Come and experience the thrill and wonder of Arctic Norway on the Arctic Coast Cycling Tour with local tour company, Discover Norway.
300 kilometers (186 miles) north of the Arctic Circle is a magical little city situated on an island covered with old wooden houses and surrounded by deep arctic waters and high glacial mountains. Tromsø, as the place is known, is considered the northern-most city in the world. With a population of 50,000+, it’s the perfect starting location for a cycling holiday in beautiful northern Norway.
In fact, there’s no better way to discover Arctic Norway than on the seat of a bicycle! And there’s no better place to start such an adventure than in the charming little city of Tromsø.
People from all around the world come to Tromsø, Norway during the winter months to view the northern lights, which fill the never-ending nights with wispy green clouds that shimmer and shake across the heavens. But during the summer months, Arctic Norway transforms from a wintertime oasis into a world-famous cycling destination, and Tromsø, of all places, becomes the ideal starting location for the “Arctic Coast Cycling Tour.”
Organized by the small, but incredibly well-run tour company, Discover Norway (previously known as Norske-Bygdeopplevelser or Active-Norway.com), the “Arctic Coast Cycling Tour” is just one of close to a dozen different bicycle tours being run by the company in this particular region of Scandinavia.
The Arctic Coast Cycling Tour, however, is the company’s northern-most cycling adventure, starting in the charming city of Tromsø and then running south across a series of islands for over 305 kilometers (189 miles) to the town of Svolvær, where the tour eventually comes to an end. Along the way, you’ll cycle on nearly car-free roads alongside scenic deep-water fjords, cross over bridges onto sparsely-populated islands, spot local wildlife (such as caribou, eagles and seals), and finish each day in a unique Norwegian accommodation, where you’ll dine on delicious local cuisine and partake in delectable Norwegian drinks before retiring to your room for the evening.
There is seriously no better way to see Arctic Norway than on the seat of a bicycle… and the “Arctic Coast Cycling Tour” by Discover Norway is one of the best ways to experience the beauty and charm of this unique region of the world.
Arctic Coast Cycling Tour – Important Information
- Tour Name: Arctic Coast Cycling
- Tour Company: Discover Norway
- Tour Type: Self-Guided
- Tour Website: www.discover-norway.no
- Tour Length: 9 days / 8 nights
- Starting Location: Tromsø, Norway
- Ending Location: Svolvær, Norway
- Total Cycling Distance: 305 km / 189 miles
- Price: 12,250 NOK per person
- Optional: This tour can be combined with the “Lofoten from Svolvær to Å” bike tour.
Highlights From The Arctic Coast Cycling Tour
If you choose to participate in the Arctic Coast Cycling Tour, prepare yourself to be blown away by the beauty of the Norwegian landscapes, the hospitality of the people, and the freshness of the food.
Here are just a few of the highlights you can expect to encounter when you participate in the self-guided Arctic Coast Cycling Tour with Discover Norway:
Tromsø, Norway is the perfect starting location for a bicycle tour in Arctic Norway.
Make sure you visit the Arctic Cathedral, which is designed to look like a giant piece of sea ice.
Then take a tour of the Tromsø Polar Museum (or Polaria), which from the outside looks like large frozen ice floes that have been pressed up on land by the rough seas of the Arctic. On the inside of the museum, there are exhibits featuring local fish, rock-shore animals and (most notably) seals.
The Arctic Coast Cycling Tour is the ideal holiday to conduct with friends, family members or a loved one. Most of the people who participate in the tour are 40-70 years of age, but children, families and people of all ages, incomes and nationalities have been known to complete the tour.
The scenery in Arctic Norway is spectacular. If you can, get to a high vantage point and look down at the incredible nature you are traveling through.
Be prepared to see some wild animals along your journey. Caribou (reindeer), eagles, various species of sea birds, and seals can all be spotted from the seat of your bicycle.
Traveling with Discover Norway means there is no need to carry heavy bags full of food, clothing or toiletries on your bicycle each day as you ride. The company’s luggage transport option allows you to cycle in peace while having your luggage transported from one hotel to the next.
Imagine yourself cycling through scenery like this. And imagine yourself spending an evening in a charming Norwegian village on the edge of the sea. This is what your life will look like when you participate in the Arctic Coast Cycling Tour!
The nightly accommodations throughout the bike tour are high-class and unique. Every night is different, so it’s fun to arrive at your destination each evening and then be treated with a new lodging experience.
Breakfast, lunch and dinner is provided throughout the tour… and you’ll be blown away with just how good the food is. You haven’t seen fresh fine-dining until you’ve been to Norway!
About half-way through the Arctic Coast Cycling Tour you’ll pass one of Norway’s most unique and memorable landmarks – the Senja Troll (the world’s largest troll). This small “amusement park” features an assortment of large and small Norwegian trolls and is definitely worth a visit.
If you want, there are a number of optional activities you can participate in during your tour in Arctic Norway. Wildlife boat tours, kayaking tours, and current rafting (pictured above) are just a few of the experiences you might choose to participate in.
One of the many nice things about traveling in Norway is that quite a few of the hotels have a free waffle bar during the middle of the day. So, if you arrive at the hotel early enough, you’ll be able to enjoy a fresh Norwegian waffle (something that is very popular throughout Norway).
Of course, a visit to Arctic Norway would not be complete without some spectacular scenery, multiple charming villages, and memories that will last a lifetime. Lucky for you, there’s plenty of that on the Arctic Coast Cycling Tour with Discover Norway!
What Is The Average Day Of Bike Touring Like?
While participating in the Arctic Coast Cycling Tour, you’ll begin each day by waking up in your hotel room, taking a shower (if you like), and then having breakfast in the hotel restaurant/dining area. The breakfasts on tour are a buffet-style breakfast with an assortment of fresh foods to choose from (bread, yogurt, cereal/muesli, eggs, meat, waffles, fruit, veggies, juice, coffee, tea, and more). Simply take the food you like and then sit down in the hotel restaurant to enjoy your meal.
After eating breakfast, you’ll be given some wax paper and a small plastic bag. Use these items and the food provided in the breakfast buffet to pack yourself a lunch (I recommend making one or two sandwiches and then packing an apple or a banana for the road). If you decide to bring a thermos with you on the bike tour (which is a really good idea), you’ll be able to fill your thermos up with coffee, tea, or hot chocolate – which you can then carry with you on your bicycle as you ride throughout the day.
After breakfast, you’ll return to your hotel room, where you’ll pack up your things and prepare for the day ahead of you. You can choose to carry everything you need for the tour with you on your bicycle (in a set of panniers that you either bring from home or have provided for you by the tour company)… or the company will gladly ship your luggage from one hotel to the next (Most people who participate in the tours with Discover Norway choose to have their luggage transported for them from hotel to hotel). Then, once your bike is packed and your water bottles are filled, you’ll begin your cycling for the day!
Each day of the bike tour is a little different (which makes your time in Arctic Norway both interesting and exciting). Some days you’ll travel short distances, but have a lot of time to stop and look at things along the way. Some days there is really only one route to cycle, while other days there are options, allowing you to cycle the short or long route for that day.
Whatever distances you choose to cover throughout the course of the bike tour, keep in mind that this is a self-guided bicycle tour and there is no professional guide to escort you along your route each day. You’ll be on your own to choose the rate at which you travel, when you want to stop and rest, where you eat along the way, and a whole lot more.
In the late afternoon (usually between 3 and 6 PM) you will reach your destination for the night. Some nights you’ll be staying in a large, modern hotel, while other nights you will be put up in a much smaller and more unique (Norwegian) accommodation.
As soon as you arrive at your hotel, you’ll be given a room for the night and then you’ll be free to shower, take a nap, read, explore the property and the surrounding area, or do anything you please.
Sometime around 7 or 8 PM, you’ll make your way to the hotel restaurant/dining room, where you will be given a table and served a delicious three-course meal. Salmon, soup, and gourmet desserts are common throughout the tour.
After dinner you’ll be free to take a walk around town, watch TV, read a book, or simply return to your room and go to sleep.
To get a better sense of what it’s like to participate in the Arctic Coast Cycling Tour, watch the video above. This video will give you an overview of the scenery, cycling, accommodations and food you can expect to experience when you participate in the Arctic Coast Cycling Tour with Discover Norway.
Who Is This Bike Tour Designed For?
The Arctic Coast Cycling Tour is designed for individuals who:
Who want to choose who they travel with. You can travel by yourself, go with your husband or wife, boyfriend or girlfriend, a group of friends, or anyone you please. Unlike a guided bike tour where you might be grouped together with a bunch of people you’ve never met before, participating in the Arctic Coast Cycling Tour allows you to choose the travel companions that will compliment you most.
Are capable of cycling for several hours per day and covering moderate distances. This is a cycling holiday that almost anyone can do. There are a couple short, but steep climbs on this bike tour. You need to be in good physical shape to complete this tour, but you don’t need to be a seasoned bicycle racer. Casual cyclists with a just a small amount of bike riding experience will be perfectly suited for this bike tour.
Want a little bit of luxury on their bicycle touring holiday. If camping in a tent or going for days on end without a shower is not your thing, then this might just be the bicycle tour you’ve been looking for. On the Arctic Coast Cycling Tour, you will get all the benefits of traveling long distances on a bicycle, but at the end of the day you’ll be able to stay in a high-end hotel, take a hot shower, eat a delicious meal, use the Internet to stay in touch with friends and family back home, and still have time to relax and enjoy the company of your fellow travel companions.
Are capable of navigating on their own and repairing their own bicycle if need be. Because there is no guide to escort you along your way, you need to not only know how to read a map and follow the directions that Discover Norway lays out for you to get from one hotel to the next, but you also need to know how to repair your bicycle (change a flat tire, adjust your handlebars/seat post, etc.) in the event that something should go wrong with your bicycle at any point during the tour. While major mechanical problems are highly unlikely (and never happened to me or anyone in my party when I participated in the tour), at least one person in your group should be capable of changing or repairing a flat tire.
Enjoy taking time to stop along the way, see the sights, and move at a pleasant pace. One of the many benefits of a self-guided bicycle tour like this one is that you get to move at your own pace. If you like to wake up early (or sleep in late), ride super fast (or super slow), stop and take pictures along the way (or rush to your destination as quickly as you possibly can), this type of bicycle tour with allow you to enjoy your holiday in the manner you deem most desirable. During the Arctic Coast Cycling Tour, Discover Norway gives you dozens of recommended places to stop and explore along the route. If you want to, you may choose to stop and explore each and every one of these destinations. Or, if you like, you can skip over the recommended points of interest and just continue cycling. The choice is up to you!
Don’t mind a little cold weather. The best time to go bicycle touring in Arctic Norway is during the summer months (June, July and August). The temperatures at this time of year can be downright sunny, cold and overcast, or outright pouring rain. You need to be prepared for anything! A good rain jacket is an absolute must and a pair of lightweight gloves is highly recommended. My experience with weather on the tour was incredibly positive. Over the course of nine days, it only rained for about 20 minutes total while we were on the bikes. The rest of the time it was either sunny and warm or overcast and chilly, but not especially cold. Whatever you do, don’t let the chance of poor weather stop you from participating in this tour. Trust me -you will live to regret it if you let the weather prevent you from exploring beautiful Arctic Norway!
Don’t want to waste time planning a tour like this on their own. More than anything else, participating in the self-guided Arctic Coast Cycling Tour takes all the time, energy, and grunt work out of planning your Norwegian holiday. Instead of spending countless days and hours on the computer, researching possible routes and places to stay, just call up Discover Norway (or send them an email) and they will do all the hard work for you. Just tell them what day you plan to arrive in Tromsø for the start of the tour and they will do the rest for you. After your accommodations have been booked, your only job is to show up for the start of the tour, follow the instructions that have been provided for you by the company, and enjoy nine full days of cycling in beautiful Arctic Norway.
Exploring Arctic Norway by bicycle is a unique experience in-and-of itself, but the accommodations you’ll be staying in throughout the tour are so very nice that you’ll remember them just as much as you recall the scenery on the rest of the tour. There are eight hotels in total throughout the tour – each one unique in its own way.
Amalie Hotel – Tromsø, Norway
The Amalie Hotel in downtown Tromsø, Norway is the perfect place to begin a cycling adventure in the country. The rooms are small, but the location of the hotel is perfect – within walking distance of almost everything in Tromsø – with scenic views of the Bruvegan bridge on the eastern side of the city, friendly and helpful staff, a delicious breakfast buffet, and a waffle bar in the afternoons.
Sommarøy Arctic Hotel – Sommarøy, Norway
Located in the picturesque town of Sommarøy, the Sommarøy Arctic Hotel is an oasis of high-end living situated among islands and soaring sea birds. Serving up some of the best food I’ve ever eaten in all of Europe, the Sommarøy Arctic Hotel is a bike-friendly lodging option with all the services you could ever want or need.
Mefjord Brygge – Mefjordvær, Norway
Situated on the edge of the water in the quaint town of Mefjordvær, Mefjord Brygge is a unique lodging option that’s ideal for active individuals. Come and enjoy the northern lights, a scenic wildlife tour or dine in the marine-style restaurant.
Hamn i Senja – Hamn, Norway
A true hidden gem, the Hamn i Senja in Hamn, Norway is a large, modern apartment-style lodging option that will blow you away with its scenic beauty, welcoming staff and incredible dining options. While you’re here, be sure to participate in one of the many outdoor activities, such as a scenic boat/wildlife tour, a kayaking trip, or an Arctic current rafting experience.
Andenes Rorbu Hotel – Andenes, Norway
Arriving in Andenes after the long ferry ride from Gryllefjord, the Andenes Robru Hotel is just a short bike ride from the ferry landing and an even shorter distance from the city’s iconic lighthouse. The unique fishermens’ cabins at the Andenes Robru Hotel are equipped with a kitchenette, which makes it easy to cook your own meal or walk the short distance into town to dine at a local restaurant.
Marmelkroken – Bø, Norway
It’s a name you’ll likely never forget – especially when you learn what it means. Marmelkroken is a small, family-run lodging option in the tiny town of Bø, where small fishermen-style cabins are made available to travelers passing through. Bird watching, hiking, and bike riding are all available in the area, and the dinners/desserts at Marmelkroken are just as memorable as the landscapes that surround this unique accommodation.
Sortland Hotel – Sortland, Norway
After crossing the long Sortland bridge, you’ll arrive in the sizeable city of Sortland, where numerous blue buildings have caused the town to be known as “the blue city.” Situated in the heart of Sortland is the Sortland Hotel, which is a large salmon-colored building featuring an impressive dining hall and comfortable hotel rooms – all within walking distance of the city center.
Thon Hotel Lofoten – Svolvær, Norway
The Thon Hotel Lofoten is the largest and most modern hotel of any you’ll be staying in on the Arctic Coast Cycling Tour. This high-end hotel sports scenic views of the surrounding ocean, mountains and city – with an impressive restaurant, multi-lingual staff, and situated in the ideal location for your stay in beautiful Svolvær, Norway.
Other Important Things You Should Know
- This is a self-guided bicycle tour, so you will be traveling on your own, without a guide. However, all the details for the bike tour will have been arranged for you in advance. All you have to do is show up for the start of the tour in Tromsø, Norway and then follow the instructions that the tour company has provided for you each day.
- Because this is a self-guided bike tour (and not a group tour), you get to choose your travel companions. You can travel alone, with a family member, loved one or with a friend. You also get to choose the pace at which you travel. You can sleep in late or wake up early. You can cycle super fast or pedal really slow, while stopping to see and explore things throughout your ride. The bike tour is extremely flexible, so you can make it as short or as long as you want it to be… and Discover Norway has gone out of their way to provide you with the information you need to make your cycling holiday in Norway as enjoyable as possible (no matter what your style).
- In addition to the cost of the bike tour itself, you will need to get yourself to Tromsø, Norway for the start and finish of the tour and home from Svolvær at the end of the tour. Discover Norway will tell you the different ways to get home at the end of the tour, as there are a number of different options.
- At the start of the tour you will be given a packet of papers containing all the information you need for the duration of the tour. This packet of papers contains maps of the routes you will be cycling each day, information on the sights you can expect to see throughout the tour, your hotel information each night, and details on the optional excursions along the way.
- You can choose to bring your own bicycle with you on this bike tour, but most people rent one in Tromsø when they get there. Discover Norway has a local bike shop in Tromsø that they work with if you simply want to fly into the city and have a bicycle waiting for you when you arrive. The cost for renting a bike, pannier (bag), and helmet from the company for 10 days is 2,005 NOK.
- If you do have any health or dietary restrictions, make sure you tell the people at Discover Norway in advance. They will go out of their way to make sure you are catered to and happy throughout your cycling holiday. Vegetarian and vegan options are available!
- Navigating your route on the Arctic Coast Cycling Tour via GPS is not necessary. Discover Norway will provide you with both paper maps and written instructions for the roads you will be traveling on. If you do have GPS capabilities on your smartphone, however, this can be used (in addition to the paperwork that Discover Norway provides) to navigate your route each day.
- In addition to the cost of the bike tour, you will also need to pay for at least two ferry crossings. I don’t remember the cost of the ferries, but they weren’t very much – maybe $5 – $15 USD each.
- Any drinks you might order (such as wine and beer) are billed extra at each of your hotel stays. If you order a drink, you will be asked to pay your bill when you check out of your hotel in the morning.
- You will need to pay for everything on the bike tour in Norwegian Krona (NOK). Obtaining this local currency is easy, as ATMs are available at multiple locations along the route. Paying with a credit card (even in small shops and on the ferry boats) is extremely common, however, so its not 100% necessary to be carrying cash (although having a small amount of cash on hand is a good idea).
- Every hotel on the bike tour has free WiFi Internet access. Internet speeds in Norway are good (usually 5 Mbps or higher at most of the hotels).
- If you have the time and would like to see more of Arctic Norway, consider doing this bike tour in conjunction with the “Lofoten Islands” bike tour (Lofoten from Svolvær to Å), which begins in Svolvær where this bike tour ends. The “Lofoten Islands” tour adds an additional eight days to your travels in Norway and is a great way to see one of the world’s most famous island archipelagos.
- If you have any additional questions about participating in this unique bicycle touring holiday, just contact Discover Norway directly. They are quick to respond to any messages that you send them and they go out of their way to help you in any way they can.
What Are You Waiting For?
Seriously! What are you waiting for? Arctic Norway is waiting for you… and the Arctic Coast Cycling Tour is the memorable bicycle touring holiday you’ve been dreaming about.
To learn more about the Arctic Coast Cycling Tour of any of the other hiking, skiing or cycling tours offered by the company, be sure to visit the official Discover Norway website at www.discover-norway.no