Review 18-day cycling holiday Northern Norway: Tromsø – Reine – June 2019
This year we also wanted to undertake a multi-day cycling holiday, but we initially lacked ideas. We had already traveled several times in Germany, Austria, Italy and Switzerland. At the beginning of January we saw an advertisement for the Beurs extraordinary journeys in Breda and so read about the e-bike holiday in the north of Norway. The Lofoten immediately spoke to us. After seeing Daan’s presentation and reading a travel report from previous cyclists on this route, it was clear that we also wanted to go there.
In consultation with Daan, we coordinated the days off and the accommodations. Until now we had always been spoiled with luggage transport, but packing 2 panniers per person is also easy: only take what you really need. We had adjusted to rain and low temperatures and for us wind / waterproof clothing and shoes were the most important.
After arriving in Tromsø we went by bus to the campsite in Tromsdalen, where we had a cabin for 2 nights. In this way we were able to stroll around the surroundings and Tromsø in the first few days, after which we collected the bikes from the bike rental in the afternoon. We were welcomed here, received an explanation about the bikes and the saddles were informed. The bikes looked neat, but had a sporty (narrow) saddle.
The first day of cycling started cool (4 ˚C) and with a lot of wind from the North / East, favorable for our first leg to Hillesøy. Soon, however, the sun was shining. We cycle along Tromsø island along the coast, cross the high bridge over the fjord next to the airport and continue along the coast to Kvaløya. The route was marked in advance by Daan on a map of Senja, the Vesterålen and the Lofoten. We had pre-photographed the day stages ourselves and laminated them to A5 format, so that they fit easily in the handlebar bag. We drove through the inland past snowy mountains and the Nordfjorden and ended our first day in Sommarøy. To our surprise there were beautiful white sandy beaches here.
Our route then continued with the ferry between Brensholmen and Botnhamn. We continued our way through a number of tunnels, which was a special experience: as a cyclist you can already switch on a signaling light in front of the tunnel, so that motorists know that there is a cyclist in the tunnel. In addition, we have always worn the safety jackets on the road for our safety. As Dutch people, we can still learn something from Norwegian motorists: they are very courteous and pass you with a big bow. We had our first day off in Mefjordvaer. There are various hiking options here with views of the beautiful Mefjorden and the ocean. At Senja you already get an idea of what you can expect in the Lofoten: beautiful nature with steep mountain tops straight out of the sea, beautiful sandy beaches, clear water and a wonderful tranquility. We only met a handful of cyclists here. In total we had 3 bigger climbs here, but with the e-bike support this was no problem at all. We never drained the battery during the entire trip. After the highest climb a beautiful, still frozen mountain lake followed, followed by a long descent.
After Senja we went again with a ferry across the Andfjorden to Andøya. In Bleik our next stay was for 2 nights: a cute cabin with a teasing roof on the campsite. Bleik is located on a beautiful long sandy beach (2 km) and at a nature reserve, where you can enjoy a wonderful walk on your day off. It is also possible here to go on a whale or parrot diving excursion. However, we were already spoiled by seeing both in Iceland last year.
After Bleik, a beautiful, very quiet road along the coast followed Andøya and we saw a sea eagle chased away by 2 seagulls. June is after all the breeding season. The great thing about cycling on such quiet roads is that you can stop without a problem if you want to see something or take pictures. At Risøyhamn we crossed the steep bridge over the fjord to Hinnøy. Our next stay was in Buknesfjord, we had a beautiful view over the fjord. We had to and would see the midnight sun, which sets between 0.00 and 2.00, but unfortunately clouds appeared in the sky just before midnight. In June it stays light here 24 hours a day.
At Langøya we cycle on the 82 to Stokmarknes. If we would do the trip again (and for whom a few extra kilometers is no problem), then we would probably do the alternative route from Sortland to Stokmarknes on the west side, along the Eidsfjorden. The bicycles rode great and the distances went easier and easier for us.
After Stokmarknes we deviated from the route advised by Daan on Hadseløya. We opted for the western route between Stokmarknes and Melbu. It was wonderfully quiet here and we had beautiful views over the water, beautiful houses and meadows with sheep. We took the ferry from Melbu to Fiskebøl and again took the western route along the Morfjorden and Grunnforfjord. Along a number of lakes we went through the valley of the mountains and ended up on the E10. Here we had to get used to freight traffic, campers and cars. Never unsafe, but our preference was for extra kilometers with quiet roads.
In Svolvær we had another bike-free day. Just nice to be able to walk around for a day and enjoy a nice pastry at the local konditori. We saw the first stockfish on rack here. Via the E10 we cycle further to Sundklakk on Gimsøya and again we chose the alternative route, the 815 along the east side of Vestvågøy, to Ballstad. There was almost no traffic here and we enjoyed the beautiful landscape and beautiful views. We had already booked the bicycle ferry from Ballstad to Nusfjord in advance. Since the tourists were still nice and quiet in June, we had a private ferry (skipper boat) for the two of us. The 2 brothers, who carried us over the Nappstraumen, were fishermen and enjoyed telling us about fishing. The boat left at 10 am and an hour later we were in Nusfjord.
Again we were lucky with the weather at the crossing, beautiful sunny weather. In total we have added up to 1 day of light rain. The temperature usually varied between 10 – 15 ˚C, which is great when you are cycling.
Nusfjord is a beautiful authentic, idyllic fishing village, a kind of open-air museum. An interesting film about fishing was shown here. It was nice to spend a few hours here. After this it was only 17 km cycling to Ramberg, our next place to stay. On the way here we cycle along the beautiful Flakstad pollen. Ramberg also had a nice long sandy beach, nice for a nice evening stroll. We saw a seagull stamping on the sand for worms o.i.d. from the ground. A nice sight for us, he had no eye for us.
The last leg south led to Reine. For us this was the most beautiful place of the entire cycle route; a beautiful fishing village surrounded by steep mountain tops. And wow what a luxury rorbu we had! Here too we were impressed by the many stockfish racks, with thousands of fish.
On our day off here we sailed with the ferry to Vindstad and took a walk to Bunes beach. If we had booked an extra night, we would have cycled to Sorvågen and Ă. Perhaps a tip for a future traveler!
On our last cycling day back from Reine to Stamsund we cycle on the E10 and via the Nappstraum tunnel to Leknes. Since the Hurtigruten did not leave Stamsund until 7:30 pm in the evening, we had plenty of time. After Leknes we did not go over the 815 but southwards via Ramsvik, Sennesvik and Steine to Stamsund. Again a very nice route, nice and quiet in terms of traffic and there were beautiful photo opportunities again.
With the Hurtigruten we finally headed back to Tromsø. Just before midnight we entered the narrow Trollfjord. It was a nice experience to be able to sail a day / night with a cruise, but that is not all. Cycling through the landscape itself gives you a much better experience of nature. We arrived in Tromsø on time and were the first to be “in the elevator” with a car to go ashore. Hotel searched and emptied bicycle bags. We then returned the bikes. Only 1 flat tire during the first day of cycling.
At the end of this trip we noticed together that we would have liked to continue cycling for a few days. We enjoyed every day: beautiful nature, beautiful fishing villages, tranquility and great bike paths. The e-bike was a nice support during the climbs and on the bridges over the fjords. The route through Daan was set out in advance and the accommodations were booked. So we “only” had to cycle from A to B and not to worry about anything.
Cor and Sonja
Addition Abel trips: Cor and Sonja made the cycling trip from Tromsø to Stamsund. Abel Reizen takes care of the bicycles, reserves the cabins and the Hurtigruten and practical things like maps, GPX files and tips what to do en route. The number of cycling and rest days has been established in consultation with customers.