A Road Trip through Norway
Norway is a fascinating country that is often teeming with tourists. We think this breathtaking and untouched country is the ideal location for a road trip. The biggest challenge at planning a trip is deciding which places you want to see, considering there are many impressive spots in Norway.
Fortunately, you can simply pick your top spots and save the others for your next trip to Norway – seeing as those who visit once inevitably want to return. In this article, we will present several possible routes – from south to north – for a road trip through Norway.
Stops on Your Road Trip through Norway
Our road trip through Norway begins in Oslo – Norway’s capital and largest city. With its modern and fast-growing cities, we are constantly surprised by the relaxing atmosphere it offers. As a cosmopolitan travel destination, it is well-known for its high-class restaurants and art galleries. Despite this, Oslo maintains the feel of a small city.
Oslo is located at the U-shaped Oslofjord. Forests and green spaces make up two-thirds of the city, making it the perfect place for biking and hiking. We also recommend checking out the Norsk Folkemuseum during your visit, which informs visitors all about how people used to live in Norway from the 1500s onward.
This city differs from many others because of its atmosphere. With its sand beaches and warm climate, Stavanger attracts many tropical lovers. Stavanger is particularly ideal for a road trip through Norway during the summer months. Because of its location in the southwest of the country, its harbor is a prime stop for cruise ships.
Stavanger is also known for its beautiful sights, such as the Rogaland art museum and its fantastic collection of Norwegian art. For those who are interested in architecture, Stavanger’s dome is a great representation of the many medieval churches the country has to offer. History buffs may also be interested in visiting the district of Gamel, as it will take you back to 18th century Scandinavia.
Bergen is the second-largest city in Norway and is considered the gateway to the fjords. The city – established during the 15th century – is a colorful mixture of lively history and modernism. Nowadays, it is a very important seaport as well as a popular destination for tourists.
Bergen is surrounded by seven mountains and, regardless of where you are standing, you can always enjoy a beautiful view. If you make a stop here during your road trip through Norway, you can easily explore the most breathtaking fjords the country has to offer.
The next destination on our road trip is Lillehammer. The city is located above the Mjøsa lake on the southern end of the Gudbrandsdalen, and is a very popular destination, particularly in the summer.
The city offers many interesting sights, but one of our personal favorites is the Malhaugen park. This park is an open-air exhibition with more than 100 historical buildings from the 18th century. Among those buildings are farmhouses, workshops, and a stave church.
Another noteworthy trademark of Lillehammer is Peer Gynts’ hut. Dating back to the early 1700s, it is said to be the prototype home of Henrik Ibsen’s famous hero.
Not only is Lillehammer a popular destination in the summer, it also hosts many winter events that make it worth visiting. In 1994, the city hosted the Winter Olympics. For this reason, there is a wide range of winter activities, including ice skating, tobogganing, and ice stock sport ─ an activity similar to curling and pétanque. Lillehammer is an essential destination for skiers, seeing as it has more than 480 km of Nordic cross-country ski trails and numerous alpine ski centers.
The Geirangerfjord region has some of the most impressive selections of fjords through Norway. It’s on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites due to its beauty. It offers one of the most dazzling landscapes in all of Norway. This fjord is the eastern extension of the Sunnylvsfjord and will provide you with spectacular views on your road trip through the country.
We believe that the summit of Dalsnibba offers the best view. With its 1495 m height, the view of the surrounding mountains and the fjord below is absolutely breathtaking. In our opinion, the best way to access this view is by car because the winding roads that lead to the summit provide astonishing scenery.
Ålesund is the next destination on our road trip through the Scandinavian country. This port city is located on a narrow peninsula on the West Coast. It is the gateway to the majestic northwest fjord and alpine mountains. With its stunning fjords and mountains, it is no surprise that Ålesund is considered one of the most picturesque Scandinavian cities. The city is also home to the largest cod fishing fleet in the country.
After a fire in 1904, Ålesund was rebuilt in the style of art nouveau. We suggest that all travellers get to know everything about this architectural style on a visit to the Jugendstilsenteret. We also recommend hiking up to the Fjellstua viewpoint. While the hike is steep and requires you to climb 400 steps, you will be rewarded with a breathtaking scenery of the stunning mountains and the surrounding islands.
Our next stop is Trondheim – the third-largest city in Norway. We feel that it is a great jump-off point to explore the surrounding regions. As a big city, Trondheim has much to offer while still maintaining a cozy atmosphere. For those of you who enjoy a slower pace, we encourage checking out the various farmers’ markets and local beer breweries.
Two interesting historical spots to visit are the castle Sverresborg and the Nidaros-dome, both of which are from the 12th century. These were built during the Viking era, when Trondheim was the capital of the country.
Jotunheimen National Park
Jotunheimen is the most important national park of Norway. The name Jötunheimr comes from Norse mythology and means “the land of giants”. It is located in the southern center of the country and comprises numerous mountain ranges, including the 29 biggest summits of Norway.
The park offers hundreds of hiking routes which lead to gorgeous glaciers, deep forest lakes, and panoramic valleys. The hike to Vettisfossen – the highest waterfall of Norway – is particularly astonishing. We consider this park a paradise for adventure seekers.
Bodø provides a lively, urban atmosphere that serves as the starting point into Northern Norway and the Lofoten. Here, we encourage travelers to experience the phenomenon of the midnight sun in summer. In the North, the sun stops setting at a certain point during the summer months. This is followed by constant nights in winter. For those looking to see the Northern Lights, you should visit Norway during the colder season.
Festival-lovers should visit the county during August, when two big music festivals take place here: the Nordland Music Festival and the Parkenfestivalen.
Some of our favorite experiences in Norway include watching how the white-tailed eagles flies over the ocean and walking on the well-preserved trading post of Kjærringøy.
For those of you looking to explore some areas outside the commonly walked trails on the road trip, we suggest the Lofoten Islands. The beauty and tranquility of the Norwegian wilderness will certainly impress you.
The whole archipelago also offers completely untouched landscapes with deep-running fjords, amazing mountain ranges, unique seabird colonies, and exquisite beaches. Despite being on the same latitude as Greenland, the Gulf Stream causes the climate to be rather mild.
We highly recommend spending some time here. You could, for example, go kayaking between the islands, surfing, hiking, or skiing. On a few islands you can even see some of the oldest Viking-relics of Norway.
Visit Alta for the grand finale of your road trip. After your prior stop at the Lofoten, you can either take a longer drive to Alta or spend a day in Tromsø – the largest city of Northern Norway.
Especially during the winter months, Alta is the best destination for viewing the Northern Lights. At the end of the 19th century, the world’s first observatory was built here to view this spectacle of nature. The snowmobile safaris or the dog sledding tours are also very popular.
In summer, there is a range of activities for you to do as well. Why not admire the rock paintings of the Samish culture, which are also part of the UNESCO World Heritage?
If you are far enough North, we highly suggest spending a night in the Sorrisniva Igloo-Hotel. The interior and exterior rooms are completely made of snow, leading to a rather memorable stay.
A road trip through Norway is without a doubt an amazing experience. Oslo serves as a great starting point for your trip. From there, the entire country is open to you!
While the route outlined above is our personal favorite, you can certainly create your own route as well. The versatility within the country allows you to find a stunning landscape around every corner. This route simply serves as our suggestion for exploring the country and enjoying the diverse nature.