After covering more than 2,000 miles (4,800 kilometers) in our rental car, we felt like we had seen the real Norway.
We started at the eastern point, made our way to the northernmost point, crossed to the westernmost point, and finally ended up at the southernmost point!
Our epic road journeys through Norway were completed in October and November when the snow was deep, and the fjords were white and ice-covered.
We checked off several of our must-dos while in Norway and unexpectedly stumbled into some of the country’s most breathtaking sights.
In case you’re wondering where to go on vacation in Norway, I’ve compiled a list of the top 20 destinations I think you shouldn’t miss.
Let’s bury ourselves in…
Those brave enough to travel to Norway’s furthest northeast will come to the quaint village of Vardo.
It’s a bit out of the way; getting here from the bustling metropolis of Kirkens (more on that below) takes an entire day of driving.
However, as you will see, some of Norway’s most exciting sights are actually located along the routes that lead to other parts of the country.
Driving alongside the glacier and ocean for nearly the entire day is par for the course with Vardo.
This drive was one of my favorites for the vacation because it showcased the beauty of Norway’s winter landscape.
Vardo is the northernmost stone fortress in the world, and once you reach there, you’ll find a delightful city full of cafes, pubs, and restaurants.
You’ll also need to go via this city to reach what may be Norway’s most underestimated tourist attraction.
Hamningberg has one of the lowest tourist populations in all of Norway, with good reason.
The journey here is really challenging.
It is necessary to travel to Vardo in order to access the single route in and out of Hamningberg.
Then, if you want to go in the winter when there is snow on the ground, you’ll need a sturdy road car.
We were obviously quite ignorant on our trip there, not realizing how remote Hamningberg is or how difficult it may be during that season.
On the bright side, we could go through because the road was still being cleared in late October.
Our campervan’s foundation is a Toyota Hilux, so we benefit from its sturdy off-road tires and all-wheel drive.
Make sure your Norwegian campervan or motorhome rental is prepared for the elements if you intend to travel here in the winter.
The entire journey here was a breathtaking spectacle, and that’s what made this destination so remarkable.
The closest comparison I can make is to traveling through the scenery of the frozen planet in the film Interstellar.
You’ll reach an area bounded entirely by the churning sea on one side and the sheer, unyielding cliffs of the mountains on the other.
Hamningberg is a tiny fishing community in the middle of nowhere that virtually disappears during the colder months.
3. North Cape
North Cape is my second-favorite spot to visit in Norway, after Hamningberg, which is my favorite and the most challenging site to visit in Norway.
Besides being the northernmost point in Norway, it also holds that distinction for all of continental Europe.
It’s a little island off the coast of Norway that’s been linked to the mainland by a bridge.
Again, the journey here stood out; we passed by some of Norway’s most beautiful fjords and dozens of quaint fishing towns.
Long tunnels and bridges wind up to the North Cape, where the landscape becomes increasingly stunning and lonely.
At the very top of the world, at the North Cape, there is a tourist information center, dining area, and famous globe statue.
Having driven such a great distance, arriving here feels like a tremendous accomplishment.
Getting here from Vilnius took us over a month of driving (in Lithuania).
4. Lyngenfjorden Bridge
Lyngenfjord, like many of Norway’s best sights, is slightly off from the mainstream, so visitors should be prepared to put in some effort to reach it.
Getting to the closest parking lot from the bridge is a pleasant adventure, as it involves a winding valley road that leads deep into the mountains.
Longer hikes are possible, including one that involves walking in a large loop; this trip, which may take up to five hours, would undoubtedly be rewarding.
The bridge is the major attraction since it spans a deep ravine and provides spectacular views of a massive waterfall.
Since I’ve developed a fear of heights in recent years, I was understandably nervous crossing the bridge, but there was no need to worry.
In fact, if you’re feeling particularly adventurous, you can even bungee jump off the bridge!
An incredible sight; the waterfall had almost completely frozen over, as the temperature had not risen above ten degrees all year.
If you’re looking for a good starting point for visiting the rest of northern Norway, I recommend making Alta your first stop in Norway.
It’s a sizable city (by Norwegian standards, at least) home to incredible structures, including the Cathedral of the Northern Lights.
Its location on the beaches of a beautiful fjord inspired us to spend the night under the stars beside one just outside of town.
Alta is a fantastic place to resupply if you’re running low on food or other necessities.
In reality, this town saved us when we ran out of petrol in the middle of Finnish Lapland and needed to find a gas station open during the winter to keep us warm during the -25 degree nights.
We will always appreciate that, Alta.
Alta is a fun place to visit for a variety of reasons, and not only because of the Northern Lights and dog sledding.