We've been wanting to do a Norway road trip for a very long time, but we sort of always got busy with other projects. We love disconnecting from digital distractions and we normally take our yearly time off work somewhere remote. We love nature and we are soft adventure bloggers, so we've been toying with the idea of doing a long Norway road trip for about half a year now. We finally decided to book the trip and start planning. It took us more than a month to get everything sorted. We wanted to avoid most touristy places and explore truly extraordinary parts of Norway. Of course, our Norway road trip will take us to some known areas as well, but the general idea was to enjoy the wilderness. So here is everything you need to know about planning a Norway road trip.
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Norway Road Trip for First Time Visitors - Contents
Our Norway Road Trip
Hello there, wilderness! We are so excited about getting off the grid for a while. You guys know how much we love keeping you updated on our travels, but there is something really fun about switching off and going incognito. There is another reason why we planned for our Norway road trip: during our long drive, we will be celebrating our 2 year wedding anniversary and 5 years of awesome relationship. We don't buy gifts for one another, we always invest in experiences together. We do, however, always order a thick physical photo album with our pictures together.
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We love it old school that way. Maybe it's our generation, but the idea of hiking in Norway, the idea of long drives on some of the most scenic roads in the world, the elements, the landscape... that's totally us. That's our common passion and what made us fall in love. So guys, if you want to escape the crazy digital distractions and you're looking to do something epic, go on a Norway road trip. It's just an experience from another world.
Preparing for your Norway Road Trip
When to go
We wanted to do our Norway road trip during September. There are a few reasons why we picked September. We think the beginning of Autumn is the best time to visit Norway. The weather is not too bad and there isn't snow yet, so that's all good news. End of September tends to be an epic time for potentially seeing the Aurora Borealis. That's great and we will talk to you about that further down below. September is not as busy with tourists and ultimately, our Norway road trip needed to be during our wedding anniversary which is at the end of September.
What car to rent
We reserved our car through Hertz UK. We used them in the past for business and we usually like the cars they provide. We always go for the super cover and comprehensive insurance because we like to have peace of mind. Although both G and I are experienced drivers, we like to get the extra insurances when we drive in a new country.
When we get the car, we always take pictures of it with a date and time stamp on them. When we hand over the car, we do exactly the same. We take pictures to ensure we have proof that we didn't damage the car. This is standard practice for any car rental company we use. We like to be safe than sorry.
We got a manual car with good consumption. We talked to friends who visited Norway before and told us it's best to get an eco car as petrol in Norway is very expensive.
If you're planning on doing a Norway road trip during winter, we recommend getting a 4x4 just to make it a little easier on some of the hairpin roads.
Where to start the Norway road trip?
We didn't quite know if it's best to start up-North or in the capital city, Oslo. It took us some time to do our research, but in the end, we figured it's best to fly to Oslo and get our rental from the airport.
We initially wanted to drive all the way to Tromsø but since the most recommended trip was through Sweden, we decided against it. We wanted to enjoy a Norway road trip after all. Starting the journey in Norway was also better from the planning perspective, as it made things a little easier, to begin with. So the moment we got our car, we stopped in a large supermarket to buy provisions for the road trip.
Norway road trip itinerary
There are so many options for driving around Norway, and there are so many interesting places to see. We had a huge bucket list. When we put all points of interested to our map, we realised it would take us around 2 months to see everything. That was a little unrealistic, so we needed to trim down the trip.
Eventually, we settled for a 2 week Norway road trip starting from Oslo and ending back in Oslo. But since our initial plan included Tromsø, we decided to fly from Oslo to the Arctic Circle and back, and rent a car in the Northern city as well. We basically agreed to do two Norway road trips within one visit. We recommend adding Tromsø to your list as well, in order to see the beautiful Northern Lights in Norway. It's something truly magical.
Day 1 - Oslo to Lillehammer
The first-day drive is super short, from Oslo airport to Lillehammer. There is a short stop at Kiwi, a large supermarket, to grab some provisions for the road. There are various accommodation options in Lillehammer, including Airbnbs which seem to be a lot cheaper in Norway. For ultimate adventure, you can get a tent and set up anywhere. Just remember to be a little further from the road so any potential traffic doesn't wake you.
Day 2 - Dombås
Dombås is very close to Lillehammer, so you will only have to drive for a couple of hours. We did our Norway road trip is very short increments to allow ourselves time to take photos, videos and do some hiking.
Day 3 - Trondheim
Trondheim is a beautiful city located on the Trondheim Fjord. Located just a couple of hours from our base in Dombås, Trondheim is our opportunity to stock up from the supermarket and see what a Norwegian city has to offer. However, after a couple of hours around the city, we decided to go on a major hike to be back in the wilderness.
Day 4 - Atlantic Road
One of the 18 scenic routes in Norway, we couldn't miss this drive from our Norway road trip. In fact, it was one of the number one things we both wanted to do, so we planned a lot of the trip around this drive. We recommend taking your time with the Atlantic Road, cross it a couple of times, stop at the parking spaces along the way and really experience it. Check for the weather conditions though, to ensure it's all safe. Also, check for windy conditions before flying your drone.
Day 5 - Valldal
Valldalen is a valley in Norddal Municipality known for its incredible fjord. We decided to drive along the fjord en route to our accommodation, then go for a 6-8 hour hike towards Kallskaregga. The drive from the Atlantic Road to Valldal is full of incredible views. The landscape is getting seriously incredible around this part of Norway, so expect to stop pretty often for picture opportunities.
Day 6 - Byrkjelo
Are you ready? Because this is going to be the highlight of the Norway drive. Take the car from Valldal towards Byrkjelo. The drive is about 4 hours if you take the scenic route. And of course, you should take the scenic route. Geiranger - Trollstigen is one of the most dramatic scenic routes in the whole of Norway. Geirangerfjord is on UNESCO’s World Heritage List so you are guaranteed to see some of the most incredible landscapes you could possible imagine whilst experiencing an immersive drive for road trip enthusiasts. This is what Norway is all about.
Day 7 & 8 - Nigardsbreen
After one week of being on the road, experiencing Norway's scenic routes and loving every single minute of it, we decided to stay for a couple of nights in a hotel in Jostedal. For the first day, we wanted to enjoy the drive and take it easy. In the evening, we will do a 6-hour hike to the Nigardsbreen glacier.
On the second day, we have a full day to explore and wanted to visit the second glacier in the area, Styggevatnet. Please remember to check with a local guide if you wish to actually hike any glacier. It's important to never attempt such hike on your own, as you don't know how to find soft spots which can lead to serious injury.
Day 9 - Vossevangen
Are you ready for another scenic drive? From Jostedal, start driving towards Vossevangen. The route passes Flåm, and beyond Flåm, towards Bergen lies a very scenic route which is part of Norway in a nutshell itinerary. Sometimes driving through the mountains can be a little more challenging as some roads are closed due to bad weather. From Vossevangen there are a couple of medium hikes you can do. We decided to do a 5-hour hiking trip.
Day 10 - Bergen
Driving to Bergen is such treat, with roads next to fjords and North sea. Expect to stop quite a lot along the way as the scenery is just from another world. We didn't want to spend too much time exploring cities, but we couldn't miss Bergen from the Norway road trip. We truly wanted to see the old wharf with those sensational wooden buildings and take a hike up Fløyen.
Day 11 - Geilo
From Bergen, it's time to drive towards Oslo, but we thought it's a good idea to stop one more time to just be in nature, love the outdoors and go for an evening hike. We decided to stop in Geilo, which is located just 4 hours away from Bergen. Stop in Eidfjord for a break with a view. Everything along this road is a treat, as the roads are literally lined with incredible scenery.
Day 12 - Oslo
It's time to end the first part of the Norway road trip and head back to Oslo airport and drop the car off. From Oslo, we decided to fly to Tromsø, to finally experience the Arctic Circle. The main reason is to see the Northern Lights as September / October tends to be the best time of the year for it. However, Autumn can be a little challenging with a lot of rainfall. To see the Northern Lights you need to hunt for clear skies. The flight to Tromsø is less than 2 hours and we decided to take a late night plane, so we can enjoy an early start the morning after.
Day 13 - 17 - Tromsø
Time for part two of the Norway road trip. Ah, this is so exciting. Guys, driving in the Arctic Circle, is this a dream? You cannot imagine for how long I wanted to do this. Whilst G is not that keen on cold destinations, I am a winter child who loves cooler temperatures with rain and snow.
The reason why we recommend getting a car is to hunt for the Northern Lights. We wanted to allocate a few hours to explore the city itself, then spend the nights hunting for the Northern Lights. Besides, there are many incredible, remote locations around Tromsø where you can just drive to and enjoy the sound of silence.
Finally, we wanted to share a few tips from our Norway road trip adventure.
Motorways in Norway are relatively free of traffic and they are well maintained. Norway has 18 scenic routes but to be honest, pretty much the whole country is a huge area of the incredible landscape.
Fuel prices are quite high because of the environmental politics in Norway. Some areas lack many petrol stations so we always advise that you fuel up when you see a petrol station.
You shouldn't drink and drive in Norway. Well, you shouldn't drink and drive in general! Alcohol laws are very strict in Norway.
There are parts where you will need to go a little easy on the breaks. To ensure your breaks don't overheat best to drive in a lower gear.
There are several road tolls in Norway and you have to pay them irrespective of your nationality.
To drive in Norway you need a driving licence issued in your country of residence. When hiring a car in Norway, you may need to have held the licence for at least one year. You can check if your driving licence is valid in Norway by clicking here.
Are you ready for an epic Norway road trip? We are sure you are going to love Norway, especially if you are into wilderness, nature and outdoors.