The North

Venture into the land of the midnight sun

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The final frontier of cycling

You start noticing on the plane: this incredible view of jagged mountains plunging into the fjord. Endless roads weaving their way into a fishing village stuck in the 1800s. The entire scene glowing from a sun that stays up, even at midnight. What kind of place is this?

 

For cyclists, it’s a capital B of bucket list destinations. From the stunning beauty of Lofoten & Vesterålen to the scenic Helgelandskysten coast. Among the unique peaks of Senja island or during post-ride croissants in the city of Tromsø. A nature show like nothing else, and if you’re on two wheels – you get to experience it front row.

 

If you’re truly adventurous, go for the never-ending plateaus of Finnmark, leading to the very edge of Europe: the North Cape.

 

There is a price to pay however. A price paid in pedal strokes over vast distances. Hours in solitude. Preparations for unpredictable weather, and for most of you: a long journey to get there. But if this sounds like your kind of challenge, you’re in for an unforgettable ride.

Gjermund Rein Gustavsen
Avid cyclist from the coast of Finnmark

Need to know here

Weather

Brønnøysund – Lofoten – Tromsø: Along the coastline and islands tracing the main cycling route, the Gulf Stream works its magic, often blessing you with surprisingly warm days – a rare treat this far north. But be prepared: While temperatures generally remain above average for this latitude, periodic waves of low pressure from the North Atlantic can usher in bouts of rain, mist, and challenging conditions. Temperatures can plummet, catching you off guard. So don’t count on Mediterranean weather cycling to the Arctic, but when those days arrive, it feels like paradise!

 

Finnmark (The Far North): Here, you’re literally at the edge of the known world. If the weather takes a turn, you’ll need to be well-equipped with the right gear. I’ve found myself unprepared, lacking proper gloves, and losing feeling in my hands while crossing a mountain pass. Cycling in Finnmark is for seasoned adventurers seeking the wild, remote, and unconventional. The Arctic tundra stretches out before you, with fragile vegetation and, on occasion, relentless winds providing little respite along lengthy stretches. Temperatures can fluctuate wildly, and during heavy rain, seek shelter until it subsides. But if you happen upon a high-pressure system bringing calm and settled weather, you’re in for an unforgettable ride unlike any other.

Public transport

The north, like the rest of Norway, has plenty of transport options to reach or escape every start or endpoint, and it’s easy to take your bike onboard. Full information about each option can be found on each detail route page.

  • Trains: There is a train line between Trondheim and Bodø but it follows close to the E6 main road which is further to the east of the cycling route. You would probably require a 50km detour to reach a train station.
  • Car Ferries: From Trondheim to Bodø there are 9 ferries to catch, three more to reach the islands of Lofoten, Senja & Kvaløya, and two more to cross the fjords around the Lyngen Alps.
  • Coastal Liner: Hurtigruten & Havila have daily departures from many ports along the coast
  • Express Passenger Ferries: There are many boats connecting villages and towns along the west coast.
  • Buses: There are local buses connecting towns and villages all over the North. You can plan and book using local transportation apps.

Local knowledge

The cycling window is brief in these parts, with summer kicking off in mid-June and winding down by mid-August. While Lofoten steals the spotlight as a top cycling destination, there’s no shortage of serene routes off the beaten path, away from the tourist hustle. Places like Vesterålen and Kvaløya boast stunning scenery with minimal traffic. And up in Finnmark, the Vanranger and Nordkapp peninsulas beckon to be cycled with some of Norway’s finest and most picturesque roads. My advice don’t just cycle Lofoten there is so much more to the Norwegian Arctic.

Gallery

Tromsø Day rides

If you’re flying in to Tromsø, be sure to check out the day routes starting from the “capital” of the north.

Type of Bike?

Much of the North is paved and reasonably flat compared with southern Norway. If you want to cover long-distance with a good average speed and comfort, consider an All-Road bike. 

 

Lights!

You might think 24-hour daylight means you can forget about bringing lights. Hold up! There are many long and, on occasions, poorly lit tunnels. Good quality lights are essential for cycling the North! 

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