Recommendations for the (fairly) perfect round trip to / from Norway - Part 3: Through Fjord Norway to the South
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. There is not the Golden Circle in Norway, or even 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 for this series of contributions, which are suitable as destinations for day trips in the same way as as milestones for round trips. Sometimes, however, the only thing that counts is "The journey is the destination" when you drive through this breathtaking environment on one of the beautiful Norwegian tourist routes ...
The stages of the Norway round trip
In the first two parts of this series we presented some routes, stages and highlights between Oslo and Stavanger and on the west coast from Stavanger to Kristiansund. Here we have assumed that you arrive in the south of Norway by ferry, or via Sweden with the car or with the camper enters and thus begins his tour in southern Norway. The following recommendations in this post follow, and so you can follow the tour from Kristiansund here.
But there are also other options in general, which we would like to briefly introduce below:
- Variation: You save the tour through the south of Norway and take the ferry from the Fjordline from Hirtshals (Denmark) directly to Stavanger or Bergen. That'll take you straight to Fjord Norway and the west coast. After a round trip along the west coast and through the fjordland you could use the same ferry connection for the return journey.
- Variant: You use the ferry as in variant 1, drive north along the coast and back from Kristianssund and through the Fiordland, as described below in the direction of Oslo. From there you take one of the ferries from Stenaline or Colorline. Our tip: Drive a bit further to Gothenburg and from there take the Stenaline ferry to Kiel. This is usually much cheaper than the other connections and especially if you come from Austria, Switzerland or southern Germany, you have only the distance from / to Kiel.
- Variant: You simply use variant 2 in the opposite direction, then return from Bergen or Stavanger by ferry from Fjordline or complete the round with the recommendations from our first part of this series. So you just go a little further "above" in our complete round trip recommendation.
Recommendations for getting started
Before we go into the attractions and hotspots on the grand fjords of Norway, we would like to recommend in advance again our contributions, in which we have many valuable and important information on the topics Travel to Norway, accommodation, customs, everyone's rights, camping, saving money in the country and have gathered further information from our experience of more than 25 trips to Norway. The respective contributions can be found via these links:
- The optimal and cheap journey to Norway (part 1)
- Car / Traffic / Toll in Norway (Part 2)
- Accommodation in Norway (Part 3)
- Ferries and Ferjekort in Norway (Part 4)
- RV / Camping in Norway (part 5)
- Saving money in Norway (Part 6)
If you would like to order the Ferjekort for your trip to Norway in order to receive up to 50% discount on the domestic ferry or to order or even have to order the chip from AutoPass for the Norwegian toll system (applies to motorhomes rented for commercial use) Here are the exact order instructions in German deposited:
- Detailed instructions: How to order your Ferjekort from AutoPass Norway
- Detailed instructions: How to order your toll-chip from AutoPass Norway
Let's go - through the unique fjords of Norway
Well, now we are slowly on the way of our journey through fjord Norway ... We have divided our contributions of this series 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 have time for a stroll in Oslo or the drive along the Norwegian 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.
After we arrived in the first part in Stavanger and led the second part of this series of contributions along the west coast of Stavanger to Kristiansund , our joint tour starts today in this western Norwegian city. So we continue our round trip in a clockwise direction and visit the most beautiful fjords - there in the hinterland, where they meet the mighty mountains - via breathtaking and equally popular roads and official Norwegian tourist routes.
We leave the coastal region for the first time on our recommended round trip through Norway and will drive over the really impressive Trollstigen up into the magnificent mountains, which we have mostly perceived from afar or as a coastline. The sometimes mighty mountain ranges in the west of Norway separate the fjords from each other and also make up the special attraction of this route - as they rise from the shores of the inlets and frame them.
In this respect, it is now often over serpentine steeply up to the mountain passes or even back down to sea level. In any case, you will be rewarded with ever new unforgettable views of Caribbean blue water, majestic glaciers and rugged mountain peaks, on whose slopes the lush grass glows green. A beautiful contrast to the falunroten and white houses of the farms on the fjord bank. For us one of the most beautiful parts of Norway.
Stage 1: From Kristiansund over the Trollstigen to the Geirangerfjord
This stage leads us from the island world on the west coast at Kristiansund soon over the famous Trollstigen up into the mountains of the Reinheimen National Park. There also begins one of the 18 official Norwegian tourist routes, which extends from the Trollstigen to the Geiranger. Via this link you will find further information on the German homepage .
After driving through the mountains above the Trollstigen the road leads through the fertile Valldalen down to the Storfjord. In Valldalen there are many farms that sell potatoes, strawberries and other fruits and vegetables directly from the farm - for us always a good reason to stop there. We cross the Stofjord relatively fast with the ferry Linge-Eidsdal, before we go up again into the mountains and we reach the viewpoints over the Geirangerfjord and the village Geiranger itself. But first we reach - not far from the road to Åndalsnes the first sight:
Coordinates: 62.624339, 7.494912
Before reaching the town of Andalsnes on the road FV 64 after some driving time, you can take the road FV 181 to Eidsbygda in advance. There are some picnic and recreation facilities and a very nice and well-rated campsite, which is located in a beautiful bay. Saltkjelsnes Camping also offers accommodation in 15 beautiful cabins and boat or kayak rentals.
Not far from the campsite you will find the impressive Stave Church, whose history dates back to the 12th century. The imposing wooden church was first documented in 1589 and has since defied the forces of nature here on the fjord. It is always impressive to see what our ancestors did with the simplest means.
After we have passed the Isfjord, on the banks of which there are nice rest and parking, we reach the center of the region, the city of Andalsnes. Here you will find a suitable infrastructure to shop, refuel, stop off and your RV to supply or dispose of. Andalsnes is also one of the terminal stations of the Raumabanen, with which you can drive 114 kilometers up to Dombås on the Dovrefjell on a breathtaking route through the valley of the Rauma.
In bad weather Åndalsnes offers yet another highlight: The modern Norwegian Summit Museum (in the picture above) shows not only an interesting exhibition on the mountains and mountaineering in Norway, but also includes wonderful indoor climbing worlds for the whole family and in different difficulty classes.
The hairpin bends of the Trollstigen overcome in 11 switchbacks a height difference of 405 meters and lead you in an impressive way up to the pass through the Reinheimen National Park. Once at the top you will find a large car park, a restaurant, souvenir shops and the impressive viewing platform "Utsikten". In this respect, one should plan a stay here and enjoy the view over the mountains, the waterfalls and the road.
Also below the track there is a parking lot next to the road, from which you can take a picture of this scenery again. A stop on the track, however, is prohibited - with high penalties. The route is only open in summer due to weather conditions and can be used from mid-May or early June to the end of September, depending on the weather.
The street was first opened to traffic in 1936 after eight years of construction. To this day, despite some modernization, it is only a few meters wide, so you may have to avoid oncoming vehicles. The Trollstigen can still drive with all vehicles. As a driver you (or Ms. 😉) should still bring a certain amount of routine and experience. There are quite a few places where the encounter of a coach with a caravan team requires appropriate skill and consideration from both drivers.
After following the road 63 from the Trollstigen for a few kilometers through the magnificent mountain scenery, the valley opens slowly. Only a little later you reach the beautiful gorge Gudbrandsjuvet. Here, some paths were fixed, glass platforms and iron railings mounted, so you can look directly into the partially 5 meters wide and up to 25 meters deep gorge.
The river Valldøla has washed this dramatic gorge out of the rock for thousands of years. The unruly power of the water has created such deep glacial potholes and bizarre rock formations. By the way, under the surface of the water the gorge is as deep as above.
The spacious parking lot next to the road FV 63 offers plenty of space and next door invites you to a cozy restaurant to traditional Norwegian specialties. Compared to the large restaurant right on Trollstigen we found this a little less touristy and therefore a bit more welcoming.
Coordinates of the car park at the gorge: 62.330742, 7.471921
Coordinates for the car park at the viewpoint: 62.126310, 7.166910
After having taken the ferry from Linge to Eidsdal and following the road FV 63, after about 20 minutes of driving you will approach the steep descent along some hairpin bends to the Geirangerfjord. At the first bend, the "Adlerschwinge" or in the Norwegian original "Ørnesvingen", there is a parking lot and a modern observation deck, from which one has a great view of the village Geiranger (picture above) or into the fjord. On the following picture, however, you can see how the road meanders down the steep mountainside to the fjord ... 🙂
A little tip: About 1000 - 1500 meters, before you reach the impressive descent with its viewpoint, there is a large parking lot next to the road FV 63, which is designed as a starting point for some beautiful walks in the region above the Geirangerfjord. Maybe you can park here, hike a bit and then enjoy the view over the fjord without other tourists ... 😉
Whether you want to stay longer at the quite touristy and yet beautiful Geirangerfjord, everyone has to decide for themselves. After having passed the hairpin bends down to the fjord, there is the possibility either directly at the Grande Fjord Hotel (very good and relatively inexpensive buffet for dinner) or the campsite Geirangerfjorden Feriesenter - Cabins Camping in front of it use. We have already used both options and were in any case satisfied, especially since we appreciate the location a bit away from the actual village center of Geiranger. Incidentally, you can also rent boats here and start your own tour on the fjord or just go fishing.
In any case, we recommend a tour of the beautiful Geirangerfjord, which is also so popular because of its selected beauty. But you should definitely not use the usual offers for tourists from Geiranger, of which there are many, but instead as a pedestrian / passenger with the regular line ferry from Geiranger to Helleysylt and back again. The price is usually much lower and you can enjoy much more comfortable, intense and relaxed the entire scenery of the fjord on this indirect tour. The timetable and fares for this line ferry can be found HERE. On board the ferry, there are also drinks, ice cream and a snack.
Alternatively, you can also use this ferry with your car to see the complete Geirangerfjord and cover part of the next stage (see the following variant 2).
Stage 2: From Geirangerfjord to Loen at Nordfjord
Variant 1 (described in the following)
Option 2 (Alternative with the ferry through the Geirangerfjord)
Alternative 3 (alternative over the gravel road "Gamle Strynefjellsvegen")
As you can see, we have chosen this stage relatively short, because the pure driving time on this scenic route will not be enough anyway - no matter which option you choose. There is just too much to see and take pictures of ...
If you do not take the ferry across the Geirangerfjord to Stryn (option 2), you will in any case, above the village of Geiranger, after a few bends and many meters in altitude, come to a turn-off to the viewpoint Dalsnibba. Then the route leads through an alpine mountain world that separates the Nordfjord from the Geirangerfjord. After a relatively gentle descent through a wide valley to the town of Stryn, we now follow the road along the fjord shore to Loen, a centrally located village on the Nordfjord. From here you can do some great day trips and visit many attractive destinations.
But first it goes up - to the viewpoint Dalsnibba ...
Coordinates from the car park or vantage point: 62.048875, 7.269969
At the height of the mountain hut Djupvass hut (1038 meters above sea level), the Nibbevegen turns off the road FV 63 and leads from here for about 7 kilometers to the 1476 meter high viewpoint Dalsnibba. There is a parking lot, toilets and a souvenir shop and the observation deck with the famous panorama over Geiranger.
The road to the summit is usually open from June to October and is chargeable. The toll for a car is (as of 2019) at 140 NOK (about 15 euros). In good weather, in any case, a worthwhile investment.
Coordinates from the parking lot of the valley station: 61.875008, 6.839568
After crossing the mountains and driving through Stryn, you will reach the village of Loen. From here you can look in the neighboring valleys much, looking for a "base camp" on one of the campsites or on a farm and explore the submission. More in the following tips. But now it's time for Loen to climb the mountain:
About every half hour, one of the steepest aerial cable cars in the world takes you up to Mount Hoven in just 5 minutes - 1011 meters above the fjord. The view from up there is huge and in this way also for seniors, families with small children or people with a handicap possible. If you like, you can stop by the mountain station in the restaurant or go on one of the well marked hikes in the mountains. There are round trips for all demands, which promise in any case unbelievable views up to the glaciers in the south and into the valleys at the fjord.
At the place Loen directly borders the idyllic valley Lodalen with the turquoise lake Lovatnet. From May to October, the cruise ship MS "Kjenndal II" operates on this rather large and long lake, which will take you from one end of the lake to the other in about 55 minutes. But you can also follow the road along the lake and at the end of the valley for a short distance to the glacier Kjenndalsbreen run. This little hike is well suited for families as the path is very level and easy to master.
The pier at the end of the valley is located on the beautiful excursion restaurant Kjenndalsstova . Here you can linger on the terrace or after a canoe trip across the lake ( rent canoes at the campsite ) or strengthen a bike ride through the valley again.
In the valley there are various restaurants and overnight accommodations, such as the campsite PlusCamp Sande Camping , which also hires beautiful cabins on the lake, as well as boats, fishing equipment and kayaks. You will also find here a small kiosk and a restaurant, which run the campsite owners with love and passion.
In the valley, a memorial commemorates the opera of two massive landslides. The landslides had caused tsunamis in the lake, whose tidal waves quasi wiped out entire villages and farms in the valley. In the calamities of 1905 and 1936 135 people were killed, whom they remember here. We have been very concerned here, because dangers of this kind are still present and show how powerful nature is.
Parking / starting point of the hike: Parking next to the campsite Tjugen Camping
For all outdoor enthusiasts there is another real highlight here at the Nordfjord - a hike up to the summit of Skåla, which rises majestically 1843 meters above the fjord. At the summit are two cabins of the Norwegian hiking club DNT for an overnight stay. The hike. By the way, Norway's longest ascent also starts in the Lodalen, not far from Loen at the campsite Tjugen Camping. Should you also be interested in this tour, please refer to the detailed description of our hike to the summit:
The Oldendalen is another side valley on Nordfjord and also impresses with an almost kitschy combination of a beautiful lake, the surrounding mighty mountains and the glacier arms at the end of the valley. Here you can spend well an eventful day. By the way comes from here also the very good "OLDEN" water, which one receives in the Norwegian supermarkets.
If you are not passing through or you want to leave the directly neighboring Lodalen, you can use one of the campsites in the valley or stay on a Norwegian farm in a historic and rustic hut (see picture). The farm is called Aabrekk Gard and is perfectly located at the bottom of the valley as a starting point for hikes to the glaciers. (Here the link to the English-> )
Coordinates from the car park at the farm Aabrekk Gard: 61.677937, 6.813829
You can also park in the small parking lot at the previously described farm for a really nice hike to one of the imposing glacier arms. If you want to avoid the many tourists on the Briksdalsbreen (especially if a cruise ship has laid out in the fjord), you should actually make your way here and follow the signposted path to Brenndalsbreen. The way there and further details of the hike we have described in detail in this separate article:
Regardless, you can of course enjoy the - not in vain - so popular views of the Glacier Briksdalsbreen. The large parking lot and a restaurant and souvenir shop are just a few hundred meters further down the valley. From there you either walk on a paved path to the glacier (about 2 x 45 minutes walk) or you can go up with one of the troll cars. In this case, you can be pretty sure to be immortalized on a selfie of Asian tourists ....
Coordinates from the Fjord Horse Center at Nordfjordeid: 61.914548, 6.003579
There is another excursion from Loen or Stryn on the Nordfjord: a trip along the Nordfjord and Hornindalsvatnet to the center of the region to Nordfjordeid.
There you will find shops and restaurants as well as a lovely old church, the Norwegian Fjord Horse Competence Center, a Mecca for horse lovers. Here you can learn more about the horses and learn after a previous order / reservation on guided tours, take riding lessons, participate in guided horseback riding and much more. Even in bad weather you can experience - also perfect as a family - so much with and on the horses.
Further information and about it can be found on this German page of Visit Nordfjord.
In 2019 the museum and visitor center SAGASTAD was opened in Nordfjordeid. It deals in a modern, appealing and interactive exhibition with the history of the Vikings and shows among other things the "Myklebust ship". It is the largest replica of an original Viking ship ever made and faithfully reproduced, the remains of which were found during excavations. This can be synonymous to watch a movie.
Sagastad is open daily during the season and offers a fun diversion for the whole family, especially in combination with the Norwegian Fjord Horse Competence Center. Further information can be found on the English Sagastad homepage.
Before continuing on the next stage, the recommendation for the return trip from Nordfjordeid to the end of the Nordfjord to Stryn or Loen: To see even more of the landscape and in particular to enjoy beautiful views over the Nordfjord, we recommend the return route the route over the roads European route E 39 and FV 613.
Stage 3: From Loen on the Nordfjord to the Sognefjord
Variant 1 (longer distance / described later in the article)
Variant 2 (shorter route)
Also at this stage there are again two options to get from the Nordfjord to the Sognefjord. If you want to spend more time at the Sognefjord or generally have to get ahead faster, we recommend the above-mentioned variant 2. For all others who use this road trip to see much of the country and have time accordingly, we recommend the variant 1. Here After passing the Norwegian landscape route "Gaularfjell" , you will reach the beautiful Gaularfjell and the "valley of waterfalls" further west on the Sognefjord in Balestrand. From here you can do some interesting excursions, later to follow the road 55 along the fjord shore, towards Fjord end. There, in the municipality of Luster, the fjord meets the gigantic mountains of the high mountains Jotunheimen and three national parks - a must on any good Norway tour.
Wir beschreiben hier bewusst die längere und zugleich eindrucksvollere Variante 1, um euch einen Eindruck und damit eine Basis für die eigene Entscheidung zu geben: Von Utvik am Nordfjord folgt man der RV 60 über einige Serpentinen hinauf in die Berge. Dort gibt es übrigens einen schönen preiswerten kommunalen Wohnmobil-Stellplatz, wo man gegen eine Gebühr von 60 NOK (ohne Strom) oder 150 NOK (mit Strom) neben der RV 60 übernachten kann. (Koordinaten: 61.765992, 6.503884 )