PART 1 - DENMARK, SWEDEN & OSLO
Since we wanted to start this road trip from home, it started all the way down near Zurich and we spent the first couple of days driving up through Germany and then Denmark as well as Southern Sweden in our VW campervan to finally reach the Norwegian border and soon after arriving in Oslo. One of our stops along the way was at a beautiful little campground directly by the beach at the so called Barsenbäckstrand, where we were able to unwind from the long hours on the road. Having no interest in spending any time in the city, we drive straight through Oslo and marked the beginning of the Norwegian part of our road trip with a stay at a campsite just north of the city.
PART 2 - TELEMARK & AUST-AGDER
It was finally time to set off northbound and make our way into Norway proper. Our route would lead us west first, in the rough direction of Stavanger. We weren’t planning on just taking the motorway there however and instead snake our way through the backcountry to see some of the nature of this part of Norway. And so, we spent a couple of relaxing and laid-back summer days around the many lakes and valleys of Telemark and Aust-Agder to recover from the long days of driving we had put behind us. The weather was pretty decent for the most part and made these days very enjoyable. We stayed in some beautiful campsites, one of which was directly beside a lake with a great reflection.
PART 3 - SOUTHERN FJORDS
Leaving Aust-Agder over a mountain pass, we were now starting to get into the more spectacular parts of Norway. The pass itself offered some great roadside views and once we were at the top, it was time for a little hike into the lush greens that filled the landscape here alongside a multitude of lakes. From the height of the plateau, the pass dives into a valley reminiscent of New Zealand with great walls towering either side as you make your way through this epic passage.
As mentioned before, we hadn’t come to Norway for the cities and so instead of carrying on towards Stavanger, we turned northbound up the coast. Once again, the route lead us along lakes and fjords and we stopped the car many times to admire the views around us. As we started getting closer to Bergen (which famously has around 200 rainy days a year), the weather started deteriorating which made our little detour up a mountain pass near Røldal a rather wet excursion and we soon returned down to the campsite in the valley to hunker down for the night.
The next morning, we were incredibly lucky as the rain let off just as we arrived at Låtefossen, which was the only real sight-seeing we had planned to do that day. In combination with the spray coming off the stunning waterfall, some of my favorite photos of the trip were created here. Soon after however, the rain started setting in again as we passed by Bergen, still pushing on further north.
PART 4 - BRIKDALSBREEN
Spending the night near Norway’s longest fjord, the Sognefjorden, we were set to make it to the mountains, lakes and fjords surrounding the Jostedalbreen, incidentally the biggest glacier of continental Europe. We spent a good while driving along the fjords and made good progress until we reached our campsite for the night, which was directly by a lake with an incredible view of the surrounding mountains, which were starting to get much taller now.
The next day would first lead us to Bøyabreen, a glacier in the midst of all these amazing mountains and the lush green vegetation. Furthermore, the day had a hike to the Brikdalsbreen in store for us. It’s one of the more popular spots in this area, but for good reason as the way up through the valley and the sight of the glacier, which is an arm of the Jostedalsbreen, are quite spectacular. We were blessed with some great weather for a good part of the day and thoroughly enjoyed wandering around in this grand landscape. That night, we stayed in the same valley at another amazing campsite directly by a lake.
PART 5 - DALSNIBBA & GEIRANGER
After a couple of stops along Lovatnet and Oppstrynvatnet, we headed further east the following day. As we were traversing the pass leading over to Geiranger, we spotted the signs for the Dalsnibba viewpoint, which I hadn’t seen in the planning of our trip and. It was a very welcome surprise as we took the steadily ascending road up to the top and were greeted by an unbelievable view of Geiranger and the Geirangerfjorden lying a good 1’400m / 4’600ft below us. This was easily on of the highlights of the trip. The day wasn’t over yet though, as we eventually continued on down to Geiranger and then further up the Ørnesvingen on the other side, which offers that famous view over the amazing Geirangerfjorden. Our campsite for the night was not far down the road from there.
The next morning, we made another stop at the Ørnesvingen viewpoint as we were doubling back on ourselves and heading back the way we came from what had been the northernmost point of our trip. Since we had been on the road for almost two weeks at this point, we only drove a short while and then relaxed and didn’t do much for the rest of the day to recharge our batteries. Additionally, we were also staying at the same campsite for two nights, which would help us wind down a bit.
PART 6 - JOTUNHEIMEN
As we had spent the night near the northern end of the Sognefjellet mountain pass, we spent the day taking the road upwards, stopping multiple times to get out and wander around in the valley between the Breheimen and Jotunheimen national parks. On a clear day, you can see an amazing collection of peaks, including Galdhøpiggen is the tallest mountain in Norway, Scandinavia and Northern Europe, at 2’469m / 8,100ft. We were a little unlucky however and were caught in the clouds for the entirety of the day. It was still beautiful but on a day like this you just think about what could have been.
After having returned to our previous campsite once again, we set off to the Valdresflye plateau on the next day. This drive lead us all the way around the northern end of Jotunheimen and then along its eastern edge, meaning that we were in constant awe of the beautiful landscape around us. The Valdresflye plateau is quite high for Scandinavia at close to 1’400m / 4’600ft and offers a great range of different sights. Driving along this road really gives you the sense of being in the middle of nowhere.
PART 7 - HARDANGERVIDDA
The last part of our trip brought us on a detour to the region around Hardangervidda National Park, where the awe-inspiring Vøringfossen waterfall is at home. Although at a certain altitude, this part of Norway is rather flat, but the trip to the waterfall is definitely worth it. With a total drop of about 180m / 600ft it plunges into the valley, where the water has carved stunning canyon out of the landscape. Since we were camping nearby, we came here twice and the second time we were lucky enough to catch some mist hanging down in the canyon which made for some great photos.
From here on out, we said goodbye to the beautiful nature of Norway and headed south, making our way home over the next few days. We had seen a good proportion of Southern Norway and had fallen in love with the country. This trip was a major contributor in my decision to return to Norway in the summer of 2019, this time to hike across some of these amazing landscapes this part of the world has to offer.
If you want to see a short recap of my time in Norway, you can have a look at this video. It also contains some of my other highlights of last year, including the astonishing landscape of the Faroe Islands and many great memories we made in the Alps.
If you enjoyed this video, you can find more of them on my videography page.