This page introduces several road trips in Southern Norway. The objective is to entertain, inform and to serve as suggested itineraries for your own motorised exploration of this beautiful country.
Nature is not only all that is visible to the eye.. it also includes the inner pictures of the soul (Edvard Munch)
Driving in Norway is quite easy for natives and foreigners alike. Historically the roads have not been in a very good condition, and that is still the case. The distances are long, the country is scarcely populated and every little farm, fjord and valley will need a connecting, paved road. This means that the money spent on roads are sprinkled out thinly.
Even the major national and international roads are narrow and there are not so many motorways (highways) outside the major cities.
The Western coast, where my initial road trips are set, is particularly infamous for the bends, narrow roads, steep mountainsides – and in recent years – a large number of very long tunnels making the mountains into a Swiss cheese.
While on the road, you must make sure to stop and enjoy the view. This is Furebergfossen in the Hardanger region.
New bridges and tunnels are being opened all the time, with acclamation from the local population, and eradicate the need for crossing high mountains and deep fjords.This makes the picturesque ferries disappear.
Driving over the mountains is generally more interesting than driving right through them. Fortunately, for the tourist, a number of mountain roads have been turned into scenic tourist roads, open in summer.
In the following the articles presenting the road trips will be outlined. There is a map further down the page to set your bearings straight, geographically speaking.
(More road trips are available on the Norwegian language part of Sandalsand.)
The Hardanger road trip
This road trip covers the southern part of the Hardanger fjord area, around the Folgefonna glacier.
(1) Stavanger to Rosendal: Read about two and a half days on the road in picturesque Hardanger, Norway. It is spring, the fruit trees are in blossom, the snow has still not melted on the mountain tops, and the sun is shining.
(2) Rosendal: It was a beautiful morning in Rosendal, on the second day of our Hardanger Road Trip. After a lovely breakfast at the centrally located, historically rooted Rosendal Turisthotell we sat down on the front porch and enjoyed the perfect view of the Hardanger fjord.
(3) Rosendal to Utne: Our second day on the road in beautiful, sunny Hardanger, Norway offered blossoming fruit trees, snowcapped mountains, a blue fjord, and a surprise visit to a glacial lake.
(4) Utne: There is more to Utne than we imagined before arriving here. The evening we spent was perfect and the next morning offered an insight into Norwegian traditions that more visitors should experience.
(5) Agatunet: Heading south on the Sørfjord on our Hardanger road trip we paid a visit to the unique hamlet of Agatunet, one of the very original farm villages of Norway.
(6) Sørfjorden, Odda and Røldal: The ingredients of the last part of our road trip in Norway are fjord, snow, fruit trees, industrial plants, a waterfall and a stave church.
Waiting for our ferry to Hardanger at Skjersholmane
The Boknafjord road trip
This road trip covers the wide fjord in the southwestern part of the Fjord Country, the Boknafjord. The account of a two day intensive road trip is covered in the two articles called “The Boknafjord road trip”:
(1) Haugalandet: This is the recipe for a two-day round trip by car in the beautiful county of Rogaland. The trip circulates the Boknafjord basin. It is one of the widest fjords in Norway with a number of arms digging deep into the mountainous interior. The scenery is green and lavish, the fjords are deep and the old farmsteads and small towns make this an attractive trip. Here is Day 1: Haugalandet.
(2) Ryfylke: Day 2 takes us from the industrial town of Sauda to fantastic old farmsteads in Suldal and beyond on roads that are attractions in their own right. Cutting through the Ryfylke region back to Stavanger completes a most wonderful and intense round trip.
The Kolbeinstveit museum in Suldal
Here are the opening paragraphs of my “Western Norway” series. It consists of five chapters:
(1) Stavanger to Lærdal: In the early morning we set out on a four day road trip of Western Norway – The Fjord Country. We were going to visit two of the largest fjords, the Sognefjord and the Hardangerfjord, and also one of the most famous. The Nærøyfjord has its name on the prestigious World Heritage List.
(2) Lærdalsøyri: Erik Pontoppidan, a renowned Danish bishop in Bergen, came to Lærdalsøyri and wrote about the “161 small houses built closely together”. That was in the year 1749. When we arrived 263 years later those houses were still there.
(3) Solvorn: Solvorn is a little, sleepy village in the Fjord Country. It has a very nice layout, stretching elegantly like a fan uphill from the fjord. The view across the Lustrafjord, a branch of the long and wide Sognefjord, towards Ornes is superb.
(4) Nærøyfjorden: The Nærøyfjord is one of the most spectacular of all Norwegian fjords. It is narrow, the mountains rise vertically up high above the deep blue sea, and there are scattered hamlets and farms where humans for centuries have tried to make a living.
(5) Vøringsfossen and Hardanger: A nation has its symbols aimed at defining the nation as such. This post is about two defining symbols of Norway as a nation state, one wild and furious and the other mellow and romantic.
Cat in driver’s seat in camper van at Gjermundshavn ferry quay
Almost 3,000 kilometres around the southern part of the country. The attractions were neatly lined up. Here are the opening paragraphs to this series of four articles.
(1) Introduction: This is the story of a fantastic journey in the southern part of this long country far to the north. The road trip takes us around all of southern Norway.
(2) Stavanger to Molde: To foreigners, Norway is almost synonymous with the West Coast. Here we find high snow-capped mountains plunging straight into the deep fjords. Here we find small farms clinging to steep cliff walls, and here we find bordering on the ocean an archipelago almost without equal.
(3) Molde to Oslo: The journey continues north around the Trondheim fjord, over the mountains and then south through the long forested valleys to Oslo. The trip is long, but what does it matter when there is so much to discover?
(4) Oslo to Stavanger: Sørlandet, the gentle, relaxing coastline is our last leg on the journey around southern Norway. Here we find pleasant small towns with picturesque harbours, polished rocks, the salty sea outside, and nice weather.
Map with the trips
Click the legend symbol in the upper left corner to see which of the above mentioned articles goes where.
Check out Sandalsand på norsk, a website with more road and rail trips in Norway, written in Norwegian.