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Along selected roads in Norway, natural wonders are amplified by art, design, and architecture meant to bring you closer to nature in new and surprising ways. Meet the award-winning Scenic Routes.
Road trips are a great way to experience a new country. Yet from the car, you may feel somewhat removed, or feel that something is lacking. Something … tactile. Getting hands-on. Being able to touch and breathe in the places you see.
In recent years, Norwegian architecture and design have stepped up, as they say, to the big leagues. It has also stepped into our nature, intervening in the sceneries along 18 select roads – not to obstruct, but to enhance and enable new experiences. The Norwegian Scenic Routes initiative sets out to combine Norwegian nature, architecture, and design into something greater than the sum of its parts.
Scenic drives exist in many countries. What makes these ones one-of-a-kind is the use of ground-breaking architecture and art. No one else has done quite the same thing.
The work includes building resting areas, parking lots, and viewpoints, and clearing vegetation to make already picturesque roads the best drives in Norway. Several renowned Norwegian architects and designers have contributed to the project, such as Snøhetta, Reiulf Ramstad Arkitekter, Jensen & Skodvin, and Carl-Viggo Hølmebakk. A few foreigners have been involved as well, amongst them French-American Louise Bourgeois and Swiss Peter Zumthor.
This road by the open sea in the far north is all about reflection: While driving under the aurora borealis light show, you may contemplate the dramatic lives that have unfolded here through history.
Not many people will ever travel this far north. And yet, just where this varied and scenic road ends near The North Cape by the sea, you encounter a thriving fishing village.
The narrow, winding roads at Senja have to zigzag between the dramatic mountains that rise directly from the sea and give drivers a close encounter with the ocean.
Squeezed in between sandy beaches and craggy peaks the Andøya route showcases a variation of serene and raw nature, animal life, and age-old coastal culture.
Forgive the cliché, but the nature of the Lofoten archipelago is indeed breathtaking. It’s one of Norway’s unique and most popular destinations, and the road takes you right through it.
One of the most dramatic road stretches anywhere in the world, The Atlantic Road crosses the mouth of a fjord by jumping across islands and islets on a series of eight bridges.
The winding Trollstigen road is itself world-famous, as is the UNESCO listed Geirangerfjord. The two are connected by this dramatic mountain road which includes several stunning viewpoints.
An alternative route for travellers heading north, this mountain road runs through a vast, treeless expanse with a view of Jotunheimen – home to Norway’s tallest peaks.
One of the lesser-known routes, this must count as a hidden gem. It follows the water from mountain lakes down towards the fjord through wild rapids and waterfalls.
Going from fjord to fjord, this road should be driven from east to west. Stop at Stegastein, perhaps the most striking of all the viewpoints along the scenic routes.
The Hardanger area is Norway at its … might we say most “postcardesque”? Fjords and mountains, cultural landscapes and age-old culture – it’s all on view from the road.
Following fjords and crossing mountains, this is a road of contrasts. Not 20 minutes away from your starting point lies the path to Preikestolen (The Pulpit Rock).
In the Norwegian south-west, this road and its scenery differ from the rest of the Scenic Routes. It’s a main road with a view to the open sea, going through a coastal landscape unlike any other in the country.