Per Roger Lauritzen is the man in charge of Norway’s most popular roadbook. Here, he shares his best views from the road.
“Seeing nothing but nature can often be boring.”
Author and editor Per Roger Lauritzen of the Norwegian Automobile Federation (NAF), an organization for Norwegian car owners, has been all over Norway.
In the last few years he has collaborated with the Norwegian cultural heritage foundation Norsk Kulturarv on a number of books published by NAF, on everything from the best detours to the lesser known eateries and hotels along Norwegian roads.
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His latest book “Norges beste utsikter”, or “Norway's best views”, is co-written by Reidar Stangenes of Norsk Kulturarv. It features images and stories from around a hundred places selected from a few clear criteria:
“They need to be situated right next to a road, or a short walk away – no more than half an hour. And they should preferably tell a story or show human activity, human culture, something else that deepens the view.”
The cover of the book, from Mount Reinebringen on the outskirts of Moskenes in Lofoten, is a case in point.
“Standing on Reinebringen looking at only water and mountains is not as interesting as seeing the homes, boathouses, fish factories and fishing vessels. The things that tell a story of how people have lived there for a long time.”
As with his other books, “Norway’s best views” happened due to a wealth of surplus material Lauritzen was left with after working on what is by now an institution for Norwegian drivers – the NAF road book.
Ever since 1928, NAF has published its traditional overview, featuring maps and guides to Norway’s 426 (for now) municipalities, along with the roads that snake their way through and past them.
“This is an encyclopedia that is in wide use and is found in the glove compartment of approximately 700,000 Norwegian cars”, Lauritzen says.
“In our modern computer age, you’d think this book would be useless, but it’s practical when you’re stranded somewhere without power or cell phone coverage. As it turns out, a lot of people still prefer to get their information this way.”
These days, Lauritzen is working hard on gathering material for the 31st edition of the book, due to be published next year.
Updated roadmaps are still an integral part of the book, but as most people now have a GPSr installed in their cars, it is becoming more of an inspirational guide to drivers on their journey across the country.
“People use it to find information about the places they’re passing, to see if they might find a reason to stop.”
Here are three views picked by Lauritzen:
The coast of Finnmark is unique. You can see some incredibly clean formations once you find a good outlook spot. Tanahorn made quite an impression on me, it’s so foreign. You drive your car from the town centre towards the airport and into a lush valley, reminiscent of Scotland. There, you park your car and start walking on a path marked Tanahorn, up a nice green hillside. When you’re allmost at the top, the panorama reveals itself – the Barents Sea and the Tanafjord. A fishing vessel is gleaming in the distance, and far away, on a mountain top to the right, is a radar installation that gives a sense of scale by how tiny it seems.
People seem to think this is Norway’s southernmost lighthouse. It almost is, but not quite. And people also seem to think Lindesnes is Norway’s southernmost point. Almost, but not quite. The view, however, is formidable. Lindesnes lighthouse was the first lighthouse lit in the 1600s. You have the remains of various lighthouses alongside it, so anyone with a passion for history will have the entire history of lighthouses laid out before them. A view encompassing 350 years of history. That’s a great thing.
I was born and raised in Sandefjord. Coming back now and seeing it afresh, I find the view from the hill called Mokollen to be fantastic. You have the city in front of you, but also the entire coast, and you are only a kilometre outside of the city centre. A good tip for finding a good view is to go looking for a spot a bit away from the thick of the city. I meet a lot of foreigners in spots like that, people who have travelled to the top to get an overview.
Driving a car is perhaps one of the best ways to experience Norway in your own pace. Just remember that you share the road with cyclists, and sometimes also pedestrians.
Get to know Norway’s entertaining mountain roads. Join these friends who reveal how they organise their yearly trip, including stylish and dignified hotels and restaurants to match their vintage sports cars. Close the doors, open the windows and go now.