You simply must make time to drive the Sognefjell Mountain Road if you are visiting Norway in the summer. This surreal road trip over the highest mountain pass in Northern Europe will make you wonder if you have landed on another planet. The Sognefjell Mountain Road takes you from the town of Lom through the Sognefjell mountain area and over to the largest fjord in Norway, the Sognefjord. The astounding 68-mile route wanders past desolate mountains, snow-covered passes, glaciers, and emerald lakes, and is an other-worldly experience you will never forget.
Tips for the Sognefjell Mountain Road
The most important thing you need to know when planning a road trip over the Sognefjell Mountain Road is that the road is closed due to snow much of the year. It usually opens around May 1 and closes in November. The Sognefjell Mountain Road is part of country road 55 on a map. When I traveled on the road in late May 2015, it was quiet and desolate and we only saw a handful of cars during our two-hour drive. I was glad we had filled up with gas in Lom before we went and had plenty of water in the car with us, just in case.
There are overlooks and places to stop along the road, and we did stop once at a well-kept rest area, but it looks like this road is quiet and lonely much of the time. There are a few hotels and resorts we passed but in May they still appeared to be gearing up to open for the summer season.
If you have a passenger who tends to get carsick, this might be a good day for some medication. This is a windy mountain road with a few white-knuckle hairpin turns at the end. I never felt unsafe, but when you get to the sharp turns you will want to take them slowly.
Day-trip Itinerary for the Sognefjell Mountain Road
If you have a day to spend on this scenic road trip, here are some tips for how to plan your drive over the Sognefjell Mountain Road.
Lom is a beautiful village at the entrance of the Sognjfell Mountain Road that reminded of me of a quaint ski village. We slept in Lillehammer the night before (another lovely town) and drove to Lom in the morning. I wanted a map before we headed out so we wandered around the very quiet shops near the stave church in Lom until I finally found a visitor’s center for the Jotunheimen National Park that had a map of the road.
Take a few minutes to visit the Lom stave church. This church was built in the 12th century and is one of 28 historical stave churches still standing in Norway. For a fee, you can take a guided tour inside the church. When we visited, we were the only ones on the tour, so we were not rushed and got all our questions answered. You do not need to tour every stave church in Norway, but it is interesting to check out a couple of them.
Driving the Sognefjell Mountain Road
As we drove along the Sognefjell Mountain Road, part of the time we were driving in the clouds. Snow blew around us as we wound past the biggest mountains I could imagine. We saw frozen lakes blanketed with snow. I imagine that some of those lakes melt in the summer, but there are glaciers here as well. We drove through snow-covered passes where the plows had cut through mountains of snow as high as 30 feet on either side of the road. We only passed a few cars coming in the other direction during our entire drive, but I suspect the road gets busier later in the summer months.
You can explore the stops and rest areas along the Sognefjell road here as you plan your route. I wish I had bought this map in advance, because I would have known better where to stop and would have know what I was seeing. From the road, you can access Jotunheimen National Park (“Home of the Giants”) with its huge mountain peaks.
Jotunheimen National Park is known for stunning vistas, great fishing and hiking. You can also walk on glaciers in Jotunheimen, but please be advised that glacier walking is dangerous and will require a guide and proper equipment. There are some outfitters who will take children, but you will need to check on ability levels and ages if you want to take children.
Enjoy the Lustrafjord Valley
As you descend from the last of the hairpin turns, you will leave the Home of the Giants behind and enter the majestic Lustrafjord Valley. Watch the snow melt into majestic waterfalls as you enter Norway’s legendary fjordlands. As you leave the barren mountains behind, enjoy the views of quaint country villages, striking red barns and white churches against a lush green backdrop. Stop in a small village such as Skjolden or Solvorn for a bowl of Norway’s famous fish soup. The fish soup is usually a house speciality and may be different at each place you eat it, but I found it delicious every time I tried it.
You can opt to stay in a resort or hotel once you arrive at Sognefjord, but if you really want to experience Norway, find a small cottage or farmhouse to rent. We loved our stay at an old farmhouse at Amblegaard on Sognefjord.
Planning a Trip to Norway?
Check out our Europe Pinterest board for more great blog posts about Norway. You may also like the following Tips for Family Trips posts:
- Land of the Fjords: Tips for Planning a Trip to Norway
- Beautiful Photos of Norway my husband took of our trip in May 2015.
- Oslo, Norway, City Guide for Families
- Bergen, Norway: 4 Must-See Destinations and Planning Tips