Built right after the Viking age – in the Middle Age there were probably more than 1000 stave churches in Norway. Today, there are only 28 left, nine of them are located in Western Norway. The oldest one is Urnes Stave Church by the Lustrafjord.


Urnes Stave Church at Ornes is the oldest of the remaining stave churches, and is one of four UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Western Norway. The village is called Ornes, but was called Urnes earlier (probably due to Danish influence).


Season and Safety

Many of the activities and attractions mentioned on this website are open only in summer and are closed in winter. This also applies to many of the roads and accommodations mentioned. Season and opening time will vary. It depends on where it is and what activity, attraction, road and accommodation it is, it usually opens in the summer and closes in the autumn, depending on i.a. the amount of snow and the risk of avalanches in the area.

Important information about roads in western Norway: Many roads in western Norway are prone to landslides, especially in rainy and snowy weather. This may include rock falls, rockslides, landslides, debris flows, mud flows, erosion, snow avalanches and rock avalanches. Some of the roads are particularly well-known for their high level of mass movements exposed over them. Winter tires are required in winter. Read more about Tyre Requirements in Norway...

It is important to take precautions for weather and driving conditions, on roads and trails, both when driving and in general when one is out in nature in Norway and Western Norway. It is recommended to use guide on the tours described on this website. Use the information you find on this website at your own risk and responsibility. Read more about season, important safety information and your own responsibility…

Visit Sognefjord

Visit Sognefjord is the official destination company for the Lustrafjord and Sognefjord area.

Stave Churches in the Fjords

FJORDS NORWAY - Wood carvings on Urnes Stave Church.
Wood carvings on Urnes Stave Church.

A stave church is a wooden church from the Middle Age. Most of the Norwegian stave churches were built right after the Viking Age around year 1100-1200 AD. The name “stave church” comes from the construction of the buildings; large ground beams of wood are placed on a foundation of stone, then internal wooden pillars (staves) are interconnected and also connected to the outer walls.

Urnes Stave Church is the oldest of the remaining stave churches. The newest one is Kvernes Stave Church, one of our biggest stave churches. Kvernes Stave Church is beautifully located with great view to the Kvernesfjord and Freifjord on the Atlantic Coast in Møre og Romsdal. It was until recently believed that Kvernes Stave Church was built around year 1300 AD. But after dating new samples of the timber, the church is now dated to year 1633 AD. This is quite a big sensation, it was not believed that the “stave constuction” was used this late.

Undredal Stave Church by the Aurlandsfjord is the smallest church in Norway.

FJORDS NORWAY - Urnes Stave Church at Ornes by the Lustrafjord.
Urnes Stave Church at Ornes by the Lustrafjord.

Urnes Stave Church by the Lustrafjord

FJORDS NORWAY - The exterior wood carvings make Urnes Stavkirke special and unique.
The exterior wood carvings make Urnes Stave Church special and unique.

Urnes Stave Church is the oldest of the remaining stave churches in Norway, and is one of four UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Western Norway. The church was built around year 1130 AD, and is situated at the fjord village of Ornes by the Lustrafjord. It was probably built and used as a private farm church, while later in the Middle Ages it was used as a parish church.

The latest datings shows that the oldest timber used in the church was cut in the year 1070 AD, while timber from younger parts was cut in the years between 1129–1130 AD. The exterior wood carvings make Urnes Stave Church special and unique. Parts of the woodcarving work are also reflected in the Municipal Coats of Arms in Luster Municipality.

It has also been claimed that there must have been two earlier churches at Ornes before Urnes Stave Church was built. It is believed that some of the wooden material has been reused in Urnes Stave Church.

Ornes and Urnes Stave Church – Season, Guiding and Café

A nice way to explore Urnes Stave Church and the beautiful surroundings is to drive to Solvorn and cross the Lustrafjord by ferry to Ornes. From the ferry quay at Urnes, there is only a short walk uphill to Urnes Stave Church.

There is also a road along the east side of the Lustrafjord from Skjolden to Ornes. The road is 30 kilometers long. The road is narrow and winding and is prone to landslides and avalanches, especially in rainy and snowy weather. There might also be a chance that the road is closed in short periods, especially during winter, due to weather and danger of rock- and snow avalanches and other dangerous conditions.

During summer you can join a guided “tour” both outside and inside the church. At Urnes Gard near by, there is also a small café where you can buy short travelled and local made refreshments. They produces fruit and berries, as well as juice and jam. There is also the option of overnight accommodation at Urnes Gard.

Urnes Stave Church – Season: Summer. See the official website of Urnes Stave Church for more information about season, opening hours, guiding and about Urnes Stave Church.

Solvorn, Ornes and Feigefossen Waterfall

FJORDS NORWAY - The road between Skjolden and Ornes by the Lustrafjord.
The road between Skjolden and Ornes by the Lustrafjord is narrow and winding.

Solvorn is a beautiful village down by the Lustrafjord. There you have the oldest historical hotel in Norway, the beautiful Walaker Hotel. Eplet Hostel og Jusfabrikk and Villa Solvorn are also located in Solvorn.

From Solvorn you can take the small ferry across the Lustrafjord to Ornes and visit Ornes and Urnes Stave Church. Urnes and the area along the fjord are great starting points for experiences and adventures.

It is about 13 kilometers from Ornes to Feigum. A nice hike is the hike from Feigum to the viewpoint where you can see the Feigefossen Waterfall from up close.

FJORDS NORWAY - From Feigum by the Lustrafjord. Feigefossen Waterfall in the background.
From Feigum by the Lustrafjord. Feigefossen Waterfall in the background.

Especially early summer, this is a great sight, when the snowmelt is at its maximum and the water flow in the waterfall is at its most powerful. The hike to the viewpoint is nice and takes around an hour each way, the trail is marked. There is about a 150 meter climb from the start at Feigum to the viewpoint. The trail is rocky in the end and it can be slippery due to water splash from the waterfall. Feigefossen Waterfall has a vertical drop of 229 meters. Season: Summer.

Feigesagi Café is an idyllic café down by the fjord at Feigum, it is open from time to time.

NOTE! This road from Ornes to Feigum and further to Skjolden is narrow and winding, and it can be tight in some sections. Be aware that cars, cyclists and people walking can come towards you and from behind, you must take precautions for this.

Lustrafjord – What to See and Do

The Lustrafjord and Luster area is deemed to be one of the most beautiful spots in the country. It is where the fjords meet the top of Norway and the mountains and glaciers never end. There are many wonderful and exciting things to see and do there. The oldest historical hotel, the Walaker Hotel, is located here. Visit the world heritage protected Urnes Stave Church and see the mighty Feigefossen Waterfall that reveals itself in the spring. The hike to Mt Molden gives you a fantastic view both inwards and outwards the Lustrafjord. Nigardsbreen glacier in Jostedal and Austerdalsbreen glacier at Veitastrond are two of the most beautiful and most easily accessible glaciers in Norway. Mørkridsdalen and Fortunsdalen are two classic areas for mountain hikes near Skjolden, which is located in the innermost part of the Lustrafjord. Drive Sognefjellet National Tourist Route. Along the road is Turtagrø Hotel where you will get information and guide to Hurrungane which is one of Norway’s wildest mountain areas. Stay at Skjolden Hotel, a great hotel with short-travelled food and beer. The Lustrafjord is a branch of the 204 kilometer long Sognefjord.


Information from guiding at Urnes Stave Church
Stave Churches in Norway
Luster Municipality

The Lustrafjord – Accommodation

Jostedalen – Jostedal Hotell
Jostedalen – Jostedal Camping
Fortun/Hurrungane – Turtagrø Hotel
Skjolden – Skjolden Hotel
Skjolden – Skjolden Resort
Lustrafjord – Sørheim Fjordpanorama
Luster – Dalsøren Camping
Luster – Luster Fjordhytter
Luster – Nes Gard
Marifjøra – Tørvis Hotel
Marifjøra – Marifjøra Sjøbuer
Mollandsmarki – Heil pao kanten
Norway’s oldest hotelWalaker Hotell in Solvorn
Bed & Breakfast in Solvorn – Eplet Hostel & Juicefabrikk
Bed & Breakfast in Solvorn – Villa Solvorn
Exclusivity and well-being at HafsloBesteBakken
Tungestølen at Veitastrond – Tungestølen Turisthytte

The Lustrafjord – Useful Links

Skjolden – Where fjord meets the mountains: Skjolden.com
Activities in Luster: Visit Skjolden
The UNESCO Protected Urnes Stave Church
Ferry across the Lustrafjord: Lustrabaatane
Glacier Guiding on Nigardsbreen Glacier: Jostedalen Breførarlag
Breheimsenteret Glacier Center in Jostedal: Breheimsenteret
Mountain Hotel in the Hurrungane Mountains: Turtagrø Hotel
Sognefjellet National Tourist Route: Norwegian Scenic Routes
Guided Kayak Trip on the Lustrafjord: Fjordseal at Marifjøra
Guided Motor Boat Tours at Lake Styggevatnet: Ice Troll

FJORDS – Accommodation in Western Norway

Great Hotels in the Fjords of Norway
Bath and Spa Hotels in the Fjords of Norway
Fjords Living – Special Accommodation in the Fjords of Norway

FJORDS – Useful Links

Go Fjords – Big and Small Fjord Experiences
Visit Norway – Official page for Norway
Fjord Norway – Official page for Fjord Norway

Urnes Stave Church – Map Overview