In Tromsø, we decide to conclude our bicycle journey with a… road trip. We started to realise a few weeks ago that we wouldn’t have time to reach the North Cape as we have to come back to Belgium by mid-October. We had also made the conscious decision to take long but rewarding detours to Bergen and the Western Fjords, to the Coastal Highway Fv17, to the Lofoten, etc. instead of following the shorter route E6 from Oslo to Nordkapp (3680km instead of 2100km from Oslo). At the end of the day, we didn’t regret those choices for a minute as we believe the journey is more important than the final destination. Plus, Tromsø is already very remote.
Nevertheless, we had come all this way up north and we though it was worth covering the remaining 570km to Nordkapp with a slightly faster transportation: a rental car. Our warmshower host was kind enough to keep our bikes at her place for a few days so that we wouldn’t need to worry about them. After making sure we have all we need to pack our bikes when we come back, we take a quick look at the Arctic Cathedral, then leave Tromsø and head towards the Lyngen Alps. The route 91 is slightly shorter but involves two ferries, one from Breivikeidet to Svensby, and the next one 15km further from Lyngseidet to Olderdalen. In between, lie the Lyngen Alps and their impressive peaks. The view on this mountain range from across both fjords is stunning but today most summits are hidden in the clouds. Because we have plenty of time before the second ferry, we take a detour to Koppangen. It’s already dark by the time we reach Storslett, but we think we’ll be able to see the scenery on our way back, so we keep going. Going up a 400m pass, we even drive through melting snow. We stop at a rest area for dinner but we can’t make our stove work. We suspect that the jet is choked. We are unable to cook a proper meal but fortunately, we have plenty of snacks to eat in the car instead. Around 9pm, we pass by Alta, the capital of Finnmark county. We stop there to look at the Northern Lights Cathedral. There is more melting snow on the Sennalandet plateau. We reach the Porsangerfjord and follow it for some time before stopping at a rest area to pitch the tent just passed midnight. Despite the rainy weather, some northern lights welcome us through the clouds just when we arrive.
In the morning, we get out of the tent in the rain and have breakfast in the car. After two months on the bikes, it feels like a great luxury to be able to eat warm and sheltered in the car. There is around 100km remaining to Nordkapp, mostly along the Porsangerfjord. We finally reach Magerøya island through a long tunnel under the sea. The landscape here is quite desolate and rocky with no trees at all. We climb a plateau around 300m and finally reach the North Cape around 10:45am. It basically consists in some cliffs, a globe and a visitor centre. Though it’s not technically the northernmost point in continental Europe because it’s on an island, it’s still pretty cool to have reached that far, and realise that all there is in front of us is Svalbard and the North Pole thousands of kilometres away. The wind is very strong and we can’t help but think how difficult the whole trip from Tromsø would have been on a bicycle with these colder temperatures, a few passes and the wind. We don’t stay long despite the horribly expensive parking fee.
On the way back, we have some rain showers but also some sunshine. We’re happy to see the road to Alta in the daylight as the landscape on the Sennalandet plateau is very different to the rest of Norway. Here, in Sámi land, the landscapes are similar to Swedish and Finnish Lapland, with hills rather than steep cliffs and thousands of semi-wild reindeers. We reach Alta at sunset around 5pm, which is later than we had expected. We keep driving in the dark to a bit further than Storslett. We find a brand new rest area with a heated waiting room that we decide to squat for the night. As perfect as it sounds, it is not that comfortable to sleep on a super heated floor (and the light is always on).
We take the road south of the Lyngen Alps through Nordkjosbotn, which is 85km longer but has no ferries, and we reach Tromsø in the early afternoon. We get our bikes back and pack them in boxes kindly given by Tromsø Ski & Sykkel, a huge bicycle store close to the airport. They also accept to keep them for the night as our flight is tomorrow morning. Great service! We hike our way back to the city centre through woodland which really doesn’t feel like we’re in a city. That’s quite amazing. For our last night in Norway, we book a hotel room in the centre and have dinner at a local restaurant.
On Friday the 16th of October, it’s time to get our bikes boxes back and go to the airport. We had kept the rental car on purpose to carry all our stuff, and we drop it off at the airport. The check-in goes very smoothly and we’re already flying to Oslo. Due to the COVID-19 crisis, there were no direct flights from Oslo to Brussels, so we have to spend a night in Munich. We are lucky to find a quiet spot in the airport with comfortable chairs and sleep on the floor. We reach Brussels on Saturday morning where Armand’s father is warmly welcoming us at the airport.
To conclude, we had an amazing second bicycle trip from Brussels to Tromsø, full of nature and great experiences. Our heads are now full with countless number of fjords, mountains, glaciers, waterfalls, auroras, autumn colors and scenic camps in the wilderness. It certainly was the best alternative to still do “something” in a covid world, and possibly remove some of the frustration from our aborted trip from Singapore to Belgium. For now, we have decided to settle down in Belgium, looking forward to our next bicycle trip that will most likely be shorter but hopefully somewhere in Asia.
See more photos in the gallery.
Below is a map of our itinerary:
And here is the elevation profile of the section from Oslo to Tromsø:
Now let’s conclude with a few statistics.
|Days of travel||71|
|Days of cycling||51|
|Days of rest/visits||20|
|Distance cycled||3590 km|
|Total distance Brussels-Tromsø |
(including motorised transportation)
|Total distance Brussels-Nordkapp|
(including motorised transportation)
|Distance cycled in Norway||2655 km|
|Number of ferries taken in Norway||23|
|Distance by ferry in Norway||320 km|
|Distance by ferry Kiel-Oslo||645 km|
|Distance by car (return trip Tromsø-Nordkapp)||1198 km|
|Distance by train (Myrdal-Bergen)||135 km|
|Distance by bus (Atlantic Ocean Tunnel, Kristiansund)||7 km|
|Total time on our bicycle||229 h|
|Longest daily distance||103 km|
|Daily average distance (excluding rest days)||69.2 km|
|Daily average time on our bicycle (excluding rest days)||4h24|
|Max speed||60.8 km/h|
|Highest altitude||1343 m (Rallarvegen)|
|Highest altitude after Bergen||704 m (Utvikfjellet)|
|Nights in a tent||37 (incl. 26 wild camps)|
|Nights in a shelter/waiting room||3|
|Nights at family/friend/Warmshower||7|
|Nights on a ferry||1|
|Nights in a hotel/cabin/Airbnb||21|
|Max temperature||37°C (Belgium, 8 Aug)|
|Min temperature||-1°C (Rallarvegen, 26 Aug)|
|Days with rain||~48|
|Max consecutive days with rain||24|