Magellan’s Arctic Circle tour is by far one of the most popular trips on offer and it’s not difficult to see why when majestic fjords, severe mountain ranges, cascading waterfalls, glaciers and viking ships are flaunted shamelessly around every corner. Norway is in a league of its own. For anyone who has done this tour, you’d be forgiven for thinking we couldn’t possibly best it, but here we are and that’s exactly what we’ve done. 

New for 2020, Magellan are introducing a shiny new tour encompassing the best biking roads in the country taking in Norway’s rugged coastlines, serene islands, dramatic fjords and quintessential scandinavian cities. New areas and experiences line up to make for a completely different but still beauty filled tour. 

So what’s new we hear you ask? Well …. With brand new routes constructed through Holland, Germany and Denmark we arrive in Norway to journey north, north and then north a bit more, through vast national parks surrounded by craggy, dramatic peaks and deep fjords using new routes, voted as the best by Norwegian bikers. One road is the same…. But who doesn’t enjoy riding the iconic hairpin riddled road of the Trolls Ladder? The tour is then built around two night stays in each hotel to get the most out of the stunning scenery stacked rideouts, boat trips, island hopping and city tours. This new format ensures you have enough time to immerse yourself in the Norweigan culture with visits to the painfully beautiful island of Alesund with it’s gorgeous art nouveau architecture. Oslo, with its scandinavian churches and fortresses and the rugged coastal city of Bergen. With plenty of time in and out of the saddle, you’re sure to experience the best of the roads and culture in one of the most beautiful countries on earth. 

Take a peak below for more details on what you can look forward to experiencing on the new Norway: Coastline, Island and Fjord explorer tour. 

Alesund

The perfect base for exploring mountains, fjords and islands, Alesund is often described as Norway’s most beautiful city and you soon find out why when you arrive to colourful houses built on a row of islands extending out into the emerald sea with mountain tops hidden in the clouds surrounding it. With several options available on or off the bikes for a fun filled day you won’t find a better location to do them than in Alesund, so let’s start with the town. It’s probably best known for its Art Nouveau district, after a fire destroyed near enough the whole town in 1904, it was rebuilt in the art nouveau style and continues to be a main draw for tourists visiting, we recommend exploring the downtown to take in the beautiful buildings and learn about the city’s history. As with most of the Norwegien cities you’re not in short supply of fantastic rideouts to epic fjords and mountains, the closest being Geirangerfjord, which Alesund sits at the entrance to. Leaving Alesund the ride is one of a kind to Lillehammer, first we zoom up the twisty goodness that is the Trolls Ladder before journeying alongside the Rauma river gorge, shadowing the route of the world famous Rauma scenic railway.

Pulpit Rock

You’d be hard pressed to find better views than those provided by the Preikestolen or Pulpit rock. Rising to a dizzy 604 metres above the Lysefjorden the steep cliff was formed during the ice age, when it’s thought that water from a glacier froze in the cracks of the mountain and broke off in large blocks causing the angular shape of the plateau. Along the plateau there is a deep crack and due to this it will eventually fall down, but according to experts that won’t happen in the foreseeable future. The top of the cliff is almost completely flat and measures around 25 by 25 metres. This is truly one of the most beautiful places in Norway, once at the top you overlook the valleys of the Ryfylke region and the mountains surrounding the cliff rise to a height of 843 metres. Pulpit Rock is featured on one of the rideouts and is well worth a visit, the roads getting there are as you’d imagine, twisty and spectacular.  

Oslo

Oslo, the 1000 year old capital of Norway sits on the country’s south coast at the head of the Oslofjord. Surrounded by mountains and sea, Oslo hints at the stunning Nordic beauty that can be found just outside the city centre. In 2018 it featured on the Lonely Planet’s top 10 cities and has become a popular tourist attraction with many things available for a fun filled day no matter what your interests. Bygdoy Peninsula on the west coast is home to some of the most interesting museums in Norway, including The Viking Ship Museum which displays Viking era burial ships, The Fram Museum which tells the story of Norweigian polar exploration and the Kon Tiki Museum which is dedicated to the life of adventurer Thor Heyerdahl. Oslo is also one of the world’s most green cities and was named European Green Capital in 2019. If you fancy journeying out of the city, the Oslofjord can be reached from the city centre on a ferry that passes many little islands along the way and if you’re feeling particularly adventurous you can rent kayaks to explore the fjord. 

With a day and a half to explore in and around Oslo you’re sure to find something enjoyable to do, whether it be people watching in the many coffee shops, walking around the lush green parks, visiting the vast array of museums, trying the local cuisine, checking out the fortresses or journeying out of the city for more fjord exploration . Oslo provides a great cultural experience on or off the bikes. 

Trollstigen – The Trolls Ladder

With an elevation of 850 metres, eleven thrilling back-to-back hairpins and a very steep incline on a tiny narrow road on the mountain side, the Trolls Ladder is not for the faint hearted. It’s a heart in the mouth, massive grin on the face, thrill seeking ride and while it may not last very long it certainly makes up for it with the gorgeous views and exhilarating twists and turns. For those who have done the Arctic Circle tour this road will be no stranger to you as it features as one of the main highlights. The road is so good that we just had to have it on our new Norway trip too, and it’s the only road to feature across both of the tours. So if you’ve done it before, you get to do it all over again and if this is your first time then you’re in for a treat! Looking down at it from the plateau is always fun, there’s a car park with balconies overlooking the spaghetti-esq road and Stigfossen waterfall which is 320 metres down the mountain. 

Bergen 

Nestled in the heart of fjords and mountains, Bergen sits on the southwest coast near the expansive Hardangerfjord, the country’s second-largest fjord and the Sognefjord, the country’s longest and deepest. As with most Norweigan cities Bergen is stunning and has a vast array of things to experience, with tourism exploding over the last couple of years. One of the main attractions is the fish market, prices can be on the hefty side but you won’t get fresher or tastier fish. Bryggen hanseatic wharf – the old port of Bergen is well worth a visit, the unesco world heritage site was ravaged by the great fire of 1702 reducing the entire city to ashes. The area was rebuilt on foundations from the 12th century making Bryggen unchanged through the passing centuries. If you want to get away from the centre you can hike or grab the funicular up to Mount Floyen to be afforded with 360 degree views of the stunning coastal city below or, if it’s more bike time you want, no problem! Bergen is surrounded by natural wonders just asking to be marvelled at. The city is known as the gateway to the fjords of Norway, so it’s not in short supply of epic scandinavian beauty. As always, Magellan have found several rideout options for all the city days giving you the best of both worlds. 

Hardangervidda National Park

Hardangervidda National Park is the largest high mountain plateau in Northern Europe and Norway’s largest park. Covering an area of 3,422 square kilometers, the park can clearly be divided from west to east with the former being of rocky terrain and the latter which is much flatter and heavily vegetated. This harsh, barren, Arctic moorland is steeped in history with several hundred nomadic stone age settlements found in the area with ancient trails that cross the plateau; linking western and eastern Norway. The park is also known for having the southernmost stock of several different arctic animal, bird and plant species with it’s wild reindeer herds being among the largest in the world. 

The park is a rideout option and well worth doing for that adventurous, Arctic Tundra feel you get when riding through. While it may not have the stunning fjords you will have become accustomed to seeing, it brings something else to the table, you gain a real appreciation for how harsh and wild this area is. Its a mini version of Alaska – untamed, barren and beautiful. 

So there you have it, a little look into the Norway: Coastline, Island and Fjord explorer tour. Check out the website for the itinerary and a break down of daily activities and rideouts. We look forward to exploring this gorgeous country with you very soon!

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