Drive one of 18 National Tourist Routes around Norway
SWOON OVER LANDSCAPES BETWEEN GORGEOUS GAUPNE AND LOM
Looking for one of the most beautiful drives in northern Europe? The stunning Sognefjellet is one of Norway’s 18 national scenic routes and affords beautiful landscapes with gasp-inducing views around every bend. But this mountain pass is not for the faint of heart. There are switchbacks and hairpins along a roller-coaster-like road that brings you between fjells and fjords. So if you have a brave driver and an adventurous heart, you must travel the Sognefjellet route.
We recently did an epic 10-day summer road trip through the beautiful Norwegian nature and this bit was my favorite part. Read on to learn about what you’ll see and how to get the most of this part of fjord Norway.
Begin in Gaupne on the pretty Lustrafjord
The Sognefjellet runs along Norwegian road 55 between the towns of Gaupne and Lom and you can drive it in either direction. Our road trip route takes you from the gorgeous green-blue Lustrafjord leg of the larger Sognefjord up into the mountains before landing in Lom. We adored the Lustrafjord and kayaking atop the summer’s glacial melt and exploring the nearby Jostedalen Valley and seeing the glacier up close. Read more below:
Gaupne is the biggest town (before Lom) along this route and a great place to stock up on supplies in one of the grocery stores in town. But there are more charming options if you want to book an overnight stay.
HOW FAR TO GAUPNE:
From Bergen | 4 hours, 20 minutes
From Flåm | 2 hours
HOW FAR TO LOM:
From Oslo | 4 hours, 30 minutes
From Lillehammer | 2 hours, 15 minutes
Soak in the stunning Lustrafjord
There are several spots to stop along route 55, look for pull-outs with picnic tables and epic views over the fjord. Make a waffle stop or enjoy the water at the Luster Fjordhytter. Here you can rent a cabin on the water or just a paddleboard for a bit. Or pop into the cafe for an afternoon waffle stop. We stayed here for two nights and wished it were more.
Follow the fjord up into the mountains
The Sognefjellet scenic route follows the fjord to the end at Skjolden where summer offers lots of spots to go for a swim. Past the village of Fortun, the road quickly turns and twists high up into the hills, leaving the valley far, far below. Soon you’ll be swooning from views of massive mountain peaks. This is Norway’s Hurrungane range. Stop at the Nedre Oscarshaug lookout for panoramic views. A unique glass telescope turns to give you the names and heights of each mount.
Northern Europe’s Highest Mountain Road
Soon shelves of ice and residual snow sit near the road and beg for a pause. Watch out for sheep openly grazing along the way. At the summit, 1434 meters above sea level, the Sognefjellet is stunning. Mountain lakes reflect the stark rocky peaks and picnic tables afford amazing views.
Stop at the Mefjellet rest area for glimpses of the Fanaråken glacier and the cool stone sculpture by artist Knut Wold. Historic cairns litter the landscape once marking the way for mountain travelers. Signs ask visitors to not disturb the old piles of rocks and to please not assemble your own. But feel free to play in the snow and take all the photos you please. Just me?
Back down the Bøverdalen Valley and on to Lom
Route 55 slowly winds down roller-coaster-like roads that are only wide enough for one and a half cars. Pay attention to corners and coming around bends and be ready to use small pull outs to let others pass. The whole route is 108 kilometers long and going this direction, ends in the town of Lom.
While I don’t recommend spending too much time in Lom, you shouldn’t miss the impressive stave church here. One of Norway’s largest still standing stave churches, you can walk around the grounds and for a small fee, step inside. Immediately you can see the incredible craftsmanship of the Viking ship makers turned church builders. Dragon heads stand guard along the roof. The church here in Lom dates from 1158 and is still an active parish. I loved the fragrant smell of pine tar that preserves the beautiful woodwork.
We didn’t stay in Lom and I was glad, as it was heaving and crowded. But it is a good place to get something to eat, stop at the market or get local information about activities and accommodation.
From Lom, we began our return south towards Copenhagen, with a few more stops along the way near the Jotunheim mountains and along the Oslofjord. Norway rocks. Read more about our epic 10-day Norwegian summer road trip here:
You can find maps and more details of all 18 of the Nasjonale Turistveger or Norwegian scenic routes here. While these roads are much slower to drive than down the expressways, the scenery is seriously stunning and worth planning to cruise along one or a few.
When you can – come to Norway, she said. And you should. And if you can’t right now – take a virtual tour here: