cruise to Norway is a top item in my bucketlist✔️✔️. Lovely post!

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