The South

Coastal tales and diverse trails 

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Norway's Riviera

Down in the South, Norway takes on a whole new vibe. Along the Skagerak coast, summer has its headquarters! The coastal towns really come to life when the sun’s out. Come July, it’s like everyone in Norway flocks here to soak up some serious ‘riviera’ vibes.


For us cyclists, it’s a welcome change from the chillier areas further north. Nights are pleasant, and the sea’s just begging for a dip in July and August.


Sure, Southern Norway might not have the jaw-dropping scenery you find up further north, but the coastline, peppered with islands and peninsulas, is a dream to pedal along. And if you veer a bit inland, you’ll find yourself amidst vast, quiet forests in Telemark and Agder—perfect if you’re craving some solitude.


Back on the coast, towns like Kragerø, Risør, Tvedestrand, Arendal, Lillesand, and Kristiansand are all gems worth checking out. They’re where you can really dive into Norwegian culture at its best.


So, if you’re after the real deal Norwegian experience, don’t skip out on exploring the southern coast.

Matthew Tolley
Founder of Cycle Norway, April 2023

Need to know here


As I mentioned earlier, the southern coast boasts some of Norway’s warmest and sunniest spots. We’re talking temperatures soaring over 25 degrees Celsius on sunny days, especially as you head inland toward Setesdal, Hallingdal, and Telemark. Along the coast, a gentle breeze makes cycling a joy on those toasty days.

But once you cross the end of the Scandinavian mountain range, things start to shift. You’ll notice the climate change, with lower average temperatures, more rainfall, and cloudier skies in the southwestern part. Stavanger has a climate similar to Bergen’s (wet), while Kristiansand’s is more similar to Oslo’s (drier and sunnier). 

Public transport

Although a large portion of the population lives or travels to this region, public transport is limited for cyclists following the main cycle routes. The main train line Oslo—Stavanger heads inland and away from the coast. None of the coastal towns, with the exception of Kristiansand (Arendal with connection), has a train station. You will need to detour 30+ km away from the main coastal routes to reach a station.


In addition, unlike the West Coast, there are no express ferries or coastal liners connecting the towns, making it difficult to skip sections with your bike. Your best option is local buses that connect the towns and will allow a bike on board. The long-distance buses (e.g., Oslo—Stavanger) do not allow bikes on board. 

Local knowledge

If you’re new to bikepacking or touring the southeast is the perfect place to begin with its favourable climate, quiet roads, flat terrain, limited tunnels, and easy access to accommodation and food. The beautiful towns you’ll pass will be perfect for rest days and time off the bike. 


Once you have built confidence on the bike, it’s easy to head North through the quiet forests towards the central highlands, where the adventure really begins!


Stavanger Day rides

Ride a diverse amount of terrain, from flat rolling coastal roads to a 27-switchback mountain epic. 

Essential Footware

If you’re gearing up to explore the quaint towns scattered along the South coast, don’t overlook your footwear choice. Flip flops might seem comfy at first, but they won’t hold up after a few kilometers of walking. On the other hand, packing bulky trainers or sneakers can be a hassle. That’s where Restrap’s Quoc x sandals come in handy. They’re versatile enough for strolling through town or hiking into the wild, and the best part? They conveniently attach to the outside of your saddle bag.


Picture Perfect Towns

Read up more about the most popular towns to visit on the south coast. All have their own unique charm, and there will be festivals and happenings throughout the summer. In August, the Risør wooden boat festival draws in big crowds each year. 


Risør Wooden Boat Festival –


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