What better way to explore the glorious shores of Norway's Atlantic coast than by car? Beginning your magnificent 10-day journey in Ogna, this Norway Fjords driving route includes sights unseen by most travelers who stay on the ordinary roads. Ferry rides, stops on windswept beaches with powdery sands, and treks through forested areas give you something to take pleasure in at every turn and around each new range. Along this 18 hour drive, travelers make their way through three of the eighteen Norwegian National Tourist Routes while enjoying ample opportunities to explore fascinating villages and shorelines. Photograph spectacular seascapes and hillsides on either edge of the road during this epic tour of the Fjords of Norway!
Read on to Drive to Discover the adventures that await you in Norway!
As with most of our other road trips in Norway, there are indeed tolls as well as ferry travel between the varying islets and archipelagos of the west coast. The trip is planned with ten days in mind, so plenty of pocket money should be taken into account, and as such, it is advised to purchase access cards for tolls ahead of time that can be pre-loaded with funds through credit card. Travelers can also pay online after finishing their escapades. Fares for the ferry routes are always paid on board or at the dock with chances to load prepaid fare cards available. There are bridges in places for easier crossings - in the cooler and wetter months, take care on bridge decks, which can get slippery.
Narrow roads seem to be fairly commonplace in Nordic nations, and this scenic route is no exception. Be cautious and pass slowly, yielding to oncoming traffic when necessary and taking care to pay attention when going through tunnels. Local traffic seems to travel at a confident pace; however, do not be daunted by their exuberant speeds as it is their familiarity with the roads and conditions that make them so swift.
The journey begins with a jaunt up Highway 44, which is also referred to as the Jæren National Tourist Route. From there, take your rental vehicle along the coast on the 505 to Bore, merging up with Fv 13 all the way up to Balestrand. From there, visitors will find themselves in the boreal paradise of Gaularfjellet National Tourist Route as they take a shortcut through whilst remaining on Fv13. Then, continue through the E39 and Ryfylke National Tourist Route at E15. You can drive this route from south to north or vice versa: taking time to arrive at whichever starting point with your rental car before embarking on this breathtaking coastal adventure.
Leaving from this gorgeous little community on the southwestern edge of Norway, Ogna is mostly long, misty beaches with white sand dunes and indigenous grasses. The population is less than 400 in this municipality, but there are plenty of things to see nonetheless. Kick off the trip by visiting the old church in town or doing a little salmon fishing - either from the shore or at any of a number of sea-fed streams along the road.
Travelling north on the Jæren National Tourist Route, visit sites like the Kvassheim and Oberstad Fyr, old-fashioned Norwegian lighthouses, seaside fishing villages and delightful expanses of Nordic beach where the shore seems to go on forever. This truly is a great roadway for pit stops on beachy sections where running in the surf is highly encouraged and very refreshing.
Because the drive from Ogna to Lauvvik is so short, you have your choice of what to do or where to dine. Stop for lunch at Kafe Jærener in Nærbø, just a few miles north of Vaurhag for a rustic and very filling three-course meal in a fun yet elegant atmosphere. You could also hold off for another few miles and explore the caves in Hana that were used during World War II or simply continue to Høle in order to stay on at a pre-booked holiday home in the area. Afterwards (or in the morning), make your vehicle into your own personal living room by popping in some music and enjoying the sunset on the waters as you wind your way onward to Lauvvik and its ferry.
Taking the Lauvvik-Oanes Ferry across the water to the next leg of your trip, drive north on E13 past the Gitlandsåsen Nature Reserve and its lush pine forests. Hiking and climbing enthusiasts will relish in the three trails in the reserve as well as a modest elevation topping out at just over 400 meters above sea level. Once arriving at Jørpeland, the day is yours to enjoy with both fresh and salt water fishing, a look at world-famous Petroglyphs of Solbakk or shopping and dining in the city center among modern sculptures and excellent people-watching.
Although the city is a wonderful place to spend time, the asphalt is calling along with the rest of the Ryfylke National Tourist Route. This area boasts bucolic tableaus such as the Svandalsfossen waterfall and lookouts that include the popular Preikestolen rock formation for miniature stop-offs that supply time to stretch one's legs and fill the day with natural wonders and photo ops. Erfjord awaits an hour to an hour and a half away with the Ryfylke Fjordhotel right on the water in Sand. Here, there is plenty to eat and comfortable rooms to help replenish your soul for the next eight days of travel and touring.
From Sand to Odda, there are no ferries - just a pleasant drive a tad inland that follows rivers that join the Suldalvatnet and Roldalvatnet Lakes. The pristine waters and colorful plant life that lines the roadways are a wondrous sight and very peaceful in their natural environment. The forests creep up the hills that rise from the land and the drive is narrow in spots but still well-maintained. Another outstanding set of falls known as Espelandsfossen comes down from the hillside near Skare, a small village just south of Odda.
Your arrival in Odda is marked by the emergence of the town itself between two lakes in a valley. In the Winter, this scene is quite ethereal with dustings of snow on each side. You will find the town to be placid with its old churches and tour guides willing to take people up to Trolltunga for a thrilling walk out on the outcropped rock ledge high above the town on its eastern side. Call Tyssedal Hotell home for the night with its vintage exterior and hospitable charm to warm your heart during any season you decide to travel in.
Wake up and have breakfast at the hotel before heading back out on the tolled road up Fv13 and past Tyssedal to Ullensvang and its gorgeous mountainside landscapes. The area is known best for its orchards that grow an abundance of fruit during the warmer parts of the year. Some farmers may offer their crops for sale on the side of the road or at market while the Summer welcomes Lofthus's Sweet Cherry Festival with music, regional fare and a very unique glimpse into this slice of Norwegian celebration.
The road will lead you straight up the shores of the inlets to Vossevangen for any shopping and the Voss Hospital in case there is need. If at all hungry, grab dinner at a traditional Viking setup like that at Elvatun Restaurant in Skulestadmo for delicious Norwegian food in cozy surroundings. The Myrkdalen Hotel is your final stop of the day, boasting ski-in and ski-out service with the alpine setting giving way to opportunities for Nordic and alpine ski and snowboarding in the winter and hiking and cycling all other times of year.
Embark from Myrkdalen in the morning and make your way through the mountains into the region surrounding Vik. This area has meadows and hills that hide treasures like the Hopperstad stavkirke, a centuries-old church that has been converted into a museum. The wooden interior is a marvel in architecture with archways and intricate details that are worthy of a few shots with your camera.
Opening up onto the Sognefjord, your arrival at Vangsnes will begin with a ferry ride across to Dragsvik and Balestrand along the northern arm of Sognefjorden where the Gaularfjellet National Tourist Route will captivate visitors with its twisty turns and numerous waterfalls that include the Vallestadfossen. This National Tourist Route is closed during winter months and can be omitted if in the area during the cold and snowy season.
Upon your arriving in the Viksdalen Valley, you will find many different places to venture out on foot among the mountainous terrain and marked trails of places like Fossestein. In fact, visitors can enjoy up to 13 miles of trails if time and your curiosity allow.
From Viksdalen, you will find a larger stretch of travel ahead to the city of Olden on Fv13 and E39. There are no tolls on this roadway with a vast portion of the road hugging the waters of several lakes and rivers for its length. The mountainous edges of land that serve as your path of travel are canvasses with many a waterfall and stunning natural displays. Vassenden is a place of key interest here as it plays host to the Jølster Ski Resort with its exhilarating alpine ski and snowboarding and lodge for dining at.
If you're more goal-oriented at this stage of your trip, you can forge on to Byrkjelo and Utvik for lunch before heading to Olden where you can explore the local farms and churches or take a guided tour and hike to the Briksdalbreen Glacier. Olden Fjordhotel will be able to provide comfortable and simple accommodations without too many unnecessary frills but excellent service and sumptuous meals.
E15 wraps itself around the northwestern edge of Innvikfjorden, mixing it up a bit for drivers looking to finally have the water back on the westward side of the vehicle. As you pass by Loen, Stryn, and Faleide, you bid that large crystal body of water adieu and make your way over the land to Grodås. This area is very popular with tourists for a number of reasons - one of which is the scenic ridges that rim the valley and the waters before the village itself. For this reason, Grodås has many campgrounds and is a great area for hiking, fishing and boating.
After the adventures of exploring the nature reserve, ease into a drive from Geiranger to Helland along Highway 63, 650 and E39 with a ferry ride at Eisdale a few miles north where the land opens up and valley has a gentler slope. A few miles west, and you will reach Liabygda on the north shore of the vast and glass-like Norddalsfjorden. The terrain here overlooks the water and is dotted with farms and cabins that show off simple living at its best.
Further up Highway 650 is the town of Stordal with its steep mountainous environment and attractions of its own linked to historical Nordic lineage and agricultural life that dates back quite far. The Ytste Skotet, an agricultural museum and well-preserved historical farm, really helps put rural living in the middle ages into full perspective with vintage displays and almost-ancient farming equipment out for all to see. You will delight in the medieval interior of its cabins as well as the grassy roofs common to historical dwellings in Norway.
From Stordal comes Dyrkorn and Ørskog, which both have eateries and varying activites within their streets. The Ørskog Cinema is a great place to duck into if you're simply looking to sit and relax a while after days of driving and sightseeing. Although it would be tempting to remain in this area overnight, make your way to Helland on Midfjorden and do a little shopping for souvenirs, a nice sweater, or something to snack on tomorrow in the car at the Vestnes Brygga down in the heart of the village.
Day nine and ten of your journey to Molde are easygoing and all about total relaxation. Sleep in and make your way across the Vestnes-straumen on E39 at your leisure, and snap photos of the Nybrua and Gamlebrua bridges beside you to the northeast. Along this route, you will find there is more traffic than on previous portions of the journey along with farms and facilities lining the water's edge. On one last ferry ride on the Vestnes-Molde line, you will be in utter awe of the beauty of the open waters and islets you pass as you make your way to your final destination.
Upon arriving in Molde, you will have a full day and a half to spend marveling at the city and its allure. The towering Rica Seilet Hotel is a preferable place of accommodation as it is situated right on the water and is comprised of sixteen floors of rooms, shopping, dining opportunities and more. Take in a classic European Football game at Aker Stadion or examine the artifacts and medieval architecture of the Romsdalsmuseet museum with its exhibits arranged over a large area away from the waterfront.
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