From south to north in Norway: The most beautiful routes

It is said that the straight-line distance from Oslo to Sicily is the same as from Oslo to Tromsø. In other words, there is a lot to experience if you choose to travel the length of Norway.

Route suggestion: - Oslo - Trondheim - Bodø - Tromsø

Norway has the world’s second longest coastline, and covers everything from smooth rock slopes and beaches to deep forests and white mountains. If you plan your Norwegian holiday from south to north, you will be able to experience it all within a few days.

You can fly between all the largest cities, but there are several great train journeys to choose from, especially from Oslo to Trondheim and Trondheim to Bodø. For those of you who love the sea, there are several boat routes to explore. Hurtigruten is the most famous and it can take you from Bodø to Tromsø – a trip that takes about a day.

Whatever you choose, there will definitely be time for a breather and a couple of overnight stays during the trip. Here is an overview of our favourite routes showing Norway at its best:

From Oslo to Trondheim

Oslo is a must on a Norway holiday, and a kinder surprise in itself. Here you’ll find beach, forest and city life, all within a quick underground, boat or tram ride from the city centre. Oslo is a compact city, so you can use your legs or a bike. For the ultimate cultural experience in the capital, make sure to visit the municipal Deichman library in Bjørvika. From here you will find the spectacular Norwegian Opera House opposite. The Munch Museum is also just a stone’s throw from the Opera House, surrounded by some of the city’s best restaurants and bars. The National Museum and Akershus Fortress further west are also popular, and the beautiful Vigeland Park and lush Akerselva are well worth a visit. Thon is Oslo’s largest hotel chain, and offers a number of beautiful hotels in the heart of the city.

Once you’ve toured the capital, you can hop on the train to another Norwegian city, Trondheim. The train journey takes about 7 hours, depending on which train you choose and whether there is a need to change. If you want to save time and money, you can also take the overnight bus, which is often a double-decker. You can reserve a seat on the top level to ensure extra comfort and more legroom. Thon Hotels has two hotels in Trondheim, and they are all located in the city centre.

One of the nicest things you can do in Trondheim is to have a hot chocolate in Bakklandet. Here you will find wooden houses, small independent shops and a bustling city life. Also, don't miss Nidaros Cathedral, Norway’s most central church by virtue of being built on Olav the Holy’s burial site and one of the most beautiful churches in the country.

From Trondheim to Bodø

There is hardly a better place to go to Bodø from than Trondheim. Here you can hop on the famous Nordland Line, which takes you through magnificent landscapes, from coastal terrain via inland villages to high mountains. In fact, this is considered one of the most beautiful train journeys in the Nordic region! The Nordland line is 726 kilometres long and is connected to the Dovre Line in Trondheim and the Meråker Line on Hell.

Once you reach Bodø, you are already a good distance north of the Arctic Circle. Bodø is a city with just over 55,000 inhabitants, and has a rich cultural life with award-winning architecture, famous festivals, acclaimed street art and museums. In Hamarøy you can also visit the award-winning Hamsun Centre. Bodø was badly bombed during World War II, but rebuilt and is now a vibrant centre in the heart of the northern Norwegian landscape.

If you want to spend the night in the city before you continue, Thon Hotel Nordlys is located down by the quayside. The hotel offers beautiful views of the harbour. A stone’s throw away, you’ll find Thon Partner Hotel Skagen in a central but quiet street.

From Bodø to Tromsø

No road south of Bodø was laid until the late 1930s, and the road was also closed in winter for many decades. The ferry route has therefore had a special status in the city, and the sea route is still a popular way of travelling to and from Bodø. There is plenty to experience on the way from Bodø to Tromsø, and if you hop on Norway’s great boat adventure, the Hurtigruten, it takes you all the way past Lofoten to Sortland, Harstad, Finnsnes and finally Tromsø.

You can also drive, for example the outermost sea route that goes via Lofoten to Andøya and Senja. Then take the ferry between Andenes and Gryllefjord and choose whether to stop for a couple of days on the way. The fastest route, on the other hand, takes around 8 and a half hours via Narvik and Setermoen. There are also buses, but then you must be prepared for bus changes and around being seated for 15 hours.

There is no shortage of things to do in Tromsø. Among other things, you can visit the Arctic Cathedral, the Polar Museum and Mack, the world’s northernmost brewery. To experience nature, you can go on a whale watching or take the cable car up to Storsteinen. If you want to go for a real mountain hike, you can walk up the Tromsdalstinden’s 1,238 metres.

If you stay in the city overnight, there are several hotels to choose from. Thon Hotel Polar and Thon Hotel Tromsø are both in the heart of the city centre, just a short distance from eateries and attractions.

If you are going back to Oslo, the easiest way is to take a flight from Tromsø airport. The airport bus leaves from right by the hotels and takes fifteen minutes, while the flight itself takes two hours. If you are going to drive, the fastest route goes through Sweden. Here, the speed limits are higher and if you stay on the motorway, the journey will take around 22 hours. But if the journey is the goal, and you have time for a more adventurous trip, you should instead take the national and county roads back along the Norwegian coast.

Have a good trip!

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