Norway’s beauty really blew my mind. Having grown up partially in The Lake District (and visiting Scotland regularly), I thought I’d already seen natural beauty but Norway was really spectacular on a quaint but mesmerising, huge mountainous way. We’ve compiled these ideas for a Norway road trip itinerary; keeping families with kids in mind.
How Can You Get To Norway
We caught the ferry from Hirtshals in Denmark and crossed over to Kristiansand in Norway. We found a brilliant beach in Hirtshalls for the kids to play on beforehand.
There are many ferries between Denmark, Germany and Norway. I’d suggest booking the larger inter-country ferries as these can get full but for crossing the islands on Norway’s west coast, it was fine to just turn up and queue.
For a smaller ferry, I did book a ticket online via a booking company however it was cheaper to purchase tickets at the ferry office and the ferries were never full for us anyway. It also gave us more flexibility to not book.
Catching these small island connecting ferries was so much fun for our kids. You can find ferry timetables here.
Norway Road Trip Itinerary Route Suggestion
From Kristiansand we started to drive north-west by skirting the coast. Norway is never going to be tropical but for us the coastline was wondrous and we did venture into the water, although it was bracingly cold. The kids didn’t seem to mind at all though, in that way that kids never do!
The road from Eidfjord east to Gulsvik was astonishingly stunning and in August there was still some snow on the highlands. The lakes dazzled us with their turquoise waters and we had to stop frequently for photos.
From Oslo we continued south into Sweden and then drove onto Denmark but you could easily catch a ferry back to Denmark from near Sandefjord.
Norway Road Trip Itinerary Ideas On Where To Stay
These are some of the places that we visited and loved. Self-catering is often much cheaper and we nearly always opt for it, unless of course there’s some ridiculously cheap hotel offer that includes breakfast. Although as vegans, we couldn’t always be catered for in Norway which is still heavily meat and fish-based.
So here are our ideas for how you could visit Norway with our Norway Road Trip Itinerary
Just 35km west of Kristiansand sits the town of Mandal. Most houses will have an idyllic view over the sea either from higher up on the hillside or from on the shoreline. It’s a very welcoming place and eager to cater to families.
- With a private sun terrace, fully equipped kitchen and the ability to rent canoes, rowboats and paddleboats on-site Mones Feriesenter is a great and cheaper option to staying in Kristiansand.
- Sjøsanden Ferietun – Close by to the Furulunden nature park offering sandy beaches and mature pine forests this self-catering also has a playground, barbeque area and a beach promenade.
Top Tip For A Stop Off
- Visit the Helleren Cottages and the Jøssingfjord utsiktsplass, a viewing platform, on your route.
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Even though there was nothing for us to eat in Stavanger and the usual price of a main meal was close to £20, we stayed in the centre of town. Parking is a BIG problem here so make sure you ask for free parking, on-site.
- Bakkegate 15, 2nd floor is on the 2nd floor of a historic, 18th century, apartment building, providing excellent access to both the harbour areas and the local pedestrian streets.
- Stay in this brand new apartment hotel in Stiftelsesgata 17. Located 300 m from Stavanger Art Museum. Stavanger Housing Hotel.
From Stavanger, we hiked the iconic Preikestolen…read more.
Island of Stord
Making your way north you’ll kick yourselves if you don’t stop off at the charming island of Stord. Travelling from Stavanger we caught a ferry from Nordre Rennesøy to Arsvågen Kro which cost us about 450NOK.
We recommend these two lodgings where we stayed and from here we hiked up to a waterfall…read more.
- Topfloor Apartment in a traditional Norwegian house (with a sauna).
- A rural Norwegian House in the woods with hiking trails almost on the doorstep.
Bergen is Norway’s second-largest city and it’s full of brightly coloured buildings, museums, markets, coffee shops and the Fløibanen Funicular goes up Fløyen Mountain for panoramic views and hiking trails…. read more.
Don’t forget to find the smallest street in Bergen, which is also surrounded by stunning fjords including Sognefjord, Norway’s longest and deepest.
- Why not stay in this gorgeous apartment, Marken 26, that we stayed in. It has underfloor heating which made my visit lol.
Despite being a rather wet and cloudy country, you can camp in a hut (cottage) here and still have a fab time, as we did… read more
- If you’re not into camping, don’t worry as this place also has rooms in its guesthouse Hardanger Gjestehus
- If you’re after something a little more upmarket, I would opt for the Strand Fjord Hotel
What five things can you do in Eidfjord… read more
Where to stay?
- My kids and husband stayed here at Ingrid’s Apartment
- Whilst I went on a photography course and stayed here at the Quality Hotel
Top Tip For Two Stop Offs
The Voringfossen Waterfall has a free fall of 145 metres and a total fall of 182 metres into the Mabodalen Valley below. it’s about an hour walk down to the bottom of the valley where you can see the waterfall in all its glory.
For hiking instructions….read more
A lake and reservoir for the power station, we found the area great for walking. Not only can you cross the dam on foot but it is an area of high wildlife and plants.
One day when we visited, we spotted an Indian film crew making a Bollywood movie there and they very kindly spoke to the kids.
In the winter the lake of Ustevatnet is entirely frozen and sits under metres of snow but in the summer Ustevatnet is a magnificently, turquoise coloured lake that almost stopped us driving in surprise.
A short distance away is the village of Geilo which is a popular snow, hiking trail and mountain biking location. The nearest, Hallingskarvet National Park, is characterized by steep cliffs and is home to arctic foxes and wild reindeer herds.
We stayed in a little cottage 4km away from Geilo and loved the serenity of the Norwegian countryside. The kids called it a wooden hut!
Make sure you visit the mountain cabin of Prestholtseter which sits on a hiking trail. The café is open June – August and during other seasons on weekends. Access can also be granted via a toll road if you want to drive (40kn cash only).
Prestfoss is a great place to just chill. You can hire river boats and canoes and cruise the Sigdal region.
You could stay:
Order the best pizza from Sigdal Hyttemat. We arrived really late and didn’t fancy cooking. He even made it vegan for us!
As cities go Oslo is nice BUT we didn’t find it particularly special. If you wanted to avoid Oslo and head back down to the coast, I wouldn’t necessarily suggest you’d miss anything. We found Oslo expensive and a bit overrated, although maybe we didn’t give it a fair chance?
If you wanted to stay in Oslo we recommend
Tips On How To Make Norway Cheaper
Norway can be pretty expensive. Here are some tips on how to make it cheaper:
- Book accommodation well in advance – If you’re that organised this can make budgeting throughout the year much easier as you already know what you’ll need to payout.
- Book last-minute accommodation – This is taking a big gamble but it has served us well and we’ve been able to get big reductions on last-minute bookings through booking.com
- Take dried, tinned and jarred food with you. We took a huge box of pasta, rice, noodles, dried pulses, tins of peas & corn, jars of passata and chickpeas with us. We even took our travel blender so we could make soups, hummus and guacamole as well as dates, nuts & desiccated coconut so we could make energy balls and bars.
- Don’t eat out. The average main meal starts at around £20. In our time in Norway, we only ate out twice.
- Think about supporting local greengrocers and smaller shops for buying food although supermarkets do have a wide variety of choice.
- Try to reduce paid activities and swap them for free activities. We found hiking, waterfall spotting and national parks were free.
- Make picnics and snack bags to take out with you every day.
Being Vegan In Norway
Being vegan in Norway was relatively easy. There was rarely a dish we could eat out in restaurants as they’re very heavy on meat and fish but we could always shop for vegetables and pulses.
I remember my kids’ excitement in Bergen when we found a kebab shop that sold falafel wraps and chips. Eating out in Norway is incredibly expensive for (travelling) families too with most main dishes starting at roughly £20 each.
We found it easiest to buy from supermarkets and cook from scratch. Most supermarkets had a good choice for vegans, although we did take most of our food provisions with us.
Fresh fruit and vegetables tend to be imported but we could get all of the basics that we needed such as onions, peppers, cucumbers, carrots etc. Apples are grown locally and are plentiful. The only thing we struggled to get was a plant-based milk that didn’t have a lot of other ingredients such as sugars, sweeteners, gums etc.
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