Exploring western Norway in just five days.
With the May bank holiday looming, I wanted to get away. I’ve been thinking about going to Norway for a long time, intrigued by its mountains, fjords and hikes! When I found cheap flights on Skyscanner, it made sense to book a short break to Bergen, Norway’s second largest city, and do a road trip!
Full disclosure: This itinerary begins in Bergen and ends in Stavanger. My last day was spent driving from Stavanger to Bergen, a long but picturesque journey, however for the sake of saving a full day’s driving I have omitted it from this itinerary and assume a departure flight to be booked from Stavanger.
MUST READ: Norway on a budget – Is it possible?
Day 1: Explore Bergen
Bergen is a city full of possibilities – you can experience the architecture, wander the harbour, see streets with rows of traditional Norwegian houses, or hike in the surrounding hills.
Spend your morning strolling the city, taking in the beauty of the harbour and the quaint, traditional buildings in Bryggen. After lunch, take the cable car or climb up Mount Ulvik or Mount Floyen for beautiful views of the city from above. Wander one of the many museums in the city or visit the Ice Bar.
Day 2: Driving through the Fjords
On your second day, pick up your rental car and begin the drive east towards Eidfjord, stopping at a number of waterfalls and small towns en route to your next destination, Odda. The entire drive will take around 6 hours so be sure to leave early. I recommend taking a packed lunch with you so you can eat whenever and wherever you get hungry.
- Bordalsgjelet Gorge is a beautiful natural waterfall which travels through the gorge where the rocks rise up above you.
- Espelandfossen is another stunning sight which is viewable from the road.
- Ulvik is a pleasant stop with a lovely bakery (Drøs Bakery).
- Eidfjord gives you beautiful views of its surrounding scenery of the lakes and hills.
- Voringsfossen is a 182m waterfall located just past Eidfjord which is best appreciated from the Fossli hotel, where you can look down at the water crashing to the ground beneath your feet.
All of these waterfalls can be found on Google Maps so you can easily locate them as you are driving. Arrive in Odda for the evening and get a good night’s sleep ready for tomorrow’s hike!
Day 3: Hike Trolltunga
Trolltunga is an absolute must if you are fit, healthy and enjoy the outdoors. The 28km loop track to the insta-famous ‘Troll’s Tongue’ is challenging but totally doable for anyone who is relatively fit if you allow enough time.
In May, most of the track was still covered in snow, and the hike took around eight hours including about an hour’s stop at the Troll’s Tongue. Although it was tough, the hike was a highlight of my trip as the scenery is just spectacular!
After the hike, head back to Odda to rest up.
Day 4: Drive south to Jorpeland
Allow yourself a lie-in after yesterday’s hike… you might be feeling achey today! Then begin the journey south to Jorpeland – there are a huge amount of things to see en route if you want to stop off; the drive only takes around four hours.
- Rullestadjuvet Gorge is a beautiful river that travels through the landscape, with a walking track that follows the old Post Road, dating back to the 1800s.
- Årdal Old church in Årdal, Ryfylke is a historic structure which is a perfect example of Norwegian architecture. It dates back to the 17th century.
- Flesåna Waterfall is another beauty worth stopping at – the best views are from the rest area.
- Latefossen Waterfall is viewable from the road so make sure you stop off. In fact, it’s so powerful it seems it might even sweep the road away!
- Or, when you arrive in Jorpeland, rent a boat from the pier and travel out to the island, where you can view the old church and go for a short walk.
Stay close to Jorpeland in a hotel or AirBnB. It is the closest town to the start of the Pulpit Rock (Preikestolen) walking track – just 15 mins drive – so you can be up early for another hike the next day.
Day 5: Hike Pulpit Rock
An absolute must at some point in your life is beginning a hike in the early hours of the morning so you can get to the summit for sunrise. Pulpit Rock/ Preikestolen is a five hour round trip, so it’s the perfect choice if you know you don’t want to waste the entire day.
Starting the hike at 2am, you should reach the summit of Pulpit Rock (that beautiful rock that hangs over the lake) at around 5am, just as the sun is creeping up over the surrounding landscape. The hike itself is not too challenging although it is an ascent; the path is clearly marked and most of it is large, flat rocks making it a fairly stable track. The descent should not take as long – you’ll be back at your accommodation by around 9am.
After a mid-morning nap, take the ferry from Tau to Stavanger and spend the afternoon in this city. Wander the port and the white houses of Gamle Stavanger (the old town), visit the market square (Torvet) and the Domkirken Cathedral – the oldest in Norway. Stay the night in Stavanger, ready for your flight home the following day.
Note: Another great hike in the area is Kjeragbolten, where there is a rock suspended between two cliffs (an incredible photo opportunity!). This hike takes around 10 hours – after hiking Trolltunga a couple of days before, it was a no from me, but it’s on the list for next time!
Tips for visiting Norway
Know before you go
- The currency in Norway is the NOK (Norwegian Krone). 100 NOK is around £9.26 GBP/ 10.31€ EUR / $11.84 USD.
- Visas are not required for UK citizens; other nationalities may need a Schengen visa. Check on your country’s govt website before you travel.
- Insurance should never be overlooked. I use and love World Nomads.
- The weather can change very quickly; pack for sun, rain, wind and snow!
- Most people speak very good English.
Norway on a budget
Everything you need to know about travelling Norway on the cheap can be found in this post.
AutoEurope are a great rental car company who I have used a number of times on trips in Europe. Having your own car gives you the freedom to explore at your own pace. The car was almost-new, spacious and reliable at a very reasonable price.
Where to stay in Norway
Originally, I had planned to go camping on this trip, but decided against it just a few days before the flight. Camping in Norway is completely free, but the temperatures in May were still very low.
I stayed in AirBnBs throughout my time in Norway which I found to be the most economical option. Sign up through this link for £25 off your first booking! If you book further in advance you will also find good deals on booking.com – use the form below to browse properties.
Shop my essential travel gear for Norway:
Have you been to Norway? How would you spend 5 days there?
Thanks for reading and happy travels!
This post contains affiliate links. If you click on them and purchase something from the linked site, I’ll earn a tiny (and I mean tiny!) commission at no extra cost to you, which contributes to running this blog.
Enjoyed this post? Pin it for later!