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The world's most scenic? Seven Road trips in Norway

Photo by Unsplash

Norway is a country of stunning natural beauty, where the landscape offers a variety of scenic routes to explore by car. Whether you are looking for dramatic fjords, rugged mountains, serene islands, or charming villages, you will find them along the 18 designated Norwegian Scenic Routes. Here we list seven of the most popular routes.





Geiranger-Trollstigen

Photo by Fjord Norway
Photo by Freysteinn G. Jonsson/Unsplash

One of Norway's most famous and spectacular scenic routes is the Geiranger-Trollstigen route, which stretches from Langvatn to Sogge Bridge in Romsdalen.


This route takes you through some of the most dramatic landscapes in Norway, where you can admire the UNESCO-listed Geirangerfjord, the majestic Trollstigen mountain road with its 11 hairpin bends, and the stunning views from the modern viewpoints of Ørnesvingen and Flydalsjuvet.


The Geiranger Fjord. Photo by Pixabay

Along the way, you can also stop at the Gudbrandsjuvet gorge, where a series of bridges and walkways allow you to get close to the roaring waterfalls, and the Juvet Landscape Hotel, a unique accommodation that blends in with the natural surroundings.



Juvet Landscape Hotel. Photo by Fjord Norway
Gudbrandsjuvet. Photo by Nathan van-de Graaf/Unsplash

The Geiranger-Trollstigen route is about 104 km long and takes about 3 hours to drive without stops. However, you will probably want to spend more time to enjoy the scenery and attractions along the way. The route is open from May to October, depending on the weather conditions. You can start from either end of the route, but driving from south to north will give you a better view of the Trollstigen road as you descend.





Atlantic Road

Photo by Melina Kiefer/Unsplash

Another iconic scenic route in Norway is the Atlantic Road, which runs from Kårvåg to Bud along the coast of Møre og Romsdal.


This route is famous for its engineering marvels, as it crosses several bridges that curve and twist over the sea and islands. The most impressive bridge is the Storseisundet Bridge, which looks like a roller coaster from some angles.


The Atlantic Road offers a stunning contrast between the wild and rugged ocean and the calm and idyllic fishing villages. Along the route, you can also visit the Håholmen Viking Island, where you can learn about the history and culture of the Vikings.


Photo by Pixabay

The Atlantic Road is about 36 km long and takes about 45 minutes to drive without stops. However, you will probably want to stop at several viewpoints and attractions along the way. The route is open all year round, but it can be especially dramatic during storms and high tides. You can start from either end of the route, but driving from east to west will give you a better view of the bridges as you approach them.





Lofoten

Photo by Unsplash

Lofoten is a group of islands in northern Norway that are known for their stunning scenery, rich wildlife, and cultural heritage. The scenic route in Lofoten runs from Å to Raftsundet, passing through several picturesque fishing villages, white sandy beaches, towering mountains, and crystal clear waters.


Photo by Unsplash and Statens Vegvesen


Along the route, you can experience some of the highlights of Lofoten, such as hiking to Reinebringen for a panoramic view of Reinefjorden, visiting the Lofotr Viking Museum in Borg, where you can see a reconstructed Viking longhouse and ship, kayaking or surfing in Unstad or Haukland beaches, watching sea eagles and whales in Tysfjord or Vestfjord, and enjoying the midnight sun or northern lights depending on the season.


The scenic route in Lofoten is about 230 km long and takes about 5 hours to drive without stops. The route is open all year round.





Hardanger




Hardanger is a region in western Norway that is known for its fruit orchards, cultural traditions, and natural wonders. The scenic route in Hardanger runs from Granvin to Steinsdalsfossen waterfall or Opedal in Ullensvang municipality (depending on which branch you choose), passing through several charming villages, lush valleys, steep mountainsides, and sparkling fjords.


Along the route, you can experience some of the highlights of Hardanger, such as visiting the Hardangervidda National Park Centre in Eidfjord, where you can learn about Norway’s largest national park, driving along the Hardangerfjord, Norway’s second longest fjord, admiring the Vøringsfossen waterfall, Norway’s highest waterfall, walking on the Hardangerjøkulen glacier, Norway’s sixth largest glacier, and tasting the local cider and fruit products in Ulvik or Lofthus.


Photo by Frida-Jorunn Stabell/Statens Vegvesen
Photo by Roger Ellingsen/Statens Vegvesen

The scenic route in Hardanger is about 158 km long and takes about 3 hours to drive without stops. You can start from either end of the route, but driving from north to south will give you a better view of the fjord as you descend.





Rondane

Photo by Frid-Jorunn Stabell/Statens Vegvesen
Photo by Werner Harstad/Statens Vegvesen

Rondane is a mountain area in central Norway that is known for its wild and untouched nature, diverse wildlife, and ancient history. The scenic route in Rondane runs from Venabygdsfjellet to Folldal, passing through several scenic viewpoints, cultural monuments, and hiking trails.


The route will take you along Norways first national park, Rondane, and the Rondane massif, where you can see 10 peaks over 2000 meters, spotting reindeer, moose, wolverines, and other animals in their natural habitat, exploring the ancient rock carvings and mining history in Folldal. You can also go hiking or skiing on the numerous trails that crisscross the area.


Photo by Tonje Tjernet/Statens Vegvesen
Photo by Jarle Waehler/Statens Vegvesen

The scenic route in Rondane is about 75 km long and takes about 1.5 hours to drive without stops. The route is open all year round, but some parts may be closed due to snow or avalanches in winter. You can start from either end of the route, but driving from west to east will give you a better view of the mountains as you approach them.





Old Strynefjellsvegen

Photo by Per Ritzler/Stans Vegvesen

Gamle Strynefjellsvegen is an old mountain road that runs from Grotli to Videsæter in Vestland. This route takes you through some of the most scenic and varied landscapes in Norway, transforming from rolling green valleys, evidence of ancient glaciers, gradually give way to a more rugged beauty.


The road itself becomes part of the experience, lined with traditional stone walls and rows of guard stones. These features speak to the skill and effort required to build this passage through the mountains over a century ago.


Photo by Jarle Waehler/Statens Vegvesen
Photo by Per Kollstad/Statens Vegvesen

Keep an eye out for cascading waterfalls, their energy contrasting with the tranquility of the blue lakes nestled below. Westward, the Norwegian mountains rise majestically. Jagged peaks pierce the clear sky, their snow-capped tops gleaming in the sun.


Nearby is the Norwegian Glacier Museum in Fjærland, where you can learn about the glaciers and climate change, and the Jostedalsbreen National Park Centre in Stryn, where you can see exhibits and films about Norway’s largest glacier. You can also join guided tours to the nearby glaciers, such as Briksdalsbreen and Nigardsbreen.


Jarle Waehler/Statens Vegvesen

The Gamle Strynefjellsvegen route is about 27 km long and takes about 45 minutes to drive without stops. The route is open from June to October, depending on the snow conditions. You can start from either end of the route, but driving from east to west will give you a better view of the road as you ascend.





Senja

Photo by Ansgar Scheffold/Unsplash

Senja, Norway's second-largest island, boasts a breathtaking scenic route that winds its way through the dramatic landscapes of Troms county. This route, stretching from Gryllefjord to either Botnhamn or Husøy depending on your chosen branch, offers a true smorgasbord of coastal beauty.


Gryllefjord, a charming fishing village nestled amidst towering mountains. Here, you can explore the harbor and perhaps indulge in fresh seafood before setting off. As you leave Gryllefjord, the route hugs the coastline, offering glimpses of idyllic fishing villages like Mefjordvær and Hamn.


Photo by Werner HArstad/Statens Vegvesen
Photo by Trine Hanker Zerwekh/Statens Vegvesen

The landscape continues to transform as you drive. Sandy beaches, perfect for a picnic or a refreshing dip (if you're brave enough for the Arctic waters!), alternate with dramatic rocky cliffs. Be sure to pull over at designated viewpoints to fully appreciate the panoramas – towering mountains plunging into the turquoise sea are a constant companion on this route.


As you approach your chosen endpoint, either Botnhamn or Husøy, be sure to factor in time to explore these charming coastal towns. Sample the local cuisine, browse unique shops for souvenirs, or simply relax and soak in the peaceful atmosphere.


The scenic route in Senja is about 102 km long and takes about 2 hours to drive without stops. The route is open all year round. You can start from either end of the route, but driving from south to north will give you a better view of the island as you traverse it.





Driving in Norway


Driving a car in Norway as a tourist and foreigner can be a rewarding and enjoyable way to explore the country’s natural beauty and cultural attractions. However, there are some things you should think about before you hit the road, such as:


Driving licence: You need a valid driving licence from your home country or an international driving permit to drive in Norway. If your licence is not in English or a Nordic language, you should also carry an official translation or an international driving permit.


Road rules: You should familiarise yourself with the road rules and regulations in Norway, as they may differ from those in your home country. Some of the most important ones are:

  • Drive on the right side of the road and overtake on the left.

  • Keep your dipped lights on at all times, even during the day. This is mandatory.

  • Obey the speed limits, which are usually 50 km/h in urban areas, 80 km/h on rural roads, and 110 km/h on motorways. Speed cameras are common and fines are high.

  • Give way to traffic from the right at intersections, unless there are signs or markings indicating otherwise.

  • Do not use your mobile phone while driving, unless you have a hands-free device. This is prohibited and can result in a fine or even a prison sentence.

  • Do not drink and drive, as the legal blood alcohol limit is very low (0.02%) and penalties are severe.





Useful information


Emergency numbers: In case of an emergency, you can dial 112 for the police, 113 for the ambulance, and 110 for the fire department. These numbers are free of charge and can be reached from any phone, even without a SIM card.


Climate: Norway has a varied climate that depends on the region, season, and altitude. Generally, the coastal areas have a mild and humid climate, while the inland areas have a colder and drier climate. The northern part of Norway lies within the Arctic Circle and experiences polar nights in winter and midnight sun in summer. The best time to visit Norway depends on what you want to see and do, but generally, May to September is the peak season for most activities and attractions.


Currency: The currency in Norway is the Norwegian krone (NOK), which is divided into 100 øre.


Language: The official language in Norway is Norwegian, which has two written forms: Bokmål and Nynorsk. Most people speak Bokmål, but some regions use Nynorsk as their official language. English is widely spoken and understood by most Norwegians, especially in urban areas and tourist destinations.


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