Trips

The Ultimate Guide to Cycling Norway

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Photos
| Tristan Bogaard
February 14, 2018
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Some of you may be aware that I've spent the last thirty-or so months on a bicycle in Western Europe. But for those who aren't, hello! I'm Tristan, and I've finally found my way of making the world better. 

Traveling without polluting the air and striving to live a healthier, more responsible life are only a couple benefits of cycling. It can also lead to some of the most remarkable memories. And it's definitely worth the astounded look in peoples' eyes when they see you sweating up that mountain road.

So let's talk about how you can take your first bike trip! 

Header By @danielernst

The Island of Senja

Norway makes an epic first trip. Let’s start off with the crown jewel of the journey; the Island of Senja. This place is often referred to as mini Norway and offers anything you’re looking for. Fjords, massive mountains raising straight out the sea, small (real) fisherman’s villages, mostly RV-free roads and an astonishing amount of hikes, rides and outdoor beauty. 

We cycled the northern route from Botnhamn to Gryllefjord, which is most recommendable to those seeking all of the above. Follow roads 862 and 86, don’t miss the hike to Husfjellet and canoeing around the few hundred or so tiny islands of Bergsøya. Approximate distance: 100km.

Senja 1
Senja 2
Senja 3
Senja 4

Lofoten Islands

Next up, another unmissable location is the Lofoten islands. A single, 200km road leading you through the environmental prime of the Norwegians. Don’t even dare to visit this place in July and August, as you’ll be overrun by traffic on that single, two lane road, but otherwise it’s an absolute must. 

Remote red cabins, hidden shelters specifically built for cyclists, wet, wild weather, and some of the coldest water you’ve ever swam in. Count that as a free shower. Following the E10, approximate distance: 200km.

Lofoten 1
Lofoten 2
Lofoten 3

Bodø to Trondheim

We also cycled the stretch between Bodø and Trondheim, but wouldn’t recommend this to everyone. Having gotten used to the "Wow!" type of nature, this route is a little more mild. You'll find long, winding roads, a lot of green, and short but entertaining ferry-rides. But there may also be a lot of inclement weather. 

One of the best features of the coastal Fv17 road is that it’s pretty rural, but it still has a lot of traffic. Caution for July and August once more. Following Fv17, 771, 770, 769 and 720. Approximate distance: 800km.

Bodø Trondheim 2
Bodø Trondheim 3
Bodø Trondheim 5

Ålesund

From Trondheim on we cycled towards Ålesund, but not before our tent got flooded while camping next to a dry riverbed. A camera and phone did not survive. Bummer. Our advice therefore stands - watch out with camping next to rivers. They may be tidal, or lack sufficient warnings. 

Besides that, the Atlantic Ocean, Trollstigen road, Valldalen valley, and almost floating city of Ålesund make it a challenging, but great ride. Following E39, Fv279, 64, 63 and 60. Approximate distance: 400km.

Trondheim Ålesund 1
Trondheim Ålesund 2
Trondheim Ålesund 3
Trondheim Ålesund 4
Trondheim Ålesund 5
Trondheim Ålesund 6
Trondheim Ålesund 7

Cycling Through Fjords

The last part of our route led us through a very special part of the country. The west coast has a lot of fjords, and we felt challenged to cycle most of them. This resulted in an itinerary that was all over the place. But it showed us some more hidden spots that motorists usually miss, since they’re not on the main road. 

Thin roads, a huge amount of tunnels (consult cycletourer.co.uk for a detailed map on all tunnels in Norway and the level of safety for cyclists), and some of the biggest climbs we’ve done so far. Some tougher than the Alps! Following E39, Fylkesveg 70, 655, 60, E15, Fv60, E39, 610, Fv13, 55, Fv331, Tindevegen, 53, E16, E13, Fv7, 580 and 582. Approximate distance: 1000km

Ålesund Bergen 1
Ålesund Bergen 3
Ålesund Bergen 6