Norway’s Fjordland is an excellent destination with sublime scenery. Our 10-Day Norway Road Trip Itinerary had us peering into glaciers, kayaking fjords and hiking up granite cliffs.


Our 10-day Norway Itinerary took us deep into the heart of magical Fjordlands.

This UNESCO listed gem one of the scenic wonders of the world. It’s also a great road trip destination. The excellent roads wind their way along sleek slender lakes, before rising up over vertical granite cliffs. They carry you into beautiful towns and villages and career up mountain roads to snarling glaciers and remote farms. And where the roads end, a ferry is waiting to carry you to your next beautiful destination.

Hiking to great viewpoints, peering into glaciers or kayaking on fjords, this 10-day Norway itinerary has it all. But it’s not just the great outdoors that impress, Norway has picture perfect towns, packed with good café’s, funky art and modern architecture.

Our only word of warning, Norway is not cheap. At all. Car hire, food and hotels add up. Luckily, simply staring in awe at the fjords of Norway costs nothing.



If you like remote and rugged wilderness, if you like being off the beaten track and if you like constructing your own holidays then this Norway road trip itinerary is for you.  Here are our ideas, tips and mistakes to help you plan your own 10-day Norway itinerary.

Trip Overview

Day 1
Day 2
Day 3
Day 4
Day 5
Day 6
Day 7
Day 8
Day 9
Day 10
Explore colourful cutesy Stavanger
Peer over sheer granite cliffs of Pulpit Rock
Stare into blue fissures on a glacier hike
Discover Bergen’s UNESCO listed charm
Explore the beautiful Eidfjord region
Kayak on sleek and narrow Nærøyfjord
Twist and turn driving on the dramatic Snow Road
Hike the rugged wilderness of Jotunheimen National Park
Exploring farms perched on majestic Geirangerfjord
Coffee, art nouveau style in Ålesund

Magnificent scenic drives in a great road trip country
Picture perfect Norwegian towns
The rugged remoteness of Norway’s national parks
World class hiking, kayaking & glacier walking
Travelling in a country where everything just works

Why we loved Norway

Trip Overview

Day 1
Day 2
Day 3
Day 4
Day 5
Day 6
Day 7
Day 8
Day 9
Day 10
Explore colourful cutesy Stavanger
Peer over sheer granite cliffs of Pulpit Rock
Stare into blue fissures on a glacier hike
Discover Bergen’s UNESCO listed charm
Explore the beautiful Eidfjord region
Kayak on sleek and narrow Nærøyfjord
Twist and turn driving on the dramatic Snow Road
Hike the rugged wilderness of Jotunheimen National Park
Exploring farms perched on majestic Geirangerfjord
Coffee, art nouveau style in Ålesund

Why we loved Norway

Magnificent scenic drives in a great road trip country
Picture perfect Norwegian towns
The rugged remoteness of Norway’s national parks
World class hiking, kayaking & glacier walking
Travelling in a country where everything just works

Our 10 Day Norway Road Trip: Sleek fjords, granite cliffs and rugged wilderness

MAP OF OUR 10 -DAY NORWAY ROAD TRIP ITINERARY

For this 10 day Norway Itinerary you will need to hire a car. Hiring a car, like everything else in Norway, is not cheap. Fortunately hiking and exploring much of Norway’s majestic scenery is completely free. You can find costs for Norway Road Trip at the end of this article.

DAY 1/ EXPLORE COLOURFUL STAVANGER

Stavanger is a pretty town, with a small international airport, and is an excellent destination to begin our 10 day Norway Itinerary. Landing in the morning gives you ample town to explore the town in the afternoon and evening.

Oil was discovered just off Stavanger in 1969 and the town hasn’t looked back. Fuelled by oil but energised by the local student population, Stavanger has retained its charm with old wooden buildings and small-town atmosphere making it a beautiful place to stroll around.

Start at Gamle Stavanger, the original old town. Built in the 18th century, the tightly packed white wooden houses are arrayed along the hill and are in remarkable contrast to the massive cruise ships often docked right beside them. For lunch head to Rena Matbaren, a Nordic-chic cafe serving excellent food from fresh seasonal produce. The cured herring sandwich was a particular standout.

In the afternoon, pop over to the ferry dock to book your ferry to Tau for tomorrow morning, before exploring one of the many small museums in town. Then head to the colourful buildings lining Øvre Holmegate. Grab an afternoon coffee (or go wild and have a local beer) at the book filled Stuen Bøker & Børst café, whose outside tables offer views overlooking the cute cobbled street.

For more inspiration to visit charming Stavanger, this article may help.


STAY
DRIVING
HIGHLIGHT
Thon Hotel Maritim, Stavanger
None
Stavanger’s old world charm and cute colourful buildings
DAY 2/ PEER OVER SHEER GRANITE CLIFFS OF PULPIT ROCK

Pulpit rock, rising vertically 604 metres above the stunning Lysefjord, is one of the iconic images of Norway and rightly one of the most photographed spots in the country. Fortunately, the hike to get there is not only great but relatively straightforward. Add the fact that the drive and ferry ride to get there are superb, and you have a truly excellent day.

The trail to Pulpit rock starts at Preikestolen Mountain Lodge. The easiest way to get there is south and east along highway 13. But much more fun is the 1 hour ferry to Tau. Norwegian ferries are an integral part of the transport network. They are reliable, run fairly regularly and offer some of the best views of this remarkable country. The Stavanger to Tau Ferry timetable and prices are available here. Our morning ferry ride to Tau was an excellent hour spent clutching a warm coffee, staring into everchanging scenery, as the sun poked its way past mountains dotting on the horizon. Docking in Tau, we drove south for 30 minutes to the trailhead.

The hike to Pulpit Rock is relatively easy, well signed and takes 1 hour 30 minutes. It is full of diverse scenery as you clamber up rocks, cross alpine meadows, and circumnavigate lakes and pools, where if it is warm enough you can have a refreshing swim.
But the highlight is the Pulpit Rock plateau, a mere 25m x 25m of scenic viewing paradise. It was created around 10,000 years ago from the expansion of ice and not many views in the world are this good with such a small amount of effort. If you brought lunch with you, pull up on a rock behind the platform and admire your 604-metre high dining space.

Return to your car, drive to Røldal (3-hours), and after checking into your hotel, head to Røldal Stave Church. Built in 1250, it was one of the most important middle-age pilgrimage sites in Norway.


STAY
DRIVING
HIGHLIGHT
Hordatun Hotel, Røldal
1-hour ferry from Stavanger to Tau; 3 hours, 40-minute drive south to Preikestolen & Røldal.
Peering over vertical granite cliffs at Pulpit Rock
DAY 3/ STARING INTO BLUE CREVASSES ON A GLACIER WALK

Today, our 10-day Norway Road Trip Itinerary, took us up into the Folgefonna National Park, and into the remote world of ice caps and glaciers. We chose to explore the area on the 6 hour Blue Ice Glacier Walk (10:40 to 11.00 Jun to Sep; Price: 790 NOK.) You will need plenty of warm clothing, good boots, possibly sunblock and sunglasses. Crampon, ice axe, harness and rope are provided.

The walk takes you around the Folgefonna glacier, across flat ice and deep crevasses. While you only cover 5 to 6 km, it takes more effort than you would imagine as you trudge across the snow and ice with crampons on your feet, loaded up with warm clothes and clinging onto an ice axe. You quickly adopt a duck-like walking method as, if lucky, you are rewarded with excellent views.
While I would do it again (just), after 5 hours I was glad that it was about to finish. A much shorter and less expensive tour would probably have been better and if it looks like you might get no visibility maybe save your money for another activity on another day.

After the tour, head to Utne via a beautiful scenic drive along the fjord and through fields of brightly coloured fruit trees. Stay at Hotel Utne, a cute old hotel that has been in continuous operation since 1722. Oozing character, the hotel has a garden out front where you can have a drink taking in magnificent views of the fjord on your doorstep.


STAY
DRIVING
HIGHLIGHT
Hotel Utne, Utne
2 hours, 30 minutes: Røldal to Fonna Glacier Ski Resort then Utne
Beer at Utne hotel overlooking the magnificent fjord
DAY 4/ DISCOVER BERGEN’S UNESCO LISTED CHARM

Today head to Bergen, a pretty Norwegian city, with a fascinating history, an excellent art museum and some fine views. Start by taking the 30-minute ferry to Kvanndal, followed by a 2-hour drive, first along the fjord and then over the cliffs.

Bergen has a couple of really great things to do. Firstly, allow yourself to be enchanted by the UNESCO listed site of Bryggen, where in 1360 the German Hanseatic League set up a trade bureau with exclusive rights to manage trade between Norway and the rest of the world. It came to dominate trade for over 400 years. Today Bryggen is a thriving tourist attraction with people lining up to see the old wooden buildings, which despite several fires rendering them to ash, remain much as they have been for centuries.

For lunch sit and eat fish right off the boat at one of the many plastic covered tables that line the market on the edge of the harbour, before heading to the brilliant KODE Museum. The KODE Museum has 4 sections ranging from art museums to homes of composers. But the undisputed highlight is KODE 3 (11:00 – 18.00, 15 May – 14 Sep; 11.00 – 16.00 Tue- Fri, 11.00 – 17.00 Sat-Sun, 14 Sep to 14 May; Price: 120 NOK; English Tours: 11.00, 13.00 & 15.00 Jun – Aug) which houses a permanent exhibition of Edvard Munch, showcasing over 50 paintings including many of his most famous pieces. We highly recommend you get there to catch one of the 3 free daily English language tours. These tours help explain Munch’s intense depictions of psychological themes and offers insight into his fascinating and somewhat disturbed character.

Late in the afternoon, take the Fløibanen funicular (7:30 – 23.00 Mon-Fri; 8.00 – 23.00 Sat-Sun; Price: 95 NOK) up Mount Fløyen and breathe in the beautiful views and bright colours Bergen of below. There are various small walks to take and a restaurant by the funicular station offers an ideal place for a sundowner. For dinner and an excellent end to day 4 of our 10 day Norway Itinerary, try Colonialen, a high-end gastro-slick experience with a trout dish I’m still raving about.


STAY
TRAVEL
HIGHLIGHT
Steens Hotel, Bergen
2 hours, 30 minutes: 30 minutes ferry, 2 hours driving
Exploring Edward Munch psychological issues at KODE 3
DAY 5/ EXPLORE BEAUTIFUL EIDFJORD

Situated at the end of Hardangerfjord, Norway’s second largest, Eidfjord is a small local community, spoilt by utterly stunning scenery. The 2hour 15 minute drive from Bergen offers great views interspersed with long (time-saving) tunnels.

There is plenty to explore around Eidfjord. First head up to Kjeåsen Mountain Farm. Kjeåsen sits 600 metres above the fjord and consists of two farmhouses offering quintessential Norwegian holiday snaps over the magnificent fjord. The drive to get there is itself an experience. Turning left off the FV103, 2km east of town, you hairpin up a one-way track before diving into a tunnel. They operate a one-way system to get up to the farm; traffic goes up on the hour and down on the half-hour – so you may need to wait up to 30 minutes.

Next head across to Voringfossen Falls (the 83rd highest in Norway, thank you) to see a spectacular waterfall with a freefall of 145 metres. Then drive onto the Hardangervidda Plateau, the largest plateau of its kind in Europe, and explore the area.

Unfortunately we were confronted with driving rain with no visibility so, after all too short a visit, we headed back to Eidfjord and checked into the excellent Eidfjord Fjell and Fjord Hotel, which has a lovely Nordic inspired lounge and a restaurant that will just have to do, given there’s not much else around!


STAY
DRIVING
HIGHLIGHT
Eidfjord Fjell & Fjord Hotel, Eidfjord
3 hours, 45 minutes: Bergen – Eidfjord – Kjeåsen – Voringfossen – Hardangervidda – Eidfjord
Spectacular setting of Kjeåsen Mountain Farm
DAY 6/ KAYAKING ON STUNNING NÆRØYFJORD

This morning, the drive to Gudvangen, on the western edge of Nærøyfjord, was one of our favourites in Norway. We opted for the scenic twisting route through Ulvik and up over the mountains, instead of through the tunnel. It was a beautifully atmospheric drive as the early morning fog came and went, offering glimpses of the dramatic mountains surrounding us. As we climbed to the ridge over Ulvik, the fjord below glistened with crystal clear reflections of the mountains.

As you approach Gudvangen, exit at Stalheim for a brief stop, and sneak into the hotel to get your first glimpse of Nærøyfjord from above. The views of Eidfjord will almost look dull and boring in contrast to Nærøyfjord, a sleek 18km long branch of the world’s second longest, and Iceland’s largest, fjord – Sognefjord. The sides of this UNESCO listed fjord are a mere 250m wide in some places and on a rainy day, waterfalls cascade over the almost vertical 1400 metre cliffs. But by far the best way to see Nærøyfjord is from its waters.

We booked a half-day kayaking tour with Nordic Adventures (Price: 895 NOK) which started at 1 pm from the kayaking base at Gudvangen and was a highlight of our 10-Day Norway Itinerary. The tour was well run by experienced guides providing interesting facts about the fjord. It’s a tranquil few hours as you peacefully glide along its waters dwarfed by the towering cliffs that rise all around you. Just before your arms are about to give up completely, there’s a stop for lunch on a bank by the fjord, where the guide prepares a delicious cooked late lunch.

The tour takes 4 hours, and even with tired arms by the end of it, you’ll fall in love with this country and its amazing setting. After drying off, head to Flåm, around 20 minutes away, for the night.


STAY
DRIVING
HIGHLIGHT
Flåmsbrygga Hotel, Flam
2 hours, 30 minutes: Eidfjord – Gudvangen – Flåm
The spectacular setting of Nærøyfjord
DAY 7/ TWISTING AND TURNING ON THE DRAMATIC SNOW ROAD

Wake up this morning in beautiful Flam, then rub your eyes as you take in the scale of the massive Queen Mary cruise ship, if it happens to be there, blocking all sunlight from your breakfast view. Sip your coffee in the comfort of your breakfast chair, while watching the passengers file off like a row of ants hungrily making for the breakfast buffet. Clearly marching to their own Norway itinerary.

After breakfast, we intended head to the Flåm Railway Station to take the first train of the day up to Myrdal. (Prices: 550 NKR, timetable available here.) This train journey, considered one of the steepest in the world with a gradient of 5.5%, is regularly cited as one of the best train journeys in the world by various travel journals. And they’re not alone. Those ants from breakfast will be joining you on this journey, so allow some time to nudge your way onto the trains. Sadly, the weather was so poor we decided it was best to skip the journey.

After the train journey, take the stunning Aurlandsvegen (Snow Road) to Laerdalsoyri via the Stegastein Observation Deck. This modern construction is a sight in itself, but stepping onto its glass platform will be the true test of your nerve. Next, head up to Øvre Ardal and finally across the high mountain pass to Turtagrø – a summer-only activity as the road is closed in winter – and feel the remoteness of this landscape creep up on you as you wind your way over this hair-raising road.

We stayed at the Turtagrø Hotel, a fantastic modern hiking hotel with great views of the mountains right from your bedroom and our favourite hotel on our 10 Day Norway Itinerary. You might have time for a quick late afternoon hike from the hotel to experience the rugged, remote, refreshing qualities of this place – vastly different from where you were last night. Conversely, you might choose to have a drink in their lovely lounge area, or both.


STAY
DRIVING
HIGHLIGHT
Turtagrø Hotel, Turtagrø
2 hours, 45 minutes
Desolate hair-raising mountaintop drives
DAY 8/ HIKING THE RUGGED WILDERNESS OF JOTUNHEIMEN NATIONAL PARK

Hotel Turtagrø is in a fantastic location and extremely well set up for hiking, an activity. They have maps and descriptions of all the walks in the area and the staff are very helpful informing you what conditions to expect, where to get the best views and which hidden paths you should take. For a small fee, they will let you raid the breakfast bar to create a make-your-own lunch to take out on your hike.

Their showcase walk is the hike up to Fannaråki Hut; at 2068m it’s the highest mountain hut in Norway offering spectacular views across the West-Jotunheimen Range. Alternatively, for something less vertical, take the circular walk to Styggebreen Glacier to witness this brooding icy vista. Or maybe head up to Nedre Dyrhaug, a nice easy walk where you can leave your mark by signing the book at the top. Whichever walk you choose, this is the place for the serious hiker as paths take you on a journey through boulder-strewn landscapes, across rivers and verdant green moss and grass.

Because all the walks leave from the front of the hotel, you’ll have time to come back and warm up with a late afternoon coffee before setting off again on another path. We had mixed success on our walks here, mostly due to low cloud, the enormous amount of rain the day before we arrived and map incompetence, which you can read about here.

Dinner at the hotel is a dorm style festival with sharing plates scattered across large tables. There are no decisions to be made as it’s “chef’s choice” so it’s like dining with your extended family that you only see once a year. On the whole, Turtagrø is a great destination and a walking lovers paradise and was one of the highlights on our 10-Day Norway Road Trip Itinerary.


STAY
DRIVING
HIGHLIGHT
Turtagrø Hotel, Turtagrø
None
Selecting one of the many walks in this amazing wilderness
DAY 9/ MAJESTIC GEIRANGERFJORD

Continue your 10 Day Norway Itinerary with a drive across the roof of Europe on the Sognefjellet National Route. Some discipline will be required on this drive otherwise you’ll be stopping every 5 minutes to take photos. Your destination today is Geiranger, yet another UNESCO protected fjord with sheer cliffs, impressive waterfalls and staggeringly good views.

On your way, stop off at Lom Stave Church, one of the largest of its kind in Norway. Built in the middle of the 12th century, it’s still got a golden glow and is worth a quick stop. As you approach Geiranger, take the turn up to Dalsnibba Viewpoint and after a sequence of hairpin turns you arrive at the Geiranger Skywalk. This magnificent glass viewing platform sits 1500 metres above the stunning fjord below, and peering through the clouds provides amazing photo opportunities.

Once in Geiranger, head for the boat terminal and take the Geiranger Fjordservice sightseeing boat out on the fjord to do the Skageflå Farm hike. We had such a great day at Skageflå that you can read all about it here. In the evening, have a stroll around cute Geiranger and find a local restaurant for dinner.


STAY
DRIVING
HIGHLIGHT
Hotel Union, Stranda
3 hours: Turtagrø to Geiranger
Amazing views from precariously perched Skageflå Farm
DAY 10/ ART NOUVEAU STYLE IN ÅLESUND

For your last day on your 10 Day Norway Road Trip Itinerary, drive from Geiranger to picturesque Ålesund (2 hours, 15 minutes) before your flight home. After a stroll around town, take the 418 steps up to the Aksla Viewpoint. Apparently, the midway point, Byrampen, is the official spot for a selfie.

After collecting your best shots of the famous colourful houses, grab lunch by choosing from the great selection of fresh salads and sandwiches at Invit Espressobar before washing it down with their fine coffee.

The drive to Ålesund airport is 20 minutes from the city.

WHAT WOULD WE DO DIFFERENTLY

We thoroughly enjoyed our 10-Day Norway Road Trip Itinerary. The driving scenery was stunning, the hiking magnificent and kayaking excellent. On reflection we might have skipped the Glacier Hike at Folgefonna, it added some extra driving, cost a fair amount and went on for too long. Perhaps it would have been better to do a hike in the area, such as the challenging Trolltunga walk, or make your way straight to Bergen.

 

BEST TIME TO VISIT NORWAY’S FJORDLANDS

Norway can be a cold and very wet destination. Any trip here risks bad weather. We went on our 10 day Norway Itinerary in August, had a couple of days of almost solid rain and many days with cloud. If you enjoy hiking and outdoor activities then the best time to come for long days and warmer weather is May to September. But September is peak rainfall in Fjordland, so early summer is better. The crowds are lower in May/ June than July/August, although some tourist attractions will only just be opening in May. All in all, June or early July is probably best.

WHERE TO STAY IN NORWAY

Below is the list of hotels we stayed in Norway. We recommend the Hordatun Hotel, Utne Hotel, Eidfjord Fjell and Fjord Hostel and the brilliantly located Turtagrø Hotel. We would not go back to the Hotel Union near Geiranger.

1 night Stavanger | Thon Hotel Maritim
1 night Odda (near Røldal) | Hordatun Hotel
1 night Utne | Hotel Utne
1 night Bergen | Steens Hotel
1 night Eidfjord | Eidfjord Fjell & Fjord Hotel
1 night Flåm | Flåmsbrygga Hotell
2 nights Turtagrø | Turtagrø Hotel
1 night Stranda (near Geiranger) | Hotel Union
COST OF OUR 10 DAY NORWAY ROAD TRIP ITINERARY

Norway is not a cheap destination. Car hire, food and hotels can all be expensive. Fortunately, the hiking and sight-seeing is free and brilliant. Our entire 10-day Norway itinerary for two people cost 44,500 NOK which, as of Aug 2018 exchange rates, equates to:

4 day Cappadocia Itinerary

US $5,500

4 day Cappadocia Itinerary

GBP £4,200

4 day Cappadocia Itinerary

EUR €4,700

Total Cost

For 2 people, 15 nights
44,500 Norwegian Krone
  • kr21,500 9 nights in hotels
  • kr 7,500 10 days mid-sized car hire
  • kr1,580 2 person Blue Ice Glacier Walk
  • kr1,790 2 person Kayak Half Day Tour
  • kr7,950 Food and Drink
  • kr4,180 Ferries, petrol and other sundries
TIPS FOR OUR 10-DAY NORWAY ROAD TRIP ITINERARY

Fly into Stavanger and out of Ålesund, coughing up the extra hire car fees for the different location. Stavanger & Ålesund both have international airports connecting to a number of countries, as well as car rental facilities.

The ferries in Norway are easy and frequent. There is no need to book tickets in advance, however you do need to check timetables as some only depart every 40 minutes.

Book the Glacier Walking Tour in Folgefonna National Park and the Kayak trip with Nordic Adventures a few days in advance, once you have an idea of the weather conditions.

In some of the locations there was no choice other than eating in the hotel. Generally, the food is very good but vegetarians and vegans should let the hotel know in advance.

Norway is green and lush for a reason, it rains a lot, so it’s a good idea to allow some flexibility to do things in either the morning or the afternoon.

This itinerary may seem to include a lot of driving, but the roads are very good and the view are always great. Driving times listed in the itinerary exclude time for food and photo breaks, so these need to be factored in.

For further advice on Norway use the Lonely Planet Norway Guidebook.
For an interesting read about the history of Norway, try History of Norway by Hjalmar Boyesen.

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