Sognefjellsveien

National Cycle Route 6
This epic across Norway is the perfect route if you want to see as much contrast in scenery in the shortest space of time. Deep valleys, powerful glaciers, Nordic forests, and one of Norway’s best fjords are on show.

When

May - September

Written by

Matthew Tolley

Distance

746km

Days

5-11

High point

1428m

Difficulty

8/10

Unpaved

<10%

Total Ascent

10395m

Ferries

2

Tunnels

25+

Norway's Grand Tour

This is not just a route but a grand tour of Norway where every type of terrain and nature is on offer. You’ll witness some of the most diverse landscapes anywhere on the planet. Mythical gravel roads through Nordic pine forests, turn into mountainous highlands surrounded by glaciers at the top of northern Europe. 

 

The icy world then turns into lush green valleys as you drop over 1400m down to the world’s second-longest fjord. The majestic waterfalls plunging off the mountains around you are a treat for your eyes. After some comfortable riding around the fjord the only way out is to climb again before you finally roll into Norway’s second city, Bergen, and perhaps its most beautiful. Celebrate your epic journey with some local fresh seafood at Bergen’s iconic harbour. It will be hard to find another 750km that offers so much in such a short space of time. 

Map

Emerald Green Fjords

The Unesco World Heritage town of Røros is where this adventure begins. The old copper mining town is a good place to stock up. The remote gravel roads start pretty soon after leaving the town. The vast eastern forests which completely surround this area feel very remote and wild. Expect to see moose, birds of prey, foxes, and possibly reindeer along the way.

 

After about 100km you’ll get to see your first impressions of the great Rondane mountain range. It’s a wonderful feeling cycling through this area on the scenic route Rondane. The descent down towards Otta is fast and furious as you drop 800m in a very short period of time. After quiet paved and gravel roads toward Lom, the next mountain pass begins. 

 

Sognefjellet is Norway’s most famous mountain pass road, and in calm conditions, it’s as good as any road on the planet. Glaciers will surround you as you climb up to 1428m above sea level. The descent is another fast and accelerating drop down to Sognefjorden, where you’ll find the fjord looking emerald green due to glacier meltwater. After a beautiful ride along its shore and two ferry journeys, you’ll reach another tough mountain pass. The climb up is hard and expect cold conditions on top. After riding the plateau, you’ll descend down into a beautiful valley. Expect to see sheep sitting on the road and holding up the traffic as you head to Voss.

 

Gallery

From Voss, you have 10km on the uncomfortable E16 before turning off for the final mountain experience of the trip. The road is quiet and the views are lovely through a back road around the mountains. From Stanghelle you will be required to jump on a local train to bypass some long tunnels unrideable on a bicycle. You can get off at Trengereid and continue the journey on quiet roads to Bergen.

Grimsdalen Shortcut

To shorten the journey, you could skip Rondane Scenic Route and head over the spectacular gravel section across Grimsdalen Valley. Unfortunately there is a small section on the E6 road (traffic guaranteed) to reach back onto the main route.

Voss to Bergen - Alternative

To skip the train journey through the impassable tunnels, you could from Voss head to Hardanger fjord and follow part of Cycle Route 3 to Bergen. Overall, It's longer, but the views around Hardanger are very special.

Scenic Route Sognefjellet

Halfway along the route, you will hit Sognefjellet, one of the truly great roads to cycle over. It is eighty kilometres over the highest mountain pass in Northern Europe. Plenty of accommodation and some food options are available.

Scenic Route Rondane

After 170 km, you will hit this road. It is tucked away in the quieter eastern part of the country. It is a magnificent road winding around a wild and beautiful National Park called Rondane.

Highlights

Must know

  • Getting Here and Away: There are direct trains from Trondheim to Røros. From Oslo, you must change at Hamar to reach Røros. Bergen is easily reached by train from Oslo or an express boat from Stavanger.
  • When to go: May to September is the time to ride this road. Expect it to be cold over the three major mountain passes (Rondane, Sognefjellet, Vikafjells), especially during the colder months of May and September. In May it’s possible to find some snow on the gravel tracks on the east part of the route.
  • Food & Supplies: you shouldn’t need to carry more than 1 or 2 days’ worth of food with you at any one time. There are some areas that will have limited facilities. These include the three mountain passes and Eksingedalen. Overall, if you plan accordingly you should be able to keep the weight down while carrying enough to fuel the climbing. Note some shops in remote areas will have early closing times.
  • Water: It should be very easy to find water along the route. Churches, gas stations, supermarkets, public toilets, etc, are scattered all along the route. You’ll also have fast-flowing streams in the remote areas to keep you topped up.
  • Bike Type: We would recommend a gravel, touring, or MTB bike with a tire size of 32-40mm for the eastern gravel sections. It’s possible with  28-30mm but less comfortable. With plenty of climbing, you should have enough gears. I used an 11-36 cassette.
  • Many businesses are closed on Sunday: stock up on food on Saturday evening and check closing times.
  • Public Toilets: There are public toilets on the two scenic roads (Rondane and Sognefjellet). The ferry ports will have a free public toilet and expect to find some in small communities along the route.

Accommodation

  • Wildcamping: There are many places to wild camp on this route. If you plan to camp in the mountains, expect cold temperatures at night, and in the eastern forests, expect many mosquitoes during peak summer. It’s always hard camping by Sognfjorden due to the many farms and private land. On the scenic routes look out for prohibited signs and try to be out of sight of the road.
  • Campsites & Cabin: On the Norcamp app you will find many campsites scattered along this route and thus you should expect to find one every 50km or less. The exception is Sognfjellet where you have a long mountain pass to cross with no campsites. There are, however, mountain cabins to stay at. Furthermore, there are no campsites in Eksingedalen but wild camping is very accessible.
  • Hotels and Hostels: Most small towns will have accommodation options and in the larger towns of Røros, Otta, Lom, Sogndal, Voss & Bergen you will have plenty of options. If you can cycle around 50km in a day It is possible to do this route with roof-only accommodation. The mountain cabin at the top of Sognefjellet is especially nice to stay at.
  • Airbnb: There are options along this route, especially in the larger towns.
  • Historic Hotels: In the regions of Røros, Lom, and around Sognefjorden, there are some traditional hotels dating back centuries. Check out Norway’s oldest hotel Walaker Hotell (1640), Roisheim (1858), and Elveseter Hotell (1870)

Video

Transport

There are 2 Car Ferries on the route (both free):

Other Options:

  • Local express passenger ferry: You can cut the journey short at Sogndal and jump on the ferry to Bergen.
  • Trains: There are no trains along most of this route. You will find train stations at Røros, and the section from Voss to Bergen has several stops.

IMPORTANT: At Stanghelle, you will need to jump on a train (R40) to Trengereid to bypass a series of tunnels that are prohibited to cycle. It takes 19 mins and costs around 115kr including your bike. The R40 runs every 1 to 2 hours and it is usually easy to get your bike onboard (best to book in advance but usually not essential).

Safety

Tunnels

I have counted 26 tunnels in total on this journey (and 3 more you skip using the train). There are none on the east side of the country. Most are found along Sognefjorden and the valleys close to Bergen.

Ones to be cautious of:

  • 3 tunnels on Lustrafjorden road the longest being 900m. They are all pitch black with no lights, Traffic is very low but you need a good front light with at least 1000 lumens.
  • Close to Sogndal, Årøytunnelen is around 500m and narrow and old. Use the old road around it.
  • The 3 unpassable long tunnels on road 13 along Sognfjorden you can follow the side roads around which are lovely to take!
  • Road 13 mountain pass, Storehaugtunnelen – 1000m but very little traffic and easy to cycle through.
  • There are 15 tunnels on road 569 (Eksingedalen). Most are really short but there are a couple of long ones (700m) which have only a single road and no or poor lighting. Traffic is very low but good lights are essential.
  • Between the towns of Stanghelle (north) and Trengereid (south), you have 13 tunnels. Many are unpassable for cyclists. A train is the only option (see transport tab).

Busy Roads

Road 27 Rondane: This is a scenic route and will have tourist traffic during the summer months. The road is wide and traffic usually travels slow enough.

Road 55 Sognefjellet: Another scenic road with tourist traffic. It can be difficult to be seen in bad weather with poor visibility. Lights and a reflective jacket are important for safety.

Road 13: This is a main road but in an area with a low population. Expect some traffic around the towns and especially close to Voss. Once again visibility is important on this road.

E16: One of my least favorite roads in Norway to cycle. Unfortunately, you have a 10km section to cycle after Voss heading to Bergen. It’s usually not that busy in this area but at the wrong time of day, it can be an unpleasant experience with cars traveling at speed. Try and ride it early morning or late evening and be visible with lights flashing. It’s a wide good surface road and safe enough to cycle if visible.

The Weather:

Crossing the country will give you first-hand experience of the variations in climate and weather patterns here in Norway. It may be warm and sunny leaving Røros and raining by the time you reach the mountains. It might be warm and sunny again as you reach the inner fjord and back to rain as you enter Bergen. Expect four seasons and note weather forecasts can be tricky to predict over the mountains. It might say dry and calm, only to find it stormy on top. You should be prepared for cold and possibly wet weather over the mountain passes and highlands. Water/windproof gear is essential if the weather is unsettled. Gloves should also be in your bag even in peak summer.

Accomodation

Finnmark too has a certain mystique. Being about the same distance from Oslo as Istanbul, in some ways, it’s basically the last stop before the North Pole. The undoubted highlight of the journey is simply cycling the wild expanse of Europe’s last great wilderness. It will feel very lonely up here but isn’t that a reason to cycle it? The cycling heat maps of the world are full of well-ridden roads. Here you will join a small group of cyclists seeking something extraordinary. Passing wild herds of reindeer and perhaps not seeing another human for many hours is why you came – right? The ride comes to an end in the town of Kirkenes which has Russian road signs. This will indicate you have reached the boundaries of the Western world!

Transport

Finnmark too has a certain mystique. Being about the same distance from Oslo as Istanbul, in some ways, it’s basically the last stop before the North Pole. The undoubted highlight of the journey is simply cycling the wild expanse of Europe’s last great wilderness. It will feel very lonely up here but isn’t that a reason to cycle it? The cycling heat maps of the world are full of well-ridden roads. Here you will join a small group of cyclists seeking something extraordinary. Passing wild herds of reindeer and perhaps not seeing another human for many hours is why you came – right? The ride comes to an end in the town of Kirkenes which has Russian road signs. This will indicate you have reached the boundaries of the Western world!

Terms of use

Keep in mind

All cycling routes published on CYCLENORWAY.com are simply a planning resource to be used as a point of inspiration in conjunction with your own due-diligence. All route guidelines were prepared under diligent research. However, we can never for certain insure the complete accuracy of the routes. Cycling in Norway is in general very safe. Nevertheless, should you choose to cycle this route you do so at your own risk.



Check weather conditions

We advise that you check weather conditions along the route and look out for land/road closures. 

Check out this helpful video to see how the routes can be uploaded onto your mobile device and cycling computer.

Cycling long distance is tough, and you should not attempt routes that are beyond your level. 

Follow all rules and regulations when wild camping. 

If you discover any inaccuracies on this page, please let us know so we can correct them.

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