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Norway road trip: The ultimate 7-day itinerary
Planning a Norway road trip? Lucky you. There is probably no country with more natural wonders than Norway. Since most of them are located far from the bigger cities a road trip is definitely the best way to experience them. This ultimate 7 day Norway road trip itinerary is perfect for first-time visitors, as it takes you through some of the most scenic destinations in Norway – like Aurland, Bergen, Ålesund, Geiranger, Trollstigen and Lovatnet.
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Norway road trip preparation – what to know before you go
Driving in Norway is an amazing experience. The dramatic landscape filled with misty mountains, cute valleys, and deep fjords leaves anyone jaw-dropping. But in a country with more than 2 million sheep, and probably as many mountains to drive up and down from, you won’t be able to drive faster than 70 km/h. Take your time, plan accordingly, and don’t forget to make time for stops to admire the views – you will need it.
➳ Read more: Things to know before visiting Norway
Accommodation in Norway
There are several ways you can spend the night while on a road trip in Norway. On this road trip, we stayed at hotels, bed and breakfasts, and cabins, but we have also tried camping in the car. If you want to stay at hotels or bed and breakfasts, make sure to book far in advance. Norway is popular during summer, and many accommodations get filled up quickly.
Best season for a road trip in Norway
Although Norway is beautiful all year round, I wouldn’t do a road trip in this country during the winter. The roads are small and you have to drive up and down steep roads. The best season for a road trip in Norway would be June to September. We did this one in the middle of July, and it was perfect timing. Just remember that the weather can be unpredictable during the summer too – it can switch from sunny to rainy in no time.
Norway road trip map
This Norway road trip takes you through some of the most scenic destinations in Norway. Note that this road trip is a bit hectic. You will spend approximately 4-8 hours in the car per day (lunch included). Add a few days to your road trip itinerary if you want to stay longer in some places, do a hike, or take a detour.
This Google map points out all the locations included in this road trip ⤵
Norwegian Scenic Routes
In Norway, they have something called the Norwegian scenic routes, or national tourist routes. These are 18 selected roads that run through landscapes with unique natural qualities. This 7-day road trip itinerary takes you to two of them: Atlantic Ocean Road and Trollstigen to Geiranger.
7-day Norway road trip itinerary
This Norwegian road trip route includes the following destinations:
- Day 1: Oslo
- Day 2: Oslo to Bergen
- Day 3: Bergen to Ålesund
- Day 4: Atlantic Ocean Road and Åndalsnes
- Day 5: Trollstigen and Geiranger
- Day 6: Oppstrynsvatnet, Loen, Lovatnet
- Day 7: Hemsedal and back to Oslo
Day 1: Arrival in Oslo
Depending on your arrival time, spend your first day exploring Oslo and picking up your car. Maybe even go grocery shopping so that you have everything you need for tomorrow’s drive. It’s not recommended to start driving on day one – you have a lot of driving to do the next day, so take this time to enjoy Oslo. I suggest you visit the popular Oslo Opera House, take a walk along Karl Johans gate, and end your day at one of the many restaurants at Aker Brygge while looking at the trendy buildings and enjoying the stunning view over the Oslofjord.
Tip: Check out this car rental site that searches hundreds of rental car sites at once.
Day 2: From Oslo to Bergen via Flåm and Aurlandsfjord
Today’s drive: 7,5-8 hours
Start your day early and set the GPS on Aurlandsfjord. While on your way out of Oslo I recommend you to drive to Holmenkollen, the ski recreation area 588 meters above sea level just west of Oslo. From here you have a fantastic view of Oslo.
Continue north-west to the Aurlandsfjord. Just before you reach Aurlandsfjord you will drive through the Lærdal Tunnel, Norway’s longest road tunnel at 24,51 kilometers. Maybe not a natural wonder, but still a really cool experience.
The incredible Aurlandsfjord.
Aurlandsfjord is the inner part of Sognefjord, Norway’s longest and deepest fjord. The inner parts are known to be the most dramatic. Aurlandsfjord is deep and narrow, reaching a depth of about 962 meters below sea level. Most of the fjord is surrounded by up to 1800-meter tall, steep mountains. This fjord is an absolute must-see! To get the best view of the fjord, drive up to the Stegastein viewpoint. This is the first real challenge for your car – the road is steep but definitely worth it.
Don’t miss the UNESCO-protected Hansa harbor Bryggen while in Bergen.
Now it’s time to continue to Bergen, the second largest city in Norway. On your way, you will pass the cute little village Flåm, at the innermost part of the Aurlandsfjord (just imagine living there – wow!) Make a quick stop to take in the view.
Spend your evening in Bergen, the charming city surrounded by seven mountains. If you’re lucky enough to miss the rain you can take the Fløibanen funicular up to Mount Fløyen to experience Bergen from above.
Another thing you shouldn’t miss while in Bergen is the UNESCO world heritage site Hansa harbor called Bryggen. This iconic harbor is well recognized for its colorful houses. On a calm day, you can see an almost identical reflection in the water.
The coastal town Ålesund is sometimes called Venice of the north.
Day 3: From Bergen to Ålesund
Today’s drive: 7–7,5 hours
Today you are going to drive along the coast of Norway, from Bergen to Ålesund. This unique road (E39) connects Stavanger with Trondheim and takes you past several fjords and islands. Some parts are connected by bridges and some by car ferries. Driving from Bergen to Ålesund takes 7-7,5 hours and is an experience in itself.
The view from Aksla mountain top in Ålesund.
Depending on when you started your drive this morning, you now have an afternoon and evening to explore Ålesund. Ålesund is a small but very beautiful town, famous for its skyline with cute houses combined with dramatic mountains and islands. The town is sometimes called Venice of the north, and I can see why.
A must-do in Ålesund is to take the short, but steep, hike up to the centrally located mountain peak Aksla. From Aksla you have an amazing view of Ålesund.
If you wish you extend your road trip, and spend some more time in Ålesund, you can explore the city’s special Art Nouveau architecture at the Art Nouveau Center or go on a Wildlife Sea Safari.
Tip: Don’t want to spend so much money on food? We rented an Airbnb in Ålesund and cooked our own dinner. Eating at restaurants can be ridiculously expensive in Norway!
Beautiful Åndalsnes and Romdalsfjorden.
Day 4: From Ålesund to Atlantic Ocean Road and Åndalsnes
Today’s drive: 5 hours
Atlantic Ocean Road
Set your GPS to Atlantic Ocean Road, one of the most scenic roads in Norway. The road runs through an archipelago, with bridges connecting the islands. On a windy day, the waves can hit the islands with such force that the water reaches meters high into the air.
To get to Atlantic Ocean Road from Ålesund you need to take a car ferry. The drive should take around 2,5 hours, depending on whether you manage to time the ferry.
The spectacular Atlantic Ocean Road.
After reaching Atlantic Ocean Road it’s time to drive south again. Drive back on the same road as you came from until you reach Molde. In Molde, it’s time to turn east to road 64. After just over an hour, you reach Åndalsnes, your final destination of the day.
Åndalsnes, also known as the mountain capital, is a small town located next to Romdalsfjorden. The area is surrounded by high mountains and sharp peaks and offers hiking opportunities all year round.
The view from Rampestreken, a viewpoint in Åndalsnes.
A must-do in Åndalsnes, if you have the energy and ability for it, is to hike up to the Rampestreken viewpoint. The hike is steep and quite challenging, but you will be rewarded with a magnificent view of the town, the fjord, and the surrounding mountains.
Do this hike in the evening or early the next morning, before driving to your next destination. If you’re into hiking I recommend you extend your road trip and stay longer in this area.
Day 5: From Ålesund to Trollstigen and Geirangerfjord
Today’s drive: 3 hours
Today you have an unforgettable road trip experience ahead of you! Set the GPS to Trollstigen viewpoint, and you will drive along a fjord, through a valley and eventually reach the iconic hairpin road. This steep road twists through 11 hairpin bends as it climbs up the characteristic mountain Stigrøra, 858 metres above sea level. An impressive bridge carries the road across Stigfossen waterfall. The road is carved into the mountain and supported by stone walls.
Trollstigen is one of the most spectacular roads in Norway.
Park your car at the big parking lot at the top and walk towards the viewpoint. If you are lucky enough to come here on a clear day you will have an astonishing view of the valley and surrounding mountains from the viewpoint at the top.
Geirangerfjord, the most beautiful fjord in Norway.
From Trollstigen you have around 1,5 hours to Geirangerfjord. This fjord is considered one of the most beautiful fjords in the world, and is included on the UNESCO World Heritage list. I assure you it will take your breath away. If you drive from Trollstigen you will arrive directly to the viewpoint of Geirangerfjord called Ørnesvingen. From the viewpoint you can see the inner part of Geirangerfjord, with its dramatic peaks reaching 1700 meters and almost vertical edges. From this viewpoint, you can also see Geiranger village and the famous waterfall The Seven Sisters.
Boating on Geirangerfjord; the Seven Sisters Waterfall.
Take your time to explore this area. If you know how to drive a boat you can rent a small one at the camping located right when you get down from Ørnevegen. For 500 NOK (50€) you have the boat for 1 hour. Being in the middle of the fjord surrounded by the dramatic mountains was one of the most magical experience I’ve ever had!
Another great way to explore Geiranger is to hike to Skageflå farm. The full hike is quite challening and takes around 5 hours. If you want to make it a little easier, you can book a boat trip at Geiranger fjordservice. For 450 NOK (45€) per person you get an hour fjord sightseeing, and can get dropped off closer to Skageflå. That way the hike up only takes 45 minutes.
Get another astonishing view of Geirangerfjord from the hidden viewpoint southeast of Geiranger village.
Hidden viewpoint behind Geiranger
As you continue your road trip past Geiranger village you will soon reach another smaller viewpoint. Park your car, walk a couple of hundred meters back on the same road and you will find a cliff from where you have yet another amazing view of the Geiranger village with the fjord in the background.
Dalsnibba viewpoint on a very cloudy day.
Continue further south and you will soon reach the hairpin road leading you up to Dalsnibba viewpoint. This viewpoint is located 1550 meters above sea level. It costs 140 NOK (14€) to drive up, but on a clear day it will definitely be worth a visit.
Note: The weather can change quickly in the Norwegian mountains. It can be sunny down in a valley, and rainstorm on a nearby mountain. Be prepared fo anything.
Stay the night at one of the hotels in Geiranger, or continue driving for antoher hour until you reach Folva. We stayed at Folven Adventure Camp in Folva, located 35 km from Dalsnibba viewpoint. A cheap but perfectly fine place to spend the night. Note that there are no restaurants nearby Folva. Eat in Geiranger or cook your own dinner.
Day 6: From Geiranger to Hemsedal via Loen
Today’s drive: 5-6 hours
Today you are going to drive past some of the most beautiful lakes in Norway. First up is Oppstrynsvatnet. Oppstrynsvatnet is located only 5 minutes from Folva. Set your GPS to Glomnes parking lot and you will arrive at a resting area with a jaw-dropping mountain view, where you can have a swim in the cold but beautifully clear blue water.
Continue towards Lovatnet, located 45 minutes from Oppstrynsvatnet. Lovatnet is probably the most famous lake in Norway. Set your GPS to Loen, the town closest to Lovatnet, and then follow the signs to Lovatnet.
Lovatnet has incredible turquoise ice-cold water. If you want to take a swim you can either ask the staff at the camping at the beginning of the lake or continue your drive until you reach a nice spot to jump in. The experience of swimming in the blue mountain water is really refreshing.
Tip: If you want to see Loen and Lovatnet from above you can take Loen Skylift up to the top of Mt. Hoven. This cable car opened up in 2017 and takes you to an impressive height of 1011 meters above sea level in 5–7 minutes. A round-trip ticket will cost you 555 NOK (55€).
Lovatnet offers turquoise ice-cold water.
Now it’s time to drive to Hemsedal, your last destination of the day. The drive to Hemsedal will take around 4,5 hours. You will be driving through the midlands of Norway, with plenty of misty mountains and cute valleys to lay your eyes on.
Accommodation in Hemsedal: We stayed at an Airbnb, and got a whole cottage for a fair price.
Before you drive back to Oslo, take a morning walk in the mountains of Hemsedal. Hemsedal is a popular ski resort but is just as beautiful in the summer.
Day 7: Drive back to Oslo
Drive back to Oslo at your own speed – and try to process all the amazing landscapes you have seen over the past 7 days.
The drive from Hemsedal to Oslo takes around 3 hours. Spend the rest of the day wandering around the streets of Oslo, until it’s time to head back home.
More Norway travel tips
Can’t get enough of Norway? Norway offers loads of scenic road trips. If you have more time on your vacation, here are a few stops to add to your Norway itinerary.
- Hike Pulpit Rock: Pulpit Rock (Preikestolen in Norwegian) is one of Norway’s most famous mountain hikes. This is an eight-kilometer moderately demanding hike that ends up at a mountain plateau 604 meters above sea level.
- Lofoten: Experience Norway above the arctic circle at one of the country’s most epic road trip routes. Lofoten is a series of islands in northern Norway that offer some of Norway’s most beautiful landscapes. I’d say summer is the best time to visit Lofoten, but if you want to see the northern lights then winter is your go-to season. Read my Complete Lofoten Islands Travel Guide to plan your trip.
- Hardangervidda National Park: Hike in the largest national park in Norway. Hardangervidda is located on a mountain plateau and offers a rugged Mars-like landscape.
- Jotunheimen National Park: Jotunheimen, meaning “The Giants home”, is home to many of Norway’s most impressive mountain peaks, including Galdhøpiggen – the highest mountain peak in Scandinavia. The most famous hike to do in Jotunheimen is Besseggen.
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