Day-by-Day Route Outline
Day 1: Lübeck - Hirtshals
Monday 13th September
Lübeck in northern German provides a perfect start for your Nordic adventure. As well as being convenient for our friends in mainland European, UK competitors have the option of an overnight ferry into Cuxhaven - a short drive from this historic city.
From Lübeck we head north across Schleswig-Holstein and cross the border into Denmark - a new country for the Marathon. Today's run is just a warm up for the week ahead so we will make rapid progress north through Denmark to the port of Hirtshals, at the northern tip of the country, and the overnight ferry crossing to Kristiansand in Norway.
Day 2: Kristiansand - Geilo
Tuesday 14th September
You can all be heroes today as the rally strikes north - away from the coast - and into the mountains of Telemark. One of the best kept secrets of this area is the maze of private roads snaking through the forests and along the shores of lonely lakes.
A driver's paradise, just perfect for rallying. You won't see many other cars on these roads… At the end of the first day in this stunning country you will arrive in the ski resort of Geilo for a restful night at one of the many first class hotels that abound in Norway.
Day 3: Geilo - Balestrand
Wednesday 15th September
More private roads over high moorland lead us north west away from Geilo and into fjord country. Stunning views into the depths of Aurlandsfjorden provide a welcome break at the top of a climb to rival anything the Alps can offer before high mountain roads across a landscape of barren moorland and ice fringed lakes brings you to the eastern extremity of Sognefjord.
At nearly 200km long, Sognefjord is the world's largest fjord and your route - the only one there is - follows the sinuous course of its northern shore towards the North Sea. A short ferry crossing precedes an overnight halt at the peaceful village of Balestrand with its unusual English church. (More of that story in our unique route notes that are provided to each competitor!) Enjoy a leisurely dinner whilst dolphins (yes - DOLPHINS) play in the calm waters outside…
Day 4: Balestrand - Geiranger
Thursday 16th September
Your route continues north, right into the heart of Norway's famous fjord country. There are so many stunning views that you will run out of film trying to record them all. Tiny turf roofed wooden houses dot the shores of endless fiords, traditional wooden fishing boats bob on the clear waters whilst all around rise range after range of snow capped peaks.
It is now that you will finally appreciate what a magnificent country Norway is… Even in midsummer, the mountain roads - whilst kept scrupulously clear by the efficient Scandinavians - are lined with 2m high snow banks, so the 16th Classic Marathon will provide a unique driving experience. The final climb to the mountain top of Dalsnibba provides a dizzying view to the tiny village of Geiranger way below - and your welcome bed for the night.
Day 5: Geiranger - Lillehammer
Friday 17th September
Geirangerfjord is one of the most photographed spots in Norway, and, as you climb the hairpins away from the village you will see why. The fiord here is so deep that massive cruise ships can draw right up to the village at the end of the fiord. The mountains drop sheer into its still waters, the cliff faces veiled by the mist of waterfalls cascading into the bottomless depths. This is awe inspiring scenery, as good as anything anywhere in the world.
There are definitely Trolls living in these parts - as you will see when you descend the countless hairpins of the Trollstiggen later! Although it is a long way to our overnight halt, the mountain roads are just too good to miss. At one point a narrow mountain road performs a complete 360 degree turn - completely inside a rock hewn tunnel! After an unforgettable days motoring you will arrive - weary - at the famous Winter Olympic town of Lillehammer.
Day 6: Lillehammer - Oslo
Saturday 18th September
All that remains is a short run through Peer Gynt country south towards the final destination. But be aware, we are back amongst a maze of private forest roads so the day may hold a sting in the tail before arriving at journeys in the pleasant city of Oslo. That evening a gala prize giving will wind this memorable event off nicely before allowing you time the next day to head for home.
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