Norway without a doubt is a challenging country to cycle. If you’re planning a single day or perhaps a few short days there are of course areas of flat terrain and quiet roads to enjoy without too much effort. Nevertheless, if you want to bikepack or bike tour for several days, weeks or months you should have a reasonable level of fitness (above 5 out 10) to manage the terrain and distances required. For those that are unsure about their ability, we recommend using an E-bike or sticking to the Atlantic coastal routes as this is where the flattest roads are located. Other good flat routes are around lakes and some fjords.
For those wanting to know what to expect on a certain route, below you’ll find our criteria for grading. They include 5 main metrics:
A Word of Caution:
There is no science to grading routes and many factors can alter the difficulty including, the time of year you ride, whether you ride alone or in a group, the weather forecast, and the individual’s attitude, fitness, and abilities. Always do your own due diligence and research. It’s okay to stop, turn around, or give up on a route when the challenges go beyond your abilities or safety requirements. There is always another day. There is always another time.
For any route to be considered 1-2 out of 10, it will have to be considerably short such as a simple summer ride along part of Oslo Fjord. All bikepacking / touring routes traveling a long distance (over 150km) will start at a minimum of 3 out of 10.
Most of these types of routes will be around lakes, fjords, and coastline as well as some flattish valley rides. This will include some long bikepacking trips .
These routes will include short or low mountain passes, and some long uneven, and hilly gravel sections. Many of the bikepacking routes on this site will fit into this category. You should have some cycling / bikepacking / touring experience and comfortable cycling between 60-100km in a day.
Routes that are long, with mixed surfaces, and high mountain passes usually fit into this category. Most of the mountainous routes will fit this score. There will be plenty of physical suffering and a mixture of emotions from euphoria to feeling depleted, tired, and perhaps annoyed or frustrated.
Bikepacking routes never really go above 8 out of 10 as they are too long with too many different sections to classify it above 8. Therefore, this category is predominantly for short-distance focusing on the toughest climbs or gravel sections in Norway.