Cycling Through Scandinavia

From The Royal Library, Denmark

There are many ways to tour Scandinavian countries. You can take a cruise, go by train, take a tour bus. But one of the best ways to really see these countries is on bicycle. The summer season may be drifting away, but a bike tour in Scandinavia will require planning.

This week’s blog will point you in the right direction to find out more information about cycling in the Nordic countryside and cities.

(Disclosure: Freedom Treks, Bicycle Touring Pro and Culture Trip websites are linked here. They sell tours, books, maps and other items for cyclists. Ingebretsen’s does not endorse these companies or tours, we are simply supplying information and a link so you can check it out yourself. If you like cycling check out some of Ingebretsen’s cycling-themed items here.)

Freedom Treks gives us five reasons to love cycling in Scandinavia. The five reasons are:

  • World Class Cycle Routes
  • Unrivalled Scenery
  • Cultured Cities
  • Authentic Food and Drink
  • Welcoming Locals

Another company, Bicycle Touring Pro, has created a video called “Cycling In Scandinavia – What You Need To Know.” It is a long video (nearly 90 minutes) and I would suggest it only for those who are seriously considering a long trip. The speaker on the video finished a 2.5-month-long bicycle tour in Norway, Sweden and Denmark.

I also suggest the blog TravellingTwo where they answer 10 questions about cycling in Scandinavia.

Denmark

Copenhagen is often considered the most bike-friendly city in the world. Tourists are often overwhelmed by the number of bicycles flying by, and children are taught to ride before they’re even old enough to go to school. Thanks to bicycle-friendly measures taken by the city, nearly half of all Copenhageners commute to work by bike, and 35 percent of all people who work in Copenhagen—those who live in the suburbs included—commute on their bicycles. Cyclists enjoy 390 kilometers (about 242 miles) of designated bike lanes, and Greater Copenhagen now has a “Cycle Super Highway” which connects the city to the town of Albertslund with plenty of amenities along the way, like air pumps, safer intersections, and traffic lights timed to average cycling speed to minimize stopping.

Culture Trip has a blog called “The Most Spectacular Places to Cycle in Denmark.” They discuss Bornholm Island, Svendborg, South Funen Archipelago, Frederikshavn, Rold Skov (Forest), Limfjord Cycle Route, and Fur Island.

Another website to check out is Visit Denmark “Plan your cycling route online.”

Bicycle relay in Finland crossing Hämeensilta bridge. (Finnish Museum of Photography)

Finland

With largely flat landscapes, long hours of summer daylight, and miles of beautiful countryside, Finland is ideal for cyclists from amateur to professional.

Culture Trip has a blog called “The Most Spectacular Places to Cycle in Finland” (we are beginning to see a Culture Trip pattern.) They are Turku Archipelago (see Visit Finland’s website on this cycling trip), The King’s Road, Häme, The Iron Curtain Trail, and Rovaniemi.

You can find bike maps from Finland at BikeMap. Also, Bicycle Touring Pro has a blog about cycling 650 kilometers across Finland.

Iceland

According to our friends at Culture Trip, “Iceland’s various landscapes of awe-inspiring nature will be even more intimate when experienced from the open air of your bicycle. Be one with the weather in this spectacular places to cycle in Iceland.”

Iceland chair lift. Photo from Iceland Monitor

And they do, of course, have The Most Spectacular Places to Cycle in Iceland. Included are Reykjavik, Svalvogar Circuit in the Westfjörds, the Highlands, and Snæfellsnes Peninsula. They also include some advice if you decide to cycle in Iceland.

An excellent site with everything you need to know about cycling through Iceland is part of the website Inspired By Iceland.

Of course, if you are in Reykjavik you can go to the Skálafell Bike Park where bikes are transported by chair lift.

Iceland Monitor

And if you are in Iceland you may see Joff Summerfield, from the UK riding a penny-farthing or high wheel bike.

Norway

Our pals at Culture Trip say “Norway is a huge and hugely beautiful country. It stretches over a distance equal to that from Denmark to Rome, so there is plenty of variation and diversity to find in the landscape, and plenty of breathtaking cycling routes of varying difficulty to explore all over the country.”

Biking in Norway

Here is their list of The Most Spectacular Places to Cycle in Norway: Sørlandet, Oslo, Bergen to Haugesund, Geilo, Rallarvegen, Oppdal. Smøla, Helgeland, Lofoten, Lyngen, and Finnmark.

Visit Norway provides information on 10 of their national cycle routes you can take in Norway. In addition there is information on rules of cycling in Norway:

When cycling on the roads in Norway, the same traffic regulations and road signs apply to you as to cars and other vehicles:

  • Keep to the right.
  • Give way to those coming from your right.
  • Don’t drink and bike.
  • You may cycle on the pavement, but adapt your speed.
  • You may not cycle on motorways and dual carriageways.
  • Only children under the age of 10 may be carried as passengers.
  • Always wear a helmet when cycling. A high visibility vest is a good idea, especially on busy roads.
Trondheim Norway – Thanks for cycling.

Your bike must have this mandatory equipment:

  • white or yellow light in the front
  • red light in the back
  • red reflector in the rear
  • white or yellow reflectors on the pedals
  • two brakes that work independently
  • bicycle bell

Sweden

Ulvon, Sweden

Last, and certainly not least, Sweden “With its long-winding roads and routes dedicated to cycling both in the cities and spread across the coasts and inner-rural byways, Sweden is jam-packed with spectacular places to cycle.”

Our final Scandinavian stop at Culture Trip gives us “The Most Spectacular Places to Cycle in Sweden.” They recommend: Klarälvsbanan, Kattegattleden, Åre Bike Park, Göta Canal, and Baltic Sea Cycle Route.

Visit Sweden will introduce you to five long cycle routes in Sweden. You can also learn how to enjoy a day on your bike in Sweden.

For some immediate Nordic culture, you can always cycle to Ingebretsen’s. We’d love to see you. But don’t wait too long.