If you’re someone who prefers the journey over the destination, Norway’s iconic Atlantic Road might just be the best place for you. Book your next vacation now and start navigating its many twists and turns over multiple islands.
One of the country’s 18 total national tourist routes, the road is officially known as Atlanterhavsveien. Spanning a distance of just over five miles, it takes you over eight bridges, all of them both necessary and awe-worthy, as you make your way across the archipelago. Although its main goal was to connect the Averøy municipality to the mainland, it’s engineers clearly put a lot more into it than that. Since its completion in 1989, it’s offered people myriad opportunities to soak in local culture and scenery.
The road takes you through several small villages like Kårvåg and Vevang, all of which of offer breathtaking views the coastline. In fact, the water is so close to the road that it splatters right up over it during stormy weather. On sunny days, or if you’re just up for an adventure, you can stop at one of Atlanterhavsveien’s many roadside pull-outs to take in the scenery. Hike along the rocky shoreline or climb a hill for even more encompassing views, or even bike or walk the road itself for an immersive seabreeze experience. Just remember to bring your camera to capture all the crashing waves, spectacular sunsets, and bridges on the horizon.
The eye-catching design doesn’t stop with the windy road or expansive bridges, either. Even the viewpoints have been crafted to let you take in the scenery and well-engineered highway. The easy-to-access roadside Askevågen viewpoint, for example, takes you out on a gangplank with glass sides and leaves you feeling like you’re floating over the waves. One bridge even accommodates a historic local fishing hole — and yes, it’s still open for business. Other villages along the route allow you to stop for lunch, take in some jazz music, and catch guided fishing tours.
As you’ve probably already guessed, it was no easy feat designing a road that wildly lept across several islands and inlets. For instance, a staggering 12 windstorms struck the area during construction, delaying the project’s completion for six years. The 122-million kr (Norwegian krone) venture was 75-percent funded by grants, with the expectation that tolls would make up the other 25 percent within 15 years. Much to the delight of everyone involved, that debt was paid in full in less than ten.
Since then, the now toll-free road has welcomed countless wanderlusters and earned recognition through several important accolades. The Guardian labeled the journey “the world’s best road trip,” placing it above even the Himalayas. National broadcaster NRK dubbed it “Norwegian Construction of the Century,” and in 2011, Fifth Gear called it “the world’s best place for car testing,” which lead to a slew of car commercials being filmed on the curvy pavement.