Photo: Kjetil Rolseth Rolseth Foto/Statens Vegvesen
Tonje Brattås Articles / 4 Nov 2020

Tonje's Travelogue 11: Taking the Atlantic Road to Kristiansund

Kristiansund was our destination when we set off from Åndalsnes to catch the Hurtigruten ferry to take us to Lofoten. We were a little stiff from our climbing exploits the day before and welcomed the long lie we treated ourselves to in the morning.

Our trusty breakfast of boiled eggs, bread, and ham (Spekeskinke) never tasted so good as we basked in the sunshine looking up at the huge mountain we had conquered. The longer we stared, the taller the mountain seemed to grow and we would both laugh in disbelief and shake our heads. We talked about how crazy it was to be looking down on the exact spot we were now sitting and being able to make out our tent.

Leaving the West Wall behind, we started out on the road for Kristiansund. We took road 64 and planned to take the Atlantic Road but on the way stumbled across a cool little grotto called the Troll Church (Trollkirken).

Unfortunately, the weather gods which had been so kind to us on many a day this time failed us, but we were kinda glad as it gave us an excuse to be lazy. We vowed to check out the Troll Cave another day. From what we could research it seems like a 90-minute hike along a creek, with part of the trail through a cave system leading to a collapsed cave and waterfall at the very end. Sounds cool, right?

Jarle Wæhler Statens Vegvesen (2)
Photo: Jarle Wæhler Statens Vegvesen

We had high hopes for the Atlantic Road, a unique stretch of road which takes you right out to the ocean’s edge. Opened in 1989, the road was voted Norway’s Engineering Feat of the Century in 2005.

The road connects a series of small islands and islets spanned by a total of eight bridges over 8274 meters. The road was opened in 1989 and is toll-free. We found plenty of places to stop and stretch our legs in the windy salty air at designated stopping places. It definitely seemed like a storm was brewing. Not exactly what we wanted seeing as we were soon to board a 40-hour ferry.

Jarle Wæhler Statens Vegvesen
Photo: Jarle Wæhler/Statens Vegvesen

Our expectations of the Atlantic Road had been set high by countless promo shots and drone videos in perfect weather, but sadly today was not that day. Had the storm materialized, I am sure we would have enjoyed this stretch of famous road a lot more than in the bleak greyness we encountered.

That being said, when on a bucket-list trip of Norway, this is definitely one of the spots to be ticked off and we will be back (and hoping for better weather).

Helge Stikbakke, Statens Vegvesen
Photo: Helge Stikbakke, Statens Vegvesen

We headed on to Kristiansund, a beautiful, clean, and open city that spreads out around the harbor and four islands upon which it is built. Kristiansund is often referred to as the "opera town", and for a good reason. The city offers some 100 opera performances, an opera festival, and the outdoor opera performance "Donna Bacalao" every year but it also has another claim to fame; Klippfisk!

Literally "cliff-fish", which is dried and salted cod. Traditionally it was dried outdoors by the wind and sun, often on cliffs and other bare rock-faces. Today klippfisk is usually dried indoors with the aid of electric heaters. Any menu in the city's restaurants and cafes reveals that this tradition is still very much alive today. We recommend that you head to the snack bars that serve “fishan” – a local version of fish and chips and one of Kristiansund's specialties.

We heard of a local trip on Sundbåten which is Norway’s oldest passenger ferry, but sadly did not have time to check it out, we were on the hunt for the newly opened pick up point for our next adventure; Hurtigruten.

Until next time!
Douglas & Tonje

Roger Ellingsen, Statens Vegvesen (2)
Photo: Roger Ellingsen/ Statens Vegvesen