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Motorhome tour of southern Norway for active campers
Motorhome tour of southern Norway for active campers

Motorhome tour of southern Norway for active campers

Freeontour presents the top 10 sights in the south of Norway including the capital, hiking tours, fjords and more ...

Author: Freeontour, Header image: VisitNorway / Samuel Taipale

A motorhome tour to the fantastic highlights of southern Norway for active holidaymakers, focusing on Norway's landscape. Freeontour presents 10 top destinations in Southern Norway - from the capital Oslo to spectacular hikes in the Norwegian Fjells and the impressive fjords of Norway.

The top 10 excursion destinations for a motorhome tour through southern Norway

Norway is not a destination that is just around the corner, but these days you can get there a lot faster than you would think. And it is worth it. Because the Scandinavian country is the perfect place for nature and activity enthusiasts to explore. And many of those new to Norway will be surprised by just how much there is to discover beyond the spectacular fjords. Freeontour presents the ten most beautiful destinations for a motorhome tour through southern Norway:

Stop 1 in Norway: The capital Oslo

No matter which route you take to begin your motorhome tour in Norway: Oslo, the capital city of Norway, is definitely worth a visit. Even those who have been here before will be astounded by the changes to Oslo over the past few years, some of which are still on-going. Particularly in the harbour area there is a gigantic construction project. The opera house with its architecture, which caused an uproar a few years ago, was just the tip of the iceberg.

One reason for this construction boom in the last decade: Oslo is one of the fastest growing cities in Europe. The inhabitant number already cracked the 700,000 mark. This is notable by Scandinavian standards. But the most exciting thing about Oslo is its mix of modern architecture, history, culture and nature.

Places of interest in Oslo

If you arrived in Oslo by ferry, you will have immediately received a good impression of the surrounding countryside. Because to reach the capital city, you must pass straight through the fjord and skerry landscape, which you also see, of course, during short boat excursions from Oslo. While the little islands are not attractions in the classical sense, they are certainly worth a day trip when the weather is good. So grab your picnic hamper and make yourself comfortable on the rocks in the sun. Obviously, the Royal palace and the Holmenkollen ski jump are among the classical places of interest. Vigeland’s sculpture park is also a visitor magnet in the Norwegian capital. Anyone interested in art should not miss the new Munch Museum right next to the Oslo Opera House, which opened in October 2021. The museum is not only an eye-catcher architecturally, but also offers exhibitions of other contemporary artists in addition to many impressive works by Edvard Munch. All in all, the new Munch Museum is about five times larger than its predecessor.

Video: Sightseeing in Oslo in 1 Minute

This video offers you a first impression of other places of interest in Oslo. (Copyright: VISITOSLO/ Icecube Media) 

Oslo old town, known as Old Oslo, is also well worth visiting. The preserved historical houses give the area a very particular charm. You should definitely plan in a short walk here. To learn more about the history of Oslo, take a trip to the fortress Akerhus, another famous attraction in Oslo. This is located right on the shore of the Akersneset peninsula. Akerhus fortress originates from the 13th century and has been besieged nine times throughout the years, and during the Second World War, it was under German occupation. Later, the fortress was converted to a state prison. In the meantime, the magnificent rooms of the castle are used by the government for representation purposes. Free tours of the grounds are offered daily during the summer.

Stop 2 in Norway: Tourist attraction Pulpit Rock

The word ‘freedom’ takes on a brand new meaning during a motorhome tour in Norway. After stocking up on culture and history in Oslo, it is now time for another of Norway’s highlights. The second stop on our motorhome journey takes us into nature, through amazing scenery to the impressive Pulpit Rock (Preikestolen). This tour offers a breathtaking view of Norway’s countryside, especially the Lysefjord. Pulpit Rock is ideal for a superb hiking tour, one that you will never forget.

However, you need to remember that a tour to Pulpit Rock is only suitable for people who are fit and have a good head for heights. After all, there is a 604-metre vertical drop from the edge of the cliff plateau into the fjord below. Around 10,000 years ago, the edge of the glacier reached the top of the cliff, and this gigantic rock formation was created by frost weathering. Now thousands of tourists flock here every day, particularly in summer, so keep in mind: It’s almost impossible to get a photo of you alone on Pulpit Rock during the summer. If you are looking for solitude, you’ll need to hike up there very early in the morning or wait until evening. This is no problem in summer thanks to the midnight sun.

Hiking Preikestolen

Important: It really is only possible to reach Pulpit Rock on foot. The route is one of the most popular hikes in Norway, but should not be underestimated. Good, sturdy shoes are essential for a hiking tour to Pulpit Rock – and this advice, by the way, also applies to the majority of the Norwegian hiking routes. Remember to keep an eye on the weather, as it can change really quickly here. And the wet rocks can quickly turn into a slide when it rains.
Thanks to its popularity, the Hiking route to Pulpit Rock is very well signposted. Furthermore, there are ample parking opportunities, although not all of them are free. But although Pulpit Rock is an important tourist attraction in Norway, you will not find any pubs or huts on the way, so make sure you plan in sufficient supplies for the hiking - especially, of course, sufficient water. And if you plan to cool off in one of the many lakes along the path, make sure you also pack your swimming things. After the arduous ascent over the scree, a quick dip is an absolute pleasure and does the body good, especially in summer.
The path is only 8 km long in total, but at the same time, you face a change in altitude of around 500 metres. As some parts of the path are extremely steep, you should plan in at least 4 hours. Of course, a certain degree of physical fitness is essential.

Stop 3: Sightseeing and places of interest Stavanger

Our next stop is the city of Stavanger in south Norway. Although this is the fourth largest city in Norway, it is often overshadowed by the breath-taking countryside surrounding it. So make sure you plan in a stop here. The city centre is reasonably compact and this makes it excellent for exploring on foot. The little old town in particular, with more than 170 wooden houses, is definitely worth strolling through. And not far from Stavanger, on the edge of Hafrsfjord, is the national monument Sverd i Fjell (Swords in Rock). According to legend, it was here in 872 that King Harald Fairhair united Norway to a single kingdom. The three gigantic swords embedded in the rock therefore symbolise freedom, unity and peace. To get here you can either park the motorhome on the free car park or take a 60 minute walk (calculated leaving from Stavanger city centre). King Olav dedicated the monument in 1983.

Stop 4: City of Bergen in Norway

Depending on your chosen route, between 210 and 330 km further north is the city of Bergen, our next destination on our motorhome tour of Norway. Unfortunately, with 248 days of rain per year it is considered the wettest city in Europe. So, you can consider yourself very lucky if you catch a sunny day here. Despite this, Bergen is worth a quick visit. So, pack your umbrella and head for the busiest seaport in Europe. Afterwards, you can weave your way back to the city through the harbour, ending up at the fish market, where you really ought to try some of the delicious the fresh fish! After refreshing yourself, how about a trip on the funicular, which brings you to the top of Fløyen, the local mountain, where you can take in the breathtaking view of the Norwegian countryside. You shouldn’t miss that. The trip begins in the city centre, only 150 metres from the fish market. You can purchase tickets from the tourist information centre in Bergen.

Stop 5: Glacier Briksdalsbreen 

Around 300 km further north is the Briksdal glacier, an arm of the Jostedal glacier. With an area of around 470 km, this is the largest glacier in continental Europe with numerous outlet glaciers. The overwhelming advantage of the Briksdal glacier is that it is easy to reach on foot using the 2.5 km hiking route, or you can take a Troll car. Troll cars are electric vehicles that can carry up to 6 persons. However, the final 500 m to the glacier can only be achieved on foot. It is both interesting and shocking that on the way to the glacier you can clearly see how far it has receded in recent years. And as with every outing to a glacier: It is important that you observe the specific notices and do not enter prohibited areas. Even if it is not apparent: A glacier is continuously moving and it is not uncommon for a piece to spontaneously break off, which can be dangerous.

Stop 6: Top destination Geirangerfjord

Particularly for newcomers to Norway, there is hardly any destination in Norway that represents the classical image of the country better than the Geirangerfjord. It is approximately 200 km (as the crow flies) north-east of Bergen and is one of the best-known fjords in Norway - not least because it was designated an UNESCO world heritage site in 2005. In short: The Geirangerfjord is a top excursion destination in Norway. Without doubt, it is worth not only admiring the fjord from the viewing platform, but also exploring it by water. A trip on a ship or ferry over the Geirangerfjord opens up a completely new perspective, and you can experience the Norwegian countryside and local life. Astonishingly: You can see abandoned farms on the steep mountain sides along the fjord. These used to be occupied by whole families. Some farms were even only accessible by ladder and the mothers tied their children to a rope to prevent them from falling down the steep cliffs.

During the ferry journey, you will pass a very special attraction in this region: the Seven Sisters. These are seven waterfalls found next to each other, flowing straight into Geirangerfjord, and one of the fixed components of the Norwegian landscape. Arriving in Geiranger, you can use the opportunity to buy some fresh supplies in the little supermarket. If you follow road 63 in the direction Eidsdal, you can initially expect a lot of bends in the road. But it is worth it for the amazing view, as long as you have a good head for heights. Don’t forget to stop and take in the spectacular panorama from the viewpoint Ørnesvingen. And if your route takes you in the direction of Bismo, then our short extract from the Tour for a holiday in Norway is perfect for you. Whatever else you do, don’t forget to enjoy the view from Geiranger viewing platform.

Stop 7: The bridges of Kristiansund

When travelling the Atlantic Road in southern Norway you can't miss the fascinating bridges along the coast. They are a major tourist attraction in Norway. Their popularity is due to the bridges visually flowing curves, which are incredibly characteristic - even if the reason for their design was rather dull: The famous Hurtigruten mailboats must be able to slip cleanly and easily under the bridges on their voyages. And that requires bridges of a certain height. This and the close proximity of the individual islands gave rise to the architecturally characteristic shape we see today. In short: The landscape and the colours of the sea combine with the unusual architecture to make this a small and pleasurable detour during your holiday in Norway.

Stop 8: Trollstigen and the natural spectacle of the waterfalls

From Kristiansund, we set off again, this time in a southerly direction. Of course, in doing so, we make sure we don’t miss “The Troll’s Path”, or Trollstigen. Then, the Trollstigen is one of the most famous mountain passes in Norway. This means planning in the Trollstigen is almost a must for any holiday in Norway. But please check in advance whether your motorhome is suitable for the Trollstigen. It shouldn’t be a problem for most vehicles; the official maximum length for buses in 13.10 m. The route is passable from around mid-May/start of June to the end of September, and takes you from Isterdal to the top of the pass with a rise of approx. 12 % and eleven hairpin bends. Once you reach the top, there is a large car park, where you can stop for a while and enjoy the panorama over Isterdal. There is also an architecturally interesting viewing platform, which not only offers you a view over the Trollstigen into the valley, but also onto the 320 metre high waterfall Stigfossen. And that cannot be ignored - by either the eye or the ear.

By the way, some areas of the viewing platform extend over the edge and float 200 metres above the Trollstigen. But there are also areas suitable for those who are less keen to experience such heights. Furthermore, parts of the viewing platform area are accessible to wheelchair users. The route over the Trollstigen is one of the 18 scenic Norwegian routes that have been developed in the past 20 years to unite the amazing nature with unusual architecture. This scenic route covers in total 104 km and leads from Geirangerfjord, via Trollstigen to Langevatn in Strynefjellet. You will need to take the ferry to get to Linge from Eidsdal. The small downside of the Trollstigen is, of course, that the beauty of the route is well known among holidaymakers in Norway. This means that there is a lot of traffic, especially during the peak summer season.

Stop 9: National park Dovrefjell-Sunndalsfjella

Before we set off for the south once again, we make another detour to the north-west into the National Park Dovrefjell-Sunndalsfjella, meaning we leave the fjord region  behind us. . At first glance, the mountainous landscape is somewhat sparse and rather unimpressive. But if you take a closer look, you discover the multitude of colours that this region has to offer. Furthermore, the musk oxen living in Dovrefjell-Sunndalsfjella National Park  were brought here over 70 years ago from Greenland, and are allowed to roam freely and untamed through the countryside. As long as you keep a respectable distance from the animals, you can watch them to your heart’s content - once you have found them. A pair of binoculars is an essential part of your hiking kit, as is good insect repellent and a hat or other head covering. When the sun shines after a few days of rain, the tiny biting midges are in top form here in Hochfjell; sometimes you only need to venture a couple of metres from the car park to be rewarded with your first midge bite. A good starting point for a hike is, for example, the mountain hut Kongsvold fjellstue. Some free parking is available here, also suitable for motorhomes. However, if you have a larger motorhome, we recommend you try to grab a spot either very early in the morning or later in the evening.

When compared with the steep fjord landscape or the alpine Jotunheimen, the Hochfjell initially seems rather flat and you might think that trainers or sandals will be sufficient. Don’t be deceived. Sturdy shoes, preferably waterproof or at least water-resistant, are essential here due to the unpredictable terrain, which can soak up a lot of water. Of course, it goes without saying that you should pack your rucksack with sufficient provisions and water. In the town of Dombås, for example, you can replenish your daily supplies, buy hiking maps for the National Park, and there is a petrol station. It takes about 30 minutes to drive from Dombås and the start of the fell, so we recommend that you stock your fridge and rucksack while in Dombås.

Stop 10: Top attraction Borgund stave church

After so much nature, we are looking forward to a cultural attraction on our way back south. Our last stop on this motorhome tour is the stave church at Borgund. It is thought to have been built around 1180 and is one of the oldest preserved wooden buildings in the whole of Europe. Furthermore, it is an excellent example of the 28 stave churches still found in Norway today. The majority of the church is original. As most of the Norwegian stave churches were constructed during the conversion from paganism to Christianity, this interesting period is often reflected in the interior of the stave churches, and is evident from the runic inscriptions and magical symbols of various protective spells carved into the wooden structures. Directly opposite the church is a small visitor centre with a car park suitable for motorhomes. Here you can buy entry tickets to the church and let the impressive architecture of this attraction astound you.

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