Are you dreaming of waking up every day in a beautiful destination, surrounded by epic views of the fjords and mountains? Do you love adventure and are you not scared of putting some effort to experience the best sights?
If you answered yes to the above, then this Norway road trip starting and ending in Ålesund will be perfect for you.
Norway road trip the logistics
Before you book your flights to Norway, there are a few things you should plan beforehand. Mainly how will you get around here, what route will you follow and what time of the year is best for the road trip to happen.
How to get to Ålesund?
Ålesund is the largest town in the Møre og Romsdal county known as the home of the Sunmøre Alps. They are in my opinion the most beautiful mountain range in Norway.
Ålesund is a fantastic place to start and end your Norway road trip because it is very close to many of the top attractions in the country. I also find Ålesund way more interesting and beautiful than Bergen or Oslo.
The town has a small airport and car rental places. You can get here by catching an internal flight between Oslo and Ålesund. Norwegian Air and SAS, both local airlines operate along this route.
Best time of the year to do this road trip?
Since a lot of activities, which I have included in this plan, are outdoor activities, it means that the best time to follow this Norway road trip itinerary is between July and September. Why? Because this is the time when most of the trails are clear of snow and safe to follow.
Anytime before or after this timeframe and you might still run into lots of snow when hiking at higher elevations. It’s possible to go earlier, but just bear in mind, that you might not be able to complete all the activities I’ve enlisted in this itinerary.
Road trip outline and map
Above you can view the map of the road trip, where I marked the driving directions, viewpoints, hikes, and campsites.
How to use the map?
Click on the button in the top left corner to open the layers. To make the map easier to read you can switch the layers on and off by clicking on the red check box. Click on different hikes and you will be shown links to my other blog posts with detailed descriptions of each trail.
The best way to travel around Norway
Since this is a road trip you will need to have a vehicle to follow it. I brought my own campervan into Norway and spend a few months traveling around the country. If you are coming from abroad for a limited time then the best option is to rent one.
Rent a Campervan with Motorhome Republic
If you want to be independent with your time and the locations that you visit I recommend that you rent a campervan.
Campsites in Norway are very easy to come by. Norwegians love to camp and I have never seen so many campervans before. The whole infrastructure for motorhome travel in Norway is amazing, from campsites, and water filling-up stations to grey and black water dump stations, which are set up everywhere.
For the best price comparison and campervan reservations visit the Motorhome Republic.
Rent a Compact Car with Discover Cars
Are you not into the whole van life thing? I get it, it’s certainly not for everyone. Personally, I can only do it for a few weeks at a time, before I start craving a normal bed and a daily shower.
Another great reason to go for a compact car is its fuel efficiency. Whilst motorhomes are great, they are definitely not fuel-economical.
I highly recommend looking for your car rental with Discover Cars.
Suggested 10-day Ålesund to Ålesund itinerary: day-by-day breakdown
This is an action-packed itinerary. I realize you might not be able to tick off everything I propose, mainly due to the rainy weather in Norway, but if you are an absolute adventure freak, you will! During the next 10 days, you will visit the following destinations:
- Day 1 & 2: Sunmøre Alps and Hjørundfjord
- Day 3-6: Jostedalsbreen & Jotunheimen National Parks
- Day 7: Geiranger UNESCO Fjord
- Day 8-10: Trollstigen and Åndalsnes
Let’s hit the road!
Day 1: Ålesund to Urke in the heart of the Sunmøre Alps
- Distance from Ålesund to Urke: 64 km / 40 mi
- Travel time: 2 h 15 min (including ferry)
We are kicking this road trip with a bang by visiting one of my favorite fjords in Norway – Hjørundfjord.
If you are staying in one of the hotels that I recommend below then you should type in either Sæbo or Øye into your GPS, when leaving Ålesund. If you are traveling in a campervan then go directly to Urke and stay at a campsite there.
Sæbo, Urke & Øye are all only a few kilometres apart, but the first two lie on opposite sides of the Hjørundfjord. Don’t fret though. Ferries travel between the two towns every 30 minutes. You will quickly learn how important the ferries are for the transportation system in Norway. On this road trip, you will be taking quite a few of them.
Spend the rest of the day checking out the area. If you are staying in Urke or Øye then I recommend driving to the local beach (marked on the map) and taking a swim. You can even jump from the jetty into the refreshing fjord. If you are staying in Sæbo you can take an evening walk along the fjord.
Best accommodation options around Urke: night 1
Day 2 (morning): Hike in the Sunmøre Alps
This is an adventure road trip, so get ready to undertake some hikes, via ferratas, kayaking & biking on this holiday in Norway.
Option 1: Summit of Mount Saksa
The summit of Mount Saksa was the very first hike I did in Norway. 40 different trails later and Saksa still remains one of my favorites.
I very quickly learned that trails in Norway tend to be steep and instead of using zigzags they often go straight up. This is the case with the hike to Saksa. You start at sea level and gain 1300 meters (over 4000 feet) of elevation in just over 3 kilometers (less than 2 miles). Whilst it’s not too bad when going up, going back down is a real knee-buster.
At least you will be rewarded with extraordinary views from the top. Your effort will not go in vain.
Option 2: The Urkeegga Circuit
If you want an easier trail for your first hike on your Norway road trip go for the Urkeegga Circuit instead. Whilst the way up is still relatively steep, going back down will be a lot easier on your knees.
Don’t worry, you won’t be missing out in the views department, you will just see them from a slightly different angle. The Urkeegga Circuit follows a ridgeline with 3 separate peaks and each of them has awesome vistas over the Hjørundfjord.
TIP! Check out from your accommodation before doing either of the hikes. You will be driving to your next destination after completing the hike.
Day 2 (afternoon): drive the scenic route to Loen
- Distance from Urke to Loen: 80 km / 50 mi
- Driving time: 75 min
After the hike, go for a quick and refreshing dip in the fjord and continue with your journey to your next destination Loen.
It’s only 80 kilometers (50 miles) to Loen but be prepared to collect your jaw off the floor for the first 30 minutes of the journey. You will be following the road no. 655 along the Norangdal Valley. It’s a very narrow green valley surrounded by sheer cliffs.
TIP! Obey the signs in Norangdal. It is prohibited to stop in some places due to rock fall danger. There are plenty of designated stops, where you can park and leave your car to take a photo.
Once you make it to the end of road no. 655 turn right onto road no. 60 towards Grodås. It’s a little town built on the shoreline of Lake Hornindalsvatnet, where you can stop for a quickl photo. It’s not only the deepest lake in Norway but also in the whole of Europe and the World’s 12th deepest! Source: Wikipedia
TIP! If you have an extra day in Norway consider staying at the Horndøla camping en route to Loen. Hike to Lake Blåvatnet or the summit of Hornindalsrokken the next day. It’s a very beautiful and off-the-beaten-path hike, where you will only meet locals.
Once you make it to Loen check into your accommodation and relax. Another adventure-filled day is waiting for you tomorrow.
Day 3: Hike in Jostedalsbreen National Park
Today I’ve got two exciting hikes for you to choose from. The decision certainly won’t be an easy one. Both trails deliver spectacular views.
Option 1: Klovane
The west side of Norway’s famous Jostedalsbreen National Park, where you will be spending the next couple of days is home to some amazing lakes. The three most notable are Oldenvatnet, Lovatnet, and Oppstrynvatnet.
All three are glacier-fed which means the tiny particles called the rock flour, created by the movement of the glacier grinding down against the rock, travel down the rivers and empty into the lakes. The particles then reflect in the sun giving the lakes intense colors. Depending on how sunny or cloudy it is, the colors of the lake change between blue, turquoise, and emerald.
One of the best places to observe this phenomenon is the summit of Klovane high above Lake Oldenvatnet. This is one of the hikes I propose you do on day 3.
Option 2: Kattanakken
Jostedalsbreen National Park is the home of Norway’s largest glacier field and the park takes its name from it. Jostedalsbreen is the largest glacier on mainland Europe and has many arms which reach down to the valleys. One of them is the Briksdalsbreen Glacier Arm.
Briksdalsbreen is no secret. It’s one of the most visited places in Norway, but there is an easy way to escape the crowds and get an even better view of it. I am talking about the hike to Kattanakken.
This challenging hike veers off the official path which leads to the Briksdalsbreen glacier viewpoint. Once on it, you start climbing up. The higher you go the better the views get.
TIP! If you are too tired to hike again, then consider renting a kayak or a stand-up paddleboard and see the area from a different perspective.
Day 4 (morning): Lovatnet
After an intensive day 3 of your Norway road trip, it’s time to take it a bit easy on day 4. At least in the first half of the day.
You can spend the morning driving around the west side of the Jostedalsbreen National Park and check out some roadside viewpoints which I marked on the map.
I particularly recommend driving along Lake Lovatnet all the way to its end, where you can park your car and go for a stroll to see the Kjenndal glacier tongue. It’s not as spectacular as Briksdalbreen, but it’s still a lovely sight.
TIP! A great way to explore Lake Lovatnet and Lodalen (the valley where the lake is located) is by bike. There are bike rental places in Loen.
Day 4 (afternoon): Tackle Via Ferrata Loen (or take a rest)
It’s time for a serious adventure. If you want to walk across a 120-meter-long suspension bridge perched 800 meters above the fjord then you need to tackle Norway’s famous Via Ferrata Loen.
The route leads to the summit of Mount Hoven, which is connected with the town of Loen by the Loen Skylift cable car. The afternoon is the only time you can do Via Ferrata Loen if you plan on doing it unguided.
TIP: If you prefer to tackle Via Ferrata Loen with a guide, then book your tour for the morning and then spend the rest of the day either resting or exploring the Jostedalsbreen National Park.
Best accommodation options in Loen: nights 2, 3 & 4
Day 5 (morning): Scenic drive to Sogndalsfjøra
- Distance from Loen to Sogndalsfjøra: 127 km (79 mi)
- Driving time: 2 hours
Even though Sogndalsfjøra, your next destination for the night is only a 2-hour drive away from Loen, prepare to spend at least half a day along this stunning route. Today you will be driving around the Jostedalsbreen National Park, from its west side to the east side.
There are plenty of beautiful viewpoints along the way. My favorites are the Stardalselva Valley, Jølstravatnet Lake, Bøyabreen Glacier, and the Fjærland village. All of them are roadside viewpoints and won’t require much effort to get to (for once).
I still recommend leaving Loen as early as possible to make it to Sogndalsfjøra around lunchtime. After checking into your hotel or campsite you can head out into the mountains again.
Day 5 (afternoon): Hike to Molden
- Distance from Sogndalsfjøra to the trailhead of Molden: 20 km / 12.5 mi
- Driving time: 20 min
If the weather is good you can take advantage of the long Scandinavian summer days and hike to the summit of Molden. The trailhead is only located a 20-minute drive from Sogndalsfjøra.
The hike takes 3-4 hours to complete and has expansive views of the turquoise Lustrafjord and the surrounding mountains.
Best accommodation options in Sogndalsfjøra: night 5
Day 6 (morning): Explore the glaciers of Jostedalsbreen National Park
Option 1: Hike to Austerdalsbreen
- Distance from Sogndalsfjøra to the trailhead of Austerdalsbreen: 55 km / 34 mi
- Driving time: 1h 15 min
Austerdalsbreen is hands down the most beautiful arm of the Jostedalsbreen glacier field. The hike to is viewpoint is pleasantly easy and most of it leads through a flat wide valley before a gentle climb up.
The drive from Sogndalsjøra to the Austerdalsbreen trailhead is an experience in itself as the route follows the shoreline of the Vaitastrondavatnet. Another glacier-fed and beautifully colored lake.
Another highlight of this hike is the possibility of having lunch at the Tungestølen hut, but before I reveal too much head over to my guide to the Austerdalsbreen hike.
Option 2: Hike to (or on) the Nigardsbreen Glacier
- Distance from Sogndalsfjøra to the trailhead of Nigardsbreen: 66 km / 41 mi
- Driving time: 1 h 15 min
Nigardsbreen is the most famous arm of the Jostedalsbreen glacier field. Guided glacier hikes are a popular activity in this area. You can spend half a day walking on the ice exploring its crevasses and listening to the history of the glacier accompanied by a knowledgeable guide.
For a more budget-friendly option, you can hike to the glacier viewpoint yourself. I cover all the details in my guide to hiking to Nigardsbreen Glacier.
Day 6 (afternoon): Sognefjellet Scenic Route & Geiranger Scenic Route
- Distance from Austerdal to Geiranger: 260 km / 22 mi
- Driving time: 5 hours
- Distance from Nigardsbreen to Geiranger: 250 km / 150 mi
- Driving time: 4 h 30 min
No matter what activity you choose to do on the morning of day 6 of your Norway road trip, you have a bit of a drive to do in the afternoon to get to your next destination. But what an exciting drive it will be.
Once getting out of the valleys you will enter the Sognefjellet Scenic route which stretches for 108 kilometers (67 miles) between the towns of Gaupne and Lom.
You will first drive along the shoreline of Luster Fjord before climbing up along a serpentine road toward the high mountain plateau. The route is the gateway to Jotunheimen National Park and it leads through the highest mountain pass of Northern Europe. There are plenty of beautiful roadside stops along this route.
Sognefjellet Scenic Route opens in late spring (usually at the start of May) and remains open for the summer and early autumn before it closes again once the snow falls and makes it impassable.
Once you make it to Lom, the end of the Sognefjellet route, turn left onto road No. 15. After another 1 hour of driving you will enter the Geiranger Scenic Road. Once again you will be driving through stunning mountain scenery all the way to Norway’s most famous Fjord – Geiranger.
Similarly to Sognefjellet, the Geiranger Scenic Route opens usually at the start of May and closes by November.
TIP! If you have an extra day then break up the journey and stay an extra night on the Sognefjellet Scenic Route. The next day you can join a guided hike to Norway’s highest summit – Mount Galdhøpiggen before you continue to Geiranger.
Day 7: Explore the UNESCO Geiranger Fjord
Option 1: Hike to Skageflå
Day 7 of your Norway road trip is another day filled with beautiful views. Today I recommend the most popular hike in the Geiranger Fjord area – Skageflå.
Skageflå used to be a small farm built on top of a cliff high above the Fjord. It operated until the start of the last century before turning into a tourist attraction. From the farm, you get to see beautiful panoramic views of the seven sisters waterfall, which the Geiranger Fjord is known for.
This is a one-way hike. You will need to pre-book a boat transfer to get back to the village after completing it. I cover all the details in my guide to the Skågefla hike.
Option 2: Activity in Geiranger Fjord
If you want to take a break from hiking, there are plenty of fantastic outdoor activities in Geiranger that don’t require walking. Below are a few that I recommend.
Guided Kayaking Tour
Embark on an unforgettable kayak expedition in the majestic Geiranger Fjord Accompanied by an experienced instructor, gracefully paddle through crystal-clear blue waters, leading you to the iconic Seven Sisters Waterfall.
Self-Guided Bike Tour
Embrace the breathtaking beauty of Geiranger Fjord during a self-guided downhill biking adventure. Meander along winding mountain roads, catching glimpses of cascading waterfalls and enchanting lakes as you ride at your own pace.
Best accommodation options in Geiranger: nights 6 & 7
Day 8 (morning): Geiranger Scenic Drive via Trollstigen
- Distance from Geiranger to Åndalsnes: 87 km / 54 mi
- Driving time: 2 h 10 min
The morning of day 8 of my proposed Norway road trip is a continuation of the National Scenic Drive which you started on day 6.
The Geiranger-Trollstigen Scenic Route stretches across 104 kilometers (67 miles). There is also a ferry crossing involved. Today’s must-see roadside stops are:
- The Ørnesvingen viewpoint above the Geiranger Fjord
- Eidvatnet lake
- The village of Valldal
- Trollstigen viewpoint
TIP: Stay an extra night in Valldal and book a rafting adventure or fit in another hike to Mefjellet. The Juvet Landscape Hotel in Valldal was a place where the sci-fi movie “Ex Machina” by Alex Garland was shot.
Day 8 (afternoon): Hike to Litlefjellet
Once you make it to Åndalsnes, have lunch, check into your accommodation and head out on a little hike to the aptly named Litlefjellet.
Litlefjellet is a 1-hour round-trip hike that offers jaw-dropping views of the infamous Troll Wall, known as the birthplace of base jumping. My favorite view however (pictured above) is the triangle-shaped Romsdalshornet reflecting in the ponds located on the saddle.
Day 9: Adventure around Åndalsnes
Today is your last full day following this epic Norway road trip. It is only fitting that you finish it with an exciting activity. Åndalsnes is a Mekka for adventure lovers and here are a couple of options to make your day memorable.
Option 1: Via Ferrata Romsdalsstigen
You won’t forget Norway quickly after testing your nerves on the Via Ferrata Romsdalsstigen Vestveggen. This is a really challenging route for absolute adventure freaks.
You can either join a guided tour or, provided you have a previous via ferrata experience, just rent the gear and do it yourself. Whatever you decide you are guaranteed an exhilarating experience with some dramatic views.
Option 2: Romsdalseggen hike
If dangling off a cliff a few hundred meters above a fjord might indeed be a bit too much then consider finishing your Norway road trip with one last hike and cross the Romsdalseggen ridgeline.
Romsdalseggen connects Åndalsnes with Venjedalen Valley. En route, you can expect some of the most jaw-dropping scenery in Norway. The hike takes ca. 6 hours to complete and requires pre-booking a shuttle bus. You can learn all the details in my guide to the Romsdalseggen hike. This will be an epic ending to your Norway road trip.
Best accommodation options in Åndalsnes: nights 8 & 9
Day 10: Return to Ålesund
- Distance from Åndalsnes to Ålesund airport: 122 km / 76 mi
- Driving time: 1 h 40 min
After I poured countless hours into designing this itinerary I truly hope you will have a holiday of a lifetime. The last thing on the schedule is the return drive to Ålesund where you started this Norway road trip.
If you leave Åndalsnes early and your return flight isn’t until late evening you can still spend the day exploring Ålesund. There are a few hop-on hop-off tour bus options that will take you to all the highlight spots in Ålesund.
Best accommodation options in Ålesund (optional)
If you have an early flight to catch you can leave Åndalsnes on the afternoon of day 9 and stay in Ålesund for the night instead. This choice will put you in close proximity to the airport.
How to shorten this Norway road trip to 7 or 8 days?
In the article, I gave you a few ideas on how to extend this Norway road trip. However, what if you don’t have 10 full days but would still like to follow the itinerary I proposed? Here are a few options that will allow you to shorten this plan to 7 or 8 days.
- Option 1: Skip the east side of Jostedalsbreen National Park and Sognefjellet Scenic Route. On day 5, after leaving Loen, go straight to Geiranger Fjord, driving past Oppstrynvatnet. This will save you 2 days.
- Option 2: Skip Åndalsnes. Go back to Ålesund after visiting Geiranger Fjord. You can still drive to Ålesund via Åndalsnes, without staying overnight. That way you won’t miss out on seeing Trollstigen.
- Option 3: Stay for a shorter amount of time in each place. You can still see all the destinations I enlisted, but speed up your trip a bit. The downside is that you won’t have much time to do all the adventures I enlisted. Your itinerary will look as follows:
- Urke or Sæbo: 1 night
- Loen: 2 nights,
- Sogndalsfjøra: 1 night,
- Geiranger: 1 night,
- Åndalsnes: 1 or 2 nights.
That will amount to a total of 6 or 7 nights and 7 or 8 days on the road.
Other road trip itineraries around Norway
- Bergen to Bergen in 7-10 days for hiking enthusiasts
- 14-day Oslo to Oslo Road Trip for Photographers
- Stavanger to Bergen through the tourist hotspots of Norway
- Lofoten Islands 5-day hiking road trip
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