I’ve hiked all the famous Norway hikes in a week, and you can do it too with this tried and tested one-week Norway itinerary. In this perfect Norway hiking itinerary, I will tell you everything you need to know for hiking Kjerag (Kjeragbolten), Pulpit Rock (Preikestolen), and Trolltunga in just under a week in Norway.
This was the second road trip I did around Norway. And I already had the experience of the first road trip, which was totally unplanned. Here’s everything you need to know before going on a road trip in Norway.
I like spontaneity, and I like the freedom to choose every morning how my day will go. Since I already have the blueprint for the perfect Norway hiking itinerary, do consider this gorgeous route when planning a trip to Norway.
But, as I learned the hard way (and the costly way, too) on the first 2-week road trip in Norway, you can’t mix spontaneity with hiking the world-famous hikes of Norway. That’s why I made a point to go back the second time, and I had planned every day and every accommodation to ensure I wasn’t going to miss any of these places.
You’ll probably say I am going to an extreme with it, but trust me, I am not. And since I worked for days to develop this perfect, tried, and tested Norway itinerary, I want to share it with you. It will save you lots of time and unpredictable events. And I will explain everything as we go.
Internet connection in Norway
Internet roaming might not always be the best option for you.
I just discovered the absolute best way to have internet, wherever I go (EU and non-EU).
I tried Airalo for the first time in 2023, and it works like magic. You install this app on your phone, get the data package you want, and then install the eSIM on your smartphone. You need a phone to support eSIMs. That’s it.
Then, you get to Norway, and you have internet with Airalo!! Don’t you just love technology?
What are Norway’s most famous hikes?
Norway has thousands of fjords and countless hiking trails. But thanks to social media, a few of them have become more popular than others, and people from all over the world visit Norway specifically for these hikes.
The top most popular hikes in Norway are:
- Kjerag (Kjeragbolten)
- Pulpit rock (Preikestolen)
The good news is that these are only moderate hikes (if the weather is nice and sunny), and almost everyone can do them. Hiking shoes are strongly recommended!! (please do not ignore this)
I have created this itinerary in this order because it is the best way, from a logistical point of view if you are starting in Oslo.
The best Norway itinerary for doing the most famous Norway hikes in a week
For your Norway one-week itinerary, the first thing you need to worry about is transportation.
This is a driving itinerary, and after driving in Norway for one month in total, I can say that driving is the best way to see Norway. I drove across Europe, from Romania to Scandinavia, and that was the best way to do it, to save money on renting a car in Norway.
If you arrive in Norway by plane, check out here the best prices for car rentals in Norway.
You’ll soon find out that renting a car is one of the biggest expenses, followed by accommodation and gas. Assuming you have the budget all figured out, we will start our Norway itinerary for the most famous Norway hikes in Oslo.
Oslo is the largest city in Norway, it’s also the capital city, and most people who fly in arrive in Oslo.
I was driving from Sweden, and the first stop was in Oslo.
Driving in Norway: What you need to know
You may not realize just how huge Norway is and how gigantic are the driving distances between cities.
And there’s often not much you can visit or do in between those cities.
For instance, there are countless national parks in Norway that offer superb landscapes, but there are many options for accommodation.
I would also strongly advise against driving after dark on steep and narrow roads on the side of the fjord (which are many of the roads I’ll recommend) because they are very dangerous.
Also, some of these roads may be closed from October to April because they are in remote areas, and nobody comes to clean the snow.
Another thing to remember is that what looks rather like a direct road on the map, might not be the same in real life.
Norway is a mountainous country full of steep, narrow winding roads that often require you to take a ferry.
A lot of European roads are tied with ferries because it’s easier and cheaper that way. While Google Maps suggests only 5 hours on the road, it may take much longer.
There are also many road and ferry tolls that will have to pay (the system is automatic and can’t be avoided). And if you are on a budget and want to make the most out of your trip, then planning is key.
After two road trips in Norway, I can personally vouch for this Norway hiking itinerary. I tested this itinerary in September 2022, and I have tested all the recommended places for accommodation. I also added some even better options for accommodations.
Day 1: Oslo to Kristiansand
I spend the first day in Oslo, exploring the city, and I recommend you do the same if you have spare days. But you’re here for a road trip itinerary to take you to the most famous Norway hikes.
Kristiansand is one of the Southernmost cities in Norway, on the coast. It may look counterintuitive to go in the opposite direction from the first hike in Norway on this itinerary.
But after many calculations and evaluations, I decided this was the best option.
Spent the night at Citybox Lite Kristiansand, which is right in the city centre. The bright side is that you’ll have an afternoon to explore this beautiful city.
Day 2: Kristiansand to Lysebotn
To reach Lysebotn, you’ll drive through a beautiful land, and you will probably want to stop for photos more than you realize. This long drive (230 km) will take you more than 4 hours if you count the stops too.
I recommend taking your time and enjoying the landscape this road has to offer.
Note that the starting point and the parking lot for hiking the Kjeragbolten are on top of the mountain, and you will pass by it on your way to Lysebotn.
Lysebotn is a small summer settlement where you will find a camping site and also a small hotel. I stayed at Lysefjorden Tourist Cabin. Note that they are open only during summer. In fact, the entire area is not accessible by car during winter. After you drive on these roads, you’ll understand why. There is also a camping site next to it, but it was already closed in September. Make sure to make a reservation on their website because they get full weeks in advance during summer (this is the case with most camping cabins in Norway during summer).
Unless you choose to stay somewhere out on the mountain or at one of the few free cabins offered by the Norwegian state (yes, there is one on the way, but it’s not exactly by the road, and there is no running water or electricity), here’s an example – DNT Børsteinen, but it’s almost 1km away from the road. These may be more suitable for multi-day hikers who choose to stay as much as possible in nature. But trust me. There is nature all around you.
If you can make this drive fast enough to
Day 3: Kjeragbolten hike
The Kjerag hike in Norway is rated as a medium hike, but it might become very difficult if the weather turns bad. This was the case in September. The day before was sunny and lovely, and people were doing this hike in shorts. But the day I was doing the hike, it was about 9 degrees Celcius, windy and rainy.
If you need more details about the hike, I recommend checking out the official Kjeragbolten hike page.
Kjeragbolten hike in Norway:
- Start at the KJERAG Parking 300 NOK – https://goo.gl/maps/SNMxZSdxMPnr5G8p7
- Parking costs 300 NOK for the entire day (approx 30 Euros)
- 11 km
- 800 m elevation
- 6 hours medium hiking time
- Find all info here: https://www.visitnorway.com/places-to-go/fjord-norway/ryfylke/the-lysefjord-area/hiking-to-kjerag/
It was super hard to hike on the slippery rocks, and half of the others quit about halfway through.
I was lucky I started the hike at 9 am, a couple of hours before the storm hit.
However, I was shaking terribly by the end of it, and my body was about to collapse. I was cold, wet, and in great pain. When I got to this famous rock, I crawled on the Kjeragbolten. It was too rainy and windy to stand, and the rock seemed to be vibrating.
I was happy I chose to spend two days at the Lysebotn cabin because I needed a hot shower and a bed to recover for the rest of the day. Also, by the time you finish your hike, it might be too late to go anywhere else.
Day 4: Lysebotn to Preikestolen (Pulpit rock hike)
After recovering from the Kjerag hike in Norway, the best way to get to the next stop, which is the Pulpit Rock hike, is by ferry.
You’ll have to wake up super early to catch the morning ferry from Lysebotn and enjoy the Lysefjord from another ferry.
It’s important to know that this is a small ferry, and you will have to book it at least two weeks in advance to make sure you can get on it. Otherwise, you will have to drive around the mountain, which will take at least half of the day and will be much more expensive (considering the gas you’ll use).
Book the ferry here https://www.kolumbus.no/en/
I took the morning Lysebotn ferjekai at 7:10 am and got off at Forsand. This trip should take around 1 hour. From Forsand you can drive to Preikestolen – Upper parking. There is day parking, which is not expensive, but the parking gets full fast. That’s why I recommend getting there during the morning.
Pulpit rock hike in Norway:
- Check out all details here https://preikestolen365.com/
- The hike is accessible all year long, considered an easy hike, but proper equipment is needed
- In summer, this is an easy hike
- The road hike will take around 4 hours
After the hike, I recommend staying at Preikestolen BaseCamp, to just relax and get warm.
You will feel even better relaxing here after the hike, especially if the weather turns bad, as it so often does.
Another reason to stay at the Preiekstolen BaseCamp is that you have free parking.
Simply drive into the parking lot, turn left, and drive up to the front of the cabin, where you’ll find another small parking lot (note that there are not that many parking spots).
Even if you go on the hike first and check in later, nobody will ask any questions. At the end of your stay (the next day), ask the receptionist for a card to exit the parking lot. That’s all.
Day 5: Preikestolen to Odda
After an early breakfast at the lovely Preikestolen BaseCamp, drive to Odda, the largest town close to the famous Trolltunga hike in Norway.
This is a half of day drive, but it is also really beautiful.
I recommend staying two nights in Odda, one before the hike and another one after the hike.
Hike to Buerbreen Glacier in Odda, Norway
When I arrived in the afternoon in Odda, I wanted to explore a bit more and decided to go on an easier hike, the Buerbreen glacier. This is supposed to be an easy hike, but I was lucky enough (sense the irony) to do it on a rainy day (as all the other hikes I’ve done in Norway).
Because of the weather conditions, this 2-hour hike also turned into some sort of torture.
It looked easy, but it’s not. Don’t be fooled. Of course, if you are a professional athlete, it might not be as hard, but for normal people, it’s not easy.
Depending on your budget, you can choose between a few accommodations in Odda. I choose to stay at Trolltunga Odda Apartments for two nights.
It was just perfect, as the apartment also had a washing machine to wash all our mountain clothes. It was one of the best places I stayed in, during my road trips in Norway.
Day 6: Trolltunga hike
You cannot have a complete Norway trip without adding this ultra-famous hike to your itinerary.
Trolltunga is the longest one of the three hikes; it’s a 20-km round trip and will take more than half of the day. Many hikers spend two days on the trail, as there are many areas where camping is allowed (follow the signs).
However, if you don’t want to camp there, you can do it in one day, but it will be exhausting, and I don’t recommend driving too much after this.
There are three parking (P1, P2, and P3) available for Trolltunga. All three are reachable by normal cars, but if you have a trailer or a taller car, you can only drive up to P2.
Each parking has different pricing. The cheapest one is P1, and P3 is the most expensive one. And the 20 km hike starts at P3. If you want to spend less on the parking, you can park lower, but it will take you much longer to finish the hike. There are also some shuttles between the parking, but they cost extra.
Here you can find all the info needed for the parking –https://trolltunga.com/parking-and-transportation/parking/
NOTE that you need to book your parking at P3 in advance and pay it online.
Then you have to follow the instructions you’ll receive.
You’ll have to pay for the P2 toll before driving up to P3. During summer, P3 is extremely popular, and you’ll need to book it in advance (although it’s crazy expensive!!).
I paid a total of 90 Euros (in September 2022) just to be able to drive up to P3 and start the hike from there. It seemed extreme at first, but my body was grateful I did that.
After reaching Trolltunga, you can take it easier on the way back and enjoy the views. After you reach your car, you can drive back to Odda to relax and get a good night’s sleep.
If you decide to continue your road trip, your next stop should be in the Bergen region, and the famous Flam and Nærøyfjord. Consider booking a cruise to reach the only two UNESCO fjords in Norway.
However, if you only have time for a 7-day Norway itinerary, then you should head back to Oslo the next day.
Check out my 10-day itinerary for Norway and continue with Bergen, the Atlantic road and Trondheim.
Day 7: Drive back to Oslo
On the last day of this best Norway itinerary for hiking the most famous trails in the country, you can make a few stops to admire nature. Another recommended stop is in Heddal.
The Heddal stave church is one of the few stave churches in Norway that still stand in almost perfect and original condition. Norway used to have thousands of those, but only about 20 still stand.
From Heddal, you have about one more hour before you reach Oslo, the capital of Norway, and your starting point of the best Norway itinerary road trip.
If you are spending the night in Oslo, you can stay at the following locations:
HI Oslo Haraldsheim (budget accommodation, free parking)
Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel (best location)
Clarion Hotel Oslo (best location, for the best price in Oslo)
There’s also quite a lot happening in Oslo, check out some of these activities.
Tips for hiking in Norway
I recommend going early in the morning, as soon as the parking opens.
Hike fast to be one of the first to reach Trolltunga and take your photos. Afterwards, it gets crowded, and you will have to wait a lot for a photo. This happens in all tourist spots in Norway. They form a queue for photos. Luckily, I had rainy weather during all my hikes, so that wasn’t an issue.
Don’t forget to check out my complete list of travel tips for your first trip to Norway. There are all from personal experience as I have literally been on a 1-month road trip in Norway.
I hope this guide helps planning a trip to Norway, especially if you’re keen on hiking the most famous hikes in the country.