There’s little that can beat the chance to drive across Norway’s compelling countryside. Hire a car for the freedom and flexibility to explore the way you want to, with all the opportunity in the world to pull off and take a hike to a waterfall or snap a hundred photos at a particularly impressive viewpoint.
To top it all off, the Norwegian’s have created 18 designated National Scenic Routes; hand-picked drives that the locals celebrate as being the most impressively scenic journeys their country has to offer - each offering spectacular viewpoints, plenty of rest stops, enticing detours, fabulous hiking trails and even famous pieces of artwork along the way.
So, whilst every route is unique and impressive in its own right, here’s a list of our top 6:
This is one of the more remote scenic routes out there, spanning across the outer edge of Andøya island between Bjørnskinn and Andenes, in the Vesterålen archipelago. The route winds its way through staggering scenery dotted with idyllic beaches, mountainous coastlines, fantastic hiking and splendid views across the ocean. During the summer months you'll never run out of daylight as the midnight sun lights up the sky throughout the night.
There is a good chance of spying whales and seals and sea eagles along the drive and there are plenty of hidden gems worth pulling over for along the way. One of the first is Bukkerkjerka – an impressive rock formation that was used as an old Sami sacrificial site. Now, the site has been developed into a beautiful rest-stop. The fishing village of Bleik is also well worth a visit, to explore the powder white sand at Bleiksstranda beach. This is also where the Bleiksøya bird cliffs are found, home to both sea eagles and over 40,000 puffins!
This impressive route is arguably one of the most beautiful drives in the world. Certainly, few other roads make you feel quite like your flying across the ocean as this one does. The route is a real architectural feat, traversing the ocean from the village of Bud on the mainland, to Averøy island by way of a series of 7 bridges which quite literally leapfrog you from small island to islet.
Notable highlights along the route include the elevated round-trip hiking path at Eldhusøya, ideal for stretching your legs, as well as fishing walkways on either side of the Myrbærholmbrua bridge where a fresh catch of the day is almost guaranteed. And don’t miss stops at the Askevågen and Kjeksa viewpoints.
Taking this mountain pass is pleasure driving at its best and a great day trip from Flåm. Start by taking the world’s longest road tunnel to the sleepy village of Lærdal and then traverse the scenic route back towards Aurland to get the most dramatic perspectives.
Travel from fjord to fjord, winding past charming farms and villages, before climbing the incredibly steep (and very narrow) snow road over the mountain pass. During the ascent watch the vegetation dwindle from lush forest to barren tundra, and you might even spot some snow. Make sure to have a sweater on hand to guard against the temperature drop!
Throughout the drive there are plenty of opportunities to pull over to take photos or to just take a moment to appreciate the contrast in the diverse landscapes. With plenty of hiking trails, this drive can easily turn into a full day affair. The route culminates at Stegastein, an impressive look-out point over the Aurlandfjord before winding back down to sea level.
Not only is this one of the most dramatic and adrenaline-inducing drives in the country, it also winds between two phenomenal destinations: Geiranger, the gateway to the world’s most stunning fjord, and Åndalsnes, Norway’s mountaineering capital. Along the way, pass soaring mountains, historic sites, lakes, and waterfalls.
Drive the eleven hair-raising hairpin bends of Trollstigen mountain pass where the steep incline and narrow road is sure to get those endorphins pumping. Other highlights of the route include the excellent viewpoints at the top of the Trollstigen plateau and at Ørnesvingen, which boasts magnificent views of the Geirangerfjord and the Eagle Road.
Throughout the drive, keep an eye out for the homes and settlements that occupy what most would consider inhospitable places, like the narrowest ledges of the mountains and in the small mountain crags. This is not a route to rush; take plenty of time and consider dong one of the excellent hiking trails along the way.
This spectacular route that runs between Haugastøl and Eidfjord crosses the largest high mountain plateau in all Northern Europe, and passes through lush valleys, high mountains and past many waterfalls.
The Hardagervidda Plateau itself is one of the main highlights of the trip. It is Norway’s largest national park, offering diverse terrain ideal for hiking and marvellous views featuring the Hardangerjøkulen glacier in the background. It is home to one of the largest populations of wild reindeer on the continent and its rugged terrain is ideal for hiking.
One of the other main highlights of the route is Vøringsfossen, one of Norway's most impressive waterfalls, which cascades over the sheer cliff-side on either side of the Fossli Hotel. Stops can be made along the road to see the falls from a distance or at the fantastic viewing platform which extends out alongside the falls. Afterwards, continue driving down through the Måbødalen valley to Eidfjord.
The Lofoten Islands are renowned for being home to some of Norway’s most dramatic and spectacular landscapes, so it won’t come as a surprise that its National Scenic Route has made it onto this list. The epic drive travels from Raftsundet in Vesterålen all the way down to the village of Å at the bottom of the Lofoten Islands.
The landscape along the main road is breathtaking and stark: think wild ocean, rugged mountains, and pristine beaches, punctuated by charming fishing villages. Along the way, there’s a host of interesting rest and photo stops to break up the journey. Our favourites include the Austnesfjorden rest area, where visitors can walk the boardwalk for incredible views of the rugged, alpine coastline, the 6.5 metre tall bird watching tower at Gårdsvatnet, as well as the viewpoints at Torvdalshalsen, Skreda, and of course, Reinehalsen, which offers that famous vantage point for capturing the photogenic village of Reine (easily one of the most photographed villages in the entire archipelago).
If that isn’t enough, there are also numerous detours that the adventurous can (and should) take along the way. Notable highlights include a visit to the historic UNESCO World Heritage village of Nusfjord - Norway's oldest and best preserved fishing village, as well as a trip to the impressively sprawling and picturesque Henningsvær Village which is built across more than a dozen islands and islets that jet out towards the sea.
So, there you have it: Regent’s Top 6.
That’s not to say the rest of the roads are boring – far from it. If there are two ways to get to a destination, and one of them takes you on a Scenic Route, then that is definitely the route to take – even if it might not be the most direct one.
But don’t worry, on a Norwegian fly-drive, the journey really is the destination. So breathe, take your time and take it all in.