Helgelandskysten - Helgelandscoast
Atlanterhavsvegen - The Atlantic Ocean Road
Geiranger - Trollstigen
Gamle Strynefjellsvegen - Old Strynefjell Road
Sognefjellet - Sognefjellet mountain
Gaularfjellet - Gaularfjellet mountain
Aurlandsfjellet - Aurlandsfjellet mountain
THE COAST OF HELGELAND
The classified road Rv 17 between Steinkjer and Bodø is known as the coastal highway. The northern part of the road from Stokkvågen, west of Mo i Rana, to Storvika, south of Bodø is the National Tourist Road for the Northern Coast of Helgeland.
The National Tourist Road winds through the island kingdom in the sea, by dramatic peaks, through summer nights that never darken and winter days without the sun. This landscape full of legends and myths invites people to an adventure in the island realm. The mild climate of this area has created the conditions necessary for a vivid coastal culture with traditions that date back to the Stone Age. There is a wealth of bird life, including the world´s largest stock of sea eagles, a wealth of marine life and a wide range of flora. The coast was once the country´s main highway and the coastal culture has strong traditions of extensive trade and contact with other countries and cultures.
Together with the sea, mountain peaks, Saltfjellet and the great glacier in Svartisen National Park are near and mighty neighbours. You may join groups for glacier hiking and mountain tours, take boat trips and go camping in the wilderness. There are opportunities to fish in the sea, hike in easier terrain or climb to mountain summits.
Cross the Polar Circle and night turns to day in the summer, while darkness reigns during winter months. Conquer mountains, fjords and the blue glacier, or give yourself time to visit the chain of island pearls out to sea. Visit the world´s strongest maelstrom at Saltstraumen - a paradise for fishermen. Travel through the vivid coastal landscape of Nordland, and allow yourself to be seduced by the wonders and secrets to be found along this exotic coast.
The future southern coast of Helgeland Tourist Road is planned to be 94 km along RV 17 between Vennesund and Alstahaug. The southern coast of Helgeland is has lush nature, traditions and people. Myths and legends of trolls and other beings abound. The Seven Sister Mountains, Dønnamannen and Torghatten await you as do the Vega Islands, whose splendours have earned them an honourable place on Unesco´s World Heritage List.
These are perhaps Norway´s most beautiful skerries, waiting for you here.
THE OLD STRYNEFJELL ROAD
The high mountain´s glacial might, wrote the great Norwegian poet Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson in a guest book in Grotli following a visit in 1896. The majestic Strynefjell pass has inspired poets and artists up through the ages. Here amid long plateaus, mountain peaks and steep ravines, they have found quiet - or inspiration. A narrow road twists at one with nature through the Strynefjell pass, a bit of Norwegian road-building history, which was the only road for vehicular traffic between Skjåk and Stryn for most of the previous century.
Between the mountain community of Skjåk and the town of Stryn on the fjord, there were for years several paths for packhorses for transporting people and essential goods. It was difficult and slow going. In 1881 the decision was made to build a road between Grotli and Hjelle, and there was great excitement when the first wagons could set out on the road in 1894. I 1978 the Strynefjell Road was superseded by a new 12-km-long all-year road with three tunnels.
However, the old road still provides both a vista and a perspective on natural history. For it is not only the manual labour and the story of its construction that makes it a scenic road. Along its length of 27 km, the Strynefjell Mountain Road demonstrates the tension between the topography of east and west, the ancient, rounded forms in the east, and the sudden drop and the more recent alpine forms in the west. Here you will find a true wilderness, inhabited only by birds and animals adapted to an arctic climate, perhaps a predator in search of prey, a wild reindeer, a golden eagle, or sheep in summer pastures.
In majestic surroundings, high in the mountains past blue ice, jagged peaks and emerald lakes, the Sognefjell Road runs between Sognefjord, the world´s longest fjord, and the Gudbrandsdal valley. The Sognefjell Road has carried traffic since time immemorial. Fish and salt from the west and butter, hides, iron and tar from the east were carried by people on their shoulders or on horseback. The cairns helped travellers find the way in all kinds of weather.
The Sognefjell Road gives you access to Jotunheimen National Park, with Galdhøpiggen, Norway´s highest mountain, and several of the other of the highest peaks in Norway, and to Jostedalsbreen, Norway´s largest glacier. Here your can poke about on your own among soaring peaks, take a tour over glaciers and mountain tops with experienced guides, and go skiing all year round. The route between the inland valley, high mountains and fjord offers breathtaking contrasts in climate and topography and a variety of plant and animal life, from lower elevations with farms, pine forests and the conditions for human settlement to the alpine terrain approximately 1,000 metres above sea level.
Up here you´ll find bare rock with clear traces of the last Ice Age, with grass, moss, lichen interspersed with juniper and willow. Here you´ll also find hardy polar plants such as arctic buttercup, with mountain birch here and there. Wild as well as tame reindeer live on Sognefjell, and down towards the valleys there are moose and deer. In the high mountains, eagles and rough-legged buzzards thrive. In eastern regions there may be bears, lynx and wolverines, though they are few and very shy.
Hardanger National Tourist Route stretches from mountain plateau to fjord, through the beautiful and fertile countryside of western Norway, with the Folgefonna glacier gazing regally down from above. In Hardanger, nature offers both idyllic stillness and high drama. There are huge contrasts between open mountain moorland, dizzying mountainsides with crashing waterfalls and fjords as still as mirrors. But the distance between all these things is short. It is quite possible to visit the Vøringsfoss waterfall, go summer skiing on Folgefonna and take a swim in the fjord - all on the same day. The area offers a variety of walking opportunities and all along the Tourist Route there are places to stop for a while for a snack or a swim, try your luck fishing or just enjoy the views and the quiet. These fantastic natural surroundings have been attracting tourists to the area for over a hundred years, whilst the natural forces made possible Hardanger´s industrial adventure at the beginning of the 1900s.
Hardanger also offers a very rich artistic and craft tradition, including a long history of boat building and textile crafts. The people of Hardanger have been growing fruit since the 1300s. Today no less than 40% of all norwegian fruit comes from Hardanger. The fjordside soils give the fruit it´s own fresh, sharp flavour. In 2006 Hardanger Fruit received the status of a protected geographic appellation. In season, buy fruit from roadside stalls and eat yourself full and happy with pears, plums and cherries from Hardanger.
HARDANGERVIDDA is the biggest high mountain plateau in Northern Europe tells you something about what lies in wait, but not everything. Here you will encounter vast plateaus, deep, lush valleys, high mountains, glaciers in the far distance, waterfalls and azure fjords.
The tourist route stretches from Melbu in Vesterålen, across Hadselfjord to Fiskebøl in Lofoten and then southwards through the archipelago, before coming to a natural end where the road terminates at Å, 166 kilometres further south-west. The fantastic nature, combined with the rich cultural history and the living culture of the coast, draw thousands of visitors each year to the Lofoten archipelago. Most come during a few brief weeks in summer and fill the rorbu cabins, art galleries and seafood restaurants of the fishing hamlets with bustle and life.
Lofoten is an eldorado for fishing, kayakking, sea rafting, climbing, golf and diving. But it is also a place of peace and quiet. In summer the midnight sun shines out over green mountainsides, turquoise sea, chalky white beaches, red-painted rorbu and time-lagged tourists. Winter is the time of the famous Lofoten fishery, which is still vital to the population of Lofoten. In Lofoten, nature is always close at hand. 3,000 year old cave paintings, burial mounds and the sites of Viking houses strengthen the feeling of the proximity of the past. Lofoten is full of myth, legend and mystery.
Countless artists have been inspired by Lofoten´s nature and its people. Moskenesstraumen, one of the world´s strongest and most dangerous tidal currents, has inspired story tellers of all eras, including Jules Verne and Edgar Allan Poe. One of the world´s biggest sea eagle colonies is here. On Lofoten´s southernmost islands you can see enormous bird rocks, swarming with hundreds of thousands of puffins and other seabirds. Seals, killer whales and whales are regularly spotted in the seas off Lofoten. It is easy to get about by car, boat or cycle. You can also set out on some of the world´s most beautiful mountain walks, with paths leading you high up to spectacular views of ocean and midnight sun.
In the far north in the easternmost part of Norway, where the sky meets the sea, is the Varanger Peninsula. From the sheltered birch forests and marshlands in Varangerbotn, route E 75 curls along the eastern edge of the peninsula in an increasingly desolate landscape beside bird cliffs and fishing spots. Sea and sky stretch into infinity. At the easternmost point between Vardø and Hamningberg, the road heads north in a moonscape between jagged cliffs to Ultima Thule, the end of the earth, to meet the frigid Barents Sea. In this arctic landscape, there is no gap between the mountains and the sea. In the brief polar summer, warmth from Siberia can suddenly displace icy ocean fogs, and the days never end.
In the polar winter night, powerful storms rage. The chilly coast´s stocks of fish, human migrations and commerce have made Varanger into an arctic melting pot of peoples and cultures. The proximity to Russia and the Pomor Trade, Finnish immigration and Saami traditions make for an exciting kaleidoscope of cultures and cultural history. Here you´ll find gripping tales of witch-burnings and traces of the last world war. With its unique landscape and settlements, its polar light, endless sky and wide horizon, and, not least, its friendly people, arctic Varanger is an experience out of the ordinary.
In the farthest north, abundant fishing banks are bathed in alluring light, from the violet of the arctic winter to the summer glow of the midnight sun. Here in Norway´s larder, the tourist route between Kokelv and the fishing village Havøysund winds along desolate, treeless mountainsides that hug the shore in a barren, untamed landscape. Running mid-way between Hammerfest and the North Cape, the road follows the path of ancient hunter-gatherers beside remnants of six-thousand-year-old habitations.
Here in the farthest north, the landscape changes quickly from seaside and fjord to mountain plateau. There is good fishing everywhere, from land or boat - in the sea, in the fjord, in rivers and in lakes. You can park your car in Havøysund and extend your trip by island hopping in the Arctic Ocean. Rolvsøya and Ingøya offer peace and quiet, whether you hike or bike.
On the outer side of the island of Senja, mountain fingers jut into the mighty Norwegian Sea. Sticking farthest out is the wild, jagged mountain chain called Okshornan. The tourist route along the outer side between Gryllefjord and Laukvik winds its way uphill and down through the majestic landscape - in and out of the fjords between the mountain fingers. The abundant fishing in the sea provides a good livelihood. Inside the fjords there are unique examples of a hardy, thriving coastal culture. Small, scattered fishing villages cling tight to narrow strips of land between mountain and sea.
Here you´ll find picturesque Husøya with its nearly 250 inhabitants and a five-minute walk to everyone and everything. An exotic gem with traditions handed down from Spanish sailors shipwrecked long ago - here people even take siestas! Senja welcomes visitors year-round, in the summer, with its blazing round-the-clock sunshine, but also in the winter, with its short days and fierce weather. Like the weather and the sea, the natural beauty of the island is an exciting discovery. Senja can be reached by bridge from Finnsnes or by the ferry connections from Vesterålen and Lofoten to the south and from Tromsø to the north.
Make a stop at Tungeneset rest area. The installation takes you across the rocks and down to the sea. At Tungeneset you can find several impressive rock pools where the water is changed every day at high tide and quickly warmed by the sun. From here, you also have a resplendent view to the Okshornan row of peaks.
THE ATLANTIC OCEAN ROAD
Like a sea serpent in midst of the briny deep, the Atlantic Ocean Road winds between windswept islands. The wind and weather are in command, guaranteeing a stunning variety in what travellers will experience, everything from roaring gales and crashing surf to tranquil sunlit ocean vistas.
At many places along the tourist route planned between Bud and Kårvåg, travellers will be able to fish with poles from the shore and hike on the beach at low tide. Take detours to the jetties that shelter the fishing boats, or leave your car for a while and commune with the elements - windsurf on the roaring breakers or go for a seaside stroll on bare skerries. The ships´ graveyard at Hustadvika offers challenging diving.
Along Atlanterhavsvegen, several smaller roads branch out to ports with breakwaters offering protection from the elements. Out on the breakwaters, the sense of closeness to the ocean and the forces of nature is at its most intense, in stormy as well as sunny weather. The viewing platform on the outer end of the breakwater at Askevågen offers a 360-degree panoramic view of the archipelago, the ocean and the shore.
GEIRANGER - TROLLSTIGEN
Sheer mountainsides and blue-green fjords make Geiranger and Trollstigen into national icons. This is the natural beauty of Norway at its most stunning. Since the infancy of tourism, the area has attracted visitors from all over the world. Isn´t it time you visited, too? Take a drive between Langevatn near Strynefjellet and the Soggebrua bridge near Åndalsnes along a road that winds audaciously, affording dizzying vistas of sheer cliffs and deep fjords.
Experience mountain climbing by car on Trollstigen, a road made possible by bold engineers and intrepid road builders nearly a century ago. The visual impressions are many and powerful. Take the time to let yourself be embraced by the majestic landscape. Park the car and hike up venerable nature and culture trails leading to farms perched on mountain ledges or even up above the tree line. Or drive to the fjord, surrounded by cliffs and waterfall veils set against the lustrous stillness of the water. Don´t miss the holiday atmosphere and the international throngs at the ferry landings in Geiranger and Norddal.
On the Trollstigen plateau you can experience this overwhelming and majestic landscape at close range. The architectural design is adapted to the landscape, with materials that can withstand the force of the elements. The viewing platforms hover above the Trollstigen road, which meanders along precipitous mountainsides and curves upwards on the near-vertical slopes.
A drive along the road across Gaularfjellet between Dragsvik on Sognefjord, near Balestrand, a town popular with holidaymakers, and Moskog near Førde in the west, takes you into Fosseheimen, the "realm of falling waters". Through the protected Gaularvassdrag watercourse, the road passes white-water rapids, gushing waterfalls and crystal-clear lakes, arranged like pearls on a string.
The drive through narrow fjords is exciting and varied. The road winds up steep mountainsides and over high plateaus and down to sheltered valleys. And the vista from the highest point of the natural beauty of western Norway is spectacular. Here children and adults alike can enjoy trout fishing at its best or hike on excellent trails running beside rapids and waterfalls. There are also boats for hire, and trails for those who like hiking in the mountains. In Balestrand you´ll find museums and galleries as well as an ample array of services.
Aurlandsvegen connects the vibrant tourist towns of Lærdal and Aurland in the heart of Sogn & Fjordane. Called the "snow road", it takes you up to the mountain plateau, 1,300 metres above sea level, the "roof" over the Lærdal Tunnel. Up on the barren plateau is a wasteland of snow and rocks, with stray wisps of grass here and there. You´ll also see paths from mountain farms and splendid mountain lakes. But the route is also a journey through the centuries, with varied vegetation as you go from fjord to mountain.
The vista that opens up to you when you head down into the dramatic fjord landscape in and around Aurland is breathtaking. Up on the mountain plateau there is snow all year (how about a snowball fight in July?), in addition to good fishing and hiking in the summer. The old buildings in Lærdalsøyri, the Flåmsbanen Railway, Aurlandsdalen and Nærøyfjorden are local attractions that are well worth seeing. At the Norwegian Wild Salmon Centre in Lærdal, learn about cultural history and enjoy samples of tasty salmon.
From the dramatic Pulpit Rock (Preikestolen) to a gentle, verdant countryside, routes Rv 13 and Rv 520, between the Oanes ferry quay in the south and Røldal in the north, traverse fjord and mountain. This trip is an encounter with the varied natural beauty of Ryfylke, where green skerry idylls and well-kept farms suddenly give way to screes and glacier-polished cliffs. A luxuriant landscape of rivers, waterfalls, lakes and fjords invites you to take advantage of an extensive network of trails.
How about hiking up to Preikestolen in Lysefjord or up on the mountain between Sauda and Røldal? This route also affords a panorama of the vast archipelago in Boknafjord, with the country´s mildest year-round climate and the conditions for warmth-loving and varied vegetation. In between you´ll find villages, towns and cultural attractions. You can delve into the secrets of the salmon in Sand, take part in industrial history in Sauda, or take guided tours of the nineteenth-century zinc mines in the Almannajuvet gorge.
A drive across Valdresflye provides an endless vista of countless mountains and lakes. The road virtually floats across the plateau. Passing its highest point at 1389 metres above sea level, it grazes the edge of Jotunheimen National Park. From the gateway to the mountain realm, trails run between crystal lakes and bewitching peaks under a sweeping sky.
Going by boat on Gjende lake or riding on the back of a billy-goat past Besseggen, Bukkelegeret and Bitihorn, you´ll be following in the footsteps of Ibsen´s "Peer Gynt". Gjendesheim is the starting point for the Norwegian Mountain Touring Association´s most extensive trail network. In the adjacent areas Heidal, Sjodalen and Valdres, you´ll find a well-kept countryside that is rich in tradition. Rafting in the Sjoa River will get your adrenaline pumping.
A stunning, tranquil valley skirts the foot of the majestic blue mountains of Rondane National Park. An unhurried drive through this valley between Enden and Folldal is a pleasant alternative to the main highways through Gudbrandsdalen and Østerdalen. Amidst its proud peaks, the Rondane mountains offer unspoilt wilderness, long and narrow plateaus and sheltered valleys.
The wilderness awaits you, the year round, on crisp moonlit winter nights or under sunny summer skies. The unspoilt nature offers both tranquillity and opportunities for recreation. Go canoeing, trout fishing or hiking on the Norwegian Mountain Touring Association´s trails (DNT).
The future Andøya Tourist Road is planned to be 58 km long along the shore of Andøya between Bjørnskinn and Bleikdelet. The people living here are characterised by the rugged North Sea, which is their nearest neighbour. But there are also wide marshlands full of cloudberries and peat. The fishing villages of Bleik and Nordmela. Bird mountains where puffins and northern gannets gather. A whale safari to see sperm whales is hugely popular. Andøya offers unforgettable memories.
Andøya, the southern coast of Helgeland and Jæren are the most recent stretches of road found to have sufficient potential for a future tourist road. The project will be completed and the road expected to receive the status of National Tourist Road during the period from 2012 to 2015.
At Bukkekjerka, we are now planning a large rest area with toilets. This will become the main stopping place on the route. The place is a Sami cultural heritage site (place of sacrifice). The area offers great scenic experiences and has an exciting history. There is a fantastic view from Bukkekjerka and it is a great place to see the midnight sun in summer.
The future Jæren Tourist Road is planned to be 41 km along the seacoast between Ogna south and Bore.
With its boundless sky, wide horizon and endless sea; continuously changing weather and light; mile after mile of dunes and sandy beaches broken only by round stones and salmon rivers. This area is Norway´s food basket with its intensive agriculture spread widely over a flat, well-tended cultural landscape, characterised by a mild climate year-round. A generous and hardworking people live here with their sights set beyond Norway - they are excellent hosts.
When the manual operation of the lighthouse was replaced by an automatic installation, Jæren Outdoor Recreation Board took over the old lighthouse station. The lighthouse has been renovated on the outside and rebuilt on the inside to include a café, meeting-rooms and guest rooms with a view. The lighthouse has an information centre and exhibitions on shipwrecks and the work of the rescue service on the Jæren coast.