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Norway

10 spectacular Norwegian drives you have to see to believe

Norway’s 10 most scenic drives (and what to see along the way)

Norway is a land of striking contrasts – from the quiet allure of its deep fjords to the humbling majesty of its lofty peaks. But there’s more to this Nordic wonderland than meets the eye. Enter the Nasjonale turistveger, a collection of scenic drives that encapsulate Norway’s raw beauty. They’re not just about getting from point A to point B, but rather, they’re experiences that blend roads, nature and viewpoints with stellar architecture and art. Trust us; we’ve had the pleasure of exploring them all.
Atlanterhavsvegen Møre og Romsdal Norway scenic route roadtrip

What is the interplay of nature, architecture and art in the Nasjonale turistveger?

Norway, with its tradition of adapting architecture to its rugged landscapes, has incorporated this approach into the Nasjonale turistveger, creating routes where design and nature blend seamlessly. Here, architecture and art don’t just coexist with the surroundings but become an integral part of the experience, attracting travellers in their own right.

Along these routes, thought-provoking art installations weave their own narratives, adding depth to the journey. These creative accomplishments are brought to life by the Scenic Route Department of the Norwegian Public Roads Administration, who has collaborated with a diverse mix of over 50 talents, including young Norwegian designers and globally acclaimed figures like architect Peter Zumthor and artists Louise Bourgeois and Roni Horn.

The result is a series of roads where human-made structures and art harmonize with and naturally emerge from the landscapes, narrating a story of harmonious interaction between humanity and nature that unfolded before us during our journey through Norway’s Nasjonale turistveger.

Atlanterhavsvegen Møre og Romsdal Norway scenic route roadtrip

01

Atlanterhavsvegen

Taking a drive on the Atlanterhavsvegen, or the Atlantic Road, feels like skimming over the sea, as the road elegantly curves from islet to islet over its seven bridges, melding the grandeur of nature with human ingenuity. This iconic roadway, described as the world’s most beautiful drive, takes you through diverse landscapes: from the rich coastal culture, across barren moorland, to wind-swept crags along the open Hustadvika Bay. We strongly recommend a stop at Eldhusøya; designed by Ghilardi+Hellsten Arkitekter, it offers a wheelchair-accessible, elevated hiking path open all year round, perfect for all to explore. When the summer rolls around, the island café with its herring-inspired window design offers a cosy stop for refreshments amidst your unforgettable journey.
Trollstigen Møre og Romsdal Norway scenic route roadtrip
Trollstigen Møre og Romsdal Norway scenic route roadtrip

02

Geiranger-Trollstigen

The Geiranger-Trollstigen route offers an exhilarating driving experience steeped in the rich traditions of Western Norway. Zigzagging through mountains and fjords, the journey presents dramatic landscapes with numerous highlights, including the eleven hairpin bends of Trollstigen and the breathtaking view from Ørnesvingen down to the Geiranger fjord. Along this well-traversed scenic route, you’ll encounter lush valleys, sheltered strawberry farms and dizzying viewpoints that showcase Norway’s stunning beauty. Don’t rush this journey; whether you’re up for the challenge of a summit hike or prefer to simply soak in the view, frequent stops are a must. For an even more immersive experience, consider the fjord cruise between Geiranger and Hellesylt, offering intimate views of the iconic waterfalls, Dei Sju Systre, Friaren and Brudesløret, as well as the UNESCO-listed Geiranger fjord.
Vøringsfossen Vestland Norway scenic route roadtrip

03

Hardangervidda

Navigating the Hardangervidda route, you’re greeted by Northern Europe’s largest high-altitude plateau and Western Norway’s dramatic landscapes. A highlight is Vøringsfossen, arguably Norway’s most famous waterfall. The brainchild of architect Carl-Viggo Hølmebakk, the waterfall’s 182-meter plunge from the plateau into the Måbødalen valley is an awe-inspiring spectacle, marking a dramatic shift between the fiord and mountain. If adventurous, follow the historic 1872 trail from Fossatromma to the waterfall’s base for a thrillingly close experience. The route then meanders into the Måbødalen valley, culminating in the serene village of Eidfjord, at the head of Hardangerfjorden. Amid the natural splendour, spotting wild reindeer is a possibility. However, the unpredictable weather, especially during winter, can add a challenging twist to this unforgettable journey.
Mefjellet More og Romsdal Norway scenic route roadtrip

04

Sognefjellet

The Sognefjellet route unveils a remarkable journey, from Lom’s cultural landscapes over Northern Europe’s highest mountain pass at 1,434 meters above sea level to the heart of Sognefjorden. Starting amidst Bøverdalen’s lush fields with Jotunheimen’s mighty mountains on the horizon, the route ascends to Mefjellet, a rest area designed by Jensen & Skodvin Arkitektkontor. Here, you can admire the surrounding Fanaråken glacier and peaks, with a stone sculpture by artist Knut Wold offering a unique photographic motif. Further along, the route peaks at Sognefjellshytta lodge, where a communal area by the same architects beautifully integrates wood and glass, reflecting the varying moods of this high-altitude setting. The journey then descends towards the untamed mountain area and down along the gorgeous Sognefjorden, whose clear waters shift from green to blue, mirroring the changing sky and weather. Despite its grandeur, the route may close from November to May due to volatile mountain weather.
Lofoten Nordland Norway

05

Lofoten

The Norwegian scenic route Lofoten, a spectacular journey stretching from Raftsundet to Å, offers an intimate encounter with the dramatic landscapes of the Arctic Circle. Along this 230-kilometre route, visitors are enveloped by the raw beauty of the ocean, jagged peaks, quaint fishing villages and pristine beaches. Detours to vibrant places such as Eggum, Henningsvær, Unstad, Utakleiv, Vikten and Nusfjord add layers of intrigue to the experience. Of note is the Austnesfjorden rest area, a project by landscape architect Inge Dahlman of Landskapsfabrikken AS, which provides breathtaking panoramas of the coastal alpine landscape and the Sildpollneset chapel from an environmentally-friendly wooden walkway.

06

Varanger

Enveloping the essence of the Arctic Ocean with its shifting lights and dramatic landscapes, the scenic route Varanger extends 160 kilometres from Varangerbotn to Hamningberg. Unique bird species, some found nowhere else on earth, are a highlight along this route that takes you through diverse terrains, from lush birch woods and marshlands to imposing cliffs. Along the way, cultural diversity stands out, influenced by Russian proximity, Finnish immigration and Sami traditions. The poignant Steilneset Memorial stands as a major highlight of this scenic route. Created by renowned architect Peter Zumthor and artist Louise Bourgeois, the memorial pays tribute to 91 people burned at the stake for witchcraft. Featuring a burning chair and a 100-metre-long memorial hall with texts penned by Professor of History Liv Helene Willumsen, it powerfully communicates a gripping piece of Norwegian history.
Sohlbergplassen Innlandet Norway scenic route roadtrip

07

Rondane

Serving as a source of inspiration for generations of artists and writers, the scenic route Rondane paints a shifting tableau of ancient cultural landscapes set against the backdrop of towering blue mountains. This tranquil 75-kilometre drive, open year-round, reveals an otherworldly scenery where snow-clad summits reaching up to 2,000 meters reflect the low sun’s bluish light, creating a mystical atmosphere. The journey, stretching from Folldal to Venabygdsfjellet, integrates Sohlbergplassen, a viewpoint meticulously designed by Carl-Viggo Hølmebakk. Here, visitors can witness the Atnsjøen Lake and the rounded peaks of the Rondane massif, a view vividly mirroring Harald Sohlberg’s iconic painting Winter’s Night in Rondane.

Helgelandskysten Nordland Norway scenic route roadtrip

08

Helgelandskysten

The Helgelandskysten scenic route, stretching from Godøystraumen to Holm, is an unforgettable journey. As the longest of the 18 Norwegian Scenic Routes, this 433-kilometre trail winds through a myriad of landscapes – from the lush coasts and cascading glaciers to towering mountain peaks and an expansive archipelago. Along this spectacular route, the Hellåga rest area, designed by architect Arild Waage of Nordplan AS and landscape architect Inge Dahlman of Landskapsfabrikken AS, stands out. Hellåga features a unique wave-like building, which gracefully harmonizes with the surrounding fjord landscape. One of its striking features is a set of gently curving steps that descend the steep rocks, inviting visitors to come closer to the water’s edge of the Sjonafjord. Also make a pitstop at Ureddsplatsen, which very well might be the world’s best-designed public toilet.
Selvika Troms og Finnmark Norway scenic route roadtrip

09

Havøysund

Nestled at the northernmost endpoint of the route from Kokelv, Havøysund is a humble fishing village at 71° north that presents a striking journey. The route winds through a stark and dramatic terrain – barren rocky landscape alongside the Arctic Ocean, rugged outcrops and glimpses of local wildlife such as sea eagles and reindeer. The adventurous can extend their trip by taking the Måsøy express boat to the Rolvsøy, Ingøya or Måsøya islands, home to Hjelmsøystauren, one of northern Europe’s largest bird rocks. Notably, Havøysund hosts the Havøysund Artwork by artist Roni Horn and Selvika rest area by Reiulf Ramstad Arkitekter AS. Horn’s artwork, housed in a wooden hut designed by Jensen & Skodvin Arkitektkontor, comprises two massive glass objects that reflect the shifting Arctic light, offering a tranquil experience. The Selvika rest area, resembling an intricate concrete sculpture, houses heritage sites from Neolithic times and remnants of Sámi culture.
Stegastein Vestland Norway scenic route roadtrip

10

Aurlandsfjellet

Hovering like a spectre above the majestic Aurlandsfjord, the Stegastein viewing platform graces Aurlandsfjellet. Situated 650 metres above the fjord, it reaches out 30 metres over the evergreen pine trees, offering a breathtaking panorama of the fjord landscape through its glass front. Designed by architects Todd Saunders and Tommie Wilhelmsen, the platform, open all year round, gives an illusion of being suspended in space. This scenic route snakes from fjord to fjord, meandering through an almost untouched, desolate landscape that is profoundly marked by the presence of snow. A single power line stands as the only visible trace of human activity, lending a stark contrast to the surrounding wilderness. Offering a unique circular trip from Aurlandsvangen to Gamle Lærdalsøyri through the Lærdal Tunnel, the world’s longest road tunnel, this route offers powerful impressions of Norway’s stark beauty.

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