Vikings – Copenhagen to Alesund

VIKINGS - COPENHAGEN TO ALESUND CYCLING TOUR OVERVIEW

Rising like a storm out of the sparkling canals of Copenhagen to a crescendo among the epic fjords, snowy peaks and roaring waterfalls of Norway.

Invaders, predators, barbarians – the Vikings are often portrayed as one-dimensional warriors whose achievements include little more than plundering and raiding. But from where did the Vikings originate? In 793, terror descended on the coast of Northumbria as armed raiders attacked the defenceless monastery of St Cuthbert on Lindisfarne. The terrified monks watched helplessly as the invaders made off with a haul of treasure and a clutch of captives. It was the first recorded raid by the Vikings, seaborne pirates from Scandinavia who would prey on coastal communities in north-western Europe for more than two centuries and create for themselves a reputation as fierce and pitiless warriors. We will journey into their heartland.

Building into the Odyssey we roll out of Copenhagen, against the flow of commuters of which 50% travel by bike. Leaving the Michelin Star capital of the world (which of course we will experience) we ride towards UNESCO Roskilde, home of Viking longships and gateway to the Isefjord where charming villages dot meadows that gently roll down to the lake. Crossing to one of Europe's cultural hubs Aarhus, we continue our journey which grows each day in ambition - Denmark is the flat cycling king of Europe and we will enjoy this tempo - knowing that ahead, once we cross the Kattegat (North Sea) the terrain will change. The Vikings raided all of Europe from these lands and their remnants are everywhere to be seen from shipyards to burial grounds, to Viking villages - we will travel with history as we board our own vessel to cross to Norway (and when we board Viking longships later in our journey)!

Landing in Larvik we know we have changed land formations as the hills grow and the waterfalls gush around us. We ride deep into Norway, to the famed Telemark with ancient churches and historic hotels - with breathtaking saunas sitting on calm fjords with mountains rising from the water's edge. Heading west we descend the 27 switchbacks of Lysebotn - this is a road that needs to be seen to be believed. Hitting the Lysefjord we ferry into Stavanger and on to Bergen which makes the perfect changeover point with its smorgasbord of restaurants, museums and heritage waterfront.

Stage 2 and the fjord expedition begins in earnest! With, of course, the best of rewards - epic roads, views and scenery, great hotels, restaurants and experiences. The Fjords of Norway are some of the most dramatic landforms on earth which makes this region a genuine marvel for road cyclists. Many are World Heritage listed and we ride along the best of them springboarding from one sparkling waterway to the next over amazing switchbacked roads past roaring waterfalls and pretty villages. Our journey begins as we boat along our first stage 2 fjord out of Bergen, heading east along the Hardangerfjord where we jump on our bikes. You'll have to concentrate hard as the views are spectacular! From Viking-built churches to cycling under the Skjervsfossen waterfalls, these are great riding days. At adventure capital Voss, we turn north boarding a boat to bridge the kilometre-deep spectacular Sognefjord heading into the Sognefjellet Mountains. The snowy peaks grow as we head to Grotli (which is very much not!) where we take you on a little diversion into our favourite local corner of this epic cycling region - see highlights below. Then back on the road the Dalsnibba and Geirangerfjord await - amazing scenery and must-sees in Norway - two of so many with the Trollstigen 'Troll's path' ahead. Known as Norway's Alpe d'Huez we will ride down it (and back up if you are super keen!) before finishing our epic journey along the Atlantic Ocean road to beautiful Alesund.

95% of the video above was filmed on the inaugural Vikings Odyssey, June 2024. Thanks to Mathew at Cycle Norway and Visit Norway for the other 5% and for their aid in setting up this epic adventure!

VIKINGS

COPENHAGEN TO ALESUND

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Tour Leader - Henrick Murphy

Henrick mixes charming Irish heritage with Italian style to ensure his tours are fun, relaxed and only the best quality.

VIKINGS BIKE TOUR HIGHLIGHTS
Stage 1- Copenhagen to Bergen

  • Copenhagen is the epitome of Scandi cool - a culinary powerhouse and cyclist's haven among pristine waterways and modernist architecture - a magic start to our epic journey.
  • North Jutland - Denmark's best natural landscapes and cycling. Note, Denmark is regularly voted the best country to ride a bike in the world.
  • The Viking Ship museum at Roskilde! Naturally one of our first stops and beyond the epic history it is the gateway to Isefjord where beautiful villages and fields gently roll down to the water.
  • Aarhus - one of the smallest towns ever to be awarded as a cultural capital of Europe! A great little stop after our ferry across from Jutland.
  • Skagerrak and Kattegat at Skagen! The clashing waves of the Baltic and North Seas meet at Skagen, a beautiful little town where the weather, caught between two oceans, never fails to be sunny (genuinely!)
  • Follow the Viking Trail, from Roskilde to Lindholm Høje, an amazing burial mound with 700 Viking graves just outside Aalborg.
  • Gorgeous Telemark, our introduction to Norway - picturesque villages, tiny roads, no traffic and our introduction to......
  • Fjords and lakes! This is the start of our exploration of them, there are many to come in Stage 2 but Stage 1 has a few crackers - Lysefjord and the Telemark's Vråvatn, Bandak and Kviteseidvatn.
  • Lysebotn - the most spectacular switchbacked road you will ever see. We descend before jumping on a boat down the epic Lysefjord to Stavanger. See picture above in the summary.
  • Sauna in Norway - nothing is better after a solid ride and Norway has taken this Scandinavian tradition to another level. Enjoy a steaming hot sauna at Soria Moria Sauna in Dalen and Heit Sauna Bergen in urban and scenic surroundings. Views of mountains, the bay and new architecture.
Stage 2 - Bergen to Alesund

  • Bergen - the heart of the Fjords. The second-largest city in Norway, it offers small-town charm alongside a metropolitan character. Houses clinging to the hillside, narrow cobblestone lanes and world-famous attractions including KODE (art and design) and UNESCO World Heritage Bryggen Hanseatic Wharf.
  • Fjordland cycling. Every day is epic - climbs, lakes, waterfalls, glaciers, lookouts and immense descents. This is exceptional cycling territory with Geirangerfjord, Hardangerfjord and Nearoyfjord - the top 3 fjords in the world on our cycling hit list.
  • Trollstigen - 'the troll's path' is one of the great climbs in the world - amazing scenery and switchbacks, a must on any fjordland adventure! Pictured above for inspiration!
  • The Atlantic Ocean Road - one of Europe's most renowned roads - some say the best flat cycling road in the world - after a couple of weeks in the Fjords, we will revel in this coastal respite.
  • Among all these epic roads one of our favourites is the genuine road less travelled, the Gamle Strynefjellsvegen - amazing scenery on a hand-built historic road.
  • Geiranger Skywalk at Dalsnibba - with a clear drop of approx. 500 m beneath your feet, you can enjoy magnificent views of Geiranger and the fjord below, as well as across to the mountains and Blåbreen glacier - lunch here before dropping into town will be well-earned as well as spectacular.
  • Stave Churches, including Undredal, Urnes and Lom. Built by the converted Vikings who choose church over shipbuilding and praying over raiding!
  • As we hit one of our most northern points of the tour we will board a Viking long ship to travel to our island-bound hotel in Håholmen.
  • Alesund - our ultimate destination is one of Norway’s most beautiful cities and a genuine local's favourite. It is a great finishing point for this epic Viking journey.
2024 June Tour Dates and Prices
2024 July Tour Dates and Prices
2025 June Tour Dates and Prices
2025 July Tour Dates and Prices
2026 June Tour Dates and Prices
Tour Essentials
  • Grading - Road quality is super high in both Denmark and Norway. Stage 1 averages 77km and 900m of elevation. Stage 2 averages 87km and 1750m of elevation.
  • Rates are based on twin share. Single supplement €120 per night
  • Scandinavia is expensive! Consumer goods, especially hotels, food and alcohol cost significantly more than the rest of Europe (according to recent surveys 40-45% higher). We have worked very hard with Vikings to maintain our high standards but keep this Odyssey reasonably priced. Therefore this tour is more expensive than our other departures but well below the above percentage.
Tour Accommodation

Fittingly on this historic Odyssey, we stay in Scandi chic hotels, traditional log cabins, luxury fjord-side resorts and we are on the lookout for a good ice hotel! Here are some places you will stay at on the tour:

71 Nyhaven, Copenhagen
Housed in 2 converted warehouses from the 1800s, the hotel is in the heart of the canals in the centre of Copenhagen. A fabulous base to explore the city from.
Dalen Hotel, Telemark
Inspired by Stave churches and the Viking Age, the Dalen Hotel was introduced to the world in 1894. Known throughout Europe it was a favourite haunt for the English aristocracy!
The Union Hotel, Geiranger
Nestled in the heart of the UNESCO World Heritage region, the hotel was built in 1891, originally in wood with Swiss inspiration, it is now a modern spectacular location.
Håholmen, Averøy
There is only one other way to arrive at your hotel (besides bike) and that is by Viking Longship! We get the chance at the Håholmen Havstuer!
Brosundet, Ålesund
In one of Norway’s most vibrant and fetching port towns, this reimagined fishing warehouse combines one-of-a-kind architecture with minimalist edge and contemporary elegance.
Food and Wine

From the city with the most Michelin Star restaurants to a coastline famed for its fresh maritime produce, Scandinavian food is so much more than pickled herring!

formal B, Copenhagen
We start with a Michelin bang! High-concept cooking with ecology, sustainability and animal welfare at the core at formal B!
Geiranger Skywalk Café, Norway
After a challenging climb, find a comfortable seat for a relaxed lunch and delight in the views of the Geirangerfjord.
Apotekergata No. 5, Norway
A magic dining experience for our final night. On the water in Alesund at the local's favourite restaurant - Apotekergata No. 5.
Do you fancy a massage?
Our amazing soigneurs join our tours when our numbers of riders reach 18. On top of this, we will hit the famous Norwegian saunas including Soria Moria above!
The History

Invaders, predators, barbarians – the Vikings are often portrayed as one-dimensional warriors whose achievements include little more than plundering and raiding.

But from where did the Vikings originate and were they really violent, godless pagans? In 793, terror descended on the coast of Northumbria as armed raiders attacked the defenceless monastery of St Cuthbert on Lindisfarne. The terrified monks watched helplessly as the invaders made off with a haul of treasure and a clutch of captives. It was the first recorded raid by the Vikings, seaborne pirates from Scandinavia who would prey on coastal communities in north-western Europe for more than two centuries and create for themselves a reputation as fierce and pitiless warriors. That image was magnified by those who wrote about the Viking attacks – in other words, their victims.

The Anglo-Saxon cleric Alcuin of York wrote dramatically of the Lindisfarne raid that the “church was spattered with the blood of the priests of God, despoiled of all its ornaments… given as a prey to pagan peoples” and subsequent (mainly Christian) writers and chroniclers lost few opportunities to demonise the (mainly pagan) Vikings. Yet, though they undeniably carried out very destructive and violent attacks, from small-scale raids against churches to major campaigns involving thousands of warriors, the Vikings formed part of a complex and often sophisticated Scandinavian culture.

As well as raiders they were traders, reaching as far east as the rivers of Russia and the Caspian Sea; explorers, sending ships far across the Atlantic to land on the coastline of North America five centuries before Columbus; poets, composing verse and prose sagas of great power, and artists, creating works of astonishing beauty. The reputation of the Vikings simply as raiders and plunderers has long been established. Restoring their fame as traders, storytellers, explorers, missionaries, artists and rulers is long overdue...

Testimonials

Every part of this adventure has exceeded our expectations.  Because we have so truly enjoyed every other Bike Odyssey trip, our expectations were pretty high.  Thank you so very much for your encouragement, patience, kindness and thoughtfulness.  We are both looking forward to our next trip.  Can’t wait to ride together again.

Cher & Hamish Walton, Vikings 2024
An absolutely wonderful tour.
My favorite of all the many tours we have ridden.
Outstanding staff, good hotels / meals, breathtaking rides (literally and figuratively).
Michael Buscher, Vikings 2024
Another spectacular Bike Odyssey! Unique to The Odyssey, Othello as well as Che, was the different location and culture. The Vikings trip fits in this category IN SPADES!….Scandinavia with its different culture, languages, history and jaw-dropping landscape take your breath away. As well as being as challenging, or more, than any other Bike Odyssey, puts this tour above the rest! Weather be damned, this is a ‘don’t miss tour’.
Charles Morgan, Vikings 2024
See all our testimonials
Some Light Reading
BARRACLOUGH
Combines stories from the Norse Sagas with historical and archeological data, in an entertaining and enlightening fashion. It amuses and informs at the same time.
PRICE
The definitive history of the Vikings - from arts and culture to politics and cosmology - by a distinguished archaeologist with decades of expertise.
SEVERIN
The first volume in an epic historical fictional trilogy. Immensely thoughtful, and masterly portraying the average people of the time period, Severin brings the sagas to life.
SHIPPEY
A fast-paced, exhilarating account of the psychology of the marauding Vikings.
Miller
A fantastically rewarding read. Covering many of the great Viking Sagas this is a unique body of medieval literature. The Sagas rank with the world's great literary treasures.