Trips

11 December: Top 3 oddest Norway destinations

RideNorway is counting down to Winter Solstice with trip planning tips and trivia!

11 December: Top 3 oddest destinations in Norway

There are plenty of pretty sceneries to be seen in Norway. But if you want to experience something else – something on the odder side – then plot in these Top 3 odd destinations in Norway:

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Steep. And funny. (Image: Municipality of Årdal)

1. The Offerdal Tunnel

This is the world’s steepest road tunnel. Due to poor map data, half of the tunnel was blasted with a wrong climb. Hence, the other half had to be corrected to end at the right spot in the village Indre Ofredal. This meant to allow for 15.5% climb in the the tunnel. Enjoy!

 

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Fancy some legwork while in Norway? Try these stairs! (Image: visitrjukan.com)

2. The World’s Longest indoor wooden staircase

Visit Mår hydro power plant. Along the tubed water fall powering the plant, there is also built a separate wooden staircase encased in its own tube. The 3875 steps will have you going for a while, and the staircase is recognized as the world’s longest indoor wooden staircase.

 

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Out in the fjord he lies, Keiko from “Free Willy”. (Image: AtlasObscura)

3. Keiko’s Memorial Cairn

The star of the movie “Free Willy”, Keiko the Orca, became an overnight sensation. Scores of fans followed in his wake wherever he went. He ended up living in Taknes Bay – which is also where he one day caught pneumonia which led to his demise. He is buried (in lack of a better word) just a few meters from where he died, and you can even pay your respect to Keiko by adding your stone to the cairn nearby.

Do you know of other odd places in Norway? Let us know below! Or find even more odd destinations right here!

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Julian’s Journey to Nordkapp

Britton Julian Davies undertook a month-long trip to Nordkapp and beyond to raise money for the battle against cancer.

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Julian Davies is a Brit restaurant owner and – above all – a motorcycle enthusiast. Here with his trusty Suzuki V-strom which he rode on his epic journey.

Julian visited Nordkapp in May. While this may be a good month to ride in other parts of Europe, you may encounter snow and even blizzards when passing the Arctic Circle. Which is what Julian experienced. He also outran Hells Angels in Denmark, was invited to a meal and a bed by some Norwegian farmers, found Troll droppings outside his camp cabin, had coffee in a hotel manager’s office – and a lot more. Read about his amazing journey, chronicheled by Steve Evans, and see the images: Julian’s Blog – By Steve Evans

Categories: Northern Norway, norway, Trips | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Hamningberg Road

Norwegian rider Halvard Kolsing rode to Hamningberg in the summer of 2019. Check out his video!

Halvard and his friends aimed for Hamningberg in Finnmark this summer. Knowing that Hamningberg sits at 70N30E, the weather is always a hit-and-miss affair. Usually miss. But Halvard and his crew rode there in the evening (24 hrs sunlight in the summer, remember?), temps hovering around +24C.

The most spectacular thing about Hamningberg is not necessarily the small abandoned fishing village itself, but rather the road that takes you there. It is narrow, bendy, and surrounded with an almost surreal geology. A must for riders! Check out Halvard’s video, and be inspired!

 

Categories: Northern Norway, Trips | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Go North!

If you want to experience something totally different, go North. You can even stay away from the North Cape, which may be pretty crowded (all in relative terms) in the summer. Instead, aim for other parts of Finnmark.

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Midnight Sun over the sandy beach at Ekkerøy. You can camp here if you wish. (All images: HP/ridenorway.com)

Finnmark county in the far, arctic north is particularly suited for riders not settled with only visiting the standard tourist attractions of Norway. Finnmark is for the advanced rider who really wants to broaden his or her horizon. The are is not as spectacular as – say – the Lofoten Islands nor the magnificent fjords of the West. But it definitely has plenty of charm. Especially if you put in some effort to get to know the locals over a beer or two and don’t mind the mosquitos or the fact that the weather changes every 15 minutes or so.

Hamningberg

A small abandoned fishing village at the very end of the road. And the road leading there is spectacular on its own. The houses in Hamningberg are used as summer retreats for locals – in winter nobody lives there, and the place is abandoned until spring. A very special place. It easily serves as a substitute for – or addition to – the North Cape when it comes to bragging rights. On your way there, drop by Vardø to see the Steilneset Memorial for those who were burnt at the stake in the which hunt processes in this area in the 17th century.

Ekkerøy

Now this is a special place. A small peninsula some 15 kilometres east of the town Vadsø. Into WW2 history? This place has a few stories to tell. Love bird watching? You’re in the right place. You can stroll along the beach, have a swim in the arctic waters, or rent the sauna for a couple of hours. You can pitch your tent at the beach or rent a cabin. What you will get, is peace of mind. Bring everything you need – there are no shops nor stores here. But they have a quite nice restaurant. Oh, and actress Renee Zellweger’s mum is from Ekkerøy.

The Varanger Scenic Road

The Varanger Scenic Road is one of the 18 designated scenic roads in Norway. It takes you off the E6 at Varangerbotn and leads you all the way to Hamningberg. It is PERFECT for motorcycles!

Berlevåg

The road to Berlevåg is worth a trip on its own. It is magnificent, much like the road to Hamningberg. Kongsfjord and Veines are particulary nice areas. The town of Berlevåg itself is like most small fishing towns in Finnmark – not very scenic. But go there to check out the great people living there!

Categories: Images of Norway, Northern Norway, norway, Routes, Trips | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

From Beabeg to Bodø and back

“The midnight sun was a majestic experience for me. Looking out onto the Lofoten Islands is going to be a cherised memory”, writes Irishman Michael McCormick in his blog after his trip from Beabeg to Bodø and back in the summer of 2019.

Michael McCormick

Michael McCormick rode from Beabeg in Ireland to Bodø and back in the summer of 2019. Photo used with permission of http://www.therunofthecountrycharitymotorbiketour.com

Michael maintains the blog for the charity ride The Run of the Country Charity Motorbike Tour. “A thrilling one day, with an overnight, 200 mile, charity motorcycle tour. It’s the best little charity motorcycling event in Ireland. The proceeds of the event are used to help adults with intellectual disabilities who use Malta Services Drogheda reach their personal development goals”, he writes.

In July 2019, Michael saddled his 750 Africa Twin and headed for Norway. “There were good bits and not so good bits. There were things I could do better and there was stuff that I just brought with me and never used”, he continues.

“It was a marvellous experience. The blog and feedback kept me company. I’m not sure if I’ll do it again though”, he admits. However, we are confident that we will see Michael on these shores again any year soon 🙂

Read his impressions and thoughts, and have a look at the pics he recorded along his trip.

Categories: bikes, Images of Norway, norway, Trips | Tags: , , , , , | 4 Comments

To Hell with Dean

Dean Marshall, a UK based Honda 750 Africa Twin rider, rode his trusty steed from London to Hell, Trøndelag County. Below are the images from his trip.

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Dean Marshall.

Here’s what Dean wrote:

Hi! Some pics of my solo trip London to Hell and back August 2017. I didn’t get to the Artic circle as planned because of the torrential rain in Norway that summer. I was delayed by about 8 days so had no time to go further north. I’m leaving London on the 15th of July (2019) to try to get to Nordkapp as I feel I have unfinished business. Having read your blog I have decided to go to Asp and follow the route 17 to Bodo then on to the Lofoten Islands.

Tusen takk.

Dean Marshall

You’re welcome, Dean – we’re looking forward to seeing your images from your trip to Nordkapp as well. And welcome back!

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Categories: bikes, Images of Norway, norway, Trips | Tags: , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Postcard living

Last weekend I went to Olden in the western parts of Norway to join my Guzzi friends at the annual Guzzi Spring Rally. People in that part of Norway are living in surroundings of stunning beauty. It must be like living in a pic postcard…

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The Oldevatn lake is filled with melted glacial water, making it green – and coooold…

I took my new (to me) 1990 Guzzi SP3 for its inauguration trip to meet fellow Guzzisti at Oldevatn camping, not very far from Geiranger. This part of Norway is famed for its stunning beauty, and this weekend it certainly showed off in all its splendour.

I took Friday off from work, so I left for the rally on Thursday afternoon. It´s some 500 kms from where I live to Olden, so I opted for a stay-over at Lom. I chose a route which is not the fastest, but nevertheless pretty: Up to Fagernes, Road 51 over Valdresflye, the Stryn mountain road to Stryn and onwards to Olden. The bike ran flawlessly, apart from showing signs of a worn clutch boss, which of course is about to be fixed.

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Valdresflye mountain road is one of the 18 National Tourist Roads.

The Valdresflye mountain road – Road 51, one of the National Tourist Roads – is closed during winter, and opened for the season not many weeks ago. There is still some snow up there, but not on the roads, of course. It gets a bit chilly up on the top, so when you ride there – use your extra layer of clothes under your riding gear. In the summer there tends to be quite a few camper vans and other slow-moving tourists on the road, but as there is no vegetation to hamper the view of any oncoming traffic, they are easily overtaken.

After a rather unspectacular night at Lom, I did the last leg down to Olden over Stryn mountain road – Road 15. This road meets Road 63, which takes you down to the famous Geiranger fjord (also only open in the summer). But I kept following Road 15 towards Stryn.

The Stryn Mountain Road is tried to kept open also in the winter, but it´s frequently closed due to heavy snowing combined with tough winds. In the summer, it´s usually a tranquile, nice piece of mountain road with spectacular views. Be aware, though, that the tunnel starting the downclimb towards Stryn is VERY dark! Do not use sunglasses or tinted visors when you enter! The trick is to close one eye before going into the tunnel. When you´re inside and open it, your eye should have adjusted somewhat to the darker surroundings. There are three longer tunnels leading down to Stryn. Take precations when entering them. Just in case.

Stryn has a slogan – “Beautiful Stryn” – which is somewhat generic, but in this case it fits the area. The Stryn area IS beautiful! As is Loen, Olden, Utvik Mountain Road, et cetera. You cannot go wrong wherever you choose to point your front wheel. The roads may be considered somewhat narrow, but on a bike this is not a problem. Be aware of the many coaches carrying cruise ship passengers to sightsee the Briksdal Glacier. Or what´s left of it. Also – if you really want to part off with some cash, try the newly opened SkyLift cablelift in Loen. It´s some 50 euros, but those who do it says the view is awesome at some 3000 ft above the sea level.

I have stayed at the Oldevatn camping several times, and prefer this to any over-priced hotel accomodation: Due to heavy tourist traffic, accomodation prices tends to be in the higher end of the scale in the summer. But the camp sites are usually set at wonderful sites, and renting a cabin for a night or two shouldn´t break your budget.

The return ride was a rather uneventful ride in poor weather back home. But still – it was a day on the bike, which is always a good day.

Categories: bikes, Images of Norway, norway, Rallies, Routes, Trips | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Norway from the saddle

How does Norway look from the saddle of a bike? Swede Markus Vikberg rides Norway quite frequently. This is a couple of videos he shot on a trip he did on his Triumph Tiger 800 last summer with a couple of friends. Enjoy!

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On gravel from South to North

This year’s great escape was a gravel tour from Oslo in the south to Kirkenes way up north in Norway.

Stuck in the mud somewhere in Sweden.

Stuck in the mud. I was glad I had opted for the relatively light Yamaha WR250R…

I am from up north and had planned to go there this summer to do a few preparations for my mum’s 80th anniversary. I could of course go by plane, do my stuff, and return in a couple of days. But then again – why bother doing it the easy way when I had got hold of a GPS route that would take me and my bike by gravel through all kinds of “roads” in a week? Plus another week for the return trip?

I invited a couple of riders from the local Offroad Touring Club who knew about my plans and wanted to tag along. On a trip like this I thought it would be better to be at least a couple of riders to back each other up – just in case.

A spectacular crash on day 1, but no harm done to neither man nor machine.

A spectacular crash on day 1, but no harm done to neither man nor machine.

So Nikita, Arne and myself set out 20 July. None of us had done that trip before, so we guesstimated that it would take us some 5 to 7 days to complete the trip one way. We had already agreed that the official part of the trip would end at Kirkenes, and that every man was for himself for his chosen mode, route and speed of the return trip. We set off from just outside Oslo, heading for Os in Hedmark county, where we would spend the night at a friend who’s an accomplished enduro rider, and whom had done the trip a few years earlier. But drama set in on this first day of riding: Nikita, the freshman in the trio, misjudged a right bend, locked all wheels and went off the gravel road in quite a spectacular manner. We all thought this would be the end of his trip, but luck was on Nikita’s side: No harm done neither to man nor machine, except a few scratches on the side panel of his Africa Twin and a broken indicator. A very steep learning curve indeed for our man, who learnt a lesson or two with regard to paying close attention to the road especially when riding on gravel.

Entering Finland from Sweden.

Entering Finland from Sweden.

At our friend Inge’s place we were treated with a great meal and sauna, plus some advice on the route ahead of us. Arne, who was by far the more experienced gravel rider among the three of us, took care of the navigation. We had decided to go through Sweden and Finland in search of gravel, as it is shorter (but not necessarily faster) to go through our neighbouring countries. Besides, especially Sweden has a great selection of gravel roads in a variety of qualities.

Day 2 took us from Inge’s place to another friend of ours, Fredrik. His family has a summer house in Sweden, so we were to meet him there for a stay-over. We were again met with a full meal and an outdoor spa-like mini pool with amenities such as Jägermeister and beer. Needless to say, we had to have a slow start the morning after.

The trip through Sweden was fun, and at times rather exhausting – especially through a “jungle” with muddy tracks pretending to be roads. The heavy rain in the days prior to our trip had turned it all into a swamp, and – of course – the air was quite .packed with mosquitos and midges. At least they served as great motivation to get us as fast as possible out of the swamp.

A roadside fix. A few mozzies helped on the motivation to get going...

A roadside fix. A few mozzies helped on the motivation to get going…

The northern parts of Finland had plenty of gravel roads – but not so many that went all the way through. They tended to go in to a cabin or something, and just end there. So we were forced to do quite a few miles on asphalt. Not so much fun, but at least the area is pretty to look at.

After 7 days of riding we crossed the border from Finland back into Norway and finally arrived at Kirkenes. Even though many have done this trip before, we had a high sense of accomplishment. Before we split, we toasted in coffee and ice cream and decided it had been a great trip. Actually so much that at least a couple of us wanted to do it again sometime. But that will be another story.

Reaching Kirkenes after 7 days of gravel. We felt it like quite an accomplishment.

Reaching Kirkenes after 7 days of gravel. We felt it like quite an accomplishment.

Nikita stayed on in Kirkenes and did a trip to Nikel and Murmansk. He speaks Russian, so it was practically a must for him to go there. Arne and I went on to the Varanger peninsula to try out the gravel roads there, and made it for a fast return on asphalt down south after a couple of days. Whereas Arne aimed for a week at the Bukkerittet gravel bonanza, I headed home to have a few days off before starting work again.

What I can say, though, is that my Yamaha WR250R was a really good choice for a trip like this. I was especially glad for chosing that bike when I was stuck in the mud somewhere in Sweden, and could lift the bike out to get going. So if you want to do a trip like this: Choose your bike wisely!

 

Back home to wash off the mozzies...

Back home to wash off the mozzies…

 

Staying the night at a couple of good biker friends in Nord-Trøndelag county, Liv and Merete.

Staying the night at a couple of good biker friends in Nord-Trøndelag county, Liv and Merete.

 

Another ferry on my way southbound.

Another ferry on my way southbound.

 

Troms county had put on its finest colors to greet us.

Troms county had put on its finest colors to greet us.

 

Yours truly, Arne and my brother-in-law Fritjof awaiting for the sauna to get warm enough. Vadsø in Finnmark has the highest density of saunas in Norway - or so they claim.

Yours truly, Arne and my brother-in-law Fritjof awaiting for the sauna to get warm enough. Vadsø in Finnmark has the highest density of saunas in Norway – or so they claim.

 

Vardø in Finnmark county was the scene for quite a few brutal execution of people accused of witchcraft during the 16th century. They were all burnt, and this monument is raised to their memory.

Vardø in Finnmark county was the scene for quite a few brutal execution of people accused of witchcraft during the 16th century. They were all burnt, and this monument is raised to their memory.

 

End of the road. Hamningberg in Finnmark county.

End of the road. Hamningberg in Finnmark county.

 

Arne at a road crossing somewhere on the Varanger peninsula in Northern Norway.

Arne at a road crossing somewhere on the Varanger peninsula in Northern Norway.

 

Way to go! Finnmark county has plenty of nice gravel roads to offer!

Way to go! Finnmark county has plenty of nice gravel roads to offer!

 

Yours truly giving the end-of-the-trip speech in Kirkenes...

Yours truly giving the end-of-the-trip speech in Kirkenes…

 

Entering Finland from Sweden.

Entering Finland from Sweden.

 

We saw this beauty at a stay-over in Finland. A Guzzi California 1100.

We saw this beauty at a stay-over in Finland. A Guzzi California 1100.

 

A river we chose not to cross due to depth and rocks.

A river we chose not to cross due to depth and rocks.

 

Getting to know the local beer.

Getting to know the local beer.

 

A wee bit posh eating style...

A wee bit posh eating style…

 

Break by the lake.

Break by the lake.

 

A Road Warrior rests whenever he can...

A Road Warrior rests whenever he can…

 

Kebab lunch.

Kebab lunch.

 

Nice view over the waters.

Nice view over the waters.

 

Nikita at a break somewhere in Sweden.

Nikita at a break somewhere in Sweden.

 

Arne packs his new-to-him KTM 690 Enduro.

Arne packs his new-to-him KTM 690 Enduro.

 

Chillin' out after a day's riding at a camp cabin.

Chillin’ out after a day’s riding at a camp cabin.

 

A few scares on route: A close call to riding the front wheel into the hole in this broken pipe in the middle of the woods.

A few scares on route: A close call to riding the front wheel into the hole in this broken pipe in the middle of the woods.

 

Fredrik (left) watches as Nikita packs his Africa Twin.

Fredrik (left) watches as Nikita packs his Africa Twin.

 

Arne (left) and myself prior to departure

Arne (left) and myself prior to departure

 

My weapon of choice for this trip: A Yamaha WR250R. More than capable of a trip like this.

My weapon of choice for this trip: A Yamaha WR250R. More than capable of a trip like this.

Categories: Images of Norway, norway, Trips | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Gravel goodness

The other weekend I couldn’t resist the urge to get more gravel under the tires. So I headed for Tynset.

The Osendalen area is really, really a pearl for gravel riding!

The Osendalen area is really, really a pearl for gravel riding!

There was a hotel based rally going on at the Savalen Spa this particular weekend. Not my usual cup of tea, but it proved ideal to bring my wife, daughter and dog along, as neither of them are particularly fond of staying the nights in a tent. But to here they could drive in my wife’s convertible, bring along the dog, stay in a comfortable hotel room and even have a spa treatment. In return, I could ride my Yamaha WR250R on as much gravel as I could find to the same place. Not a bad deal, after all, as I was looking at some 10 hrs ride each way.

I was glad I chose the Yammie as it was light enough for me to manhandle around a few obstacles - not on this road, though.

I was glad I chose the Yammie as it was light enough for me to manhandle around a few obstacles – not on this road, though.

I did some route planning on my Garmin Basecamp software, and decided on a route that was some 70-75% gravel, which is not half bad. It’d take me through some magnificent areas in the midst of Southern Norway, and even across the Birkebeiner road. Yep, I was looking forward to this one! I opted for the Yamaha as it is quite a bit lighter than my KTM, and also had Garmin Zumo 660 already in place. I thought that as I was riding alone, I wanted as light a bike as possible, just in case of spills or other incidents where I’d have to manhandle the bike.

I was glad I chose the Yammie, as I encountered a couple of areas where I’d need to get around a few obstacles in the roads by going along the ditches. Some of them were quite stoney, and having meager enduro skills I was not able to ride through it: I had to walk along the bike to get it through. It was an ordeal – I’m glad I’m in good shape (well, round is a shape, right?)

Apart from these couple of less dignified moments, the ride up through the route was quite nice with even a few high speed gravel roads to choose from. As I came to the Birkebeiner road, I encountered a sign saying it was closed – which was strange at this time of year. I asked the couple who are running a small cafe and collects road toll in the middle of the forest why the

Sometimes, when I go motorcycle riding, I opt to stay in a hotent...

Sometimes, when I go motorcycle riding, I opt to stay in a hotent…

road was closed. “Because there is still some 2 meters of snow on the top, and they haven’t cleared it yet. Maybe next weekend”, was the reply. I was a bit astonished, but then again not really: It has been the coldest, wettest and snowiest spring in Norway since 1946, and there is still a lot – A LOT – of snow in the mountains. I had no option but to find an alternative route. As I was running a bit behind schedule and I needed to get to the hotel in reasonable time, I called it the day and went “high speed” along the tarred roads. It was only the last 150-160 kms of a total of 555 kms anyway, so it was fine.

Very sweet gravel roads on the route I found.

Very sweet gravel roads on the route I found.

I arrived at Savalen some 10 hours after my departure, and I suddenly felt that I had been riding all day: All stiff and a wee bit sore here and there. A nice dinner and a glass of wine later I was sound asleep, even with my dog yapping all around the place.

The rally in itself was ok, I guess. Not too many attendees, but nice folks and good music on Saturday evening. I opted for a ride-free day to recuperate and get ready for the return ride on Sunday, so we had ourselves another great dinner, some wine, music, a few laughs and hit the hay in due time for an early-ish departure.

Nice old cabins decorates the area.

Nice old cabins decorates the area.

The return was not so gravelly as the trip to Savalen, but some 200 kms in total wasn’t half bad. I know several of the guys in the Offroad Touring Club (OTC), which I am a member of, know these neck of the woods pretty good and know the good routes. But I hadn’t had the time to consult The Elders, so given that I think I fared pretty well. Besides, I heading back to the area in August, when OTC has its annual “Bukkerittet” – a four day gravel bonanza with plenty of roads to enjoy.

I’ll save the best for when I go back 🙂

Nice scenery by the lake at Savalen.

Nice scenery by the lake at Savalen.

My dog Diesel enjoyed the stay at Savalen.

My dog Diesel enjoyed the stay at Savalen.

Categories: norway, Trips | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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