This Is Why You Need To Road Trip Norway!
Road Trip Norway? Yes, You Need To Do It!
If you are looking for an epic road trip with jaw-dropping scenery, curvy roads and plenty of amazing places to stop, then you need to drive Norway.
In May 2016 we spent seven weeks touring Norway in our truck camper: 4500 km of the most astounding roads we have ever driven.
The trip began in Oslo, where we’d arrived by ferry from Denmark. We headed up into the mountains of Telemark before driving the beautiful south-western corner to Stavanger.
From Stavanger, the roads took us north. We drove through spectacular gorges, across snow-crusted plateaus, up spiralling mountain roads and around fjords.
Ferries took us over to islands and peninsulas; tunnels took us under mountains.
Not a single day went by that we weren’t amazed by the view in front of us.
From the south coast to the far north-eastern tip Norway is ridiculously beautiful. You need to see if for yourself!
Let these photos (and the video above) inspire you to explore Norway!
I’ve added coordinates below most of the photos so you can use them to plan a trip. The coordinates are also linked to open in Google Maps (in a new tab).
Oslo is surprisingly modern when you arrive there on a ferry. Oslo glitters at the head of Oslofjord, the long approach hinting at the natural beauty beyond the city: the road that lies ahead.
The mountain road to the other side of the plateau was still closed from the winter snow when we visited in early May so we had to drive back down the way we came. The weather was glorious, and the snow was melting but this wasn’t the only road we saw closed; it’s worth bearing in mind if you are planning a spring trip!
Coordinates: 59.880795, 8.734315
Route 44 is a road I highly recommend driving, it twists through some fantastic scenery and there are lots of great places to stop.
Coordinates: 58.328498, 6.354045
Beautiful Sogndalstand is another picture-perfect stop on route 44: a historic harbour village of colourful timber houses.
Coordinates: 58.322865, 6.284041
They are far bigger than I was expecting!
Coordinates: 58.942369, 5.671506
We stopped of at this lay-by to take in the magnificent view, noting that some of the minor roads here too were still somewhat snow-bound.
Coordinates: 59.856245, 6.877355
It made a spectacular spot to do some office work in the truck camper: what a view to gaze at!
Rondane National Tourist Route.
We’d spent rather a long time in southern Norway, so to speed things up we took the E6 north, skipping through Lillehammer. We then took route 27 (Rondane National Tourist Route) to Folldal, with the magnificent mountains of Rondane National Park in view most of the drive.
Strømbu rest area on the 27 has a lovely viewpoint as well as trails leading over the river into the park. It was a great place to stretch our legs and snap some pretty photos from the bridge.
Sohlbergplassen viewpoint to the south of Strømbu is also a fantastic place to stop for a photo.
Coordinates for Strømbu: 61.922438, 10.052328
Snøhetta Viewpoint. 30 km north-east of Folldal route 29 comes to a T junction at Hjerkinn. A signposted narrow track leads up to a large car park where there is a trail to a spectacular viewpoint overlooking a panorama of the Dovrefjell range, the highest peak of which is Snøhetta.
We were drawn here as it’s a great place to spot Musk Ox, and we did! It was a win-win-win location: great views, awesome arctic wildlife and the huge car park made a brilliant place to overnight (the top photo is the view from the car park)– so good in fact, we returned a week later, after driving a big loop, and stayed a second night (this was serendipity, it was the on the return trip that we saw the Musk Ox.)
Coordinates (for the car park) 62.226390, 9.517936
We drove to Ålesund as I wanted to see the Jugendstil Art Nouveau architecture, it was well worth the slight detour as the coastal town is lovely! Stairs wind up the hill to Kniven viewpoint, where you can get this awesome vista back over the town.
Coordinates: 62.474296, 6.164499
This short stretch of road sweeps effortlessly over the sea, skipping from islet to islet with curving bridges. It’s an impressive feat of engineering, and a road of bucket-list ticking proportions.
Coordinates: 63.013518, 7.330673
The road cuts through the pretty valley and the craggy sides rise slowly up, narrowing until there is no room for red houses or neat farmland. The highlight is Trollveggen: the tallest vertical overhanging rock wall in Europe. We overnighted in the car park for the Trollveggen visitor centre and the troll wall towered over us all night!
Lauvsnes, Flatanger. Our reason for being in Flatanger was to go White Tailed Eagle watching with a specialist guide, which was absolutely thrilling. This incredible rainbow at sunset was the icing on the cake, what you can’t see in the above photograph is that we could see the full circle of the rainbow – I just couldn’t get it all into one frame!
The beauty of being in a van is that you are aware of the changing conditions, just moments before I’d been watching the sunset through the window and then the rain came.
Coordinates: 64.499924, 10.893255
Ole, the amazing White Tailed Eagle guide recommended we took route 17 north to Bodø. It would be slower, and more expensive than buzzing up the E6 (because of all the ferries you need to take: 6 in total) but it is one of the most beautiful routes in Norway.
This is the view from the Forvik to Tjøtta ferry: now, you see what I mean!
Forvik ferry terminal coordinates: 65.713997, 12.460302
Viewpoint near Stokkvågen on route 17. We found this viewpoint as we drove north looking for somewhere to eat our breakfast after making an early start from our overnight on the high pass back down the 17.
This certain turned out to be a fine place to stop! This was the view inland, yet it also looked out to sea too!
Coordinates: 66.357537, 13.005657
Svartisen Glacier, the second largest glacier in Norway, apparently. Well, that’s what the information sign said at the roadside viewpoint on route 17 where this photo was taken.
Coordinates: 66.715276, 13.670412
After leaving the ferry at Nesna (ferry number 4 of 6 on route 17) the road climbed high above sea level and we found a small rest area with a fantastic vista at the top. We parked up for the night and watched the sun not quite set from a picnic bench.
We picked one of the best days of the year to take the ferry to Lofoten: the weather was glorious and the water was as calm as it could possibly be! The ferry sails to Moskenes in the very south of the Lofoten archipelago and the view of the approaching chain of islands is fantastic: they seemed to drift on the haze.
Coordinates (for the ferry terminal at Bodø) 67.288295,14.3933433
Lofoten is very spectacular and popular with other road trippers. They are islands of grandeur: lofty mountains, picture-postcard villages, and – in the summer– the midnight sun. The Lofoten archipelago is within the Arctic Circle, and for around seven weeks over midsummer, the sun doesn’t set at all over these islands: amazing!
Moskenes Coordinates: 67.899811, 13.043878
Looking for somewhere to park up for the night we turned off the main route through the Lofoten islands after crossing the small bridge over to Austvågøy, onto route 864. This coastal road was a long, beautiful dead-end; we couldn’t find a spot so we turned back then saw a flat pull-off that was just big enough for our truck. The road was quiet and we watched an eagle as the sun danced on the horizon.
One of my favourite overnight places of the whole trip!
Coordinates: 68.320235, 14.310865
Reine is probably Lofoten’s most photographed town, and it’s not hard to see why. Reine nestles colourfully under an arc of snow-peaked mountains. The causeway over to the town makes the perfect photo viewpoint.
The main road (E10) – Lofoten National Tourist Route – north of Reine is spectacular, it curves over islets close to the water passing tiny fishing communities, and all with the striking mountain backdrop.
Coordinates: 67.928353, 13.085880
It was busy when we arrived on a sunny late afternoon but we stayed overnight, along with a bunch of other motorhomes, in the car park. When we woke the next morning, we had this beautiful view to ourselves.
Coordinates: 68.199492, 13.529841
Eggum is also at the end of a narrow road on Vestågøy: a pretty fishing village hunkered under a shadowy mountain. A walking trail leads off from a small car park rest area beyond the village along the coast past the misty mountains and glassy lakes.
We stayed overnight in the car park, paying around £10 to do so: gorgeous spot!
Rather than taking the main road up to Andenes we took the west coast road – Andøya National Tourist Route, overnighting next to a beach at Nordmela and stopping for a cuppa further along at Kleivodden Rest Area after popping out through a rock arch.
It was a lucky lay-by for us as our engine had suddenly overheated, we had to stop and cool off for a while. It made an awesome photo opportunity too!
Coordinates: 69.128839, 15.663864
It was a terribly queasy trip but once the ferry reached the shelter of the fjord, the boat stopped rolling and the peaks of Senja rose up around us. Worth it.
Coordinates: 69.363295, 17.052377
The jagged jaw of peaks seen from Tungeneset rest area on Senja. The rock pools made a fun and photogenic activity to explore in the twilight of midnight. We stayed overnight here.
A footpath meanders along Lyngsdalen valley following the impossibly blue glacial river to its source at the base of three glaciers in the Lyngen Alps. We overnighted in the van at the marvellously situated free rest area on the estuary at Hatteng on the E6, then parked in Furuflaten to do this walk.
It was always going to be a practical stop but luckily there is some UNESCO Ancient Rock Art in Alta as well, so I could satisfy my neolithic fascination at the same time.
The carvings (many of which are painted red when it wasn’t frowned upon to do so in previous decades) are extraordinary and clearly document life in the area from 4000 BC onwards, to 200 AD.
Hammerfest: the most northerly town (of any decent size) in the whole world! Of course we went there!
The road up to Hammerfest crosses fantastically empty tundra, a journey that is quite unlike the rest of mountainous Norway – I absolutely loved it!
Coordinates: 70.661870, 23.690303
My favourite Norwegian road of the trip was route E75 along the top of Varangerfjord, a road which sweeps around the Barents Sea coast to Hamningberg: a pretty and delightfully remote village at the very edge of the world.
The E75 peels off the E6 at Varangerbotn – the E6 continuing on to Kirkenes – and after passing Vadsø and the turn-off for Vardø it shrinks down to a narrow band of asphalt and becomes the FV341. Now things get really interesting: the road carves through an incredible rocky landscape, you can see the violence of natural forces in the rock formations. It’s like another world up here.
We camped among these formations and it was the best wild camp site we’ve ever stayed in!
Coordinates: 70.500731, 30.609116
Vardø feels like a far-flung place: weather-worn and hardy, high up in the Arctic Circle, a stone’s throw from Russia.
Coordinates: 70.379788, 31.118260
Coordinates: 70.512189, 30.573235
The E6 runs all the way from Southern Sweden before skipping over into Norway near Fredrikstad and continuing on, via Oslo, all the way to Kirkenes in the far north-east, a mighty route that traverses some incredible landscapes. We hopped on and off the E6 throughout our drive through Norway and I’m pretty sure this was my favourite bit!
Coordinates: 70.196046, 24.059176
There were many other spectacular roads that we didn’t take, we carved our own route north without much in the way of research. Nevertheless, all the routes we took amazed us at some point, often most of the time!
It was easy to find places to park up for the night; we only used a campsite once (on Vestvågøy, Lofoten) and that was to do laundry.
I would do this road trip again in a heartbeat. I can’t actually believe it took me so long to visit Norway in the first place!
Norway should definitely be on your road trip bucket list!
Pin it for later:
Try these posts:
I’m Moving To Sweden! Ok, so it’s for every winter, in Lapland!
Exploring Norway’s South Coast A beautiful coastal drive with some quirky stops.
Walking to Pulpit Rock What it’s like to hike out to this epic viewpoint.
Silvia’s Norwegian Waffles. Grab your waffle maker out of the cupboard and whip these delicious babies up!
Nordic Road Trip Week One: UK to Norway Driving to Norway via the Netherland, Germany and Denmark.
Are you inspired to drive Norway? Where else would you recommend?