The fascination of Western Norway - 39 highlights and tips on the west coast of Norway

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In the second part of our series of articles with many highlights, hotspots and information for your perfect tour around Norway we take you to the Norwegian West Coast ....

Recommendations for the (fairly) perfect round trip to / from Norway - Part 2 / West Coast

ALL PARTS OF OUR ROW: THE VERY PERFECT ROUND TRIP

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 that are suitable as destinations for day trips in the same way as a milestone for round trips.

We are mostly traveling with our van in Norway

The stages of the tour

In the first part of this series of contributions we presented some routes and highlights between Oslo and Stavanger. We have assumed that you arrive in the south of Norway by ferry, or from Sweden by car. The following recommendations follow, and so you can continue to follow the tour from Stavanger.

But there are also other options that we would like to introduce below:

  1. Variation: You save the tour through the south 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 you could go back with the same ferry connection.
  2. Variant: You use the ferry as in variant 1, drive up the coast in a northerly direction and from Kristianssund on Oppdal, the Dovrefjell and then continue via Lillehammer or directly directly the E 136 back to Oslo. From there you take one of the ferries from Stenaline or Colorline. Our tip: Continue 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 route to Kiel.
  3. 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.
State-of-the-art Color Line ferry - which shuttles from Hirtshals (DK) to Larvik (NO)

Recommendations for getting started

Before we go into the attractions and hotspots on the west coast of Norway, we would like to recommend in advance again our contributions, in which we have many valuable and important information on 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 30 Norway trips. The respective contributions can be found via these links:

Let's go - along the Norwegian west coast

Well, now we are slowly on the way ... We divided our contributions 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.

After we arrived in the first part just in Stavanger , our tour starts today in this western Norwegian city. So we continue our tour in a clockwise direction. In any case, we recommend that you allow some time for the discoveries in this great city. What is there to see and to experience there, we have described in detail in this article:

Click here for 14 more powerful tips and ideas on what you can do and enjoy in Stavanger
The skyline of Stavanger in the evening light

Stage 1: From Stavanger to Avaldsnes / Karmøy Island

Driving time without stay: 2 hours 11 minutes | Distance: 94.3 km | Route: via European route E 39, some tunnels and a ferry connection (Mortavika-Arsvågen) | Fees for the route including ferry and toll by car or car under 3.5 tons: 130 NOK (about 14 euros)

The region north of Stavanger is characterized by hundreds of islands, skerries and spars. These are like countless colorful splashes of color in the crystal clear waters of the North Sea. White wooden houses, lush green meadows, many small boats on the sea and hidden sandy beaches give this environment a distinctive maritime flair.

You can see and feel in many ways that the Gulf Stream is shaping the climate here: the weather often changes from village to village and from minute to minute. So if it's worse, it often helps to move on or just wait. Compensated for by a rich plant and flower world as well as dramatic weather and lighting moods that make the photographer's heart beat faster.

If you are traveling with children and / or just have the time, we recommend a trip to Karmøy, which lies west of the track. You should plan at least one day for that. We will show you the most important highlights of the island on the next stage. If you are looking for more information and pictures from the region, you will find it in this separate article by us:

Click here for more details, many pictures and information about the region and the island of Karmøy
Idyllic and sublime stands the lighthouse Tungenes Fyr on the Norwegian coast near Stavanger

Coordinates: 59.035455, 5.581995

It is hard to believe that just a little way northwest of Stavanger you will find such an original, peaceful and peaceful environment, as here on the peninsula / headland of Randaberg.

Here you can take some walks on the rocky coast around the lighthouse, sunbathe, watch the ships on their way to and from Stavanger, or visit the small café and museum in the old lighthouse keeper's house. Likewise, the remains of some bunkers and fortifications from the time of World War II can be discovered.

Since most readers do not necessarily always have their golf equipment with them, we just mention for the sake of completeness that there is a large golf course near the lighthouse .... 🙂

Utstein monastery - an impressive piece of the past

Coordinates parking: 59.102245, 5.593925

We leave the Stavanger / Randaberg region through the Byfjord Tunnel, the longest and deepest underwater tunnel in the world. Through the 223 meter deep sea tunnel (5875 meters long) we get to the island of Sokn and via a subsequent bridge to the island Mosterøy. There we leave the European route E 39 and drive to the monastery Utstein.

In the chapel of the monastery Utstein - a touch of the past

The monastery, first mentioned in 1286, offered protection to 20-30 monks and has a varied history. More about this can be found during his visit to the well-preserved monastery complex. The monastery walls seem to tell a lot about the times of bloody wars, rich kings and medieval traditions. We had the impression to be on a time travel and did not regret this trip in any way.

The white beaches on the turquoise blue sea are reminiscent of the Caribbean

Coordinates of the parking on the beaches: 59.253111, 5.189499

Through the next underwater tunnel, the Mastrafjord Tunnel (4.4 kilometers long and 133 meters deep under the sea) we reach after a short time the island Rennesøy. The road leads across the island and directly to the ferry from Mortavika to Arsvågen. From here it is not far to the island of Karmøy, the next destination on our tour. We just follow the road 47, up to the island Karmøy and afterwards, until we come to Åkrehamn. If you have less time, of course, you can omit the island of Karmøy and continue straight towards Haugesund or Bergen.

On the island of Karmøy on the road at Åkrehamn are the beautiful white beaches of the place with the turquoise blue clear water. Pure Caribbean !! Incidentally, the beaches are Åkrasanden and are also a good starting point for easy hikes all year long. A family-friendly nature and culture adventure path connects the beach area with, among others, Stavasanden and Hop (at Ferkingstad, 2-3 kilometers further south). But of course you can just swim or just relax on the beach.

Skudeneshavn invites you to linger with its many old wooden houses.

Coordinates of the village: 59.149087, 5.258350

Skudeneshavn is an old fishing village like a picture book. In the area there are also incredibly beautiful beaches, such as those in the bay of Lahammer. But even more beautiful and interesting at the same time is a visit to the old village of the picturesque fishing village. As a sailing ship harbor, the town in the south of the island became very important in the 19th century. From this time there are still nearly 130 wooden and warehouse houses to admire, which still characterize this backdrop today.

In one or the other lane, between the whitewashed wooden houses, one often feels transported to another time. Countless quaint inns and, among other things, the allegedly smallest café in the world invite you to visit. So we spend a few hours here before our small island tour continues on the east coast of the island.

But the road 511 we drive back on the eastern side of the island back to the north, until we return to the road 47 in Kopervik. We also follow this in a northerly direction to Avaldsnes.

A monument of the Kingdom of Norway - the Sankt Olavs church

Coordinates for the parking at the church: 59.355259, 5.290815

The legend tells that Norwegian King Olav Tryggvason had a church built as a court chapel in Avaldsnes. On its place today stands the Church of St. Olav, which was built in 1250 by Håkon Håkonsson. The early Romanesque church is today the largest stone church of the Middle Ages.

Accordingly, here is the cradle of Norway and who is interested, finds in the nearby "Nordvegen Historiesenter" much information on the history of the country. Also within walking distance from here is the next attraction in the region:

The old wooden houses are lovingly modeled on the originals from the Viking Age

The Viking farm is located on the small island Bukkøy in an incredibly beautiful environment. The area is only about 10 minutes walk from the Olavskirche. During the guided tours (high season June - August) you will learn a lot about the clothes, the traditions, the craft and the everyday life of the Vikings.

In one of the old wooden houses in Avaldsnes

There are also several faithfully reconstructed buildings, including pit and round houses from pre-Christian times. All houses are replicas from the time of the Vikings. In summer there are many events, a Viking market and a festival. A visit is for the whole family a great experience and we were in any case very enthusiastic.

After an eventful day you can drive to Haugesund for a while to spend the night in a bungalow or in your tent / motorhome on the really fantastic Haraldshaugen Camping (Link) .


Stage 2: From Avaldsnes (Karmøy Island) to Sotra Island

Travel time without stay: 5 hours | Distance: 281 km | Route: on the European route E39 and various branch lines / Stichfahrten to the goals on the coast / a ferry connection Jektevik-Hodnanes | Fees for the route including ferry and toll by car or car under 3.5 tons: 110 NOK (about 12 euros)

At this stage, we consciously take a break to pick out some recommended places and highlights at the mouth of the Hardangerfjord, to take some walks in this grandiose culture and to see even more of this coastal landscape. Alternatively, you can drive directly to the north on the "fastest" way to Bergen.

We will write a separate article about the highlights and hotspots of Bergen in the near future. Regardless you will find a lot of recommendations and information on this German-> . Our tips below show you some lesser-known highlights on the offshore islands of the old Hanseatic city for this tour.

Coordinates from the parking lot, the starting point of the hike: 59.348976, 5.800000

If you are in this region, you should plan this memorable hike as a day trip and ideally go to sunset for the about two-hour, family-friendly tour. We left the campsite in Haugesund there, but in other ways, this trip can be well planned into the journey.

The view from the target, the rock "Little Troll Tongue" (Himakana) is breathtaking. All details and important information about this tour have been published in this separate article with a hike description:

Click here for more information and details on the hike to the "Little Troll Tongue"
The heavenly Holsete at Strandebarm Hardangerfjord

Coordinates from the place Strandebarm: 60.270520, 6.014443

The detour into the open to the sea side of the popular Hardangerfjordes offers itself, if you either have a lot of time or anyway not so far to go north. Alone here there is a good week for the whole family to see, to experience and to walk. Since this would go beyond the scope of this post, we have these details, information, and really real insider tips (our friends have a cabin there) in this review:

Click here for more information, attractions, walks, insider tips and details in the Strandebarm am Hardangerfjord region
View from the city hill Fløyen to the city of Bergen

Bergen is a wonderful city. Venerable, the houses of the old Hanseatic city since 1070 framed by seven mountain peaks on the sea. Depending on what you want to see everything, you should plan for the city two - three days. In any case, a hike or a ride on the Stadtberg Fløyen is part of the program, as the 399 meter high viewing platform offers a great view over the city. Up there you can also do some walks, let the children play in the large playground and drink a delicious coffee in the mountain restaurant.

Among the many other highlights and opportunities in the city will soon be a separate article with the TOP 20. But now we take you out with it - in front of the city gates. Often it is overlooked how beautiful, idyllic and quiet it is in the island world before Bergen. On to Sotra.

At sunset on the Kleppaksla on the island of Sotra - fantastic

Coordinates from the starting point of the hike: 60.191242, 5.135672

If you are in the area and the weather is promising, then this tour to the summit of Kleppaksla is a great experience for the whole family. Completely relaxed you overcome the approximately 150 vertical meters on the almost 1.8 kilometers long route, before you can enjoy from the "summit" a fantastic view over the whole island world before Bergen.

Please note that at the starting point of the tour there is no classic car park as in Germany and you have to see that you park the car on the side of the road without hindering the inhabitants.

The old fishing village Glesvær with its colorful wooden houses

Coordinates of parking at the cafe: 60.203321, 5.040570

A walk in the morning or in the evening on the Kleppaksla - as described in the last point - can be perfectly combined with a trip to the old fishing village Glesvær. The place with its many colorful wooden houses from bygone days is worth a visit alone. But a small shop with original souvenirs, handicrafts and a café attracts visitors to the coast.

If you also want to join in fishing trips or try your hand at stand-up paddling (SUP), you'll get your money's worth here.

Fjell Festning - an impressive facility (here the café in the picture)

Coordinates from the parking lot: 60.325580, 5.0846465

There are many remains of the Atlantikwall from the Second World War along the west coast. However, none of these dumb eyewitnesses have the dimension and the awesome size, like the Fjell Festning on Sotra. You can spend a lot of time here, discover exciting historical things with children and then have a bite to eat in the café, which was built on a cannon tower.

There is still a lot to see and discover on the island of Sotra. We wanted to introduce you to these three attractions before the tour continues. On the island of Sotra, there is also a great hotel right on the sea - perfect for relaxing, enjoying and for boat and fishing trips in the archipelago. Click here for the homepage of the really well managed Panorama Hotel and Resort (link) - maybe an option for you. Or you use one of the numerous campsites in the region.

The lighthouse Hellisoy Fyr on the southern tip of the island Fedje

Relatively new in the offer and therefore not so well known is this unforgettable boat trip to the island Fedje - far off the coast of Bergen. In the season from the beginning of June to the end of August, the speedboat departs every day at 10.00 in the port of Bergen, to take you on a direct route through the stunning island landscape on the island. There you arrive at 12.00 clock and can walk on the 7.2 square kilometer and completely declared the nature reserve island until 16.00 clock and relax in the fresh sea air. Then the boat goes back to Bergen, where you arrive at 18.00 clock again. The island is a well-known bird sanctuary and has a unique moorland landscape.

On the island, with its small cafes and only 600 inhabitants, one has the feeling to have traveled to another world and time. Here, the colors seem to shine a little more, the people a little happier and anyway everything somehow quiet and peaceful. A wonderful tour that we do not want to miss. All prices and further information can be found here on the website of the shipping company (Link).


Stage 3: From the island of Sotra (Bergen) to Bremanger and the island of Vågsøy

Driving time without stay: 5 hours 44 minutes | Distance: 312 km | Route: via the European route E39 and various secondary roads to the specified destinations / two ferry connections: E39 at Lavik over the Sognefjord and from Bremanger to Vågsøy (Oldeide-Måløy) | Fees / toll: about NOK 110 (12 euros) and for ferries about 20 euros for a car / vehicle under 3.5 tons
The path is the destination here and leads us through incredible landscapes

At this stage, we first cover relatively many kilometers and follow the E39 north until we come to the island landscape on the Nordfjord. The mountains are already much rugged, higher and steeper. The landscape does not need to hide behind the popular Lofoten in its beauty and grandeur and therefore offers the visitor unforgettable impressions.

Instead of following the route to Bremanger, depending on its possibilities and wishes, you can only drive to the Sognefjord. There you can spend a few more days and experience a lot, before going back to the south / to Germany. This gives you a good alternative for a shorter, more exciting tour. Everyone else will discover the highlights on the inner Sognefjord on the return journey of our large round trip through Norway. Therefore, it is now right up to Bremangerlandet.

Click here for more information, 24 Attractions, Hikes Insider Tips on the Sognefjord

Until we reach the region around Bremanger - our next destination - we follow beautiful and impressive stretches of the European road but also smaller roads and paths, which offer always new views and new landscapes behind every curve. Here, the route is the destination and you should take your time, more often plan a break and just enjoy the route over the mountains and fjord. That's just a real road trip - and we'll do it now:

The picture-perfect beach Grotlesanden in Bremanger

Coordinates from the parking at the beach: 61.841679, 4.897091

For us one of the most beautiful beaches in Norway: Grotlesanden. White sand, clear water and raised above the summit of the mountain Veten. Here you can spend a wonderful summer day, fishing from the rocks on the shore and go on some hikes. Not far from here is a small Joker supermarket and there also the official parking space "Bremanger Bobilhavn" with showers, toilets, washing machines and disposal possibilities. The 15.- Euro for the night (at the time of our stay) we paid directly in the supermarket at the cash register.

View from the tour on the Veten back to the beach Grotlesanden

Somehow, according to our impression here on every island there is a mountain called Veten ... We recommend you the tour on the Veten in Bremangerlandet (Bremanger Kommune). The tour starts directly from the parking lot on the beach Grotlesanden (see previous point). First you have to climb some steep hills along the mountain slope. Then follow the well-marked path across a wide plateau to the last gentle climb on the 527 meter high Veten, which of course offers spectacular views over the coastal landscape in the west of Norway.

If you are good on foot and / or like to hike, you can follow other inviting paths up here, which, for example, also take you on a long tour to Vetvika Bay with a beach that can only be reached from the sea. By the end of the 18th century, probably about 40 people - almost cut off from the outside world - lived there. A really iconic tour that is still on our ToDo list 🙂

The romantic village Kalvåg in the municipality Bremanger

Kalvåg is located far out on the islands of the municipality of Bremanger and is still easily accessible by car without a ferry. Many old boathouses and the historic center invite you to visit. If it fits into the holiday budget, you should treat yourself to a delicious dinner in the quaint restaurant on the harbor, where there are often delicious freshly caught fish.

But you can also pick up a snack at the supermarket next door and just improvise a picnic by the water. Furthermore, you will find in the village - right on the harbor - a small shop with local products, such as herbs, honey and jams. A campsite also offers a variety of accommodation in Kalvåg, as does the popular hotel.

Finally at the finish: An incredible panorama from the summit of the Hornelen

Approximate coordinates ( +/- 50 meters deviation) from the parking lot at the starting point of the tour: 61.832956, 5.139905

The tour up the high cliff Hornelen is undoubtedly one of the highlights when traveling in the region. We found the view from the summit of the steep rock, which at the same time is the highest high cliff in Europe with its 860 meters, even more spectacular than from Preikestolen. However, the hike is really challenging and not to be underestimated.

There are two tours to the destination, where we decided for the "lighter" from Berleneset (see our coordinates above). The track is not particularly difficult and well marked. But she pulls herself down extremely and requires a suitable condition. You will be on the road all day, twice crossing the height difference of 860 meters (sea level - summit - sea level) over a length of 15.6 kilometers.

Gigantisch the hornelen rises above the sea

You will be rewarded at the summit with an unforgettable view and the popular peak with the Norwegian flag, which has been in the small refuge Olavsbu on the summit for many years ...

View from the Veten towards the mainland and the town of Måløy

Coordinates of the parking lot at the starting point of the hike: 61.934146, 5.102319

This hike is very popular with the locals and was recommended to us on site. The tour is not particularly demanding, much easier to walk than many other summit tours on the coast and thus suitable for families with a bit of a hike. One parks at the sports stadium of the place (see coordinates) and rises on a length of 4 kilometers in about one hour from 180 meters height up to the summit on 613 meters height.

Here, too, you will be rewarded with a magnificent panorama on the west coast and over the hundreds of islands off the coast. A view that you will never forget.

The Kannesteinen - shaped for millennia by the sea

Coordinates from the car park at Stein: 61.970411, 5.069145

The Kannesteinen probably belongs to the most photographed rock formations in Norway. No wonder! It is rare to see so impressively the power of the everlasting surf of the sea. For millennia, the sea has shaped this sculpture of nature.

Tip: Be sure to bring photo equipment with you and ideally photograph in the late afternoon / early evening in the low sun. Sometimes locals also bring along a ladder for the hip pictures with people on this stone. If you ask nicely, you have the opportunity to take a rare selfie or portrait ...

Sunset after a thunderstorm at the lighthouse Kråkenes Fyr

Coordinates from the parking area below the lighthouse: 62.034330, 4.993414

The lighthouse Kråkenes Fyr on the western cape of the island Vågsøy is actually a light house with a beacon. Since 1906, it has been defying the sometimes gigantic waves and storms. We love this peaceful place on the cliffs by the sea and the beautiful photo opportunity with this white house. In addition, you can marvel at incredible sunsets and, of course, also take pictures ... The excursion here can be combined well with the Kannesteinen and a tour on the Veten. So you have an eventful day with three unforgettable highlights and a beautiful end of the day here at the sea.

Tip: If you are looking for a fancy overnight stay, you can book a room here in the house or even - for special occasions - the bridal suite. Then you spend the night almost alone over the sea .... You can learn more about this link via this link.

View of the village Refviksanden with its great beaches

Coordinates of the parking space and parking on the beach of Refviksanden: 62.001174, 5.085907