Welcome to the freedom of touring Norway. This northern country is a bit bigger than Japan but with a population of only 5.3 million, which means there are vast areas of striking countryside ready for you to see.
One of the best ways to experience the wild countryside is to drive or ride a bicycle along Helgelandskysten. This is the longest of Norway’s 18 scenic routes. It passes over six ferries and reveals some of the country’s most achingly beautiful mountainous scenery. The route itself is fairly flat, making cycling a lot easier.
Depart from Holm, about 800 km north of the capital Oslo. Heading north, you’ll see seven mountains in the distance. These are called the Seven Sisters, and each peak is about 1,000 meters high. If you’re game, you can set aside four to six hours to climb one of them!
Take a break at the Hellaga rest area. Golden rock steps lead into Sjonafjord, which you can fish — so bring a fishing rod.
Stop in at the Saltstraumen Bridge to admire the Saltstraumen river, which has arguably the strongest current in the world.
Feel like taking a pit stop? Hold it in until you get to Ureddplassen, the world’s most beautiful public toilet. After you’ve relieved yourself, sit down and savor one of the most gorgeous vistas you’ll ever see.
Finally, stop by the Svartisen glaciers. These two glaciers include the second- and fourth-largest on the Norwegian mainland. They’re also relatively low, making them quite accessible to tourists. (T)