"Why I love cycling in Norway, above the Arctic Circle"

Sarah Maclachlan

Nov / 30 / 2018

I sometimes wonder if the Norwegians are aware that they have created a network of roads that are perfect for road-biking, particularly in the beautiful region above the Arctic Circle. By accident or by design, they have created a paradise for cyclists.

The roads wind their way around peaceful fjords, past the most breathtaking mountain peaks you’re ever likely to see, and along dramatic coastlines. And with typical Norwegian quality, the roads are smooth, with barely a pothole in sight!

So when the Arctic Race of Norway announced that the 7th edition of the race would be held in the Lofoten Islands Archipelago we were as delighted as the ladies pictured below. The Lofoten Islands are a world-famous destination for adventurers, and it is the ideal location for a bike tour.

The Arctic Race of Norway is held every year above the Arctic Circle. The race is 4 days long and is one of the lesser known UCI sponsored professional cycling tours ... but it definitely deserves more attention. The event is run as professionally and efficiently as any we have seen. The organising partners are Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO) and Arctic Race of Norway (AS). The race was first hosted in 2011 and since then the race has travelled through much of northern Norway.

In 2017 we took the opportunity to recce the race. What we experienced way exceeded our expectations ... the ridiculously beautiful scenery, the endless days (literally!), delicious food, great coffee shops, and smooth roads. We were hooked!

So hooked, that Grand Tours Project has now become the "Official Tour Operator" of the Arctic Race of Norway.

Lofoten Islands Archipelago. When I first travelled through the Lofoten Islands as part of our recce, the scenery took my breath away. I can't describe it better than Lonely Planet ...

"You'll never forget your first approach to the Lofoten Islands. The islands' tall, craggy profiles stand against the sky like some spiky sea dragon. The beauty of this place is simply staggering. The main islands are separated from the mainland by Vestfjorden, but all are connected by road bridges and tunnels. On each are sheltered bays, sheep pastures and picturesque villages."

The Lofotens are truly unforgettable!

The food! The quality and variety of the Norwegian cuisine also surprised me. Seafood is a specialty, and we enjoyed some fantastic fish dishes at local restaurants. But we also savoured a wide variety of other flavours and dishes, and the locals have certainly embraced the cafe culture ... perfect for cyclists who love a good coffee, hot chocolate, panini and muffin.

Tromsø. I love this city! It is perched on an island, with views in all directions, and has a buzz and excitement about it that really surprised me. Great restaurants, cafes, and shopping, and we could have spent many more days here, exploring the city and the local region. So in designing our tour in 2019, we knew we wanted to come back here again. We also knew that the route from Narvik to Tromsø is spectacular for cyclists (along Senja island), so I am so excited about our tour for next year.

Join us, for a bike tour you will never forget!