Norway has absolutely breathtaking scenery, a perfect setting for a road trip! Renting a car in Bergen after debarking from our Baltic cruise just made sense. We could have taken a train ride to see more of the fjords, but that wouldn’t allow us the freedom to stop by the road side to admire the sheep meandering down the rural road, or climb a mountain when the desire hit. The freedom to make our own itinerary was just too appealing.
A certain amount of planning was needed to determine when we would return home to our jobs. After a two week cruise, we decided a five day road trip would allow us to cover quite a bit of ground. Since we weren’t packing camping gear, we needed to make plans for accommodation along the way. It was convenient to be able to read reviews and plan a little before we left home. I used an online booking website which allowed us to communicate with property owners when necessary as well. I think it would have been challenging to find accommodations in the shoulder season, especially those off the beaten path.
We had a rough route mapped out for the five day journey. But we were building in flexibility as hiking up a mountain in pouring rain would not be fun! And sometimes you’re just so taken by the scenery that you forget to refer to your map (yes this happened on the second day).
Day one led us from the populated city of Bergen to the rural scenic roads we were seeking. My husband enjoys driving back roads at home, so I wasn’t surprised when he took an unplanned turn. A little while later we were admiring the Eikelandsfossen Waterfall. After rerouting the GPS we continued along this route, which we later learned was the Gaularfjellet National Tourist Route.
Over a simple meal in our cabin, that night, we decided to wake up early and hike to the Haugabreen Glacier. It was a short drive to the trail, and we would still have enough daylight to get to our next booked accommodation.
After a great sleep, we arrived at the trail head around 8am. We are beginner hikers and heeded the warnings not to hike the glacier without expert guides, we just wanted to see and touch the glacier. The trail was easy to follow, and the return trip was about three hours.
We enjoyed the beauty of Innviksfjorden as we drove to Stryn. We then bypassed Route 15 to drive through Gamle Strynefjellsvegen. The winding hairpin turns led us to a very narrow route where large rocks served as guardrails and we felt taken back in time. We stopped many times over the next 20 kms to enjoy the simple beauty.
This was the one morning we forgot to refer to my “plan”, and I realized we had missed the Sognefjellet route. Ironically we’d have missed one of our favourite roads of the trip had we followed my “plan,” and would have not had time for that hike. No regrets though, we had a wonderful day!
Driving into Geiranger was both beautiful and tension inducing. I was happy to find our cabin overlooking one of the most popular fjords in Norway, just in time to watch the sun set. Being late September, the village was pretty quiet, with only a handful of tourists. Checking in I asked the host for a dinner recommendation. This gem was a short walk up the hill from the cabin, which allowed us to enjoy a glass of wine!
After a hearty breakfast buffet in one of the larger hotels (the only open option we could find), we drove up to the Ornesvingen viewing platform. Then we strolled around the village waiting for the ferry to Hellesylt. This crossing is very popular with tourists, but being off-season, we had no trouble getting on the second ferry of the day. It was unusually warm for this time of year. Warm enough to sit on the upper viewing deck to enjoy the old abandoned farms and the famous Seven Sisters Waterfall.
From the ferry we made our way to Urke, arriving after noon and hungry. We were lucky to find a cruise ship docked, which meant the local patio serving beer was open. It was an exceptionally warm day and the scenery was spectacular. We had waffles with our beer, which was surprisingly not bad.
We then checked into the historic Hotel Union Øye. I considered the splurge worth it since we planned to hike Mount Saksa. After a fabulous meal we read a little of the history of the old hotel. Luckily we had a wonderful sleep, and were not disturbed by Linda, the ghost of the hotel.
After breakfast in the hotel, we made our way to the trail head. It was an unusually warm day for the area, and it wasn’t long before we were meeting locals on the trail. The views as we climbed the mountain were breathtaking, and well worth the climb.
After changing into dry clothes we made our way to pick up the Geiranger – Trollstigen highway in Linge. This drive started out fairly average, but ended with the most scenic mountainside vistas as we descended into Andalsnes. Tired and hungry from the hike we passed by the viewing platforms to make our way to our cabin for the night.
We had a lot of road to cover on our last day of driving to Trondheim. We had mapped out a route via the Atlanterhavsvegen Tourist Route. This route overlooking the Norwegian Sea reminded us of the landscape we would see along the fishing villages in our home province of Nova Scotia. But the engineering of the bridges spanning between the islets is where it really stood out as unique.
We drove to see the Kvernes stave church, just a little way off our route. It is only open during the summer months, but we walked around the outside, admiring the log construction.
Trondheim, the third largest city in Norway, has lots to offer. We stayed right on the Nidelva River and a short walk to Old Town Bridge. There were many trendy dining options in this mostly walking area of the city. Unfortunately I was not feeling well, but my husband ventured out.
We had the morning to walk around the Old Town and enjoy our last fika before flying home. A perfect ending to a memorable trip. It seems I already have a seed planted in my mind regarding my return trip to Norway. Does anyone else do that? Plan your return trip before you even arrive home?