Exploring the Norwegian Fjords: A Memorable Road Trip in a Campervan
Exploring the Norwegian Fjords: A Memorable Road Trip in a Campervan

Exploring the Norwegian Fjords: A Memorable Road Trip in a Campervan

Unleash the adventurer in you and embark on a journey like no other as we take you on an exhilarating road trip around the stunning Norwegian Fjords. Get ready for an unforgettable adventure filled with breathtaking landscapes, charming villages, and the freedom of traveling in a campervan. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover the best time to visit, key stops along the route, route details, and places to stay with your campervan. Get ready to hit the road and experience Norway’s natural wonders up close!

Are you dreaming of a road trip that combines the thrill of adventure with the tranquility of nature? Look no further than a road trip around the Norwegian Fjords in a campervan. Norway, with its dramatic fjords, pristine wilderness, and picturesque villages, is a paradise for road trippers. In this guide, we’ll take you through everything you need to know to plan your epic journey, from the best time to visit to the essential stops along the way.

What is a Fjord?

A fjord is a long, narrow, deep inlet of the sea that is typically bordered by steep cliffs or mountains. These geological features are formed through a combination of glacial activity, erosion, and sea-level changes over millions of years.

Here are the key characteristics of fjords:

  1. Location: Fjords are commonly found in regions that have experienced glacial activity, such as Norway, Iceland, New Zealand, Canada, and Chile. Norway, in particular, is renowned for its extensive fjord system.
  2. Formation: Fjords are created through a process that begins with the movement of glaciers. During periods of glaciation, glaciers slowly carve out deep valleys as they flow down mountains and toward the sea. When the climate warms and the glaciers recede, these valleys become submerged by rising sea levels, forming fjords.
  3. Shape: Fjords typically have a U-shaped or V-shaped profile, with steep, rugged cliffs on either side. The depth of fjords can vary significantly, with some reaching hundreds of meters deep.
  4. Length: Fjords can be quite long, stretching for tens or even hundreds of kilometers inland from the coast. Their length is a result of the extensive glacial carving process.
  5. Water Characteristics: Fjords often have brackish water, which is a mixture of fresh water from rivers and streams that flow into the fjord and seawater from the open ocean. This unique combination of freshwater and saltwater creates a distinct ecosystem and can affect the marine life that inhabits the fjord.
  6. Scenic Beauty: Fjords are renowned for their breathtaking natural beauty. The towering cliffs, crystal-clear waters, and dramatic landscapes make them popular destinations for travelers seeking outdoor adventures, scenic cruises, and opportunities to connect with nature.
  7. Wildlife: Fjords provide essential habitats for various marine and bird species. You can often find seals, seabirds, and fish thriving in these nutrient-rich environments.
  8. Human Settlements: Many fjords are home to coastal communities and villages. These settlements often have a rich cultural heritage and rely on fishing, agriculture, and tourism as primary sources of income.
  9. Tourism: Fjords are major tourist attractions, drawing visitors from around the world. Travelers explore fjords through boat tours, kayaking, hiking trails along their shores, and, in some cases, by road trips along the winding coastal routes that offer stunning vistas.

The Best Time to Visit the Norwegian Fjords

Before you start planning your road trip, it’s crucial to understand the best time to visit the Norwegian Fjords to make the most of your experience. While Norway is a beautiful destination year-round, the ideal time for a road trip in a campervan is during the summer months, from late May to early September.

Summer (Late May to Early September)

The summer season in Norway is when the country truly comes alive. During these months, you’ll experience:

  • Midnight Sun: In the northern parts of Norway, including the Arctic Circle, the sun never sets during the summer solstice. This phenomenon, known as the Midnight Sun, allows for extended daylight hours, giving you more time to explore and enjoy the scenery.
  • Mild Weather: Summer brings pleasant temperatures, with highs ranging from 15°C to 25°C (59°F to 77°F) in most fjord regions. This comfortable climate makes outdoor activities and camping in a campervan enjoyable.
  • Abundant Wildlife: Summer is the prime time for spotting wildlife such as reindeer, moose, and various bird species. You may even have a chance to witness whales and seals in the fjords.
  • Festivals and Events: Norway hosts numerous festivals and cultural events during the summer season. Join in the local celebrations to immerse yourself in Norwegian culture and traditions.
  • Open Campgrounds: Most campgrounds and facilities are open during the summer months, making it convenient for campervan travelers to find a place to stay.

While summer offers the best weather and extended daylight, it’s also the peak tourist season. Be prepared for larger crowds at popular attractions, and consider booking accommodations and campsites in advance to secure your spot.

Late Spring (May to Early June) and Early Autumn (September)

If you prefer quieter roads and more affordable accommodations, late spring and early autumn are excellent alternatives to the peak summer season. During these months:

  • Scenic Beauty: Late spring and early autumn bring lush green landscapes and the changing colors of foliage. The fjords are equally stunning, and you’ll have a more serene experience.
  • Less Crowds: Tourist crowds begin to thin out, allowing you to explore popular destinations with greater tranquility.
  • Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights): In September, there’s a chance of witnessing the Northern Lights in the northern parts of Norway, such as Tromsø. Although it’s not guaranteed, this natural phenomenon is a magical sight to behold.
  • Affordable Rates: Accommodation and campsite prices are generally lower, and you can often find last-minute deals.

However, it’s important to note that the weather can be more unpredictable during these transitional seasons. Be prepared for cooler temperatures and occasional rain. Additionally, some attractions and activities may have reduced operating hours.

Key Stops on Your Norwegian Fjords Road Trip

Now that you’ve chosen the best time to visit, it’s time to plan your route and explore the key stops that will make your road trip around the Norwegian Fjords an unforgettable adventure. Here are some must-visit destinations along the way:

1. Oslo

Link: Visit Oslo

Start your journey in the vibrant capital city of Oslo. Explore the city’s rich history and culture by visiting iconic landmarks such as the Viking Ship Museum and the Munch Museum. Stroll through Vigeland Park, home to over 200 sculptures by Gustav Vigeland, and savor delicious Norwegian cuisine at local restaurants. Don’t forget to check out the charming waterfront and the famous Oslo Opera House.

2. Bergen

Link: Visit Bergen

After leaving Oslo, head west to the coastal city of Bergen, known as the “Gateway to the Fjords.” Bergen is famous for its colorful Bryggen Wharf, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Explore the narrow alleyways, historic buildings, and fish markets. Ride the Fløibanen funicular for panoramic views of the city and surrounding fjords.

3. Geirangerfjord

Prepare to be mesmerized by the awe-inspiring Geirangerfjord, one of the most iconic Norwegian fjords. This UNESCO-listed site boasts steep cliffs, lush greenery, and cascading waterfalls, including the famous Seven Sisters Waterfall. You can take a fjord cruise to get up close to the natural wonders or hike the nearby trails for breathtaking viewpoints.

4. Aurlandsfjord and Nærøyfjord

Continue your journey to the Aurlandsfjord and Nærøyfjord, both part of the West Norwegian Fjords UNESCO World Heritage site. These fjords are known for their narrow passages, dramatic cliffs, and crystal-clear waters. Drive the scenic Stalheimskleiva road for breathtaking views, or take a ferry cruise for a unique perspective of the fjords.

5. Flam

Nestled within the Aurlandsfjord, the charming village of Flam is a must-visit on your road trip. Explore the picturesque surroundings, go on a scenic train journey with the Flåm Railway, or rent a kayak to paddle on the fjord. Don’t forget to visit the Flam Railway Museum and savor local cuisine at Flam’s restaurants.

6. Hardangerfjord

Head east towards the stunning Hardangerfjord, known as the “Queen of the Fjords.” This fjord is famous for its fruit orchards, vibrant villages, and waterfalls. Visit the picturesque village of Ulvik, take a hike to the impressive Vøringsfossen waterfall, and try locally grown cherries and apples.

7. Lofoten Islands

If you have extra time and a sense of adventure, consider making your way to the Lofoten Islands in northern Norway. Accessible by bridge and ferry, these islands offer dramatic landscapes, fishing villages, and unique opportunities for outdoor activities like hiking, fishing, and bird watching. The midnight sun during the summer months makes for an unforgettable experience.

8. Tromsø

For those traveling in late summer or early autumn, Tromsø is a fantastic destination in northern Norway. Known as the “Gateway to the Arctic,” Tromsø offers a chance to witness the mesmerizing Northern Lights. Explore the city, visit the Arctic Cathedral, and embark on a Northern Lights tour for a magical night under the aurora borealis.

Route Details for Your Campervan Adventure

Now that you know where to go, let’s plan your route for the ultimate campervan adventure around the Norwegian Fjords. The journey we recommend covers approximately 1,000 kilometers (620 miles) and can be completed in 10 to 14 days, depending on your pace and the time you want to spend at each destination.

Day 1: Oslo – Start your road trip in Oslo, the capital city of Norway. Spend a day exploring the city’s museums, parks, and vibrant culture.

Day 2-3: Bergen – Drive west to Bergen and spend two days exploring the city’s charming streets, historic sites, and nearby attractions.

Day 4: Geirangerfjord – Head north towards Geirangerfjord and enjoy the scenic drive. Spend the afternoon exploring the fjord and its surroundings.

Day 5: Aurlandsfjord and Nærøyfjord – Drive to the Aurlandsfjord and Nærøyfjord area, taking in the stunning views along the way.

Day 6: Flam – Explore Flam and its attractions, including the Flåm Railway and local restaurants.

Day 7: Hardangerfjord – Journey east to the Hardangerfjord region and spend the day exploring orchards and waterfalls.

Day 8-10: Lofoten Islands (Optional) – If you have extra time, consider heading to the Lofoten Islands for a few days of adventure and exploration.

Day 11: Tromsø (Late Summer or Early Autumn) – For those visiting in September, drive to Tromsø and prepare for a Northern Lights experience.

Day 12-14: Return to Oslo – Head south and return to Oslo, making any additional stops or detours that pique your interest along the way.

It’s important to note that Norway’s roads are well-maintained, but some routes may involve narrow and winding roads, so drive cautiously, especially if you’re not used to driving in such conditions. Be sure to check road conditions and closures before your trip and carry a map or GPS device for navigation.

Places to Stay with a Campervan

One of the joys of a campervan road trip is the freedom to choose your overnight stops. Norway offers numerous options for campervan travelers, including designated campgrounds, scenic spots, and wild camping opportunities. Here are some recommended places to stay with your campervan:


  • Camping Key Europe (CKE) Campsites: These are a network of campgrounds across Norway that offer facilities such as electricity, showers, toilets, and waste disposal. The CKE card is required for access.
  • Nasjonale Turistveger Campgrounds: Located along Norway’s National Tourist Routes, these campgrounds are strategically placed for travelers exploring scenic routes.

Scenic Stops

  • Rest Areas: Norway has designated rest areas along highways where you can park your campervan for a night. These often have basic facilities and offer beautiful views.
  • Fjordview Laybys: Along the Norwegian fjords, you’ll find laybys with stunning views. While not equipped with facilities, they make for picturesque overnight spots.
  • Nature Reserves and Wilderness Areas: Norway’s “allemannsretten” (the right to roam) allows for wild camping in most natural areas, as long as you follow Leave No Trace principles and respect the environment.

Campervan Parks

  • Dedicated Campervan Parks: Some locations, especially in cities and tourist areas, have dedicated campervan parking areas with services like electricity, water, and waste disposal.

Remember to always check local regulations and guidelines regarding camping and overnight stays, and be respectful of the environment and local communities. Leave the places you visit as beautiful as you found them.

Essential Tips for Your Campervan Road Trip

To make the most of your campervan road trip around the Norwegian Fjords, here are some essential tips to keep in mind:

  1. Book Campgrounds in Advance: During the peak summer season, it’s wise to book campgrounds in advance to secure a spot, especially at popular destinations.
  2. Pack for All Weather: Norway’s weather can be unpredictable. Pack layers, waterproof clothing, and sturdy hiking boots for any outdoor activities.
  3. Prepare for Toll Roads: Norway has numerous toll roads. Make sure you have a toll tag (AutoPASS) or are prepared to pay in cash or by card.
  4. Respect the Environment: Follow Leave No Trace principles, dispose of waste properly, and be mindful of the local flora and fauna.
  5. Stay Informed: Keep up-to-date with weather forecasts, road conditions, and any travel advisories that may affect your journey.
  6. Bring Essentials: Stock up on groceries and supplies before heading into remote areas, as some fjord regions may have limited shopping options.
  7. Keep an Eye on Wildlife: Norway is home to various wildlife. Drive cautiously and be prepared for encounters with animals on the road.
  8. Learn Basic Norwegian Phrases: While many Norwegians speak English, learning a few basic Norwegian phrases can enhance your experience and interactions with locals.


Embarking on a road trip around the Norwegian Fjords in a campervan is a journey that promises awe-inspiring natural beauty, cultural immersion, and the freedom to explore at your own pace. Whether you choose to visit during the vibrant summer months or opt for a quieter late spring or early autumn adventure, the fjords of Norway will leave you with memories to last a lifetime.

From the bustling streets of Oslo to the tranquil shores of the Lofoten Islands, this road trip offers a glimpse into the heart of Norway’s stunning landscapes and rich heritage. So, pack your bags, hit the road, and let the Norwegian fjords enchant you with their majestic beauty. Your campervan adventure awaits!