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ARE THESE THE WORLD’S BEST TOILETS?

Restrooms along the Norwegian Scenic Routes .
Photo: Harald Chr. Eiken / www.vmproduksjon.no
Restrooms along the Norwegian Scenic Routes .
Photo: Harald Chr. Eiken / www.vmproduksjon.no

When you have to go, you have to go.

But luckily, a bathroom break is not necessarily the worst part of an adventure on four wheels.

Some restrooms along the Norwegian Scenic Routes actually invite you to take your time and enjoy the scenery – even if you don’t have any business to take care of.

Skjervsfossen, Norwegian Scenic Route Hardanger .
Photo: Steinar Skaar / Statens vegvesen Video: Harald Chr. Eiken / www.vmproduksjon.no Architect: Fortunen v. Nils J. Mannsåker Landscape architect: Østengen og Bergo as
Skjervsfossen, Norwegian Scenic Route Hardanger .
Photo: Steinar Skaar / Statens vegvesen Video: Harald Chr. Eiken / www.vmproduksjon.no Architect: Fortunen v. Nils J. Mannsåker Landscape architect: Østengen og Bergo as

The loos at the Stegastein viewpoint in the Sognefjord region is one of the world’s 10 best public toilets according to DesignCurial.

Stegastein, Norwegian Scenic Route Aurlandsfjellet .
Photo: Jarle Wæhler / Statens vegvesen Video: Harald Chr. Eiken / www.vmproduksjon.no Architect: Todd Saunders / Saunders & Wilhelmsen
Stegastein, Norwegian Scenic Route Aurlandsfjellet .
Photo: Jarle Wæhler / Statens vegvesen Video: Harald Chr. Eiken / www.vmproduksjon.no Architect: Todd Saunders / Saunders & Wilhelmsen

And if the queue is unusually slow, it’s most likely someone taking pictures of the Aurlandsfjord from the window.

Totally worth the wait when it’s your turn. Just don’t drop your phone.

Restrooms at Stegastein viewpoint, Scenic Route Aurlandsfjellet .
Photo: Roger Ellingsen / Statens vegvesen Architect: Todd Saunders / Saunders & Wilhelmsen
Restrooms at Stegastein viewpoint, Scenic Route Aurlandsfjellet .
Photo: Roger Ellingsen / Statens vegvesen Architect: Todd Saunders / Saunders & Wilhelmsen

“Norway has opened what might be the most idyllic public convenience in the world.”

The Telegraph

A lot of people agree with The Telegraph, as the wave-shaped Ureddplassen on the Helgeland coast has been featured in several publications.

“Ureddplassen” means “the place of the fearless.” Quite fitting, as a nearby memorial pays tribute to those who lost their lives when the Norwegian submarine “Uredd” sank right off the coast during the Second World War.

Ureddplassen, Norwegian Scenic Route Helgelandskysten .
Photo: Steinar Skaar / Statens vegvesen Architect: Haugen / Zohar Arkitekter Landscape architect: Inge Dahlman / Asplan Viak
Ureddplassen, Norwegian Scenic Route Helgelandskysten .
Photo: Steinar Skaar / Statens vegvesen Architect: Haugen / Zohar Arkitekter Landscape architect: Inge Dahlman / Asplan Viak

Another restroom with war history is the one at Eggum in Lofoten. It is built like an amphitheatre underneath the ruins of a German radar station.

Eggum, Norwegian Scenic Route Lofoten .
Photo: Jarle Wæhler / Statens vegvesen Architect: Snøhetta
Eggum, Norwegian Scenic Route Lofoten .
Photo: Jarle Wæhler / Statens vegvesen Architect: Snøhetta

Now, this is definitely a next-level roadside restroom.

Here at Bukkekjerka on the Andøya island in Vesterålen, you have panoramic views of the ocean.

But don’t worry: You’re not on display as you … you know.

Bukkekjerka, Norwegian Scenic Route Andøya .
Photo: Espen Bergersen / Naturgalleriet.no Video: Harald Chr. Eiken / www.vmproduksjon.no Architect: Morfeus Arkitekter
Bukkekjerka, Norwegian Scenic Route Andøya .
Photo: Espen Bergersen / Naturgalleriet.no Video: Harald Chr. Eiken / www.vmproduksjon.no Architect: Morfeus Arkitekter

If you are a mere mortal like us and can’t afford a gold-plated toilet seat, the Golden loo on the island Senja is the next best thing.

Fun fact: It’s so popular that several other (more low-key) toilets will be built nearby.

The Ersfjordstranda beach, Norwegian Scenic Route Senja .
Photo: Frid-Jorunn Stabel / Statens vegvesen Video: Harald Chr. Eiken / www.vmproduksjon.no Architect: Tupelo arkitektur
The Ersfjordstranda beach, Norwegian Scenic Route Senja .
Photo: Frid-Jorunn Stabel / Statens vegvesen Video: Harald Chr. Eiken / www.vmproduksjon.no Architect: Tupelo arkitektur

Can you spot the restroom here?

Utsikten, Scenic Route Gaularfjellet .
Photo: Trine Kanter Zerwekh / Statens vegvesen Architect: Code arkitektur
Utsikten, Scenic Route Gaularfjellet .
Photo: Trine Kanter Zerwekh / Statens vegvesen Architect: Code arkitektur

At Utsikten viewpoint along the Scenic Route Gaularfjellet in the Sognefjord area, the loo might not be the visual highlight.

But even though it’s discreet, it’s still pretty cool. You see, this restroom runs on solar power.

The restroom at Utsikten, Scenic Route Gaularfjellet .
Photo: Jarle Wæhler / Statens vegvesen Architect: Code arkitektur
The restroom at Utsikten, Scenic Route Gaularfjellet .
Photo: Jarle Wæhler / Statens vegvesen Architect: Code arkitektur

The Norwegian Scenic Routes are essentially all about the connection between architecture and nature.

At Ostasteidn in Ryfylke, the restroom is designed so that moss will start to grow on the outer walls, like camouflage.

Ostasteidn, Norwegian Scenic Route Ryfylke .
Photo: Jarle Lunde / SuldalFoto.no Architect: KAP Kontor for Arkitektur og Plan
Ostasteidn, Norwegian Scenic Route Ryfylke .
Photo: Jarle Lunde / SuldalFoto.no Architect: KAP Kontor for Arkitektur og Plan

Who knew that public toilets could be this Instagram-worthy?

Tungeneset on the Senja island looks pretty good underneath the northern lights.

Tungeneset, Norwegian Scenic Route Senja .
Photo: Jarle Wæhler / Statens vegvesen Architect: Code arkitektur
Tungeneset, Norwegian Scenic Route Senja .
Photo: Jarle Wæhler / Statens vegvesen Architect: Code arkitektur

Designer restrooms

The toilets along the Norwegian Scenic Routes are architectural masterpieces. All except one are designed by well-known or up and coming Norwegian architecture firms.

The Eggum pit stop in Lofoten is the smallest design created by the internationally acclaimed Snøhetta, while the loo in Selvika along Scenic Route Havøysund is signed Reiulf Ramstad.

Some are located above the Arctic circle in Northern Norway, others by the popular fjords in the west. You can also find sleek restrooms in remote areas on mountain plateaus in Fjord Norway. Note that many of them are only reachable during summer, as some roads are closed in winter.

The weather can be really harsh that time of the year, and at Oscarshaug along Scenic Route Sognefjellet they even had to reinforce the loo with a steel construction. But it looks cool, right? Almost like a Viking helmet.

Restroom at Oscarshaug, Norwegian Scenic Route Sognefjellet in Fjord Norway
Oscarshaug rest area, Norwegian Scenic Route Sognefjellet.
Photo: Frid-Jorunn Stabell / Statens Vegvesen Architect: Jensen & Skodvin Arkitektkontor

More to come

Norway’s portfolio of spectacular toilets is, as you can see, filled with great examples of how something as boring as a loo can become a tourist attraction. The Norwegian Public Roads Administration is responsible for developing the Norwegian Scenic Routes and their conveniences, and they still have an ace or two up their sleeve.

They can, for instance, share that they’ve started the work on a forest-inspired restroom, which uses dried wood from around 60 to 70 trees. When completed, it will look like an upside-down tree trunk with roots holding the roof. Just look at this architectural drawing!

Illustration of new restrooms at Tyrvefjøra, Norwegian Scenic Route Hardanger in Fjord Norway
Restrooms at Tyrvefjøra, Norwegian Scenic Route Hardanger.
Photo: Helen & Hard Arkitekter

We can’t wait to stop here at Tyrvefjøra on a road trip to the Hardangerfjord region, or along the other Scenic Routes for that matter.

Before you start planning a road trip with pit stops at stylish lavatories, however, please remember this: Don’t be that person. You know, the one who leaves a mess, ruining the experience for others.

Make sure you “hit goal” as you take care of business, flush when you’re done, and throw paper towels in the bin after washing your hands.

Get ready for the pit stop of your life and we’ll see you soon. Toodeloo!

The video in the top of the article shows the restrooms at Selvika at Scenic Route Havøysund (architect: Reiulf Ramstad Arkitekter), Allmannajuvet at Scenic Route Ryfylke (architect: Atelier Peter Zumthor & Partner), Utsikten at Scenic Route Gaularfjellet (architect: Code arkitektur) and Bukkekjerka at Scenic Route Andøya (architect: Morfeus Arkitekter).

Norwegian Scenic Routes

Check out the 18 roads and find out where you want to go.

Norwegian Scenic Routes
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.
Read more about the Scenic Routes
Norwegian Scenic Route Varanger is 160 kilometres long and travels between Varangerbotn and Hamningberg. Read more
Varanger
Norwegian Scenic Route Havøysund is 67 kilometres long and travels between Kokelv and Havøysund. Read more
Havøysund
Norwegian Scenic Route Senja is 102 kilometres long and travels between Gryllefjord and Botnhamn. Detours to Mefjordvær and Husøya. Read more
Senja
Norwegian Scenic Route Andøya is 58 kilometres long and travels between Bjørnskinn and Andenes. Read more
Andøya
Norwegian Scenic Route Lofoten is 230 kilometres long and travels between Å and Raftsundet. Detours to Nusfjord, Vikten, Utakleiv, Unstad, Eggum, and… Read more
Lofoten
Norwegian Scenic Route Helgelandskysten is 433 kilometres long and travels between Holm and Godøystraumen, with a detour to Torghatten. Read more
Helgelandskysten
Norwegian Scenic Route Atlanterhavsvegen is 36 kilometres long and travels between Kårvåg and Bud. Read more
Atlanterhavsvegen
Norwegian Scenic Route Geiranger-Trollstigen is 104 kilometres long and travels between Langevatn and Sogge Bridge. Read more
Geiranger-Trollstigen
Norwegian Scenic Route Gamle Strynefjellsvegen is 27 kilometres long and travels between Grotli and Videsæter. Read more
Gamle Strynefjellsvegen
Norwegian Scenic Route Rondane is 75 kilometres long and travels between Venabygdsfjellet and Folldal and between Sollia church and Enden. Read more
Rondane
Norwegian Scenic Route Sognefjellet is 108 kilometres long and travels between Lom and Gaupne. Read more
Sognefjellet
Norwegian Scenic Route Valdresflye is 49 kilometres long and travels between Garli and Hindsæter with a detour to Gjende. Read more
Valdresflye
National Tourist Route Gaularfjellet is 114 kilometres long and travels between Balestrand and Moskog, and between Sande and Eldalsosen. Read more
Gaularfjellet
Norwegian Scenic Route Aurlandsfjellet is 47 kilometres long and travels between Aurlandsvangen and Lærdalsøyri. Read more
Aurlandsfjellet
Norwegian Scenic Route Hardanger comprises four sections, with a total length of 158 kilometres: Granvin–Steinsdalsfossen, Norheimsund–Tørvikbygd,… Read more
Hardanger
National Tourist Route Hardangervidda is 67 kilometres long and travels between Eidfjord and Haugastøl. Read more
Hardangervidda
Norwegian Scenic Route Ryfylke is 260 kilometres long and travels between Oanes at Lysefjorden and Håra. Read more
Ryfylke
Norwegian Scenic Route Jæren is 41 kilometres long and travels between Ogna and Bore. Read more
Jæren
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