What’s up with these 18 “Norwegian Scenic Routes”? Who decides what’s scenic, and why aren’t there more of them?
Of course, we have more than 18 scenic roads in Norway, but the term “Norwegian Scenic Routes” is a proper noun, made by the Norwegian Public Roads Administration (NPRA).
And NPRA has a purpose:
“The NPRA is to develop efficient road systems that are accessible to all, and where transport does not cause serious damage to people or the environment. Our mission is to develop and facilitate a comprehensive and coherent future-oriented transport system for the entire country, (…)”
In other words; they are responsible for all the public roads in Norway.
To show tourists and natives the beauty and variation in this long, rough, and steep country, they have;
“…selected 18 Norwegian Scenic Routes that run through landscapes with unique natural qualities, along coasts and fjords, mountains and waterfalls. The routes are intended as alternatives to the main roads, and the drive itself should be an enjoyable experience.”
As you can understand, these routes are not just for transportation, but for enjoying the best of what Norway have to offer while traveling. And believe me; it’s even more incredible on two wheels!
So what’s the confusion?
In Norwegian, we have a saying that translates to something like; “A dear child has many names”. This is also the cases with the scenic roads in Norway.
In Norwegian language, “Norwegian Scenic Routes” are named “Nasjonale turistveger”. This literally translates to “National Tourist Roads”. Imagine the combinations you can get out of these words if you don’t know the correct phrasing:
- National Tourist Routes
- Norwegian Scenic Roads
- National Scenic Routes
- Norwegian Scenic Tourist Roads
- etc, etc
Does it matter?
Many bloggers and YouTubers don’t know the difference and create confusion by mixing the terminology. Of course this doesn’t really matter, and like I wrote in the beginning, we have MANY scenic roads in Norway. Many of them maybe MORE scenic than the 18 chosen by NPRA…
On this site, I’m trying to collect the best and most ‘scenic’ for those of you riding a motorcycle. Mountain roads, along the fjords, steep hear-pins, narrow tarmac and beautiful gravel roads. But I’ve also made a separate category for the correct 18 Norwegian Scenic Routes. If you want to have some or all of them on your bucket list, check them out here.
On each of the pages describing the routes, you can download a GPX-file for your GPS. You can get a description on how to get there from where you are right now, and I’ve included describing text and pictures (and some videos) so you know what you are up for.
Stop at the rest areas
One more thing about NPRA and the scenic routes; To ensure that drivers take breaks and relaxes from time to time, NPRA have engaged some open-minded architects to design some resting areas on each route. Some are really memorable and like out-door pieces of art. I’ve included those in my descriptions too. Make sure to stop at some of them!