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Atlantic Road drive from Alesund

Our cruise ship will be at Alesund from 7am to 5 pm ( August) and we (4 of us) preally want to go for a ride on the Atlantic Road on a tour bus (preferable)or a private hired car (depending on cost). We really don't want to rent a car and drive since we are not familiar with Norway. Is there a bus ride we could take from Alesund? I saw the bus ride from Molde but that doesn't look convenient if our port is at Alesund. Suggestions are welcomed! Thank you!
Doreen
belmont, CA, USA

Posted by
17 posts

Hi Doreen.

The ride from Ålesund via the Atlantic Road to Kristiansund, and from Kristiansund the fastest way back to Ålesund, takes about 6,5 hours according to googlemaps. That seems quite optimistic, even with no traffic and luck with the ferry-connection Molde-Vestnes. By my own experience, you should add on at least 1 hour driving//ferry. And on top of that you should add on all your stops at the beautiful sights. It will be quite a rush.

I know Hurtigruten (the norwegian cruise company) offers an excursion which is coresponding with their cruiseferrys. So if you arrive in Ålseund with Hurtigruten, that is your answer.

https://www.hurtigruten.com/excursions/norway/the-atlantic-road/#.VsIJz_LhCUk

Posted by
39 posts

Thank you so much for your detailed and valuable reply. I suspected that our one day at port would be too limited and ambitious for a relaxing drive on the Atlantic Road but hopefully we will see some of the scenic beauty from the ship..... by looking at the map, the ship (Celebrity a larger cruise ship) should sail by the Atlantic Road - correct?

We will need to work on a detailed itinerary to return to Norway to savor and enjoy the natural beauty of Norway.....
Can't wait for our first trip along the the coast when we cruise in August!

Many thanks again for a timely and helpful reply.

Doreen

Posted by
3392 posts

Hi Doreen -
We stayed in Alesund for a month this past summer and drove the Atlantic Ocean Road. You can certainly do this in a day although with the time it might take to get off the ship and then secure a rental car it could be tight.
Driving in Norway, especially this part of Norway, is very easy and you can easily do it. The roads are in excellent condition. Hiring a driver would be incredibly expensive and taking a bus tour would probably take more time than you have.
You should drive from Alesund to Vestnes. The Molde-Vestnes ferry runs frequently and takes about 30 minutes each way. The drive to Vestnes to catch the ferry will take you about an hour. From Molde to the AOR is about another hour. Driving the entire length of the AOR takes about 10 - 15 minutes depending on traffic. There are several interesting places to stop on the road with walks along the ocean and great views of the bridges to take pictures. I personally thought it was well worth going! Quite an engineering marvel! There is nothing like it anywhere else in the world that I have seen!
Ferries in Norway are very easy...you simply get in line with the other cars at the ferry terminal and then drive on at the direction of the ferry personnel. The ticket taker will come to your car window. The price include the car and the driver...other passengers are extra. You tell him how many passengers you have and he'll charge you accordingly. Take cash. After the ride you simply drive off and you're done! There is a nice little cafe on board where you can have coffee and a snack and enjoy the view out the big windows or you can stand outside on one of the decks and breathe in the fresh air!
You might have enough time to stop off at the stave church in Kvernes - it's well worth seeing. The outside is rather plain but the interior is beautiful with wall paintings that are very old, interesting woodwork, and many layers of history. The views from the church are stunning across the fjord below.

Posted by
39 posts

Anita
Wonderful, I'm getting excited. With your advice we're more than ready to go!
If we decide to do the drive on our own, what is the best way to rent a car and do you have any rental car agencies you would recommend? Is it easy to get to the rental car office from our terminal?
Do we need an international license or permit or do we just bring our California Driver License?
Any insurance concerns?
Now that the drive is feasible, we need to address any other issues and plan ahead.

Thank you so much for your encouragement!

Doreen
Belmont, CA

Posted by
3392 posts

Yes...definitely get your "ducks in a row", so to speak, before you leave home and you should be able to do it.
We didn't rent a car when we were there since we were on a home exchange and used the car of our exchange partners. I do know that there is an Avis car rental place not far from the cruise ship dock. You might be able to walk but it might be best to grab a cab to get there. That's a question you may want to ask of the cruise ship company...can you easily catch a cab directly from the dock? Anything to save time would be good. Make sure to reserve a car since August is busy in Norway.
Reserve a GPS unit from Avis and have them set it up for you so that you are ready to get to Vestnes.
You should get an International Driving Permit from AAA for whoever will be doing the driving. It's an easy and quick process.
My credit cards and car insurance company at home cover me for rental cars overseas but you'll need to check to see how to get covered based on your credit cards and insurance. You can always just purchase the insurance from the rental company...sometimes that's just easiest!
A couple of other things to consider...
Here is the ferry schedule from Vestnes to Molde and back...the closer you can hit the departure time both ways, the better.
We did run into "rush hour" traffic going in and out of Alesund...take this into consideration especially since you'll be leaving town and arriving back right around this time of the day. Outside of Alesund you will hit very little in the way of trafffic...could be some getting out of Molde but nothing that should cause you huge delays.
It will be 30 minutes from the western end of the AOR to Kvernes if you want to try to visit the stave church. From Kvernes back to Molde it's a good hour. With visiting the church (30 minutes) that's a good 2 hour detour. Here's the website for the info about hours, cost, etc.
So trying to think this all through...to be conservative, count on an hour from the time you get off the ship and are in your rental car. An hour to Vestnes. 30 mins to Molde. 45 minutes to the western end of the AOR. 45 minutes to drive and explore. Reverse everything to get back to Alesund and that's about 8 hours or so for just the AOR. If you add on the stave church which is at least + 2 hours that's 10 hours which is every minute of the time you have. If you run into traffic or any other difficulties you might miss your ship. Maybe skip the stave church just to be safe? If it were me, I'd skip it. It's nice to see but not worth it if you're tight on time, which you are.
I would also consider packing your own food...surprisingly, it isn't easy to find places to eat on the road in the more rural parts of Norway. You also don't have a huge cushion of time...maybe make use of the cafe on the ferry too.