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Between Røros and Hardanger, the Sognefjell Road offers spectacular views of Rondane National Park Photo: Øyvind Wold
Photo: Øyvind Wold
Photo: Øyvind Wold
Photo: Telemarkskanalen
Photo: Peder Georg Helset
Photo: Øyvind Wold
Photo: Øyvind Wold
Photo: Øyvind Wold
Photo: Øyvind Wold

Norway's National Cycle Routes

Go where you want, stop when you like, and stay where you please. Bike one of Norway's national bicycle routes for that special feeling of freedom.

Crisscrossing Norway is a network of national bicycle routes that connect all mainland parts of the country. The routes are designed to take you between cities and towns while avoiding most roads with heavy traffic. At the same time the aim is to provide cyclists with opportunities to visit important cultural and historical sites, as well as scenic locations and interesting attractions along the way.

Bike rental
Bikes can usually be rented at either end of the routes, and sometimes at points along the routes as well, should you wish to only do part of a route.

Detailed route information
Some routes may be subject to changes over time, so signposting and maps may not be accurate at all times. To avoid unpleasant surprises and detours on the way, it is recommended that you contact the tourist offices in the areas the route you have selected will take you through, and ask for updated information.

Accommodation along the way

Even in the most sparsely populated areas of Norway you can usually find a place to stay during the tourist season, but some places may require some advance research and planning even then. In the off-season you might experience problems finding accommodation in some areas along these routes, particularly off the beaten track, so consider bringing sleeping bags and a small tent. Fortunately, there are many camping sites open year-round, and Norway also has a right-of-access law which allows camping in uncultivated land under certain conditions.

Route 1: The coastal route

Svinesund – Kristiansand - Bergen - Trondheim - North Cape - Kirkenes

Starting at Svinesund near Halden by the Swedish border, this route follows almost the entire Norwegian coastline from southeast to northeast. From Svinesund it leads northwest and across the Oslofjord, and from there it follows the coast south to Kristiansand in Southern Norway. From there it continues north to Bergen in Fjord Norway and further along the coast through Trondheim and via the Lofoten Islands all the way to the North Cape, before ending in Kirkenes in Northern Norway.

This is the longest of the national cycle routes but far from the steepest, as it follows the coast instead of crossing the mountains. There will still be steep parts though, particularly in the west. There, many fjords cut through the rocky coastline, making ferries, bridges or undersea tunnels the only ways to avoid long detours around each fjord.

Along the route you can experience everything from some of Norway's biggest cities and their individual charm and attractions, to scenic and sparsely populated coastal landscapes. This is a great route to take of you want to experience both the highlights of coastal Norway, as well as the parts that not many visitors get to see.

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Route 2: The canal route

Porsgrunn – The Telemark Canal – Dalen – Stavanger

This route takes you right across Southern Norway from Porsgrunn via Skien and the Telemark Canal to Dalen, and on to Stavanger, where the route terminates.

Though it crosses the country, this national cycle route is actually one of the shortest of them all. It will give you a taste of the cultural landscape of Eastern Norway and the fjords of Fjord Norway, as well as the mountains and moors in between.

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Route 3: Fjords and mountains

Kristiansand - Setesdal – Hardanger – Kristiansund

Starting in Kristiansand in Southern Norway, this route visits Hardanger and crosses the Sognefjord before terminating in Kristiansund in the northwest.

The craggy mountains and deep fjords of Fjord Norway are the focus of this route, which leads through some of the most scenic parts of Southern Norway and inland Fjord Norway.

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Route 4: Rallarvegen

Bergen – Finse – Oslo

Originally an access road from the construction of the Bergen Railway, part of Rallarvegen ("The Navvies' road") is now one of the most popular bicycle routes in Norway. This national bicycle route is far longer, however, and takes you right across Norway from Bergen, via Voss, to Finse. From Finse, the highest point on the Bergen Railway, it's more or less all easy downhill cycling to Oslo.

Until the Bergen Railway was built, it was in fact often next to impossible to travel between Norway's two biggest cities in the wintertime. Even today the roads crossing the mountains are closed for long stretches at a time in the winter, due to inclement weather.

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Route 5: The Numedal route

Larvik – Kongsberg – Geilo

Staring in the picturesque seaside town of Larvik, this route takes you via the old mining town of Kongsberg, all the way to Geilo, a small town and ski resort in the mountains.

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Route 6: The Sognefjell route

Røros – Hardanger

Starting in the mining town of Røros, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, this route takes you through the mountains of Trøndelag all the way to the fjords of Fjord Norway, before ending in Hardanger.

Røros is easily reached by train or by car from Trondheim or Oslo, and is an excellent place to start your cycling holiday. From this picturesque little town you will cross mountains and moors which gradually give way to steep-sided fjords and lush green valleys.

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Route 7: The pilgrim route

Halden – Oslo – Nidaros (Trondheim)

Halden near the Swedish border in Eastern Norway is the starting point of this route, which takes you onwards through Norway's capital city Oslo, and from there along the old pilgrim route past Lake Mjøsa and northward all the way to Trondheim and Nidaros, where you will find the Nidaros Cathedral.

Nidaros, where the cathedral now stands, has been a destination for pilgrims for nearly a thousand years, ever since the then King Olav II was slain in the battle of Stiklestad in 1030 AD and later became St. Olav. The route takes you through the cultural landscape of Eastern Norway, a terrain which gradually changes as you progress north to Trondheim and Nidaros.

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Route 8: Trollheimen

Oppdal – Molde

One of the shortest national cycle routes, this route will take you from its starting point in the small inland town of Oppdal through the valleys and mountains of Trollheimen to the coastal city of Molde.

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Route 9: The wilderness route

Halden – Trondheim

While the beginning and end of this route is very similar to route 7, the pilgrim route, this one takes a more inland route through the forested wilderness of Eastern Norway, via the towns of Elverum and Koppang in Hedmark, as well as Røros and Selbu before arriving in Trondheim.

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Route 10: Norway from north to south

North Cape – Lindesnes

One of the longest of the ten national bicycle routes, this will take you from nigh-on the northernmost point of mainland Norway, the North Cape, to the country's southernmost point at Lindesnes. On the way, you'll travel through the wilds of Northern Norway, through the islands of Vesterålen and Lofoten, and the Helgeland Coast. From there, the route continues through Trondheim, Kristiansund, Molde and Ålesund, before turning to the extreme west of Norway, passing through the outer reaches of Fjord Norway at the edge of the North Sea. Through Bergen and Stavanger in the west, the route continues into Southern Norway and terminates at Lindesnes, at which point a well-deserved rest is in order.

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Last updated:  2014-08-08
The coastal route follows almost the entire Norwegian coastline - Photo: Øyvind Wold
The coastal route follows almost the entire Norwegian coastline
Rallarvegen is best enjoyed in late summer, when most of the snow has melted - Photo: Rallarvegen is best enjoyed in late summer, when most of the snow has melted
Rallarvegen is best enjoyed in late summer, when most of the snow has melted
The Sognefjell Road crosses the mountains between Røros and Fjord Norway - Photo: Øyvind Wold
The Sognefjell Road crosses the mountains between Røros and Fjord Norway
Bike the route at your own pace, and relax when you feel like it - Photo: Øyvind Wold
Bike the route at your own pace, and relax when you feel like it
Most of the national cycle routes are signposted and free of cars - Photo: Øyvind Wold
Most of the national cycle routes are signposted and free of cars
Follow the ancient pilgrim route to Nidaros in Trondheim - Photo: Øyvind Wold
Follow the ancient pilgrim route to Nidaros in Trondheim
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etween Røros and Hardanger, the Sognefjell Road offers spectacular views of Rondane National Park - Photo: Øyvind Wold

Norway's National Cycle Routes

Go where you want, stop when you like, and stay where you please. Bike one of Norway's national bicycle routes for that special feeling of freedom.

Norway's National Cycle Routes

Source: Visitnorway

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