Small idyllic fjord villages are located along the Årdalsfjord, squeezed between steep mountains, waterfalls, rivers and the fjord. The abandoned fjord village Indre Ofredal is one of these villages.
Around the middle of the 19th century, a sawmill, mill, boathouse, kitchen-building and forge were built at Indre Ofredal. The old sawmill at Indre Ofredal is part of the history of Norway as an industry nation.
Årdal and the Årdalsfjord
The Årdalsfjord is the part of the Sognefjord that runs between the outer part of the Lustrafjord and the industrial town of Årdalstangen. The surrounding nature has facilitated amounts of cheap hydroelectric energy which in turn has facilitated industry in this area. The industrial towns Årdalstangen and Øvre Årdal are the result of this. But it was in Indre Ofredal it all started.
Indre Ofredal – History
People have lived in Indre Ofredal since the middle of the 17th century. From the middle of the 19th century until the Second World War, Indre Ofredal was an important center for trade and business in the whole of Indre Sogn. In this “industrial area” there was production, unloading and loading of raw materials and finished products. The pine forest in Indre Ofredal has very good quality, and together with ordinary agriculture and fruit growing, this was the way of life for people in Indre and Ytre Ofredal.
Indre Ofredal today – Restoration and recreation by the fjord
After many years of decay, the association Ne fø´ Sjøen has now restored many of the houses at Indre Ofredal. They have a small cafeteria and offer accommodation in the old restored Boat House down by the fjord. Serving simple lunch menu, freshly baked Norwegian waffles, refreshments and soft drinks. Open during summer.
If you like to fish, Indre Ofredal is the perfect place. There is a large pier beside the boat house from where it is perfect for fishing in the fjord.
The dramatic nature around Indre Ofredal attracts guests who seek adventures all year round. Vettisfossen Waterfall, Utladalen Valley, the Jotunheimen Mountains and the Årdalsfjord and the surrounding dramatic mountains are great areas for activities such as hiking, mountaineering, climbing and kayaking.
Other small idyllic fjord villages like Naddvik and Seim are also well worth visiting. You can reach these villages by car, but they are also great to experience from a kayak or from a boat.
You get to Indre Ofredal by car via Årdalstangen to Seim and then through Ofredalstunnelen Tunnel to Indre Ofredal.
Ofredalstunnelen – The worlds steepest Tunnel
The 2200 meter long Ofredalstunnelen Tunnel between Seim and Indre Ofredal is famous for being the the world’s steepest tunnel. But the tunnel that opened in 1992 was not meant to be as steep as it became. Due to poor map data, the tunnel was made halfway with the wrong incline. This led to the last half having to be made very steep, at a 15.5% incline, to end in the right place in Indre Ofredal.
Kayak from Naddvik to Indre Ofredal
I glided into the Årdalsfjord at Naddvik and headed towards Indre Ofredal on the other side of the fjord. I have read about Indre Ofredal at the newspaper Sogn Avis, and looked forward to see this beautiful abandoned village with my own eyes. Indre Ofredal is situated down by the Årdalsfjord which is part of the 204 kilometer long Sognefjord.
It was a beautiful day on the fjord, and the sun was shining from a clear blue sky. It took me around 1.5 hours to paddle to Indre Ofredal, but I could have done it faster if I hadn´t done all the filming.
I entered Indre Ofredal on the new pier that was special made for kayaks. Then I had a stroll around the village and walked up the road to see the view from the hillside. It is a lovely gem of a place, and the view towards the crystal clear river, the old restored houses and the wide Årdalsfjord and Sognefjord was epic.
There was a small café where I bought freshly made waffles and an ice cold softdrink, perfect after spending some time on the fjord in a kayak.
After a couple of hours in Indre Ofredal, I paddled inwards the fjord (I kept distance to the steep mountainside in case of rockfall). Then I crossed the fjord back to Naddvik from where I started the trip earlier in the morning.
The hike to Mt Bøttejuv starts at Seimsdalen, just a couple of kilometers drive from Indre Ofredal. The view from Mt Bøttejuv (Bucket Gorge) is insane. You should definately put it on your “Bucket List”. From Mt Bøttejuv you can see straight down on the emerald green Lake Årdalsvatnet, 1320 meters below you, and to the surrounding mountains in Hurrungane and Jotunheimen, the roof of Norway.
For guided kayak-trips on the Årdalsfjord, guided hikes to Mt Bøttejuv and to other mountains in the Årdal and Jotunheimen area, Bulder & Brak at Årdalstangen offers a wide range of services and adventures in all four seasons.
The Sognefjord, the king of the fjords, is the longest fjord adventure in Norway. The Sognefjord is 204 kilometers long and 1308 meters deep at its deepest. Join a glacier walk on the Nigardsbreen glacier, see the beautiful stave churches. Join a fjord safari, a fjord cruise or experience the Sognefjord in a kayak. Experience the view from Stegastein viewpoint above the Aurlandsfjord. Take a short hike to Mt Molden in Luster and you will see the fantastic view down to the Lustrafjord. The view from Mt Skomakarnipa in Fresvik is perhaps the world´s most insane fjord view. The Austerdalsbreen glacier at Veitastrond is known for being the most beautiful glacier in Europe. The Fjærlandsfjord, Aurlandsfjord and Nærøyfjord, the Årdalsfjord and the Lustrafjord are all branches of the Sognefjord. These side fjords are perhaps even more famous than the Sognefjord itself, which is located in the middle of western Norway, and which is so long that it almost divides Norway in two.