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The coastal route

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“One of the 101 most scenic drives in the world.”

National Geographic

For thousands of years, the sea was the motorway on this long, wild and beautiful coastline.

These days, you can go on a stunning road trip along the coast on a more modern type of route. If you drive from south to north, the road starts in Steinkjer in Trøndelag and ends up in Bodø just north of the Arctic Circle.

650 kilometres of narrow winding roads, through small fishing villages and white sandy beach coves sheltered by mighty mountains...

...and with some of the fanciest rest areas in the world – like Ureddplassen, where you will find these restrooms.

On your journey northwards, you can sit back and relax in incredible surroundings on at least six ferries – more if you want to visit the islands.

It's easy to find a ferry in Norway:

Find routes, check departure times, and get traffic reports, all in one place, on the Norwegian Public Roads Administration (Statens Vegvesen) website.
Some terminals also have webcams that show if there are any queues.

To get even closer to nature, you can travel on two wheels.

On the Namdal coast and the Helgeland coast, you can rent a bike and go island hopping by speedboat or ferry. Kystriksveien Reiseliv offers complete cycling packages, including accommodation and luggage transport.

The stretch along the Helgeland coast that makes up the northern part of Kystriksveien is known as one of the most beautiful of the 18 Norwegian Scenic Routes.

This is largely due to detours to unique places like The Coastal Museum in Rørvik and Leka island, with its red rock landscape. 

Fun fact: The island is actually a little piece of North America that was left behind here in Norway 60 million years ago!

There are plenty of famous hikes to enjoy along the way. Like Torghatten, the most distinctive mountain in this part of the country.

As you can see, there’s a hole right through the middle of it.

It looked quite small from a distance, right?

Now, imagine standing there…

…or lying here, on Dønnamannen

… or taking a (very refreshing) dip in turquoise waters here, after a hike in The Seven Sisters mountains in Alstahaug.

While you’re in Alstahaug, make sure to visit the modern museum dedicated to Peter Dass, a local Lutheran minister and beloved Norwegian poet.

Next to the museum lies the beautiful medieval Alstahaug Church where Dass was a minister in the late 1600s.

It's possible to drive the whole of Kystriksveien in two days. But it would be a pity to not spend more time there. You need at least five.

That will give you enough time to explore the islands.

Check out the red-painted fishing villages on some of the 6,500 islands in the UNESCO World Heritage archipelago Vega, and sample some delicious fresh seafood (or an ice cream on the pier).

Vega is perfect for active adventures. Hike the popular Vega stairs or venture up the Ravnfloget via ferrata!

The Helgeland coast is a paradise for kayakers as well.

Crystal clear waters and thousands of small islands await. Local guides will take you to their favourite spots.

Many of the incredible islands along the coast have ferry connections. Like Træna (pictured here), with its mountains that rise straight up from the sea, an hour and a half from the mainland.

Or the neighbouring island of Lovund, where you can choose to spend the night at a modern designer hotel or at one of the small, charming fisherman’s cabins by the sea.

These guys also love it here! A large colony of Atlantic puffins always arrives here around lundekommardagen, the annual puffin migration day on14 April.

A little further north you’ll find the world’s northernmost whisky distillery on Myken island, which has just eleven inhabitants. But even there, you’ll have no trouble finding a bed for the night and a place to eat.

Ready for another magic moment? Cross the Arctic Circle!

You are now 66.33 degrees north and are entering the land of the midnight sun.

In summer, the low rays of the sun shine through the night and colour the landscape in beautiful warm tones. No need to hurry back before sunset!

The Arctic Circle passes through Rødøy.  Rødøyløva mountain, is another highlight in this area. The hike is relatively easy, and little can compete with the view from the top (pictured here)!

Continue north and see one of the most beautiful attractions along this road: the Svartisen glacier.

You can stop here for a guided tour on the ice if you want.

All good things must come to an end. The final destination on the coastal route is the lively city of Bodø.

But before you reach the city, stop to admire the mighty forces of nature at play in the world’s strongest maelstrom, Saltstraumen.

Underneath the boiling surface, the marine life is incredibly rich, which is great for diving (with certified guides, only, as the currents are extremely strong).

And for fishing today’s dinner. Get your gear out and cast off!

Are you ready for the wildest road trip of your life?

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