Are you planning to drive between Oslo and Bergen? Luckily there are several good routes to take.
Driving between Oslo and Bergen
In this article I’ll describe a more Northern route on Road 55. This route is a bit longer compared to the number 7, but it’s also a bit more scenic, taking you over Sognefjellet (the Sogne mountain), and down to Sognefjorden (the Sogne fjord). Note that the mountain road over the Sogne mountain is closed in the winter. Normally from the end of November and until the 1st of May.
Same as the number 7, a certain stretch of the 55 is also part of the Norwegian Scenic Routes, which are 18 selected roads that run through landscapes with unique natural qualities, along coasts and fjords.
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Planning the trip
This whole road trip can be done in two days, but you can easily spend 3-4 days or more. You might want to add extra time up in the mountains to allow for some hiking. And perhaps add time to explore more of the fjord country. In this article I’ll be giving hotel recommendations along the way, and tips on things to see and do.
I’ve divided this route into five legs (click to scroll):
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From Oslo to Lillehammer
Route between Oslo and Lillehammer
The first leg of the road trip goes out of Oslo, heading north on the road E6. This is the main road in Norway when driving between the south and the north. Most of this road has been upgraded the last years, and you can expect highway almost all the way up to Lillehammer.
I suggest making your first stop at the Espa Shell gas station aka. Bolleland (wheat bun land). It’s located just next to the largest lake in Norway, lake Mjøsa, and they are famous for their delicious wheat buns. They also sell all kinds of local specialties, and this would be a great place to have a “pølse i lompe” (hot dog), or a Norwegian waffle.
About a 30 min ride after Espa, consider making a second stop at Mjøstårnet (the tower of lake Mjøsa). This is one of the world’s tallest wooden buildings. Ride the elevator to the top for a great view of the lake and the surroundings.
Driving to Lillehammer from Oslo takes about 3 hours including a stop. You might remember Lillehammer as a host of the Winter Olympics in 1994. The town also gained popularity from the TV-series: Lilyhammer.
Things to do in Lillehammer
- Visit the Maihaugen Open Air Folk Museum
- Visit the Lysgårdsbakkene Ski Jumping Arena – (hike up the hills, or drive to the top)
Places to stay in Lillehammer
Driving Gudbrandsdalen (the Gudbrand valley) to Otta
This part of the road trip goes up Gudbrandsdalen (the Gudbrands valley). It’s named after Gudbrand, a man who lived in the valley, and supposedly brought Christianity there back in the 11th century. The whole valley is about 230 kilometers (140 mi) long, and for big parts of it you’ll be driving next to Gudbrandsdalslågen (The Gudbrand Valley River).
Out of Lillehammer you continue north on the road E6. First point of interest is the Hunderfossen Hydroplant. If you have kids you might want to spend time at the Hunderfossen Fairytale Park situated on the other side of the river. If you want to explore these places you can drive over a bridge a bit further up the river at Hafjell, and backtrack on a smaller road on the other side.
If not, continue north on the E6 and start taking in all the beautiful scenery. I’d recommend putting in some music from Secret Garden, a perfect soundtrack for the beauty of Gudbrandsdalen.
New road vs Old road
A few years ago, parts of the E6 in Gudbrandsdalen was upgraded and moved to the other side of the river. The new road is faster, but has road tolls. The old road is slower, no road toll, and you drive through a couple of smaller villages. If I’m not short on time I usually take the old road, and it’ll only slow you down with about 15 minutes compared to the new one. To do the old road keep right on road 91 heading for Hundorp. You’ll be back on the E6 after you drive through Kvam.
However, a few minutes after Kvam you take a left at Otta, leaving the E6 and heading into Bøverdalen (the Bøver valley) towards the town of Lom.
Things to see and do in Gudbrandsdalen
Places to stay in Gudbrandsdalen
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Bøverdalen & Lom
Bøverdalen to Lom
At the town of Otta you will leave the E6, and drive on to road number 15. This road takes you into Bøverdalen (the Bøver valley), and after about one hour of driving you’ll arrive to the town of Lom.
Lom is the last village before you drive into the Jotunheimen National Park and over the Sogne mountain. It’s a great place to stop to get some supplies, but many also like to spend some nights here and use it as a base for day hikes in the surrounding area.
Things to see and do in Bøverdalen & Lom
Places to stay in Lom
Sognefjellet & Jotunheimen
Driving over Sognefjellet
If you think the road trip has been scenic so far, well now starts the most picturesque part of the drive. Out of Lom you drive onto the national road 55 also known as the Sognefjell road. After about 20 min you’ll see signs pointing towards Galdhøpiggen. This is the highest mountain peak in Norway, 2469 meters (8100 feet), and can be climbed by hiking over a glacier. If you are up for the challenge you can drive up to the Spiterstulen Mountain Lodge, and start the hike from there. I recommend signing up for a tour with an experienced mountain guide.
If not, continue your drive on road number 55 along the river. There are a couple of nice places to stay before you start driving up the mountain (see listing below). Eventually the road will start climbing up, up, up… The tree line is around 1000 meters (3000 feet), and before you know it, you’ll be up on the mountain plateau.
The area you are driving through now is called Jotunheimen (home of the giants/trolls), and it’s the highest mountain pass in Norway. I recommend doing plenty of stops on the many parking spots along the road, and why not put on your hiking boots and do a little hike. The Norwegian Trekking Association has good info about hiking in Norway. Put on the Peer Gynt Suites by Edvard Grieg on your stereo to accompany the view.
For the best photo ops, make a stop here (google map):
Fantestein (the highest point)
Upper Oscarshaug (toilets)
Continue driving on the road 55 over the mountain and down on the other side, driving into the small village of Fortun. You’ve now arrived to a whole other part of Norway called “Vestlandet” (Western Norway).
Note! The road going over the mountain is some places quite windy and steep. Make sure to be considerate to other drivers, and remember that the biggest vehicle has priority.
There are a few places to stay up on the mountain plateau (see listing below), but don’t expect any big resorts. Norwegians tend to prefer basic, but comfortable accommodation when they stay in these areas.
Places to stay in Jotunheimen
Before driving up the mountain
Up on the mountain plateau
Just after the mountain plateau
Sognefjorden – The Fjord Country
Driving from Fortun to Flåm
Continue on the road 55 to the small village of Skjolden. This is a great spot for a picnic down by Lusterfjorden, which is a fjord arm of the greater Sognefjord. In Skjolden you’ll find a small grocery store, a café, public restrooms and a visitor center.
After Skjolden you start driving through the “fjord country”. You can either continue on the road 55, or if you want to visit the Urnes Stave Church take road 331 on the east side of the fjord. You can cross the fjord back on the 55 from Ornes to Solvorn.
It’s easy to see why these are some of the most beautiful parts of Norway. Winding fjord roads taking you through small villages and fruit orchards. If it’s the season make sure to try out local raspberries, strawberries, apples and pears.
The road number 55 takes you towards the city of Sogndal. Here you’ll make a left turn onto road number 5, eventually leading you to the Mannheller – Fodnes ferry, where you’ll have to cross the Sognefjord. This ferry has several departures every hour, and no reservation is needed. From Fodnes continue on to the road E16 and drive through the Lærdals tunnel (the world’s longest car tunnel) until you come to the town of Flåm.
For a much more scenic drive after Fodnes, you can choose to take the old Aurlands road (number 243) driving over the mountain instead of through it. This road is also part of the Norwegian Scenic Routes. If you have the time and energy for more driving that day, this is a route I’d highly suggest. At the end you are rewarded with a beautiful view of the Aurlandsfjord. But if you are in a bit of a hurry, and already drove for many miles that day, you might consider taking the tunnel for the fastest way down to Flåm.
Exploring the Fjord country
If you have time I’d suggest to further explore the area you just drove through. There are many nice little villages such as Balestrand, Solvorn, Fjærland, Lærdalsøyri. And there are a lot of possibilities for hiking, kayaking, glaciers, fjord cruises, cider tasting and other cultural experiences.
Fjord Cruise & Flåmsbana – Norway in a Nutshell
When you arrive to Flåm you have a few options to join in on the Norway in a Nutshell route. Meaning, you could park your car in Flåm and head on a fjord cruise on the majestic Aurlandsfjord and Nærøyfjord. You can also ride the spectacular Flåmsbana train up the mountain. Check out the article I wrote on how to book the Norway in a Nutshell trip yourself.
Things to see and do in the Fjord Country
Places to stay in the Fjord Country
Driving into Bergen
Driving between Voss and Bergen
The last part of this drive is about 2,5 hours on the road E16 from Flåm to Bergen. For many this leg is just transportation, but make sure you stop by the Tvindefossen waterfall.The town of Voss is also worth a visit
The last part of this drive is about 2,5 hours on the road E16 from Flåm to Bergen. For many this leg is just transportation, but make sure you stop by the Tvindefossen waterfall.
The town of Voss is also worth a visit, and its well known for offering a lot of outdoor activities. Find some activities in Voss here.
This is the end of the road trip and I hope you’ll get a nice stay in Bergen! Please share this article with anyone planning a road trip in Norway.
Thank you, tusen takk for reading!