ROMSDALEN – THE CRADLE OF MOUNTAINEERING IN NORWAY

Romsdalen valley is unique. The wild nature with Rauma river, the cultural landscape and the vertical mountains on both sides of the valley is a major tourist attraction and one of the reasons why people visit the Romsdalsfjord area.

On either side of the Rauma river, the vertical mountains tower almost 1,800 meters above the narrow valley. These are mountains that also tower over Norway’s alpine history.

Visit Northwest

Visit Northwest is the official destination company for the Romsdalsfjord, Romsdal and Nordmøre area.

DID Adventure – Guiding in Møre og Romsdal

Åndalsnes and the Romsdalsfjord seen from a bird’s eye view. This is one of the areas where DID Adventure can guide you.
Åndalsnes and the Romsdalsfjord seen from a bird’s eye view. This is one of the areas where DID Adventure can guide you.

DID Adventure in Molde has Møre og Romsdal county as its playground, and knows the area inside out like the back of its hand. They guide e.g. kayak tours, mountain hikes, tours with E-bikes and gravel bikes and other activities.

DID guides throughout the county of Møre and Romsdal, but has an extra heart for Molde, Eikesdalen, the area around Hustadvika and the Atlantic Road, Ona Lighthouse and Romsdalen. DID tailors and makes the entire journey with guides, equipment, accommodation, transport and food according to needs and wishes.

DID adapts the activities so that they are suitable for all ages and levels, and adjusts the activities so that you can explore at your own pace whether you are walking, cycling or paddling.

Regardless of whether you want to charter an expedition vessel, see glaciers and fjords from a helicopter, cycle long or steep, go hiking or explore life under water, DID Adventure arranges everything needed for a safe and memorable experience.

FJORDS NORWAY - Panoramic image over the western part of Romsdalseggen. Norway, beautiful and wild...
Drone image from the northwestern part of Romsdalseggen. Here we have a panoramic view of the lower part of Romsdalen. Åndalsnes and the Romsdalsfjord on the right in the picture.

A story from Peru in 1988. I was sitting at a bar talking to an American. The young man had traveled the world for four years and was on his way back to the States. The parents believed that all young people needed such a journey, a formative journey. I asked him what he remembered best from his adventure. Something that had stucked with him.

There were three places he would never forget, he said. The first was a lagoon on an island in the Pacific Ocean. Then there was Nepal. The third was as follows:

– I took the night train from Oslo, to a small place called Andalsness. I didn’t sleep that much on the train and that was fortunate. At end of the journey, the train went down a narrow valley called Romsdalen. The sun was coming up and set color on the mountains. I’ve never seen anything like it. Maybe the most beautiful place I’ve ever been…

The young Mr. Grøvdal becamed moved when he replied … “That’s where I’m born” ❤

Roger Grøvdal – from Åndalsnes

Romsdalen – Cultural landscape, salmon river and vertical mountains

FJORDS NORWAY - Romsdalen valley, Rauma river and the Trolltindene mountains.
Romsdalen valley, Rauma river and the Trolltindene mountains.

Romsdalen valley is unique. The wild nature with Rauma river, the cultural landscape and the vertical mountains on both sides of the valley are a major tourist attraction and one of the reasons why people visit Romsdal and the Romsdalsfjord. The entire Romsdalen valley is wild and beautiful, and very varied. One of the wildest areas in Romsdalen is where the rivers Rauma and Ulvåa meet. Further down in Romsdalen, between Trolltindene and Romsdalshorn, nature is if possible even wilder, but in a completely different way.

FJORDS NORWAY - Sagelva Vasskraftsenter.
Sagelva Vasskraftsenter.

Sagelva Vasskraftsenter is located at Stuguflåten in Lesja, at the top of Romsdalen on the border between Lesja and Rauma municipalities. The hydropower center was built and restored by local patriots. There are guided tours and demonstrations of the hydroelectric plant in the weekends in the summer, see season and opening times on the Sagelva website.

FJORDS NORWAY - Trollveggen (Troll Wall) and Rauma river in Romsdalen.
Trollveggen (Troll Wall) and Rauma river in Romsdalen.

On either side of the Rauma river, the vertical mountains tower almost 1,800 meters above the narrow valley. These are mountains that also tower over Norway’s alpine history. Trollveggen is probably one of the most famous mountains in Norway, and probably the most famous Norwegian mountain in the world. At least among the climbers. Trollveggen is Europe’s highest vertical cliff. From the bottom of Romsdalen up to the top of Trollveggen is almost 1,800 metres. Of this, more than 1,000 meters are vertical with more than 50 meters overhang.

 

 

FJORDS NORWAY - Salmon Fishing in Rauma river. Trollveggen looms in the background
Salmon Fishing in Rauma river. Trollveggen looms in the background.

At the end of the 19th century, the salmon rivers also became an important source of secondary income for those who owned the rivers. That was when the English tourists discovered Norway, and the Salmon Lords became a well-known phenomenon. It was people from the English upper classes that travelled to Norway and the fjords to fish for Atlantic Salmons in the rivers. Rauma river, which runs through the Romsdalen Valley and past Trollveggen, was one of the rivers which the salmon lords liked. Today, Elveguiden offers salmon fishing in 26 fishing spots in the Rauma river.

FJORDS NORWAY - Kylling Bridge on Rauma Railway at Verma in Romsdalen.
Kylling bridge on Rauma railway at Verma in Romsdalen.

Rauma railway starts at Dombås and ends 114 kilometers further west, at Åndalsnes down by the Romsdalsfjord. The railway line that runs through the unique cultural landscape in Lesja and down through the beautiful Romsdalen valley is one of Europe’s finest and most beautiful railway lines, with a magnificent, adventurous and wild nature.

At Verma, the Rauma Line has a loop of 275 meter radius in a tunnel before it crosses Kylling bridge. The beautiful stone bridge is one of the most photographed and famous railway bridges in Norway and perhaps also in other parts of the world.

Romsdalen – the valley with the many waterfalls

FJORDS NORWAY - Gravdefossen Waterfall at Flatmark in Romsdalen.
Gravdefossen Waterfall at Flatmark in Romsdalen.

In Rauma, the river that runs through Romsdalen between Lake Lesjaskogsvatnet and Åndalsnes by the Romsdalsfjord, there are several stretches with wild and powerful waterfalls. Kleivfossen, where the rivers Rauma and Ulvåa meet, is one of the most powerful waterfalls in Romsdalen, together with Slettafossen, which is located at Verma further down the valley.

From steep and high mountain ridges on both sides of the Rauma river, countless waterfalls plunge into the valley of Romsdalen. Vermafossen, Gravdefossen and Mongefossen are some of the most powerful waterfalls. Brudesløret is the name of one of the waterfalls, it goes inside a gorge east of Flatmark. Even more powerful are Gravdefossen and Mongefossen on the north side of the valley, midway between Verma and Marstein. You can see these waterfalls from the road that runs along Romsdalen.

Mongefossen comes out of lake Mongevatnet, which is a regulated mountain lake that lies between 907 and 913 masl. Mongefossen has a total drop of 773 meters and is Norway’s fifth highest waterfall. Gravdefossen is one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Romsdalen. The waterfall is best seen when you drive down Romsdalen, then you can see Gravdefossen on the right side of the road.

Most of the waterfalls in Romsdalen can be seen from the road that runs through the valley. Note that there is not so many stopping places along the road, so it is therefore not possible or legal to stop at some of the waterfalls. At Slettafossen, which is part of the Rauma river, there is a parking lot and a kiosk. Slettafossen cannot be seen from the main road, but the exit to the car park is well signposted.

Romsdalen – Loved by Harry Potter and Tom Cruise

FJORDS NORWAY - From Romsdalseggen, view towards Romsdalen valley and Rauma river, Mt Romsdalshorn, Mt Trollveggen and Trolltindene.
View from Romsdalseggen towards Romsdalen and Rauma river,  Romsdalshorn, Trollveggen and Trolltindene.

This wonderful valley has attracted tourists since the dawn of time, and today film companies are queuing up to use Romsdalen as a film backdrop.

Harry Potter and Mission Impossible are the two most famous films, and Tom Cruise has put his love in the Western fjords and the Romsdalen valley.

Trollveggen can most easily be experienced from the Trollveggen Visitor Centre by the road E136 in Romsdalen Valley, about 10 kilometers from Åndalsnes in the direction of Dombås. There you will get a panoramic view of Trollveggen and the Trolltindene mountains from the viewing platform. The visitor centre is open from June to August.

The video below is from a drive down Romsdalen, from the Gravdefossen waterfall near Flatmark to Trollveggen Camping, which is located below Trollveggen. The last part is a short detour, along the old road that runs from the exit at Romsdalshorn along the Rauma river with Trollveggen in the background.

The construction of Rauma Railway

Scaffolding construction at Kylling Bridge. Photo: Edvard Sæterbø
Scaffolding construction at Kylling Bridge. Photo: Edvard Sæterbø.

The Norwegian Parliament approved the building of Rauma Railway between Dombås and Åndalsnes on July 9th, 1908.

The construction work started on January 24th 1912 at Jora Bridge and Kylling Bridge. Four work teams took part. In October same year, another work team started at Åndalsnes, which now was decided to be the end station on Rauma Railway.

On June 17th 1912, a detailed plan and an estimate for the complete section of the line was presented by the railway administration. In 1915, the government presented a plan and estimate for Rauma Railway. On July 29th same year, this plan was approved by the Norwegian parliament. The construction work had then been ongoing for 3.5 years, in a moderate scale.

Trollveggen (The troll Wall) in Romsdalen

FJORDS NORWAY - Trollveggen (Troll Wall) and Rauma river in Romsdalen.
Trollveggen (Troll Wall) and Rauma river in Romsdalen.

From Åndalsnes, drive eight kilometers up the Romsdalen Valley to the base of Trollveggen and Romsdalshorn. From here there are great views to the surrounding mountains, to the valley and to Rauma River.

Trollveggen is the tallest vertical Rock Face in Europe (more than 1000 meters vertical cliff and 50 meters overhang). The highest peaks at Trollveggen rage almost 1800 meters above the Romsdalen Valley. Trollveggen can be seen from Trollveggen Visitor Centre down in the Romsdalen Valley.

If you want a panoramic view of Trollveggen and the lower part of Romsdalen, the mountain hikes to Mt Litlefjellet and Romsdalseggen are perfect in this respect. The picture below shows the panoramic view from Litlefjellet. Both of these hikes start from Vengedalen in Isfjorden.

FJORDS NORWAY - View from Mt Litlefjellet to Romsdalen Valley. We can also see Mt Romsdalshorn, Mt Trollveggen and Åndalsnes.
View from Mt Litlefjellet to the Romsdalen Valley. We can also see Mt Romsdalshorn, Mt Trollveggen and Åndalsnes down by the Romsdalsfjord.

The Pioneers of the Troll Wall

The Rimmon Troll Wall Team - Ready to go! Back row, Tony Howard, Rob Holt, Bill Tweedale, Tony Nichols, John Amatt; front, Jeff Heath and Margaret Woodcock.
The Rimmon Troll Wall Team – Ready to go! Back row, Tony Howard, Rob Holt, Bill Tweedale, Tony Nichols, John Amatt; front, Jeff Heath and Margaret Woodcock. Photo: Tony Howard collection.

If you were into new routes and big walls in the 1960s you would have known about a monster in Norway about which ominous stories circulated that can be summed up in one word: ‘unclimbable’.

The Troll Wall (Trollveggen) in Romsdal was also known as ‘the Vertical Mile’, and described as ‘the largest overhanging wall in Europe’. It was reputed to be smooth and holdless for 5,000 feet, and impossible without the aid of bolts. It also faces north and is as far north as Alaska’s Mt McKinley. Quite a proposition!

Strange then that none of the ‘big boys’ went for it. Instead a team from a small Peak District club called The Rimmon decided it was worth a go and in July 1965 despite everyone’s doubts and some horrendous weather they actually climbed it.

Salmon Fishing below the Troll Wall, in the river Rauma

FJORDS NORWAY - Salmon Fishing in Rauma River, below the Troll Wall. Torbjørn Heen is the happy fisherman, from the 70´s. Photo: Knut Hoem.
Salmon Fishing in Rauma River, below the Troll Wall. Torbjørn Heen is the happy fisherman. Photo: Knut Hoem.

In Norway, salmon fishing in the rivers has been important to people since the dawn of time. At the end of the 19th century, the salmon rivers also became an important source of secondary income for those who owned the rivers.

That was when the English tourists discovered Norway, and the Salmon Lords became a well-known phenomenon. It was people from the English upper classes that travelled to Norway and the fjords to fish for Atlantic Salmons in the rivers.

The river Rauma, which runs through the Romsdalen Valley and past the Troll Wall, was one of the rivers which the salmon lords liked. Today, Elveguiden offers salmon fishing in 26 fishing spots in the Rauma river, several of the spots are located just below the Troll Wall.

Trollveggen (The Troll Wall) Visitor Centre

The Troll Wall can be experienced from Trollveggen Visitor Centre by the road E136 in Romsdalen Valley, about 10 kilometers from Åndalsnes in the direction of Dombås. There you will get a panoramic view of the Troll Wall and the Trolltindene mountains from the viewing platform.

There is a cafeteria with a panoramic view of the Troll Wall in addition to a souvenir shop. There is also an auditorium where the dramatic story of the Troll Wall is shown on film.The visitor centre is open from June to August. Below you can see some pictures of Trollveggen. The pictures were taken from different places, both in and above Romsdalen. Trollveggen is truly a “photogenic” mountain, from all angles and directions.

Trollveggen Camping

Trollveggen Camping is located at the foot of the Troll Wall, only separated by Rauma River. On one side you look straight up to the Troll Wall. If you turn around 180 degrees, you look straight up to Mt Romsdalshorn. There is hardly any more spectacular place to have a campsite than where Trollveggen Camping is located.

The Norwegian Mountaineering Centre at Åndalsnes

Norsk Tindesenter is a visitor centre at Åndalsnes, in the heart of Romsdalen Valley. The centre accommodates the Norwegian Mountaineering Museum, Norway’s highest indoor climbing wall, a restaurant and a gift shop.

Norsk Tindesenter is the starting point for the spectacular climbing experience Romsdalsstigen Via Ferrata and deliver tailored guiding in the Romsdal mountains.

FJORDS NORWAY - The Norwegian Mountaineering Centre at Åndalsnes by the Romsdalsfjord.
The Norwegian Mountaineering Centre at Åndalsnes by the Romsdalsfjord.

Åndalsnes – the “Hub” by the Romsdalsfjord

FJORDS NORGE - Åndalsnes, the city by the Romsdalsfjord.
Åndalsnes, the city by the Romsdalsfjord.

-Then he told him about Åndalsnes, a tiny settlement up in Romsdalen Valley, surrounded by high mountains which were so beautiful that his mother had always said that that was where God had started when He was creating the world, and that He had spent so long on Romsdalen that the rest of the world had to be done post-haste to be finished by Sunday. Jo Nesbø, The Bat

Åndalsnes is the “Hub” in Romsdal, and is situated in the middle of all the great things that is worth seeing and doing in the Romsdalsfjord area.

View towards Åndalsnes and the Isfjorden from Klungnes.
View towards Åndalsnes and the Isfjorden from Klungnes.

Åndalsnes is a great place to stay if you want to see and explore Trollstigen, Trollveggen, the Romsdal Gondola, the Rauma Railway and the Romsdalseggen mountain ridge.

Geiranger and the Geirangerfjord are well known places nearby. The road there, Geiranger – Trollstigen National Tourist Route, is an attraction in itself.

If you go westwards, you have the Atlantic Coast with the Atlantic Road, Ona Island with Ona Lighthouse, Bjørnsund and Midsundtrappene. Go North-East, and you will find the beautiful Eikesdal and the Mardalsfossen Waterfall, Aursjøvegen Mountainroad, and Litjdalen Valley. The cities of Ålesund, Molde and Kristiansund are nearby. 

Travel green with Rauma Railway to and from Åndalsnes

FJORDS NORWAY - The Rauma Railway runs over the Kylling Bridge at Verma in Romsdalen.
The Rauma Railway runs over the Kylling Bridge at Verma in Romsdalen.

The Rauma Railway between Dombås and Åndalsnes is voted as Europe´s most scenic Rail Journey by Lonely Planet.

Take the train to the end-station Åndalsnes at one of Norways most spectacular railways. Tom Cruise used the Rauma Railway when filming Mission Impossible 7.

The Rauma Railway is one of the country’s most beautiful and wildest railway sections. It starts at Dombås and ends 114 kilometers further west, at Åndalsnes down by the Romsdalsfjord.

The area through which the Rauma Railway runs houses some of Norway’s most famous tourist attractions. Trollveggen, Romsdalshorn and Rauma Elv are the most famous.

Romsdalsfjord – What to See and Do

Litlefjellet in Romsdal.
Litlefjellet in Romsdal.

From snowy mountains to beautiful coastline of islands and reefs. Experience all this in one day due to the short distance from mountains to coast.

Trollstigen, The Troll Wall, Romsdalseggen, Rampestreken and Litlefjellet are great places to visit in the inner part of the Romsdalsfjord, where the fjord meets the spectacular and alpine Romsdal mountains.

Drive to the viewpoint Varden at 407 masl and take in the spectacular Molde Panoramic View towards the Romsdalsfjord and the 222 snowcapped mountains. Ona Island and Ona Lighthouse, The Atlantic Road and Midsundtrappene are attractions facing the Atlantic Ocean.

Travel green to Åndalsnes with Rauma Railway, a wild, beautiful and unique experience regardless of season. From Åndalsnes Railway Station, you can walk straight from the train and over to the Romsdal Gondola that takes you up to the city-mountain Mt Nesaksla and Eggen Restaurant.

From Mt Nesaksla you have a fantastic view towards Isfjorden, down to the Romsdalsfjord and up towards the Romsdalen Valley which you have just experienced from the train ride along the Rauma Railway. The Romsdalsfjord is located in the county of Møre og Romsdal, north in Western Norway.

Hotels and Accommodation at Åndalsnes and Romsdal

Grand Hotel at Åndalsnes
Frich´s Ekspress Hotel Åndalsnes
Aak Hotel in Romsdalen by Åndalsnes
Åndalsnes Vandrerhjem at Setnes at Veblungsnes
Åndalsnes Camping by Rauma River at Åndalsnes
Mjelva Camping at Mjelva at Åndalsnes
Soggebru Camping at Sogge at Åndalsnes
Trollstigen Resort at Sogge at Åndalsnes
Trollstigen Gjestegård og Camping in Isterdalen below Trollstigen
Trollveggen Camping by the Troll Wall in Romsdalen
Accommodation in Isfjorden

Åndalsnes and Romsdal – Useful Links

Online Booking Romsdalseggen Bus
Romsdal.com – Hiking Guide to the mountains in Romsdal
Norsk Tindesenter at Åndalsnes
Fjords.com – Åndalsnes in Romsdal
Fjords.com – Trollstigen in Romsdal
Fjords.com – The Romsdalsfjord
Fjords.com – Romsdalseggen
Fjords.com – Romsdal Gondola
Fjords.com – Rauma Railway

 

HOTELS - LINKS - FAQ

Here you will find an overview of recommended HOTELS in addition to SPA & BATH HOTELS and OTHER ACCOMMODATION PLACES in Western Norway. The combination of beautiful nature, activities that you can do in all four seasons and a stay at a great accommodation is unique. A stay in one of these places will do you good, both for body and mind.

There are ten restaurants that have awarded Michelin stars and Michelin awards in Western Norway. Eight of the Michelin restaurants are in Stavanger and two in Bergen. Here you will find FJORDS MICHELIN, where you will also find a list of recommended hotels in Western Norway, recommended by Michelin.

USEFUL LINKS is a list of websites with great information on Norway and the Fjords. FAQ is an overview of articles that answer the most common questions you have when planning to visit the fjords in Western Norway.

Åndalsnes and the Neighbourhood – Map Overview