If you want to see the best of the fjords, the mountains and the ocean in western Norway, this is the round trip for you.
The route between Geiranger via Trollstigen to the Atlantic Road, Kristiansund and Molde includes one UNESCO World Heritage (the Geirangerfjord), two National Tourist Routes (Geiranger – Trollstigen and the Atlantic Road), one National Park (the Aursjøvegen Road) and one “construction of the twentieth century” (the Atlantic Road).
We will also tell you about some “secret spots” along the route so take some short detours and your trip will be even better.
This is a 200 kilometre long stretch of road in a landscape varying from deep and narrow fjords, steep and dramatic snowcapped mountains, cascading waterfalls and rivers, green valleys, numerous isles and a weather-beaten ocean landscape. You can drive this stretch of road in one day, the drive alone is a great experience, but we recommend you to spend a few days so you can see and experience all the great places and spectacular nature that are worth seeing.
Geiranger and the Geirangerfjord
Geiranger and the Geirangerfjord are part of the UNESCO World Heritage. Each year, hundreds of thousands tourists visit this area. Kayaking, RIB-boating or ferry are all great ways to experience this majestic fjord. You can combine a boat trip and mountain hiking to one of many abandoned mountain farms, like Skageflå and Knivsflå, and hike the mountain back to Geiranger.
Drive to the viewpoints at Dalsnibba, Flydalsjuvet and Ørnesvingen (the Eagles Road) and see the view towards the Geirangerfjord and the surrounding mountains and waterfalls. If you bring your skis you can visit Stryn Summer Ski Centre, 57 kilometres from Geiranger. You can also stay a night at Hotel Union and enjoy the Spa-facilities there with wonderful fjord views.
Geiranger – Trollstigen
The 68 kilometre long road between Geiranger and Trollstigen is one of 18 tourist routes in Norway. Parts of this road are closed during winter; it usually openes in May and closes in October, depending on the amount of snow in the mountains.
From Geiranger, you drive up the steep Ørnevegen (the Eagles Road). On the upper part of the steep hillside there is a viewpoint where you can stop and see Geiranger and the Geirangerfjord from a birds-eye perspective. From here you can also see the famous waterfall “The Seven Sisters” cascading into the fjord.
Continue the drive over the mountainpass to Eidsdal, a small, cosy town down by the Storfjord. Cross the Storfjord by ferry to Linge and continue driving to Valldal where tasting the strawberries from the local farms is a must – the best strawberries in the world! If you want to feel the adrenaline pumping, Valldal Naturpplevingar takes you down the Valldøla River in river kayaks or rafts.
Between Valldal and Trollstigen, 11 kilometres from Valldal, you should stop at the new view point at Gudbrandsjuvet. This is one of many architectural constructions made in connection with the road´s status as a National Tourist Route. Here you can visit Juvet Hotel. This hotel has won many prizes for its special construction and integration into its wild and beautiful surroundings.
Trollstigen, 16 kilometres from Gudbrandsjuvet, is together with Geiranger one of the most visited attractions in Norway. The mountains which encircle the Trollstigen road are enormous. The Stigfossen Waterfall gushes down the mountainside towards the luscious Isterdalen Valley and in the middle of all this the Trollstigen Road winds its way up the mountainside. There are two new viewpoints at Trollstigen only a few minutes walk from the road. You can hike in the surrounding mountain area. Popular goals are to the edge of Trollveggen (more than 1000 metres vertical fall) or to the mountain Bispen (the Bishop) just above the Trollstigen Road.
Trollstigen and the Romsdalsfjord
From Trollstigen it is only a short distance to Åndalsnes, a small town down by the Romsdalsfjord. Before arriving at Åndalsnes, drive eight kilometres up the Romsdalen Valley to the base of Trollveggen and Romsdalshorn. From here there are great views to the mountains, to the valley and to the Rauma River.
Drive to the town centre of Åndalsnes, down by the Romsdalsfjord, where you have a lovely view towards Isfjorden and the surrounding mountains. Continue towards Isfjorden, six kilometres from Åndalsnes. A small side step, worth taking in Isfjorden, is a short drive up the mountain road (toll road) to Vengedalen. Drive almost to the end of the road and walk up to Litlefjellet, a 20 minutes hike to a mountain ridge where you can see down to the Romsdalen Valley and the Rauma River and its surrounding mountains Trollveggen, Romsdalshorn and Vengetind among others. You can also see down to Åndalsnes and the Romsdalsfjord.
Another suggested side step in Isfjorden is the Kavliheian mountain pasture. Drive the mountain road (toll road) from Øvre Kavli in Isfjorden and then walk for 20 minutes in flat and easy terrain. You will see the inner part of the Romsdalsfjord and the Romsdalen mountains from the road and from the Kavliheian mountain pasture.
Continue the drive towards Molde. Two kilometres before arrivingat Åfarnes you can drive up the mountain road (toll road) Nysetervegen to the Nysetra mountain pasture. From here you have a great view towards Molde, the outer part of the Romsdalsfjord and to the Atlantic Ocean. From Nysetra, you can walk for 40 minutes to Lake Herjevatnet.
Lake Eikesdalsvatnet, Eikesdal and Aursjøvegen
From Åfarnes, drive eastwards along Langfjorden to Vistdal and Vistdalsheia and continue to Eresfjord and Lake Eikesdalsvatnet (22 metres above sea level). Drive along the 18 kilometre long lake to Eikesdal, a small village which is surrounded by steep mountains and waterfalls. From Eikesdal you can walk up to the Mardalsfossen Waterfall, one of Norway´s highest waterfalls with its 705 metre drop, divided into two vertical waterfalls. This walk takes between 30 and 45 minutes. The waterfall is regulated for hydroelectric power, but is “open” between 20 June and 20 August.
The Aursjøvegen Road between Eikesdal and Sunndalsøra is partly surrounded by the Dovrefjell-Sunndalsfjella National Park. The 120 kilometre long toll road rises steeply from Eikesdal to the mountain plateau by Lake Aursjøen (831 metres above sea level). It is not recommended to drive this road with a caravan or bus due to its sharp turns and the steep and narrow road. This area is perfect for adventures like hiking, fishing, cycling, paddling, climbing and swimming. The road opens 1 June and closes when the first snow falls. Eikesdal and Litldalen are also popular places for BASE-Jumping. From Aursjøen you pass Lake Osvatnet and drive through the Litldalen Valley to Sunndalsøra down by the Sunndalsfjord. Sunndalsøra is close to the Innerdalen Valley, one of Norway´s most beautiful valleys. You can visit the mountain pastures at Torbuvollen in the Torbudalen Valley, Renndølsetra in the Innerdalen Valley and Gammelsetra in the Grøvudalen Valley. The Driva River ends in Sunndalsøra and is a good river for fishing salmon and trout.
Kristiansund and the Atlantic Road
Continue through a landscape dominated by steep mountains and fjords, then west towards Kristiansund, with the coast and the many isles dominating the landscape. Kristiansund is the third largest city in Møre og Romsdal, and is situated on 4 islands reaching out into the Atlantic Ocean.
The fishing village of Grip, 14 kilometres north-west of Kristiansund, is an important tourist destination for visitors in Kristiansund. In the summer season there are daily boat departures from the city to the small island.
From Kristiansund, there is only a short distance to the Atlantic Road, one of Norways 18 National Tourist Routes. The road is 8.3 kilometres long and is known as the construction of the century within Norway. It consists of eight bridges and traverses several small islands and reefs. This is a beautiful road set in great surroundings with activities like fishing, diving, cycling and ocean safari which can all be done in the area. The small island of Håholmen is worth a visit and here you can try sailing a Viking Ship! Håholmen is an old fishing community with 28 preserved buildings and can be reached by boat from the Geitøya island just beside the Atlantic Road.
From Vevang, the south east end of the Atlantic Road, you continue on fv. 663 and fv. 664 towards Farstad and the fishing village of Bud. We recommend you to drive detours on local roads toward the coast to be able to see more of the area and the coastal landscape. The Farstadstranda Beach at Farstad is a popular goal for surfers. From Bud you can walk along Kyststien (the coastal path), a four kilometre long path towards the open ocean.
In the summer there are also daily boat departures from Harøysund to the old fishing village of Bjørnsund. Bjørnsund consists of four islands and in 1900 there were up to 600 inhabitants on the islands, though today Bjørnsund is an abandoned fishing village that is used solely for recreation.
Molde, the Molde Panorama and Ona Lighthouse
From Bud drive 54 kilometres towards Molde, the second largest city in Møre og Romsdal. Molde is known as the town of roses, for Molde international Jazz Festival and the Molde Panorama.
Drive to the viewpoint Varden, 407 metres above sea level, and take in the spectacular Molde panoramic view towards the Romsdalsfjord and the 222 snowcapped mountains.
In the summer, there are several boat departures from Molde to Hjertøya, a small island in the Romsdalsfjord. This is a great area for recreation and for swimming in the fjord. A small café is open on Saturdays and Sundays and a Fisheries Museum is located on the island.
Visit the Romsdal Museum in the centre of Molde. This is a Folk Museum where you can see more than 50 old buildings originating from the Romsdal region.
Take a day excursion to Ona Lighthouse. Drive westwards from Molde and take the ferry to the island of Aukra. From Småge, in the west on Aukra, there are several daily boat departures to Ona and other islands. Ona is a traditional fishing village with a permanent population of about 30. This small island community has its own shop, a small café, several places to stay and two pottery workshops.
The weather is very important during such a round-trip in western Norway. The best time is June to August. But also May is a beautiful month – where spring meets summer, with green valleys and snowy mountains. Note that some of the roads are closed during winter. Depending on the amount of snow in the mountains these roads are usually open between late May and early June.
Weather Forecast for Møre og Romsdal
Official page for Norway: www.visitnorway.com
Official page for Fjord Norway: www.fjordnorway.com
Plan and book fjord travel, accommodation and activities: www.fjordtours.com
Fjord Pass Discounts: www.fjord-pass.com
Visitnorway.com – The Geirangerfjord area
Visitnorway.com – Trollstigen
Åndalsnes and Romsdal
Visitnorway.com – Visit Northwest
Visitnorway.com – National Tourist Routes
Visitnorway.com – The Atlantic Road