Summer in the postcard country
National tourist roads
The shortest is Gamle Strynefjellsvegen (27 km) which rises to 1139 meters above sea level. The longest runs in the quay rocks along the Helgeland coast (433 km). The highest is Sognefjellet, Northern Europe's highest mountain pass (1434 meters above sea level) with the 2000-meter peaks in Jotunheimen as a backdrop.
It all started in 1993. At that time, a group from the Norwegian Public Roads Administration had been in the home country of motoring and acquired knowledge about the American investment in Scenic byways. Could something similar be relevant in this country? Plans were made and a pilot project was put into practice. In 1997, Sognefjellsvegen, national road 7 over the Hardangervidda, northern part of Kystriksvegen in Nordland and the old road over Strynefjellet were given the status of National Tourist Roads. But there were to be more. The proposals flowed in from all over the country, and soon the new tourist road group was in the Norwegian Public Roads Administration with around 60 alternatives to be studied and inspected. The 18 sections were finally selected and in 2012 all were signposted as National Tourist Routes.
Freedom on the road
"The great home of the Soul is the open road," wrote author DH Lawrence. And there is something about car trips and open landscapes that brings out the philosopher in us. A car trip is about the moment, not about getting from one place to another the fastest. It's about freedom. To make impulsive stops when something catches your interest. To turn at random to the right instead of to the left, and see where it takes you. To enjoy a packed lunch in the most beautiful places along the way. To stay a day or three longer once you have found your dream place. To move on when new adventures entice. It's more about good conversations along the way than who you travel with. And about enjoying the silence together on the country road.
The National Tourist Routes are 18 unforgettable car trips that can be experienced individually or in different combinations. But do not try to discover half of Norway at once. Instead, take the time to really experience what makes these carefully selected roads so unique. And take detours along the way.
But no matter how you choose to plan your trip: Do not have a packed program in every place. Take time to see, listen, enjoy. And along the way, you can bring out the philosopher in you and hear if he has something to say.
Gaularfjellet - In the realm of waterfalls
Gaularfjellet is one of the more unknown tourist routes. The photo is taken from Utsikten, a new favorite among people on the go. Tip: Waterfall path past 14 waterfalls and seven lakes. Photo: Jarle Wæhler / The Norwegian Public Roads Administration.
Senja - Close to sky and sea
Senja offers magnificent nature and magical experiences, such as Tranøy, an old church site from the 1200th century. Tip: Detour to Tranøy. Photo: Studio Dreyer Hensley.
Valdresflye - Close to the mountains and the mountain hikes
Valdresflye is Norway's second highest mountain pass, and can be recommended in a round trip with the National Tourist Route Sognefjellet. Here from the artwork Rock on Top of Another Rock near Flye 1389, the highest point of the road. Tip: Join the Gjendeguiden on a summit trip. Photo: Cecilie Larvåg.
Other highlights along the tourist roads
Varanger: Contrast-filled journey in Arctic climate Tip: Steilneset Memorial
Havøysund: Raw and dramatic rock landscape Tip: Detour to Rolvsøy
Andøya: Whale watching, bird mountain and chalk-white sandy beaches Tip: Walk the coastal path from Stave to Bleik
Lofoten: The world's most beautiful archipelago Tip: Eat the world's best fish burger at Anita's Seafood on Sakrissøy.
Helgeland coast: Norway's most beautiful coastal strip Tip: Take detours out into the ocean gap to Vega, Lovund, Træna, Myken, Herøy, Rødøy and others.
The Atlantic Road: Unique experience in the ocean gap Tip: See Columna Transatlantica at Hågå.
Geiranger – Trollstigen: Postcard view of fjords, waterfalls and mountains Tip: Eat sour cream porridge and cured meats at Westerås in Geiranger.
Gamle Strynefjellsvegen: Norway's oldest tourist route Tip: Afternoon tea in Gamlebutikken on Hjelle.
Rondane: The country's first national park Tip: Take a detour into Grimsdalen.
Sognefjellet: Northern Europe's highest mountain pass Tip: Visit the ice tunnel in Klimapark 2469.
Aurlandsfjellet: Summer snow and untouched nature Tip: Stegastein is a must!
Hardanger: Fjord, fruit and golden bubbles Tip: Park the car and join a side safari.
Hardangervidda: Northern Europe's largest high mountain plateau Tip: Test the fear of heights on the new bridge over Vøringsfossen.
Ryfylke: A journey in contrasts Tip: Read up on the history of the zinc mines in Allmannajuvet.
Jæren: The edge towards the ocean Tip: Picnic in the dunes.
MIL after MIL - Along Norway's 18 National Tourist Routes
In the book MIL after MIL - Along Norway's 18 National Tourist Routes, which can now be found in the bookstore, you will get to know the distinctive features of the 18 roads. You get tips from locals and insight into the history that has helped shape the areas you travel through. Pictures, maps, travel letters and fact pages make the book a useful and inspiring travel companion on this year's Norway holiday.
MIL after MIL is written by Cecilie Larvåg, former editor of Widerøe's aviation magazine for over ten years. She is interested in triggering curiosity and imparting knowledge, so that people become a little wiser along the way.
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