Norway Road Trip Bucket List: 40 Must See Norway Sights and Experiences!
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An epic 4,500km road trip through Norway saw us fall in love with its stunning scenery and incredible natural beauty. Each day was filled with spectacular must see sights and we experienced many incredible once in a lifetime moments. From waking up to stunning Fjordland views to standing on 5,000 year old glaciers to the 24 hour sunlight in the Arctic Circle, Norway quickly stole our hearts. We’ve narrowed 4,500km of amazing Norway moments into 40 of our top sights and experiences which should be at the top of any Norway road trip itinerary!
If you are planning a trip to Norway check out our Norway itinerary for more inspiration!
1 | Drive the Snow Road: Aurlandsfjellet
The famous Aurlandsfjellet snow road is a 46km stretch of mountain road which is only open during the summer months due to heavy snow in the winter making the route impassable. It owes its name to the snow walls lining the road even in mid-summer.
2 | Wake up in Lysefjord
One of the most beautiful fjords in Norway, Lysefjord is home to both the stunning Pulpit Rock and Kjeragbolten hikes. It also has one of the most beautiful camping spots we’ve ever seen: this was the view from our tent as we awoke to a fresh Norweigan morning. No words can really describe how stunning it was!
My main camera is currently a Nikon D7200 with the Sigma 17-50mm f2.8 and the Sigma 70-200 f2.8. Elaine uses the compact Fuji XT-10 for all her shots. We use Adobe Lightroom for editing all our photos and highly recommend (we pay €12.29 a month for a combination of Lightroom and Photoshop which is a fantastic deal).
3 | Hike to Kjeragbolten
It was a picture of the infamous Kjeragbolten, a free hanging rock impossibly wedged in a mountain crevice overlooking the beautiful Lysefjord, that sealed the deal on our Norway trip. A 9km hike with a 600metre climb is a daunting prospect but Kjerag is a beautiful hike and entirely worth the effort! Step out onto the Kjerag rock if you are brave enough!
Norway sightseeing tip: If you’re planning to climb Kjerag check out our how to guide here!
Norway sightseeing tip: Be sure to check out the Oygardstol viewpoint beside Kjerag hike car park, the views into the fjord below are incredible.
Norway Travel Guidebooks
We used a number of guidebooks when planning our Norway road trip. Our favourite was the DK guide as it had good general information but the LonelyPlanet edition was good for more details.
4 | Walk among the sculptures at Vigeland Sculpture Park, Oslo
Angry babies, the circle of life, monoliths and nakedness: not exactly what we were expecting when, after two weeks of Norwegian road trip wilderness, we arrived in Oslo and visited the incredibly weird and wonderful Vigeland Sculpture Park! Vigeland is the life work of Gustav Vigeland and the sculptures represent the Human Condition illustrating the complexities of relationships and the journey from the cradle to the grave. PS. In case there was any doubt, the angry babies and nakedness form part of the 212 bronze sculptures scattered throughout the park!
Norway sightseeing tip: Check out more pics of our visit to Vigeland here!
Where to Stay in Oslo
Although it’s a beautiful country and definitely worth visiting, Norway is an expensive country stay in. Luckily we recommend these lovely hotels in Oslo that won’t break the bank.
- Comfort Hotel Børsparken: Located right in the heart of Oslo and beside Oslo Central station this is the perfect choice for a stay in Oslo – Check prices now!
- Saga Poshtel Oslo Central – For those on a budget try this central hostel with shared and private rooms. The location is perfect for exploring the city. – Check prices now!
- Smarthotel Oslo – a modern design and functional rooms make this a great choice for Oslo. Located close to the Royal Palace. – Check prices now!
- Oslo Guldsmeden – A beautiful boutique hotel located close to the centre of Oslo., with a Turkish bath spa on site and stunning wooden décor in the rooms– Check prices now!
5 | Enjoy an epic sunset!
The land of the midnight sun is famous for itsnever-endingg daylight but, as we headed south towards Oslo, we captured many beautiful sunsets as the days drew to a close.
6 | Hike to Pulpit Rock
The iconic Pulpit Rock, jutting out into the Lysefjord, is one of the most recognisable places in Norway. A relatively straightforward hike took us to the summit of Pulpit rock where, like a preacher on a pulpit, we gazed down the sheer cliff face into the Fjord below!
Check out some of our favourite Norway Guidebooks for more trip inspiration.
7 | Chase waterfalls at Steindalfossen
Waterfalls are aplenty in Norway but the viewing platform behind Stenindalfossen makes it one of our favourites! Follow the walkways alongside the waterfall to experience the force of the cascading water and feel the spray of the water. As a bonus, it is located in the heart of the idyllic Norwegian countryside in the midst of beautiful farmland and scenery.
8 | Visit Bryggen, Bergen
Located in the scenic city of Bergen, the old quarter of Bryggen is a cluster of stacked wooden buildings originating from the 12th Century which line the city’s waterfront. The wooden alleyways are quaint and inviting and house a mix of boutiques, restaurants, bars and museums. The old wharf is a UNESCO World Heritage Site designated due to its importance to trade and the 62 preserved buildings which remain.
Where to Stay in Bergen
- Bergen Budget Hotel: A great value hotel option and perfectly located right beside the UNESCO Bryggen waterfront. There are lots of restaurant and bar options on your doorstep – Check prices now!
- Scandic Neptun: Located close to the Bryggen waterfront, this modern Norwegian hotel is perfect for exploring Bergen for a few days. The UNESCO seafront area only a 5 minute walk away – Check prices now!
- First Hotel Marin: Located beside the historic fish market the First Hotel Marin overlooks the historic pier of Bryggen. The rustic styled rooms and views overlooking the port make this a top pick in Bergen – Check prices now!
9 | Appreciate the views at Geirangerfjord
Part of the West Norweigan fjords, Geirangerfjord is one of the most iconic Norway sights. This massive fjord has some truly stunning viewpoints, the best of which is the Flydalsjuvet Viewpoint: from here the size and scale of the majestic fjord can truly be seen, with the massive cruise ships seeming almost toy like in comparison!
10 | Sail to the Urnes Stave Church
Tucked away on the shores of the Lustra Fjord and only accessible by car ferry is one of the most beautiful Stave churches in Norway. Inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage, the medieval wooden Church is very special both inside and out and the serene setting overlooking the fjord will take your breath away.
11 | Feel tiny at Nærøyfjord
Surrounded by steep mountains and cascading waterfalls, Naeroyfjord is one of the most scenic places in Norway. We stayed in the heart of the valley in a log cabin tucked beneath the cavernous walls of the fjord. With the snowcapped mountains towering high around our cabin if felt like we were the smallest people on the planet!
12 | Drive through the world’s longest road tunnel: Laerdal Tunnel
Only the Norwegians can make a tunnel look this good! At 24.5km the Laerdal tunnel is the longest road tunnel in the world and takes around 20 minutes to drive through. There are beautifully lit rest areas where conditions mimic daylight and are definitely worth a stop along the way!
13 | Pitch a tent in the wilderness!
As long as the Norwegian right of access rules are followed free camping is permissible in Norway. It’s an amazing opportunity to get away from it all and wake up to some incredible views. Given the wide variety of wildlife that wanders around the countryside, it’s one for the knowledgeable or very brave!
14 | Be healed at the Roldal Stave Church
We sought refuge in the Roldal Stave Church during an impending rainstorm where legend has it that the church crucifix has healing properties. Once a year the crucifix overhanging the altar sweats and the sweat is believed to have healing properties.
15 | Feel the raw power of a glacier at Nigardsbreen
Who doesn’t want to come face to face with the ancient blue ice of a glacier? The Nigardsbreen glacier is the most easily accessible part of the Jostedalsbreen Glacier, the largest in mainland Europe. We reached the base of Nigardsbreen after a short hike and stood in awe at the incredible force of nature. The creaks and groans of the icefall both terrified and excited us in equal measure and the deep blue wall of ancient ice is a sight we’ll never forget!
16 | Make footprints in the snow!
Nothing beats running through a fresh fall of untouched snow and, in a country which spends most of its winter covered in snow, Norway offers the perfect opportunity to experience real, knee high, perfect snow!
Norway sightseeing tip: There are 18 tourist routes in Norway which cut through some of the country’s most spectacular scenery. Their opening is weather dependent and, given snow is not unheard of even as late as May, make sure to check they are open when planning your route!
17 | Experience the stunning scenery and dark history of Lovatnet, Lake Loen
One of the most beautiful lakes in the world, the crystal clear water of Lovatnet is unlike anything you’ll see anywhere in the world. The green waters are a result of the clay particles and rock dust swept along the river from the Kjenndal Glacier at the end of the valley. A solemn lakeside memorial stands in memory of the 135 lives lost when the hamlets of Nesdal and Bødal were destroyed by a tidal wave caused by huge rocks falling from Mount Ramnefjell into the lake below.
Where to Stay at Lake Loen
- Sande Camping: We stayed in a cosy cabin at Sande Camping overlooking Lake Loen and it was one of our favourite nights in Norway. Waking up to the beautiful Lake Loen scenery in the morning was simply out of this world. This are the only cabins overlooking Lake Loen so make sure to book ahead – Check prices now!
- Nesset Fjordcamping: A great alternative is the nearby fjord town of Olden, around a 10minute drive from Lake Loen. Nesset offers beautiful cabins overlooking the fjords for most group sizes – Check prices now!
- Oldevatn Camping: A 20minute drive from Lake Loen, Oldevatn offers cottages overlooking the nearby fjord surrounded by mountains and glaciers. Definitely consider here if the other two are full– Check prices now!
18 | Heddal Stave Church
The largest of the Stave Churches in Norway, Heddal is also one of its prettiest. Dating back to the 13th Century the fairytale Church is serene and well preserved. We visited during a practice for an organ concert and the atmosphere was incredible as the musical notes filled the Church.
19 | Step back in time at the Vega Islands
The Vega Islands are an archipelago of 6,500 islands tucked away off the western coast of Norway. It’s one of the most remote and ruggedly beautiful places we’ve visited and is really worth a days detour to visit. We loved the quiet isolation the UNESCO World Heritage islands offered.
20 | Sail the Norwegian fjords
Cutting through the icy fjord waters a journey on the Norwegian ferries provides some of the most spectacular views of a Norway road trip! We took over 20 ferry rides on our road trip and they were definitely a highlight of our trip!
21 | Travel the troll road at Trollstigen (The Trolls Ladder)
The Troll Road, or Trollstigen, is an adrenaline inducing stretch of road in Fjordland Norway with a phenomenal viewing platform at the very top. Reaching the viewing area was a little scary due a fresh fall of snow when we visited but the incredible views were worth the effort!
22 | Take a scenic bathroom break!
With incredible scenery around every corner, the views are uniformly spectacular throughout Norway but this one took us by surprise. Stopping for a rest as we approached Oslo we needed a bathroom break and we were in luck: with scenic views of the train tracks and the fjord below, we enjoyed the most beautiful bathroom views of our travels!
23 | Drive one of the world’s greatest road trips: Atlantic Road
Widely known as one of the most beautiful roads in the world and voted Norway’s engineering feat of the century, the Atlantic road is an 8.3km stretch of immaculately designed road that weaves across the rugged Atlantic coast. It’s difficult to describe how ruggedly stunning this road is. Not only is it really fun to drive as it snakes up and down across the archipelago but the viewing points along the road make you feel like the power of the Atlantic is right beneath your feet.
24 | Stand on the Arctic Circle
Driving to the Arctic circle in Norway. It sounded crazy, the distances were crazy and the timings were crazy but then, we’re crazy when it comes to our travel bucket list! 24hour brightness and the chance to stand in the Arctic were too great a temptation and, before we knew it, a visit to the Arctic Circle was pencilled into our Norway route. A line of rock pillars stretched into the horizon on either side marking the invisible Arctic Circle line of latitude and the only noise was the occasional passing car and the chirping of birds as they played in the eternal sunset. Bliss!
Norway sightseeing tip: Read more about our Arctic Circle adventures here!
25 | Embrace the traditional way of life
The further North we travelled the more we noticed the strong remnants of a more traditional Norweigan way of life. Small fishing towns with little in the way of modern amenities reflect the Arctic surroundings and we embraced the step back in time and total escape from reality.
26 | Gudbransjuvet Waterfall
Rushing streams and plunging canyons thunder under the beautifully designed walkway at the Gudbranjuvet waterfall. It’s the perfect pit stop after heavy rains when the waters are frothy and angry!
27 | Experience the midnight sun or the northern lights
40% of Norway sits above the Arctic Circle: in summer this area experiences the midnight sun and in winter the northern lights twinkle across the night sky. We were there during the summer and experienced the weird phenomenon of the 24hour brightness of the midnight sun. Imagine the birds singing the trees, joggers on the streets in the middle of the night and enjoying a beer in the sunlight despite it being 3am in the morning. It was both confusing and enjoyable!!
28 | Walk in the footsteps of giants at the Gloppedalsura Boulder Field
The Gloppedalsura boulder field was formed over 10,000 years ago when the ice sheet engulfing the area melted and giant boulders and rocks were sent tumbling down the mountainside. We felt like tiny specs in a giant world scrambling over the boulders!
29 | Borgund Stave Church
Another of Norway’s Stave Church offerings, Borgund was built in 1180 and is dedicated to Andrew, one of the 12 Apostles. The well preserved Stave Church has beautiful carvings which have served the test of time.
30 | Explore the quaint Roros Mining Town
Time seems frozen in the secluded mining town of Roros. It was founded in the 17th Century when copper ore was discovered in the area and the colourful narrow streets and wooden buildings are a designated UNESCO World Heritage site.
31 | Take an iconic Norway hike
32 | Discover the history of the fierce Viking warriors
Vikings travelled far and wide throughout Europe over one thousand years ago conquering vasts amount of territory and they even ruled Norway at one point. There are many glimpses into the Viking past throughout the country.
33 | Indulge in local market life
From Farmers Markets to Fish Markets Norway has a blossoming market scene and they offer the perfect opportunity to meet the locals and indulge in the best of fresh Norweigan food.
34 | Feel lost in the vastness of Sonjefjorden
Sonjefjforden is the longest and deepest fjord in Norway and extends from coast to mountains. Endless water views and dramatic scenery make this a Norway must see along with its most famous arm, the UNESCO World Heritage Nærøyfjorden.
35 | Visit a UNESCO World Heritage Site
There are 7 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Norway, 6 cultural and 1 natural and they’re some of the highlights of Norway and this list! Take a detour to Bryggen, the Urnes Stave Church, the Vega Islands, Roros Mining Town, Struve Geodetic Arc, the Rock Art of Alta or the Rjukan-Notodden Industrial Site and tick a UNESCO of your list!
36 | Enjoy a spectacular coffee break
Norway’s rest stops are legendary with scenic viewpoints around every bend! We ate breakfast overlooking fjords, had lunch among giant boulder fields and ate dinner under the midnight sun!
37 | Chase the Trolls
Legend has it that trolls roam the Norway roads at night and turn to stone when they are hit by the morning light, creating the mass of cliffs around the Trollstigen area. Trolls are a huge part of Norway culture and live deep in the forests and mountains of the country.
38 | See double at the Latefossen Waterfalls
Norway has many beautiful waterfalls but the twin waterfalls of Latefossen are among the most stunning. The waterfalls lie close to the road and a series of bridges provide a stunning view.
39 | Escape to a secluded cabin
Despite our good intentions to camp every night of our road trip on some occasions we couldn’t resist the quaint little campsite cabins which dotted our route. Hot chocolates, warm showers and heating were too tempting and they’re incredibly cute into the bargain!
40 | Travel as far as you can!
Norway is an incredible country with so much to see and do. We used every second of our trip to extend our road trip to as much of the country as we could. We managed to make it as far as the Arctic Circle but we have big plans… the Lofoten Islands and the Northern Lights we have our eye on you!!
So there you have, 40 incredible Norway sights and experiences to add to your road trip bucket list! Let us know if we missed any of your favourites!
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