National Scenic Routes in Norway

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Look no further for Norway road trip inspiration. These 18 roads offer simply the best scenic drives in the country, with some added extras.

Norway's 18 National Scenic Routes are specially selected roads that take you through the best scenery Norway has to offer.

Atlantic Road national scenic route in Norway.
The Atlantic Road is one of Norway's best known national scenic routes.

Funding from government has enabled improved conditions and facilities along the roads. From passing places to viewpoints and restrooms, the program of improvements will continue through to 2023.

Rest stops and picnic areas are now combined with modern architectural features to make them tourist attractions in themselves.

Planning your trip

Before we get started sharing the 18 routes, there are some things to bear in mind. Firstly, because of their high elevation and poor weather, some of the National Tourist Routes are closed during winter.

Secondly, when factoring how long you’ll need, consider more than the distance. You must factor in plenty of time for rest stops and sightseeing. You’ll be pulling over far more often than you think!

Fjord Region

Aurlandsfjellet: Known as the snow road due to the steep snow that lines both sides of the road for much of the year, Aurlandsfjellet is one of my favourites on the list. Although, you’ll find me saying that a lot!

Stegastein viewpoint
Stegastein viewpoint on the Snow Road (Photo: Roger Ellingsen / Statens vegvesen)

What makes this drive special is the sudden contrast between the mountains, pine forests and the fjord.

Although the road is closed over winter, the modern Stegastein viewpoint (pictured above) is open all year round. This offers a spectacular view from 650 metres above the Aurlandsfjord.

Gaularfjellet: One of the lesser known routes, the Gaulerfjellet road skirts the epic Sognefjord before snaking its way up a mountain.

For the best views, the impressive architecture of the Utsikten viewpoint dangles over the edge of said mountain.

Utsikten viewpoint at Gaularfjellet
Utsikten viewpoint at Gaularfjellet (Photo: Jarle Wæhler / Statens vegvesen)

The wonderful village of Balestrand on the edge of the Sognefjord is the perfect place to start the trip. You’ll want to spend some time here as it’s the perfect place to relax and unwind.

For some of the route, you’ll follow a watercourse that changes from a calm river to wild rapids, with some spectacular waterfalls thrown in too. For the best experience, plan some time to park the car and explore the area on foot.

Geiranger-Trollstigen: The eleven hairpin bends of Trollstigen is one of Norway's most famous sights, yet this is just one end of the route. The scenic route continues all the way to the Geirangerfjord. This is Norwegian nature at its most dramatic.

Trollstigen photo
Looking down on Trollstigen

Highlights along the way include the Gudbrandsjuvet gorge and the award-winning Juvet Landscape Hotel.

Once you’ve arrived at Geiranger, it’s all about the views across the water. Ørnesvingen and Flydalsjuvet are two of the famous viewpoints. Unfortunately famous also means busy, so bring plenty of patience!

Hardanger: Drivers enjoy a romantic drive past the bright orchards that line the Hardangerfjord on this memorable road trip with many detour options.

Skjervsfossen waterfall on the Hardanger route
Skjervsfossen waterfall on the Hardanger route (Photo: Roger Ellingsen / Statens vegvesen)

Take in several of the country's most visually impressive waterfalls, buy fruit from local farmers at the Hesthamar rest area, then take a walk to the Stone Cross monument and beach.

Hardangervidda – The drive across northern Europe's largest mountain plateau is one you won't forget in a hurry. The captivating 67km route leads you through unspoilt mountain wilderness, dotted with glacial lakes.

The awesome Hardangervidda
Hardangervidda (Photo: Sigmund Krøvel-Velle / Statens vegvesen)

Summer brings a burst of alpine flora, while winter cloaks the plateau in a pristine white blanket, drawing cross-country skiers and snow enthusiasts. Weather on the plateau can change quickly and the road is kept open for most of the winter thanks to snowploughs and convoy driving.

The sensational waterfall Vøringsfossen in the steep scenic Måbødalen valley, and the nearby fjordside village of Eidfjord are other highlights.

Jæren: The coastal landscape of Jæren, Norway's agricultural heartland, is the main attraction of this drive between Ogna and Bore. The route showcases the unique juxtaposition of rugged nature and cultural landmarks, from ancient stone monuments to modern lighthouses.

Orrestranda beach in Jæren
Orrestranda beach in Jæren (Photo: Helge Stikbakke / Statens vegvesen)

Along this drive, travellers are immersed in the raw beauty of Norwegian nature, experiencing the harmony of history and landscape that Jæren embodies so well. The long sandy beaches are perfect for picnics, slow walks or just pure relaxation.

Gamle Strynefjellsvegen: Built in the latter part of the 19th century, the old road from Skjåk to Stryn features old stone masonry and long rows of guard stones. The historic stretch of road has been replaced by a series of tunnels on route 15 that travels from east to west around the northern edge of Jostedalsbreen National Park.

Gamle Strynefjellsvegen
Gamle Strynefjellsvegen (Photo: Trine Kanter Zerwekh / Statens vegvesen)

If you're in a rush, that's the route you'll take. But if not, this scenic detour is well worth your time. Hiking trails and mountain lakes beckon, while the drive down to the picture-postcard lakeside village Hjelle draws drivers and cyclists.

A high point of the drive is the Videfossen waterfall, which people have been visiting for as long as the road has been open.

Ryfylke: A diverse, beautiful landscape of high mountains, forested hillsides and deep fjords. At the southern end of the road is the Lysefjord, which is home to the world-famous natural attractions Preikestolen and the Kjerag boulder.

Svandalsfossen waterfall in Ryfylke
Svandalsfossen waterfall in Ryfylke (Photo: Fredrik Fløgstad / Statens vegvesen)

Sognefjellet: Rising to 1,434 metres in the Jotunheimen mountain range, Sognefjellet is northern Europe’s highest mountain pass. A vital connection between the west coast and inland areas, the road facilitated the transport of salt and fish eastwards, with butter, pitch and leather going west.

Sognefjellet in the spring
Sognefjellet in the spring (Photo: Jarle Wæhler / Statens vegvesen)

Snow keeps the snow closed during the winter, but when it reopens in the spring you can drive along the road with banks of snow up to ten metres either side.

The Atlantic Road: The Atlantic Road, renowned worldwide, is an engineering masterpiece in Norway that elegantly connects the island of Averøy to the mainland, weaving across eight bridges over various islets and skerries.

Much more than just a road, its design offers stunning ocean views, dramatic weather contrasts, and mesmerising sunsets.

The Atlantic Road

Beyond the drive, the area attracts anglers with its rich marine environment and birdwatchers keen on spotting the region's diverse avian life. The Atlantic Road is both a functional infrastructure and a captivating experience.

Central Norway

Rondane: The towering mountains along the eastern edge of Rondane National Park are hard to ignore. This route is a great choice for a detour when travelling between Oslo and Trondheim.

Driving through Rondane National Park
Rondane National Park (Photo: Helge Stikbakke / Statens vegvesen)

For the best vantage point, visit the Sohlbergplassen viewing platform at Atnsjøen. The architect wanted to recreate the atmosphere from the 1914 painting “Winter's Night in Rondane” and did a fantastic job. It's a great spot for a selfie.

Valdresflye: Nestled in the heart of Norway, the exceptional Valdresflye scenic route unveils a realm where the majesty of the mountains meets the vastness of the sky. Stretching across a breathtaking expanse, it showcases an open mountain landscape that stands both timeless and untamed.

As you ascend its gentle curves and descend into its valleys, you're met with panoramic vistas that change with every twist and turn. On clear days, the blue of the sky contrasts sharply with the rugged terrain, while mists and clouds occasionally swirl around the peaks, creating a mystical ambiance.

Valdres at more than 1,300 metres above sea level (Photo: Jarle Wæhler / Statens vegvesen)

However, this magnificent journey has its constraints. The harsh Norwegian winter envelops the landscape, making the route impassable for several months. But this seasonal closure only enhances its allure, as the pristine snow-covered expanses await those patient enough to witness it come spring.

Northern Norway

Helgelandskysten – At 433km and featuring six ferries, the Helgeland coastal road is the longest of the 18 Norwegian Scenic Routes. Unlike many of the routes the terrain is flat and therefore perfect for cycle trips.

Åselidalen on the Helgeland coast
Åselidalen on the Helgeland coast (Photo: Steinar Skaar / Statens vegvesen)

Crossing the Arctic Circle is a highlight for many, while the stone-vault bridge and sandy brach at the Storvika bay rest area is a picturesque spot and ideal for camper vans.

Lofoten: An enchanting blend of untamed nature and cultural heritage, the Lofoten archipelago stands out as a jewel in Norway's crown. The E10 highway, which stretches from Svolvær to Å, isn’t just a road—it's a journey through some of the country's most awe-inspiring landscapes.

This designated scenic route holds a special place among Norway's many scenic drives, and for many, it’s the pinnacle of road-tripping in the nation.

Driving through Lofoten
The Lofoten islands

As you trundle around the twists and turns in the road, the Lofoten islands unfurl a visual feast of soaring mountains that plunge into the azure sea, quaint fishing villages that narrate tales of ancient maritime traditions, and pristine beaches.

Allow three times as long as you think you'll need because around every corner is another mountain, fishing village or beach just begging to be photographed.

Andøya: The island of Andøya at the northern end of the Vesterålen archipelago offers a pleasant alternative to the busier Lofoten islands.

Bleik beach on Andøya
Bleik beach on Andøya

This scenic route hugs the western coastline and leads to the long sandy beach at Bleik. There's also views out to Bleiksøya island, which is home to thousands of puffins and a colony of sea eagles.

Senja: Between Lofoten/Vesterålen and Tromsø, the island of Senja is known for its steep mountains that plunge deep into the ocean.

Tungeneset viewpoint on Senja
Tungeneset viewpoint on Senja (Photo: Jarle Wæhler / Statens vegvesen)

Husøy island in the Øyfjord is home to a few hundred permanent inhabitants and an active fishing community. Visit the Bergsbotn viewpoint for the route's best view of the Bergsfjord and surrounding mountains.

Havøysund: If you're heading to the North Cape, consider a detour out to Havøysund. The lack of trees gives you a feeling of driving along a mountain plateau yet the road hugs the rugged coastline of the Arctic coastline.

Lillefjord on Havøysund in Norway
Lillefjord on Havøysund (Photo: Werner Harstad / Statens vegvesen)

Known for its deep sea fishing and a stop on the Hurtigruten coastal route, the surprisingly active village of Havøysund marks the end of the route.

Varanger: Very few international tourists make it as far as Varanger, situated in remote Northern Norway, close to the border with Russia.

Rich in Sami heritage, the area offers glimpses into indigenous culture, while also being a haven for birdwatchers due to the number of rare and unique species found here.

Birdwatching hide at Vadsø in Varanger
Birdwatching hide at Vadsø in Varanger (Photo: Fredrik Fløgstad / Statens vegvesen)

Varanger is also home to reindeer (often on the road itself!) and a landscape of birch woods, marshland and rugged cliffs. Along the route, remnants of fishing settlements and Sami siida (camps) tell tales of survival and adaptation in this harsh environment.

Whether you're planning a Norwegian road trip or just dreaming of travel, I hope you enjoyed this look at Norway's 18 National Tourist Routes. If you use Pinterest, here's an image especially optimised for you. Enjoy!

Did this post inspire you to plan a road trip to Norway? If so, why not share your plans on Facebook or Pinterest? There's a pin for that. Just hit those social sharing buttons.

About David Nikel

Originally from the UK, David now lives in Trondheim and was the original founder of Life in Norway back in 2011. He now works as a professional writer on all things Scandinavia.

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9 thoughts on “National Scenic Routes in Norway”

  1. Dear David,
    I am planning a road trip from mid Sept 2018 and time is not restricted but budget is.
    I want to hopefully get as far north as Kersenes Russian border area and wanted to follow as many Scenic Roads as possible.
    Intend driving my own 4×4 through the Channel Tunnel and up over the Oresten Bridge and onwards up Norway into the Arctic Circle and up north via e.g. The Atlantic Rd and back again down southwards by varying routes.
    I would welcome your itinerary suggestions bearing in mind we are 69 year old couple reasonably fit and well.
    We are easy with accommodation as long as its clean, comfortable and somewhere to eat at night.

    I’ve driven globally but never in Norway so is it easy to get diesel even up in the remote North? My car has a range of c.400 UK miles.

    Any advice welcome.

    • Hi, yes diesel is available but there are long distances between petrol stations so bear that in mind. Also, driving from Oslo to Kirkenes is an extremely long way and will be very expensive on fuel, so if budget is a concern you may want to stick to the area between Oslo, Bergen and Trondheim. Anyone driving from Oslo to Kirkenes would usually drive through Sweden/Finland as it is much more direct. The plus point is with a car you can stay fairly cheaply on campsites in basic cabins for 500-800kr per night, in most parts of the country. Have a fun trip!

  2. Hello David,

    I am from Brazil and I am planning a road trip in March (March/01 to March/09) from Oslo to Bergen passing by Geilo (where I am planning to stay 3 days).
    I drove sometimes in snow (Canada and Germany) but I do not have much experience.
    Do you recommend a 4×4 vehicle for this trip? How will be the condition of the road until March/10? Is there much snow at this time? This trip is famous by train. Do you think by car is a good option to see beautiful landscapes, although this is not a touristic road trip?
    Thank you very much!

    • U can try renting a campervan. U can stop and rest anywhere u like. I went there in 2018 June renting a campervan from Stockholm. Most of the time I was in Norway

  3. Hello David, I am planning for a road trip (Oslo -> Flåm->Bergen->Stavenger->Oslo) in July.

    Looking for a suggestion to stay in a place (overnight ) between :-
    i. (Oslo and Flåm)
    ii. and while returning (Stavenger->Oslo).

    Any other suggestions to plan the trip in a better way?

    • When driving in Norway we have looked out for signs for Hytte (cabin) and/or Rom (room) for self-catering. We have stayed in some amazing places in that way. However July is peak season, so available places may be more difficult to chance upon. It’s also useful to have the NAF (Norwegian Automobile Association) camping guide, which lists a national network of sites, telling you which have cabins (grade, price, how many). We’ve picked that up free at the first tourist office we happen upon, but you can order it in advance from their website. You can also get information online about campsites with cabins at https://www.nafcamp.com/en/campingplasser/ (NB – for many cabins you need your own basic bed linen etc).

  4. Hi.
    We’ve a plan to go to Nordkapp by motorbike ij July. Any warning, information, danger, trick, instruction and suggestion for better and safe ride, please?
    Thank you

  5. 7 years ago my husband and I got stranded at Oslo airport, big snow storm came in after “season”. Airport shut down before our final flight-the weekend before Easter holiday started. No flights, trains or ferries for 4 days so we opted to drive where my family lives – Fauske (Nordland). It was an amazing & long drive – but something we probably wouldn’t had done otherwise.

  6. Hello, I am planning to come to Norway from 7 April to 13 May 2024 = 5 weeks. My plan is to fly to Oslo, Alesund, Kristiansund, Trondheim, Svalvaer then last again to Oslo. Shall I fly to every place or drive ? Thank you, Marco.


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