Translating the Raw Beauty of Norway into Photographic Art
Let me be candid here; I adore Norway. It isn’t just another European country. It’s an entirely unique world. It’s a place where you’ll have to trust your eyes, lest the surreal beauty make you question reality.
We embarked on our third trip to this breathtaking land, skipping Oslo and diving straight into Stavanger. Here, we sought to discover scenic routes less trodden, finding picturesque gems tucked away from popular tourist paths.
We picked up our gleaming new Ford Focus rental from Gardermoen Airport, and after a six-hour journey, found ourselves in Stavanger. A long drive, yes, but the anticipation of the adventure ahead kept our spirits high. A hot shower and a good night’s sleep later, we were ready for the roads and sights that lay ahead.
Given that Norway has an expansive 21000 km of coastline, we divided the country into six segments. On this journey, we planned to delve into two of these segments.
Day 1 | The Jæren Route
Our photographic expedition began with the Jæren Route. It’s always challenging for me to find the perfect photo spots during the initial days in a new place, but I managed to find two captivating scenes. I was drawn to a quaint old cemetery that offered some fantastic shots and a chance to converse with a fellow enthusiast who, like me, was trying to capture Norway’s charm through his large format camera lens.
Our chosen route for driving the Jæren Route was one filled with natural beauty. Two tips from our experience: first, a sunny day without clouds may not offer the best photographic opportunities, but it does make the drive beautifully scenic. Second, exploring the side roads leading to the sea may lead you to some incredible sights.
You can click to see the exact spot of the photo – Derived from Google Maps
Day 2 | Ryfylke Part 1 (Road 13)
Day two led us to Road No. 13 of the Ryfylke Route, a road teeming with opportunities for remarkable photography. This road offered a prolonged ferry ride and some exceptional Nordic landscapes, from which I found two perfect spots for capturing the beauty of Norway.
One must-stop spot on this route is a bridge offering fantastic views. I was fortunate enough to capture a breathtaking scene from here.
Day 3 | Ryfylke Part 2 (Road 520)
This day was dedicated to waterfalls, and what a spectacle it was! Alongside, we encountered Sauda, a little town that packs a lot of surprises.
My advice for this route is to carry a poncho because the waterfall sprays can soak you in no time. Also, be prepared to protect your camera gear with a rain cover or a shower cap. If you’re adventurous, take the detour routes before the tunnels to get closer to the waterfalls. It’s an exhilarating experience!
Alright, that’s the first part of our journey. The beauty of Norway continues to unravel as we venture deeper into the country. We’ll explore more routes.
Day 4 | Aurlandsfjellet
We departed from our Stavanger base, setting course for Bergen. And boy, was the route we picked a treat for the senses!
Aurlandsfjellet route was, hands down, the best driving experience in this part of Norway. The road, surrounded by high altitude regions, seemed to nestle in its own secluded valley. The weather on this road is like a moody artist, with misty moments followed by inversions of clouds, creating ethereal scenes begging to be photographed.
Tips for this route: If you must pick just one road to drive in Norway, Aurlandsfjellet would be my top choice. Revisit as often as possible because the shifting clouds and mist create ephemeral scenes of beauty that appear and vanish in a heartbeat. Also, a telephoto zoom is a must-have if you’re into photography.
And remember, this road hides many gems along its length. Explore them if time permits!
Day 5 | Hardanger
We followed the Stavanger-to-Hardanger route. The Hardanger route, while scenic and highly recommended, doesn’t boast many traditionally photogenic spots. Hence, creativity becomes your best ally for capturing compelling photographs. One of my memorable shots was captured on a ferry!
Day 7 | Geiranger – Trollstigen
Relocating to Alesund, we set out to traverse the swirly, beautiful road filled with waterfalls and rising altitudes that lead us towards Geiranger and Trollstigen.
A few tips for this route: It might display a winter warning on Google Maps, but always verify road conditions with national sites. The further you drive, the more photographic opportunities you’ll find, so don’t be hasty to turn around. Lastly, due to the higher altitudes, the weather gets progressively colder. Consider carrying extra warm clothing and gloves for those chilly photography sessions.
Day 8 | Atlanterhavsvegen
Our final driving day led us on the Atlanterhavsvegen route. A departure from our earlier drives, this transatlantic road comprises seven bridges connecting small villages. While the views aren’t as grandiose as the ones on previous routes, it provides a unique perspective on Norway’s landscapes. The ride is easy, with no winter notice or other warnings to concern you.
Our journey through Norway, in four parts, was a whirlwind of picturesque routes, towering waterfalls, quaint villages, and the raw beauty of this Nordic wonderland. From the sunny, cloudless skies over Jæren to the snowy peaks near Trollstigen, every day brought new sights, sounds, and stories.
With this, we conclude our Norwegian road trip. Thank you for joining us on this journey. We’ll meet again on another adventure, in another corner of this beautiful world. Safe travels, fellow wanderers!
Our Norwegian road trip was a testament to the country’s unparalleled natural beauty. Each day unveiled a new surprise, a new perspective, a new road to be explored. We encountered diverse landscapes, from the dramatic fjords of Aurlandsfjellet to the tranquil beauty of Atlanterhavsvegen. The magic of Norway lies in its ability to bewitch you, to call you back time and again to experience its diverse roads and scenic beauty. Our journey may have ended, but the memories we created will last a lifetime.
1. Which is the best season to take a road trip in Norway?
Norway’s landscapes change dramatically with the seasons, so the “best” time depends on what you want to see. Summer (June – August) is great for warmer weather and longer days. However, if you want to see the Northern Lights, plan a trip between late September and late March.
2. Is it easy to rent a car in Norway?
Yes, it’s fairly straightforward. Major international and local car rental companies operate in Norway. Make sure to review the terms and conditions before you book, especially the insurance coverage and fuel policy.
3. How are the road conditions in Norway?
In general, roads in Norway are well-maintained and clearly marked. However, weather conditions can significantly impact road safety, particularly in winter. Always check the current road conditions and weather forecasts before you set off.
4. What should I pack for a road trip in Norway?
Packing depends on the season. However, irrespective of the time of the year, always carry good-quality rain gear, layered clothing, a first-aid kit, a road map, a GPS device, and a mobile charger. If you plan on hiking, bring appropriate gear. Don’t forget your camera to capture the stunning landscapes!
5. Do I need to prepare for toll roads in Norway?
Yes. Norway has many toll roads, and most of them are automated. Visitors driving rental cars should discuss toll payment arrangements with their car rental company.
Join us on our next journey as we explore another corner of this vibrant planet, keeping our minds open, our spirits adventurous, and our hearts full of wonder. Safe travels!