Earlier this year, Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond, and James May traveled to Norway to film what has been named ‘The Grand Tour: A Scandi Flick‘. This saw the famous trio travel across the beautiful country in three rally-inspired cars as they discovered what makes Norway such an incredible place.
The episode was released on the 16th of this month, so to celebrate its release we took a closer look at the amazing Grand Tours available to us in Norway. We consulted VisitNorway.com and the 18 road trips the country has to offer, and whittled them down to the top 5, gathering all the information we could on them.
So take a look at the video and article below and get in the mood for your own Grand Tour.
This is a national tourist route spanning 99 miles through the Varanger Peninsula in Norway’s county of Finnmark. It’s a coastal road that runs close to the North Eastern border with Russia, between Varangerbotn and Hamningberg, running parallel to the ice-cold Barents Sea, and if driven in one go, will take you around 3 hours to complete.
But, you’ll want to pull over and enjoy the Arctic climate and the area as it boasts fresh fish and a mix of cultures thanks to trade and migration.
This road trip will take you through birch woods, marshland, and jagged cliff landscapes, with some describing it as looking like a journey towards the end of the world thanks to its incredible lunar scenery.
There’s a good chance you’ll see reindeer here, as well as plenty of bird species you won’t see anywhere else in the world such as kittiwakes and puffins. The road can be driven all year round, but I would advise going between September and April to see the legendary Northern Lights.
Varanger is the kingdom of the Northern Lights, and the best place to see the phenomenon on earth. Fortunately, the area has the mildest Winters on the aurora belt, so it isn’t a really challenging journey.
Along the way, you should stop at the Steilneset memorial in Vardo, erected to commemorate the killing of 91 people after they were found guilty of witchcraft. You should also stop at Mount Domen, which is where witches used to have their meetings with Satan. Allegedly.
Still within the county of Finnmark, the Havøysund route is one of the most scenic drives of the country. But, with the road passing through barren, rocky landscapes and mountains and alongside the Arctic Ocean, this 53-mile-long route can be a dangerous but exhilarating driving experience.
Linking the two villages of Smørfjord and Havøysund, this road takes you through stunning and varied scenery, so don’t forget to charge your phone or camera before heading off.
Those of us who have come here for a spirited drive will enjoy the twists, turns, and elevation changes, but with it running so close to the sea it’s not uncommon for there to be storms, so if you’re riding, make sure you plan for the worst.
In between stints of quick driving, make sure you stop to explore the wildlife which includes sea eagles and reindeer, as well as the deep sea fishing village of Havøysund where this route comes to an end.
Joining this route with the Varanger route will form one of the most breathtaking circular trips of the country.
This tourist route is found on the island of Senja in Northern Norway and its 60-odd miles explore where the mountains hit the sea between Botnhamn and Gryllefjord. This is yet another gorgeous road that will have you pulling over every minute to take in yet another gorgeous vista, but if you want the best view, head to Bergsbotn viewpoint.
The locals call it Arctic Norway at its natural best, with the route boasting rugged mountains, ice-cold fjords, sandy beaches, and a number of hiking trails for when you need a break from driving.
The road can be narrow, very narrow, but it’s exciting with plenty of corners to keep you engaged behind the wheel. And when you’re hungry, take a small detour to one of the small fishing villages along the way for some excellent food.
Another place of interest is Tungeneset, where you’ll find the Devil’s Jaw peaks. It’s a must-see range of mountains.
Senja is the second largest island of Norway, with most visitors getting there via a ferry from Tromso to either Finnsnes or Lysnes. Stop along the way at Ersfjordstranda to use the fanciest toilets you’ll ever see.
The Atlantic Road
The Atlantic Road is so incredible, it’s caught the eye of international media and has become famous worldwide. It’s been named things like “Norwegian Construction of the Century”, “the world’s best road trip”, and even “the world’s best place to mend a broken heart”.
The route stretches over 36km between Kårvåg and Bud, and will wind you through beautiful nature and some of the most amazing engineering you’ll ever see as you cross a total of seven bridges. The Storseisundet bridge, featured in James Bond: No Time To Die, is an epic piece of architecture and a must-drive for anyone who owns a set of wheels. It’s also the largest of the seven bridges and a hotspot for car adverts, it’s well worth taking your camera for.
Here, the weather can get bad, so watch out for storms as the larger waves will sweep over the roads.
If you’re looking for a quick pitstop, head to Askevågen viewpoint. It’s only small, but the photos you’ll take at this location will be the best of the trip.
This is one of the most interesting routes on this list with it being incredibly varied over its 260km length. From Lysefjorden to Røldal, this route isn’t for a nervous driver, with the former boasting a mountain road with 27 hairpin bends that reach 600m above sea level.
Or, if you’re fancying something a bit different, drive the world’s deepest subsea tunnel from Ryfylke tunnel near Stavanger, measuring in at 14.4km and 292m below sea level.
Other interesting stops include the Svandalsfossen waterfall near the town of Sauda, and Allmannajuvet zinc mines around the same area. But you’ll definitely want to visit the Pulpit rock if you don’t mind a difficult hike through some of Norway’s wild but beautiful surroundings.
There are a number of open lakes to relax at, and after about two hours of continued hiking you’ll find yourself 602 metres above sea level where you can look down on Lysefjord and take in the rock itself which hangs over a fjord. This is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that you don’t want to miss.
Let us know which route you’d choose in the comments below!