Cycling in Norway
To say we are impressed with Norway is an understatement. Any adventurer will quickly feel attached to this beautiful country. Our bicycle tour led us mainly through the southern part and even on this "small" portion we already got a nice feeling of the Norwegian diversity. Forests, fjords and lakes in a rough nature, we loved it!
Roads to Movement in Norway
Below you can find an overview of the places where we slept in our tent or at which Warmshowers hosts we could go. Just zoom out on the map below to see all the places.
Number of days cycled: 17
Total distance traveled: 871 km
Long distance bike routes in Norway
We cycled via Sweden across the border into Norway, approximately at the altitude of Hamar. From Hamar we cycled a little further north towards Sjusjøen after which we headed back south. If you would like to plan a multi-day cycling trip in Norway, you can certainly find inspiration via the links below.
On Visit Norway you can find a lot of nice cycling routes to get a first glimps of the possibilities.
From Sjusjøen we cycled to Lillehammer where we cycled a piece of the Mjøstråkk route. This route is 250km long and goes around lake Mjøsa, the largest lake in Norway. Until Hurdal we followed this route, definitely recommended because of the continious, beautiful views on the lake.
There are several Eurovelo routes true Norway. We followed the Eurovelo 3 (Pilgrim route) from Jessheim to Moss. And the Eurovelo 12 (North Sea Cycling route) from Horten to Kristiansand.
Many cyclists cycle all the way to the North Cape, we'll keep that for another time, more info on this route can be found here.
Sleeping in Norway
Just like in Sweden, there is the Allemansrätten in Norway. This unique principle gives the right to everyone to spend time anywhere. A lifestyle that, in our view, ensures that everyone treats nature in a caring manner. You can pitch a tent wherever you want, wild camping in other words, but there are a few rules attached to it:
Respect nature and take all garbage with you
You must stay away from houses at least 150 meters
You can stay for a maximum of 24 hours in one place
Campfires in or near forests are prohibited from the 15th of April till the 15th of September. However, they can be allowed in places where fire hazards are unlikely, such as by the sea or on an approved campfire site.
You are not allowed to camp in nature reserves. This is usually well marked!
If you are traveling with a vehicle then the rules are stricter and you may not just stand on any surface. You need to check this in the different districts.
We did find wild camping in Norway more difficult than in Sweden. Finding a flat spot is often a challenge. When you do find a flat spot, it is often on agricultural land and it is advisable to ask permission from the farmer first. Fortunately, the Norwegians are very hospitable and we always found a place to sleep, both in gardens and in people's homes.
You can also find shelters in Norway, although we felt they were more ideal for hikers. With a bicycle you often have to pull and drag to reach a nice shelter. Hotel accommodation is very expensive, even hostels are beyond our travel budget. We have used Warmshowers 3 times, but they are almost only to be found in/around bigger cities. An alternative are the pilgrim huts. For example, we slept in this hut for only 20€ per person in Kløfta and you will find all the luxury you need after a day of cycling through the rain.
Budget in Norway
In Norway, you pay with Norwegian Kroner.
€1 = 10.10 Norwegian Kroner (June '22)
Average budget in Norway that we spent:
Groceries at the supermarket: €10.88 per day (for the 2 of us together)
Price for a coffee: 3.5€ to 5€
Price for an ice cream: €3 to €4
Budget for restaurants: In Norway we did not go out to eat
Accommodation: €40 for a pilgrim's hut (quick searches on Booking.com quickly showed prices between €100 and €300 per night)
Road conditions in Norway
The bicycle route network in Norway is quite well developed. The signposting is usually fine, the options great and the drivers generally courteous when you have to share the road with cars.
Cycling in and around the cities is very busy, for example we found arriving in and leaving Oslo anything but interesting. Plenty of bike paths, but very steep and incredibly noisy because of the busy traffic. The advantage is that the cycle paths here are fairly well constructed and you can still visit the city with peace of mind.
Bike lanes disappear where it gets quieter and unpaved roads are common, but still a little less so than in Sweden. What we found an incredibly difficult adjustment was to leave the beaten path. Whereas in Sweden we still found plenty of alternatives to leave larger roads, in Norway it simply became TOO steep to just explore. Often not a problem on a road bike or without luggage, but with a heavily packed bike it is anything but. The views are beautiful and the hard work pays off, although we still might not label Norway as the best destination for a first cycling vacation.
Food and drinks in Norway
Most supermarkets are closed on Sundays in Norway. On the route we followed there were plenty of supermarkets so planning was not really necessary. Although we do think this may be a different story in the North.
Norway is not cheap, yet we are surprised at our average daily budget. When you do your shopping in the cheaper stores like REMA 1000 and KIWI you can find quite some deals. We spent less money on groceries in Norway compared to Sweden and Denmark.
In Norway there is something like a sugar tax which means that you pay more taxes on sweets and soft drinks than on healthy products like nuts, for example. We can only applaud that and it is probably one of the reasons why we have spent less money here. Would you still like to buy chocolate? Then take a look at the baking stuff instead of the candy racks, there the chocolate is much cheaper!
We can also recommend the Taco Kit from the REMA 1000 as a cheap dinner. In the supermarket Meny you can find croissants for €1. In Norway you can also buy bread as we find it in Belgium, which is definitely a plus even though you will very quickly pay €3 to €5 for it. Furthermore, the Norwegians love ice cream and waffles, so after a long day of cycling, treat yourself to a tasty snack.
Climate in Norway
The climate in Norway varies a lot, but we had quite nice days in May/June. Still, it changes quickly and you can start your day of cycling under a warm sun, just to end it in soggy clothes and in a thunderstorm. In the region where we cycled it was on average 7 to 15 degrees during the day. At night it can sometimes still go towards freezing in May, although on average it was already going towards 4 to 8 degrees.
In Norway, everyone uses the local app YR to keep up to date with the weather forecast. We ourselves used it for a while and it turned out to be a bit more reliable than our Google Weather App.
Cycling vacations in Norway: Our tips and fun facts!
On May 17th it is the National holiday in Norway, if you have the opportunity to celebrate it with a Norwegian family then we can highly recommend it!
Of course Norwegian is the official language, but most Norwegians speak English very well.
Supermarkets are often open from 8am to 11pm, but in many places they are closed on Sundays.
You'll quickly spend some money for a coffee in Norway, still like to have one? You can take out a subscription at Circle K (petrol station). For 20€ per month you can drink a coffee at any petrol station. Also, in smaller towns you often get a free coffee when you do your grocery shopping in the supermarket (it wasn't possible to make a fixed rule for this, but keep your eyes open ;-)) You can also get a coffee at the IKEA for 1€.
Do you like to go plane spotting? You can easily cycle past Oslo airport (Gardermoen) where you can see the planes landing and taking off.
In the supermarkets REMA 1000 and Meny there is wifi.
In the REMA 1000 and Kiwi you can find mixed nuts with dried fruit of 600 grams for €2.60 to €2.90, juij!!! First Price's private brands are very affordable.
Unfortunately, it is often difficult to find basic vegan food like humus, but vegan yogurt is also not often available. If you do find it, you may still count an average of €3.50 to €4 for a jar of Alpro. Oat milk is usually easy to find.
In IKEA you can eat a vegan hot dog for 0.90€. To fill your stomach you quickly need 3, but it is still a cheap snack!
Many Norwegians have an electric car, these make less noise so be careful and always look carefully before crossing a street. Will you be traveling in Norway with an electric car? You will find plenty of charging stations along the way.
There is a deposit of 0.20€ on cans.