We never could have imagined how much we would fall in love with Norway. Is it expensive, yes, but it is also totally worth it! The best way to explore Norway is hands-down road tripping the country. This will give you the flexibility to see all the little hidden gems in Norway. In this post I will show you the perfect Norway road trip itinerary in 10 days.
I’m going to show you the perfect 10-day road trip route in Norway!
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- The Best Time to Visit Norway
- How Many Days are Enough to Visit Norway?
- Airports in Norway
- Tips for Driving in Norway
- Norway Road Trip Itinerary in 10 Days Overview
- Day 1 – Fly into Oslo
- Day 2- Oslo > Mydral > Flåm
- Day 3 – Flåm > Gudvangen> Voss > Bergen
- Day 4 – Fly to Lofoten Islands
- Day 5 – 7 Enjoy the Lofoten Islands
- Day 8 – Drive From Leknes to Odda
- Day 9 – Trolltunga Hike
- Day 10 – Drive to Oslo and Explore Oslo
- If You Have More Time in Norway…
The Best Time to Visit Norway
The best time to visit Norway depends on what you want to do in Norway. The activities you do in the summer in Norway are going to look drastically different than what you do in the winter.
We visited in early August and knowing we weren’t going to see the Northern lights, I think it was the perfect time to visit Norway for your first time! While the Northern Lights are still on my bucket list, I am glad we go to see all the nature and beauty this country has to offer.
The Best Time to Visit Norway to see the Northern Lights
The best time to see the northern lights (Aurora Borealis) in Norway is from October through March when there are more hours of darkness in the polar night.
If you want to experience Norway in its finest frozen goodness, visit during winter months for the best chances to see the northern lights and near darkness all day.
The Best Time to Visit Norway to see the Midnight Sun
The midnight sun is a natural phenomenon that occurs near the Antarctic and Arctic Circles (close to Northern Norway) where it feels like the sun never sets. This is do the the tilt of the earth’s axis in relation to the sun.
If you want to experience the peak of the Midnight Sun, you will want to visit during June or July when you are guaranteed almost 24 hours of sunlight in the northern cities.
On the Northern Norway island of Svalbard, the sun doesn’t even set between 20 April and 22 August.
The Best Time to Visit Norway to see Avoid the Crowds
If you want less tourists AND good weather, try the shoulder seasons of April – May or August – September. In April and May you will still have some opportunities to see the Northern Lights. In August and September, you will still be able to get a feel for the midnight sun effect, but with way less crowds!
How Many Days are Enough to Visit Norway?
My honest opinion is that you need at least 10 days to 2 weeks in Norway.
From Oslo, to Bergen, to the North, to the islands, there is truly so much to see. You will also want to allow yourself enough time to travel in between these cities and have enough time to explore while you are there. Norway is just not the best weekend trip destination.
It is immensely easier to tack on the Lofoten Islands, or the Trolltunga Hike, when you are already visiting Oslo or Bergen, rather than trying to come back and doing them again.
10 days was just enough time for us, including a side trip to the Lofoten Islands. If you want to take your trip at a slower pace, I highly recommend a full 2 weeks in Norway.
Airports in Norway
Alright, I know this is a road trip blog through Norway, but if you want to also include the Lofoten Islands in your itinerary, I highly recommend getting there via a plane. Otherwise it will take you way longer, and you don’t want to waste your precious time in Norway.
Oslo Airport (OSL) is probably the airport that you will fly in and out of for your time in Norway.
If you want to get to the North of Norway or the Lofoten Islands, you can catch a flight from the Bergen Airport (BGO) to either Bodø Airport (BDO) or Tromsø Airport (TOS). Many people make Tromsø a destination in of its own in the winter to see the Northern lights. From either Tromsø or Bodø you can catch a connecting seaplane to the Leknes Airport.
The flight into and out of the Leknes airport is a once in a lifetime experience. Trust me when I say you will want a window-seat for this flight!
The flight is very short, but you will be rewarded with the most magical views over the fjords.
The Leknes Airport (LKN) is the only airport located on the Lofoten Islands. From here you will need to rent a car in order to explore the Islands, as the public transportation system is not extensive.
Tips for Driving in Norway
Driving in Norway is not difficult at all, but there are a few rules and precautions that you should be aware of ahead of time.
Here are my top 6 tips on driving in the Norway:
- You will drive on the right side of the road, easy enough right?
- Don’t drink and drive, the tolerance in Norway is 0.
- You must always carry a safety vest and warning triangle in your car – it’s compulsory. Just check that these are in your rental car before driving off.
- If you are driving during the winter, you must have winter tires on. Again your rental car should come equipped with these, but double check.
- On roads without the “Yellow Diamond” sign, all traffic from your right hand side has the right of way. This is a strange concept to Americans (and even some Europeans), so be aware.
- Be on the lookout for animals, we saw sheep many times using the roadways!
Norway Road Trip Itinerary in 10 Days Overview
- Day 1: Oslo
- Day 2: Flam
- Day 3: Bergen
- Day 4: Fly to Lofoten Islands
- Day 5: Lofoten Islands
- Day 6: Lofoten Islands
- Day 7: Lofoten Islands
- Day 8: Fly to Bergen, drive to Odda
- Day 9: Trolltunga Hike
- Day 10: Oslo
Now let’s get into the details of the perfect road trip in Norway itinerary. Below I laid out a suggested route for spending 10 days in Norway. However if you have more time and your schedule allows, I have also included below where I would have spent more time.
Day 1 – Fly into Oslo
Getting from the Oslo Airport to Downtown Oslo
The easiest, and most cost efficient airport to fly into for your 10-day itinerary is the capital city of Oslo.
When you arrive, the fastest way to downtown Oslo is by Flytoget, the airport shuttle train. The Flytoget takes you to the city center in 20 minutes and trains run from 5.35 am to 12.35 am every 10 minutes.
A one-way ticket costs NOK 160 or ($20 USD), but you can typically get a discount if you purchase a round trip ticket.
What to Do with One Day in Oslo
We flew into Oslo late on Friday night, and had an early morning train booked the next day. We planned to spend one-day exploring Oslo at the end of our trip before flying home.
However, if you prefer, you can easily spend time exploring Oslo on the front end of your trip. Here is what I would do with one-day in Oslo, Norway.
Brunch in Oslo
The brunch spots and cafes in Oslo are all so hygge (the Danish and Norwegian word for a quality of coziness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being) that you can’t go wrong with your pick for brunch.
Visit the Oslo Opera House
Located right on the harbor, you cannot miss the Oslo Opera House. Home to the Norwegian National Opera & Ballet, the Oslo Opera house is an architectural masterpiece.
My favorite part of the Opera house is that the architecture intentionally resembles an iceberg.
For a free activity in Oslo, you can access the rooftop of the Oslo Opera House for phenomenal views over the Oslofjord.
You can also book a guided tour to go backstage and see the set workshop or reserve a table at the cafe/restaurant for lunch or dinner.
Join a Walking Tour of Oslo
I always recommend joining a walking tour when you get to a new city on the first day to get your bearings of the city. Here are multiple companies offering free walking tours of Oslo, here are some of the best:
The concept of a free walking tour is that there is no set price for the tour. At the end it is highly encouraged that you tip the guide based on your experience.
There are also a handful of paid walking tours that you can do that are more specific:
If you want to get off your feet, you can also try an Oslo Bike Tour which will allow you to cover more ground.
The concept of SALT is a cultural gathering spot combining art, music, shopping, food trucks, architecture, and saunas. You will also know you have reached SALT when you see the tree construction inspired by traditional Norwegian fish racks called “fiskehjeller” (see right photo above).
SALT is located right by Oslo’s famous Opera House On the edge of the jetty facing the Opera, you can both swim in the fjord and use the saunas at SALT.
There are six different saunas at SALT with the capacity of up to 80 people. You can rent your own private sauna, or participate in Sauna Sessions in the larger saunas Árdna or Skroget.
To cool down, you have your choice between cold water pools, outdoor showers, or a dip in the Oslo Fjord. You can book the saunas in advance here.
Grab some Lunch and Drinks at Vippa
About a 10 minute walk from SALT, you will find Vippa, a hip food court located at the edge of the Oslo Fjord.
The purpose of Vippa has always been to create an ethical and multicultural environment for both the locals operating the food stands and visitors. On a sunny day, enjoy the patio seating outside and make sure to take a long lunch!
Visit Akershus Fortress
Right by the harbor you’ll find Akershus Fortress, a medieval castle built to protect and provide a royal residence for the city of Oslo.
Today the fortress houses museums, restaurants, and concerts. The Akershus Fortress is completely free to enter and is open all year round from 6am until 9pm.
Guided tours of the fortress are available to the public in summer, and start at the Fortress Visitor Centre.
Mingle like a Local at Aker Brygge
Keep walking along the water from the Akerhus Fortress and you will dead end into the Aker Brygge neighborhood. The area was built upon the former ship yard of Akers Mekaniske Verksted, which ceased operations in 1982.
Today Aker Brygge is best known as a melting pot where people meet up in Oslo. Here you can find a strip of restaurants along the boardwalk with outdoor tables for al fresco dining. A popular summer boat bar is docked nearby, and ferries depart year-round for the scenic Oslo Fjord.
Take a Boat Trip down Oslofjord for some Oslo Sightseeing & Dinner
Take to the water to explore Oslo and the Oslofjord from a different perspective. The dramatic waterways are a photographer’s dream and give the city its lifeblood.
Here are a couple highly rated boat tours that I recommend:
I know traveling can be unpredictable – so all experiences recommended can be cancelled 24-hours beforehand for a full refund:
If you Have More Time in Oslo You Might Consider…
If you have more than one days in Oslo, I would suggest getting out of the city center and exploring the neighborhoods around Oslo. Here are my top suggestions!
Island hop around Oslofjord
Starting at Aker Brygge, you can catch a ferry to the different islands around Oslofjord with a regular public transport ticket or an Oslo Pass.
The islands worth visiting are: Nakholmen, Bleikøya, Hovedøya, Lindøya, Gressholmen or Langøyene. Activities on the islands will include shopping, eating at local restaurants, and taking a dip in the water.
Bygdøy Peninsula & the Museums
On the west side of Oslo, you’ll find the Bygdøy Peninsula. Bygdøy is the most fashionable residential areas in Norway, where the most expensive properties in the entire country are found.
By isgdøy a 20-minute journey from Oslo’s central station via bus 30. You can also reach he Bygdøy Peninsula via the boat from Pier 3 by the City Hall.
Here you will find the Bygdøy Royal Estate which was the official summer residence of the King of Norway. A visit to Bygdøy Royal Manor can be combined with a hike in Kongeskogen the “royal forest”. Bygdøy Royal Manor also offers guided tours for all kinds of groups upon request.
In addition to enjoying the parks, nature, and beaches, the peninsula has five national museums:
- The Viking Ship Museum (currently closed until 2025 for renovations)
- the Fram Museum
- the Norwegian Folk Museum
- the Kon-Tiki Museum
- the Norwegian Maritime Museum
Grünerløkka is the exact opposite vibe from Bygdøy, and is known as Oslo’s hipster neighborhood. Here you will find small independent boutiques, vintage shopping, cafés, bars, graffiti, art, and music.
Damstredet & Telthusbakken
One of the most charming and picturesque parts of Oslo are the neighborhoods of Damstredet & Telthusbakken due to the well-preserved and wooden houses dating back to the late 1700s and the 1800s.
Damstredet is a cobbled street with wooden houses from the first half of the 19th century. The street runs between Akersveien and Fredensborgveien.
Telthusbakken is located between Maridalsveien and Akersveien, just below the medieval church Gamle Aker kirke. Along the gardens you can walk the romantic Kjærlighetsstien (“The Love Trail”).
Another neighborhood in Oslo worth checking out is Grønland. Make sure to explore here when you are hungry, because Grønland is home to the best Indian and Middle Eastern restaurants in all of Oslo.
Where to Stay in Oslo
For location right next to the Oslo central train station, book a room at Thon Hotel Opera. For a room with a view in the trendy Grünerløkka neighborhood, check out this apartment style room. If you are looking for a room on a budget, we can recommend the Comfort Karl Johan Hotel.
Day 2- Oslo > Mydral > Flåm
When planning our road trip through Norway we utilized Norway in a Nutshell to customize and coordinate different modes of transportation to get from Oslo to Bergen.
Norway in a Nutshell centralized the purchase of all the tickets for our trains, buses, and boats over the next 2 days. It does all the leg work of coordinating time tables between different modes of transportation and allows you to customize your road trip by electing to spend more time in certain cities.
You can definitely do it on your own and save some money, but it will take more time and research.
Morning Train from Oslo Central Station to Myrdal
In the morning we caught a 4.5-hour train from the Oslo Central Station to Myrdal. This train ride was absolutely stunning!
Try to get seats on the left side of the train for the best views of the picturesque towns along the way!
Catch the Flåm Railway (Flåmsbana) in Myrdal
Once we arrived in Myrdal, we got off the train and had about an hour to explore Myrdal before our next train. From Myrdal you take the famous Flåm Railway (Flåmsbana) to Flåm.
The Flåm Railway has been described as one of the most beautiful train journeys in the world. In my honest opinion, it was a bit touristy and just OK views.
So is the Flåm Railway worth it?
Yes, I would recommend the Flåm Railway train ride to others as a good way to get to Flåm, but cannot claim it is the most beautiful train journey in the world. I did not have a bad time, the views were good, and it’s a great way to get to the town of Flåm.
This train ride last about 1 hour and passes by waterfalls and endless green pastures.
The Flåm Railway train will make one stop at the Kjosfossen Falls and allow you to get off the train to view the falls from the platform. We stayed on the train and used it as an opportunity to grab a photo from inside the train with the falls (see below).
Spend the Day in Flåm – What To do with One Day in Flåm
We arrived in Flåm around 1pm and opted to spend the night here so we had more time to explore. I would highly recommend spending at least one night in Flåm in order to explore properly. If we had more time I would also consider staying 2 nights in Flåm.
Grab Lunch Along the Harbor
First things first, we got some lunch at the NIF Flåm Market set up along the water. There were multiple different vendors selling local seafood, beers, and other options for lunch.
We purchased some food and then sat along picnic tables outside. It was honestly just what we needed after a long morning of train travel.
There are not many options for food in Flåm, so for dinner you can check out the Ægir microbrewery for small bites, Flåmstova Restaurant right on top of the brewery, or stop by the only grocery store, Coop Marked Flåm, and pick up some ingredients to make dinner (if you have a kitchen of course).
Visit Stegastein for Fjord Views
From the Flåm tourism center we booked tickets for a shuttle to the Stegastein viewpoint which offers the most stunning view over the Aurlansfjord. The drive up took about 30 minutes, and once we were at the viewpoint we had about 30 minutes to explore.
You can enjoy the viewpoint, and there are also some walking trails in the area where I caught this family of sheep enjoying a nice walk! On the way back to town, our driver pulled over along the side of the road for the below views over Flåm and the Fjords. I would definitely recommend booking a trip to Stegastein.
If you have a car with you at this point in your road trip, you can also self-drive to Stegastein both from Flåm and Aurland in the summer months.
Walk around Flåm
Enjoy some time exploring by foot around town. My favorite was getting to see this cute baby calf near our hotel.
End with Sunset at Flåm Beach
Not a traditional beach, the Flåm Beach area is more of a park with green grass and a pebble beach leading into the fjord.
We enjoyed relaxing here near sunset and enjoying the views of the Aurlansfjord.
Where to Stay in Flåm
There are not many places to stay in Flam, so make sure you book your room early. If you can, try to get a room at the highly rated Flåm Ferdaminne. Other great options right in the center of Flam are Fretheim Hotel or Flåmsbrygga Hotel. If you are traveling with a group and need more space, this three bedroom private apartment in the valley would be perfect.
Day 3 – Flåm > Gudvangen> Voss > Bergen
Day three on your road trip through Norway itinerary is a BIG travel day. You will take three different modes of transportation: a ferry, a bus, and a train before the end of the day! Don’t only focus on the destination today, because the views along your trip are going to be part of this spectacular journey!
Get Breakfast at Flåm Bakerei
Our morning after arriving in Flåm, we were scheduled to take a boat ride from Flam to Gudvangen.
When we arrived at the Flåm harbor we were hungry for some breakfast and found, what my husband still says is the best bakery on the planet, Flåm Bakerei.
We ordered the cinnamon pudding pastry, and the fruit pudding pastry, both of which were amazing! We cannot recommend this little bakery enough. For being one of the only places to get breakfast in Flåm, we were extremely impressed.
Ferry Through the Nærøyfjord to Gudvangen
We then boarded our ferry which took us on the most magical ride through the Nærøyfjord to Gudvangen. The ferry boat was huge, offering multiple outdoor viewing platforms, as well as tons of inside seating.
There were also some food options aboard the ferry. During the ferry ride we passed by the most quaint towns of Undredal (left photo below) and Dyrdal (right photo below).
As we approached the town of Gudvangen, we saw a few more little towns as well as this picturesque white church along the water. I would definitely recommend a ferry through the Nærøyfjord to anyone visiting Norway!
Gudvangen > Voss > Bergen
In Gudvangen, you can visit the Viking Village Njardarheimr and meet with real Vikings and experience how they live. The Viking Village is actually a permanent village where Vikings from all over can come and live together and share their lifestyle with visitors. You should plan at least an hour to explore the Viking Village and Gudvangen.
Next we boarded a bus to Voss where we boarded a train continuing on to Bergen. Again, all this transportation was booked and coordinated through Norway in a Nutshell, which saved us lots of stress and scheduling.
Spend the Evening in Bergen – What to do in Bergen
We arrived in Bergen in the late afternoon and had about half a day to explore. If we had more time, I would have spent an extra day in Bergen. There isn’t a ton to do here, however with how packed the rest of the itinerary is, some time to relax at a slower pace is nice. And Bergen is the perfect slow-pace city in Norway!
Bergen Harbor (Bergen Havn)
Once in Bergen, head straight to the Bergen Harbor or “Bergen Havn”. This is where you will feel Bergen come alive!
We loved this area for the picturesque colorful houses along the Harbor which provided plenty of cute photo opportunities.
Bergen Fish Market
Right near the Bergen Harbor you will find the fish market! An absolute treat to walk around the market and see the local Norwegian fish and other products.
During the summer the Bergen Fish Market, which consists of a long string of fish and other produce stalls is open 7 days a week from 9AM-9PM. The fish market is closed in the winter except for some select Saturdays.
Grab Dinner along the Bergen Harbor
Seafood always tastes better when you are looking at the water, am I right? We enjoyed a delicious meal at one of the restaurants along the harbor. We just walked around looking at the menus in front of each of the restaurants to pick where we wanted to eat, so I don’t remember the specific restaurant we ate at.
We sat out on the patio and enjoyed some people watching at the harbor as well. This is definitely the place to be in Bergen for a lively atmosphere!
Day 4 – Fly to Lofoten Islands
Day 4 was largely a travel day as we made our way to the Lofoten Islands by dusk. From Bergen, we flew into the Leknes airport with a layover in Tromsø.
The Lofoten Islands was one of the stops on our Norway road trip that we were the most excited for!
The flight costs to northern Norway were extremely expensive by Europe standards. But believe me when I tell you, visiting the Lofoten Islands was one of the best decisions we’ve ever made. I have never looked back and regretted paying for those tickets.
Once you arrive at the Leknes airport, you will want to rent a car from the airport for your time exploring Lofoten. There is a public bus system on the island, but you could spend hours waiting at bus stops if you plan to see multiple villages.
On our way to our Airbnb in Sørvågen on day 4, we drove by small fishing cabins with rack upon racks of drying cod, through valleys of large mountains of snow-capped peaks, and through small beach towns with unforgettable views of the setting sun. It was one of the most picturesque drives of my life. We had to stop and pull over multiple times to admire the view!
If you want to see more, check out my 24 Epic Photography locations in the Lofoten Islands post.
Day 5 – 7 Enjoy the Lofoten Islands
We spent the next 3 days in the Lofoten islands, exploring every nook and cranny of the small fishing towns in the Lofoten Islands. You can drive along E10 from the northern most town of Svolvær to the end of the Lofoten Islands at the fishing village of Å (not a typo, it is a single letter town).
Our favorite activity in those few days was by far the Reinebringen hike to the top of a mountain/hill overlooking the city of Reine. This hike is about 510 meters ascent (1680 feet), and takes probably 2-3 hours round trip conservatively. The hike was a bit difficult as it’s basically a large staircase the entire way up, but the views are unrivaled.
A few other of our favorite spots was exploring the town of Henningsvær, as well as having a picnic on the beach in Ramberg.
There are not a ton of dining options, though there are enough, but a few places we enjoyed were Anita’s Seafood on Sakrisoy, as well as Maren Anna in Sørvågen.
Day 8 – Drive From Leknes to Odda
Day 8 was largely a travel day again. Getting to and from the Lofoten Islands needs about a day on either end for travel. However, I have never regretted spending those magical 3 days in Lofoten!
We flew back to Bergen from Leknes, again with a layover in Tromsø. We then rented a car from the Bergen airport using Discover Cars as we always do and drove to the city of Odda. The next day we planned to hike the famous Trolltunga Hike near Odda, Norway!
Another fun mode of transportation we got to try for the first time was a car ferry. There will be an option to take a car ferry from the towns of Tørvikbygd to Jondal which cuts out a considerable amount of driving time, and was well worth it so we could get to our next stop faster.
The drive took us in total 2.5-3 hours which largely depends on how long you have to wait to catch the next car ferry. The next day we have a big hike ahead of us, so once we arrived to our Airbnb, we grabbed a pizza and headed to bed early.
Day 9 – Trolltunga Hike
Today is a big hiking day! We woke up around 5AM to get started on our drive from Odda to the parking area for the Trolltunga hike (only about 30 minutes).
The entire Trolltunga hike is about 28km round trip and can take 8-12 hours to hike there and back so make sure you start early enough to make it down by dark.
If you want to see Trolltunga at sunrise, you might consider one of these guided hiking tours:
Day 10 – Drive to Oslo and Explore Oslo
It’s about a 5 hour drive from Odda to Oslo. An alternative to going back to Oslo would be to head to Bergen.
We chose to book our return flight from Oslo as it provided better options for outgoing flights and we didn’t get much time to explore Oslo when we arrived on Day 1.
On our last day in Norway we explored Oslo as detailed in the beginning of the post.
If You Have More Time in Norway…
If you have more than 10 days to explore Norway I would suggest looking into Alesund, Stavanger, Tromsø, the Kjeragbolten Hike, and the Pulpit Rock Hike.
I hope that you now have all the tools you need to plan the most epic road trip in Norway. If you are currently planning a trip to Norway and have any questions, drop them in the comments below. For more travel inspiration and tips, follow me on Instagram for current updates.
Looking for more Norway inspiration? You may also enjoy these Norway related posts:
- Unforgettable 4-Day Lofoten Islands Norway Itinerary
- 24 Epic Photography Spots in Lofoten in Summer
- Hiking Trolltunga: Norway’s Most Epic Hike
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What Camera Gear Do I Use?
- Camera Body: Canon EOS 6D Mark ii
- Wide Angle Lens: Canon 16-35mm f/2.8
- Zoom Lens: Canon 24-70mm f/2.8
- Super Zoom Lens: Canon 70-200mm f/2.8
- Portrait Lens: Tamron 35mm f/1.4
- Drone: DJI Mavic Mini 3 Pro with RC Controller
- Camera Bag: Vegan Leather Backpack
- Tripod: Manfrotto Element Traveller
- SD Card: SanDisk Extreme Pro 256 GB
- External Travel SSD: SanDisk Extreme Pro 4 TB