The westernmost, northernmost — and in fact the easternmost — of the three Scandinavian countries. Best known for the complex and deep fjords along its west coast, it stretches from the North Sea near Denmark and Scotland into the Arctic Ocean where it borders northern Finland and the northwestern tip of Russia.


Basic Information

Wow. Norway, in one word, awesome. It is mind-bogglingly huge, has plenty of ferries, twisties and drool-worthy landscape. The coast line has been designed by my good friend Slartibartfast, who recently won an award for it.

All of that goodness is shared between a rather small amount of rich people. Yep, those Norwegians are rich. With enough oil to cover all of Slartibartfast's work in oil many times over, life is good in Norway. When we poor foreign sods come to visit, with our mediocre economies and even more mediocre pay checks, we are confronted with the fact that there is some room for improvement back home. Everything in Norway is expensive.

The basic things are expensive, but not really that much. Speeding on the other hand is, well, just something I don't want to be doing. 2 cm too much movement on the throttle? Too bad! Your holiday budget has just been cut in half. Ha-ha.

The risk's worth it. Besides, it would be a shame to race through a country like Norway. People tell me Norway has the most beautiful scenery in the world. That's exactly what they've told me about New Zealand. I've visited New Zealand and had to agree. Now I'm about to visit Norway.


External Info
Distance traveled 4088 km
Time spent 8 days

Places of Interest

disclaimer   These are only places that make up 90% of the plan for this trip. Whether or not I've actually managed to visit each and every one of them can be found in the ride report.


After leaving the ferry at Kristiansand, the first real point of interest is the road to Lysebotn. The Fv500. An interesting and twisty road down, up and through the mountains leading to the Lysefjord. I've never ridden roads like that, so the idea is a little scary. The Alp will do fine, but whether the rider will know how to squeeze a fully loaded Alp down a road of Stelvio Pass qualities has to be seen.

With a little luck a fellow ADVrider will join me to show the way the locals tackle a road like that.

The Fv500 to Lysebotn

The Coastal Route

This route is world famous for its natural beauty. It consists of several smaller famous roads, and stretches along the western coast all the way up to the Lofoten archipelago.

The first bit is from Flekkefjord, where I'll leave the E39 from Kristiansand, to Stavanger. Better known as the Fv44. From there I'll take a little detour to visit Lysebotn (see above).

After that there's no real consensus. I'll just follow the 13 and E39 north to Molde. Here the real tourist attraction starts. The Rv64 to Kristiansund. 8 bridges and some of the nicest views across the Norwegian Sea.

The E39 will take me to Trondheim, one of the most strategically important German naval bases during WWII. The Germans even tried to build a bigger city close by to support its naval endeavors. Interesting history.

According to another ADVrider and dozens of others, Fv17, which starts just north of Trondheim, is well worth the time. I tend to believe them. 630 km of pure Norwegian joy. Countless ferries as well. Did I mention ferries are awesome already? No? Well, they are.

Fv17 at Saltstraumen, Bodø

Photo by Guttorm Raknes


I've always wanted to visit this place. According to most Norwegians themselves this is the most beautiful part of Norway. Even though it's located well north of the Arctic Circle, the climate is pretty moderate.

At the end of Fv17 there's a ferry taking passengers to the start of the E10 road, right across Lofoten. Many others will be going there during the month of July. Campervans mostly. I hope there will be some room on the ferry for the little Alp.

I'll have to make a choice when I'm there. Whether to follow the E10 to the E6, or to go up north to Andenes following the 82 and 86. The second option takes a lot more time, but offers a better experience.


CC-BY-SA-3.0 Wikipedia Commons


If you were expecting I'd visit the Nordkapp, you're dead wrong. A nice tourist destination which is pretty much a lie. It's located on an island. Not the northern most tip of Europe. To come close, you could go to Mehamn. Walking for at least two days to actually get to Kinnarodden is something I'll do when there's more time.

A small village and a camping site, that's it. I hope I can stay the night over there. It'll easily be the northern most night's rest I'll have in a very long time. The sun won't set either, to make it a little more interesting.

I'm only slightly worried about the fuel range of my little Alp. After about 230-250 km it hits the reserve, putting the absolute maximum range just over 300 km. I'd hate to walk six days across absolutely nothing to get some fuel. I might need another 10L jerrycan riding pillion just for this part of Norway.

After going back on the same road, it's just following the E6 towards Russia and taking the 893 into Finland. I'd love to ride the entire length of the 886 along the Russian border, but that's another thing to do when there's more time.


CC-BY-SA-3.0 Wikipedia Commons

Ride Report

This is only what I remeber of Norway and quickly wrote down during the trip. I'm sure I've missed some details here and there. Sorry! It's chronological, mostly.

I was psyched when I saw the Norwegian coast. It reminded me of New Zealand. And I was only two and a half days from home. Kristiansand was covered by a thick blanket of black clouds and it started raining when the ferry docked. My plan was to head for a camping site in Lysebotn and set up camp for the night. With this weather I wasn't looking forward to it.

Leaving Kristiansand I immediately headed north, half the time looking at the scenery and the road, half the time checking my speedometer. If there's one thing people have told me about Norway, it's that the speeding tickets are ridiculous. Getting fined might possibly hack your budget in half.

The first two hours of Norwegian roads were scary, to say the least. Because I wanted to stay away from the main roads, in this case the E39, the Garmin sent me through some of the most challenging motorcycle rides in my life. I was used to German and Danish roads, which were fun and easy to navigate. You can always see what's ahead of you. In Norway that's simply not the case. There's just a cliff on both sides of the road and it's never level. You're constantly climbing, whizzing down steep roads and braking hard for unexpected hairpins. The cold, hard truth became apparent after an hour or so of being scared shitless. I can't ride properly. I'm a newbie. And there's nobody around to teach me how to ride these twisties.

I pressed on. The scenery was simply too mindbogglingly awesome to scare me enough to turn around. I had to see more. And it stopped raining to boot. Two hours in I noticed a dramatic change. I was smiling like never before. This was, without a doubt, the best thing I've ever done in my life. Even jumping off of the 134m Nevis high wire wasn't this much fun. Every corner became faster, more flat than the last one. Every gear change quicker. I balanced on the edge of the grip the tires gave me every time I twisted the throttle out of the corners. This is what riding is all about. Only now I understood. And this is just two hours in!

Hours went by. I hated that I had to stop for gas every 200km or so. It was five minutes less in the saddle. Five minutes less of the best thing ever. Eventually I reached the beginning of the road to Lysebotn. There was a sign in Norwegian, warning about the dangers. I laughed in the face of danger. Nothing could stop me now. I felt like I could do anything.

Now that road presented a good challenge. Proper hairpins, tight bends and the narrowest pieces of asphalt yet. I'd hate to come across a camper van on that road. That could only end in tears. Luckily for me I only came across some goats on the entire way to Lysebotn. I never sing, but on that road I was singing the very first song that came to me. Can't remember which one it was. If I ever look for a definition of happiness, it's racing down to Lysebotn on my Alp.

The camping site was nothing more than a cabin with a bar inside, a terrace with some chairs and a field full of tents and cars. I paid the bartender for camping there one night and went to set up camp. The field held the most international group of people I've ever seen. Almost every country in Europe was represented. Every age too. The site itself was, well, heavenly really. Smack in the middle of a valley at the very tip of a large fjord, cliffs all around us. A huge waterfall not even 100m from where I set up my tent. The sun was shining, I was at one of the most beautiful places I've ever seen and I had a cold beer and a hot dog. Life was good. Later that evening I met a few interesting people, talked about motorcycles and drank some more Norwegian beer. Life was awesome.

The following morning I woke up with a familiar feeling. Soaked, cold and aching all over. Poking my head out of my tent, half the field was gone. Fog again. And thick fog this time. It was much worse than what I had endured in Germany. The sun wouldn't come out for the hours that followed, so I had no chance to dry anything before packing up again. I joined the camper vans waiting for the ferry at the docks.

The ferry seemed to appear out of nowhere. We didn't hear it coming and because of the fog we could only see it just before it docked. This trip to Forsand was awfully touristic. Just before we departed a bus full of Asian tourists unloaded its cargo onto the ferry. I don't mind, but I do mind people yelling at each other in a serene place like that. I spent the entire journey on the upper deck, taking pictures. Most yelling tourists preferred to stay inside. It was starting to rain. I was already soaked, so I couldn't care less.

That morning I configured my GPS to take me to Utne. It was ridiculously far away and I didn't expect to get that far at all that day. I just picked a town at random on my roughly planned route up north and I would find a place to sleep by the time I got tired.

From Forsand I followed the road up north to Sand, where I had a choice. I could take the western road, the E134 along the coast. That was the original plan. I could take the middle road along Sauda or I could stick to the eastern road, which promised to offer more twisties. The choice was quickly made and I went north following the eastern route. I picked up the E134 at Røldal and headed for Odda. I still wasn't very tired and the days were growing longer, so I decided to push for the last bit to Utne as well. The roads were absolutely magnificent. Riding twisties all day isn't very tiring. It's exhilarating, even if it's raining all day.

By the time I arrived in Utne the exhaustion kicked in. I entered the first hotel I saw; the Utne hotel. Now this was an experience in and of itself. It's been there since 1722, apparently. And because of that, of important historic significance. Everything looked authentic. And it probably was. The lady behind the counter was dressed appropriately authentic, cute as a button. After I picked up my jaw from the floor I asked for a room. Upon hearing the price it dropped again. I could have stayed for four nights at the most expensive hotel in Hirtshals for that money. But who could pass up an experience like this? Being a bit of an amateur historian I handed over my credit card and cursed below my breath. The smile I got in return was worth it. She invited me to join for dinner with the rest of the guests. My room was luxurious, but not very spacious. I can't blame them. The hotel wasn't built by modern standards. I didn't care, because there was a collection of Norwegian history books! A treasure trove of recent history, most of it even translated into English. I lost track of time and completely missed dinner. The most expensive dinner in my life, served by miss cuteness, and I missed it because of history books. D'oh.

Breakfast was something special. A huge collection of foods I've never seen before. Most of it looking very expensive. I finally had the chance to try this sweet goat cheese everybody's raving about. I didn't like it, to be honest. While I was busy munching away at the few things I did recognize, I noticed two children entering the dining room. A boy and a girl. No older than nine, maybe ten years old. The boy invited the girl to a table, pulled up a chair and let her sit. He sat in the chair in front of her and started a conversation about something Norwegian. After a while they got up and started filling their plates with food, sampling some of it and complimenting the quality. And not just the sweet stuff either. A healthy selection of what was offered for breakfast. They were calm and civilized. Way more than most adults are. I checked real quick, but there were no parents around. It was just me and those two children in the dining room. They got back to their table, the boy did the gallant chair thing again and they started eating. I was awestruck. I have never seen children do that. They usually run around, screaming and kicking things over. I finished breakfast, but before I left the dining room I said "goodbye" to them, just out of curiosity. The boy replied, in perfect English, "Goodbye, sir. Have a nice day." and continued his conversation with the girl in Norwegian.

Outside it was raining. A lot. Again. After packing up my things I waited in line for the ferry. The route I had planned for that day would take me up north, via riksvei 13 and bits of the E39 to Molde. Especially the 13 was something I shouldn't miss according to some Norwegians.

And boy were they right. The route led me and my Alp through some of the nicest scenery yet. With some snow in the heights, wild rivers of melting water and roads that were made for one thing, and one thing only. It would have been an absolute joy to ride if it wasn't raining that bad. And high up in the mountains the rain was simply exchanged for dense fog. Not only does it make the scenery go invisible, it also fogs up the Alps mirrors and worse, my glasses. I had to reduce my speed quite considerably for large parts of the route.

Luckily, sometimes, the rain would stop for an hour or so, giving my gear a chance to dry. With every downpour I was getting colder and colder and was even considering wearing winter gear for the rest of the trip. It was the middle of summer for fuck's sake. And changing gear on the side of the road wasn't what I was looking for. Especially not with everything soaked like that.

Because of the bad weather and my endless shivering the last few hours up north weren't enjoyable at all. The scenery was splendid, I bet. But I had to make sure to stay focused on the riding. Because of the cold I was getting sluggish. Things were getting dangerous. In Sjøholt I decided to call it a day and find a place to sleep. I found a motel. Or at least a building with a sign that said it was. It was deserted. Just when I decided to leave and head further up north, in search of a place to sleep, a camper van rolled up. It was the proprietor. He just came back from Sweden and was happy to rent out a room for the night. It was pretty expensive for what I got but I was glad I had a roof over my head and a working heater.

As the only guest I had the entire breakfast hall for myself the next morning. The weather was better. Well, it wasn't raining anyway. So I decided to keep the summer outfit and head further north.

The plan for this day was to follow the E39 to the E6 north of Trondheim, with a little detour across the famous coastal route. The Rv64 is that iconic piece of asphalt you see on TV as the prime example of Norwegian roads. So I took the ferry to Molde and started the detour from there. Before I could embark though, the weather gods started urinating their cold contempt down upon the earth, making me instantly regret the choice I had made that morning.

Yes, this road is quite beautiful. I have to admit the bridges connecting the small islands result in a very scenic ride. Too bad most people chose a camper van as their vehicle of enjoyment. Because of the rain the tourist spots were all but deserted, save a few German camper vans having their lunch break or something. That allowed me to sit back and relax on the side of the road, making sure I wasn't going to kill any of those slow camper van drivers mostly blocking the road clearly made for those people who do know how to properly enjoy asphalt like that.

After meeting up with the E39 past Kristiansund the road was boring again. Well, boring compared to the awesome ride of the few days before. I couldn't see anything because of the rain, I was cold and my left boot sprung a leak. The latter was a true mood killer, I assure you. Not being able to properly shift gears takes all the fun out of a ride. I felt horrible for most of the day.

The long term plan was to follow route 17 along the coast. Since hotels on the E6 are expensive tourist traps, I decided to press on to the first hotel I found on the 17. What I found was the Namsen Motor Hotell in Namsos. With a name like that it had to be good. Again, this place seemed to be completely deserted. I called the telephone number on the front of the building and soon enough somebody showed up. He had to unlock the place because I was the only guest that day. Again. I got an entire cabin for myself with enough room to house a large family. The guy told me these were normally used by Norwegians during the winter, when the pistes were opened. I didn't even know this area was a popular winter sports destination. No wonder all the hotels seemed deserted.

Having finished breakfast the next day, I set out to follow the 17 north as far as I could. In winter gear of course. And that did wonders. Riding was comfortable again and the wind didn't cut through me anymore. The road was wonderful. People following the E6, which is almost parallel, may be faster but damn. They'll miss out. Tunnels, ferries and twisties all day long through proper Norwegian scenery. Even the weather gods helped a little by stopping the rain every now and then.

During the afternoon, I was overtaken by a group of Harleys going way past the speed limit. Norwegian number plates. I met up with them at the next ferry, they laughed at my bike and I at theirs. And that was it. Or so I thought.

At the next ferry there ware a few dozen bikers waiting. Most of them on choppers wearing the classic leathers, embroidered with logos of different motorcycle clubs. Proper vikings, the lot of them. As a self proclaimed pirate I was naturally a little weary. Outnumbered and by far outgunned. Eventually things got a little less awkward and we started to talk. Apparently, there was a large motorcycle club gathering up in Lofoten. Motorcycle club members from across Norway were going to meet up, right when I was planning to visit the peninsula. They also made sure that I understood the traffic rules in Norway. Basically there's no speed limit for motorcycles. Especially not off of the main roads. Just make sure there's plenty of room for other people, better skilled, to overtake you. Of course, legally speaking, this was pure nonsense. But that's how things worked. There's no police to speak of anyway so the risk was acceptable.

I quickly got used to this new riding style. It was even more fun this way. Maybe the little Alp doesn't pack as much oomph as your average Harley or Beemer, it sure as hell was keeping up. Easily. Most of the time I was riding in the front of the group, from ferry to ferry. I met a nice fellow with a brand new K1600GT who enjoyed the same high-paced riding. We quickly outran the rest of the bikers and waved them goodbye from the ferry they just missed.

If my new friend hadn't pointed it out, I didn't even know we had crossed the arctic circle. The ferry sailed past a steel globe, similar to that one on the Nordkapp. The rain was cold enough to be arctic, that's for sure. What I also learned is that the ferry at Bodo, which I originally aimed for, was fully booked by hundreds of motorcyclists heading to the Lofoten meet-up. I might have better chances in Skutvik, if that wasn't fully booked either.

As the evening set in I started looking for a place to sleep. I didn't mind riding for a few hours more, so I decided to call it a day at the third place I saw. After two hotels I saw a cabin in Glomfjord. Well, it's number three, so I went for it. I was greeted by a curious cat and a closed door. I called the phone number of the cabin's proprietor and he told me to open the door and make myself comfortable. He'd be right there. Oh, and the key was in the mailbox. Lowe and behold, it wasn't a joke, the key was in the mailbox. Just when I got settled in the guy I had just spoken on the telephone walked in. Compared to several hotels before this was dirt cheap. He also told me I had to share the cabin with a Norwegian couple who would arrive later that evening. Hopefully I haven't bothered them too much. The cat wasn't bothered at all. It had made friends with my Alp's warm engine.

After giving the cat a chance to say goodbye to the Alp, we left for another day of twisties. To Skutvik it was then, since Bodo was out of the question.

The last bit of the 17 was absolutely lovely. With the scenic views you would expect. The trip was plagued by frequent rainfall and cold winds. The Arctic was living up to its name. With the newly learned riding style I was making progress like never before. Before I knew it I reached the end of the 17, followed Riksveg 80 and joined the E6 towards Skutvik. The E6 wasn't that bad north of the Arctic circle. Road wise anyway. Even with my winter gear the cold started affecting me in a bad way.

I arrived in Skutvik early in the afternoon. I had no idea if the ferry was fully booked or not, but the parking lot was nearly empty. That was a good sign. Kind of. It meant that there was a chance I might still get a boarding ticket. But also that I had just missed the last ferry, which in turn meant a four hour wait in the rain.

I got lucky, together with about two dozen other motorcyclists. Because motorcycles are allowed to embark before camper vans, like it should be all across the world if you ask me, we had to leave a few of those huge white plastic annoyances behind. It was a good day.

We sailed towards Lofoten. The promised place of utter beauty and fairy tales. Like in the stories, the clouds parted over the peninsula and I saw the first few rays of sunlight in more than a week. The place looked majestic, glistening after recent rainfall and bathing in sunlight. There was even a rainbow at the horizon. I couldn't wait to disembark and leave a fine line of rubber across the place.

It was getting late by the time the ferry docked. Because of the midnight sun I still wasn't feeling very tired. I decided to go for a little ride and find a place to sleep along the road. I wanted to see all of Lofoten, but because of the different ferry I was already half way up the peninsula in Svolvær. There was no other option than to head back down south again, towards the tip of the peninsula.

Because of the great weather I found excuse after excuse not to stop at every accommodation along the E10. By this time it was getting really late so I settled for a place in Borg. I'm a Star Trek fan, so yeah. There you go. The place looked like a school building, utterly deserted. And just like before, the proprietor pulled up in his car just when I was about to leave. He told me the school was available if I wanted. The entire building. Normally it was used for a youth camp during spring, teaching the kids about the local viking history. With a viking ship and everything. During the summer it's available for just about anyone looking for a place to sleep. I received the key of the front door and the owner told me to just leave the money at the front desk and close the door behind me the following morning. He just gave me the key to the entire building. And he didn't even know my name and I didn't pay for anything just yet. Wow.

The inside of the building was exactly what you'd expect of a school. Class rooms upstairs and dormitories downstairs, filled with classic bunk beds. The walls were covered with murals made by the kids along the years. Quite an amazing place, that. Especially being all alone in the middle of the night with the sun shining outside.

The following morning I left, leaving some money and the key on the front desk. The owner was right. I didn't steal or destroy anything.

The sun was shining over Lofoten. The last few clouds were drifting away, showing a bright blue sky. The E10 towards the end of the peninsula begged to be explored. So I went for it. Everything you've ever heard about Lofoten is true. It is, by far, the most beautiful part of Norway. Rolling green hills, white tipped mountains and white beaches. Yes. White beaches north of the Arctic circle. A camper van ban would make this place absolute heaven.

At the end of the road there was a parking lot. That's it. A parking lot. Filled with, you guessed it, camper vans. Some even had the audacity to fire up a barbecue. Sigh. German tourists and their sausages. I didn't want to stick around for too long and returned the way I came.

I had the entire length of Lofoten ahead of me, smiling all the way. And before I knew it, I rejoined the the E6, leaving Lofoten behind. The sunny weather too. Dark clouds greeted me with occasional drops of rain as the road rejoined with mainland Norway. Luckily it wasn't too bad and the road wasn't bad either. I was thoroughly enjoying myself. Hours passed. The sun never set, so I kind of lost track of the time.

By the time I was thinking about stopping for the day, I was riding for twelve hours straight. I wasn't hungry or tired. This factory Honda saddle is surprisingly comfortable. I settled for another hotel, the Best Western in Alta. The weather looked like proper camping weather, but the previous camping experiences were still fresh in my memory and I thought the better of it.

It was time for me to do the laundry, so I asked the lady behind the counter where the laundromat was. She pretty much told me outright I wasn't supposed to even touch the laundromat, let alone do my laundry. I don't know what I've said to change her mind, but somehow she offered to do the laundry for me. For free. In her own time. My rain soaked, stinky underwear.

And yes, the next morning her colleague brought a bag smelling of flowers and detergent to my breakfast table. All my clothes were there, neatly folded. It completely made up for the annoyance of hearing a couple of old Dutch tourists bickering over how they didn't have any chocolate sprinkles at the table in front of me.

There was one day of riding left in Norway. Today's route would, if everything went according to plan, take me to Mehamn and back south again across the border into Finland. The sun was shining, all the clouds seemed to have evaporated over night and a the temperature was up considerably. Only a little bit of the Nordkapp route left. Soon I wouldn't be bothered with pesky camper vans anymore. I was about to follow the E6 and skip the Nordkapp all together. In your face, tourism!

The northern most bit of the E6 was an absolute delight. Whereas the south of Norway had some forests and streams, the north is a lot rockier and worn down. Twisties made place for rolling hills and long, straight roads. I met a lot of motorcyclists along the way. Many of them doing the boring E6 Nordkapp route I suppose. I kept thinking those poor bastards don't know what they're missing.

I soon left the steady stream of Nordkapp tourists behind and went east, towards Russia. Instead of the E6 along the Finnish border I followed the 98, allowing me to eventually end up in Mehamn. The 98 was in pretty bad condition. Large parts were just made out of really rough gravel and the bits that had asphalt were littered with pretty deep potholes. Exactly the type of road the Alp has been made to deal with. The only other traffic I met on that road were construction traffic and a couple of KTM 990 Adventures shaking their plastic orange bits off.

The road north up to Mehamn was brand new. The 888 started off as a narrow, ill maintained road but suddenly turned into a wide, beautiful black ribbon across the landscape. With nobody on it. Not a single living soul. The most perfectly smooth piece of road. For me alone. With the sun shining brightly. I assumed there was no police around, because I didn't see any since Kristiansand, and went for it. Full throttle, racing north towards Mehamn.

Mehamn itself wasn't much. I didn't expect anything, just a gas pump. Luckily it did work after the little Alp went thirsty on the 888. The weather was at its best here though. It was the northern most place I've ever been and it was the warmest of the entire trip. The irony.

The way back over the 888 was just as much fun. The second part of the 98 was even worse than the first. The stuff that made up large swaths of the road wasn't gravel anymore. This was debris. A collection of large rocks and potholes. I was worried I might end up puncturing a tire, but those Heidenau K60s held up perfectly. Rejoining the E6 meant I could pick up speed again.

I almost died on the E6. There was a strong southern wind since earlier that afternoon across the wide, open plains. I was overtaking a long truck when all of a sudden we went downhill. The truck picked up speed and was going faster than I was. At the same time I could see a car approaching. Several hours of no traffic at all and now I find myself staring down a pair of headlights? I yanked the throttle and slowly crawled in front of the truck, which was still picking up speed. When I passed the truck the southern wind kept me on the left lane. I leaned and I leaned, but the Alp didn't want to go right. The car was coming closer at a pretty high speed. With only a few meters to spare I managed to push the bike against the wind, in front of the truck, which was still picking up speed. This truck driver must have fallen asleep or something, because we were both going well over 130 km/h. I lost sight of the truck in my rear view mirrors after the road went uphill again.

I left the E6 to follow the 893 into Finland. The old border post is quite an interesting sight.


These are the photos taken during the trip through Norway using this gear. Hopefully they're in chronological order. If you'd like a larger version of a particular photo, just let me know and I'd be happy to make it available to you. All photos can be redistributed freely under the Creative Commons BY-SA 3.0 license.