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Alesund to Geiranger early September 2 day road trip


Any advice or comments are welcomed! My daughter and I are planning a trip to Norway in September. Part of our trip will involve arriving by ferry in Alesund September 18 and then flying out of same to Oslo on the 21st. She is taking care of lodging - mainly home rentals, air B&B's. We are considering renting a car for 2 days in Alesund to visit my grandfather's homestead located in the small village of Leira at the southern tip of the Hjorundfjorden (E39 to FV41). Not sure how long we would spend in Leira - depends if there are any relatives still in the area. From there we would get back on the E39S and head over on 60 to Hellesylt to take the ferry to Geiranger. We could spend the night in Hellesylt or Geiranger. As we are on a budget we'd like to get the most bang, scenic views/exercise for our buck.

Should we take our car on the ferry to Geiranger or leave it in Hellesylt? I love to explore back roads via the car. Expressways - not so much. I imagine that Norway's weather in mid September can be unpredictable. We will make sure that our plans are very flexible. Here are my questions:

Option 1 is to leave the car in Hellesyit and do a return trip ferry walk on either spending the night in Hellesyit or Geiranger. With this option we could then return to Alesund via 60 that goes through Stranda.

Option 2 is taking the car with us on the ferry to Geiranger and exploring the area leaving the town via 63. According to Google maps once we take the Eidsdal-Linde ferry we have a few route options to get back to Alesund. Any route recommendations? I don't mind spending $ to ride a public ferry.

  1. Which of the two overall options would give us the best bang for our buck (affordable scenery) - take car to Geiranger or leave it in Hellesylt. Any concerns, tips, or recommendations as to where to stay?
  2. Routes 60, 650 and 63 are designated RV - what does RV mean? Are these designations similar to state highways (2-4 lane but in good condition, local access). Am I right to assume that E139 and E39 are freeways?

I welcome any advice and ideas. Thank you!

Posted by
3392 posts

There are really no freeways in this part of Norway! The roads, including the E139 and E39, are mostly two lane highways that are extremely well maintained and uncrowded. We spent a month in a small village just outside of Alesund this summer and covered the areas you are thinking of going. We were one fjord east of the Hjoreundfjord in a little place called Straumgjerde - right on the route you plan to take to Hellesylt. The ferry from Magerholm (gorgeous ferry ride with the Sunmore Alps ahead of you!) runs 24 hours a day every 20 minutes but some of the smaller routes in the area shut down in the late afternoon. Do your homework before you go so you don't get stuck with no way to get around a fjord!

I would recommend going from Hellesylt on the car ferry one way (it's not cheap!), staying in Geiranger for the night, and then driving over the Trollstigen Pass the next day and then head back to Alesund. The fjord and the pass are both just stunning with lots of things to stop and see along the way.
Driving in this area is incredibly easy but the ferries are unavoidable with so many waterways crisscrossing everywhere. They're easy enough though. Just get in line at the dock, drive on, pay the ticket taker at your car window, and then enjoy the ride in the cafe or up on deck!

Posted by
9 posts

Thanks, Anita! Very helpful - especially your heads up about researching ferry schedules. Will do! Did you rent your car at the Alesund airport or at a non airport location to save money? Rental company recommendation? I use Hertz here in the States and price out the savings of picking up the car at one of their corporate locations to avoid stiff airport taxes and then returning the car to the airport when flying out. But I am open to other reliable rental company recommendations. Also, did you purchase car rental insurance?

Posted by
3392 posts

We didn't need to rent a car since we were there on a home exchange. There are 3 or 4 agencies out of the airport though...Budget and Sixt are the two I remember seeing but there were a couple more. It's a teeny tiny airport and you'll have no trouble navigating to whichever rental company you choose. Getting out of the plane there is an experience. They let you out on the tarmac and it feels like you're in the middle of nowhere!