Welcome to one of Europe's most spectacular drives. Longer, yes, more expensive, yes (gosh, those ferry tolls mount up). But if you've even a day or two to spare, divert from the Arctic Highway and enjoy the empty roads and solitary splendours of Kystriksveien, the coastal alternative that follows the coast for 650km. If the whole route seems daunting, it's quite possible to cut in or out from Steinkjer, Bodø or, midway, Mosjøen and Mo i Rana. It's one to drive; don't even attempt it by bus or you'll still be waiting when the first snows fall.
Off the coast are around 14,000 islands, some little more than rocks with a few tufts of grass; others, such as Vega, supporting whole communities that for centuries have survived on coastal fishing and subsistence agriculture – they're wonderfully rewarding detours in their own right.