Skip between beautiful islands, get sprayed by the ocean waves, climb snow-tipped peaks, watch the Northern Lights and experience the magic of the midnight sun. All in one trip.
To ride the 5,024km through Norway and Sweden, up Norway’s incredible coastline and crossing the Atlantic Ocean Road between the Lofoten Islands is to be surprised at every turn.
A case in point is the road from Kristiansand, a small city founded on shipbuilding and perched on the E39 to Stavanger. It’s a scenic road that would be a the stunning highlight of any other trip. But not here. Despite following the shores of wide fjords and tunnelling through cliff, this sort of beauty and grandeur is only going to get more spectacular as you ride further north into Norway.
The tiny road to Preikestolen, or Pulpit Rock, proves the point. A huge slab of granite towering 603 metres above the Lysefjord – and a two-hour walk from the car park – it’s a breathtakingly stunning spot to camp. If you’re up early enough, you’ll be treated to an incomparable sunrise.
Back on the E39 and moving north to the pastel hues of Bergen you quickly settle into a rhythm of ferries and island hopping.
A ferry to Lavik and a ride inland on Route 5 takes you past one of Norway’s great glaciers, the Jostedalsbreen, passing alongside epic fjords on Route 53 and up into the mountains on the Tindevegen toll road. Snow is still an issue even in spring, so time your visit carefully and pack well as it’s cold up there. Sunshine can turn to snow blizzards quickly, even in summer, so always have a plan B.
The Sognefjellet Road, with its mountain views, takes us north-east to Fossbergom, before we head west to the famous Geiranger Fjord. The jaw-dropping Dalsnibba mountain viewpoint – trust us when we say the 130 krone (€13.50) toll charge is worth it – is unforgettable as the landscape simply falls away from you, with the road continuing down to the left and the Geiranger valley, surrounded by an army of snowy peaks.
Norway’s magnificence doesn’t end there. Next up are the famous switchbacks of the Trollstigen Pass.
Ålesund – Fauske
The peninsulas and islands north of Ålesund turn into small, single carriageway roads where human interaction is sparse and the landscape takes on a unique character of its own. A random lighthouse or village simply adds to the sense that Norway’s nature will always be too big for mere mortals to conquer. We do what any self-respecting Triumph rider would do and head deeper into the mystery, further north where Norway becomes slimmer as the Norwegian Sea crushes the land against Sweden’s border.
The Atlantic Road brings us Trøndelag, the name of this region and one of Norway’s most famous stretches of tarmac… beautiful on a calm summer’s day but dangerous in wind and rain. Expect to be sprayed liberally by the waves crashing against the many bridge supports, but enjoy your recovery with a stay at Haholmen Havstuer, a hotel on its own tiny island, accessible only by boat from the mainland.
Further into Trøndelag, the serene curves of Route 680 to Kyrksæterøra are 90km of soothing motorcycle therapy, so sit back and enjoy the experience. If you’re on a Tiger or fancy an adventure try the Fv301 for a more adventurous and questionably surfaced route.
Trondheim, the last bastion of city life before Tromso, is next. Way up in the Arctic Circle where the roads become small, single-track affairs alongside a coastline almost totally devoid of human habitation, the 57km Route 715 is especially lonely. Route 76 takes you from Bronnoysund to arguably the best stretches of the E6 and the road to Fauske.
The Lofoten Islands
Take the Bodo to Moskenes ferry to reach some of the most stunning islands in the world. Bathed in warm air by the Gulf Stream, Lofoten is an area of relative warmth, where the midnight sun will keep you up between May and July and the Northern Lights might just make a cameo appearance between September and April.
Loop back to Fauske
The northernmost point of the road trip on the island of Andoya is around 300km inside the Arctic Circle. Route 976 is a surreal experience, leading you towards what feels like the end of the world, with Andoya’s jagged mountain ranges jutting out of the flat landscape like a mouthful of carnivorous teeth.
We turn back south, retrace our steps and take the ferry at Lodingen before stopping off at the Tranoy open air gallery, where the perfect unbroken silence is an antidote to the hustle and bustle of modern life.
Back to Oslo, capital of Norway
The final leg of the journey and a return through the forests of Sweden is mesmerising in the opposite direction with views we missed first time and fresh riding challenges. First though, we revisit sections of the E6. Riding like this brings a completely different road experience, showing you views and challenging you in a different order to before. We cut into Sweden at Mo i Rana on the E12 and relax into a new way of riding. Gentle corners and wide lines ensure the bars turn through thousands of acres of pine forest.
We sneak back into Norway on a few unpaved roads, like the border-crossing 84/31, off the beaten track and a little like travelling back in time. Take the gravel one step further – this time into Rondane National Park on the Grimsdalen.
From here, a final blast of pace takes us south to Oslo, with its buzzing city centre and opera house… journey’s end and a warm bed.
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