One of the easiest and best ways to get the full flavour of Norway, is to ride the National Tourist Routes. And they are not as touristy as the name may suggest.
Riding over the Aurlandsfjellet Mountain Road. Image: Roger Ellingsen/Nasjonal Turistveg
As of today, there are 18 designated National Tourist Routes scattered all over Norway. They are the result of some cunning thinking in the National Public Road Administration some years ago, and currently NPRA are winning prizes all over the world for their smart move.
The National Tourist Routes are naturally extremely scenic, and covers roads such as Road 44 (The North Sea Road) in the South, via the Atlantic Road in the North-West, all the way to the Varanger Road in the North. In addition, the NPRA has put up small architectonical wonders along the roads so you can enjoy the view with a twist.
The NPRA has built viewing platforms along some of the routes for you to see the sights properly. This is from Senja.
The best way of utilizing these gems are to plan your route so that you link the Tourist Routes. Think of it as transport legs between the race legs. Whereas the more popular, easily reached roads like the Trollstigen may be a bit croweded with campervans and whatnot, most of them, like the Gaularfjellet Mountain Road and the Hardanger roads, are far more spacious in that regard.
I have ridden all of the National Tourist Routes, and I can vouch for the magnificence of them. I tend to avoid everything branded “tourist” – but there is always an exception. This is it.
(All images from http://www.nasjonalturistveg.no)
All National Tourist Routes are signposted and are easy to follow.