• a slow road trip down // norway's atlantic road

norway road trip // mahabis journalphoto: unsplash

 

If you’re seeking dramatic scenery but looking for somewhere peaceful where you can get away from the crowds, head to Norway for an unforgettable drive. The winding road from Bergen to Trondheim includes the five-mile-long Atlantic Road, a stretch that sweeps and curves over eight iconic bridges to connect the small islets that lie in its path. The journey between Norway’s two largest cities outside Oslo takes in this road, as well as visiting some of the country’s most spectacular fjords.

 

the atlantic road

Named the ‘Best Summer Drive in Europe’ by Lonely Planet, Norway’s Atlantic Road is a short stretch of the national route 64. Only five miles long, it’s best to tie in a trip to the road with a longer route that takes in some of Norway’s iconic scenery.

Driving from Bergen to Trondheim, you'll naturally slow your pace to soak in the dramatic landscapes that you pass through. Jagged mountains, deep fjords and rugged coastlines compete for your attention with a rich cultural history as you navigate the winding roads. Take time to stop the car, hike up to snow-capped peaks and admire the unparalleled view of the fjords from above.

 

norway road trip // mahabis journalphoto: jose murillo

 

bergen to geirangerfjord

The first leg of the journey begins in Norway’s second largest city, Bergen. Despite its status and the abundance of culture to absorb, Bergen feels like a much smaller town and is the perfect place to set the mood for the rest of the drive. Spend a couple of days exploring the town at your leisure, taking the funicular up above the town to admire the view of the fjord, exploring the old wharf and visiting the many museums and art galleries.

Once you’re ready to leave, head inland to Voss, where adventure lovers will be in their element. In the winter, this is the perfect spot for skiers to spend a couple of days exploring the slopes, and in the warmer months, white-water rafting and skydiving are popular activities. Those who seek something a little tamer can explore Bordalsfjelet, a dramatic gorge 5km from Voss, or can visit the traditional turf houses that contain the folk museum.

Leaving Voss, the route passes by Sognefjord, the longest and deepest fjord in the whole of Norway. Stop to take to the water on a kayak or simply to sit on the banks of the water and admire the view. Continuing on the Fjaerlands Road, take a detour to visit the Jostedal glacier and the Norwegian glacier museum before heading to Hellesylt to take the car ferry over Geirangerfjord.

More than merely a means to continue your journey, the boat trip offers a chance to sit back and admire the dramatic scenery of one of the world’s most picturesque fjords as you sail past iconic waterfalls including the Seven Sisters and Bridal Veil.

 

a slow road trip down // norway's atlantic roadphoto: via wikipedia

 

trollstigen to alesund

After disembarking the ferry, take the steep ‘Eagle Road’ up the mountain pass to Eidsdal. Here, you will need to take another ferry over a fjord before tackling Norway’s most visited road: Trollstigen (the ‘Troll Ladder’).

Those with a fear of heights will want to close their eyes at this point, as the road hairpins as it climbs, offering jaw-dropping views of the valley below. As Romsdalsfjorden comes into view, you will want to find a place to park and spend some time peering over the precipice to admire the landscape far below.

From here on, the road weaves around the edge of the fjords, occasionally snaking inland before eventually emerging at the Art Nouveau fishing port village of Alesund. Following a fire that destroyed the town in 1904, Alesund was completely rebuilt in the popular style of the time, providing a complete contrast to the traditional Norwegian fishing villages that line the rest of the route.

Allow yourself time out from driving to explore the charming little town with its colourful buildings and surprising amount of galleries, restaurants and shops. Surrounded by mountains and fjords, there is plenty here for lovers of nature, architecture and culture.

 

norway road trip // mahabis journalphoto: jay mantri

 

molde to the atlantic road

To reach the coastal town of Molde, drive back on yourself before heading north to reach the terminal for the car ferry. In the heart of the fjords, you will find yourself surrounded by small islets and snow-capped peaks from all sides as you sail across the open water.

Plan to spend some time exploring Molde, a small traditional Norwegian town that is particularly known for its rose gardens. Wander around the gardens and visit the Romsdal folk museum, before heading to the Varden viewpoint to admire the town, the mountains and surrounding fjords from above.

Heading north, the small fishing village of Bud heralds the start of the iconic Atlantic Road. Take your time driving across the eight bridges that make up this short route, stopping wherever possible to get out of your car, take photographs and admire the view. If you’re visiting during a calm day, look out to sea for the chance of spotting orcas or seals frolicking in the waves. During stormier days, you’ll need to be vigilant as the winds are strong and the waves occasionally splash up onto the road, but the moody vistas make the drive worthwhile.

 

norway road trip // mahabis journalphoto: via wikipedia

 

Haholmen to Trondheim

Shortly after the white-knuckle experience of driving the Atlantic Road, you’ll reach Geitoya quay, where we recommend leaving your car for a couple of nights. From here, take the boat to Halholmen to enjoy the peace and tranquillity of this remote island. This tiny fishing hamlet offers the opportunity to spend the night in a traditional wooden fisherman’s cabin with no distractions albeit the beautiful scenery.

Back on the mainland, the final stretch of road takes you along the water before sweeping inland to arrive at another coastal town, Trondheim. Known as the ‘Capital of the Vikings’, this vibrant city is home to an impressive cathedral, a folk museum and many reminders of its time as the capital of Norway. Rows of traditional wooden colourful buildings adorn the harbour and out beyond the waters of the fjord, snow-capped mountains beckon.

Although we finish our journey here, the many fjords further north beckon with possibilities for future trips. Instead, we recommend sitting by the shore and admiring the views.

 

norway road trip // mahabis journalphoto: anton hoojidonk

a slow road trip down // norway's atlantic road

norway road trip // mahabis journalphoto: unsplash

 

If you’re seeking dramatic scenery but looking for somewhere peaceful where you can get away from the crowds, head to Norway for an unforgettable drive. The winding road from Bergen to Trondheim includes the five-mile-long Atlantic Road, a stretch that sweeps and curves over eight iconic bridges to connect the small islets that lie in its path. The journey between Norway’s two largest cities outside Oslo takes in this road, as well as visiting some of the country’s most spectacular fjords.

 

the atlantic road

Named the ‘Best Summer Drive in Europe’ by Lonely Planet, Norway’s Atlantic Road is a short stretch of the national route 64. Only five miles long, it’s best to tie in a trip to the road with a longer route that takes in some of Norway’s iconic scenery.

Driving from Bergen to Trondheim, you'll naturally slow your pace to soak in the dramatic landscapes that you pass through. Jagged mountains, deep fjords and rugged coastlines compete for your attention with a rich cultural history as you navigate the winding roads. Take time to stop the car, hike up to snow-capped peaks and admire the unparalleled view of the fjords from above.

 

norway road trip // mahabis journalphoto: jose murillo

 

bergen to geirangerfjord

The first leg of the journey begins in Norway’s second largest city, Bergen. Despite its status and the abundance of culture to absorb, Bergen feels like a much smaller town and is the perfect place to set the mood for the rest of the drive. Spend a couple of days exploring the town at your leisure, taking the funicular up above the town to admire the view of the fjord, exploring the old wharf and visiting the many museums and art galleries.

Once you’re ready to leave, head inland to Voss, where adventure lovers will be in their element. In the winter, this is the perfect spot for skiers to spend a couple of days exploring the slopes, and in the warmer months, white-water rafting and skydiving are popular activities. Those who seek something a little tamer can explore Bordalsfjelet, a dramatic gorge 5km from Voss, or can visit the traditional turf houses that contain the folk museum.

Leaving Voss, the route passes by Sognefjord, the longest and deepest fjord in the whole of Norway. Stop to take to the water on a kayak or simply to sit on the banks of the water and admire the view. Continuing on the Fjaerlands Road, take a detour to visit the Jostedal glacier and the Norwegian glacier museum before heading to Hellesylt to take the car ferry over Geirangerfjord.

More than merely a means to continue your journey, the boat trip offers a chance to sit back and admire the dramatic scenery of one of the world’s most picturesque fjords as you sail past iconic waterfalls including the Seven Sisters and Bridal Veil.

 

a slow road trip down // norway's atlantic roadphoto: via wikipedia

 

trollstigen to alesund

After disembarking the ferry, take the steep ‘Eagle Road’ up the mountain pass to Eidsdal. Here, you will need to take another ferry over a fjord before tackling Norway’s most visited road: Trollstigen (the ‘Troll Ladder’).

Those with a fear of heights will want to close their eyes at this point, as the road hairpins as it climbs, offering jaw-dropping views of the valley below. As Romsdalsfjorden comes into view, you will want to find a place to park and spend some time peering over the precipice to admire the landscape far below.

From here on, the road weaves around the edge of the fjords, occasionally snaking inland before eventually emerging at the Art Nouveau fishing port village of Alesund. Following a fire that destroyed the town in 1904, Alesund was completely rebuilt in the popular style of the time, providing a complete contrast to the traditional Norwegian fishing villages that line the rest of the route.

Allow yourself time out from driving to explore the charming little town with its colourful buildings and surprising amount of galleries, restaurants and shops. Surrounded by mountains and fjords, there is plenty here for lovers of nature, architecture and culture.

 

norway road trip // mahabis journalphoto: jay mantri

 

molde to the atlantic road

To reach the coastal town of Molde, drive back on yourself before heading north to reach the terminal for the car ferry. In the heart of the fjords, you will find yourself surrounded by small islets and snow-capped peaks from all sides as you sail across the open water.

Plan to spend some time exploring Molde, a small traditional Norwegian town that is particularly known for its rose gardens. Wander around the gardens and visit the Romsdal folk museum, before heading to the Varden viewpoint to admire the town, the mountains and surrounding fjords from above.

Heading north, the small fishing village of Bud heralds the start of the iconic Atlantic Road. Take your time driving across the eight bridges that make up this short route, stopping wherever possible to get out of your car, take photographs and admire the view. If you’re visiting during a calm day, look out to sea for the chance of spotting orcas or seals frolicking in the waves. During stormier days, you’ll need to be vigilant as the winds are strong and the waves occasionally splash up onto the road, but the moody vistas make the drive worthwhile.

 

norway road trip // mahabis journalphoto: via wikipedia

 

Haholmen to Trondheim

Shortly after the white-knuckle experience of driving the Atlantic Road, you’ll reach Geitoya quay, where we recommend leaving your car for a couple of nights. From here, take the boat to Halholmen to enjoy the peace and tranquillity of this remote island. This tiny fishing hamlet offers the opportunity to spend the night in a traditional wooden fisherman’s cabin with no distractions albeit the beautiful scenery.

Back on the mainland, the final stretch of road takes you along the water before sweeping inland to arrive at another coastal town, Trondheim. Known as the ‘Capital of the Vikings’, this vibrant city is home to an impressive cathedral, a folk museum and many reminders of its time as the capital of Norway. Rows of traditional wooden colourful buildings adorn the harbour and out beyond the waters of the fjord, snow-capped mountains beckon.

Although we finish our journey here, the many fjords further north beckon with possibilities for future trips. Instead, we recommend sitting by the shore and admiring the views.

 

norway road trip // mahabis journalphoto: anton hoojidonk
  • Emma Lavelle
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