Sometimes, the road is the goal. I was heading towards Sogndal and the Sognefjord, but decided to take a detour to Nordfjord to see more of the beautiful county of Sogn og Fjordane.
In the afternoon, I drove the shortest road from Oslo towards Stryn in Nordfjord. Just after midnight, I arrived Hjelle by Lake Oppstrynsvatnet in Oppstryn. It was late September, and the nights had become darker than during the summer.
From Nordfjord to Sogn
I woke up early next morning, and the daylight had just started to light up the surrounding nature. Hjelle is a small and peaceful village down by the lake, and I enjoyed the beautiful scenery before the drive continued through Nordfjord and Sunnfjord towards Sogn. I had many stops on my way towards Stryn, where I had my breakfast in a local Café.
At Strynefjellet Mountain Road you can visit Stryn Summer Ski Centre. Slalom, Telemark, Cross Country and Snowboard equipment are available for rental. Normally there are excellent ski conditions, especially early summer. The summer ski season usually begins late in May, depending on the amount of snow on the winter closed road.
The drive continued to Loen. I passed Lake Lovatnet in the Lodalen Valley and drove 36 kilometres to the end of the road to the Kjenndalsbreen Glacier. This glacier is hanging down from the mountain, feeded by the Jostedalsbreen Glacier which is the largest ice-cap in Continental Europe. The road along Lake Lovatnet is surrounded by beautiful nature, mountains, waterfalls, rivers and glaciers.
Then I headed back to Loen and continued the drive to Olden and by Lake Oldevatnet into the end of the Oldedalen Valley to Briksdalen. From here, you can hike towards the Briksdalsbreen Glacier, a three kilometre long hike on a trail surrounded by some of the wildest nature on earth. During the hike, you pass the beautiful Kleivafossen Waterfall.
At Loen you should combine a visit to Loen Skylift, Via Ferrata Loen and a stay at the Spa Hotel Alexandra. From Loen Skylift you have a fantastic view down to the Lodalen Valley, the Oldedalen Valley and Nordfjord.
Back in Olden, I took to the left towards Innvik and Utvik. The road goes along the Nordfjord, and at Utvik the road continued over the mountain pass to Byrkjelo. Great view towards the fjord from Utvik and the road towards the mountain pass. Mt. Eggjenipa is a landmark in Byrkjelo.
The road continues towards Skei in Jølster, then along Våtedalen Valley beside Kjøsfjorden, through a tunnel to Fjærland at the inner part of the Fjærlandsfjord. The Fjærlandsfjord is a branch of the 204 kilometre long Sognefjord, the “King of the Fjords”. I recommend you to take the short detour to Fjærland, a beautiful village by the fjord. Here you have The Norwegian Book Town and the Norwegian Glacier Museum.
In the evening I arrived Sogndal, the goal for the trip. I stayed in Sogndal in the weekend, and on Sunday I hiked to Mt. Molden in Luster before I drove back home to Oslo. Mt. Molden is a great but short hike, approximately 2 hours hike to the summit, from where you have a fantastic view towards the Lustrafjord. This is one of the most popular hikes among the locals. Start at the parking place by the road between Hafslo and Mollandsmarki in Luster (500 m.a.s). The path is marked.
If you drive in a car in Norway, this is a scenic and beautiful round trip. You can combine it with other areas in western Norway, like Geiranger and Trollstigen, and also Luster, the Lustrafjord and the Sognefjellet Mountain Road. Read about “Go West”, another round trip in Sogn og Fjordane and Møre og Romsdal.
While you are in the Luster area in Sogn
If you hike to Mt. Molden, and like the scenery, you should see more of this beautiful area called Luster. Solvorn nearby is a beautiful village down by the Lustrafjord. Here you can stay at the historical hotel Walaker Hotel or at the cheaper and charming Eplet Bed & Apple. At Solvorn you can also take the small ferry across the Lustrafjord to Urnes and visit Urnes Stave Church and the Feigumfossen Waterfall. From Solvorn continue to Hafslo where you turn left towards Veitastrond. From there, drive the private toll-road to Tungestølen (4-5 kilometre), from where you have a nice and easy 2 hour walk to the Austerdalsbreen Glacier. There you can see 3 different glaciers (Loke, Odin and Tor) falling down from the plateau glacierJostedalsbreen, together creating the beautiful glacier down in the valley named Austerdalen. The glacier has only minor crevasses, and if it’s not covered with snow, it should be fairly safe to walk on it. You should always use rope and guide. Use the guide service from Jostedalen Glacier Guiding, order in advance.
Drive back to Hafslo and along the Sognefjord to Gaupne. If you want to go kayaking on the Lustrafjord, you can drive to Marifjøra, where you can rent kayaks and equipment from FjordSeal. Guiding and introductory lessons are also available. Then take to the left towards Jostedalen and Nigardsbreen Glacier. There you have Breheimsenteret Glacier Centre with its exhibition, multimedia glacier slideshow, information about the glacier, guiding and equipment-rental. You can also drive to the end of the Jostedalen Valley to Lake Styggevatnet, a “semi-artificial” dam, from where you have a view to the edge of the glacier calving into the lake. From here you have an easy hike to the glacier. If you are close to the glacier, pay attention to the danger that the glacier can be breaking into the lake; this can cause big waves and it can be dangerous to stay close to the shoreline. Ice Troll arrange guided kayak trips at Lake Styggevatnet.
Back at Gaupne, you continue through Luster to Skjolden and Fortun.
Stay at Skjolden Hotel, a beautiful hotel with local food down by the Lustrafjord. From Skjolden and Fortun you can have nice hikes, into the Mørkrisdalen Valley from Skjolden and the Fortunsdalen Valley from Fortun. The Fortunsdalen Valley is more spectacular the deeper into the valley you drive, but drive carefully. At the end of the road lies Nørstedalsseter Mountain Lodge, a good starting point for mountaineering.
From Skjolden, you can continue in the direction of Sognefjellet Mountain Road (National Tourist Route) and Lom. The first stop is Turtagrø Hotel, a new and modern mountain hotel, where you can get information and guiding to the Hurrungane Mountains, one of Norway´s wildest mountain areas. Here there are easy walks and difficult climbing on mountains with views over most of the Jotunheimen National Park. This is highly recommended. A little further and you have the Sognefjellshytta Mountain Lodge on the top of Sognefjellet. It has fantastic views and is cheap to stay overnight. Guided walks over the Fannaraak Glacier to Fannaraaken (2068 metres above sea level) can be done from here. Just a few kilometres from Sognefjellshytta you arrive at the Krossbu Mountain Lodge. Guiding across the Smørstabbreen Glacier can be done from here.
Official page for Norway: www.visitnorway.com
Official page for Fjord Norway: www.fjordnorway.com
Plan and book fjord travel, accommodation and activities: www.fjordtours.com
Fjord Pass Discounts: www.fjord-pass.com