For thrill-seekers, nature-lovers and under-the-radar adventurers alike, a road trip is the best way to discover Norway’s rugged and diverse landscapes. Natural forces have slowly sculpted the striking scenery, and with over 58,000 miles of roads snaking their way through the cinematic surroundings, there’s plenty of ground to cover. Norway has also earned the accolade of the safest place in the world to drive, with a seat-belt-wearing rate of 95%, a fact which only adds to the already extensive list of reasons why the country was made for road-tripping. Behind the wheel you’re in total control of the itinerary and your journey can go in whichever direction you desire, so buckle up and get planning with the help of our list of the best road trips in Norway...
The Atlantic Ocean Road
The Atlantic Ocean road links Norway’s mainland to the island of Averøy, via eight bridges that connect the sequence of small islands in between. You might recognise the necklace of islands from the Bond film No Time to Die and it’s easy to see why it was chosen as a filming location, with panoramic vistas across the Atlantic that almost defy description.
The Trollstigen pass (troll path) is one of the country’s most notorious roads, comprising 11 riveting hairpin bends, which require plenty of concentration to navigate. These seat-gripping turns are well worth it though, for the breath-taking views you’ll be blessed with along the way, placing it firmly on the list of the best road trips in Norway. Upon reaching the Trollstigen's summit you’ll find a winding pathway which leads to a steel and concrete viewing platform towering above the pass.
The Lofoten Road
For more of an under-the-radar route, take a spin along the Lofoten road that runs through the rugged Lofoten Archipelago, located in the far north of the Scandinavian nation. The road connects the islands of Austvågøy, Vestvågøy, Flakstadøy and Moskenesøy, and is ideal for off-the-beaten-path adventurers in search of a variety of wildlife and (hopefully) views of the Northern Lights.
The Jæren Road
The Jæren road runs along Norway’s southern coastline, making it the ultimate voyage for ocean lovers. The sprawling landscape is punctuated by traditional Norwegian lighthouses, including the glorious Kvassheim lighthouse, while the coast is laced with golden-hued beaches. Verdant hills and rolling dunes characterise the region, providing a pleasing contrast to the fjord-filled scenery of the north.
Gaularfjellet is another lesser-known road (yet still one of the best road trips in Norway), which crosses Gaular, the mountain positioned between Dragsvik and the Sognefjord. This drive will also take you through the ‘waterfall path’ of Gaularvassdraget, a unique protected river system. Likholefossen is an especially enthralling waterfall and the bridge above the thundering falls offers outstanding views.
For a mixture of the country’s most prolific landscapes, the Sognefjellet passes through the Bøverdal valley – deep in the heart of Norway – and reaches the lofty height of 4705 ft, making it the tallest mountain pass in northern Europe. The route will take you past Sognefjord, the largest and deepest fjord in the country (earning it the moniker ‘The King of the Fjords’), before concluding in the picturesque village of Gaupne.
Once only accessible to fishermen, the remote northern island of Senja now welcomes tourists thanks to a meandering pathway linking the villages. The region’s mountain landscapes lend themselves to kayaking, hiking, cold-water swimming and diving. Time your road trip for the winter season (November to March) to increase your chances of glimpsing the elusive Northern Lights.
For many, the end point of the Ryfylke route is Pulpit Rock, a mountain plateau towering almost 2000 ft above the fjord. While the views from this height are undeniably impressive, the drive itself is equally thrilling; the Svandalfossen waterfall which plunges down the nearby cliff-face often projects clouds of spray over the road, and the town of Sauda offers authentic activities, such as salmon fishing.
This stereotypically Norwegian route is one of the best road trips in Norway for good reason, as the sweeping scenery is the ideal embodiment of the country’s typography. Meander past cascading waterfalls and through abundant orchards towards the Hardanger fjord, which dominates the area and is the fourth-longest fjord on the planet.
Saving the longest route for last, Helgelandskysten encompasses Northern Norway’s most southerly district. The standouts of this route include the Seven Sisters waterfalls (with an elevation of 1,350 ft), the Svartisen glacier (the country’s second largest) and the Saltrauman Maelstrom (one of the planet’s strongest tidal currents). For even more startling beauty without the crowds, include the Vega Archipelago in your itinerary, a UNESCO-designated assortment of 6,500 islands and reefs just south of the Arctic Circle.