The dramatic Norwegian fjords are understandably popular with tourists, especially the cruise-ship crowd. For a different (and less traveled) route, jump behind the wheel of an electric Porsche Taycan Cross Turismo and weave your way through the sublime landscape with a thrilling itinerary from luxury adventure specialists 62° Nord.
Fly into Ålesund and head to Storfjord Hotel. The hotel was crafted in the traditional laftehytte style (think: a wooden cabin with a flourishing roof garden) and is hidden among thick green forest; it overlooks a deep fjord and snow-capped mountains beyond.
Head down to the hotel’s wellness area to unwind in the outdoor whirlpool set among the towering trees. Dinner is a four-course affair — beef tenderloin in rich-yet-sweet red wine sauce with cheesy hasselback potatoes — next to a roaring fire. On day two, you’ll get the keys to the Porsche and your itinerary for the week with a QR code that maps out your route for each day.
The first route heads to the Atlantic Ocean Road but it is worth noting, dear reader, that this drive heads through Ålesund’s interior and so is not the most inspiring (we suggest playing that podcast you’ve been meaning to listen to), but it is a good chance to get better acquainted with the car before the more gripping drives later in the week.
About two hours away from the Storfjord Hotel, you’ll be delivered to the famed Atlantic Ocean Road, which you might recognize from the latest Bond movie. The winding feat of engineering mastery snakes over the Atlantic Ocean and seems to stop at the end of the world. Hop out at the designated stop and pop the Porsche’s frunk (front trunk), where you’ll find a picnic.
Today’s route is approximately four hours long, but you will undoubtedly need longer for all the unplanned stops you’ll want to make on the way. Drive to Trollstigen, or the Troll Wall — the tallest vertical rock face in Europe.
Drive past gushing waterfalls as you ascend higher and higher; the Taycan handles the twisting road with ease. Park up at the top and walk along to the viewing platform to marvel at the scenery and waterfalls. What goes up must come down — you’ll drive down the other side of the Troll Wall through Valldal, which is un-touristy and peppered with traditional Norwegian cabins and has a glacial waterfall.
Driving this route is seriously fun, as the roads are mostly empty (and if you miss the purr of the engine, switch ‘Sport Mode’ on and put your foot down). The roads are flanked by mountains carpeted with thick forest and spatterings of snow and cobalt blue meltwaters. Continue onwards through the bewitching scenery of Norangsdalen, one of the narrowest valleys in Norway.
Today’s journey ends at Hotel Union Øye, an endearing hotel that dates back to 1891 and is thought to be haunted (head to the library post-dinner to listen to a ghost story … if you dare).
Drive through deep valleys alongside the glassy expanse of fjords and next to mountain ranges so high that they block out the sun, before arriving at Dalsnibba mountain. Hop out to breathe in the fresh, cold air before descending the switchback pass and arriving at the town of Geiranger, which is at the head of the Geirangerfjord, a Unesco World Heritage Site.
Park the car and wander through the charming town, do the ‘waterfall walk,’ and stop off for a moose burger and a beer. Then, drive onto the Geiranger ferry — grab a seat on the top deck and marvel at the huge tumbling waterfalls and gargantuan cliffs.
On day five you’ll leave the fjords behind and drive through mountain ranges to Kami Skotholmen, a restaurant that is the only occupant on an islet (expect for Knut the seagull, who makes frequent visits for scraps of seafood and has his own Instagram page).
The only way to access the restaurant is via boat, but according to executive chef Magnus Bergseth: “The only thing you have to decide is to come, and we’ll fix the rest. We have no boundaries, everything is possible — it just depends how deep guests’ pockets are!”
During my visit, Magnus and his team were preparing for a 180-person lunch for the next day (the restaurant only has 140 seats). There is no menu and, naturally, seafood is the staple — the islet was formerly used as a packing facility and fishermen’s accommodation.
All fish is caught from small boats, and Magnus doesn’t know what fish he will get; he asks the fishermen for a kilo amount and then creates the menu based on what fish has been caught. But you can expect delights such as deliciously hearty crab soup with tasty fried bread, and herring with dill and sour cream (I hate herring, and yet I ate every last bit).
Take a leisurely drive back to the Storfjord Hotel for your last night; spend your final day relaxing in Norway’s beauty and, if you’re brave, head down to the fjord for a refreshing farewell dip.
This article appears in the 30 Nov 2022 issue of the New Statesman, Winter 2022/23