Norwegian Scenic Routes – what and where?

Last modified 30.07.2023 | Published 30.08.20202020's, Norway, Norway Road Trips

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The 18 Norwegian national scenic routes spread out from north to south, and invite us into a magnificent scenery with rich cultural experiences along the way. To enrich the experiences even more, there is an emphasis on new, groundbreaking architecture and works of art along the roads.

Tourist destinations in their own right

Anyone who has driven on roads around the world will have experienced high-speed motorways without the great scenic experience to offer. These roads are primarily transport arteries leading from A to B. If on the other hand, you have moved somewhat off the beaten track, you will have discovered more interesting stretches of road. Anyone who has used Michelin’s excellent road maps will have found the beautiful stretches marked in green.

The Norwegian road network may in a sense be compared to all these green Michelin lines – there are not many fast motorways we may transport ourselves on. Slightly more positively worded, the Norwegian road network is an attraction in itself and brings us to our destination with beautiful scenery on all sides.

Some of the road sections in Norway are more picturesque than others, and Norwegian road authorities have set themselves the goal of not only maintaining them, but also developing them into tourist destinations.

Here is a small collection of photos from six of the scenic routes.

Not just a road

The 18 Norwegian scenic routes wind their way in beautiful surroundings where you have the opportunity to enjoy the landscape and scenery along the way at a suitable speed. Furthermore, the Norwegian Public Roads Administration, through active work over several years, has emphasised the development of viewpoints and picnic areas that are not only that. There are also genuine works of art to view and architecturally exciting buildings to visit. Primarily Norwegian, but also some international artists and architects have given these places a unique expression. This helps to modernise travelling on country roads, and we are deeply grateful for this initiative.

18 road sections have been selected as Norwegian Scenic Routes. These roads run through landscapes with unique natural scenery, along the coast and fiords and over mountains and plains. Little architectural gems at the edge of the ocean, dramatic viewpoints and functional rest areas provide enjoyable nature experiences for road travellers who want more than just finding the fastest way from A to B. (The Norwegian Public Roads Administration)

Map of the Norwegian scenic routes

Read how the Norwegian Public Roads Administration presents the tourist roads.

The map shows all the country’s 18 official scenic routes, adapted from the Norwegian Public Roads Administration. Click on each road to get a short description, in Norwegian. Green lines have links to Sandalsand’s articles. We notice that the scenic roads are largely about coastal and mountain stretches in Western Norway and Northern Norway.

It has definitely not been cheap, but it helps to make the country attractive as a holiday country – for road users. In addition, it brings forth local cultural monuments and scenic experiences. Over the years, I have driven many of these stretches of road. Some of them even before they became official scenic routes and before they were developed as such.

With 2,000 kilometres in total, across the entire country, it is a tremendous task if you should have an ambition to drive them all. By the way, there is no special hurry, because the roads do not disappear. On the contrary, the content is constantly evolving. Not all sections have yet received the facilities and artwork that the Norwegian Public Roads Administration has plans for. Upon completion in 2023 there will on all 18 roads, be as many as 250 picnic areas and viewpoints. The project started in 1994, and there are still a few projects underway. I sincerely hope that the great ambitions will be accomplished.

Through the combination of nature, roads, architecture and art, we create new pictures of Norway in order to tempt you to embark upon new journeys along our most beautiful roads. (The Norwegian Public Roads Administration)

I present my driven stretches in a series of articles. In each article you will find links to more detailed articles about attractions along the way.

Here is the list of Norwegian Scenic Routes, with links to Sandalsand’s articles in Norwegian.

  1. Varanger
  2. Havøysund
  3. Senja
  4. Andøya
  5. Lofoten
  6. Helgelandskysten
  7. Atlanterhavsvegen
  8. Geiranger – Trollstigen
  9. Gamle Strynefjellsvegen
  10. Rondane
  11. Sognefjellet
  12. Valdresflye
  13. Gaularfjellet
  14. Aurlandsfjellet
  15. Hardanger
  16. Hardangervidda
  17. Ryfylke
  18. Jæren

The links to the National scenic routes are to Sandalsand Norge, the Norwegian language sister of the website you are now. I have no plans to translate these articles into English. Consequently, I suggest you have a go with your automatic translator. Of course, this introduction also has a Norwegian version.

Would you like to find more stories from road trips in Norway, in English? Check out the introduction page, here at Sandalsand. What about more road trips in Norway? Continue on this link.