Here you'll find general information on cycling and camping in Norway.
Tip: have a look at the website of Visit Norway.
Is Norway even a cycle country?
Yes and no... Outside the residential area, there is very little cycling being done, and you discover the reason very quickly: there is no flat road. Within towns and cities, there often are cycle lanes or cycle paths, but once outside the residential area they stop at the final bus stop. After that, you need to go onto the main road.
Despite the fact that Norwegians tend to cycle very little, one could call Norway bicycle friendly. The maximum speed for motorized traffic is a good deal lower than in the Netherlands or Germany. Motorists are careful while taking over and tend to wait until they can take a cyclist over, over an adjacent lane completely. So you don't need to be surprised when you see a traffic jam forming behind you, while you feel they can take you over just fine. You also can get right of way often whether you have it or not.
Because Norway is not an easy country to cycle through, because of the many differences in elevation, it is a real car country. The e-bike is also up and coming. It wouldn't surprise me if the facilities for these will improve over time, because of its success.
In larger cities, bicycle repair shops are easy to find, but outside the cities, they become rare, or totally absent. Luckily, there are many outdoor shops that sell bicycle parts. Some even have a workshop for skis and bicycles. Having said that: Norway is a wonderful country to cycle through. And however heavy it is to cycle, you'll be royally rewarded with wonderful vistas.
Pilgrim routes in Norway are set out for hikers. Some parts are rather very well to cycle over, but there are parts that are impossible to do, because of hedges, bridges or stairs. There are parts that are so narrow that they conflict with the hikers or where the nature is very vulnerable. Do you want to cycle a pilgrim route? Then have a look on pilegrimsleden.no, search the route you want to take and send an e-mail to the pilgrim centre of that route. They can tell you if the route is suitable to cycle or not.
There are four pilgrims routes adapted for cyclists.
St. Olav's way. A Dutch guide (Het Olavspad) was published in 2021. In 2024 an English translation will be published.
St. Olavsleden. In 2024 a Dutch guide will be published. English information can be found here: St. Olavsleden. This pilgrim route is the only one that is currently signposted for cyclists.
Norway is a paradise for who love to camp out in the wild and is as like else where in Scandinavia relative safe. As a woman travelling alone, I regularly pitched my tent somewhere in the middle of nowhere or slept in a gapahuk. A gapahuk or 'shelter' is a wooden cabin of sorts where you can sleep with your own sleeping bag. Some are even large enough to put up a tent in. A convenient way to keep out mosquitos, or to keep you warm and dry during bad weather.
Two useful sites
Maybe a bit redundant: always respect nature and leave only your footsteps and take rubbish with you.
Depending on where you come from, Norway is an expensive country. It is among the top three of the most expensive countries in Europe. Especially fresh produce is more expensive.
Do you have a limited budget? With some creativity, Norway is still affordable.
- if you brought your tent, you could opt for camping in the wild as much as possible (see Camping in the wild)
- If you don't have a tent, you could opt for camping huts on various campsites. You can then use the facilities of the campsite. You do need at least a sleeping bag. Pilgrim accommodations are often cheaper than average normal accommodations (see also Cycling on a small budget);
- When using the ATM, you're often offered the choice to pay in your home currency or NOK (Norwegian Kroner). The choice for your own currency might seem more logical, but the exchange won't always be the one favourable for you. There is a good chance that choosing the local currency (NOK) is generally cheaper. Please check with your bank or fellow travellers from your home country;
- Cheap supermarkets are REMA 1000, Rimi and Kiwi. The more expensive supermarkets are Meny, Spar and Joker;
- want to drink coffee or tea on the road cheaply? If you don't mind the surroundings, a gas station might be an option. Not the best place, but you'll often find benches outside and the coffee or tea (and maybe something on the side) are cheaper than in a restaurant, café or on a terrace.
There are gas stations that are a great place for a break. Unless you're scared of trolls... This is at Sjoa
People often associate summers in Scandinavia with swarms of mosquitos, and there are areas where mosquitos run the show for a number of weeks every year. In southern Norway, chances of running into mosquitos are similar to the Netherlands and Belgium. But the further up north you get, the larger the chances are you'll encounter mosquitos. Near lakes, puddles or swamps (still water), in forests and around dusk, they can get very troublesome sometimes. A powerful mosquito repellent is a necessary part of your gear.
You will need to be aware of ticks. In the south, the region where the Kristians route goes through, are ticks that cause the Lyme disease or Tick-borne encephalitis (TBE). Check yourself and your family members when travelling together for ticks daily and remove them immediately. Check the site of the disease control agency for more information on dealing with ticks and if you think it's useful, you could opt for a vaccination against TBE.
As a rule you can drink the water from the mountains without the need for purification or disinfection, but there are two rules you need to take into account:
- only drink from water streams that run fast
- avoid places where cattle is grazing
A Norwegian rule is that the water has to flow over at least seven rocks before it is safe to drink.