Stavanger waterfront

Oslo to Stavanger Drive – Scenic Circular Route With Many Interesting Stops

Oslo to Stavanger drive is one of the easiest road trips you can take in Norway. I say this because the route itself is straightforward, with gentle inclines and smooth turns. It conveniently starts and ends in Oslo, a city that is well connected with many destinations and where it’s easy and quite reasonable to rent a car and go driving.

But I suggest you not to drive on the same road twice. Instead, follow my itinerary and do a circular route where after Stavanger you drive slightly north to the fjord area and from there via scenic road back to Oslo.

In this way, you’ll get to see and experience a bit of everything (Norway’s countryside, coastal towns, some epic hiking trails, and even fjords) and pass through some cute villages by the coast while enjoying views of the sea and fjords.

This road trip will be perfect for those looking to explore Norway’s breathtaking scenery in summer without the challenging roads and going too far. And it is very possible to make it economical (by Norwegian standards) whereas with other road trips, you’d need to budget more and devote more time as well.

So here it is, the exact driving route to follow between Stavanger and Oslo with my favorite stops!

Oslo to Stavanger By Car Quick Tips

Where to Start This Road Trip:

Main Points of Interest:

  • Drammen
  • Arendal
  • Kristiansand
  • Stavanger
  • Pulpit Rock
  • Lysefjord
  • Latefossen

Where to Stay on Oslo to Stavanger Drive:


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Oslo to Stavanger Drive Distance & Travel Tips

The best time to take this road trip is from about May to September when the weather is warm, the days are long, and places are open along the coast allowing you to enjoy the drive to the fullest. October is still a very nice month too since this is the southern part of the country where snow comes later.

Distance between Stavanger and Oslo is approximately 1200 kilometers (810 miles) round trip and can be completed in 4-5 days, but of course you can take it slower and extend it to one week. Everything will depend on how much time you want to spend in each location.

On the way back from Stavanger, in this road trip itinerary, I suggest you take the road E134. It is much less populated than the coastal road, so not many activities to do along the way, but the entire drive is scenic and offers plenty of opportunities for stops and photography. There will be also enough gas stations and a couple of grocery stores.

Oslo to Stavanger Road Trip Itinerary

Oslo to Stavanger road trip

Day 1

On the first day leave Oslo for Kristiansand. But before you get there, there are a few stops to make along the way. First, stop in the famous town of Drammen with a beautiful walking path along the river and the Spiralen Tunnel viewpoint.

Do not spend much time in Drammen since it is not really a destination where to slow down, but a good point where to make a convenient stop to rest quickly before continuing your journey. Places to check out – the Drammen Spiral, a corkscrew-shaped road tunnel leading to a viewpoint, with fantastic views and Backstube Bakery with very good Danish baked goodies.

Drammen waterfront
Drammen city on a drive from Oslo to Stavanger

Continue on to Arendal, a coastal town with beautiful architecture, pretty streets, and bustling harbor. If time allows, take a boat tour of the surrounding islands or visit the Arendal Maritime Museum to learn about the town’s seafaring history. Right after it, you can also make another stop in Grimstad famous for its old wooden houses, cobbled streets, and scenic views of the sea. 

From Grimstad, it is just a short drive to Kristiansand, a town with beautiful coastal scenery, lovely city center, and cobbled streets where it’s pleasant to stroll. It is also a nice town where to stay overnight with some reasonably priced airbnbs.

Day 2

From Kristiansand to Stavanger the road also goes through charming towns (lake Mandal, Lindesnes, Lista, and Flekkefjord famous for harbors, beaches, and historic buildings). Depending on how much time you have on this drive, it is worth stopping in at least some of them.

Stavanger is another city that is definitely worth exploring. It has a very pretty old town with cobbled streets and traditional wooden houses from the 18th century, scenic harbor with yachts and boats, and the oldest cathedral in Norway from the 12th century!

While a few hours directly in the city should be enough to see the highlights, you may want to stay a bit longer to join a boat cruise to the nearby Lysefjord or do this shore excursion to Akrafjord and Langfoss.

kayaking near Stavanger

Stavanger also has a wide range of accommodations (including some cheap smart hotels and budget airbnbs), so staying there should not break the bank. Seaview apartment which I mentioned earlier is probably the cheapest apartment with the best reviews, but it is booked quickly (because it really is the best most affordable accommodation option).

Day 3

Probably the number one thing to do in Stavanger on a drive from Oslo is a hike to Pulpit Rock, a steep cliff that rises 604 meters (1982 feet) above the Lysefjord, offering breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape. 

It is one of the most iconic and beautiful natural landmarks in Norway and you may want to plan your road trip in that way when you go on a hike to this rock. The view from the top is simply gorgeous and I am sure you’ve seen photos of it online on many resources.

people hiking Pulpit Rock

The hike is not difficult, but it takes around 6 hours for a round-trip from the trailhead with stops for photos and snacks but can be longer, depending on your fitness level and weather conditions. So you may want to devote a separate day to it or do it late at night (in June-July there is no night anyway) if there is still energy.

I’d also say that the area around Preikestolen is a good introduction to Norway’s fjords as it is located near the Lysefjord, which is one of the most famous fjords in Norway. If you don’t have an opportunity to go north to see other bigger fjords, then Lysefjord will give you a good idea. 

The most entertaining way to experience it is on RIB boat tour, but there is an asphalt road leading to it on one side, so getting close to see it by car is also possible.

Day 4

On the following day (or whenever you are ready), start going back to Oslo but take a road (and ferry) towards Haugesund, situated near several fjords and hiking trails.

Norwegian nature

The drive to this town is gorgeous on its own and Haugesund is another interesting place where to pause for a day or so. It has a beautiful waterfront and a couple of interesting museums about its rich seafaring history.

From Haugesund back to Oslo, the road goes by Latefossen (you’ll need to do a short detour), one of the most famous waterfalls in the country, and then Roldal village with an ancient wooden church, surrounded by small fjords and a lake on one side. The rest of the road toward Oslo winds through more beautiful landscapes and peaceful Norwegian villages.

Oslo to Stavanger E134 road
On the way back from Stavanger to Oslo via E134 – the entire route was also very scenic, so we could stop along the way without too many detours 
NOTE: If time and budget allow, from Haugesund, continue all the way to Bergen and then from there to Oslo to be able to visit some of the most dramatic scenery with waterfalls and fjords.

Additional Activities to Enjoy on This Road Trip

 

Where to Stay on Norway Road Trip From Oslo to Stavanger

Hotel Norge in Lillesand – an old-fashioned B&B that is reasonably priced. Its location is by the coast with a mix of old charm and modern-day comfort. Here, you get to experience a traditional Norwegian stay from the 19th century.

Seaview Flat – most budget-friendly scenic apartment in Stavanger. It is a great pick for people on a budget and anyone else really since a lot of options in Stavanger are below average with poor reviews.

Hotel Ullensvang – get transported to a world of timeless elegance and natural beauty in this gorgeous historic hotel with a fine-dining restaurant, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, a sauna and hot tub, fitness center, private beach, and a range of activities. It is not just a place where to stay overnight, but a real retreat where to take it slowly.

Hotel Victoria – a stylish boutique hotel in the heart of Stavanger that features modern decor and amenities, including a fitness center and on-site restaurant. It offers beautiful views of the harbor and is just a short walk from many of the city’s top attractions.

Oslo to Stavanger Drive Circular Route on a Map

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