Even from behind windows and on four wheels, Norway is already jaw-dropping. But from two wheels, feeling the warm sunlight on your skin and rush of cool air? Unbelievable. Cycling across Norway is slowly catching on, and there are routes to be conquered and explored all across the country - read on for some of the best.

While you could cycle almost anywhere you please throughout Norway, there are certain areas that are notorious for accessible cycling paths, varied scenery, and fewer crowds. Keep in mind that you can add any of the below routes to your itinerary via private guided tour, or simply go at it on your own — whatever your preference, here's a breakdown of what's in store.


Cycling along the Rallarvegen
Cycling along the Rallarvegen

One of Norway's "finest bicycling roads" is also technically a historical monument. On Rallarvegen, you'll conquer steep ascents and fly past waterfalls (and mountain goats!), running parallel to the famous Flåm Railway and markers of its hand-built history. It's only 50 miles long (80 km), but those 50 sure do pack a punch.

The Rallarvegen starts at Finse, meanders along the outskirts of the Hardangervidda Plateau, peaks at Fagervatn (around 4,500 ft, or 1,400 m), and then makes its way back down to the fjord at Flåm. You'll want to cycle westward to avoid the tough 1,500-foot ascent around Taugevatn near the beginning (or end, if you choose to go against the grain). And though this direction makes the majority of your trek downhill, there's still a steep and winding drag near Mydral Station that'll keep you buzzed (21 hairpin turns!).

Keep in mind that this route is very popular — if you want to rent a bike during high season (which you can obtain from the Finse train station and return at Flåm), it's definitely recommended that you make a reservation. But do know that it's popular for a reason: The views, scenery, and landscape are incredible. If you're considering taking the Flåm Railway for the photo ops, consider this instead (or in addition).

Oppdal to Åndalsnes

Overlooking the Oppdal Valley
Overlooking the Oppdal Valley

East of Alesund and just north of Dovrefjell-Sunndalsfjella National Park lies Oppdal, the starting point of this amazing cycling route. From here, it'll take you around four days to get all the way out of the mountains and to the coast at Åndalsnes. In other words, this is a taste of both worlds—geographically speaking.

The route is around 150 miles (240km), tackles nearly 13,000 feet of elevation (4,000m), and most of the route is paved or gravel. You'll start high in national park territory, surrounded by waterfalls and wildlife, heading for the ascent down Eikesdalen by day two. Then it's a ride along the water to Øverås, finally reaching your stopping point at the Åndalsnes train station by day four. If you have time, spend the night — and recharge — in Åndalsnes (from here, you can take a train to Oppdal, Oslo, or Trondheim).

Tromsø and Beyond

Segla Mountain, Senja, Norway
Segla Mountain, Senja, Norway

With lighter crowds, Northern Norway can be a safer bet for cycling, especially in the high season. If you're staying in or near the Tromsø area, you have options. 

The first is cycling from the city to Kaldfjord. Days one and two take you to Svensby and the Nordlenangen lighthouse. Then it's off to Furuflaten — a village along the Lyngenfjord — where you should also consider trading your two wheels for your two feet. A quick jaunt parallel to the water gets you to the Steindalsbreen glacier, which you can access via a three-mile hike. You'll finish up in the small village of Kaldfjord (which sits on the unsurprising Kaldfjorden). You'll need to get picked up here, as the route back to Tromsø is via a tunnel (more on tunnel restrictions later).

The second option is cycling from Tromsø to Senja, the country's second-largest island. From the city, you'll pedal 35 miles (56km) to Sommarøy, right on the edge of Norway's coast (yep, you can get off your bike and go for a swim). A quick ferry ride later, you're in Mefjordvær, traveling along the Ersfjorden and Steinsfjord. You'll then roll down the "Senja Troll," head back to the mountains and wind up at the finishing line in Finnsnes. Rest assured that the entire trek is full of mountains, fjords, beaches, and water, water everywhere.

Tip: If your appetite for adventure hasn't been sated from here, continue onto the island of Andøya (you'll get a break on the ferry). From there, you can pedal to Svolvær and take Hurtigruten (the coastal steamer) back through the famous Troll Fjord.

The Lofoten Islands

Aerial over Reine, Lofoten Islands
Aerial over Reine, Lofoten Islands

You can start in Svolvaer, too — the route from the island town to Å (another island town) is becoming quite highly regarded. You'll make your way through Lofoten's most famous villages and landscapes, like Reine (if you've seen an aerial photo, it's probably from here) and Henningsvær, the "Venice" of Lofoten. History and things to do come in spades on this trek as well: Your path takes you past Stone Age settlements, the ruins of old boathouses, and even to a handful of impressive art galleries and golf courses.

The time to do this trek (and any in Northern Norway) is definitely in summer — otherwise, you'll be betting against Mother Nature with every step.

Things to Know

Cycling through a country like Norway takes a little know-how and preparation. By no means do you need to be an expert, but you should definitely go prepared.

For starters, summer is always going to be easiest, regardless of where you are. You'll have better weather, and up north you'll have long, long biking hours — thank you, midnight sun! Just keep in mind that the more touristy areas will have crowds — and more cars. The more northern parts of the country typically see fewer visitors, but that is also slowly changing.

If you're tackling a longer trip that requires overnights, know that the country is littered with public-access cabins. You can plot out your course and research them online — check out the Norwegian Trekking Association for more information. Otherwise, Norway has the remarkable law known as allemansretten, or the freedom to roam. As long as you're minding your own business and not leaving your mark, you're welcome to set up your tent just about anywhere.

If you're opting for a self-guided tour, know that technically cyclists aren't allowed in the tunnels. You may find locals occasionally navigating the short, less-trafficked ones, but that's about it. And it's for good reason: The tunnels can be long, and they can be dark. Keep this in mind when plotting out any route. You may also want to consider side roads — even main roads can be quite narrow, and adding a bicycle into the mix of cars can be unnecessarily stressful.

That being said, going with a guide is a good idea — they'll take care of the itinerary, your accommodation, food, and all the gear you could possibly need. And if you still don't quite know which option is best for you, just know that no matter how you do it you'll have a fantastic time.