The coastal areas are perfect for road cycling. Traffic is limited as the main traffic arteries go inland, and even in the wildest, rockiest terrain, the road follows the shoreline. Villages and settlements are found in every sheltered cove, sheep look at you as you cycle past, and there are lots of small museums, old churches and archaeological sites to stop at along the way.
Every stretch of the coast has a distinct personality: the undiscovered island of Senja with its dramatic coastline, the green archipelago of Vesterålen with sperm whales and puffins, the jagged peaks and picturesque fishing villages of the Lofoten Islands, and the 20,000 islands and rich cultural heritage of Helgeland immediately south of the Arctic Circle.
You can easily include detours like hiking to the nearest viewpoint, kayaking, boat trips, visits to bird cliffs and a sample of events from the rich summer culture calendar. The ferry to the next island gives you a chance to have a coffee, and there is a range of charming accommodation options.
In the high north, you will find the Finnmarksvidda plateau – a vast, untouched area with soft heather, small-grown willows and birch trees. Barely visible trails lead across undulating hills, and occasionally you will carry your bike across a gushing river or a marsh. This is proper wilderness cycling where you sleep in rustic mountain cabins, enjoy a sauna followed by a dip in the river, and have reindeer for dinner.
Further south, where towering mountains rise from the fjords, there are exhilarating trails going down the steep mountains. Around the Lyngenfjord you will also find exciting tracks of different levels, notably trail riding in the pine forest around Skibotn or the Lavka cross mountain trail. Holiday bungalows, small guesthouses and hotels on the fjord ensure a good night’s sleep, and there are some lovely eateries around.
Rolling hills and wide expanses, almost invisible trails on heather and gushing rivers. On a sturdy mountain bike you can explore the untouched wilderness of the Finnmark plateau, the home of the Sami reindeer herders.
You will be accompanied by a guide with cooking skills and a good tool kit, and accommodation is arranged in rustic but cosy mountain cabins.
Price from NOK 6,900 per person, including all transport, guide, sauna, meals and accommodation.
Watch spectacular fjords, green mountains, dramatic peaks and white sandy beaches roll by from your bicycle seat.
A cycling holiday in Vesterålen is to experience the distinctive coastal culture of Northern Norway up close. The cycling routes are easy to follow with varied terrain but few hills, and some areas are practically traffic-free. The accommodation and activity provider Huset på Yttersiden can help you to find suitable cycling routes, whether you plan a complete cycling holiday or plan to combine it with other activities. Bikes are available to rent in Stokmarknes.
The mountain bike race Offroad Finnmark takes place between 28 July and 5 August 2017.
Every year, hundreds of experienced mountain bike amateurs take up the challenge of the race, which has a reputation of being one of the toughest MTB competitions in the world. It winds its way through thorny terrain in the Finnmark wilderness on cart roads and single tracks as well as through pathless landscapes with brooks, creeks and rivers.
This trip starts and ends in the Arctic city of Tromsø. It takes you out to the coast with mountains, fjords and islands, from where you continue by ferry to the magnificent scenery of the island of Senja. Throughout the trip you will enjoy the special light and atmosphere of the midnight sun.
There will be plenty of time to explore the great outdoors on summit hikes or additional bike excursions as part of the tour.
Price from NOK 9,700 per person including seven nights’ accommodation, some meals (breakfast, packed lunches and 5 dinners), map and tour description. Book before 1 June 2017 for a NOK 250 discount.
Make your way down flowy and technical trails of various difficulty on an incomparable mountain bike week in the Skibotn area of the Lyngenfjord. Known for its dry climate with clear skies and a diverse landscape heavily influenced by glaciers, you will enjoy incredible views over mountains and fjords.
The trip is arranged for 5-8 people, and you will stay in a cabin at Arctic Lyngen Seacamp, surrounded by high peaks.
Price from NOK 15,750 per person, including one week of trail cycling in Lyngsalpene mountain range with a guide, accommodation, transport and food.
There are airports in Bodø, Harstad/Narvik, Tromsø, Alta, Kirkenes and Longyearbyen, plus 20 short runway airports. Travel time from Oslo to Tromsø is around one hour and 45 minutes.
Another option is to go with the shipping line Hurtigruten, which stops at 25 ports in Northern Norway, including Vesterålen, Tromsø, Hammerfest, Nordkyn and Kirkenes.
Driving is a scenic way of getting around in Northern Norway - but be aware that distances between the bigger cities can be larger than you think. It is possible to rent a car at all of the airports in Northern Norway.
Northern Norway is by far the largest and most sparsely populated part of mainland Norway, and covers more than a third of the country.
Cycling in Norway equals tough mountain biking trails and big events like the Arctic Race – but also gentle rides through quaint villages and magnificent nature.