9 June 2019 2 day trip Aprox 932km/579mi photo by Jone Haakonseth ©
Going from 86 to 37 (30-3 Celsius) degrees Fahrenheit outside really makes it a challenging task to try and plan more than a day trip these days. Still, we are kinda used to temperature changing fairly quick when going up and down mountains off Norway.
Well, the announcement of yet another winter closed road opening, was more than enough for me to plan a new trip with my good friend Sven.
Aurlandsfjell is 1 of 18 National Scenic Routes in Norway that you should try and visit if U can, and this one usually opens late spring/early summer due to snow and high altitudes. An added bonus when traveling from Haugesund is that we get to go trough some of the most beautiful parts of Norway to get there.
We booked ahead for a stay at Undredal, and set off after work late Friday, on a new journey, this time into the well known.
The trip from Haugesund to Undredal in it self, is a wonderful adventure of sights and scenic views that can hardly be explained, one simply has to experience this in person to fully appreciate the wonders of Norwegian nature.
We pass Langfoss in Aakrafjord and Laatefoss close to Odda. Heading on in Soerfjorden towards Hardangerbrua, we pass Tyssedal, the starting point if going up to Trolltunga. A bit further in the fjord we pass Lofthus , and soon after we cross Hardangerbrua which is 100 feet longer than Golden Gate Bridge, and among the 10 longest suspension bridges in the world.
On the other side of the fjord we pass Granvinsvatnet seen under here….
and soon after Skjervsfossen, but you do have to deviate from the main road between Granvin and Voss to see this.
Passing Voss we head on north on E16 towards Gudvangen (God Valley) and Naeroeyfjorden, currently on the UNESCO World Heritage list.
Just before you enter Gudvangen you should drop by Stalheimskleiva, and Stalheim Hotel. The history runs rich here, and it also holds the steepest road in Europe, with 14 hairpin bends up the mountain side with a climb of 20%.
The post road between Oslo and Bergen was established here 1647, but in Stalheimskleiva there was only a pack horse track right up to the 1840s .
Stalheim Hotel was first opened in 1885 with 10 very simple rooms.
In 1959 the hotel burnt down for the 3 time, and 25 persons lost their life in the fire. Rebuilt for 4´th time, and later extended to accommodate 218 persons.
During 2nd world war Stalheim Hotel was set up as an Lebensborn home by the Germans, for approx. 100 children.
Passing trough Gudvangen on has to wonder if there at some point in time lived giants here, you realy feel small going up the valley towards Undredal. If you stop and listen, it is common to hear rocks fall down the steep valley sides, and I higly recomend a stay at one of the local campsites to get the full experience. Lots of waterfalls as well, it’s simply amazing here. In Gudvangen there is also a Viking Village to visit.
The road down to Undredal is relatively new, and was built in 1988, and prior to 1988, Undredal was only accessible by boat. Undredal Stave Church is the smallest stave church currently in use in Scandinavia. The church is only 12 by 4 meters (39 by 13 ft) and has only 40 seats. The parish only includes one small, rather isolated valley, with only 116 parishioners. The view overlooking big parts of Aurlandsfjord is nice, and there is also a famous Goat Cheese farm located in Undredal. During Oste-VM/World Cheese Awards in Bergen fall of 2018 “Kvit Undredal Eldgamal” was awarded the Gold Medal.
Remeber to click the small images to see a pictureshow
Aurlandsfjellet is a mountain road between Aurland and Lærdal – Aurlandsfjellet – FV 243 is kept open for car traffic from 1 of June til 15 October. From Aurland up to Stegastein, the road is open all year. The road also called “Snowy road” because one can see snow along the road most parts of the summer. Distance between Aurland-Lærdal is 48 km. Highest point is at 1306 m.o.h. with gorgeous scenic views and viewpoints, but it’s really cold up here.
Laerdal holds good reasons for dropping in. This picturesque little village is well worth exploring, The valley which encloses Laerdal was settled and lived in over 6000 years ago (4000 BC), and in Laerdal we can find the first traces of settlement in the mountain area of Norway ever recorded… you can read more on that here…
One of the many nice attractions just outside Laerdal is Borgund Stave Church
Heading on towards Rjukan, we took the old Fv50 from Aurland to Hol.
In 1974 the start of developing hydro-power plants based in Aurland, this road was built to access the mountains, and at first this stretch of road was a construction road, only open during summer. The road holds lots of hairpin bends and tunnels
you can read more on this road here…..
I’m sad to say, due to a sharp turn in the weather the rest of the trip was done in mostly rainy conditions, and therefore does not contain a lot of pictures….well somethings we got to keep for future postings 🙂
Here is Sven nodding off after a quick snack, waiting for the rain to go away…
The trip home went from Aurland, via Hol, up to Geilo, and down to Rjukan.
From there over to Rauland, via Haukelid and back to Haugesund.
A great 2 day trip with lots of great exploration stored on my internal hard drive (read head)
Sven has made a video summary of our trip, this can be viewed here….
Til next time, stay healthy and keep travelling 🙂 Jone