Driving routes through Norwegian fjords

Norwegian fjords are world famous for their epic beauty, making for the perfect road trip territory. Inspires contributor Susie Kearley details the most picturesque and adventurous routes across the country.

There are lots of amazing driving routes connecting the towns and cities across Norway. With incredible mountain scenery, stunning Fjords and lush countryside, the country is a top destination for adventure activities too such as kayaking, cruising, white-water rafting, or hiking.

A road trip here is ideal as it’s better not to rush these journeys. Take a few days, or even a week, to stop along the routes and explore the surrounding. A Fjord Pass is Norway’s most comprehensive discount card, offering you 20% off Avis Car Hire and as much as 25% off activities while you’re there.

Oslo to Bergen

River flowing through fjords

Sognefjord Fjord

Two scenic routes connect Oslo in the east of the country, to Bergen on the west coast. The first 480km route takes you via the Aurland Mountain and the Sognefjord, the largest and deepest fjord in Norway. It runs through popular towns, Voss and Flåm, where you can admire beautiful rivers, waterfalls, hills and mountains as you travel. It’s a good area for hiking and walking with sights of the Nærøyfjord World Heritage site, one of the most dramatic fjords in Europe as it’s 18km long and just 500 metres wide in places.

The other route from Oslo to Bergen is 460km. It takes you across the Hardangervidda Mountain Plateau, a designated National Park, to the stunning Hardangerfjord – the second longest fjord in Norway at 179km. You can also see Vøringsfossen, one of Norway’s greatest waterfalls, as well as stunning fjords, and views of the wild Måbødalen valley.

There are plenty of good hiking trails on this route too – park your car on the side road by Storegjel between the second and third tunnel in the valley. After following the footpath 300m down the road, there is a sign to Vøringsfossen where the footpath goes down to the river.

Stavanger to Bergen Discovery Route

Houses at river mouth that flows through mountain valley

Stavanger

The 410km Discovery Route from Stavanger to Bergen, takes in stunning mountain ranges, glaciers, fjords, and lush green landscapes. You’ll see pretty villages and can explore the impressive fjord landscapes on the National Scenic Routes at Hardanger and Ryfylke.

There are also lots of opportunities for outdoor adventures, with white-water rafting, waterfall abseiling, canyoning, or a wilderness camp with a high ropes course, all offered by activity provider Voss Active. It’s worth noting that a number of these activities are weather dependent but they’re all are led by a skilled crew that follow strict safety procedures. It’s easy to book these and events can be tailored for groups of six or more.

Additionally, there are two car ferries and toll roads on the Discovery Route.

Bergen to Trondheim

Boat on water by a waterfall

Seven Sisters Waterfall

The coastal route from Bergen to Trondheim, a staggering 920km long, takes you up the west side of Norway. It’s not a fast route, but it’s certainly one of the most beautiful.

You’ll see Sognefjord, known as the King of the Fjords, because it’s the largest and deepest fjord in Norway. Visit Geirangerfjord too, a beautiful fjord and UNESCO World Heritage Site. Geiranger is known for its stunning Seven Sisters Waterfall. Take a look around the beautiful town of Ålesund while you’re there. It’s known for its Art Nouveau buildings, many of which were built after a fire devastated the town in 1904 – you can read all about it at the Jugendstilsenteret museum. The town’s Atlantic Sea Park (aquarium) is worth a visit too.

Winding road leading up mountains

Trollstigen road

Narrow roads take you past gushing rivers and waterfalls, incredible mountains, and amazing scenery. You’ll travel along Trollstigen, a remarkable zigzag road on the side of Mount Stigrøra. It has 11 hairpin bends and has to be seen to be believed. This route has plenty of hiking routes and places to stay, and includes ferries and toll roads. A shorter option would be to follow the 200km route from Bergen to Sognefjord, taking in the mountain scenery, canyons, coastal views, and fjords.

Steinkjer to Bodø

Lighthouse at the end of a pier

Bodo

This 650km route from Steinkjer to Bodø takes you through Norway’s stunning scenery, with wonderful coastal views, charming valleys, towering mountains and glaciers. It’s called Kystriksveien, meaning ‘the coastal route’ and it takes you across the Arctic Circle.

Thousands of islands stand just off the coast and it’s worth visiting a few while you’re there. A new express boat, from Bodø to Sandnessjøen, enables visitors to explore remote islands. You’ll need at least 4-5 days to do this route justice, and there are plenty of outdoor activities available, including hiking and cycling. There are six ferries on the route and a discount card is available.