Everything is big in Norway. The mountains, the glaciers and the fjords. Norway is therefore essentially a country for the most extreme cyclist. The terrain is very mountainous and hilly. The highest mountain road (Sognefjellet) are around 1500 meters above sea level, but there is a lot of mountains in the 1000 - 1350 meters bracket too.
The landscape in Norway is breathtaking, but the views often comes after several hours of hard cycling. Most parts of Norway does not have any interesting cycling at all. It is only Northern Norway and West Of Norway with the fjords, the mountains and the glaciers who is interesting.
The biggest problem with cycling in Norway, is the very expensive food and accommodation. You really need a good budget to cycle in Norway.
The second biggest problem is the remoteness of the most attractive areas in Norway. It is not too bad on the west coast, but it is sometimes 200 - 300 km. between every shop in the north of Norway. Good planning is essential in Norway or you will simply starve to death.
The third biggest problem is the amount of long tunnels in the most attractive areas of cycling. Most of them cannot be avoided. Cycling in these parts is too much a "Norway From The Inside". Which is very scary in dark tunnels and with a lot of traffic.
The roads in Norway is very good indeed. Even small country lanes are very good.
There is no B & B in Norway. There are not many youth hostels in Norway too. The hotels are very expensive.
Tent and sleeping bags are therefore your only option.
Please note that most Norwegians speak fluent English. They probably speak better English than you do. German is also not much of a problem. French and other non-Scandinavian languages is still a form of black art.
But if you manage to read these lines, you are OK.
For a start… Norwegians.. Joking apart, the midges are quite bad throughout Norway. Beware of snakes in the east of Norway. Their poison is not necessary fatal, but they are still best avoided. Elk/moose are also best avoided because of their sheer size and bad temper. The same goes for the buffalo (moskus) in the Dovre area. Roadkill, cows, horses and sheep/lambs in the road is also a problem in Norway. Reindeer is a problem in the North. Please protect your food against crows, foxes, eagles and other thieves from the local wildlife. Besides of this, the local wildlife is harmless.
If adventure and hard cycling is your cup of tea, Norway is the place to visit.
Where to cycle in Norway.
The best cycling in Norway is in the fjords between Stavanger, Bergen and Trondheim. Especially the Sognefjord and around Nordfjord.
The big problem is the steep terrain with several 1000 + meters above sea level mountains. This means that you are spending most of your cycling in Norway, climbing up steep mountain roads. This area also have a lot of long tunnels between three kilometres and twenty-four kilometres. Some of them are under the sea with a steep descent down and a steep climb out of the tunnel. Not good for your mental health !!
The fjords are also served by a lot of infrequent ferries and solid planning is essential for survival. In other words, order the information about ferries before you start the cycle tour.
Northern Norway also has some superb cycling between North Cape and Narvik. The mountains is not as high as in the south and the cycling is far easier. This part of Norway is almost identical to Scotland. The problem is it's remoteness from the rest of the world and the distance between shops/accommodation.
The Lofoten Islands in the Atlantic Ocean just west of the Northern Norway has some superb and rather flat cycling. The scenery is brilliant. If you do not want extreme cycling, this area is your alternative.
The rest of Norway, including Oslo and Trondheim, is best avoided. With exceptions from the Gudbrandsdalen, Hallingdalen, Valdres and Setesdalen valleys in the south and east. They are great if you like cycling in valleys.
The south coast around Kristiandsand is quite boring. The area around Oslo is a bit hilly, but not interesting. The same goes for the area around Trondheim. The main road (E 6) between Trondheim and Bodø/Fauske is totally without interest. The coastal route is brilliant, I have heard.
Recommended places to visit (among others).
North Cape (North)
Svolvær (North/The Lofoten Islands)
The weather in Norway can be fatally extreme during the summer. Especially in the mountains and in the fjords.
You have to have a lot of equipment in Norway due to the very serious nature of cycling. You can both get heat stroke and frostbite in the mountains in a matter of minutes. I am not joking. The climate is very extreme.
Besides of helmet, gloves, cycle shorts and solid shoes, you also need windproof and warm clothes.
Tent and sleeping bags are also essential. The same goes for xtra food and a solid cycle repair kit.
You need a solid cycle in Norway. I recommend a training racer bike with four bags (two at the back and two in the front) + the tent and the sleeping bag over the back wheel. A good, big lamp for the tunnels is totally essential. Wear everything you have on the bike and do not use a rucksack. The reason is the many hours of climbs which will kill your back anyway. Midge repellent spray are also essential.
Make sure that you are fit before you start cycling in Norway because you will get thrashed in the mountains.
Recommended start point.
In the South: Bergen is the best good start point. Besides of being one of Europe's finest cities, it is also easy to easy to get there by plane, ferry (from Newcastle, England) or train from Oslo (ferries, plane and trains from everywhere in Europe). From Bergen, you have easy access to the fjords. You can end your trip in Trondheim and take the train back to Oslo from there. Or you can reverse this trip and start in Trondhem and work yourself south to Bergen.
In any case, this part of Norway can offer you plenty of blood, sweat and tears, in addition to some of the best scenery in the world.
In the North: The cheapest access is the train from Oslo to Bodø or Fauske. From Bodø, I believe you can take the ferry to the Lofoten Islands. But check out the validity of this information before you do this. From Fauske, you can cycle up to Narvik, Tromsø and the North Cape. A nice, hard 1000 km. + tour.
A better alternative is to take the train from Stockholm in Sweden to Narvik. It is a long and boring train journey, but Narvik give you easy access to the Lofoten Islands and the rest of the Northern Norway. By plane, Honningsvaag, Alta and Tromsø is the best start point.
Cycling in Scotland vs Norway.
The main difference is that everything is so much bigger in Norway. The climbs are so much longer and therefore a lot harder. There is hardly any easy cycling in Norway.
Rating: You should add two stars on the severity scale for the Norwegian tours when compared with the Scottish tours. But the fun rating is the same.
If you have any questions, please contact me.
Enjoy the read.
10. March 2001
List of daytours:
Tour # 1. Lierdalen circuit. 60 km
Tour # 2. Drammen - Sylling - Vikersund - Hønefoss - Drammen (Tyrifjorden). 140 km.
Tour # 3. Hurumlandet circuit (Oslo). 140 km.
Tour # 4. Nordmarka circuit (Oslo). 175 km.
Tour # 5. Norheimssund - Mundheim - Os - Bergen. 100 km.
Tour # 6. Honningsvaag - Hammerfest. 160 km.
Tour # 7. Nordreisa (Storslett) - Tromsø. 120 km.
Tour # 8. Tromsø - Nordkjosbotn. 75 km.
Tour # 9. Bergen - Mongstad - Oppedal. 100 km.
Tour # 10. Oppedal - Høyanger - Balestrand - Sogndal. 155 km.
Tour # 11. Stryn - Gamle Strynefjellet - Grotli- Geiranger. 100 km.
Tour # 12. Hellesylt - Øye- Sæbø- Ørsta - Festøy- Ålesund. 110 km.
Tour # 13. Stryn - Hornindal- Nordfjordeid - Måløy. 100 km.
Tour # 14. Måløy - Åheim - Koparnes - Gurskøy - Ålesund. 135 km.
Tour # 15. Ålesund - Tresfjord - Åndalsnes. 110 km.
Tour # 16. Voss - Vik - Sogndal. 130 km.
Tour # 17. Florø - Førde - Sogndal. 155 km.
Tour # 18. Sogndal - Turtagrø Hotel. 75 km.
Tour # 19. Turtagrø Hotel - Otta. 140 km.
Tour # 20. Otta - Lom - Grotli. 125 km.
Tour # 21. Kristiandsand - Lindesnes. 75 km.
Tour # 22. Bardufoss - Finnsnes - Torsken (Senja). 115 km.
Tour # 23. Bardufoss - Sørreisa - Sjøvegan - Bardufoss. 155 km.
List of 2- 14 Day long tours:
Tour # 24. Bergen - Trondheim 920 km. Eight days.
Tour # 25. Oslo - Bergen. 480 km. Three days.
Tour # 26 Drammen - Sogndal. 360 km. Two days.
Tour # 27. Kristiandsand - Bergen via Odda. 515 km. Three days.
Tour # 28. North Cape - Narvik 780 km. Five Days.
Tour # 29. Kristiandsand - Oslo via Rjukan. 480 km. Three days.
Tour # 30. Narvik - Trondheim. 955 km. Eight Days.
Tour # 31. Lofoten. 475 km. Four Days.
Tour # 32. Bergen- Sognefjorden - Otta. 470 km. Four days.
List of upcoming 2- 14 Day long tours:
Oslo - Kristiandsand. 330 km. Three days.
Trondheim - Oslo. 550 km.
Links to all the cycle tour in Norway pages: