This road trip itinerary along the west coast of Norway includes some of the most epic scenery you will find anywhere in the world.
You will have plenty of unexpected experiences with some of the most beautiful places being outside of the main tourist attractions and just on the side of the road.
So when planning your own road trip adventure be sure to include plenty of extra time so that you have the freedom to follow your instincts and explore.
You never know what you will discover around every turn.
Here is a high-level summary of the main destinations we covered in our 10 day trip through the West Norwegian Fjords so you can get a feel for the route we took.
There are a number of great activities that we just couldn’t squeeze in.
We have noted these on the appropriate days below so you know where you may want to spend more time and deviate from our itinerary.
- Day 0 – Oslo
- Day 1 – Stavanger
- Day 2 – Kjeragbolten, Lysebotn, Hovden
- Day 3 – Langfossen, Latefossen, Odda, Steinsdalsfossen, Bergen
- Day 4 – Bergen, Tvindefossen, Laerdal
- Day 5 – Nigardbreen Glacier Hike, Olden
- Day 6 – Geiranger
- Day 7 – Geiranger, Trollstigen, Sjøholt
- Day 8 – Alesund
- Day 9 – Return to Oslo
Full Road Trip Video
If you prefer to watch rather than read then check out our epic road trip video here. Norway is such a beautiful country that the visuals will get you far more excited to visit than the written word ever could.
You will also find more detailed videos on a number of Norway destinations we discovered along the way on our channel page.
10 Day Norway Road Trip Itinerary
We started our trip in the capital of Oslo which is a very modern city with an interesting mix of medieval Viking history, cultural landmarks, and natural beauty.
The Oslo Opera House, Viking Ship Museum, and Royal Palace are all highlights that you can explore in a day if you are keen to hit the road (like we were!).
But to start our road trip we had to get to the town of Stavanger on the west coast of Norway where we would pickup our rental car.
We took the overnight train and had a very restful night in a sleeper car while in transit.
There are two sides to this city that are unique and worthwhile exploring on foot.
The first is the old town on the west side of the harbor. The cobbled streets and wooden houses with beautiful gardens throughout make this a cute little area to explore on foot.
It is right next to the waterfront where we caught our first sight of the signature colorful houses and Hanseatic architecture that we would find throughout Norway’s coastal towns.
The colorful buildings stretched back from the waterfront to what looked like some incredible nightlife areas.
Unfortunately, the streets were very quiet due to our early arrival so we didn’t get to see them in full swing.
Strangely known as the Oil Capital of Norway, Stavanger also features a petroleum museum. While this may be an interesting time we were about to drive into what is some of the most beautiful natural landscapes on the planet.
So we decided to skip this one.
When heading out of town we made one more stop at the Sverd i fjell (Swords in Rock) which a monument to commemorate the Battle of Hafrsfjord nearly 1,200 years ago!
It is certainly a more peaceful place in the present day.
Stavanger to Tjørhom
The road to Tjørhom was just a taste of what was to come and we left the coast and headed into the mountains. The landscape was becoming more dramatic with every passing mile.
The drive was only 100kms but we stopped so many times to take in the scenery that it took us most of the day to reach our accommodation for the night at Tjørhom.
One thing to remember is that towns with restaurants and general services are few and far between. So stock up on supplies when in the major cities.
We didn’t figure this out until we reached our final destination and had to piece together some meals based on what was available at a gas station.
We stayed at the Sirdal Hostel, which was more like a snow lodge than a hostel. We had a private room, but strangely rooms are not allocated at check-in.
You just walk around and pick one you like that isn’t occupied.
For months we had been discussing whether we would stand on that rock and had decided that neither of us would do it. The risk vs reward just wasn’t justifiable.
But… Over the course of the three-hour hike, we changed our minds. More on that shortly.
The hike takes around six hours for a round trip from the car park to Kjeragbolten and back. It is fairly easy to navigate on your own but there are plenty of guided tours available if you want to hike with a group.
Some of the inclines are steep but there are chains to help when needed and you can complete the hike with only moderate levels of fitness.
You are at the whims of the weather gods though and on our way up there was a thick fog and we were unable to enjoy much of the view.
This changed on the way down though and were treated to some amazing views of the fjords, mountain ranges, and over the town of Lysebotn way down below.
We were very unprepared and did not have gloves or hiking shoes. The rain stayed away which was very fortunate as the rocks would get slippery quickly when wet.
Hiking shoes really are a must! It was fairly stupid of us to go up there without them.
You don’t need gloves but they will make you much more comfortable as the chains can get cold up there.
Now, back to that rock that hangs between the two cliffs 1,000m above the ground… Yeah, we stood on it, but I am not thrilled with myself for doing so.
It is not difficult to do, but the margin for error is low. One slip and there will be no second chances. The narrow walkway to get to the rock is narrow and more slippery than the rock itself so take care on the way out there.
The chain has also been removed and there is only a metal ring drilled into the surrounding rock face to hang on to when navigating this narrow walkway.
As much as the thought of it makes my stomach churn, we did observe elderly ladies getting on and off comfortably and one guy who was taking jump shot pictures.
I wouldn’t do it again but it is hard not to when you travel such a long way to be there!
If you have the time to head further downhill after completing the hike then you can be in the small town of Lysebotn within ten minutes, and it is absolutely worthwhile!
The waterfront view is incredible!
There are steep grey cliffs on either side of the fjord that rise up from the water and created a hauntingly beautiful scene with all the fog and cloud that was still hanging around.
I would have loved to stay here overnight but your options are limited and you would have to book in advance.
So we hopped back in the car and made the long drive to the ski village of Hovden where we would spend the night.
We stayed at the Hovden Fjellstoge, which looks like a prime place to stay in the snow season!
You could see the ski lifts all around the surrounding mountains making their way up the grassy summertime slopes.
The accommodation was basic, but the on-site restaurant gave us the opportunity to have a more hearty meal than the day prior and have a few glasses of wine to celebrate surviving the day!
This was to be a day packed with some of the most amazing waterfalls you will see anywhere in the world, and our first stop was my favorite one of them all!
The scale of Langfossen is simply mind blowing!
When you stand near the base what you can see is epic, but it is only once you stand as far back as possible and look over the ridge you realize that you were only looking at the lower half of this incredible waterfall!
To see the top you have to hike… and I was dying to do so! But, due to time constraints and tired legs from the day prior we decided not to (but I will go back to Norway one day so I can!).
Our next stop was in the Odda region which is best known as the starting point for the Trolltunga hike.
This is another that I would love to do one day but it is a full-day activity so we had to pass for the same reasons in the last point.
While passing through we stopped at the Latefossen twin waterfalls. What they lack in height compared to Langfossen they certainly make up for in character.
There are two grand waterfalls that flow side by side around this central rocky greenery to create a unique flow of roaring water.
It is setback from the road and you cannot see it until you are right in front of the face of the waterfalls. So drive carefully through here because traffic slows right down and you can be caught unawares… Everyone takes their eyes off the road!!
We stopped off in the village of Odda for lunch overlooking the fjord. But the highlight was just prior to arriving in the main part of town. The road in leads you around a large lake called Sandvinvatnet.
The views around this lake are tranquil and slightly different to the fjords you see everywhere else. The surrounding mountains covered in thick forest was more like something out of Jurassic Park.
Make sure you give yourself time to stop here as it is a real gem and not something we knew of, or expected to find!
Our last waterfall for the day was Steinsdalsfossen. The water flow appears smaller and more peaceful compared to our two prior stops but when up close the volume of water is powerful and creates a mighty roar as it thunders over the edge.
What makes Steinsdalsfossen unique is the picturesque surrounding area with long grass and flowers surrounding the muddy skirts around the base of the waterfall.
Secondly, there is a footpath that allows you to walk right underneath the waterfall to a small viewing platform that looks back towards the falls and over the surrounding region.
It is a beautiful sight and a highly recommended stop.
From there we finished at Bergen where we would spend the night at the Citybox Hotel. We stayed in the Oslo equivalent and loved the quality of the communal facilities.
The rooms again are very basic but you have access to a modern kitchen and chill-out areas that are very useful as a home base after check-out time!
This city experiences nearly 240 rainy days each year and it was as gloomy as you would expect.
But it was still a great place to explore on foot with the city area being fairly compact. Which is why the local walking tours are so popular.
Highlights include the Festplassen which is a lake and park area, right next to a buzzing commercial area that leads you towards the waterfront.
You will find great seafood all through Norway but Bergen seemed to highlight this better than most with waterfront restaurants and an open-air market catering to all tastes and budgets.
Something we didn’t expect to find was a vendor selling whale salami. I have been assured that it’s not from the endangered kind and it is actually a common food there.
The waterfront area has more of these wooden houses painted in an array of colors. You can tell that apart from a new coat of paint these have stood in the same form for for a very long time!
The highlight is taking the funicular to the top of the Fløyen where you get some amazing views back over the city and out over the fjords in one direction, and the whole region in the opposite direction.
Despite the gloomy conditions, it was still a cracking view and an activity we both loved!
After spending most of the day exploring the city we still had a few daylight hours to head to our next destination.
There is always time for another waterfall stopover in Norway and Tvindefossen is one that you can’t miss.
It is a similar shape to the epic Langfossen but only a fraction of the size.
The broad streams of water that flow down the tiered face of the rocks give this site a very majestic feel and it was one of my favorites.
We managed to find accommodation in another small town that sits on a fjord nestled between the mountains.
Laerdal was similar to Lysebotn but a slightly larger town with a much larger holiday park right on the water.
Despite its size, it felt almost deserted and we only saw a handful of other people there.
Our modest cabin was almost on the water and it was nice to be able to walk around the peaceful surrounding areas after another big day.
Nigardsbreen Glacier Hike
There are a number of options to hike the glacier with most being between 3-6 hours. We chose the Short Blue Ice Hike which was around 4 hours from start to finish.
This was a good length of time to experience the glacier without stretching things out.
There is an option to have a packed lunch included which we DO NOT recommend! It would have been easier to chew through a piece of the glacial ice than the sandwich provided!
Your tour group moves up the ice fairly slowly and you are unlikely to be tested if unfit. It is more about the scenery and being careful, than any kind of physical challenge.
The guides provide interesting insights into the glacier and how it takes shape, and they take you to at least one blue ice cave. The glacier is always changing so everyone’s experience will be different.
We were unprepared (as usual) and were provided gloves but sunglasses were not. The cloud cover made this bearable but the guide did warn that if the sun comes out it can be quite blinding.
Our next stop was hands down the best accommodation that we stayed in, and my favorite roadside motel of all time!
The small rooms at Nesset Fjordcamping include a balcony that sits right on the fjord and is so close that you may as well pack a fishing line.
The price of the room was half what we would pay the following night in Geiranger, and the experience so much nicer!
The water had that blue green color that glows in the daylight hours and the surrounding area was so quiet and peaceful, despite here being a large cruise ship on the opposite side of the fjord.
It is an incredible place and somewhere I could happily spend a week disconnected from the world just enjoying that magical view.
This was the lightest driving day of the trip, but we still managed to find a number of worthy stops. The first being on the way to the skywalk complex just outside of Geiranger.
The road heads high into the mountains and we came across a large lake that was almost frozen over, despite it being the middle of summer and not that cold.
A winding road climbs upwards from there towards the skywalk. There are multiple viewing platforms that overlooks the valley from a tremendous height!
Geiranger, the huge cruise ships, and the winding roads that take you there, all appear tiny from this distance.
While inside the village the town definitely lives up to its reputation as being a bit of a tourist mecca.
It can get busy during the day when the cruise ships roll in and offload hundreds of people into this small town, but we didn’t find it to be a huge imposition on our time there.
On arrival we headed straight to the waterfall walk and started at the base, walking the 326 step stairs case all the way to the top.
The walking platform tracks a series of waterfalls that total 85 meters in height once you reach the top.
It resembles more of a whitewater rafting course rather than the huge waterfalls we had seen on our trip so far.
Which is a very cool sight on its own and is the main discharge point for all of the water cascading down the valley all the way from the skywalk we visited earlier.
The decor throughout the hotel was old enough to be on the Titanic and the restaurants were about what you would expect from a touristy hotel.
We underestimated the time it would take to paddle from the kayak center to the twin waterfalls that sit on opposite sides of the fjord; Seven Sisters Waterfall, and The Suitor.
The round trip took us just over 2.5 hours but I would encourage you to hire your kayak for 3-4, and take some food with you so you can relax and take your time.
I paddled hard most of the time but this didn’t stop me from enjoying the incredible scenery that was all around us and the relative tranquility in the water compared to being in town.
We felt alone on the water at times and only passed the occasional kayak, ferry, and one gigantic cruise ship!
If you don’t want to paddle you can see the waterfalls on the ferry that leaves the main town regularly. But if you can manage the paddle then it is easy to just self-tour, but if you feel more comfortable there are group kayaking trips also.
Either option is simply amazing!
Before we left Geiranger we stopped in the village to go to the famous Geiranger Sjokolade for some chocolate tasting and their signature waffles on a stick. It was well-earned after all that paddling.
Onwards to what was the highlight of the trip. This iconic valley with its winding roads that are flanked by multiple waterfalls is one of my favorite places I have ever visited.
The viewing platforms are very accessible from the visitor’s center with a level walkway taking you past the lip of the waterfalls, and perched up on the cliff tops with one of the most magnificent views you will ever see down this epic valley.
When seeing these images, and footage of the drive down to the valley floor I still get goosebumps!
It is one of the most enjoyable drives of my life and the only tough part is keeping your eyes on the road when you swing past the water cascading right past the edge of the hairpin bends.
When you reach the bottom you can pull onto the shoulder of the road for one last glimpse looking back up towards the platform we visited earlier. You can barely see it!
For those who would like to go on to something more challenging, you can hike up to a number of the peaks throughout the valley. This would be for more serious hikers though.
Our next stop was another small town on the fjords named Sjøholt. We visited the waterfront which was nice, but we were not there for any reason other than the convenience of the location.
We stayed at the Sjøholt Sommerhotell which again had simple rooms, and water views. Again we were limited to frozen meals and the hotel staff were nice enough to give us access to the kitchen to be able to heat everything up.
The best part was that we were here for two nights and did not have to drag suitcases back to the car early the next morning.
This was our second last day of the road trip so we wanted to take a day trip to the coast and return to Sjøholt in the evening to shorten the long drive back to Oslo planned for the next day.
Alesund has another one of those famous Norweigan coastal views that you have likely stumbled across before. The lookout when you first reach the town was the highlight for us.
The town itself we found to be a little underwhelming. Which was a shame because it is a destination that many people love!
It is definitely a beautiful place with the canals running through the middle of town and right up to the rows of houses.
Unless you are heading out onto the water we found the town a bit light on activities so we didn’t hang around too long. We made the drive out to the islands and as far as the lighthouse at Alnes.
Again, this was a bit underwhelming. By then the weather was deteriorating and we felt we had reached the end point of our Norway adventure for now.
Sjøholt to Oslo
On our last day we had to cover the 500km journey back to the capital before our flight that afternoon. So it was an early start and we were on a tight schedule!
It was a very enjoyable drive, with the first half passing through some incredible mountain scenery.
This is something I will never get tired of and finishing on this note just makes me want to return to Norway as soon as I can!
This epic road trip itinerary has only covered the West Norweigan fjords, and there were stops along the way where we could easily have spent more time.
This trip is definitely in my top two road trips of all time and there is so much more of the country left to be explored. One day we will come back, and head further north!