Explore one of the world’s most photogenic drives on Norway’s fractal west coast. A feat of civil engineering and architecture, the Atlanterhavsvegen (Atlantic Ocean Road) connects the island of Averøy with the mainland, snaking over a series of small islets and skerries connected by a total of eight bridges over a distance of 8,274 m (27,000 ft). It’s a visual treat, as you pass small fishing villages and rocky bays joined sometimes by only the slimmest of causeways or by the road itself. The views out to sea are far-reaching, and in some parts it feels like you’re driving right out over the open ocean.
You’ll spend the day being driven along the Atlantic Ocean Road, stopping to admire some of its vistas, before having lunch at Restaurant Bryggen, an oceanfront seafood eatery in the tiny fishing village of Bud. You’ll also stop twice at Molde for views overlooking the surrounding snow-smeared peaks and fjord.
Leaving Ålesund, you’ll first be driven two hours to Molde, a town situated at the mouth of Fannefjord. Its relaxed vibe and thriving cafe culture make for a good coffee stop. From here you’ll continue on to Malmefjorden before entering the Atlantic Ocean Road proper.
There’ll be lots of chances to pull over and admire the views from the road, as you look out over grassy hillocks, huddles of red-painted fishing villages, and the Norwegian Sea. The bridges you cross are also a sight — the star of the ride, Storseisundet, looks worthy of being featured in a rollercoaster (though fear not, your wheels never leave the tarmac).
There are numerous stopping places along the route, including a purpose-built glass platform on a breakwater in Askevågen. With your private guide and drive, you’ll be able to stop whenever you see something of interest. You’ll also see how the bridges on the Atlantic Ocean Road are designed so that local fishing vessels can still come to and fro with ease.
Once you’ve driven the road, you’ll stop for lunch at Restaurant Bryggen, located in a small fishing village called Bud. The restaurant serves fresh seafood as well as traditional Norwegian meat dishes and you’ll be able to enjoy views overlooking the ocean and port while you dine.
After lunch you’ll begin the two-hour drive back to Ålesund, but en route, you’ll stop at a panoramic viewpoint called Varden, just outside the town of Molde. From this elevated perch (407 m or 1,335 ft above sea level) you’ll be able to look out over the rooftops of Molde to see a line-up of over 200 snowy peaks as well as the Moldefjorden fjord, with its streaks of bosky islands.