When we travel in Scandinavia, we usually think of fjords and beautiful landscapes. Rarely do we consider a road itself as a standout attraction. But one road in Norway has gained such fame and sparked numerous discussions—the Atlantic Road. It has sparked so much curiosity and debate that we can’t help but wonder: Is it worth all the attention, or is it just overrated?
What is Atlantic Road in Norway exactly?
The Atlantic Road is an unusual stretch of road located along Norway’s scenic coastline. Despite its grand name, it spans just over 8 kilometers in length. So, why is it called the Atlantic Road? Well, it earned its name due to its proximity to the majestic Atlantic Ocean.
What makes the Atlantic Road special and fascinating is its connection with many little islands through bridges and causeways. It’s not just a regular road, but a thrilling experience for anyone who visits. The most exciting part of the road is the Storseisundet Bridge, which looks incredibly impressive as it curves dramatically over the water. This bridge is what makes the Atlantic Road famous and draws both locals and tourists to come and see it.
History and Figures of the Atlantic Road
The construction of the road began in 1983 and completed in 1989. Located in Norway’s Møre og Romsdal county, it stretches over 8,274 meters. The road connects the mainland with eight islands and islets using eight bridges. The average driving time to traverse the Atlantic Road is approximately 20-25 minutes, allowing you to enjoy the coastal scenery. The bridges blend in with the natural surroundings, creating a visually pleasing experience.
The Atlantic Road experience
Driving the Atlantic Road is a unique driving experience. As you navigate this route, you’ll get dazzling views of the Norwegian coastline, with the open sea stretching out before you. The road winds along the edge of the islands and islets, offering stunning panoramic vistas and the chance to witness the power and beauty of the ocean. The bridges that connect the islands add to the thrill of the journey, creating a sense of adventure as you drive from one island to another.
Can you walk the Atlantic Road in Norway?
While it is technically possible to walk along the Atlantic Road in Norway, it is not intended for pedestrians to do so. The road is primarily designed for vehicle traffic and lacks dedicated pedestrian paths. Meaning that walkers would need to share the narrow road with passing cars, which can be dangerous and uncomfortable. The speed and proximity of vehicles passing will also hinder the ability to fully enjoy the scenery along the road.
Can you make stops at the Atlantic Road?
Yes, you can make several stops, and it is highly encouraged! There are many parking areas and viewpoints where you can pull over, take photos or enjoy the scenery. There is a spacious parking lot available at the famous viewpoint, on the Kristiansund side of the bridge. From this point, there is a walkway that leads you toward the bridge, allowing you to get a closer look. However, if you’re seeking the most dramatic view, it’s better to walk up the hill a bit from the pathway.
Are there any hotels and restaurants on Atlantic Road?
There are no hotels or restaurants directly on the Atlantic Road itself, but there are several in the nearby towns and villages. Some of the closest cities to the Atlantic Road include:
Kristiansund is a beautiful coastal city, very close to the Atlantic Road in Norway. It’s the nearest place to stay if you want to explore Atlantic Road. Kristiansund consists of four islands connected by bridges, and it’s easy to reach the Atlantic Road from here. You’ll find several hotels, tasty seafood restaurants, and many places to visit, like the Kristiansund Opera House.
Find the best hotels in Kristiansund here:
Molde serves as a convenient base for exploring Atlantic Road. While Molde itself is not directly connected to the Atlantic Road, it is easily accessible from the town. Visitors to Molde can enjoy a range of amenities, including hotels, restaurants, and cultural attractions such as the Molde International Jazz Festival.
Find the best hotels in Molde here:
Ålesund also serves as a gateway to the Atlantic Road in Norway. It doesn’t offer a direct connection to the Atlantic Road, but it is a great starting point for exploring the route. Visitors to Ålesund can enjoy a range of attractions, including Art Nouveau architecture and panoramic views from Mount Aksla.
Find the best hotels in Ålesund here:
What are the negatives of the Atlantic Road?
Traffic is usually heavy
Nobody wants to get stuck in traffic during their holidays. However, this is not uncommon on the Atlantic Road, and it can detract from that peaceful atmosphere. It might be challenging to find moments when the road is empty, like in all these pictures. Therefore, it’s advisable to plan your visit during less busy times.
The weather is unpredictable
The unpredictable weather in Norway can have two negative impacts on your experience. Firstly, it can make it challenging to make stops along the road and fully enjoy the scenery. Sudden rain showers or strong winds may deter you from stepping out of the car. Secondly, the weather conditions can also affect visibility, especially during foggy or stormy weather.
The road can be dangerous
With its curves and bridges, the Atlantic Road can be a bit tricky to navigate. So, remember to take it slow and steady, especially around those bends! Believe it or not, around 15 accidents happen each year. This is not much, but we don’t want to add to that statistic. So, keep your eyes on the road, follow the speed limits, and be mindful of other drivers.
There is a large number of tourists
Atlantic Road attracts around 250,000 visitors each year! That’s a whole lot of people, and it’s no surprise that the prime spots along the road can get snatched up pretty quickly. Those picture-perfect viewpoints? Yep, you guessed it, they’re often jam-packed. So, if you want to secure the best seats in the house, it’s a good idea to arrive early or be ready for a bit of a crowd.
So, is the Atlantic Road overrated?
Well, yes and no. Here’s the truth: while some people go crazy calling it the most mind-blowing road on the planet, let’s be real, it’s not quite that. Sure, it’s beautiful and all, but other routes in Scandinavia offer even better views. Take Trollstigen or the Lofoten Islands, for example – they’ll blow your mind!
All in all, driving the Atlantic Road won’t change your life, but hey, it’s just an 8-kilometer stretch of road! If you’ve got some spare time and fancy a road trip, go for it! Just don’t set too high expectations, and be ready for the hordes of tourists and travelers.