The Atlantic Ocean Road
Right after arriving the previous night into Trondheim, we dedicated today, the entire Saturday, for doing our road day trip towards Kristiansund and across some of the incredibly beautiful landscapes of this region of Norway. In the other hand it really does not matter wherever you go within this county, everywhere is absolutely unspoiled with some of the greatest natural sceneries in the world. As we’ve now been to most of the key landmarks in Norway, including many of the famous fjords, some of which the largest in the world; the Preikestolen (Pulpit Rock) by the Lysefjorden, Oslo, the beautiful cities of Stavanger and Bergen; then there was something still to do on the agenda: The Atlantic Ocean Road.
OK, OK. Yes; there are still more places in the wish-list such as Tromso, Nordkapp or seeing the Northern Lights; but for now they will have to wait for future trips, most likely from next year. The agenda is by far already too busy until the end of this year, and unless something turns out during late November/beginning of December then there are no more weekends without a trip booked.
From Trondheim the route I planned was the E39 to Kristiansund, and farther beyond in order to pass by the more and more famous and visited Atlantic Ocean Road. Once a very quiet and remote road that since being featured on TV, travel sites, or being nominated as the world’s best road trip, listed National Tourist Route, Cultural Heritage of Norway and the Norwegian Construction of the Century to name a few; it has became a worldwide attraction! And I see the clear reason anyway. You have to be there to experience it, truly exciting and beautiful.
Heading south starts straight forward, until you will start reaching end points in the road leading to a ferry crossing. This is another of the famous stamps of driving through Norway. Ending up in a ferry! With so many fjords and masses of water to cross, it is one of the countries with the largest amount of ferry-crossings in the world. Fortunately once you reach Kristiansund, the “newly” constructed Atlantic Ocean Tunnel saves you from having to take another ferry to reach Averoy and continue south. The over 5km long tunnel is among one of the deepest in the world. Farther along the road, it’s matter of few more kilometres until you reach the Atlantic Ocean Road. Little over 8km or bending road and bridges over a small belt of natural islands. Do not worry about where to stop for the picture perfect view. There are several resting areas and viewing points cleverly located to capture the best views.
As for the city of Kristiansund, sounds ironic to say it is one of the most densely populated cities of Norway, having the country’s most urban small city centre. Now to the numbers, the city’s population is not even 25000! But space is the limitation, with very reduced area hence such resulting fact. Visiting the city is easy and won’t take you that much, so do not plan to spend here an entire day as it will be too overestimated for what you really need.
For more information about Kristiansund check Wikipedia and Wikitravel sites. You have a great article about the Atlantic Ocean Road in this Wikipedia link. Norway’s currency is the Norwegian Krone (NOK). Please note that any price reference is true as from when this guide was created, therefore check prices in advance as with the time they change.
What to see and do in Kristiansund
- Grip Island Far moth of Kristiansund, the only way to reach it is by boat. It is nowadays a deserted fishing village, but a popular tourist destination where you can find Norway’s smallest stave church, dating from the 15th century.
- Kirkelandet Church Built in 1964 by the architect Odd Østbye is a very singular piece of architecture on its own.
- Norwegian Clipfish Museum The region from Kristiansund towards the north of Norway has always been famous for the production of clipfish (dried salty cod fish). In the city you can visit one of the best museums about it on a former clipfish factory.
- Kristiansund Opera The oldest opera house in Norway, from 1914 in art-nouveau-style. One of the very few buildings to survive the bombing of the city during World War II.
- Streets around Where you can see many wooden houses so characteristic on the region.
Landscapes and the Atlantic Ocean Road
- Trondheim to Kristiansund Very scenic route along the E39 road, passing through fjords, mountains, lakes, rives, small colourful wooden fishing villages. Bear in mind there is a toll and a car-ferry crossing along the way. The distance between both cities is 198 kilometres. Read below under transports about the costs for the ferry, tunnel and road.
- Kristiansund to the Atlantic Ocean Road Via the Route 64, it soon takes you to the world famous drive through the islands. It is an extra 40 kilometres west of Kristiansund until you reach the end of the Atlantic Road at Vevang. No tolls nor further tunnels or expenses involve this part of the road.
Kristiansund has an airport, 6 kilometres from the centre but only serves a bunch of national routes. From the airport to the city there is a bus running every 30 minutes. The nearest international airport is Trondheim (the one we came to), and pretty much your only option, unless flying to Oslo or Bergen and changing onto the short internal connecting flight to Kristiansund. We found our tickets with Norwegian from/to London Gatwick.
There is no railway line serving the city, meaning the only possible ways left to reach are by road or by boat. While the boat option won’t be of much help to you unless you have plenty of time, then the best way to reach this place and explore the area is by getting a rental car. Although it will not come cheap at all being in fact one of the most expensive car rental you’ve probably come across, but it is how it is, otherwise what’s the point to plan a trip here? These are all facts you must consider prior of making a flight booking. Along the road from Trondheim to Kristiansund there are several paying tolls, those are automatic and you do not have to do anything but drive through. The bill will come after few days from your rental car office. The ferry cross costs 131 NOK for a car and 2 people per way. The tunnel costs 93 NOK for the car and 1 person, with 37 NOK extra per person. As you see, this trip will definitely won’t come cheap.
Within the small city there is no need to say that you will not need any public transportation. Although the city is made up of 4 islands, it in only at one of them where the historic old town is, and it is matter of minutes from one side to the opposite on foot. There is however the Sundbåt. This ferry services makes a circle trip every 30 minutes along the 4 islands of Kristiansund. It is the world’s oldest motorized regular public transport system in continuous service.
Like anywhere in Norway, and pretty much any Northern Europe countries, the price for a hotel per night are some of the highest across the 50 countries that form Europe as a continent. Getting a good deal is hard, high or low season, so you are left with what it is, hence when considering planning a trip to Kristiansund or Trondheim, also consider the extra cost for your hotel. Sometimes a great deal on a flight will not mean the over all cost of the trip is going to be low, as you need to add up accommodation and food costs which pile quickly up.
As usual, a good point to start your search is by checking some of our preferred hotel search engine websites such as Hotels.com, Booking.com, Expedia, Otel.com, Agoda, Opodo, LateRooms or Ebookers. We chose airb&b this time and worked perfectly. We made the base in Trondheim and were not in the city centre but we did not really need it since we had a car to go everywhere. Still, it came to over £80 considering no breakfast, just a room with a bed.