Trollstigen

A Scenic Road Trip in Norway

    The Trollstigen road – also known as Route 63 – runs right through some of the most stunning scenery in Norway. Given that you can find breathtaking sights around every corner in the northern European country, that’s no small claim. However, between the winding road, verdant valleys, roaring waterfalls, placid fjords and picturesque villages, it’s a claim that’s easily believable.

    As the route includes a few high mountain passes, with tight turns over long drops, the road is only open during the summer. However, that doesn’t stop it from being one of the busiest roads in Norway, with epic viewpoints at every turn.

    1

    Åndalsnes

    An alpine town in Norway

    Åndalsnes sits at the mouth of the Rauma river, where it meets the Romsdal Fjord. It’s one of the region’s larger towns and, being home to a sizable port, is an important transportation hub. The town itself is fairly unremarkable but is ideally placed for letting you enjoy the stunning Norwegian countryside around it.

    Romsdalsfjord is one of the most romantic valleys in Norway, thanks to its tall, steep sides and dramatic scenery. The many nearby peaks have attracted mountaineers and artists for hundreds of years, giving Åndalsnes a reputation like that of the alpine towns of central Europe.

    photo by Tauralbus (CC BY 2.0) modified

    2

    Trollstigen Valldalen

    Climb the “troll’s ladder” up a sheer valley wall

    The “troll’s ladder” is perhaps the most popular 5 km of tarmac in Norway. The country’s harsh winter weather means it's only open for about half the year, but that doesn’t stop more than 150,000 vehicles driving it each year. And that’s not even counting all the people walking the nearby footpaths.

    As fun as the 11 hairpin bends of the road are to drive, the thousands of motorists and cyclists are really coming to enjoy the view. The Trollstigen winds its way up the side of the Valldalen – a stunning valley with a dramatic waterfall by the road.

    3

    Valldalen

    Caravan parks aplenty

    Also known as Sylte, the little village of Valldal is tightly huddled around the mouth of the Valldøla river, on the northern shore of the Norddal Fjord. It contains a big caravan park, which takes up about a quarter of the already tiny amount of space the place covers, and there are other parks nearby.

    Valldal is quite a functional place, being the administrative capital of the area. While the views along the winding Valldal valley and the epic Norddalsfjorden are the star attractions, the charming Sylte Church is worth a look and the Tafjord mountains aren’t far away.

    photo by dconvertini (CC BY 2.0) modified

    4

    Norddal

    A quaint nook in the Norddalsfjorden

    The tiny village of Norddal is huddled in a tiny nook on the southern side of the Norddalsfjorden, beneath sheer, towering cliffs. Despite being home to fewer than 200 people, it gives its name to a large area of the Norwegian countryside – the Norddal Municipality, or North Dale.

    Beyond its picturesque setting, the focal point of the village is the Norddal Church. Built in its current form and position in 1782, it has a history that dates back over 150 years earlier, as well as a remarkable octagonal shape. The village is also a starting point for hikes towards Geiranger.

    photo by Frokor (CC BY-SA 3.0) modified

    5

    Geiranger

    The gateway to one of Norway’s best fjords

    Geirangerfjord is among the most popular tourist sites in Norway, thanks to its breathtaking beauty. The town of Geiranger sits at its head and has one of the country's largest and busiest cruise ship ports. Even just getting there is an amazing experience, whether you’re sailing down the fjord or driving down the winding Ørnesvingen (Eagle Road).

    While you’re in the tiny town, be sure to enjoy the view from Flydalsjuvet Rock and take a short boat ride up the fjord to see the 7 Sisters. The beautiful waterfall tumbles down the sheer valley walls in 7 individual streams.

    Ben Reeves | Compulsive Traveler

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