THE ULTIMATE NORWAY ROAD TRIP ITINERARY
When we arrived in Norway, it became apparent how badly prepared we were. If there is anywhere in the world not to be prepared, it’s Norway – things are really really expensive! That said, just minutes into our road trip, I knew all the money we would spend was going to be 100% worth it. Norway was incredible! It rivals the most beautiful places I have ever visited; similar to Jasper and the Rocky Mountains in Canada, but I think Norway’s actually prettier and more dramatic!
Stavanger, the perfect place to start your Norwegian road trip. With an international airport and close to some of Norway’s best spots, it’s great for an overnight stay. We found hotels to be at least 3 times more expensive than Airbnb’s in Norway, at around 400 USD per night. Our Airbnb in Stavanger was $80, for the entire place. It was pretty small, but just what we needed for the night.
While in Stavanger, pick up your rental car, either from the airport or in the city. Just as a warning, renting a car in Norway is expensive. Renting a car and driving it one way is ridiculously expensive! For 10 days we paid $1,200 USD to drive from Stavanger to Alesund. It can be done cheaper by renting a lower-end model, but for the amount of time on the road, we figured it would be worth the upgrade; nice comfortable seats, Bluetooth, all the Gucci stuff that you need for a fun road trip!
Tips for saving money when renting a car in Norway:
Book your car rental in advance and compare prices (Skyscanner has a good car hire comparison service).
Pick up and drop your car from the same place (f you’re flying in and out of the same location).
Chose the cheapest model (but if you’re in the car for a long time this may not be the best option).
From Stavanger, it’s time to take on the first hike, a 2.5-hour drive away. If you don’t really pass anyone, the road is filled with snow and you don’t get to a parking lot with a restaurant, then you are probably doing what we did and going the wrong way. We ended up hiking for 2 hours looking for the trailhead just to realize we weren’t at the right place!
The Kjerag hike took us 7 hours in total (an hour of that was spent getting content). The view at the top is out of this world, I thought it would be an optical illusion but it’s definitely not; not one for the faint-hearted!
Park at Øygardstø: 200 NOK ~ 23 USD to park.
Length: 12 km
Time: 4 - 8 hours
When to hike: During the summer (June - September)
→ Hiking tips: Fill up your water from the streams en route, it tastes amazing. Also, bring layers, the weather changes so quickly!
From Kjerg, drive the short yet amazing route to Lysebotn for the night, a good resting spot post-hike. For $125 USD / night, we stayed in a 200-year-old converted barn with a beautiful view called Haune Bed & Breakfast. One of my favorite places I have stayed - such a unique and local stay.
After a relaxing morning in Lysebotn, drive around 4.5 hours to Langfoss, taking in the amazing views before stopping for the night.
The next day, head towards Langfoss Waterfall. The fifth highest waterfall in Norway and considered one of the most beautiful waterfalls in the world. You can hike to the top of the waterfall which will give you a pretty amazing view over the fjord.
→ For those long days on the road, grab a cold coffee from the supermarket. Hot coffee is hard to come by and when you do find it, it's not great!
If you have the time and enjoy hiking, head to Odda for the night ready to take on the Trolltunga trail in the morning.
We initially planned to head to Trolltunga, another incredible looking hike. However, after our pretty eventful and tiring trek at Kjerag, we decided to give it a miss; especially as Trolltunga is almost double the distance!
Ideally leave Odda at around 5 am, ready to start the hike at 6 am. If you can, park in P3 Mågelitopp - the upper trailhead. This carpark cuts off around 2 hours of the hike time. However, there are only 30 car parking spaces and apparently, they fill up as soon as the gates open.
600NOK ~ 68USD parking including access to use the road.
Estimated hiking time 8-10 hours.
If there is no space at P3, head to P2 - the main trailhead.
500NOK ~ 57USD per day + transportation to P3 if you want to shorten some of the hike
If you start the hike at P2, the hike is 28km
Estimated hiking time: 10–12 hours
If you want to attempt the Trolltunga hike between 1st October - 31st May it’s recommended that you have a guide with you.
Head back to your accommodation post-hike, and relax for the night.
Drive roughly 3 hours to Bergen, along Hardangerfjord and Sørfjord for a beautiful scenic cruise. The drive will include tolls and the Gjermundshamn-Årsnes ferry, departing every 20/30 minutes.
Bergen is beautiful, the houses look like little toy homes. The city has such a distinct and unique style. Just watch out for the narrow roads while driving, they look like walkways!
Things to do in Bergen:
Explore the tiny streets
Try to escape the rain (they get 250 days a year of rain!) by stopping at Bryggeloftet & Stuene for some seafood: costing roughly 65 USD for two.
Take the Floibanen Funicular to the top of the mountain for a view over Bergen
Visit Steinsdalsfossen Waterfall (a waterfall you can walk behind) - roughly a 1-hour drive out of Bergen.
→ Bergen is a relaxing city, so spend a couple of nights here if you are wanting to chill out.
From Bergen, head towards Flåm. Once past Flåm, you have the choice to take the National Tourist Route or go through the Lærdal Tunnel (the quicker route). The drive will include tolls and the Fodnes-Mannheller ferry - departing every 20 mins. Once over the fjord, it’s about an hour’s drive to Nigardsbreen Glacier (4.5 - 5 hours total).
If you’re short on time, wake up super early to make it to Nigardsbreen Glacier in time for the 11.15 or 11.45 hike. Alternatively, add another day to the trip and stay near the glacier ready for the hike the next day.
→ You’re not allowed to fly drones in national parks in Norway
Head towards Fjaerland for the night (1.5 hours drive), an incredible glacier village overlooking the fjord.
For roughly $220 USD / night, I would highly recommend staying at Fjaerland Fjordstove Hotel; a cozy boutique-style hotel with incredible food and an amazing view. It’s right on the fjord and a worthwhile sidetrack just to stay here - it’s a local gem.
→ There are other glacier hikes around Fjaerland, such as Jostedalsbreen Glacier, if that’s something you are interested in.
3 hours drive away is Geiranger; an area said to be one of the most beautiful places in all of Norway – a town right in between the Fjord.
Things to do in Geiranger:
- Take a cruise to see the Seven Sisters Waterfall and the Suitor Waterfall (opposite each other)
- Visit Fossevandring Waterfall
- Kayak on the fjord
- Hike one of the many routes
- Geiranger Sjokolade - chocolate shop/cafe. Of course, we tried Geiranger Sjokolade ourselves, picking up some Norwegian famous DIY hot chocolate and a few little tasting chocolates, all for $15 - it was really good!
Overall, Geiranger was definitely the busiest place we visited. The area is stunning but because it’s a very tiny town, we found it too touristy for its size. Whereas we had seen some amazing places that weren’t as crowded and just as incredible. It’s a great spot to simply drive through and stop for an hour or if you’re wanting to hike.
From Geiranger, drive towards the crown jewel of your Norweigan road trip - Trollstigen. Make sure to take the Fv63 National Tourist Route (including ferry crossing Stranda-Liabygda, departing roughly every 20/30mins).
Trollstigen is one of the most recognizable roads in the entire world; with 11 crazy hairpin bends down the mountain, passing huge waterfalls on the way.
→ The route is usually open from the end of May till the end of October. Definitely worth checking it’s open before you make the drive as it gets closed in poor weather conditions.
Drive roughly 2 hours to Alesund, and stay here for a couple of nights. We paid $350 USD for a two-night stay at Hotel 1904 - a minimalist boutique hotel in the center of Ålesund.
What to do in Ålesund:
Explore the colourful Art Nouveau style buildings, rebuilt after being destroyed by a fire in 1904
Walk up to Fjellstua viewpoint at the top of Mount Aksla (or drive if you’re needing a break from all the hiking!)
Try a piece of traditional Norwegian cake; “Kvæfjordkake” at Nomaden Espresso Bar
THE ATLANTIC OCEAN ROAD
If you are into drone photography, I highly recommend taking a trip to the Atlantic Ocean Road (Atlanterhavsveien) from Ålesund. I am so glad we drove 2.5 hours to Kårvåg (the end of the Atlantic Ocean Road) and back – but it might not be something that interests you.
After dropping your rental car off (unless you’re heading back to Stavanger) get ready for the next part of your Norwegian adventure - Lofoten!
Make sure to check out my Norweigan Road Trip in 4 minutes video, showing you our adventures across this incredible country.
Let’s get lost in the next one!