Before beginning any driving tour, you'll want to spend at least 2 or 3 days in Oslo. Use the following itinerary to make the most out of a week in eastern Norway, but feel free to skip a place or two if you require some downtime. One week provides just enough time to see some of the significant sights of this region, from dramatic parks to fabled old Viking towns along the Oslofjord.
The highlights of the north include the Olympic resort of Lillehammer (one of the most famous towns in Norway) and some of the country's greatest national parks -- Jutunheimen and Rondane. Time is also allotted for a visit to Røros, Scandinavia's most colorful mining town, which is preserved on the World Heritage List.
Heading back to Oslo (going south along the Oslofjord), you can take in other attractions, including Fredrikstad, Norway's oldest fortified town, and Tønsberg, the ancient Viking town and former royal coronation site.
Day 1: Olympic Resort of Lillehammer
On the morning of Day 1, leave Oslo and head north to the winter and summer resort of Lillehammer, at the northern end of Lake Mjøsa, where the 1994 Winter Olympics were staged. The trip is a drive of 169km (105 miles). From Oslo, follow the E6, an express highway, to Lillehammer, where you can check in to a hotel for the night. The major attraction here is the Maihaugen Open-Air Museum, which will take about 2 hours. If you have time remaining on the clock, hook up with an 1850s paddle steamer, the White Swan of Lake Mjøsa.
Day 2: Jutunheimen National Park
Leave Lillehammer on the morning of Day 2, heading northwest toward the resort of Lom, a distance of 180km (112 miles), by continuing along the E6 until you reach the junction of Rte. 15. Here you will head west for the final stretch into Lom, where you can check in to a hotel in the small town itself or somewhere nearby for the night.
Lom lies in the center of Jutunheimen, with its foreboding glaciers and towering mountain peaks. This is the prize jewel among the national parks of Norway.
Day 3: The Ice Age Park of Rondane
Leave Lom on the morning of Day 3 and drive all the way to the village of Lesja, a distance of 159km (99 miles). To reach Lesja, exit Lom via Rte. 15 east, then enter the express highway, E6, heading northwest. At the roundabout, connect to the E136 heading west into Lesja. Check into one of the region's hotels for the night. With its towering peaks, deep valleys, and waterfalls, Rondane Nasjonalpark is one of the most visited parks in Norway.
Day 4: The Ancient Mining Town of Røros
On the morning of Day 4, leave Lesja and head for the old mining town of Røros, a distance of 193km (120 miles). Take the E136 east, then the E6 northeast, entering onto Rte. 29 as the road continues east. At the junction with Rte. 3, head north, continuing on the highway as it turns into Rte. 30, which will take you into Røros. Fortunately, Røros is signposted along these complicated routes.
Check in to a hotel for the night and set out to explore Scandinavia's most famous old mining town, with its collection of 80 antique houses, some of which date from the 1600s.
Day 5: Røros to Hamar
On the morning of Day 5, leave Røros and drive 275km (171 miles) to the resort of Hamar, the gateway to central Norway's Lake Mjøsa, an area of particular beauty. At this point, you'll be only 134km (83 miles) north of Oslo. From Røros, take Rte. 30, heading southwest to the junction with Rte. 3. Rte. 3 will take you south to the junction with Rte. 25, which you follow southeast into Hamar. In Hamar, check in to a hotel for the night. Mostly you come here to enjoy the beauty of the lake. But if you have time for any of the minor sights, visit the Hedmarksmuseet & Domkirkeodden and the Kirsten Flagstad Museum. Of minor interest is the National Railway Museum.
Day 6: Hamar to Fredrikstad
To conclude this 1-week tour, we continue south of Oslo to the two oldest and most intriguing cities along the Oslofjord, Fredrikstad and Tønsberg. Leave Hamar on the morning of Day 6, following the E6 south to Fredrikstad, a driving distance of 216km (134 miles). Check in to a hotel in Fredrikstad for the night. What brings us here is Gamlebyen, or the Old Town of Fredrikstad, at the mouth of the Glomma River. As the oldest fortified town in Norway, Old Town is one of the best preserved in eastern Norway. You should allow 3 hours to tour its precincts, including stopovers at the Fredrikstad Museum and Fredrikstad Domskirke. The Old Town is also known as a center for artisans and highly skilled craftspeople. You'll want to devote part of your time to exploring local shops, which sell some of the most original hand-crafted merchandise in Norway.
Day 7: Fredrikstad to Tønsberg
For your final look at eastern Norway, you will have to cross from the east bank of the broad Oslofjord to the west bank. On the morning of Day 7, leave Fredrikstad and head for the fjord town of Moss, a distance of 39km (24 miles). From Fredrikstad, follow the E6 north to the junction with Rte. 19, which you will take west into Moss. Once there, head for the port where you can board one of the frequent ferries crossing the fjord to the opposite port of Horten on the west bank.
At Horten, take Rte. 19 south into Tønsberg, a distance of only 18km (11 miles), where you can check in to a hotel for your final night. Tønsberg, a former Viking settlement, is Norway's oldest town. In the late morning, you can take in its major sights, including Slottsfjellet, hailed as the "acropolis of Norway" -- although the views from the Slottsfjelltårnet are the real show-stealer here. You can spend an hour wandering through the Nordbyen, or the Old Town, with its historic houses; drop in also to see Sem Church, the oldest in Vestfold. With its Viking and whaling treasures, Vestfold Fylkesmuseum is the most intriguing. After an overnight in Tønsberg, you can drive back to Oslo, which, most likely, is your transportation hub for making your way home.