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FAQ

Intro

Norway’s bikepacking/touring scene is in its emergent stages, lagging behind its European counterparts. Comprehensive information remains scarce, leaving even locals grappling with commonly posed queries. In an effort to bridge this knowledge gap, I have compiled answers to frequently asked questions for those embarking on a cycling holiday in Norway. This page will undergo periodic updates to address emerging queries. If you sense any omissions, please don’t hesitate to reach out via email.

Is Norway good for biking?

Norway has some of the most extreme and diverse terrain and landscapes anywhere in the world. With this comes a variety of climates and weather conditions. It’s certainly not the warmest or driest country to visit, but the average temperature is usually ideal for long-distance cycling. Both the Arctic and southern parts offer white sandy beaches along beautiful coastal roads, high mountain passes surrounded by glaciers, and deep and narrow valleys with majestic waterfalls and powerful rivers meandering to the hundreds of mythical fjords. The many quiet and remote areas away from the crowds and mass tourism seen in other areas of Europe will be a breath of fresh air. I call Norway the world’s biggest adventure playground for adults. If you are looking to re-engage with the natural world and challenge yourself, there are a few better cycling destinations. Bring a raincoat and warm clothes, study this site, and there is no reason why Norway won’t be one of the best cycling experiences of your life.

Rallarvegen is an 81km gravel road over a mountain plateau in central Norway. The road was built in 1902-04 and served as a maintenance road for the famous Bergensbanen train route. However, since the late 1970s, the road has been predominately used by recreational cyclists who want to experience stunning mountainous and valley terrain in a wild and remote area of the country. Most people either cycle it in 1 or 2 days, and you will find plenty of accommodation along with wild camping spots available in certain locations. The route starts in Haugastøl and ends in either Myrdal or the popular tourist village of Flåm. Train lines connect the start, middle and end points, making it easy to access from both Bergen & Oslo. 

Further information can be found here, and the full route here

Myrdalskleivane

Norway’s capital is one of the best places to cycle in urban surroundings. North of the city lies Nordmarka, a 400-square-kilometre forest full of pine and birch trees and hundreds of freshwater lakes. You will find hundreds of well-maintained, car-free gravel roads crisscrossing the forest, making it the perfect place to escape city life on two wheels. In addition, Oslo sits at the end of the 9th longest fjord in Norway. There are fantastic quiet country roads heading along the fjords and opportunities to cross over by ferry at several points. Few capital cities offer such great cycling opportunities. 

You can find plenty of road route options here and gravel here.

Norway has hundreds of well-managed and run campsites all over the country, which are usually open from May to September. The app Norcamp is a great way to see an overview of all camping sites in the area you are travelling through. If you’re after a roof over your head, you will find many budget-friendly cabins, motels, airbnbs and farmhouses nationwide. In popular tourist areas, upmarket and historic hotels will be readily available. You are never too far away from some form of accommodation, but booking in advance is advisable in peak season. A full overview of your options can be found here.

Thomas Rasmus Skaug

Norway is one of the best countries in Europe for wild camping. The right to roam, known as the right of access or allemannsretten, is an ancient tradition that has been formally protected since 1957 by the Outdoor Recreation Act. This right guarantees that individuals can enjoy nature freely, even in extensive privately owned areas. You can find all the rules and information about wild camping here

Norway is a long elongated country. In the summer It can be 30°C in Oslo and 5° C in the far north. Other times the Arctic can be warmer than the South – nothing is predictable and you should come prepared for all types of weather conditions. Nevertheless, what is certain is the Gulf Stream plays an important role in keeping temperatures up. Indeed, areas like Lofoten have the highest global average temperature for their latitude, making the Norwegian Arctic region one of the most accessible by bike. The warmest and driest area is on the southeast coast, which includes Oslo. The wettest area is the Bergen region, where half the days in a month can receive precipitation.

Norway’s famous archipelago has some of the most spectacular Arctic scenery anywhere on the planet. White sandy beaches, turquoise water, and jagged mountain peaks cover the islands, drawing over a million tourists annually. Each summer, hundreds of cyclists cycle the 195km Eurovelo 1 route across the main five islands with no major incidents. However, you should be aware that parts of the route are on the main E10 road, with no alternatives. Thus, you will, at times, have to share the road with campervans and other tourist traffic. Some cyclists find this stressful, while others are unconcerned.

During peak summer, we recommend timing your ride to avoid being on the main roads at the busiest times. The route is very flat and comfortable to ride, but strong winds can be an issue during unsettled days. The 2km sea tunnel (connecting two islands) is also an unpleasant experience when traffic is present. Nevertheless, if you do your research and are well prepared, you will probably find Lofoten one of the greatest places to cycle anywhere in the world. More information can be found here.

Dramatic Scenery of Lofoten Archipelago Road in Northern Regions of the Norway. Sunny Summer Day. 

Many motorbikes, campervans, tourist buses and rental cars drive up and down Trollstigen every day during the summer months. At times, it can be very stressful to cycle the road during peak hours. If you want to make the most of this epic road – plan the time of day you will cycle it. During the summer, you will have close to 24 hours of daylight. In July, I cycled the road at 7 am and found it completely empty. If you’re not a morning person, you will find that any time after 7 pm, most of the traffic will have disappeared. If you cycle it at 12 pm on a warm and sunny day, don’t complain when hundreds of vehicles join you! 

Trollstigen is the most popular and famous climb in Norway. It’s 11km from 100 to 838 m.a.s.l with an average gradient of 7.6%.

Two other famous climbs are:

  • Dalnibba (the highest fjord road in the world). It’s 21km from 0 – 1500 m.a.s.l with an average gradient of 6.9%.
  • Sognefjellet (highest mountain pass in Northern Europe). It’s 27.5km from 40 – 1428 m.a.s.l with an average gradient of 5.3% (first 15km has an average of over 8%).

Panoramic view of mountains landscape from the Dalsnibba Plateau viewpoint (1500m).

  • Jusvasshytta at a summit of 1841 m.a.s.l in the heart of Jotunheim, is the highest road you can cycle in Norway. It’s 13.5km from 578 – 1841 m.a.s.l with an average gradient of 9.4%
  • The highest gravel road is Blåhø. It’s 15km from 387 – 1605 m.a.s.l with an average gradient of 8.2%

If you’re considering cycling segments of the extensive coastal route leading to or from Nordkapp (Eurovelo 1), anticipate encountering fellow cyclists traveling in both directions. Along the famed roads lining the fjords and traversing high mountain passes on the western side of the country, you’ll share the path with others. However, on the eastern side, toward the Swedish border, encounters with fellow cyclists are infrequent.

Moreover, the majority of cyclists engaged in bikepacking or touring that you’ll encounter are likely to be foreigners. In Norway, this activity is currently less popular compared to skiing and hiking. Nonetheless, there is a noticeable growth in interest, and it’s foreseeable that more Norwegians will take to the open roads in the years ahead.

Supermarkets, Gas stations, and Convenience stores will be readily available throughout the country. If you can cycle over 75 km per day, you should never need to carry more than two days of food. Every small village will have somewhere to buy food but opening time can vary and planning ahead is wise in remote locations. Please note that most shops are closed on Sunday. For further information about food and drink options in Norway, please see here.

Most Norwegians under the age of 60 will speak a good level of English, especially in major cities and towns. Many young people are exposed to English at a young age through the internet and TV streaming services and will probably speak better English than most Americans and British!

In small rural towns and villages, you may find some locals feel insecure speaking English and in some cases won’t speak it. This is rare but can happen especially in non-touristy areas. 

The bottom line is that you should have no problems communicating in English as you travel around the country. Many Norwegians want to help foreigners enjoy their country, and even if you’re struggling to communicate with one person, the chances are another Norwegian will step in and help (or just ask). 

If you want to learn some basic Norwegian phases to show your appreciation please see here.

The top of Europe is easier than you can imagine to reach. The closest main airport is Alta, and from there, you can take two buses to the top. The closest small airport is Honningsvåg, which is 35km away. There are boats from Tromsø and Kirkenes to Honningvåg, and from there, it’s a scenic ride to the top. You can also take a bus from Honningvåg if you prefer. Full information about the ride to or from Nordkapp can be found here. Bike box travel info here.

Yes, unlike Sweden, Norway has a good policy for Bikes, although on long-distance trains, you need to book in advance using the Entur app. For full information about travelling with your bike on public transport see here.

Prepaid SIM cards in Norway are referred to as “kontantkort” (cash cards). To acquire one, you must visit a phone shop in any major city or town, where the seller is legally obligated to check your ID and register the number in your name. While Norwegians can complete this process online using their digital ID, foreigners are required to do it in person.

There are also now apps available to download that offer local prices for data roaming charges in the country you are traveling to. I personally have not used this service but one of the companies to check out are here.

Which Norwegian mobile company is best? Norway has two main network operators: Telenor & Telia. You also have many service operators, but they all lease tower access from either Telenor or Telia.

Telenor has had slightly better overall coverage, especially in the remote moutainous areas. But most likely you’ll be happy with either one and both they have stores all over Norway in towns and cities. 

Reception in the Mountains? In general, the coverage is pretty good all over the country. You will find 4G/5G available in many places and If you stick to popular routes you will rarely loose internet connection.  Nevertheless, some remote places (moutainous and forests) will have poor or no signal and I usually screenshot maps and info before heading out there. 

 

 

Many people ask if Norway is as bad as Scotland and I would say in general no. Yes, Norway does have midges (small flying insects) and mosquitoes, especially in certain regions and during late spring and early autumn. These insects are more common in areas with water bodies, such as lakes and rivers where they breed. The prevalence of these insects can vary depending on factors such as location, weather conditions, and altitude. 

It’s advisable to take precautions such as using insect repellent, wearing long sleeves and pants, and even a hair net in extreme environments. In most countries you will get bitten typically around dawn and dusk. However, due to the 24-hour daylight in the summer, mosquitoes tend to bite at any part of the day in Norway.

I have personally found that the coastal and open mountainous regions are less of a concern, and wearing repellent in the evening will keep most mosquitoes away. However, in the eastern or far northern parts where vast forests and freshwater lakes exist,  you should try not to stop cycling until you reach an open area or town. I once got nine bites in a forest when I stopped for a short break!

 

Norway is home to a relatively low number of dangerous animals compared to some other regions. However, there are a few potentially hazardous species, primarily in the wilderness areas. Here are some examples:

  1. Adders (Vipers): Norway has a venomous snake called the European adder or common viper (Vipera berus). While their bites are rarely fatal, they can cause discomfort and may require medical attention. The chance of encountering one is exceptionally rare. 

  2. Ticks: Ticks in Norway can carry diseases such as Lyme disease and tick-borne encephalitis. It’s essential to take precautions, like wearing protective clothing and using insect repellent, especially in wooded or grassy areas.

  3. Moose and Deer: While moose and deer themselves are not dangerous, collisions with them can be hazardous. Moose are known for running out in front of cars, and they have done the same for cyclists. They are large animals and can cause severe damage in a collision. On a bike, It’s usually easy to break and move away from a moose, but pay attention in forest areas where you may not see them until the last minute. If a car flashes its lights at you, it might be a warning of a moose by the side of the road. 

  4. Wolves and Bears: Norway has a small population of wolves and bears, particularly in the more remote areas. While encounters with these animals are rare, it’s crucial to be aware of their presence and take precautions in the wilderness.

  5. Marine Life: In coastal areas, there may be some risks associated with marine life, such as jellyfish and sea urchins. While these are more of a concern for swimmers and divers, they are generally not considered highly dangerous.

It’s important to note that the overall risk of encountering dangerous wildlife in Norway is relatively low. Common-sense precautions and awareness of your surroundings can help ensure a safe and enjoyable experience in the Norwegian wilderness. 

Yes, Norway is generally considered an expensive country to visit and live in. Several factors, such as high wages and standard of living, taxes, and strict regulations.

However, over the past few years, the Norwegian krona has lost over 25% of its value against major currencies such as the US Dollar, Euro, and the British Pound. Many Europeans and North Americans find prices in line or even cheaper than their own country for accommodation and other basic tourist requirements.  

The country’s excellent infrastructure, quality services, and the opportunity to experience stunning natural landscapes and cultural attractions make Norway one of the most appealing destinations. Just don’t drink too much alcohol, as that will burn a hole in your budget!

Camping gas, Fuel bottles and ‘Renset bensin‘ can be bought in most sports shops in any town or city. Brands usually sold are Primus Powerfuel & Coleman Fuel.

It is rare to find camping gas in gas stations, with the exception of popular tourist areas. 

Hardware stores will also stock gas, such as, Biltema & Jula, but these stores tend to be located out of city centre in large malls and retail parks, etc. 

Nationwide Store Locations:

Jula

Biltema (click ‘Velg varehus’)

XXL

Sport 1

Intersport

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