Road Trip in Norway: Itinerary for 1-2 Weeks - from Bergen
Planning a road trip to Norway but don’t know where to start? Being such a huge and vast country extending all the way up to the artic circle, it’s simply impossible to ‘see’ the whole country in just a couple of weeks. Luckily, the country is full of fjords, waterfalls and mountains - no matter where you go, you are surrounded by beautiful nature. Therefore, the best way to experience Norway would be to choose a region you want to see and really take the time to explore and immerse in that area.
This article is for those flying into Bergen and planning to do a 1-2 week road trip. You’ll find many helpful tips in this article about transport options, road tolls, best places to see, hiking trails and also tips for those travelling on a budget (aka. without a car). It’s going to be a long article with lots of information, so let’s get into it!
1. Arriving in Norway: Important Info
2. Transport: Getting Around + Road Tolls
3. Best Itinerary for 1-2 Weeks from Bergen
4. Longer Road Trip: More Beautiful Locations to Visit
5. What to Pack and How to Prepare For Norway?
6. Accommodation Tips: Where to Stay on a Budget?
1. Arriving in Norway: Important Info
Best time to Visit Norway:
Peak Season: If you want the warmest weather, then July and August are probably your best bet. Although it’s considered peak season, Norway is so vast that the tourists are rather well spread out. You only really notice the peak season crowds in places like Flam and Bergen (and the cruise ships ports).
Mid Season: If you don’t mind a little cold and maybe even a little snow - then May, June, and September are the months I would recommend. In May, you get the best gushing waterfalls with all the alpine snow beginning to melt. From sunny fjords to snow covered mountain plateau, you get the best of both during these months.
The midnight sun spectacle is only for the regions north of Norway, but around the last few weeks of June, you can experience beautiful long sunsets at 11pm and nights that never seem to go completely dark before sunrise again at 4am. Really magical experience.
Arriving in Bergen Airport:
Bergen Airport is open 24 hrs so you can sleep there for the night if you have a super early flight and would prefer to save on a night’s accommodation + transport fee.
To get to Bergen City, you can either take: the Direct Bus for about 120 NOK (12 Euros) or take the slower Local Tram for 38 NOK (4 Euros).
SIM Card and Data Usage: If you have any European SIM, then it should work perfectly fine here (unlike in Switzerland). Don’t bother getting a Norwegian SIM Card if you don’t have to as it’s a bit of a process and rather costly.
Money, Cash, Currency:
Norway uses Norwegian Kroner (NOK)
10 NOK = 1 EUR (roughly)
You can pay by card almost everywhere, but sometimes it’s worth having cash on you as many people do still use cash - 200 NOK is a good amount to have on you, just in case.
If you will be travelling more and using different currencies (EUR, NOK, SEK, GBP, USD, AUD etc.), then you might want to consider using TransferWise to manage your funds. I wrote an article about how you can avoid the large currency conversions fees from banks when travelling short or long term.
You can find it here: Best Way to Manage Foreign Currencies.
Health and Safety:
Norway is a very safe country. It’s also beautifully pristine and clean, so please keep it that way and respect the amazing nature landscape by ‘leaving no trace’.
Freedom Camping is allowed - but there are some guidelines to keep to, which you can read about here: Scandinavia Freedom Camping
Tap water is drinkable and it’s super good! You can also fill up from waterfalls or mountain streams… best water I ever tasted!
Recycling: When you buy plastic bottles or aluminium cans in Norway, they charge you a few NOK extra, which you only get back if you return the bottles!! At almost every supermarket, there is a recycling machine that scans the codes and you get your money back in the form of a receipt, which you can also use in store as a coupon.
2. Transport and Road Tolls
Travelling by Car:
Definitely the best way to travel Norway is by car. You can get to those hidden spots, do sunrise hikes, stop at cool waterfalls along the way and have the flexibility of being spontaneous. But renting a car in Norway is expensive! Not to mention the Road Toll bills, which can add up quickly to a very hefty amount. When you drive in Norway, expect lots and lots of tunnels with road toll fees. In my first two weeks in Norway, I travelled the same route mentioned below and accumulated almost 200 Euros in Road Tolls alone… Not including Ferry Rides.
Road Tolls in Norway and how to AVOID them:
The easiest way to avoid road tolls is to have an electric car. Electric cars are exempt from all road tolls and bridge tolls (as far as I know), but you do need a special permit for this. If you’re renting an electric car, then enquire and make sure that road tolls are indeed exempt. There are no barriers or gates, everything is automatic.
If you have a petrol/diesel car, then unfortunately you will be subject to Road Toll fees. This is usually along the more scenic/touristic routes, most tunnels will incur in tolls from 30-100 NOK, and to cross certain bridges (like the Voss to Eidfjord bridge) can cost up to 300 NOK (30 Euros) for ONE WAY! Often, there is no way around these tolls and even if you take a detour, it will cost you time.
Norwegian registered cars usually have an electronic toll pass. But if you’re driving with a foreign car, there’s no need to register or buy a pass/vignette (unlike in Austria and Switzerland) - they simply stalk you and send you an invoice by snail mail next month.
Travelling by Train:
The main train route is between Bergen-Oslo and this route is so beautiful, especially the stretch from Bergen (via Voss and Myrdal) to Geilo. You pass through stunning alpine scenery, lakes and glaciers.
Although more expensive than bus, it’s worth it because the train often travels through places where cars/roads don’t go through - therefore, it’s a very unique experience in my opinion.
They also do student discounts but beware: you must present your student ID otherwise you’ll get fined. They are very black and white about this.
The trains in Norway used to be run by NSB, but have since changed and are now known as VY. You can find more info about prices and timetables here: Vy (Former NSB)
Travelling by Bus:
You can either buy your tickets on the app or on the bus. Buses usually accept cash and card.
Some routes accept STUDENT DISCOUNTS so always ask just in case - you cave save so much money.
Norwegians are super punctual so don’t be late to the bus stop.
No road toll fees here!
Surprisingly easy if you are alone or as a pair - but this depends on where you are. Overall, I have hitch hiked countless times (over 30 rides in total) - and I felt so safe. The people who picked me up were so incredibly nice, some even gave me punnets of strawberries, while another lady gave me some lunch money. One time, I even got picked up by a gleaming white Tesla!! Best hitch hiking experience goes to Norway for sure!
3. Best Itinerary for 1-2 Weeks from Bergen
BERGEN: 2 DAYS
The city of Bergen is rather small and quickly explored in half a day. You will find nice gardens and parks, (expensive) restaurants lining the waterfront and quaint, cozy streets with colourful houses. Here are some of my city recommendations:
Bryggen - The Old Town of Bergen is probably the most touristic part, but it’s definitely worth having a look as it’s very photogenic and they have lots of interesting things on display.
Nøstet - Absolutely the cutest area in Bergen! Down the cobbled street lanes of Klosteret and Skottegatan, you’ll find clusters of cozy, colourful Norwegian style houses. This area has such cool vibes and the best part is… not very many people know about this place?
Løvetann Kaffebar - Local Cafe serving excellent food and baking. Located right by the beautiful Nøstet suburb.
Address: Klosteret 16, 5005 Bergen, Norway
Godt Brød Fløyen - Local Cafe with delicious (and expensive) Norwegian style sandwiches.
Address: Vetrlidsallmenningen 19, 5018 Bergen, Norway
However, the real attraction is the landscape - more specifically the seven mountains that encircle Bergen. Here are two of the mountains you can easily visit from Bergen city:
Fløyen - You can either hike up from the harbour or go up with the Fløibanen (around 50 NOK one way). Best time to go is sunset or sunrise and you have an amazing panoramic view over Bergen city. There are also an entire network of hiking trails here from easy to hard. If you are up for an adventurous Day Hike, then follow the “Vidden” track all the way to Ulriken Peak. Takes about 5hrs but the landscape and mountain plateau is a dream to hike through.
You can find more information and prices about the mountain funicular here: Fløibanen
Ulriken - You can take a bus to the bottom of Ulriken and begin the hike there. It should only take you an hour to reach the top. Beware: there are lots of steep stairs. If you prefer not to walk, you can also reach the top via the Ulriksbanen (Cable Car) for about 125 NOK.
You can find more information and prices here: Ulriksbanen
VOSSVANGEN (aka. VOSS): 1-2 DAYS
Most people use Voss primarily as a base for activities and further destinations. This is a good place to stock up on supermarket food and do any necessary shopping.
Fun Fact #1: This is where the fancy VOSS water comes from apparently. Fun Fact #2: I actually lived here for a couple months and my favourite cafe/bar in Voss is the Tre Brør Kafé og Bar. Super chill, cozy vibes! :)
Beautiful Places in/near Voss:
Lornahorgi: the massive mountain right above Voss can be hiked (and skied) but it takes a good full day to make the return trip. You start from behind the Voss Folk Museum and the route is very steep - so definitely need proper hiking boots.
Bordalsgjelet: a natural wonder of deeply carved gorges and rivers - it’s absolutely stunning! Simply follow the Bordalsgjelet trail (it’s not very long) and you’ll reach a really nice view point. Best part is: not many people know about this hidden gem!
Skjervsfossen: located between Voss and Granvin, this is waterfall is worth the little side trip! (The girl in the photo is wearing a traditional Norwegian Bunad on May 17th - Norwegian Independence Day)
Tvindefossen: massive waterfall on the way to Gudvangen/Flåm.
AURLAND REGION: 1-2 DAYS
Aurland is a more touristic region, especially in the township of Flåm. Many cruise ships and boats tend to stop here and so it’s a very busy place during peak season. However, it’s a very scenic fjord and there are two things I would highly recommend you do:
Myrdal to Flåm: Train or Hike?
One of the most breathtaking hikes you can do is the trail from Myrdal through a steep, rugged valley lined with waterfalls all the way to Flåm. Take the train all the way to Myrdal Station and begin the hike there. It should only take you about 3-4hrs to hike and the path is quite well marked.
You can also do this stretch via the Flåmsbana Rail, which costs about 360 NOK (36 Euros per person - One Way). Basically hop off at Myrdal and change trains. It will take you all the way down to Flåm.
You can find more info about it here: Rail Info and Prices/Timetable
Stegastein: Lookout Point
If you want a panoramic view of the Aurlandsfjord, then Stegastein is the place for it! It’s pretty hard to get here without a car as it’s very very high up, plus the roads are rather narrow and windy. Definitely a popular spot but well worth the effort of getting up here.
The girl in the photo is wearing a traditional Norwegian Bunad - also taken on May 17th: Norwegian Independence Day.
KAYKING the NÆRØYFJORD: 1-3 DAYS
Whether you have time (and money) for one day or three full days - I highly, highly recommend you do a kayak tour with Nordic Ventures along the Nærøyfjord (the world’s narrowest fjord and UNESCO Site). It’s also possible to rent kayaks but honestly, you get so much out of the guided tours, especially the 2-3 day tours where you also go wild camping and alpine hiking.
You can find more information and photos on my detailed article here:
Kayaking the Nærøyfjord
EIDFJORD REGION: 2 DAYS
This is a region you shouldn’t miss. I had the privilege of working with an Outdoor Activities company (Flat Earth) for a few months and also Destination Eidfjord in promoting this beautiful region. From Kayaking and Rafting, to Hiking and Glacier Expeditions - there is so much to explore. Eidfjord is also the gateway to the Hardangervidda National Park, where you have the option of hiking many day and multi-day trails.
Here are some of my favourite places:
Kjeåsen Mountain Village: From Eidfjord, you can either drive down the Simadal Valley and through the tunnel to the top, or rent a bike from the Eidfjord Info Centre and cycle 20mins to the start of the hike. The track is steep and very rocky, but I promise it’s so much more rewarding to hike up than it is to drive up!
Total Hiking Time: 1-1.5 hrs one way.
Øvre Eidfjord and Nature Centre: The road to Øvre Eidfjord is stunning and the lake is a popular place to swim and fish. If you’re interested in geology, flora and fauna - then a visit to the Nature Centre is well worth it. It’s very educational and very well put together.
Hardangervidda National Park: From Øvre Eidfjord, you can reach the car park quite easily via Hjølmoberget. The road is very windy and steep with many dirt road sections. If you want to do a day hike, I can recommend going to Valursfossen. But you can find many short and multi-day trails from here.
Voringfossen: This waterfall is like a scene from Jurassic Park! It’s absolutely mind blowing how magnificent it is. The best view of the waterfall is from the lookout point by Fossli Hotel. You can also hike down to the bottom of the falls too (2.5 hrs return). By car, it’s about 15-20 mins from Eidfjord.
If you have any questions about the trails or what to do/see - the lovely ladies at the Eidfjord Info Centre are super helpful! You can find more information about Eidjord here: Visit Eidfjord
4. Extend your Trip: More Beautiful Locations to Visit
If you have more time to spare perhaps an extra week or so, then I can definitely recommend the following places to visit! However, be prepared for long drives and it may be that you will have to take a more expensive ferry back to Bergen to save time or fly out from Stavanger. Some of these routes are rather tricky and quite out of the way, but totally worth the extra effort I promise you!
Popular Hikes near Stavanger:
Preikestolen: Steep Cliff Drop
Kjerag(bolten): Boulder between rock
Trolltunga: Trolls Tongue Hike from Odda
Stunning Waterfalls that you might pass by:
Langfossen - On the way down to Kjerag and Preikestolen
Låtefossen - 20 min drive from Langfossen, near Odda
Steindalfossen - Near Norheimsund along the alternative route back to Bergen.
5. What to Pack and How to Prepare For Norway?
Norwegian weather can be brutal and very unpredictable. Make sure you bring lots of warm clothes (even if it’s summer), also bring lots of waterproof/rain gear because you will most likely need it. If you are backpacking and plan on freedom camping, then I have curated a list of the most essential items and camping advice for trips like these.
You can find it here: Backpacking Essentials and Camping Tips
6. Accommodation on a Budget - Tips
Here are your options for backpackers on a budget:
Sleeping in Car: make sure you rent a car that is spacious enough to put the backseats down and you can stretch your legs.
Freedom Camping: is legal in Scandinavia but please respect the nature and people’s property. Read more about Freedom Camping in Norway.
Camping Sites and Huts: If you prefer to have access to bathroom, showers, kitchen and electricity then you will find many camp sites and/or huts around most regions. They are not too expensive: Roughly 50-80 Euros for a hut for 3-4 people.
If you prefer to travel with a bit more comfort or want to switch things up, you can find relevant accommodation options via the links below:
My Tip for those looking for accommodation on a Budget:
set the price range to the lowest category: $0-$50 or $100 max
tick: “only show available places” - makes your search less cluttered
use the MAP view because location is very important and it’s easier to see everything at a glance than it is to stroll through each of them.
shortlist your favourites: 3-5 max
make your choice based on: check-in and check-out times, reviews from other people, ease of getting there, WIFI, kitchen, etc.
Have you been to Norway before? Where were some of your favourite places and where would you like to visit next time? For me, I’d love to visit the Lofoten Islands, so if you have any recommendations, I’d love to hear them! Cheers!
This article contains my recommendations in the form of affiliate links. If you book or buy something through these links, then I will receive a small commission - this does not change the prices for you at all, but it certainly means a lot to me. So thank you :)