OSLO TO BERGEN DRIVING TOUR: 4 DAY ROAD TRIP
Our 4-day road trip from Oslo to Bergen follows National Highway 7, recognized as one of the most popular and highly-traveled roadways in all of Norway; a dream route for visitors and locals alike! This stretch of road spans the width of the nation and many different micro-climates including alpine terrain, valleys, flatlands, fjords and coastline, and is best seen by those traveling either east from Bergen or west from Oslo. Hop into your rental car and get ready for an adventurous look at the wildlife and natural landscapes of this unrivaled stretch of true Nordic wilderness.
DAY 1: OSLO TO NORESUND VIA HØNEFOSS
Emerge out of the stunning rocky crags of the eastern cliffs on E16 after picking up your Oslo car rental, and feast your eyes upon the impressive landscapes of Steinsfjorden - an 8 km long arm of Tyrifjorden - and the county of Buskerud below. This area is home to some of the oldest accommodations in all of Norway and boasts splendid glimpses of authentic Norway village life. Explore the municipality of Hole with its quaint agricultural lands and archaeological finds. Upon the plateau, enjoy spectacular views in addition to opportunities to get out of the car and stretch your legs in the well-marked networks of stunning forest trails.
Should your appetite rear up, drop in at Sundvolden Hotel for an exquisite meal made with local, fresh and seasonal ingredients. A true combination of the rustic and refined, the views from this centuries-old hotel are exhilarating. Once you finish your meal with a decadent dessert, climb back into your car and head north across the Kroksund Bridge, a historic stone structure that was an everyday feature of the Old Royal Bergen Road. Summers here offer visitors amazing fishing in addition to fabulous hiking and mountain biking. When you've had your fill of outdoor activities, continue along this picturesque route past Steinsfjorden and the village of Vik for delightful displays of earth and water forged in harmony before arriving in No refund.
OLD-WORLD CHARMS FROM THE MIDDLE AGES
Founded in the earlier half of the 19th century, this former municipality shares a lot of its attractions and population with Hønefoss. Travelers will be fascinated by the storied Ringerikes Museum as well as the Norderhov Church, a charming medieval place of worship with an amazing past that dates back to the 12th Century. Although it has been restored many times since this pleasant copper-spired property offers a glimpse into the religious past of the nation.
Jump back into your vehicle and wind your way west around the edge of Spelhaugkollen, past valleys and hills as well as farms and bucolic wetlands. This fantastic area is the perfect backdrop for an hour of peaceful driving past the thick spruce groves of the Green Knot Nature Reserve, which hosts many native species of wildlife including elk, wolverine, bears, and lynx.
REST STOP AT A MOUNTAIN RETREAT
Turning towards the west on this route, you will find yourself on Rv7, headed towards an impressive yet hidden treasure within the valleys the area is known for. Travel 20 minutes down the Hallingdalveien to Noresund and Norefjell Golfklubb for inspired golfing among the mountains and along the shores of Noresund Lake. After touring the area, blow off some steam by taking advantage of the on-site driving range or glide down the nearby ski trails at Norefjell Skisenter. Once you're ready to turn in for the night, settle in at the Norefjellhytta for a restorative rest in a gorgeous log cabin style of lodging before heading into the scenic bliss of the journey ahead.
DAY 2: NOREFJELL TO GEILO VIA NESBYEN
Depart from Norefjellhytta and its chalet-like charm after lingering for the morning. On Norefjellhytta's terraces you can enjoy a rush of fresh air and an early lunch at the hotel's restaurant (if staying past 11 AM) before heading back onto the open road, refreshed and ready to discover what else Norway has in store for you. This time, you'll head north along the water and Hallingdalveien until reaching Ørgenvika, where you meet back up with Rv7 and have the pleasure of absorbing a mountainside stretch of road that features tunnels and the epic scenery of the northern arm of Krøderen. This stretch of road is beautifully maintained by toll fees - something you'll be sure to appreciate as you enjoy this pristine highway.
RAW AND REAL NATURE
Greeted by the ancient village of Gulsvik, visitors will have many a chance to witness landscapes and farmlands that have a timeline that extends back beyond the Middle Ages. The area here and at Fla to the north is notorious for its bear population, so keep your camera at the ready! This especially rings true for Bjørneparken, a compound that plays host to a hotel, shopping center and wildlife park exclusively focused on the different types of animals in the area, which include reindeer and, of course, bears. Stop by the bear park (a popular choice for young and old alike) and then treat yourself to some time at the shopping center where you'll find interesting Norwegian products, foods, and trinkets off of the scenic and unmistakably Nordic Rv7.
When you're ready, forge onward on the meandering Hallingdalselva River - the valley provides a holistic atmosphere and peacefulness fed straight from the majestic ranges of Hangervidda as it twists its way beside the route. In three-quarters of an hour, a well-deserved rest is in order, which can be taken in Nesbyen, a gorgeous town nestled within the foothills that give rise to stunning plateaus further west. The open-air museum in town, known as Hallingdal, was first established at the very end of the 19th Century and showcases artifacts celebrating the various lifestyles of the people native to this region.
THE IMPACT OF A PREHISTORIC METEORITE
Nesbyen's restaurants vary and include a few that are conveniently placed along Rv7 for easy access by both tourists and locals from nearby villages. The Nesbyen Kro, På Hjørnet and Smedsgården are quite nice and popular choices for travelers who hope to stop to grab a meal or some take out to enjoy on the road. Travel 15 minutes north to Gardnos Crater, just before Svenkerud where the road crosses over to the other side of the riverbank. This fascinating pit stop puts the prehistoric impact of a meteorite on display and is known for its vast 3 mile diameter. It is believed that this cosmic event occurred approximately 500 million years ago and is responsible for the unique characteristics of the region's rock formations and geology. We think it makes a great spot for a roadside picnic.
After lunch, cross the river and continue in a westward direction on Rv7 for just over an hour to find the resort-community of Geilo. The Geilo Skisenter is a fantastic place to turn in for the night and finish off the day in Buskerud, offering guests cozy accommodations with fireplaces and modern interiors. The cabins are right up against the slopes where you can stay a while longer to ski in the cooler parts of the year or, if you're traveling in the warmer months, stretch your legs with a leisurely hike. Cabins here even come equipped with saunas for a truly European ski chalet atmosphere - the perfect way to relax and renew after a few days on the road.
DAY 3: GEILO TO EIDFJORD VIA HARDANGERVIDDA NATIONAL TOURIST ROUTE
Depart from Geilo the next day for an exciting drive west to the beginning of one of Norway's National Tourist Routes, the Hardangervidda. Because it is such an impressive stretch of asphalt, this is a great time to really explore the sights around every twist and turn of Rv7 as it makes its way over the plateaus and through the prized Hardangervidda National Park.
TWIST THROUGH THE EPIC PLATEAUS OF CENTRAL NORWAY
This protected park is Norway's largest at 2,100 square miles and it includes many a wondrous scene which can be enjoyed during a day hike, mountain biking trip (great trails here) and fishing (though we feel it's also great to enjoy by car). The area features lookouts, lakes, rocky hills and forested surroundings that line the roads in many places making it a fantastic place to snap some one-of-a-kind photos sure to make family and friends back home jealous. The plateau itself opens up onto barren lands with mossy rock formations, lichens and miniature pools with moors and mountain flowers. Arctic animals such as fox, reindeer and more call this vast expanse home, and while you certainly cannot explore the whole of its majesty in a single day, there are more than enough stops to make along the route that is convenient, picture-worthy and definitely one-of-a-kind. Imagine taking a photo of you and your party in front of a vista like this one:
EXPLORE THIS UNIQUE LANDSCAPE ON FOOT
Stop at your choice of natural and man-made attractions along the way with activities such as horseback riding, canoeing or simply going for a stroll in places that afford flatter grounds and fascinating alpine plant life. The roads can be precarious at times; especially in those areas where the climb reaches an optimal height above sea level, but those who plan well will find that the roads are indeed more comfortable during the Summer season. Cabins dot the landscape and serve as a safe haven should the weather whip up suddenly, and because of the large number of hiking trails, it is best to employ the use of maps that can be supplied by visitor information offices or from the Norwegian Trekking Association. Along the road once in the thick of the mountains, you will find sights that include glaciers, canyons and more.
The Hardanger Fjord portion of this ride has winding sections that offer travelers the chance to pass through historic tunnels carved out of the mountainside. Stop off in the midst of this magical trip to enjoy lunch in Dyranut at the Dyranut Fjell - an eatery that offers a delicious rustic buffet centered around the area's game. There's nothing quite like enjoying local cuisine to fully dive into the culture of the communities you're traveling through. Your day will finish off with a breathtaking journey to the notorious 145-meter Vøringsfossen waterfall.
A PICTURE-PERFECT NATURAL WONDER
Many homes are rented out in this region for visitors to stay in while exploring the extensive grounds of the national park, making this a perfect end to the most splendid day of the journey. If you find yourself inspired, you could also consider extending your trip and your car rental - taking a few more days to explore this fantastic locale. If you're on a budget, you might choose to go on to Eidfjord to stay in smaller and simpler suites - a convenient option as the distance between Eidfjord and Vøringsfossen is only a few minutes by car. Eidfjord and Øvre Eidfjord have the Eidfjord Fjell with its elegant rooms and delicious cuisine while simpler taste-buds will relish in the thought of dining on upscale versions of fast-food in front of the stone mantle at Hardangerviddahallen Restaurant.
DAY FOUR: EIDFJORD TO BERGEN VIA VOSSEVANGEN
The 2 1/2 hour drive from Eidfjord to Bergen is a pleasant way to end your 4-day trip, cruising comfortably over the remaining stretch of Rv7 and a portion of E13 as you make your way towards E16 once more. The drive is surrounded by forest and beautiful mountainous terrain, featuring postcard-worthy views and fresh dewy air. Hiking is still very popular in this stretch of your drive, and there are a lot of trails for this and for cycling if you're so inclined. Follow the road to Skulestadmo to take in the awe-inspiring Tvindefossen waterfall either from your rental car or up close by walking to take in the misty streams cascading over sedimentary rock formations from a height of more than 100 meters.
CONVERGE ON THE KLATREPARK
Another fantastic stop in Vossevangen is the Voss Klatrepark, a ropes park that offers visitors high rope walks and zip-lining. You may also want to book ahead and get time in VossVind, the indoor skydiving experience nearby. We think enjoying some physical activities in the fresh air is one of the best ways to break up a drive and enhance a road trip, and Norway offers plenty of opportunities to do just that. Once you've worked up an appetite find time to visit the Vossevangen Grill & Steakhouse or Peppers Pizza for a hearty meal before getting back on the road to complete the relaxing hour and a half drive to the western city of Bergen.
BERGEN AND ITS DEEP HISTORY AND INTRIGUE
Vast waterways sister the roadway, and mountain hillsides are rich with wildflowers and grasslands - a gift for those who have completed this 4-day Norwegian tour. Once you arrive in the city of Bergen you can complete your trip with stops in the lovely little cafes that line the streets as well as some larger attractions. This coastal city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and boasts striking views of the fjords and of the Atlantic Ocean. The city is almost 1000 years old and has a history unlike any other - walk its streets and you can't help but hear whispers of Vikings, kings and old-world trade.
Explore the wharf made famous by many a photograph in addition to the shops within the colorful buildings that edge the streets along the water and up the hillsides. Visit the Allmenningen Galleri as well as a crafting museum labeled Kraft, the Fløibanen funicular cable car, St. Mary's Cathedral or any other number of enthralling exhibits and attractions within city limits before heading to one of several upscale and modernized hotels in the city for a restful final night of your trip. We can't think of a better place to conclude a 4-day driving tour than the historic city of Bergen.