Recommendations for the (fairly) perfect round trip to / from Norway - Part 1: The South Coast
Part 2: The west coast of Norway with 39 tips and highlights
Part 3: 26 Highlights along the fjords of Norway towards the south
Due to many requests, we have decided to list in this series of entries the recommended routes from our point of view with the highlights and further tips for an eventful journey in southern Norway - below Trondheim. In Norway there is not the "Golden Circle" or the one route and even less the perfect way for all visitors to travel around the country. In this respect, we have selected a compilation of many attractions and sights that are suitable as destinations for day trips in the same way as a stage destinations for round trips, whether you are traveling by car or a motorhome.
Round trip, hotel, hut or how to travel best in Norway?
Nobody can take that decision from you. Although Norway is perfect for touring, you can of course rent a cabin by the fjord for two weeks to relax in peace and quiet. From our point of view, the following options are available:
- Our tip for getting started - especially for a family holiday: In Scandinavia, the cottage holiday is widespread. Of course you can book a cabin for two weeks or longer in the country over the known providers. However, we have always combined this variant so that we experience more and the day trips do not get longer and longer over time. For example, you can rent a cabin by the sea for a week and rent another cabin in the mountains next to the fjord or near the city the next week ...
- Round trip by car / motorbike: In the summer perfectly feasible and easy to combine with short stays / nights in bed and breakfast accommodation or in cabins on campsites
- Round trip by motorhome / tent / camper: Norway is a paradise for camping in any form. However, it can also be a bit stressful without experience, for the first time with a camper on the sometimes narrow streets on the road.
- Classic hotel stay or longer stays in a Bed Breakfast: in Norway rather uncommon and relatively expensive, but also very attractive. A good combination is to choose about 4 accommodations in different regions for two weeks, so that you can see a lot of the countryside and not move constantly on a daily basis.
Recommendations for getting started
In several contributions, we have collected many valuable and important information on the topics of travel to Norway, accommodation, customs, everyone's rights, camping, saving money in the country and other valuable information from our experience of more than 30 Norway trips. The respective contributions can be found here:
- The journey to Norway (part 1)
- Car / Traffic / Toll in Norway (Part 2)
- Accommodation in Norway (Part 3)
- Ferries in Norway (part 4)
- RV / Camping in Norway (part 5)
- Saving money in Norway (Part 6)
Let's go - along the Norwegian south coast
So, now we are slowly on the way ... We divided our contribution into different stages and sections with the respective highlights, hotspots, excursion destinations and sights. This can and should only be a rough classification, from which each reader can put together his own tour according to the respective preferences and should. Some may want to stay longer at the sights or just quickly visit the main hotspots, then quickly get to the fjords or the west coast. So take our overview below as a possible idea and inspiration. A clear map with all points and the recommended tour can be found under this article.
No matter how you travel to Norway, you will most likely arrive at one of the ferry ports (>
Stage 1: From the end of the world "Verden Ende" to Kragerø
The region between Oslo and Kragerø is mainly characterized by the metropolitan areas around the capital and some larger cities such as Porsgrunn and the ferry ports in Larvik (Colorline) or >
Coordinates: 59.058203, 10.407718
Verdens Ende (German: "the end of the world") is a headland at the end of Oslofjord, which is characterized by a striking rock landscape. Hundreds of small archipelagos and spars (small islands) lie here - often flushed from the sea, off the coast and invite you to diving, fishing, swimming, relaxing and small hikes. At the beginning of the 20th century, the place was baptized by visitors "Verden's End" and in the meantime, this romantic natural landscape is a popular destination. A restaurant, the historic beacon, the pier, a grocery store and last but not least Norway's only official bank to kiss invite the numerous visitors.
As a souvenir, you should send a picture postcard from the end of the world to you or dear friends, because it receives the coveted motif stamp from this questionable sounding place ....
Coordinates: 58.929740, 9.590985
Along the Norwegian coast, there are many opportunities to visit partly well-preserved and impressive fortresses, positions, bunkers and components of the Atlantic Wall from the Second World War. Some of these places are built as a museum, maintained and thus very informative or just as open terrain accessible. Here on the south coast, the dimension of these imposing grounds can often be surmised and it is sometimes exciting for children to climb around the old trenches, bunkers and positions. From the highest point of the complex you have a great view over the coast. Parking is available in Valle (about 1 kilometer away), where there is also a café and other facilities.
Coordinates from the great viewpoint Veten: 58.865068, 9.419834
If you are traveling on the south coast in a westerly direction (Stavanger), you will find a few more of the romantic white cities from Kragerø, which radiate a very special charm with their maritime white wooden houses. On sunny summer days you often have the impression of being on the Mediterranean.
Kragerø offers next to the historic core a modern infrastructure, many cafes and restaurants that invite you to visit and a slightly elevated vantage point (Veten / 51 meters high), which you should definitely visit (see coordinates above).
The annual highlights in the village are the big harbor festival and the Red Bull Cliff Diving - the famous jumping from the partly high cliffs to the roaring surf. You can also see the mountain - Kragerø Museum (about 4 kilometers northwest of the center) on the peninsula >
Stage 2: From Kragerø to Mandal
Between Kragerø and Mandal, Southern Norway offers countless kilometers of pure coastal idyll. The archipelago and the rugged cliffs offer an impressive contrast to the colorful wooden houses, the white beaches and the pine forests. Therefore, it is always worthwhile, regardless of the highlights recommended below, to simply leave the E18 European route and drive for a break or a short hike to the coast.
If you see the sign "Friluftomrade" on your tour, then this indicates a local or regional recreational area, where you will find mostly fishing, barbecues, beaches, hiking trails and swimming spots. Here are a few particularly beautiful places along the coast to Mandal:
Coordinates of Risørflekken, a great viewpoint with panoramic views over the city: 58.723234, 9.240258
Risør is our favorite city in Southern Norway. We just love to stroll through the streets, to browse the shops (because here you do not have the usual branches, which are known from all inner cities of Germany), to watch the hustle and bustle in the harbor and in the bakery in the center delicious cinnamon rolls To enjoy coffee.
Go or drive up to the lookout points at Risørflekken (see our coordinates above) - there is also a beautiful forest car park and panoramic views of the entire city and the coastline. Another highlight is the Risør Aquarium - Southern Norway's only saltwater aquarium, with a hundred different species of fish and marine animals. The fish are fed daily at 14 o'clock - a must for the children.
Every first weekend in August, it is worth visiting the maritime city with its special historical charm: every year countless wooden boats and sailing ships from all over the world meet here for the legendary and traditional wooden boat festival.
Coordinates from the car park / starting point of the short hike: 58.671517, 9.194650
The most beautiful things still conjure up the nature ... Thus, the incredible pools on the southern Norwegian rocky coast through the mighty glaciers of the Ice Age have emerged. The locals love to bathe here or just lie on the rocks, relax and enjoy the sun and the sound of the sea.
From the car park in the woods you walk about 15 - 30 minutes - depending on the chosen path - through the magnificent Norwegian coastal landscape, before you reach the rocks and the glacier pots. A perfect tour for the whole family and especially for schoolchildren who can climb here and romp on the rocks. Sitting on the rocks in the setting sun, having a picnic, barbecuing and staring at the sea is the perfect way to spend a nice day out.
Coordinates Viewpoint to the lighthouse: 58.643549, 9.128425
Gjeving and especially the harbor Lyngør Porten are typical vacation spots for the locals and therefore offer a great infrastructure. Here you can rent cabins of every class, rent boats, stay overnight in the hotel's book hotel in a holiday apartment or just have a meal. From here, ferries and speedboats travel to the off-road car-free island of Lyngør, where many Norwegians with a bit of a hold have a summerhouse or cabin.
On the quay or the terrace at the restaurant of the book hotel (Bookhotellet) you can wait perfectly for the onset of dusk. A little later, the lighthouse on the offshore rocky island lets its headlight beam through the darkness calmly and almost majestically glide. A wonderful idyll.
If you have followed the European Route E18 and passed Grimstad, it is advisable to take the smaller side road FV 420. From there you can easily reach some minor roads and, with the help of our map, this entry to the Kalvehageneset tourist area. There is a larger parking lot in the coastal forest, from which beautiful hiking trails start over the rocky coast.
You can grill there, fish from the shore, swim, relax and take a photo session with the lighthouse of Homborsund as a motif in the evening or morning light. There are benches, designated paths (including a one-hour round trip over the rocks on the coast) and fire pits. A perfect place to relax and spend a night in the car park, where there is also a small toilet house. But please take care of the locals and do not make the parking lot to the campsite - then it should soon be over with the options described here ...
Coordinates from the parking lot at the village entrance: 58.198852, 8.352915
Brekkestø is definitely worth a visit. Already the trip worth the detour, as the road leads over some bridges and through a very beautiful coastal landscape. The village itself is reminiscent of a huge open-air museum. Many old white and colorful wooden houses, old merchant shops and small craft shops - all very well preserved. It feels like being in a movie set. Therefore, the place is also almost completely car-free and you have to use the large parking lot at the entrance - which is also perfectly okay. From a small elevation, which leads up some steps, you have a great view over the historic village, the archipelago and the coastline.
After a coffee or a soft ice cream, the tour goes on ...
Coordinates of the parking in this recreational area:
Mandal is one of the larger cities in the south of Norway and therefore offers all shopping facilities, restaurants and the usual infrastructure. A special, even unique highlight, is the small peninsula south of the city, with a wonderful recreation area. There is a nice campsite in the woods, lending facilities for all water sports and fishing activities, playgrounds (even in the water), an inviting road network for jogging, cycling and walking, and a larger parking lot for day visitors.
The real highlight, however, is the "Kanelstrand" (in German "cinnamon beach") which is not only beautifully located in the forest, but got its name because of the unique golden sand. That's why you have to have lain there once in his life ...
Stage 3: From Mandal to Lista
Coordinates of the parking lot / parking space at the lighthouse: 57.985036, 7.049543
One of the popular highlights in the south of Norway: The South Cape with Lindesnes Fyr - probably the most photographed lighthouse in Norway. From here, the daredevils set out to walk the 2518 kilometers to the North Cape on foot.
There is an old WWII bunker, a bistro / cafe and a souvenir shop. The ascent to the lighthouse and the access to the whole complex cost during the opening hours in the high season admission. Outside of these times, for example in the evening, you can move freely around the grounds.
Right next to the parking lot there is a communal and thus public RV parking space, which you can use for a small fee at the machine overnight. Perfect for taking pictures of the lighthouse in the light of sunrise or sunset (like our picture).
Coordinates of the parking on the beaches: 58.067760, 6.729092
The beaches of Vanse are (still) not as well known to foreign visitors and therefore offer even in the high season quite a romantic retreat. In summer you can swim here or enjoy wonderful sunsets.
Horse friends also get their money's worth in the region, as there are many horse farms and stud farms here. So you have quite the chance, as in our picture to ride with a horse in the evening along the deserted beach.
Coordinates of parking and public parking at the lighthouse:
Not far from Vanse lies the lighthouse Lista Fyr. There is also a bird watching station on site, as the area is a sea bird paradise. In the evening you can see the amateur photographers with their telephoto lenses go on photo safari and it is indeed an experience, here on the coastal meadows to strip, to watch the birds or walk a bit while the sun goes down.
The parking lot at the lighthouse may officially be used as a camperplace and even has a toilet house with drinking water supply. We spent the night there and photographed the old fisherman's house during a dramatic sunset, which can be found not far from the lighthouse by the sea (see photo).
Stage 4: From Lista to Egersund
At this stage we drive only a short distance on the European road E18, before we leave this in Flekkefjord, and then longer time to follow the scenic road 44 along the coast. This street is also called "Norsjøvegen" (German "Nordseestraße") and on the associated German-> you can find out about all attractions and accommodation options on this route.
The coast becomes increasingly diversified on this northern route and ever-higher cliffs alternate with white sandy beaches. Therefore, you should definitely plan for the now following coastline a bit more time.
Coordinates from the parking lot at the train station in Flekkefjord: 58.294881, 6.667486
On Flekkefjordbanen, which has since been closed down, you can drive into the hinterland with a trolley and explore the area in a completely new, exciting way - a highlight for the whole family.
If you are interested in this tour, you can find out more in this post, in which our guest author Falk Hickmann talks about his family trip with the trolley.
Coordinates of a recommended parking lot - also for campers - in the center: 58.294481, 6.665270
Already during the Viking Age the first settlers lived here. The city really flourished in 1660, when it became an important port, trading center and hub for the timber trade - especially with Holland. The so-called " Dutch town " also dates back to this time. It is a worth seeing district in the north of Flekkefjord with narrow streets and some well-preserved white wooden houses.
Coordinates from the car park and possible parking space for these walks: 58.281203, 6.405539
The mountains of Brufjell (184 meters high) are located near the original fishing village of Åna-Sira. Here you will find many hiking opportunities of various difficulty levels, hidden coves and beaches and the famous Brufjell caves. These unique caves, washed out by the rough seas, bizarre rock formations and troughs are almost at sea level. A steep path leads from the highest point in a gorge down to the caves. Due to the nature and the risks, this route is only recommended for experienced hikers.
But even without the descent to the caves by the sea, it is worthwhile to make a short detour into the picturesque village and to stroll through the village for a while or to hike to the lookout point on the Brufjell. At the entrance to the town, a large parking lot has been newly created, which also offers the last parking possibility. From there you can walk along the road through the village with the small white houses by the fjord to the starting point of the trails. Here are several routes that lead you to the individual destinations in this area or on a circular route.
Coordinates from the parking lot and possible parking space for this destination: 58.328152, 6.353129
Next to the lighthouse of Lindesnes, the old houses of Helleren belong to the most popular sights in the south of Norway. The freely accessible houses from the 19th century are impressive witnesses of the past. Already since the 16th century people live here, next to the Jøssingfjord. The colorful houses of Helleren are only proof of that.
Tip: Behind the red house there is a Sickerquelle. About 10 meters, the spring water trickles through the rock before it drips out of the stone here. A really delicious, mineral flavor and a wonderful refreshment on warm summer days.
If you would like to know more about this historical attraction or to find out more details for your visit, please read our separate article about Helleren:
Coordinates from the car park above the almost car-free village: 58.325564, 6.283900
Sogndalstrand is one of the most visited tourist destinations in the province of Rogaland and is often referred to as the "Røros of the Coast". Previously, the place was known as a loading station for sailing ships from all over the world. Today Sogndalstrand with its wooden houses from the 18th and 19th century is a listed place full of charm and hospitality. You can park in one of the parking spaces in front of the village and then stroll down the alleyways between the old houses to the sea or stop in one of the many quaint restaurants.
As a member of the worldwide movement Cittaslow, the municipality of Sokndal refrains from a standardized local development and promotes the small and the local. Sogndalstrand stands, as part of it, therefore for the good and simple life - a special attitude to life, which is actually felt in the village. In this kind of community, the economic life consists of a gallery, a souvenir shop, a café, a corner shop and a museum.
Coordinates of parking for this destination: 58.441517, 5.886580
The 33 meter high lighthouse stands on the coast before Egersund on the approximately 2000 m × 500 m large island Midbrødøya. You park in front of the narrow passage to this declared bird sanctuary and then walk for about half an hour through the unique coastal landscape to the lighthouse.
The old lighthouse keeper's house is now used as a birding station and is also part of the quite remarkable ensemble on the rocks of the coast. At the parking lot there are some picnic areas and opportunities for fishing or barbecues.
Stage 5: From Egersund to Preikestolen and on to Stavanger
This stage offers a wonderful road trip feeling along the RV 44 coastal road. Lush green meadows, scattered farms with bright white houses, extensive dunes, white sandy beaches, the eternal surf of the rough North Sea and the first striking fjords are the impressive and at the same time unforgettable features of this landscape.
Again and again you want to stop, linger on a beach or a cup of coffee under a lighthouse, but here is - as so often in Norway - the way the destination.
You should take the opportunity and turn on the way to Stavanger, the most famous rock formation in Norway, the Preikestolen, before the way along the west coast continues northwards. Incidentally, you can also - unlike on our map - after a hike to Preikestolen the road RV13 follow a bit to Tau and from there take the ferry to Stavanger translate. Due to the longer ferry crossing, this variant is a bit more expensive, but you still see a little more of this beautiful region.
Coordinates of the campsite and at the same time parking on the beaches: 58.541056, 5.725285
You just have to visit the long sandy beaches near Brusand. Here you can walk for a long time along the sea, collect shells, walk in the dunes and photograph the isolated boathouses in the sunset.
At the well-run campsite just behind the dunes, you can spend the night in a camping hut, a tent or a motorhome, before the exciting adventures of Preikestolen and / or Stavanger the next day.