A short autumn tour in the land of fjords and waterfalls

September 2003

Starting at the tip of Denmark, where the North Sea meets the Baltic Sea, we cycled to Hirtshals and took the ferry to Kristiansand in Norway.

Bike tour Norway 2003 on a bigger map

Following mainly the North Sea Cycle Route to Flekkefjord, we got our first impressions of the rugged Norwegian coastline with its many fjords. From Flekkefjord we turned north parallel to Sira and rode on a beautiful small road along the lake Sirdalsvatn to Tonstadt. The road was winding throug steep hills up to 200 m above the lake offering great scenic views. There were a number of small farm villages located along this road. And of course there were a few steep climbs and fast downhills...

From Tonstadt we continued north on the road 468 following the river Sira. Many reservoirs for hydro-electric power stations are located in that region. Near Årdam we turned west in direction of Lysebotn, the power station at Lysefjord. On steep slopes we climbed to 932 m now finding ourselves in the typical landscape of the fjell - the nordic alpine tundra. A scenic place to set up camp, although it was heavily raining. Heavy rains also for a real fascinating downhill ride on the following day from an elevation of 800 m to sea level (Lysefjord) within 8 km over 32 switchbacks including a 1 km long tunnel with a 170° turn - a true challenge for the brakes!

In Lysebotn we took the ferry to Sognesand (the ferry goes twice a day, once in the morning and in the afternoon) and followed a small road uphill along a wild river. We had spectacular views into the river's gorge as well as down to the Lysefjord with its steep granite walls - perfect for camping with panoramic views. Again we reached the fjell landscape at an altitude of 650 m before riding downhill to Årdal. From Hjelmeland we took a ferry crossing the Jøsefjord to Nesvik. A small road with many tunnels continues along the Fjord to Vadla, from where it is another 650 m climb to the lake Mosvatn. The climb is spectacular, following a gorge with some beautiful waterfalls - unfortunately it strated raining that evening. The next morning greeted us with spooky fog scenes over Mosvatn, but the sun made it through later. After another fast downhill we continued to Sand and took the ferry across the Sandfjord to Ropeid. Continuing with lots of ups and downs along the fjord's steep coastline we reached Sandeid from where we took the road 514 to Ølen.

After a short stretch on the highway E134 to Etne, we took a really beautful small road along the Etnefjord to Skånevik. For the first 10 km one is riding directly at the shore of the fjord then winding a bit uphill through forest. Small farms and many vacation homes are located at this road but there still are a few really good camping spots.

Rain again as we take the ferry from Skånevik to Matre. In the rain we followed the Matrefjord to the village of the hydro-electric power station Blåfalli II and then worked our ways up on a steep road to an altitude of 400 m - not very pleasant in continuous rain. Working uphill made us as sweating wet on the inside as we were from rain on the outside - and of course the following downhill to Rosendal back to sea level made us become freezing cold. Water seemed to flush out from everywhere along the roadside and pour itself into small gorges in roaring waterfalls. A wet, but still somewhat awesome experience.

A short period of sunshine the following day as we took the ferry across to Germundhamn. The up to 1200 m high mountains in the surrounding are covered with fresh snow - yes it was definatively fall, and seasons change fast round here... We followed the road 48 to Mundheim and just as we turned west again in direction of Eikelandsosen, the wind pushed the rain again into our faces. Another ferry took us from Fusa to Osoyro, and then we again met the North Sea Cycle Route taking us into Bergen where we stayed at the campground Midtun.

Before taking the ferry back to Hanstholm (Denmark) we did a short tour to the island Sotra west of Bergen. Although it was still raining continuously, it was a worthwhile trip to get an impression of the coastal landscapes. The main challenge, however, was crossing the bridge from Bergen to the island Lille Sotra. The bridge is high enough for large ships to pass under and in heavy winds, continuous rain, and with quite some traffic it was actually very hard to keep track on the way across (we were actually pushing our bike one way).

At the end of this short, but still adventurous bike trip our first action on the ferry form Bergen to Hanstholm was a visit to the all-you-can-eat buffet!