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Rallarvegen.
Photo: Sverre Hjørnevik/visitnorway.com
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Bike your way across Norway

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.

Many countries, including Norway, have national cycle routes – a network of long distance cycle routes meant for those who seek a proper challenge. When we say long distance, we really mean it – some of these routes are for adventurers and experienced cyclists only.

If you’re not in the cycling shape of your life, you can still enjoy parts of a longer route, and though some of the routes are quite demanding, others are shorter and well suited for anyone who can ride a bike.

The national cycle routes guide you between cities and regions in Norway, avoiding most roads with heavy traffic. You can cycle along fjords, through forests and valleys and even across mountains. On the way, you can visit exciting cultural and historical sites, as well as small towns, scenic locations and interesting attractions. Bring your fishing rod or eat your way through the local food culture.

The 10 routes

If you are tempted to try one of the routes, we recommend that you contact the relevant tourist offices. They will tell you about the areas of which that route will take you through, and you will get updated information regarding the route. It is also a good idea to check out Cyclists Welcome.

1. The coastal route

Lofoten
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Lofoten.
Photo: Terje Rakke/Nordic life - Visitnorway.com

Credits
Lofoten.
Photo: Terje Rakke/Nordic life - Visitnorway.com

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

The coastal route is the longest of the national cycle routes and is not for the inexperienced. It is, however, not the steepest, but follows the long Norwegian coast from the east to the south, through Fjord Norway with the most famous fjords, and all the way up to the northeast, to Kirkenes on the Russian border.

Please note that the many fjords on the way make ferries, bridges or under sea tunnels the only ways to avoid long detours around each fjord.

2. The canal route

Telemark
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Telemark.
Photo: Kåre Pedersen

Credits
Telemark.
Photo: Kåre Pedersen

Porsgrunn – The Telemark canal – Dalen – Stavanger

The canal route takes you right across Southern Norway, from Porsgrunn via Skien and The Telemark Canal, which was etched into the mountain more than 100 years ago and known as “the eight wonder of the world” when it was finished, to Dalen and all the way to the coastal city of Stavanger. Though it crosses the country, this route is actually one of the shortest national cycle routes.

3. Fjords and mountains

Biking along the Atlantic Road
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Biking along the Atlantic Road.
Photo: CH - Visitnorway.com

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Biking along the Atlantic Road.
Photo: CH - Visitnorway.com

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.

4. Rallarvegen

A group biking along a lake at Rallarvegen
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Rallarvegen.
Photo: Morten Knudsen

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Rallarvegen.
Photo: Morten Knudsen

Bergen – Finse – Oslo

Originally a transportation 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, and offers both a historical and a close-to-nature adventure. But this national bicycle route stretches far beyond Rallarvegen and takes you 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.

Dynamic Variation:

7. The pilgrim route

Trondheim
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Trondheim.
Photo: Lene K. Jonasson/Visitnorway.com

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Trondheim.
Photo: Lene K. Jonasson/Visitnorway.com

Halden – Oslo – Nidaros (Trondheim)

Halden, near the Swedish border in Eastern Norway, is the starting point of the pilgrim route, which takes you through Norway’s capital Oslo and along the old pilgrim route past the lake Mjøsa and the ruins of the Hamar cathedral, and northwards all the way to Trondheim, where you will find the Nidaros Cathedral, Norway’s national sanctuary.

8. Trollheimen

Oppdal
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Oppdal.
Photo: Mattias Fredriksson Photography AB - Visitnorway.com

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Oppdal.
Photo: Mattias Fredriksson Photography AB - Visitnorway.com

Oppdal – Molde

The Trollheimen route is one of the shortest of the national cycle routes and will take you from the small inland town of Oppdal through the valleys and mountains of Trollheimen – one of the most dramatic and picturesque areas in the country – to the city of Molde on the western coast.

9. The wilderness route

Østfold
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Østfold.
Photo: Terje Rakke/Nordic Life - Visitnorway.com

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Østfold.
Photo: Terje Rakke/Nordic Life - Visitnorway.com

Halden – Trondheim

While the beginning of the wilderness route is quite similar to the pilgrim route, it takes a more inland route through the wild forest of Eastern Norway via the towns of Elverum and Koppang in Hedmark, and through Røros and Selbu before arriving in Trondheim.

10. Norway from north to south

Geirangerfjord
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Geirangerfjord.
Photo: Mattias Fredriksson/visitnorway.com

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Geirangerfjord.
Photo: Mattias Fredriksson/visitnorway.com

North Cape – Lindesnes

This route is one of the longest of the ten national cycle routes, and will take you from the northernmost point of mainland Norway – The North Cape – to the southernmost point at Lindesnes.

Safety on two wheels

  1. Follow general traffic regulations and road signs.
  2. You may bike on the pavement, but adapt your speed.
  3. You may not bike on motorways and dual carriageways.
  4. Before you turn, indicate the direction by extending your hand.
  5. Always wear a helmet when biking. 
  6. A high visibility vest is a good idea, especially on busy roads.
  7. Only children under the age of 10 may be carried as passengers.
  8. Be aware that the weather changes quickly in the mountains. Always bring warm clothes and extra food and water.
Arendal
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Arendal.
Photo: Eirik Mykland

Credits
Arendal.
Photo: Eirik Mykland

Your bike must have

  • In darkness and poor visibility: white or yellow light in the front, and a red light in the back
  • A red reflector in the rear
  • White or yellow reflectors on the pedals
  • Two brakes that work independently of each other
  • A bicycle bell

More on cycle opportunities

Read more

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