This 700-mile route followed EuroVelos 12 and 3 from Oslo down to Hamburg. For the most part, the ride was boring and expensive, but the cycling infrastructure was usually fantastic and it was delightfully cool at all times. So if it’s hot everywhere else, and you’re content to live on oats and pickled fish, this may be the route for you!
Bikes are really popular here, and I opened up Norwegian Craigslist to find about a hundred within two miles that were under $200. Most of the people I messaged nerded out for some time about bikes and the route I was taking. I eventually bought an $80 mountain bike - the guy was out of town, so he gave me his address and told me to grab it from his driveway and leave the money in his mailbox. This experience was quite different from any I’ve ever had on American Craigslist.
The route is almost never signed with the EuroVelo number, but is consistently marked as some national cycling route. In Norway, it involved many ferries that only run some of the time, so I had to improvise, and once ended up on a busy, shoulderless highway for a while. The Germans are less amped on cycling, so many of the southern sections were harder to navigate and followed horse trails or tractor tracks through farms.
Norwegian drivers are terrified of cyclists and will creep along behind you for miles until they find the perfect passing opportunity. Germans drive ridiculously fast everywhere they go. The route mostly keeps you out of traffic.
On two occasions in Norway, I found a Thai food truck with curry for $11 and felt very lucky – even the cheaper restaurants tend to be about double this. I mostly just bought oats, raisins, and peanuts, which are reasonably priced. Denmark is similar, but things get markedly cheaper once you cross into Germany.
Norway is home to an impressive collection of Utah-esque blue laws, such that even in a grocery store, a beer will cost at least $4, and more often than not, can’t actually be purchased. Beer is much more accessible in Denmark and Germany.
I usually had to dig a fair bit through Booking and AirBnb and extend my mileage to find anything below $80. But aside from the time that I paid $50 to sleep in a small box, the rooms were generally pretty nice.
It never actually gets dark in Norway in July. This is convenient for long days of riding, and not so convenient for sleeping anywhere without heavy curtains. I think the temperature hovered in the 60s for the entirety of the ride, so I was never too warm and never needed a jacket. And other than a single brief drizzle, there was no rain.