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Risør in Southern Norway - Photo: Marie Peyre/visitnorway
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Risør in Southern Norway Photo: Marie Peyre/visitnorway

Southern Norway in a week

This itinerary takes in Oslo, the Southern Coast of Norway, Stavanger, a hike to Preikestolen and a glimpse of mountainous Telemark. Best in summer.

Your itinerary

Day 1: Oslo
Day 2: Oslo to Risør (234 km, 4 hours)
Day 3: Risør to Kristiansand (116 km, 2 hours)
Day 4: Kristiansand to Stavanger (255 km, 4 hours)
Day 5: Stavanger
Day 6: Lysefjord and Preikestolen. Drive to Dalen (120 km, 2hours)
Day 7: Telemark and back to Oslo (231 km, 4 hours)

Car hire

If you do not have your own car you will need to hire one for this tour. Main providers include Avis, Budget, Europcar, Hertzand SIXT. All have offices in central Oslo and at Gardermoen Airport.

Day 1: Oslo

Spend the day in Oslo, and make the most of the many museums, galleries, shops and restaurants the Norwegian capital has to offer. Recommended attractions include the Akershus Fortress, guarding the entrance to the harbour; Vigeland's Park and its 212 sculptures, and City Hall's richly decorated interiors. Among many others. Want to treat yourself to something special? Why not take a cruise on the Oslofjord, or book a show at the new opera house on the waterfront? More info on Oslo, and suggestions on what to see and do.

Day 2: Oslo to Risør

A string of summer towns line the southern coast on this stretch of road, while the islands and skerries of the Skagerrak are a haven for sailboats. Stop to see Edvard Munch's summer home at Åsgårdstrand; visit Tønsberg, Norway's oldest town, and the nearby island of Tjøme; make a gourmet stop in Sandefjord, the old whaling capital where Bocuse d'Or winner Geir Skeie opens his first restaurant on 1 November 2010; visit the colourful village of Kragerø, the birthplace of illustrator Theodor Kittelsen (his childhood home is now a museum); before ending the day in Risør, famed for its white wooden buildings and its wooden boat festival (every year in early August).

Day 3: Risør to Kristiansand

Take the short boat crossing to Lyngør – cars are not allowed on the picturesque island, which is one of the best preserved village communities of its kind in Europe; or stop and explore Tvedestrand, another typical summer town idyll, known for its second-hand bookshops, and Arendal – its old town hall is one of the largest wooden buildings in Norway. If you are travelling with children a stop at Kristiansand Zoo is a must – it is one of Norway's most popular attractions. Or visit Kristiansand itself. Highlights in the centre include Posebyen and the Christiansholm Fortress, while just outside of town the unusual Canon Museum and Gimle Gård, a manor house dating from the 19th century, are also worth a visit.

Day 4: Kristiansand to Stavanger

After a short detour to see Lindesnes Lighthouse, Norway's southernmost point, today you will follow Rv44 from Flekkefjord, once a thriving harbour, all the way to Stavanger. This scenic drive, part of the North Sea Road (Nordsjøvegen), makes an excellent alternative to the E39 a few kilometres to the east. Suggested stops along the way include the old cotter’s house at Helleren, sheltered under a 100-metre long and 15-metre deep rocky outcrop; the picturesque village of Sogndalstrand (you can catch salmon in the river there); and Orrestranda, Norway's longest sand beach, on Jæren – the perfect place to watch the sun set over the North Sea.

Day 5: Stavanger

Stavanger, the oil capital of Norway, has much to offer visitors. This dynamic, cosmopolitan town has a number of interesting museums - you will not be able to see them all in a day, but do make sure you visit the fascinating Norwegian Petroleum Museum by the harbour, and the quirky Canning Museum in the pretty Old Town. If you like art the Rogaland Art Museum is worth a visit too. Stavanger also boasts one of the best restaurant scenes in Norway, and exciting shopping is available in both Stavanger and nearby Sandnes.

Day 6: Lysefjord and Preikestolen/Dalen

Try and get up early to take the hike to Preikestolen, one of Norway's most popular walks (allow 2.5 hours to get to the top, and 1.5 hours to come back), then get on the ferry to Lysebotn at the very end of the beautiful, rugged Lysefjord. From here a little road climbs its way up the mountain via several hairpin bends to Sirdal. Note that the road is only open in summer, and the boat trip along Lysefjord requires advance booking. It is then a two-hour drive to Dalen, where you can stay overnight at the elegant Dalen Hotel, one of Norway's historic wooden hotels.

Day 7: Telemark and back to Oslo

Spend your last day exploring the county of Telemark on your way back to Oslo. The most obvious route is to follow the E134, and recommended stops along the way include Morgedal, the birthplace of modern skiing as a sport, and home to the Norwegian Ski Museum; Seljordsvannet Lake and Seljordsormen, Norway’s answer to the Loch Ness monster; and Heddal Stave Church, the country’s largest stave church, which is also one of its best preserved. If you like music, note the Country Festival in Seljord in late July, and the famous Notodden Blues Festival in August. From Heddal, side excursions on the Telemark Canal (Norway's longest man-made waterway) and to Rjukan, where one of the most heroic acts of resistance again Nazi occupation took place in WW2, are other possibilities. The drive back to Oslo takes you through Kongsberg and Drammen.

Useful links

You will find additional information on what to see and do, where to eat, and where to stay in Tønsberg, Sandefjord, Kragerø, Risør Risør, Kristiansand region, The North Sea Road The North Sea Road, Stavanger and Telemark.

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Last updated:  10 May 2012
The cannons at Akershus Fortress in Oslo, Norway - Photo: Matjaz Intihar/VisitOSLO
The cannons at Akershus Fortress in Oslo, Norway
Norway's narrowest house in Tvedestrand, Southern Norway - Photo: Peder Austrud
Norway's narrowest house in Tvedestrand, Southern Norway
Learn about the black gold at the Norwegian Petroleum Museum in Stavanger - Photo: Norwegian Petroleum Museum
Learn about the black gold at the Norwegian Petroleum Museum in Stavanger
The old cotter's house at Helleren in Norway - Photo: Marie Peyre/visitnorway
The old cotter's house at Helleren in Norway
The Telemark Canal in Norway - Photo: Marie Peyre/visitnorway
The Telemark Canal in Norway

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Risør in Southern Norway - Photo: Marie Peyre/visitnorway

Southern Norway in a week

This itinerary takes in Oslo, the Southern Coast of Norway, Stavanger, a hike to Preikestolen and a glimpse of mountainous Telemark. Best in summer.

Southern Norway in a week

Source: Visitnorway

Related

Tour suggestions in Southern Norway

Take a drive along the North Sea Road, explore the Lysefjord and Pulpit Rock, and enjoy southern culture in the many villages along the coast.

North Sea Road - Nordsjøvegen

Discover the viking spirit along The North Sea Road, from Kristiansand in Southern Norway to Haugesund at the west coast, by car, bicycle and foot.

Tour suggestions in Kristiansand

Stroll around Kristiansand's old town, join a boat trip to Lillesand or take a drive along the scenic North Sea Route.

Tour suggestions in the Arendal Region

The varied nature in the Arendal Region displays idyllic towns, beautiful countryside and quiet woods and hills.

Tour suggestions in the Stavanger region

Go on a sightseeing tour of Stavanger, the Lysefjord or Norway’s only "palm island". Rent a bicycle or car and explore the region on your own.

Tour suggestions in Sirdal

Sirdal is the perfect base for your holiday. Within one day, you can explore the Lysefjord, the mountains of Kjerag or the Suleskarvegen Road.

About Aust Agder, Vest Agder

Tourist information in Southern Norway

Southern Norway comprises of several different regions, and each of the regions has one or more tourist information offices.

Key facts about Southern Norway

Sørlandet (Southern Norway) is the southernmost region of Norway, with 30 municipalities and approximately 285,000 inhabitants.

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Sørlandet

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