- Learn about Risør's history of wooden boat building
- Take ferry rides to preserved islands near the coast
- Check out summer events at Arendal's Pollen Harbor
- Kayak between islands near Lyngørporten
- Photograph Southern Norway's stunning flora and fauna
A hidden gem for visitors, Norway's southernmost part — with charming harbor towns dotted along the coastline — has been a summer holiday destination for Scandinavians for the past century. This exhilarating and moderate bike ride travels along the coast visiting ports known for fishing and shipbuilding like Risør, Lyngørporten, Tvedestrand, Arendal, Grimstad, and Lillesand, as well as nearby islands which are spread like a string of pearls along the coastline. With their narrow streets, white wooden houses, bustling market squares, and harbors, these towns are popular with visitors during summer months creating a fun vibe.
Start in Oslo and travel by train to Gjerstad where you'll pick up your bike. Make your way (with luggage in tow) to the town of Risør and continue the journey. At the end of the trip, you'll connect to the train in Kristiansand and return to Oslo for your flight home.
|Day 1||Arrive in Oslo - Train to Gjerstad - Bike to Risør||Risør|
|Day 2||Bike to Lyngørporten||Lyngørporten|
|Day 3||Bike to Arendal||Arendal|
|Day 4||Bike to Lillesand||Lillesand|
|Day 5||Bus to Kristiansand - Train to Oslo|
Day 1: Arrive in Oslo - Train to Gjerstad - Bike to Risør
Welcome to Oslo! Norway's rapidly growing capital is still considered a small city, helped by the fact that it's surrounded by mountains and sea. If you have time before your train departure, wander around the Havnepromenaden (harbor promenade) — a new five-and-a-half-mile waterfront park, which combines sightseeing, history, art, and architecture.
From here, you'll take a three-hour train ride to the village of Gjerstad. Then it's time to start your biking journey: a three-hour ride the coastal town of Risør. This coastal town is a heritage preserved wooden town that offers cultural festivals, a large archipelago, and a long history of wooden boat building. Enjoy the views of the beautiful old white wooden houses on the waterfront.
Cycling Distance: 26.1 miles (42.5 km)
Day 2: Bike to Lyngørporten
After breakfast at your hotel in Risør, you will bike through the woods headed for the seaside town of Lyngørporten. For a fun afternoon excursion, there's a five-minute ferry to the community of Lyngør just across the harbor. This car-free island is often considered one of the best-preserved villages in Europe. Give your bike a break and stroll the charming narrow streets and pathways leading to polished rocks for sunbathing and swimming. You can also rent a kayak and paddle between neighboring islands.
For dining options, the Lyngør offers a tavern with outdoor seating and a seafood bar and restaurant at the ferry landing called Pers Brygge. There is also grocery store for picnic items and concerts during summer months.
Cycling Distance: 13 miles (20.9 km)
Day 3: Bike to Arendal
Wake up with breakfast at your hotel in Lyngørporten, and then embark on the journey that runs along the sea's edge passing through small towns of Tvedestrand, Kilsund, and Narestø to get to Arendal.
Once known as the Venice of Scandinavia, Arendal used to have a series of canals until they were turned into wide streets following a devastating fire. Nowadays, the town still oozes with historic charm, and the best place to start is in the village center where you can visit Tyholmen for its beautifully preserved 18th-century wooden houses. Many artists and craftspeople have migrated here from Oslo, taking over the wood-framed structures and restoring them to their original glory.
During summer months, the town is infiltrated with domestic holidaymakers giving it a fun and lively vibe, especially around the harbor (called Pollen) with boats bobbing in the water, outdoor restaurants and bars, as well as a stocked calendar of festivals and open-air concerts by the water (most weekends).
Cycle Distance: 29.5 miles (47 km)
Day 4: Bike to Lillesand
After a good night's sleep and breakfast in Arendal, the bike trip continues to Fevik where you can stop for snacks and refreshments. Continue riding to Grimstad — a town with old-fashioned boats, cute boutique stores, and charming alleyways.
Bike through a pretty forest towards Lillesand where you'll spend your last night in Norway.
Cycle Distance: 8.3 miles (40.2 km)
Day 5: Bus to Kristiansand - Train to Oslo
It's time to say goodbye to Norway! After breakfast in Lillesand, you'll take the local bus to Kristiansand and then catch a train to Oslo for your departure flight home.