Europe’s best cycle rides: Norway & Iceland

Whether it’s a long-haul bike ride at a sedate pace or an adrenaline-fuelled dart down Alpe D’Huez, we’ve got you covered here

Lonely Planet’s Epic Bike Rides of Europe does exactly what it says on the tin, giving you options from the 1,555-mile (2,500km) Norwegian Atlantic coast to the Megavalanche in France.

Not only epic, but also immensely challenging and time consuming, the Atlantic Coast Route hugs almost the entirety of the Norwegian coast from Bergen to the very tip of the Arctic Circle. This stunning ride along the EuroVelo1 bike route will challenge your soul and enrich your life, with plentiful views of fjords and dramatic coastline scenery. For those who don’t have an entire month or more to commit to such a challenge, then, about 300 miles (480km) north of Bergen, there’s the Atlantic Road, a smaller 50-mile (80km) stretch between Kristiansund and Bud, that takes you through a tunnel literally under the ocean, across some outstandingly designed bridges, and Norway’s most striking islands and nature points.
Start // Bergen
Finish // The North Cape
Distance // 1555 miles (2500 km)

There’s a reason why Iceland features on the to-do list of so many cycle tourers. Glaciers, geysers, lava fields, volcanoes, lunar landscapes and thunderous waterfalls are just a few of its geological delights, and reason enough for its nickname: the Island of Fire and Ice. The paved Route 1 – otherwise known as the Ring Road – is a popular undertaking, though head inland, following its network of highland dirt roads, to where the most remote and challenging terrain is to be found. Good waterproof clothing is de rigueur for cycling in Iceland, as inclement weather is rarely far away. Be sure to bring a sturdy tent too, as incoming fronts roll in from the Atlantic, bringing stout winds in their wake. Best undertaken in the European summer, when the days are endlessly long, and the temperatures milder.
Start/Finish // Reykjavík
Distance 828 miles (1,332km)

Not one for winter, when the islands will be covered in snow and ice, but a dreamy summer trip, where families can enjoy cycling in the magical Arctic light, never-ending days, and even take a ride under the Midnight Sun. This narrow chain of islands has more mountains than the rest of Norway put together, which makes for a dramatic panorama, yet, surprisingly, much of the cycling is on flat, easy terrain. Enjoy a landscape of jagged peaks, moorlands, lakes and fjords, while sea birds and eagles soar all around. You’ll find plenty of beaches to relax on and, if you’re feeling hardy, you can have an extremely refreshing dip in the icy sea.
Start // Svolvær
Finish // Henningsvær
Distance // 16 miles (26km)

Lonely Planet’s Epic Bike Rides of Europe is available from RRP £24.99 

Reproduced with permission from Lonely Planet © 2020