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Norway Road Trips: Mountains, Tunnels and Bears - Oh My!

Norway Road Trips: Mountains, Tunnels and Bears - Oh My!

story by: Mike Williams

There are some places on this planet that seem to be tailor made for road trips. You can pack up the car and drive for hours, soaking up the beautiful scenery, looking for the perfect picnic spot and stopping intermittently for photo opportunities. Norway is certainly one of those places.

Norway, in the western part of Scandinavia in Northern Europe, is one of the least densely populated countries in Europe and is renowned for its beauty. It is jam-packed with dramatic mountain views, impressive fjords, endless waterfalls and stunning glaciers. That’s not to mention the distinctive coastal scenery, broken up by fjords and thousands of islands.

If that isn’t enough to make Norway a truly unique road trip opportunity, then there is also the small matter of the more than 900 road tunnels in Norway. The combined length of the road tunnels in Norway exceeds 750 km!

Of these 900 plus tunnels, the most impressive is surely the Lærdal Tunnel, which connects Lærdal and Aurland. At an unfathomable 24.5km (15 miles), it is the longest road tunnel in the world, 10km longer than the St. Gotthard Tunnel in Switzerland. To keep the drivers stimulated it boasts three mountain caverns with special lighting to imitate sunrises. 

Gunnar Garfors from the Terminal U website suggests a 900km loop that takes in a smorgasbord of valleys, rivers, waterfalls, glaciers and mountains, along with a number of ferry crossings and no less than 135 tunnels. Because it is a loop, that road trip can be started at any one of the five airports it goes past.  The loop can be traced from Bergen on the South West coast up to Florø before looping back inland after Målø over to Nordfjordeid. The loop continues down to Kaupanger, through Nærøyfjorden. After that comes Vossevangen, Dale, before the loop closes at Bergen again. You can view Gunnar Garfors’ Norway road trip at the Terminal U website here.

However, there are countless other road trips you could undertake, depending on your time and ambition, and limited only by your imagination. Perhaps you will get lucky and see one of the different types of bears that call Norway home, or maybe an elf, deer or lynx.

Of course, there is far more to do in Norway than just driving and taking pictures. There is a rich history to investigate. Stone tools have been discovered in Finnmark, Norway that date back to as far as 9,500 BC.  There is also the Nordic Bronze Age, the Iron Age and of course the Viking Age to explore. For the more adventurous, the diverse Norwegian landscape also allows for plenty of hiking and mountain climbing, as well as surfing on the distinctive coastline or rafting and fishing on the many waterways.

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