Norway Road Trip – Three Unmissable Routes

road across islands and sea Norway

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Norway Road Trips Planner

Norway is a wonderful country for a road trip. Starkly beautiful, with glistening deep blue fjords, rugged mountains and waterfalls at every turn, this is a country to meander through as you gasp at each new landscape. Hit the highlights as you go, making sure to visit all the iconic sights on these top Norway road trips, worthy of any bucket list.

Norwegian Road Trip Resources

Best Time for Road Trips in Norway

October – April

Can you take a road trip in Norway during winter? Absolutely you can but it will be cold even in southern Norway, and there’s likely to be snow …possibly quite a lot of snow (although the Scandinavians are really good at managing it, so most Norwegian roads do stay open).

November, December and January are dark months in northern Norway and the days are very short but if you’re travelling to Norway for winter sports, or to see the Northern Lights, then this is the perfect time – just make sure you and your vehicle are well prepared.

May – September

The weather starts to warm up, with July and August being the warmest months. A summer road trip is the best time for hiking, fjord swimming and paddling, and you’ll be comfortable during the day in shorts and a t-shirt.

It can still be chilly in the evenings for Arctic circle road trippers, where the weather is also more unpredictable. Between (roughly) 14th May and 29th July, you’ll experience the midnight sun phenomenon in the far north of Norway.

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Drive the West Coast from Bottom to Top

Bergen – Loen – Geiranger – Trollstigen – Kristiansund – Trondheim – Jektvik – Bodo – Tromso

  • Distance 2120km
  • Driving Time 30 hours
  • Duration 2-3 weeks
Norway road trip map

This Norway itinerary is for those that love the journey more than the destination – it’s all about the road. Taking in iconic sights as you drive, this Norway west coast road trip will take you through some of the longest road tunnels in the world, over fjords, along the Atlantic Ocean Road and up the snaking Trollstigen Mountain Road.

Start in beautiful Bergen, Norway’s second largest city which is surrounded by seven fjords and seven hills. There’s lots to do here, including visiting the lively Vagen harbour in Bergen’s old quarter, Bryggen, which is one of Norway’s eight UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

From Bergen, take the E39 motorway north to Loen where you’ll find the amazing Loen Skylift which takes you to the top of Mount Hoven for spectacular views of the blue-white Jostedal glacier.

If you prefer to get to the top under your own steam, take the via ferrata up and the zip-line down. If sea-level activity is more your thing then head for the very Instagrammable, but glacial, Lake Lovatnet for swimming and kayaking in the summer months.

The view across ⁨Sogn og Fjordane⁩ from the Loen Skylift

At Hellesylt, take the ferry through the stunning Geirangerfjord to the town of Geiranger itself. Expect the town and ferry to be busy, this area is one of the top road trip destinations in Norway.

As you leave Geiranger for Eidsdal and wind your way up the the steepest section of route 63, along its eleven switchbacks hanging 600m above the fjord below, you’ll understand why it’s called “the Eagle Road”.

At the highest bend is the most breathtaking view over the UNESCO listed Geirangerfjord, and location of the (must watch before you go) movie, The Wave.

From here, pick up the RV63, the Trollstigen Mountain Road. Incredibly beautiful, this road was opened in 1936 and includes eleven hairpin bends and a 9% incline – without doubt it’s one of the best roads in Norway. Stop at the Ornesvingen viewing point for incredible vistas, and again at the top to admire the Stigfossen waterfall.

Once you reach Andalsnes, head west and then north on the E39 to Vevang, and the start of the Atlantic Ocean Road or Atlanterhavsvegen, which runs across seven bridges and follows the islands between them like a silver ribbon.

If you want to visit picture-perfect Alesund on the way, take a slight detour and head south on the E39 instead of north – if you have a few extra days, you won’t regret it!

Alesund from the Aksla viewpoint

Next up is Trondhiem, Norway’s original capital city. Trondhiem has become a real foodie destination and is known as the “home of Nordic flavours”. Spend a day wandering the cobbled streets in the Bakklandet area or rent a bike, the locals’ favourite way to get around.

Onwards to Jektvik, you can either take the E6 Arctic Highway all the way, or around 80km north of Trondheim and just after Steinkjer, pick up the FV17 and take in the glorious landscape and coastal views from the magnificent Kystriksveien Coastal Route, one of Norway’s most scenic road trips and and one of the official Norwegian scenic routes.

Taking this Atlantic road route will add a quite a few kilometres, two days and six fjord ferries to your journey, but the detour will be so worth it! You’ll cross into the Arctic Circle at 66 degrees, on the boat between Kilborghavn and Jektvik.

At Bodo, you can get a ferry out to the Lofoten Islands if you are making this a longer trip. Ideal for hikers and nature lovers, Lofoten has become Norway’s go to place for adventure. You’ll also enjoy perfect lighting for moody shots of big skies and dramatic landscapes.

Otherwise, keep on driving to Tromso, the party city of Norway. From Tromso, you could take a ferry to Svalbard to see polar bears, catch the Hurtigruten ferry back to Bergen, take a longer northern Norway road trip, or catch a flight to pretty much anywhere in the world.

Or, if you have time, head north to Nordkapp where the sun doesn’t drop below the horizon from mid-May to the end of July. Hauntingly beautiful but surprisingly busy, you may prefer the true northernmost point of continental Europe at Knivskjelodden, an 18km hike away and inaccessible to vehicles.

Tromsø

Highlights

  • Driving the exciting and impressive Trollstigen Road from Geiranger to Andalasnes.
  • Crossing the Arctic Circle into the land of the Northern Lights.
  • Following the Kystriksveien Coastal Route to experience the real coastal Norway of fishing villages and subsistence agriculture.
  • Standing at the northern most point of Europe to watch the midnight sun.
  • Having to slow down for reindeer crossing the road!

Where to Stay

Bergen >> Det Hanseatiske Hotel for its harbourside location, dining options and cozy decor.

Loen >> Visnes Hotel Stryn for its waterside location, traditional Norwegian food and fabulous reviews.

Alesund >> Hotel 1904 for its perfect position in the centre of town and iconic Scandi decor.

Trondheim >> Britannia Hotel because by this point you deserve a spa!

Narvik >> Narvik Mountain Lodge for its truly spectacular location, traditional log cabin decor and amazing coastal views.

Tromso >> Scandic Ishavshotel for its harbour location, fabulous breakfasts and excellent customer service.

If you’re travelling Norway in a campervan, or you’re on a budget, there is a great network of campsites where you can stay in a campervan or car with a tent.

No tent? Most Norwegian campsites have huts and rooms for rent and often provide a communal kitchen area for people road tripping and backpacking around the country.

If you prefer to be in the wilds, the allemannsrett (all men’s rights) law means you can practice free or wild camping in Norway where the land is not owned or cultivated or where there is no signage forbidding it.  

Follow the usual free and wild camping good practice and don’t overstay your welcome. If you’re in a motorhome or campervan use Park4Night to find the best free overnight parking and wild camping spots.

However you wild camp, always follow the “leave no trace” principle, take your rubbish and waste with you and dispose of it in the proper place. 

Find Adventure in the Western Fjords

Stavanger – Preikestolen – Kjeragbolten – Trolltunga – Flam – Bergen

  • Distance 687km
  • Driving Time 14 hours
  • Duration 7-10 days
Norway road map Stavanger to Bergen

This seven to ten day Norway itinerary is for adventure lovers and those who want to hike, swim and paddle in the Norwegian great outdoors. If you’ve ever looked at those amazing images of people perched on tongues of rock, practicing yoga on sheer cliffs or star-jumping off precipitously balanced boulders whilst gazing out over sparkling blue fjords, then this Norwegian fjord road trip is perfect for you.

Start in the pretty and typically Norwegian city of Stavanger. Stroll Gamle Stavanger, the oldest part of the city and enjoy the galleries and local craft boutiques before admiring the colourful wharf houses at the harbour. There’s also a handful of great museums, lots of cool street art and fantastic fresh seafood on offer.

Colourful Ovre Holmegate in Stavanger

Once you’ve spent a day in Stavanger, you’ll be heading off to hike Pulpit Rock, or Preikestolen. This is an easy 7.6km hike and can be done in half a day with an early start, or you can take a guided hike if you’re new to hiking and Norway.

Begin the hike at the trailhead in Preikestolenhytta, where you can park easily. There are zero facilities on the Pulpit Rock hike, so make sure to go prepared and take additional clothing as the weather in the fjords can be unpredictable.

With an elevation gain of 334m you don’t need any special skills to get to the top of one of Norway’s most incredible bits of rock – and there are a few in the country! The views of Lysefjorden are breathtaking, but in July and August it will be busy at the top and you may have to wait your turn to get out to the tip of the rock for that must-have photo.

From Preikestolen, you’ll take the Lysebotn-Forsand car ferry along the Lysefjorden to your next stop, the Kjeragbolten hike. Kjeragbolten is a giant boulder wedged in a crevasse at 1084m on Mount Kjerag, the highest peak in the Lysefjorden. You can also base jump and climb here.

The starting point is at the parking lot at Oygardstol – just getting there involves a pretty spectacular top Norway road with hairpin bends aplenty. 

The hike to Kjeragbolten is around 11km long with 800m of altitude gain, and the round trip takes about seven to ten hours depending on your fitness and experience. You need to be in good physical shape and have some hiking experience before attempting this route.

In some places, you have to pull yourself up and slide down with the help of wires, which can be demanding and daunting if you haven’t experienced it before. Make sure you’re well prepared and allow a full day with an early start.

Preikestolen - a must do on any Norway roadtrip
Preikestolen at dawn

Everywhere you drive in Norway, you are surrounded by mountains, fjords and waterfalls. The scenery in Norway is simply spectacular, with new thrills around each bend in the road. Route 13 from Stavanger to Odda is known as the Ryfylke National Scenic Route, one of eighteen official national tourist routes in Norway designated for their stunning scenery and tourist-friendly infrastructure.

Pick up the RV13 just before Ardal as you head north (make sure to add Ardal to your sat nav or you’ll be routed east from Kjeragbolten). On this road you will drive through incredible tunnels and cross fjords on a car ferry. Allow several hours longer than Google Maps suggests – this is a full days drive and you should start early.

Your next stop is Odda, for the infamous Trolltunga in the glorious Folgefonna National Park. The most challenging of the these three famous Norway hikes, the route is 20km across mostly flat terrain, but the path can be tricky underfoot and the weather changeable. 

Hiking Trolltunga is not for the faint-hearted or unprepared but is an absolute must-do on your road trip of Norway. Read our post to find out everything you need to know, from where to stay, how to get there and the hike itself.

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Skirt north along the border of the Hardangervidda National Park and take a few days down-time in picturesque Flam, a small village right at the top of the beautiful Aurlandsfjord. Surrounded by towering mountains, waterfalls, fjords and rushing rivers, this is a playground for hikers, water sports enthusiasts and mountain bikers.

From Flam, you can drive to Bergen or take the spectacular Flamsbana railway there, considered one of the most scenic train rides in the world.

Or, if you have a little longer to spend in Norway, follow the magnificent Sognefjord east to the stunning Jotunheimen National Park. A four hour drive from Flam will take you into the “Giant’s Home”, a fitting name for this vast and soaring place where there are over 250 mountains of almost 2000m high and some of Norway’s very best scenery.

Highlights

  • Taking the incredibly scenic Flam Railway to Myrdel and cycling back on the Rallar Road.
  • Standing on the edge of the Troll’s Tongue with the world at your feet.
  • Discovering the imposing western Norway fjord of Lysefjorden on a fjord cruise.
  • Paddling the Aurlandsfjord for unrivalled views of the surrounding landscape.
  • Watching the sun come up from the edge of Pulpit Rock.

Where to Stay

Stavanger >> Sola Strand Hotel for the breathtaking beachfront location and modern spa.

Preikestolen & Kjeragbolten >> Preikestolen BaseCamp because it’s perfect for the nights before and after your hike.

Odda >> Vikinghaug Apartments for their amazing fjord views and the post-Trolltunga bath!

Flam >> Flåmsbrygga Hotel for its superb central position, cosy traditional decor and micro-brewery.

Bergen >> Det Hanseatiske Hotel for its harbourside location, dining options and cozy decor.

Want exclusive road trip resources & itineraries to help plan your perfect road trip?

Slow Down in Southern Norway

Romsviga – Lindesnes – Lista – Egersund – Bore – Stavanger

  • Distance 500km
  • Driving Time 9 hours
  • Duration one week
road trip Norway map

If fjords and drama aren’t your thing, head for the gentler landscape of southern Norway, known as Sorlandet in Norwegian. This seven day Norway road trip itinerary is also perfect if you’re arriving in Oslo and hiring a rental car for your road trip.

The beaches along the south west coast are simply stunning, with clear waters lapping against fine sandy shores. You’ll also find fantastic lighthouses, World War Two history and a slower pace of life as the agricultural business of the area supersedes tourist traffic.

If you get the ferry from Denmark to Kristiansand, you might be tempted to stop in the town for a day, although for most it’s a gateway to the rest of the coast.

Turn left and head west for Romsviga, a traditional coastal settlement that dates back to the 17th century. Now a protected area which is owned by the local community, its an interesting place to visit and there are marked trails between here and Helleviga, either along the shore or through the forest.

Lindesnes, the southernmost tip of the country’s long coastline, is home to the oldest lighthouse in Norway (where you can actually stay!). The small hamlet is quintessentially Norwegian and there is good coastal walking from here.

Lindesnes village

Just under a few hours inland is one of the largest waterfalls in southern Norway, Kvasfossen, with a drop of 36m. When the Lynga river is low, numerous pot holes appear which make fabulous hot tubs on a sunny day, so be sure to take your swimmers and a towel!

From here, head north west for forty minutes to Rafossen waterfall. Take a picnic and sit on the flat granite slabs close to the drop and marvel at the thundering power of this feat of nature.

Lista is next up, with its 34m high lighthouse, Nordberg Fort and trio of sandy beaches backed by dunes.

Havikstrand beach is the best known and is popular with kite-surfers. Kviljosanden beach is perfect for families, with a gradual shelf and shallow water and Haeustranda beach is on a small peninsula south of Farsund, and makes a prefect stop for a day.

Don’t miss the fully restored Nordberg Fort and museum, a German bunker that was once part of Hitler’s Atlantic Wall and represents a dark period of Norwegian history.

Follow the 444 coast road to Egersund, which is within the fascinating Magma Geopark. To the east is the wierd and wonderful rock formation of Trollpikken (Troll’s penis), created by glacial influences thousands of years ago. To the east is the Eigeroy lighthouse and the glorious beach of Skadbergsanden.

Eigeroy Fyr

As you continue along the coast road to Bore, make sure to stop at Ogna for more fabulous beaches and the beautiful Kvassheim lighthouse.

Once you arrive in Bore, you’ll soon realise that the village is sandwiched between the river Figgjoelva, the lake Orrevatnet, and the seashore, and is surrounded by water!

Your final stop on this Norway road trip route is Stavanger, where you can continue on to another road trip, catch a flight home or get a ferry to northern Norway to continue your Scandinavian adventure.

Highlights

  • Spending a day soaking up the sun on one of the many magnificent beaches.
  • Getting away from it all and experiencing off the beaten path Norway.
  • Climbing onto Trollpikken for that must have image!
  • Enjoying lunch in the mist of one of Norways most spectacular waterfalls.
  • Getting lucky and enjoying a natural hot tub!

Where to Stay

Lindesnes >> Lindesnes Havhotel for its waterfront location, modern decor and hot tub!

Lista >> Rederiet Hotel for their amazing views and welcoming staff.

Egersund >> Grand Hotel Egersund for its simple Scandi decor and great restaurant.

Stavanger >> Sola Strand Hotel for the breathtaking beachfront location and modern spa.

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