The Best of the South-West

Experience the Lysefjord and a selection of hand-picked highlights in the fjords and mountains of southwest Norway.

The Best of the South-West

Based on our own experiences, we have composed an itinerary for you, following scenic routes, and connecting the best attractions. See and experience some of the finest nature in the regions of Kristiansand, Stavanger, Ryfylke, and Setesdal. Drive along the coast, fjords and inlets, over some of the most spectacular mountain passes, hike Preikestolen, Kjerag and Flørli, go salmon fishing or river rafting, and visit cozy towns along the way. Experience all the different landscapes Norway has to offer in this doable roundtrip.

Starting Point

You can start this roundtrip anywhere, but Stavanger and Kristiansand are natural starting points, given they have good international ferry connections and airports. Both cities are also located along the main railroad to/from Oslo, as well as the E39 highway to/from Bergen and Oslo.

Scenic Roads

Starting in Kristiansand, you can drive the scenic North Sea Route (Nordsjøvegen) and National Scenic Route Jæren, following the coastline to Sandnes and Stavanger. Providing you with less-trafficked roads and great fjord and ocean views, it is a great alternative to the E39.The coastline has a distinctive architectural style. Visit Lindesnes, the southernmost point of Norway, and enjoy cozy coastal villages such as Mandal, Farsund, Flekkefjord, Sogndalstrand and Egersund. Longer stretches of the route run through Magma Geopark. Stop to explore and discover fascinating geological and historical sites, such as Brufjellhålene and Jøssingfjord. Along the coast of Jæren, visit lighthouses and sand dune beaches, and go walking, swimming, biking or surfing. 

The National Scenic Route of Ryfylke, part of the historic Discovery Route, provides you with a “Norway-in-a-minuture”-experience, due to it’s great variety in landscapes. From the famous Lysefjord in the south to Røldal in the north, you will travel along and experience majestic mountains and fjords, waterfalls, salmon rivers, cider farms, inlets and islands, and much more. Ryfylke is also a paradise for hiking, kayaking and fishing.

Between Røldal and Haukeli, you will drive over the spectacular Haukelifjell mountain pass. From Haukeli, the picturesque valley of Setesdal follows the river Otra, the 7th longest in Norway, all the way to Kristiansand. Rafting is a popular activity here.

Visiting the Lysefjord

A visit to one of the most spectacular and known fjords of Norway, the Lysefjord, must be part of your travel route. We invite you to use a few days at the Lysefjord. You can hike the classics of Preikestolen and Kjerag, visit the roadless hamlet of Flørli, cruise through the fjords, go kayaking, biking or horse-riding and much more.

The Lysefjord is known for its endless hiking opportunities. If you are interested in multi-day hiking, the Lysefjorden Rundt Trail circumnavigates the whole fjord. Day hikes along this trail are also possible, and we have developed a top 10 list of great fjord vista hikes for you.

For more information, you can visit the following pages:


You can change, shorten or extend your route by driving the summer-open Suleskarvegen between Valle and Sirdal, and further to Lysebotn at the Lysefjord. This narrow, windy road leads through stunning moon-like barren mountain highlands. The many curves and hills make it a very attractive route for motorbikers. Between Songesand at the Lysefjord and Årdal along the Scenic Route of Ryfylke, the Songesandsvegen over Lyngsheia mountain pass provides you with a similar, spectacular experience.


Along the main route as shown on the map, there are two ferries. The ferry between Lauvvik and Oanes operates between 6 am and 6 pm, no reservation needed. The ferry between Hjelmeland and Nesvik operates 24/7, no reservation needed.

For information about ferries on the Lysefjord, click here. There are a limited number of departures, and there is limited space for vehicles. Pre-booking is highly recommended.