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Driving from Oslo to Bergen – Tyrifjorden, Aurlandsfjorden & Stave Churches
The route between Oslo and Bergen has the reputation for being one of the most beautiful roads (either by car or train) on this planet. After spending a few days in Oslo I was excited to hit the road again. This is my adventure driving from Oslo to Bergen with a Volkswagen Beetle.
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Driving from Oslo to Bergen – The Route
There is such a rich diversity of flora & fauna in Norway that my 12-hour drive of 525 km was one of the best routes I have ever driven. After passing the next tunnel towards another fjord, I clearly remember me saying to myself:
“Wow, what you have just witnessed was truly mother’s nature finest work. I don’t think I will ever see anything like… BAM!”
The end of the tunnel was in sight and it was like driving in yet another new mystical world with even more beauty than its previous cousin.
The stunning landscapes just keep coming and coming and at one point I had to stop taking pictures, to make sure I would make it to Bergen before nightfall.
Taking the E16 from Oslo to Bergen
There are actually two routes going from Oslo to Bergen. Once you start driving you will have to make a decision at the city of Hol;
Route RV50/E16: Oslo – Hol – Aurland – Flåm – Voss – Bergen, 532 km, 7,5 hours
Route RV7: Oslo – Hol – Hardangervidda – Hardanger – Bergen, 513 km, 1 ferry, 9 hours
I decided to take the first route as it would take me past the famous Borgund Stave Church and one of the longest tunnels in Europe that is almost 25 kilometres long.
Once I departed from Oslo (and about 30 minutes into the journey) I was in need of gasoline for the car. I stopped over at the Esso gas station, filled up my car, paid the bill at the cashier, when all of a sudden I hear a voice behind me saying in a deep Norwegian accent;
Are you this road trip guy?
I turned around and there was a big friendly smiling Norwegian gentleman standing next to his pick up truck. The promotional stickers on my car had once again done the job and I started explaining about the project and the story behind it.
Nils was a local and had a big farm right next to the fjord. It was just 5 km. down the road and after just 2 minutes of chitchat he invited me over to come and see it. Well, why not? This is what a road trip is all about.
Tyrifjorden – Norwegian house
The farm is located at the Tyrifjorden and consist of 500.000 m2 of land filled with barns, houses, apartments and animals. Nils had the idea of converting some of the property to an Airbnb and had been active for many years in the construction business.
After a long tour around the premises and showing me all the future plans of the farm he invited me to come down to his house for a beer and meet his family.
The house was absolutely gorgeous. The little red cabin at the shorelines of the fjord looked like it came straight out of a borchure. A dog, boat on the dock, Harley Davidson motorcycle, big bbq and cold beer.
It seemed that Nils found the key to happiness. I am sure waking up next to a beautiful fjord everyday does wonders for your mood.
Although, the sight was beautiful there was some well-know tragedy to the location. In 2011, Anders Breivik was responsible for two terrorist attacks that took place in Oslo and on Otøya island.
That island was located exactly in front of the farm and I was shocked to find out I was so close to a location that experienced such a big tragedy.
Norwegian Farm Culture
I wanted to learn more about Nils, where he came from and what life is like in Norway.
Nils started burst out in laughing when I asked the questions; “Well, it’s bloody expensive! Alcohol, gasoline and even the fish are heavily taxed and the governments are really bureaucratic when it comes to new business projects.”
Nils was aiming at his idea on converting some houses and apartments on his land to AirBNB.
“Once it is done, you should definitely come and visit again.” “Winter, summer it does not matter! Norway is your new home but just get ready for -20 degrees Celsius!”
We relaxed a bit on the porch and I got the chance to sit on the Harley Davidson and hang out on the docks with the dog. It seemed to me that Nils was in a good place and had his stuff figured out.
He is a very energetic guy and with all that positive energy I could easily hang out for weeks just listening to all the stories. Unfortunate, time flies when you are having fun and 3 hours had passed in the blink of an eye.
We said our goodbyes, but I got a feeling that our paths will cross again soon. My journey into the Norwegian outback was off to a great start.
Borgund Stave church
On my route towards Bergen I wanted to see two things; The Borgund Stave Church and the Lærdalstunnel. Both were directly on route and only 20 minute driving distance from each other. That is perfect!
The Borgund Stave Church is a stave church located in the village of Borgund in the municipality of Lærdal. It is exceptionally well-preserved and one of the most well-known stave churches in Norway. Check out the roof carvings of the dragons’ heads! Spooky is it not? I was there after closing hours, but you can easily walk around the church.
The Lærdal Tunnel is a 24.51-kilometre long road tunnel connecting Lærdal and Aurland. Construction started in 1995 and the tunnel opened in 2000. Construction cost was 1.082 billion NOK and the tunnel has beautiful blue lighting with yellow lights at the fringes to give an impression of sunrise so you won’t fall a sleep during the 20-minute drive.
A lot of people (including myself) experience tunnel vision, which makes you feel you are not moving at all. It is a bit scary at the beginning, but will quickly fade away thanks to the change of scenery and the lights.