Whether you seek a demanding slog up a mountain or a gentle ride between picturesque small towns, the varied landscapes of Norway will provide suitable challenges riding on two wheels.
Let’s be honest, on paper Norway looks like a difficult place to enjoy your cycling holiday unless you are fit as a fiddle. Yes, the mountains are high, some of the downhills are steep and the terrain is sometimes rough.
But with if you seek a challenge, Norway is an exciting country for biking, and even the more inexperienced “couch cyclists” among us can find suitable routes by doing some research and finding out where the infrastructure is in place for easier trips.
It’s a bit of cliché, but on the poster it says “even though the roads won’t take your breath away, the scenery will”. You could for instance try the Kystriksveien Coastal Road, that takes you past jagged mountains, medieval churches, sandy beaches and thousands of islands.
Or you could check out the midnight sun, bird cliffs and small fishing communities in the Lofoten or Vesterålen islands.
Another route, Rallarvegen (The Navvy Road), was, with its steep descents and wild waterfalls, named Norway's finest bicycle road by the magazine Travel and Vacation.
If you don’t want to spend too much time planning, Norway has ten national cycling 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.
As in most other places around the world, the environment and climate-change is on the Norwegian political agenda. If you use your bike as means of transportation instead of a car, you will probably experience an extra amount of good-will from the locals, and get much closer to nature, local traditions and the many hidden gems of the countryside than you would from a motorized vehicle.
The growing interest for cycling in Norway can in part be attributed to the popularity of cycling as a sport, where Norwegian cyclists like Thor Hushovd have had great success.
Visit one of the world’s most mountainous countries and discover unheard biking opportunities.
Pedaling atop a mountain ridge, rushing through tight single-track forest trails or just taking your mountain bike out into open country gives an unheard sense of freedom.
Thor Hushovd is considered the greatest Norwegian cyclist of all time. Among his merits are winning The UCI Road World Championship and several stages of the Tour de France. He takes a rare break to talk about his preferred rides all over Norway that feature what he loves the most: untouched nature.
Are you an experienced cyclist, determined to see Norway with its many fjords and mountains from the seat of your bicycle? In that case, the national cycle routes may be just the thing for you.
The fact that cyclists are welcome is hopefully a given, but Cyclist Welcome is actually a scheme that can be found in many European countries, including Norway. Companies awarded this badge, accommodation providers, tourist information centres and destinations in Norway, commit themselves to be excellent hosts for cyclists. They will offer you secure bicycle parking, repair kits, informations about nearby routes and much more.
Read more: cyclingnorway.no
Rallarvegen (The Navvies Road) is the most popular cycling route in Norway, starting at 1000 meters above sea level before descending toward the fjord. The road is named after the "rallar" or navvies, the railway construction workers building the Bergensbanen railroad in the early 1900s.
Norwegian philosophy is very much that conservation is everyone's responsibility. Enjoying nature and the outdoors is considered a national pastime, and this is reflected in our attitude towards the preservation and use of the wilderness.
Whether it's hiking in the mountains or biking an idyllic forest road, Norwegians try to leave as small a footprint as possible. Leave it as you would like to find it is the mantra, regardless of whether you are a guest in the landscape or a small fishing village.
Quality of life is what it is all about, not only now, but for the time to come as well. It's about recognizing that everybody else are just as important as ourselves, and taking steps to implement that thought in all aspects of life. It's not easy, nor is it quickly done. But it is definitely worth it.
Norway is a country of outstanding natural beauty, with dramatic waterfalls, crystal clear fjords, majestic mountains, and spectacular glaciers. Preserving this landscape, its communities, and their way of life is essential for locals and visitors alike.
See photos of people exploring Norwegian nature and learn how to stay safe with the Norwegian Mountain Code.
Manners and common sense on the trail
Having great trails to ride on is not a right, but a privilege. The Norwegian Organization for Mountain Biking (NOTS) urges everyone to be considerate of the trails and ski trails. Here are the most important guidelines for trail-wit.
You are in Norway, therefore no reason to stay indoors. Here are some fun things to do, whether you're visiting the coast, the mountains or somewhere in between.
Exploring the mountains and embracing nature and the outdoors is a way of life for most Norwegians. And our most scenic nature is definitely best enjoyed on foot.