In 2022, I drove to North Cape, in Norway. This is my detailed itinerary, from the South up to North Cape, Norway.
Are you driving to the North Cape, Norway? Here is the complete Norway road trip itinerary I did in the summer and beginning of autumn of 2022. It will take you from Kristiansand, one of the southernmost cities in Norway, all the way up to the northernmost point of continental Europe, which Norwegians call the Nordkapp.
First, let me give you a bit of a background story to understand my reasoning behind this itinerary, and then understand my tips on how you can take this already-tested itinerary and make it even better.
By the end of July 2022, I was already in Stockholm, Sweden, for about three weeks. I decided I also wanted to do a road trip in Norway since I had my car with me and had already driven all the way from Bucharest, Romania.
That first itinerary, which took almost 2 weeks, can be made into a 10-day Norway itinerary if you are well-rested and know exactly where you’re going. I wrote all the details here: Norway Road Trip: 10 Days Itinerary for Norway.
But little did I know before going on that road trip that Norway is that huge and has so much more to offer. Don’t get me wrong, that itinerary is absolutely a must-see for your first time in Norway. But it planted the seed that I wanted to see more of this heavenly piece of Earth. And maybe it will do the same for you.
That’s why I decided that after staying another full month in Sweden (just enough time to catch up on work and organize a much longer road trip), it was time to head on the road again.
And that’s how I ended up driving from South to North in Norway, basically driving through the entire country, staying in campings, cabins, and hotels. I also have to add that this trip was inspired by a nice Greek couple who I met in a hostel’s kitchen in Molde during my first road trip in Norway.
This itinerary was one of the best I’ve done in my life, and I wish to go back to Norway and visit even more of it.
Although by now, I’ve been to almost all major cities in Norway, it still left me starving for more. And this is not something I can say about any other country I’ve visited.
Norway itinerary from South to North
After spending one month in Arboga, Sweden, a small village just about one hour and a half west of Stockholm, my boyfriend and I packed all our stuff, including pans and extra linens, and set “Oslo” as our GPS destination.
It’s truly one of my favourite things to get my stuff in the car, jump in the driver’s seat, mount my phone in its special window support, and type in a new destination.
However, Oslo wasn’t a new destination, as we had already visited the centre of the city in the summer during our first trip to Norway. However, Norway is just huge, and finding accommodation such as a hotel is nearly impossible when you’re outside of a major city.
Since we couldn’t drive anywhere else because of the huge distances, I decided that Oslo was a good option for the first night.
Day 1: Oslo
During summer or even early autumn, some schools will offer their dorms as accommodation, and you can find them on booking.com. Both times I stayed in Oslo, it was in a school dormitory turned into summer accommodation for extra income. And I have to say that both hotels were really nice and offered good breakfast. Truth be told, the standard in Norway for accommodation is high, and I have never stayed in a bad hotel. And I spent a total of one month in Norway, always switching accommodations. That has to mean something.
In the summer, I stayed at Oslo Hostel Rønningen (which truly feels like a 4-star hotel). This second time around, I stayed at HI Oslo Haraldsheim (which is a bit old-fashioned but still very good value for money).
As I was saying, we stayed in Oslo for one night. The next day, we had some time to visit the famous Fram and Kon-Tiki Museum, which is in the same spot. From 2026, you will also be able to visit the Viking Ship Museum, which was closed for restoration when I was there.
Even if you’re not that into museums, these tell a great story and are a must-see, especially if you love boats. And like all museums in Scandinavia, they are great for a family visit.
Day 2: Oslo – Kristiansand (319 km ∼ 4 hours)
After that, I drove South, all the way down to Kristiansand, one of the largest cities on the southern coastline of Norway.
I chose to drive here because it was the best way to find a hotel and then continue my road trip to the north.
This option is, in fact, much better than going from Oslo directly through the mountains.
While this is an option during summer when the days are longer, and more camping sites are open, in September, most of those places are closed already, and you either camp in the wild or don’t go.
The good thing about this was that I was able to explore another Norwegian city, which is absolutely lovely. During the afternoon, I had plenty of time to explore the city, which is small but so pretty. The next morning, I went for another walk to soak in the sunshine and admire the tourist harbour and canal. The city is particularly famous for its wooden houses, which are indeed pretty.
I stayed at Citybox Lite Kristiansand, which is right in the centre, and you can easily park your car in front of the hotel on the street.
Day 3: Kristiansand – Lysebotn (230 km ∼ 4 hours)
By this point, I have a confession to make.
During the first road trip to Norway, I underestimated the distances between the different spots I wanted to make, and therefore, I did not achieve to get to any of the famous hiking places in Norway.
That’s why I came up with this specific itinerary, which includes the three most popular hiking trains in Norway. Considering that you’re driving from the south, or even Oslo, the first one would be here, in Lysebotn, the end of the Lysefjord.
This is where the hike for the famous Kjeragbolten starts. It actually starts a bit up on the mountain, but you will definitely drive to get there because there is no other way.
If you’re coming during summer, you might find some camping sites, although I wouldn’t recommend wild camping here, since there are only mountains around and no place to park your caravan or even pitch a tent. In Lysebotn, you will find a camping site and nice accommodations.
Note that these get closed after mid-September since the road will probably get covered in snow soon. I stayed at Lysefjorden Tourist Cabin, and you must book this place in advance on their website here. Without a doubt, since there aren’t many places to stay around, this is almost always fully booked.
If you arrive early enough, and the weather is still good, you might have enough time to do the Kjerag hike the same day. However, this is classified as a medium hike. When I was there in September 2022, the weather was terrible, and even the guy at the parking lot up the mountain said that the weather would be horrible. And he was right; it was the absolute worst hike of my life. I felt like in one of those shows, “I shouldn’t be alive.”
Lucky us, we started pretty early, at around 9 am. Others who arrived later had to turn back mid-way because the weather was turning from bad to worse. From the total of 9 cars in the parking lot (the parking costs about 20 euros and it has enough space for more than 100 cars), I only saw 2 other people reaching the famous rock.
If you want to read more about this horrific experience that I do not regret, you can find it here – Norway’s famous hiking trails.
Considering all goes as planned, you will do the hike the same day and only need one night here. If not, you’ll need two. The second one will be needed for you to rest from a horrific fjord weather experience. Magical indeed, but up to the limit of normal individuals who are more used to typing on a computer than holding onto mountain chains.
Day 4: Lysebotn – Pulpit Rock (Preikestolen) (ferry + 17 km ∼ 1.5 hours)
The next day, I got to admire the beauty of Lysefjord from the ferry that crosses the entire thing, starting from Lysebotn.
It’s very important that you book this ferry online at least one or maybe two weeks in advance. It’s an extremely small ferry compared to the others you will find in Norway. I see people complaining about this on Google Maps, but they don’t seem to understand how the ferry works and where it stops.
Regardless of what you find online, book the ferry on the website of the company here – https://www.kolumbus.no/en/.
I booked the ferry for Lysebotn – Forsand, and it was about 35 euros for two adults and a car under 6 meters in length. The trip takes a bit under one hour, and if the weather is good, you’ll enjoy some of the most beautiful views, including Pulpit Rock.
After getting off at Forsand, continue your drive for the Preikestolen BaseCamp. It should take under one hour. Make sure to get there early because the parking is limited, and this is one of the most popular hiking trails in Norway.
However, I recommend staying the night at the Basecamp, and you will get free parking right there. Just drive in front of the cabin and park there. Again, you will have to book this in advance, because it’s always full.
If you have the energy, do the hike on the same day. Preikestolen (Pulpit rock) is classified as an easy hike. However, it was rainy and foggy when I did it, and there weren’t any views at the end. I was lucky with the views I got from the ferry earlier that morning. At least I got to get all my wet clothes off after the hike and spent the evening there. That’s why I recommend getting accommodation close to the hiking spots. The weather is unpredictable, and it might not be so comfortable driving in wet clothes.
Day 5: Preikestolen – Odda (Trolltunga) (230 km ∼ 5 hours)
The next day is reserved for driving and relaxing. I drove for half a day, reaching Odda, which is the largest town around the famous Trolltunga in Norway.
While most people only hurry to get to these famous top spots, do know that Norway is absolutely full of hiking trails and natural attractions everywhere you look.
As you approach Odda, you will see a beautiful glacier on the left side, which belongs to Folgefonna National Park. Since I arrived quite early in the afternoon, I went for another short hike on the Buerbreen glacier. Again, it rained and poured. But at least I got to see another glacier, and it was cold around it.
Here I stayed at Trolltunga Odda Apartments. I choose to stay here for 2 nights, given that the Trolltunge hike takes an entire day (it’s a 20km road trip, the shortest version of it). And it was the right decision because I was completely out of energy after the hike.
Day 6: Trolltunga hike
Obviously, it was another rainy day. It felt so good to have a nice, warm, and dry apartment to come back to after confronting the unforgiving Norwegian weather.
Another tip here is to pre-book the P3 parking for starting the hike from the highest point possible. You have to do it online here at least some days in advance. More details in my famous hikes in Norway blog post.
I know this itinerary already has a lot of hiking, and there are other hikes around if you want to give them a try. However, by this point, I had done 4 hikes in 4 days, and they were all under severe weather, with lots of wind and rain. My body didn’t put up to this anymore, and that was it for me.
But I also recommend checking out the HM Queen Sonja’s panoramic hiking trail (the queen’s favourite trail) and also Romsdalseggen, a bit more North.
Day 7: Odda – Lom (412 km ∼ 7 hours)
After Trolltunga, I hadn’t pinpointed any specific spots on the map. All I wanted was to get to the North faster. That’s also because I had already explored the area during my first trip. To be honest, this part of Norway, from Bergen and up to Trondheim, is one of the most spectacular and accessible. That’s why most cruises and organized tours take you around this part.
You get to see Berge, Flam, the UNESCO fjords of Norway, some of the most amazing ferries and roads, and a few glaciers. If you only see one part of Norway, this should be it.
I will not get into more details about it because I already have it here in the 10-day Norway itinerary.
Since I was trying to move fast, I avoided the coast and the expensive ferries and arrived in Lom, sometimes in the evening. It was a full day of driving for the many that were to come.
Lom is a tiny town in the mountains, famous for its stave church. Only about 20 remain in Norway, and they are scattered around the bottom half of the country. Unfortunately, the next day, when I wanted to visit it, which you also strive to do, it was closed because a wedding was happening.
Needless to say, I was extremely sad. The interior is superb, but I couldn’t see it.
Day 8: Lom – Grong (476 km ∼ 7 hours)
This was another full day of driving. I deemed this part of Norway less interesting, and all I wanted was to reach the North before it got too cold. Do note this was in mid-September, and most campgrounds and cabins were already closed.
I would have probably found better accommodation in Trondheim, but I felt like driving until it got dark and only then finding a place for the night.
And that’s how I got to this small town, with just about two hotels. I stayed at the Grong Hotel, and everything was nice and quiet. There wasn’t much going on, but it was just what I was looking for. Unless you’re doing the same itinerary as I did, there is no reason you’ll be around this area of Norway.
Day 9: Grong – Bodø (502 km ∼ 8 hours)
I had never heard about this city before, but this is one important port if you want to cross over to the Lofoten Islands in Norway.
On your way to Bodø, you’ll pass by the Arctic Circle centre, which is a big souvenir shop in the middle of nowhere. It truly feels like the end of the world, but luckily you will find civilization once again as you drive further North.
There is another ferry as you drive up the map, or you can drive completely on land to reach the Lofoten Islands because they are connected by road to the mainland. But that would take extra days. Instead, I decided to take the ferry from Bodø to Moskenes, which takes about 4 hours. This is a much larger ferry than the usual ones and an important transportation means for tourists and also locals living on the islands.
For the night in Bodo, I stayed at Quality Hotel Ramsalt, which has one of the best breakfasts I’ve ever had and the best view at breakfast.
Day 10: Bodø – Å (4-hour ferry + 5 km)
You must book this ferry in advance, or you’re at risk of not finding any space. Also, you need to be at the port with the car, waiting in the correct lane, one hour before departure. As always, there will be staff from the ferry advising you on what to do. Book the ferry here: https://www.torghatten-nord.no/
The ferry was after lunch, so we had some time to go out and have something to eat. Also, they have a restaurant on the ferry, and I had a wonderful fish burger with fries for just about 20 Euros or less.
By the time we arrived on the Lofoten Islands, it was already dark. I booked one accommodation close to the ferry terminal, located in Å, the last village on the islands and the village with the shortest name in the world. It turned out to be one of the most stunning places I’ve ever stayed in. This is the place – Å-Hamna Rorbuer.
It’s a traditional fishermen’s house that is now used as a hotel. There are a bunch of these on the islands, but not as many to accommodate all the tourists. This is a unique chance to sleep in a fisherman’s house that is suspended over the sea. Check out the best Rorbuer in Lofoten.
The cherry on top was the charming aurora that appeared later that night. Although it was only September, the Aurora was already visible during clear sky nights.
Day 11: Å / Reine
I felt really tired and behind at work (I’m a remote worker/digital nomad), so I decided to spend two nights here and simply absorb the vibes without trying to do any other special activities.
It would also be recommended that you spend some time here, since you can do some beautiful hikes around, including the famous Reinebringen.
You’ve probably seen many pictures of Reine, which is only a few minutes by car from this place. Even if you don’t feel like doing the hike, the place is breathtaking and is worth driving around and relaxing for a day. And that’s what I did. Fortunately, I got my drone out and took some amazing drove pictures of the area, which spared me the treacherous uphill hike.
Day 12: Å – Henningsvær (121 km ∼ 2.5 hours)
This was supposed to be a lovely day of road-tripping on the gorgeous Lofoten Islands. Unfortunately, the bad weather returned, and it was rainy and foggy most of the time. But even with the extreme weather conditions, the landscape was gorgeous.
If I would have gone on a hike that day, it would have been terrible. But the road trip wasn’t that bad, and it offered some of the best landscapes one can see.
But this is one of the reasons all tourists crows come in July and August – the weather. This was already September 20th, and the weather was unpredictable. The advantage was that there were almost no tourists at all, everywhere was free to park, and all accommodations had last-minute availability, which never happens during high season.
I made plenty of stops on the way to Henningsvær for photos and videos. And I don’t regret any of it. If only I would have had better weather, I would have never made it to Henningsvær that day. There’s simply too much beauty around.
As I was approaching Henningsvær, the cliffs, the road, and the bridges were painting an unbelievable landscape, mixed with the moody weather. This is the famous city with the football pitch built on the rocks between the sea. I have to say that when I was there, it looked like the apocalypse was coming, with all the rain and everything. But it was still eerie, and almost no people were around.
I stayed at this apartment – Gammelskola Apartments – and I strongly recommend it. You can see the ocean from your window, and it has everything you need, even for a longer stay.
Given that the weather was bad and the sky was covered with clouds, we couldn’t see the Northern Lights. And that’s why I had a bright idea.
Day 13: Henningsvær, Norway – Abisko, Sweden (309 km ∼ 5 hours)
The next day, I was determined to see the Northern Lights. It’s not a matter of where to go because it should be visible anywhere, given that the sky is without clouds at night. But the weather forecast wasn’t good for the entire area.
But the internet has a strong claim.
It says that there is one small town, Abisko, in the northern part of Sweden, called “The best place to see the Northern Lights in Europe,” and I wanted to put that to the test.
That’s why I decided to drive to Sweden, and just after the border, you find one of the first towns to be Abisko, this magical place where the Aurora always shows up. It’s something to do with the mountains around that keep the clouds away.
Given the internet’s nickname, this palace was clearly touristy, and the prices are according to that belief. I booked a cheap room at Abisko Hostel, one of the few hotels around, and waited for the night to come.
At around 11 pm, I packed my camera and my boyfriend and started driving around to find a patch of land that had no clouds above. And I drove one hour to the East and then back. I waited in the car, in weird car parks along the main road, where a few campervans were stopped, to see if the lights would be visible. It was truly funny because I was driving, and my boyfriend was sticking his head outside, trying to see something on the side.
But it was impossible to do so, so we had to stop and shut down all the lights to observe the sky. In the end, we got cold and made one last attempt by Abisko Lake. It was still cloudy, but there seemed to be a faint green colour above the clouds. That’s all I could see.
The myth about Abisko being the best place to see in Aurora remains just that – a myth. It’s just as good or bad as any other place around to see the Aurora. That’s why I wrote some of my best tips on how to see the Aurora in this Norway travel tips guide.
In the end, it was a waste of time, energy, and money to drive to Sweden. The next day, I resumed my itinerary to reach the Northernmost point in Continental Europe – the North Cape in Norway.
Day 14: Abisko, Sweden – Tromsø, Norway (297 km ∼ 4.5 hours)
As I was approaching Tromsø, Norway, I noticed a change in scenery. Also, the season was changing fast. It was already autumn here, and the dark red and orange leaves were making quite a contrast with the foggy weather. Again, no tourists around, which made it even more surreal.
During that afternoon, we had some hours to walk around and explore Tromsø, which is a rather small city with a nice centre, which is close to the port.
Unknowingly, I parked on the spot reserved for disabled individuals, which resulted in a 100 Euro fine. This was already my second parking ticket in Norway. The first one was in Trondheim, for only 66 euros, for exceeding the parking time by one hour.
The moral of the story is to always be extremely careful where you park your car. Even when the parking is free, if you do not park where you’re supposed to, you will get a fine. No doubt about it.
But the city is nice, and I would go back in summer.
In September, it was a bit cold for a longer walk. One of the highlights was going up the hill and admiring the city at sunset, but that wasn’t an option as it started raining again. Maybe next time.
I recommend staying closer to the centre and booking in advance, because this is quite touristy, and the hotels are limited. I recommend staying at Clarion Hotel The Edge or Radisson Blu Hotel Tromsø.
Day 15: Tromsø – North Cape, Norway (530 km ∼ 9.5 hours)
This was one of the longest drives I did in Norway. It took over 9 hours to get from Tromso to the North Cape base camp in Skarsvåg, which is a tiny village right before you reach the famous North Cape in Norway.
There’s not much to see on the way there, as cities turn into towns that turn into villages, and the landscape is made out of a wide steppe, which has almost no trees but rocks by the water. Don’t get me wrong, it was like driving through a spectacle of nature, but even that excitement fades away after you start feeling tired, and your legs and behind get numb from sitting in the car for the entire day.
The few hotels you find on the map are far away, and most tourists coming here stay either in campervans or camping cabins. But the camping sites were already closed, and the last one, the North Cape BaseCamp, was preparing to close down for the winter. The owner told me he was going in close in about a week or so before the cold came. That’s why I was lucky to find last-minute availability at the cabins. During summer, you can’t find any free cabins unless you book them weeks in advance.
Although it doesn’t look like much, the cabin has everything you need, including a bathroom and heating. Like all other accommodations in Norway, this one did not disappoint. Since we arrived at night, we couldn’t see anything around, and the sky was cloudy.
Day 16: North Cape, the Northernmost point of continental Europe
The next day, I drove the last 14 km to reach the Northernmost point of continental Europe.
The parking is free, but getting inside the tourism office, where you can find a restaurant and a souvenir shop, isn’t free. It was around 14 euros per person, but we decided to skip it and just walk around.
After parking the car, screaming out of excitement to have reached this milestone on the Norwegian road trip, we got out of the car and quickly understood why they charged money to get inside.
The wind here was unbearable, and all my camera’s batteries were drained in minutes. The only way to take pictures of the place was on my iPhone, which had full storage (it was before I realized I needed Cloud storage). However, it’s a good thing to know that your iPhone will be a better tool here than any of your cameras. Also, it’s important to bring winter jackets, mittens, hats, and scarves. Simply put, dress like you are ready to climb Everest.
But the views of the Arctic Ocean are incredible.
You can even see a remote Russian island in the distance.
This is by far one of the most inhospitable and extraordinary places I’ve ever visited. However, I truly hope the experience is better in the summer. In just under 15 minutes, my ears were hurting badly, and I couldn’t feel my hands or toes.
But even with all the wind and all the bad weather, I successfully drove my car from Bucharest, Romania, up to the North Cape in Norway.
After this, we decided to stay another day in the base camp because the weather forecast was showing 0% clouds for that evening, which was a first. In the past week, it had always been cloudy and rainy. Since I’ve made it this far, 100 euros more for accommodations didn’t make much of a difference in my already decimated travel budget.
And the weather forecast was right.
The Northern Lights that I witnessed later that night at the North Cape Base Camp in September 2022 were some of the most amazing natural spectacles I’ve ever witnessed. I wrote an entire guide on how to increase your chances of seeing the Northern Lights in Norway.
The experience was priceless, and it was visible just above my cabin. I took some incredible pictures and videos with my camera, and I watched the lights dance for hours.
And that was indeed the ending of one of the most incredible road trips in Europe.
That’s my South to North itinerary in Norway (driving to North Cape, Norway)
I wrote this long story because I want to make sure I won’t forget about these places I visited while driving to North Cape, Norway. And I hope it will help you plan your road trip. One important adjustment is also to check the other shorter itinerary (10-day Norway road trip) and integrate those places as you’re driving up North.
If you have any questions, let me know.
Enjoy your road trip in Norway because it’s truly one of those once-in-a-lifetime experiences.
But some say Iceland is even better. After spending more than a month in Iceland in 2023, I have written a detailed comparison of Iceland vs Norway, to help you choose between these two extraordinary Nordic destinations.