We’ve talked about it before but we feel like it didn’t get all the attention it’s actually worth. If you’re just itching to step out of the office and take a road trip, Kystriksveien (County Road 17) is undoubtedly one of Norway’s most beautiful routes through the country. This 650 km long coastal route is really worth spending at least three to four days (or more) to really experience some breathtaking Norwegian landscapes. You won’t be disappointed by this road trip, we promise. Here are some of our top stops along the way.
Starting Point: Steinkjer
The city of Steinkjer has a rich history and is essentially the beginning of the Coastal Highway if you start at the South end. So we would recommend getting an evening rest in this city (like at the centrally located Quality Hotel Grand Steinkjer before you start your long drive. For a little history: in the year 1900, the entire city was actually almost destroyed by in a fire. The city had to be rebuilt only to be destroyed again during World War 2, when it was subsequently bombed. Here you’ll find the Steinkjer Church, which has a modern character and features a free-standing bell tower. See the stained glass art? It was created by Norwegian artist, Jakob Weidemann. Steinkjer is situated just south of Skjækra, Norway’s geographic middle point where the mountainous landscape offers great views, fantastic fishing and many hiking trails.
Driving route: Steinkjer – Namsos
Driving time: 1 hr 11 min Distance: 74.3 km Google Map
Namsos was founded in 1845 and has at it’s relatively young age, been destroyed many times. Three to be specific. Two times by fire and the last one during World War 2, by bomb. Namsos has also had several sawmills because of it’s proximity to large forest areas. Today however there’s only one sawmill left, Moelven Van Severen; and one sawmill museum, Spillum Dampsag & Høvleri. This is Norway’s only museum for steam-operated sawmills. Other than sawmills, Namsos’ main attraction is the mountain top of Klompen which offers a beautiful view over the city.
Driving route: Namsos – Høylandet
Driving time: 53 min Distance: 50.9 km
Høylandet, although a smaller municipality by size has lots of nature experiences to offer. Among many other things, it is home to an impressively beautiful 75-metre waterfall called Grongstadfossen. With over 200 lakes and rivers, the area is also very well known for having plenty of fishing opportunities. If you also brought your bike along, great idea! There are loads of biking trails in the area as well.
Driving route: Høylandet – Rørvik
Driving time: 1 hr 35 min Distance: 109 km
When you drive from Høylandet, you’ll head outwards around a little coastal town called Rørvik surrounded by a thousand islands. Here you’ll find the coastal museum Norveg, one of Norway’s most spectacular buildings and museums. Indulge yourself in 10,000 years worth of interesting history. So be sure to leave Høylandet in good time, because with over 6,000 islands here it’s definitely a pit stop to do some island hopping.
Driving route: Rørvik – Brønnøysund
Driving time: 2 hr 47 min
Distance: 141 km
When you get to Brønnøysund, there are a lot of fun things to do. First off, pay a visit to Torghatten, a well known mountain that has a special mark, a hole right through it! The hole is 20m wide, 35m high and 160m long. It is possible to walk up the tunnel but be sure to stay safe!
If you’re interested in aquaculture or fish farming you’ll also be pleasantly entertained. Visit the Norwegian Aquaculture Center, see the process close up and get some delicious dinner as the grande finale. If you have time you should also head to Lomsdal-Visten National Park. The area has untouched forest and wilderness with great fishing and hiking routes.
Driving route: Brønnøysund – Vega
Driving time: 1 hr 24 min
Distance: 38.2 km
Here’s another world heritage awarded pearl you’ll want to see. If you want a different museum experience you should visit the world heritage exhibit to learn more about the islands and their history. To get some exercise you can rent bikes as the terrain is flat and roads are in good condition. If you’re more of a sea creature there are also kayaks available for rent. Remember to budget for a ferry across to get to the island.
Driving route: Herøy – Bodø
Driving time: 6 hr 14 min Distance: 354 km
Bodø is the final leg of this road trip and the northernmost town of Kystriksveien. It is also one of the longest legs of the trips, so it might just take you two days. Make a stopover in Mo i Rana where you can stay overnight before you head straight to Bodø city. Here you’ll find a rich animal and bird life, the town even has the world’s greatest population of white-tailed eagles!
Other than birdwatching you can visit the Norwegian Aviation Museum – a popular pick for both adults and kids. Then of course, there is Saltstraumen, a unique strait where the tidal currents are the strongest in the world. Check out Clarion Collection Hotel Grand Bodø to stay close to the main shopping street and marina.
That was a few of our favourite stops along the way. You can of course take as many stops and routes off the road along the way, so make it your own!