7 days in NORWAY Itinerary for first timers | Road-Trip

All you need to do is book those summer flights and see for yourself a face of this country that is beyond just northern lights, midnight sun and delicious Nordic salmon. A place where you will discover more hidden gems by just exploring the neighbourhood! The road trip of #7DaysInNorway was a much needed diversion for the soul and given the vastness, it was a constant reminder of how insignificant our presence is against the force of nature. It’s been a couple of days since we have been back to the grind and yet our hearts can’t stop longing to breathe the fresh air, drink “Voss” quality water from the gushing streams and feel tiny in the incredible presence of the majestic fjords.

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PLANNING THE ITINERARY:

This time around, the entire Norway itinerary was planned by the husband (not even a peek here) and I throughly loved being the passenger with no expectation at all, while he drove us from one stunning place to another breathtaking situation. It was fun to not know what the end destination had in store and the unpredictable Norwegian weather was an absolute cherry on the cake. The untouched beauty of the natural resources there are beyond any you will have ever seen on the face of this earth, only furthering that with a touch of rain, sun and fog, you will have seen it all!

However, to be honest as a couple who love working on future holiday itineraries in their pastime; planning the 7 days in Norway itinerary had shaken our stance on that. It was one of the most confusing and time consuming process we have ever faced with putting an itinerary together. Rather, daunting and an overwhelming task as first time travellers to Norway. No amount of information on travel websites or itineraries on blogs could lend us a foolproof road trip map and above all that, there are so many ways to experience this beautiful-wherever-you-go-country. “Do we hike, do we train or do we just drive?!” Even, planning full 7 DAYS in Norway felt like we were missing out and such thoughts are capable of raising some serious anxiety levels here! “Do we do north? They are snow roads and glaciers! Do we do South? It’s more scenic! Or, do we stick to the centre? It has the waterfalls!” The country is HUGE! Oh, and did I not mention the herculean task of deciding against spending a day in Oslo?

Well, beyond all “odds”, online forums and putting it through some locals, helped the husband finalise on an amazing road trip itinerary, which, turned out to be just the right amount of 7 Days in Norway. We did not wish for a day more and definitely not a day less, other than a longing to be back one day!

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7 DAYS IN NORWAY ITINERARY

 

DAY 1 – TRONDHEIM

  • We landed in Trondheim from Stockholm via Oslo – A city with an old town charm, yet the third largest in Norway.

  • Walked around exploring the city centre to end up in colourful Bakklandet old town and the Gothic Nidaros Cathedral.

  • Stayed the night in Radisson Blu Royal Garden, Trondheim.

Trondheim
Trondheim

DAY 2 – TRONDHEIM to ÅNDALSNES

  • Picked up our rental car and commenced our road trip from Trondheim to Åndalsnes.

  • SCENIC STOPS ON THE ROUTE:

    Approximately 7 hours drive, including two car ferries.

    1. SKIPSHOLMEN PARKING: Here take a stroll along the elevated path for a great view of the iconic Storseisundet Bridge that crazily curves in two dimensions. The Atlantic road or Atlanterhavsvegen that one takes to get to this point is a dramatic drive with water on either side of the land.

    2. BERGSET: Beautiful landscape.

    3. KJEKSA RASTEPLASS: Scenic view.

    4. VEØY CHRUCH: Local Nordic church. As a first one on the trip you will be fascinated by it’s design.

    5. GJERDSET TURISTSENTER: A tourist centre in the middle of nowhere with the most insane view and a great spot for that evening coffee break.

    6. ÅNDALSNES: Final stop for the night. Here we had an amazing dinner at a local Thai restaurant – Båckgarden Thai, which, we highly recommend.

  • Stayed the night in Grand Hotel Bellevue, Åndalsnes. 

ÅNDALSNES
Åndalsnes to Trollveggen

DAY 3 – ÅNDALSNES to GEIRANGER

  • Åndalsnes is a quaint little town nestled in between mountains and fjords.  A great stop for all sorts of mountaineering activities the place has to offer.

  • One of the best things to do here is the Andalsnes Trek. Find out more about it at the tourist centre inside a very unconventional looking building in the town centre.

  • SCENIC STOPS ON THE ROUTE:
    Approximately a 3 hours drive, including one car ferry ride and a crazy amount of time to enjoy all the scenic spots and fit in a traditional ferry ride in the fjords.

    1. NORSK TINDESENTER: A tourist centre in Åndalsnes that has a cozy bar, a beautiful view over the Åndalsnes harbour and a museum. Overall, the view from the harbour is all you’ll need!

    2. TROLLVEGGEN:  Also, translated to “troll wall” is a fun and beautiful touristy stop on the way to Trollstigen (a winding hairpin road) where you don’t want to rush the drive. In the middle there’s a large waterfall with hiking paths that takes you all the way to the top of Trollveggen mountain to a spectacular view point. Or, you can spend some time by the water and drive up the iconic road to get to the top with ample amount of parking space.

    3. TROLLSTIGEN: Once at the waterfall, you begin your drive up this winding, 11 hairpin route to get to the top of Troll wall and enjoy a spectacular view of the the Trollstigen road from above.

    4. GUDBRANSJUVET: To walk on an elevated path over a crazily gushing waterfall. Also, get some seasonal fruits from the lady at the parking lot or stop by the lovely cafe there. Their cinnamon bun and coffee and coffee is amazing.

    5. ØRNESVINGEN or EAGLE ROAD: This is by far my favourite vantage point in the country! A steep road that swings 11 hairpin bends is a sight to behold from the Geiranger fjord below. It is also known as the Eagle Road because it’s highest point used to be realm of a large number of eagles. The blue of the Geiranger fjord below and the moody mountains make for one of the most stunning view from above. As it is a very popular view point, the parking can get a little tricky here, however, don’t give up and wait around till someone leaves, it’ll be worth the wait.

    6. GEIRANGER: Highly recommend taking a fjord cruise from this little town. The fjord is spectacular and even more so while cruising. Use the headphone guide for the cruise and get the 90 minute package at the tourist centre. This tour takes the ferry a lot further into the fjord and will be able to spot little villages on the mountains from the cruise that one can trek up-to. We were really lucky to have witnessed a rainbow and watch the evening sun rays bouncing off the crevices of the fjord mountains.

  • Stayed the night in Hotel Union, Geiranger.

Geiranger Fjord
Geiranger Fjord

DAY 4 – GEIRANGER to BEITOSTØLEN

  • GEIRANGER:

    • It is a little town in the fjord with only 250 permanent residents and only two hotels. Being a tourist friendly spot, it is usually packed and has around 6000 visitors everyday. The roads to this beautiful town are open only during the summer months and during winter it is completely cut off by road from the rest of the world.

    • Things you can do in Geiranger: Fjord Cruise, Kayaking, Fossevandring hike, Geiranger Church, Eagle Road, Hike on trails in the fjords leading to the little villages.

  • SCENIC STOPS ON THE ROUTE:
    Approximately a 5 hours drive to the final stop.

    1. DJUPVASSHYTTA: A lakeside hotel stop which is the starting point to one on the most spectacular drive with glaciers and surreal coloured lakes through an unique terrain. This very underrated route is closed for six months during winter and is an absolute treat to drive on during the summer. The foggy morning that day made the drive extra special with all the moodiness!

    2. DALSNIBBA MOUNTAIN PLATEAU: A paid view point that we unfortunately couldn’t access due to heavy fog that morning. The visibility from above was almost zero, so we drove on to our next stop. However, this point is a must do as the view for a toll is absolutely worth it.

    3. BULDREFOSSEN: A powerful waterfall overlooking the beautiful valley in a glance.

    4. STRYNEFJELLET: Another mapped view point on the Gamle Strynefjellsvegen road, yet, there are so many with each being better than the previous one as you drive along with this staggeringly beautiful landscape. However, here you’ll find a spot or two to enjoy your picnic on the benches provided under the sky and amongst the vastness. And, the colour of the water here is just an unreal shade of blue.

    5. LOM STAVE CHURCH: This old wooden church in the little town of Lom is quite the highlight. We stopped here to re-fuel our car and couldn’t leave with out visiting this church in it’s beautiful surrounding and getting some rye bread from a local bakery for the road.

    6. GJENDE: A beautiful spot of crystal clear water surrounded by snow capped mountains and white pebble/stone lake bed.

    7. VARGEBAKKANE: One can never have enough breathtaking spot break on a drive here along the Valdresflye road.

    8. RJUPA: Some say it is the top of Norway. An unique landscape with a beautiful lake and if you are lucky you may see a wild reindeer passing by or two. We saw sheep!

    9. BEITOSTØLEN: A quaint little ski town with a few hotels and different cuisine restaurants. Quite the hot spot for snow activities during winter. Here, do try the Peppe’s pizza for some really good food and they are open till late.

  • Stayed the night in Radisson Blu Mountain Resort, Beitostølen.

Lom Stave Church
Lom Stave Church

DAY 5 – BEITOSTØLEN to GEILO

  • I clearly remember that it was a pleasant, sunny day and for the first time in days we were in just t-shirts. From the ski town of Beitostølen, we headed straight for another long day of driving and discovering more hidden gems of the Norway.

  • SCENIC STOPS ON THE ROUTE:
    Approximately a 5 hours drive that got extended to 7 hours due a long detour that we had to take because of a road being closed during the day.

    1. BORGUND STAVE CHURCH: This unique nordic church built in the 11th century is worth all the hype. Use of black metal and wood in the days makes it beautifully stand out against the landscape. There’s also another relatively newer church next to it. Here, one has buy a ticket to see the churches from inside, visit their museum and to our surprise it included the use of toilets as well. So, if you are to just see the churches from outside, get your pictures and move on, that’s free!

    2. VINDHELLAVEGEN: Close to the Borgund chruch is an easy, must do hike on a well marked trail that is a well-preserved old route to the churches.

    3. STEGASTEIN: Another spectacular fjord look out. The road leading to this place from Lærdal and again towards Aurlandsvangen from Stegastein is simply out of this world. It is 650 meters above Aurlandsfjord with a panoramic view of Aurlandsfjord itself from Flåm to Stegastein. The design of the bridge itself is an architectural marvel. The slopped structural glass offers a feeling of standing above a beautiful valley that is hundreds of feet below.

    4. Lærdal Tunnel: Another alternative to the Lærdal – Aurlandsvangen road is the very famous Lærdal Tunnel that is 25 kilometer long! If man-made marvels are your thing, then definitely consider this route to get to Stegastein.

    5. FLÅM: A small nordic village that sits on one end of Aurlandsfjord, yet a very popular tourist spot due to the famous tourist train that departs from the Flåm Railway station. Take a fjord cruise from the port, buy souvenirs, enjoy the beautiful view or completely skip this part of the route like we did due to the long detour and saved 30 minutes from our drive time.

    6. VETLELI PARKING: Another beautiful look out point and a gushing waterfall next to the parking, by the road. Other than the view, we stopped here to use the toilets and take a small breather after all the winding roads up the mountain.

    7. HIVJUFOSSEN: Other than the waterfall itself, the scenic drive up-to this place was amazing. Most of the drive was by the side of the stream that ended up at this waterfall. The location itself is pretty stunning and one can trek by the stream or kayak in the waters.

    8. GEILO: Our final stop and another ski town, known for their ski resorts and mountain trails. Here we stocked up on some food for the road and breakfast at a super market.

  • Stayed the night at an Airbnb in Geilo that had a washing machine and a dryer. After days on the road from our time in Sweden to Norway, we had a TON of dirty clothes that needed a new life!

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DAY 6 – GEILO to BERGEN

  • This day we drove around Geilo before exiting, however, the sky broke lose and it poured and poured the entire day!

  • Visibility was not the best, however the highlight was all the waterfall chasing that we did. Even a moody face on this country is just as breathtaking .

  • SCENIC STOPS ON THE ROUTE:
    Approximately a 5 hours drive to the final stop, however, due to heavy rains at-least 2 hours were added to the drive.

    1. SOLSTØLEN SPEIDERHYTTA: A a look out spot of a beautiful lake that the drive will take you around.

    2. SAMEGAMMENE: Incredibly beautiful and rugged landscape of Northern Norway of partially bald mountains, stones and water bodies. From this point on there are multiple stops with the similar view along the way up until the Vørringsfossen in Hardanger.

    3. FOSSILI HOTEL: This hotel in Hardanger fjord over looks the magnificent Vørringsfossen which is also one of the highest waterfall in Europe. The look out spot is right next to the hotel with a convenient and free viewing area, parking and public toilets. Drive along the scenic Hardangervidda road to get here.

    4. DESTINASJON EIDFJORD: A little town with an amazing view from the docks and kayaking tours that you can enquire about from the Tourist centre.

    5. HARDANGER: Not a stop but, an area with routes that are so staggeringly beautiful with waterfalls, fruit orchards and valleys that it deserves a special mention here. Not to forget the dramatic Hardanger fjord, driving along side which feels absolutely surreal. There are three routes to explore this region, just pick any you want and you will not be disappointed. Especially, if you are a crazy waterfall enthusiast like my husband.

    6. KVERNABEKKEN PARK: A small park with ample parking, benches, public toilets and a walking route over looking another impressive Nordic architectural marvel; The Hardanger Bridge. This unique bridge starts and ends from a tunnel in the fjord mountains and provides a spectacular view of the fjord. Just keep in mind, it is a toll bridge if you do intend to cross in.

    7. STEINSDALSFOSSEN: An amazing waterfall that you can walk under with a look out spot. Definitely a highlight of the drive in Hardanger region.

    8. FOSSENBRATTE: Same day and another gorgeous waterfall on a stunning landscape. Park your car, stretch your legs, walk down to get closer and enjoy it.

      Stumble upon many such scenic spots and powerful waterfalls along the way and make sure to stop and enjoy Norse countryside before you touchdown Bergen.

    9. BERGEN: As soon as we reached we dropped our bags in our hotel, returned the rental car in the city and explored Bergen on foot. Made it on time to get on a Fløibanen funicular ride to the summit of Fløyen; a mountain top over looking the city of Bergen. It has breathtaking view of the city and we were there to catch the beautiful sunset around 8.30 pm.

      After days in Norway we finally spent a late night bar hoping in the centre, got to view the city after dark (the sun completely set around 10 PM) and for a change did not have to worry about waking up-to alarms.

  • Stayed the night in Hotel No.13 in the city centre, Bergen.

GUDBRANSJUVET, Norway
Near, Gudbransjuvet waterfall.

 

DAY 7 – BERGEN

  • Our last day in Norway couldn’t have ended better in this charming Norwegian city. Colourful nordic houses along the wharf, hidden alleyways in Bryggen, climbing up narrow cobbled street Scandviken to be rewarded with more terrific views of the city, enjoyed a Norwegian custard bun called Skolebrod at the bakeries, souvenir shopping, exploring fish markets and eating a ton of Norwegian salmon; kept us occupied before we took off for our next leg of this incredible Scandic holiday.

Scandviken, Bergen
Scandviken, Bergen

 

THINGS TO KNOW FOR A ROAD TRIP IN NORWAY

  • Norwegian weather is extremely unpredictable, one day the weather can be amazing with clear skies and the next day there’s heavy rains with zero visibility. Make the most of it either way because if you love nature, Norway is stunning come sun or rain.

  • Carry a waterproof jacket and dress in layers because the temperature may vary throughout in one day.

  • Wear comfortable clothes and walking shoes, so you can easily get around and hike to access some spectacular look out points.

  • When on road for hours having to hold the call of nature can really spoil the trip. Don’t worry, you will not have to buy a coffee at a cafe to use a bathroom here (we did that once; super urgent!). Free public toilets are easily accessible on these routes at look out points and stops, just keep an eye out for the WC signs on the road.

  • In some parts due to road repairing and construction the roads remain closed for few hours during the day. Before taking off on the route or sometime on the way, consider consulting a tourist centre or a local, they maybe able to provide you with alternate scenic options or just use Google maps to find your way out.

  • Almost everyone there speak fluent english and are super helpful.

  • Buy a local sim card in the cities or towns before commencing the road trip with at-least 1 GB data to access Google maps for the routes.

  • Be wary of automated tolls on the highways, bridges and inner roads as well. They are quite pricey here and tend to add up. So avoid going back and forth.

  • Carry a phone stand, charging cable and a car adapter for the road trip. This way you can access Google maps easily and keep your phone charged at all times.

  • You will not regret an extra memory card and and a fully charged camera.

  • Re-fillable bottles, so that you can fill them up at the crystal clear streams. And, there is no need to buy bottled water as tap water here is one of the cleanest.

  • Food can get expensive at restaurants, especially in remote locations or/and you may not find something of your liking in the menu. In that case, stock up on rye bread, fruits, jam, butter, nuts, smoked salmon and canned tuna at a local supermarket for the road.  Also, in Norway there are benches at most of the scenic points and you can picnic anywhere.

  • CAR FERRY SCHEDULE. If you miss a ferry the wait for the next one can be up to 45 minutes depending on the area. But, don’t worry the waiting stops are usually on a dock with a stunning view of the fjords. After getting on a ferry, do get out to get yourself a coffee, use the toilets or enjoy the view up on their deck.

  • Airport express busses are available in all major cities in Norway and tickets can either be bought on the spot or pre-booked online(for a discount). FLYBUSSEN.COM for bus schedules.

  • Take a peek into the official Norwegian tourist website for detailed route information and for more scenic options around the country.

Norway
Somewhere beautiful in the Nordic country.

SUMMARY OF THE ITINERARY:

 

  1. DAY 1 – Trondheim

    • Bakklandet Old Town

    • Gothic Nidaros Cathedral

  1. DAY 2 – Trondheim to Åndalsnes

    • Skipsholmen Parking – Storseisundet Bridge

    • Bergset

    • Kjeksa Rasteplass

    • Veøy Church

    • Gjerdset Turistsenter

    • Åndalsnes

  1. DAY 3 – Åndalsnes to Geiranger

    • Norsk Tindesenter

    • Trollveggen

    • Trollstigen

    • Gudbransjuvet

    • Ørnesvingen

    • Geiranger

  1. DAY 4 – Geiranger to Beitostølen

    • Djupvasshytta

    • Dalsnibba Mountain Plateau

    • Strynefjellet

    • Lom Stave Church

    • Gjende

    • Vargebakkane

    • Rjupa

    • Beitostølen

  1. DAY 5 – Beitostølen to Geilo

    • Borgund Stave Chruch

    • Vindhellavegen

    • Stegastein

    • Flåm

    • Vetleli Parking

    • Hivjufossen

    • Geilo

  1. DAY 6 – Geilo to Bergen

    • Solstølen Speiderhytta

    • Samegammene

    • Fossil Hotel – VørringFossen

    • Destinasjon Eidfjord

    • Kvernabekken Park – Hardanger Bridge

    • Steinsdalsfossen

    • Fossenbratte

    • Bergen – Fløyen

  1. DAY 7 – Bergen

    • Bryggen alleyways

    • Scandviken Neighbourhood

    • Fish Market

    • Bryggen Hanseatic Wharf

DJUPVASSHYTTA, Norway
Djupvasshytta view point.

BUDGETING TIP

You have heard it right; Norway is one of the most expensive Scandinavian country compared to the rest of Europe and everything here just adds up. Other than accommodation, food and groceries there are the occasional tolls, fuel cost and ferry rides in order to explore the country by road. A cup of coffee costs up to 4 dollars and a pint of beer is approximately 8 dollars!

If you are on a tight budget and want to do the exact itinerary, I recommend finding apartment in place of hotels in the outskirts and sticking to supermarket supplies for food. Supermarkets are really good, from hot coffee and delicious nordic breads to pre packaged seafood and fresh fruits. Not to mention the amazing pre cooked meals at seven eleven in Bergen. We heavily relied on rye bread and jams for one meal every day.

However, believe me when I say the country is worth it and you do not have to put it off. The infrastructure is amazing, produce is 95% organic and the streets are extremely safe.

Baker Brun, Bergen
Baker Brun, Bergen.

TO CONCLUDE:

Like I mentioned at the beginning, Norway is HUGE! There are so many more scenic routes, natural attractions and Southern Norway is a completely different story. Even a month in this country and you wouldn’t have seen it all.

Make the trip slow paced or do it over fewer days or just go for the very popular Oslo to Bergen train ride. Without feeling overwhelmed, feel free to adjust the above routes as you fancy and let your instincts take you to the road less taken and discover the country on your own terms, because, wherever and for however long you are in Norway it will be one of your most memorable travel experiences.

GEIRANGER FJORD, NORWAY
Geiranger Fjord

 

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