With stunning scenery from the remarkable bridges and footpaths, the Atlantic Ocean Road is one of Norway’s most famous road trips. Here’s how to plan a trip to remember.
Popularised through its starring role in Daniel Craig’s final stint as James Bond in “No Time To Die”, Norway’s Atlantic Road is no stranger to the spotlight.
This mesmerising five-mile stretch of Norway’s route 64 has graced both the small and big screens numerous times since its inauguration in 1989. The fame has made it a popular destination for road trip enthusiasts and film buffs alike.
Deemed one of Norway’s 18 national scenic routes, the Atlantic Road has seen considerable investment to elevate the visitor experience. This includes amenities like restroom facilities, pedestrian walkways, and other intriguing attractions.
Where is the Atlantic Road?
Route 64 links Molde and Kristiansund, two small towns on Norway’s west coast. On this route, the stretch known as the Atlantic Road links the western part of Averøy Island with the mainland.
While the five-mile drive draws global attention, the designated ‘scenic route’ actually spans an impressive 22 miles from Kårvåg to Bud. This offers travellers a wealth of experiences beyond the most famous section while travelling between Molde and Kristiansund.
Introducing the Atlantic Road
The Atlantic Road – or Atlanterhavsvegen as it is known in Norwegian – is a marvel of modern engineering and one of the highlights of any trip to Norway.
Its distinctive bridges, stunning views, and strategically placed rest areas make this route a must-experience journey for any road-based traveller. It’s also often possible to visit the road on cruise ship excursions from Molde or Kristiansund.
The crown jewel of the Atlantic Road is the iconic Storseisundet bridge. Frequently referred to as ‘the road to nowhere,’ this cantilever bridge is the longest of the eight bridges on the route, measuring 260 meters.
Its unusual design creates an optical illusion when approached from a particular angle, appearing as though the road ends abruptly, dropping into the sea.
This feature alone makes Storseisundet a remarkable photo opportunity and a thrilling, rollercoaster-like experience for drivers and their passengers.
Another impressive spot is the Myrbærholm bridge. On either side of the road are specially-built walkways for keen anglers to try their hand at fishing. Thanks to the strong tidal current, it’s possible to fish for cod, pollock, mackerel and coalfish.
Rest areas and viewpoints
As you travel along the Atlantic Road, several rest areas and viewpoints are strategically placed for you to pause and soak in the stunning landscape.
Eldhusøya is one such rest area that stands out. Located on an islet, this rest area is circled by a floating footpath. Visitors can stroll the 700-metre-long path while enjoying the 360-degree ocean view, and maybe even spot some local wildlife.
The rest area also has an architectural gem in the form of a service building designed to blend into the landscape. Inside, visitors can find a café and facilities for an ideal pit stop.
A little further on the road, you’ll find the viewpoint Askevågen, an architectural marvel of a rest area designed by Reiulf Ramstad Arkitekter.
Its large window panels protect visitors from spray while providing a panoramic view of the Atlantic, meaning it’s a favourite spot for photographers.
Not all the Atlantic Road highlights are along the road itself. Not far from the road, you’ll be able to spot a collection of vacation cottages clustered together on Håholmen island.
Once an important trade and fishing community, Håholmen today is a protected village that offers corporate events and rustic accommodation for travellers. In high season, boat transport is available to Håholmen from the Atlantic Road rest area on the island Geitøya.
Even if you don’t visit Håholmen, a stop on Geitøya offers a good opportunity to stretch your legs and enjoy a picnic while taking in the breathtaking views of the sea and mountains.
Cycling the Atlantic Road
For those who prefer two wheels to four, the route is an integral part of Norway’s national cycle route 1. This popular route for cycling enthusiasts stretches along the entire coastline of Norway and between Bergen and the North Cape. It’s also part of the pan-European route, EuroVelo1.
However, it’s essential to exercise caution during the busy summer months due to heavy traffic, potential distractions, strong winds, and occasional ocean spray.
Beyond the Atlantic Road
Many a driver dreams of embarking on a road trip around Norway’s breathtaking fjords, with the Atlantic Road often at the top of their wish-list.
However, this majestic region deserves more than a fleeting ten-minute drive across its bridges. To truly immerse in the locale’s rich culture and unique landscape, consider planning an extended itinerary.
An ideal starting point is the coastal town of Kristiansund, known for its array of well-regarded fish and seafood restaurants.
This town also serves as the gateway to the Atlantic Ocean Tunnel, which has made accessing the Atlantic Road considerably easier since it opened in December 2009. Entirely toll-free since 2020, the 3.5-mile-long undersea tunnel is another feat of engineering worth experiencing.
Upon emerging from the Atlantic Ocean Tunnel, you’ll be greeted by the scenic Averøy island.
Instead of heading directly onto the Atlantic Road, slow down and explore the charming old fishing village Sveggen. This provides an opportunity for a coastal walk that offers stunning views and a serene atmosphere.
Visit the historic Kvernes Stave Church, a great example of Norwegian stave church architecture, or soak up more local history and culture at the nearby Kvernes rural museum. While enjoying the island’s rugged landscapes, keep an eye out for some of the local wildlife.
Bud fishing village
The vibrant waterfront houses hint at Bud’s past as a prominent trading post along the coastal route between Bergen and Trondheim. Now, Bud offers a more tranquil ambiance, intriguing visitors with its charm and significant war history.
The Ergan Coastal Fort, built by German occupiers during World War Two, stands as a testament to its past, now restored as a war memorial museum. In addition, a colony of black-legged kittiwakes making Bud their summer home offers wildlife lovers and photographers an interesting subject to observe.
Coastal artwork of Vevang
The western end of the renowned road brings you to Vevang. Known for its coastal path and awe-inspiring views of the ocean landscape, Vevang also offers artistic surprises.
Along the path, visitors will encounter ‘Columna Transatlantica’, a marble sculpture by artist Jan Freuchen. This unique artwork, inspired by toppled Greek columns, beautifully contrasts with the natural surrounding elements.
Ocean view at Askevågen
If your love for ocean views remains unquenched by the end of your journey, Askevågen is the place to be.
The purpose-built viewpoint at the end of the breakwater presents a breathtaking panoramic view of the ocean flanked by a mountainous shoreline, wrapping up your Atlantic Road adventure on a majestic note.
Have you driven Norway’s Atlantic Road? Let us know your impressions and your favourite parts of the journey in the comments below. We’d love to hear from you!