Written by LenR on 27 Nov, 2008
The Geiranger waterfront is undoubtedly the busiest part of town. During the summer, the Geiranger – Hellesylt ferry operates up to 10 times per day bringing bus and car loads of people who pour into Geiranger. This is also the period when up to 70…Read More
The Geiranger waterfront is undoubtedly the busiest part of town. During the summer, the Geiranger – Hellesylt ferry operates up to 10 times per day bringing bus and car loads of people who pour into Geiranger. This is also the period when up to 70 cruise boats also crowd the fjord disgorging up to 2000 passengers for a few hours into the small town. The Hurtigrute coastal boat from Bergen also calls here on its northern run between mid-April and mid-September. At these times the waterfront is really put to the test.The ferry has its own dedicated drive-off landing point a few hundred metres from the village while the other boats anchor in the fjord and use small boats to bring passengers ashore. The fjord sightseeing boats use the small harbour and they mix with private craft. Add the kayaks and other watercraft that are here and the scene can be quite chaotic.On land, things can also get interesting but when we visited it was a sea of calm. Only about a dozen people arrived with us on the ferry and several of these were locals. The tourist office in the main port building was deserted and while we were in town we rarely saw anyone in the huge tourist complex by the water. It was difficult to imagine hundreds of people packing the building carrying out the infinite souvenir items on display. We were told that there is sometimes a line of 20 people waiting for a photograph with the giant troll. If you are into hiking, note that the tourist office distributes free maps featuring 12 short hikes from the village. One of the most popular trips begins with a trip on the fjord sightseeing boat. This will take you to a landing at the start of the walking route. You climb the track to the precariously perched hillside farm called Skagefla, enjoying the views on the way and your lungs and legs protest the exercise. Once at the farm it is a gradual 2-hour hike back to Geiranger.The Laizas Internet cafe is in its own building closeby and there is a collection of small houses and a couple of other restaurants between here and the Geiranger Hotel. This is in two buildings which have been joined by a footbridge. During summer, it has a restaurant and gift shop open to the public at waterfront level. The other attraction is the supermarket. This is just west of the other complexes and seems to be open for quite long hours. Apart from the packaged goods, it has fruit and vegetables, drinks, waffles and some other take-out food. For lunch it is quite a viable option.A road continues west, then north, from here around the edge of the fjord. You quickly leave civilization behind and enter the realm of dramatic views, farm animals and the occasional tractor. After about three or four kilometres there are some great views across the fjord to the town, made all the more dramatic in the late afternoon sun. We didn’t see another person on our trip and I’m told that even in summer it is easy to get away from the crowd and enjoy the semi-wilderness. Close
Wherever you travel in Norway you will see delightful churches in various styles. The most famous are the wooden stave churches but there are other delightful more conventional structures that are very worthwhile. On the road from Geiranger to Alesund there are great churches at…Read More
Wherever you travel in Norway you will see delightful churches in various styles. The most famous are the wooden stave churches but there are other delightful more conventional structures that are very worthwhile. On the road from Geiranger to Alesund there are great churches at Eidsdal and Stordal and we stopped at these. Elsewhere, we stopped at many more as we traveled around the country and it led to an interest in finding out more about the religion. We discovered some interesting facts like at one time, by law, Norwegians had to go the church no matter where they lived.We learned that the Church of Norway is the state church. It is a member of the Porvoo Communion with 12 other churches, among them the Anglican Churches of Europe. The constitutional head of the Church is the King of Norway, who is obliged to profess himself a Lutheran. Interestingly, the Church of Norway is subject to legislation, including its budgets, passed by the Norwegian parliament, and its central administrative functions are carried out by the Royal Ministry of Culture and Church Affairs.The Church of Norway traces its origins to the introduction of Christianity to Norway in the 9th century. Norway was Christianized as a result of missions from both the British Isles and elsewhere in Europe. It took several hundred years to convert Norway to Christianity, culminating in 1030 with the Battle of Stiklestad, where Saint Olaf 11 who is traditionally regarded as being responsible for the conversion, was killed. During the Christianisation period wooden churches and chapels were built. From the end of the 11th century, stone churches were also built, and more than 150 stone churches out of perhaps three hundred in total have been preserved. But more churches were built of wood than of stone, and out of perhaps over a thousand originally, 28 stave churches have been preserved. In general there was a churchyard around the parish churches, of a suitable size for the requirements of the congregation. New churches were often located at the same place as the older church buildings, as this minimised the disturbance to earlier graves. If the churchyard was also new, it was ideally supposed to be blessed at the same time as the consecration of the church. The stave churches, which resemble pagodas in some respects, are the only temples in wood to have survived in the West. In stave-built architecture, the timbers are placed vertically, differing in this respect from the log bonding technique and creating a problem with stability. Despite this the stave churches that remain are remarkable buildings well worth seeing. Close
One of the most spectacular routes in Europe has been named the "Golden Route’ by the Norwegian travel industry. It is not hard to see why. The 80 kilometre-long road leads from Geiranger to Andalsnes and is signposted as Highway 63. The route consists of…Read More
One of the most spectacular routes in Europe has been named the "Golden Route’ by the Norwegian travel industry. It is not hard to see why. The 80 kilometre-long road leads from Geiranger to Andalsnes and is signposted as Highway 63. The route consists of two roads – the Ornevegen and the Trollstigen (Troll’s Ladder). Some people say the Trollstigen is best travelled from north to south but frankly, from what we have seen you will be ‘blown away’ no matter how you travel.The Ornevegen is an all-year road between Geiranger and Eidsdal which was opened in 1955. This provides the only road access to Geiranger for about 9 months of the year so it is of vital importance to the village and the tourism industry. You can see the start of the amazing zigzag climb from parts of Geiranger but nothing prepares you for the reality. The route starts with a two-kilometre sedate drive along the fjord before you climb steeply upwards through a series of remarkable hairpin bends. The road surface is good and the road between bends is reasonably wide but you need to take care at the bends because there are tracks and buses coming the opposite way and they need the entire road to get around the corners. At each bend the view back over the fjord becomes more spectacular so you will want to stop at Ornesvingen near the top of the climb to take in the scene. From here there is a wonderful view over Geiranger, the Geirangerfjord and the majestic Seven Sisters waterfalls. It would have to be one of the best views I have ever seen in the world. It was certainly very difficult for either of us to leave.The road changes completely from here. There are stark mountains, rushing waterfalls and no sign of human existence save for the winding road and the occasional other vehicle. You pass by icy lakes, though long tunnels and eventually descend into Eidsdal. The town, on the southern edge of Norddalsfjord, has some industry (woodworking, clothing manufacture, and fishing) and a fine octagonal church from 1782. There is a ferry to Linge on the north side of the fjord, from which Road 63 runs east to Åndalsnes and west to Ålesund.To drive the Trollstigen, you turn east to the half-hearted village of Style. Then you head up the Valldal valley. The road starts gently enough as it rambles up the valley. Valldal is surrounded by attractive alpine mountains and steep, green hills. A wild river runs through the valley creating several nice waterfalls, including Holsfossen, Gudbrandsjuvet and Skjerds. All are next to the road. Despite the high latitude, Valldal has a mild climate and is famous for cherries, apples, raspberries, and strawberries produced on a commercial scale. This is as far as we could go. In early May, the road was firmly closed. All we could do was read about it."The Trollstigen is a popular tourist attraction due to its steep incline of 9 % and eleven hairpin bends up a steep mountain side. The Trollstigen was opened on July 31, 1936, by King Haakon V11 after a construction time of 8 years. The road up is narrow. On the top there is a big parking area where you can walk onto a viewing balcony. There you will enjoy a great view over the road with its bends and the waterfall. Stigfossen is a beautiful waterfall which falls 320 metres down the mountain side. Trollstigen is closed during the fall and winter months. A normal opening season stretches from mid- May to October, but may sometimes be shorter or longer due to changes in the weather conditions." Close
One of the things that most impressed us in Norway was the fact that so many points of interest and marvellous views were adjacent to the main roads. In some other countries you need to travel on secondary roads to a car park then walk…Read More
One of the things that most impressed us in Norway was the fact that so many points of interest and marvellous views were adjacent to the main roads. In some other countries you need to travel on secondary roads to a car park then walk to see the sight. In Norway you sit in your car seat and thrill to the views as you drive along.Nowhere was this more obvious than along the road north from Geiranger. From the moment you leave the village, the views start. As the road climbs the mountains, views back to Geiranger are spectacular. Spring had arrived so leaves were on the trees and the first blossom was out. We couldn’t resist stopping to take it all in. As we climbed higher, the spectacle grew. Then almost without realising it we were back in the barren country with towering peaks all around. Waterfalls were everywhere, fed from the melting snow. They roared defiantly as we drove past, occasionally sprinkling the car with spray.Later the road plateaued and we entered a region of ice lakes. The weather was sunny and the ice was starting to break up. The road ran around the lake shore providing great views of the ice sheets and broken pieces of ice being forced up onto the shore. This was isolated, dramatic country and we saw very few other vehicles. Most of the side roads were still blocked by snow. We came to a point where the main road appeared blocked but a snow plough had been at work and managed to make a path for us. As we moved on a few buildings appeared close to the road. Most had thatched or grass-covered roofs, cairn-like chimneys and clapboard walls. They had probably survived here for a hundred years but most now seemed unoccupied. Perhaps they were only used in the summer. We continued through mountain country until we started a rapid descent to Eidsdal on the Norddalsfjord. From here a car ferry shuttles the 10 minutes over to the Linge jetty. If you are heading for the Trollstigen you turn right but as this was not open when we visited we headed west. After about 20 kilometres we reached Stordal with its remarkable Rose Church standing right beside the main road. This dates from the 1780s. The exterior is white clapboard with a spectacular central tower but the interior is a mass of floral decoration on the walls, ceiling and pillars. Stordal is a furniture-making town situated in a pleasant valley with a couple of restaurants suitable for a meal as you pass through.The country from here becomes more civilized but no less pretty. The fiords no longer have rock walls rearing straight up from the water. In their place are gently slopes used for grazing or orchards. In May there were fields of wild flowers stretching from the road towards the fjord, orchards in bloom and a fresh greenness so different to the stark black and white of the mountains. We stopped to enjoy a picnic lunch amid the wild flowers and marvelled at where we had just come from. The Ornevegen is a great drive but now we were looking forward to enjoying the gentle scenery to Alesund. Close
Written by mgtw on 22 Nov, 2008
Approaching Andalsnes along the Raumbanen, the rail route from Dombas, is breathtaking experience itself. Rail follows deeply cut glacial valley flanked by sheer walls and plummeting waterfalls. Most impressive is 1800 m high Trollveggen (Troll's wall). By some sources, this is the Europe´s highest vertical…Read More
Approaching Andalsnes along the Raumbanen, the rail route from Dombas, is breathtaking experience itself. Rail follows deeply cut glacial valley flanked by sheer walls and plummeting waterfalls. Most impressive is 1800 m high Trollveggen (Troll's wall). By some sources, this is the Europe´s highest vertical and overhanging rock face (1.000 meters). Anyway, highest or not, this is top challenge for the best climbers. It was first time climbed in1965. For the rest of us, there is path on the backside from Trollstigen. Trollstigen (Troll's ladder) is the name of the mountain road near Andalsnes, on the way to Geiranger. It's become tourist attraction due to its steep incline of 9 % and eleven hairpin bends up a steep mountain side. Road is open from mid May or June till October, depending on weather conditions and snowfall.It was open in 1936, after 8 years of construction. Even today, road itself is impressive showcase of construction and engineering.For fit hikers, Klovstien track is option. It's an old track, used by locals to reach summer pastures on mountains above the valley. Track starts a short distance below the first narrow turn at Trollstigen road. It's restored and marked. On several points, it crosses the Trollstigen road. I took easier option, and went to the top of Trollstigen with bus from Andalsnes. It was the bus to Geiranger, but it stops at Stigrora, on top of Trollstigen. From there, it's a lot of choices for walking. From short walks to long ones on marked paths, including walk to the top of Trollveggen.Views are awesome and mountain peaks surrounding the Trollstigen are majestic. There are glaciers on top of some of them, and waterfalls in summer time falling down from melting snow. One of the biggest is Stigfossen, 320 m high waterfall rushing down the mountain. Trollstigen road passes by it, and there is photo stop near the waterfall, so bus passengers can take pics.Another hiking opportunity in Andalsnes is Neskasla, 715 m high peak in Romsdalen Alps. It's a moderate walk that took about 2 hrs to the top. There are magnificent views to the surrounding fjords and mountains. There are also some marked routes further along the ridge to the other peaks in area.The trail begins near the gas station close to the tunnel in Åndalsnes.In summer time, midday sun can be quite hot, so bring water with you. But, as well, don't underestimate this mountains, because weather can change quickly. Therefore proper footwear and clothes are necessary, as well as some protection against the cold weather, rain and wind. Having some food, or at least some sweet snacks is also advisable, because that's the easy way of recovering energy. Close
Written by davidx on 10 May, 2002
It has terrific competition, but this may well be my best bus trip ever. It starts from Andalsnes and I was able to get the hotel staff to open up the breakfast buffet early for a few minutes so that I could take a…Read More
It has terrific competition, but this may well be my best bus trip ever. It starts from Andalsnes and I was able to get the hotel staff to open up the breakfast buffet early for a few minutes so that I could take a bit of food at an early hour. The road starts to rise very quickly beside three mountains with a considerable resemblance to the chess pieces which give them their names of King, Queen and Bishop. Then the road goes on rising with numerous hairpin bends to the Trollstigen top, this part of the road being open for barely three months a year.
It then falls just as scenically to sea level at the car ferry from Valldal to Eidsdal where everyone gets off with about one and a half minutes to wait for the ferry and on the other side we all piled in to another bus to cross the Eagle's Road to Geiranger with breathtaking views of the fjord from different heights on the way down.
Breaks were taken on both buses for photography - and for the drivers to smoke?After a return trip on the car ferry to Hellesylt I returned by the same route with equal enjoyment. Doubtless the extreme delight in the whole hting was heightened by the weather. The first thing I did on alighting at geiranger was to buy some sun lotion.
Written by Eluned on 03 Jan, 2003
Go to Norway out of season and you will have the best sights to yourself, not to mention the chance to catch some of the most beautiful scenery in the snow. Try October/early November to catch the first snowfall. Avoid December and January…Read More
Go to Norway out of season and you will have the best sights to yourself, not to mention the chance to catch some of the most beautiful scenery in the snow. Try October/early November to catch the first snowfall. Avoid December and January because it will be dark for too much of the day.