N O R W A Y
My favorite places
This country has been my home for (all together) 5 years. I’ve been in n out the fjords, up in the mountains as much as the time has allowed me to. If you have future plans of going to this vast country in the future, I’m gone give you a little inside information to some of the places closes to my heart.
I want to start with a short explanation of “allemansrätt” - translated to the Everyman’s right. This is a right every human being has while visiting Scandinavia. This means that if you go, it’s a public right to access wilderness. You also the right to access certain public or privately owned land, lakes and rivers for exploring. You also have the right to “camp”, meaning put up a tent, almost anywhere. You can sleep one night on any public land, after that you need to ask the landowner which usually is not a problem. For me it’s never been.
Campfires is not allowed in the forrest areas from 15 april - 15 september (think this is both in Sweden, Norway)
Also keep in mind with this freedom to explore nature, show respect towards the people and animals living here. Be responsible. Take up your trash. Don’t litter. Use common sense, and leave the place a little bit better then you found it!
One of the first places i’ve ever visited when moving to Norway was Loen and it’s lake. By mistake while driving towards Ålesund at nightime, In pitch black I ended up driving a few kilometers on a small road away from R15, parked my car and slept. I woke up, looked around and it was love at first sight.
Loen is a tiny village in Sogn and Fjordane County. When driving from Oslo the 6 hour drive is pretty flat for about four hours (with Norwegian standards). Just like Sweden you have an embance of forests. Right when you hit Jotunheimen National Park the peaks emerge from the ground. All though this about Loenvatnet, this area has some of the biggest peaks of Norway and it’s a lovely place to get lost.
From the town Loen it’s about 5 minutes to the lake. You gone drive on tiny curvy “one way” roads (be careful, can be pretty narly) before you meet some of the purest water you’ll probably gone see, a pearly turquoise color. High mountain peaks surrounding the lake making this ground one of the most beautiful places in Norway (in my eyes).
I probably been there more times than I could count. It took me a long time before I got to know it’s tragic history. Locals told me about the stories of giant tsunamis destroying everything that came it’s way, crazy part this didn’t just happen one time!
First in 1905, when a big piece (350,000 cubic meters) of the Ramnefjell mountain left it’s holding ground and felt into the lake below, causing a surging wave who lead to the first of the two tsunamis. Nearby villages Bödal and Nesdal were swept away for good. 63 people died and only 9 were found.
Survivors of the first tsunami re-builded their home’s on slightly higher grounds with no idea this could happen again. 1936 it happened again. This time a even bigger piece of rock felt into the water from the same mountain (Mt Ramnefjell) and the tsunami got even bigger. The towns which were re-builded were once again destroyed. This time 72 people died(It’s seems pretty unclear on how many people lost their life’s this time but at least 72). 1950 there was yet another landslide from the same mountain, this time the water in the lake was to shallow for any other tragedy to become.
Yeah.. some heavy history carry this place. This makes it’s even more interesting in my eyes .
There is plenty of hiking options. Just park your car wherever and walk up on those hills! Many of my road shoots comes from the backroads one can drive that leads to Kjenndal’s glacier. Before entering the dirt roads that leads to the glacier, you have to pay a small fee. Think this is 2.5 €, and the only take cash which you put in an envelope and leave at the gate. On your way to the gate where you pay, the road is climbing a bit, and just before you start going down again on the other side there is a viewpoint of the lake. it’s breathtaking! I do like this spot best in the evening light (see picture above left).
There is several places to stay, think you have three camping spots in the lake area, where you can rent a cabin or park your van for a small fee. Otherwise you have hotels in Loen. You can also rent a Canoe (8€ an hour) and if you head in to the town of Loen, you can go up in the newly built skylift which is around 45€ roundtrip. Never done that myself, but been told that the view is breathtaking! All and all, if you’re in the area you should definitely take a detour to this place. (all photos I’ve taken there is in hiking distance and you probably gone spot them while driving)
Other places to visit in the area
Oldenvatnet - The other side of Loenvatnets mountains. You can also see Melkevolsbreen glacier is located here, I think you also can see Brenndalsbreen (Glacier) in this place.
Hike to Mt Skåla (1848 meter)
Geiranger (2,5 hours drive)
Some pictures from Loenvatnet below.
Located just an hour from Loen. Even though most people probably just drive through on their way back home after visiting more popular fjords. This is a wonderful and of course super photogenic location. If you drive towards Sogndal you gone drive on a long road on the left side of the fjord. Right next to the water there is a few places where one can pull in and park the car.
Kjosnesfjorden has plenty to offer if you’re into photography. With plenty of stand alone trees up on the hills, some cute Norwegian huts, a glacier and it’s black and deep water gives this place a magical almost haunted feel.
When driving the next to Kjosnesfjord towards Sogndal you gone go through a big tunnel and the fjord disappear behind you . Guessing some people miss this, cause of small sign but right when exit the tunnel to the left, there is a small dirt road leading in to the beautiful glacier Böyabreen(must see!). Here is also a place you might have seen on social media, Böyabreen village, for the moment it seems like an abandoned village.
One can park the car at the glacier tourism-center and walk to a "beach” opposite the melting glacier. Think one is as close as 100-200 meter from it. It’s a mighty view (see pictures above, right).
There is many more places to go to in this area, but keep in mind that the longer you drive south towards Sogndal the smaller the mountains get. So if you want big views, stay and explore this amazing place.
Nearby places to visit in the area
Loen (see pictures above)
At summer time the sun never sets, feeling like a tropical paradise where wilderness and human live together. In winter the sun rarely shows, keeping daylight to it’s minimum. Here you will meet the cold, rough winds and the true meaning of what living in the north means. Lofoten Islands doesn’t need an introduction as I’m sure most of you reading this already know of this place.
I feel that Lofoten the last 5 years has exploded with tourism, all year around. I even wrote some essays touching this subject in both Rucksag Magazine and Northletter Magazine. I usually like the road less traveled, but Lofoten has kept a place in my heart since the first time I sat the foot on it’s ground.
With this said, the place is SO big that one can have avoid the crowds. One could probably explore the nature of Lofoten a life time and still have places left to see. Most of the pictures from Lofoten you’ve seen on sociala media is likely from the villages Reine and Hamnöy. These to villiges are located in the south part of the Island. The towns are built on tiny islands in between edgy mountains sticking out of the water, still today it’s probably some of the most scenic places I’ve been to. If you don’t have a car want to spend some quality time in Lofoten,I highly recommend going to these two places and take it from there. Plenty of Rorbuer (hotell huts) which you can rent there. You can also take the bus to any part of Lofoten from here, ask your hotels/hostel about time schedule.
At Hamnöy you have one of the most photographed places ever(see picture down left). If it’s your first time in Lofoten you should definitely go and check this little Island out as there is so much more to it than just that view. Been in the area shooting myself, plenty of times. This particular view is shoot from a bridge above the huts, Both in morning and night, I can tell you, it’s full(!) of tourists and photographers, but if that doesn’t bother you, give it a try! Some of my favorite photos have been taken just some 100-meters from this place. So my advice is to walk away from the bridge and down to the huts or the harbour instead, I’m sure you’ll have the place for yourself, and the view is just as mighty.
Except from the famous town of Reine and Hamnöy. Here is some places to see while in Lofoten
Henningsvaer (Fishing village)
Kvalvika Beach (Hike starts in the area around Fredvang, remember if you gone spend the night, park your car in a place where you are allowed to park, the police have been more strict with this lately since this is a very popular place, heard from many people getting back from the beach that they’ve got fines)
Unstad (Farming village that have turned into a hip place for surfers.)
Unstad Beach (Highly recommended)
Nusfjord (Beautiful fishing village)
Uttakleiv Beach (Get there by car)
Senja Island (Aprx 6 hours drive north of Lofoten Island there is another Island called Senja Islands. For the adventures traveler, or for those who want a Lofoten without that many tourists. You should maybe rethink your destination of choice)
Haukland Beach (Get there by car)
Eggum (a beautiful beachtown with colorful houses)
So many more places to see if your into Lofoten, this is just a few.
During some of my travels around the Loen - Åndalsnes - Romsdal area I stumble upon Vegnedalen, and paradise. Here without any knowledge I started to walk upwards the mountain, one of the cheapest (in form of energy) hikes I’ve done for a big view! The first time I stayed just a couple of days. The vast space in this valley gave me a sence of feeling free. Since then I’ve explored for what feels like every corner of it. If you’re like me, sleeping in a van/car when on the road, and are looking for a quite place with a view for a couple of nights, this is the place!
When driving up in the valley there is small parkings every 200m where on can pull in. The road is a toll road, which you can pay with card. Don’t remember how much it is but it’s definitely under 10 €.
There is plenty of places you can hike to from this area. You can find maps for hiking routs at a parking next to the dirt road (keep an eye out as it doesn’t look like a parking and has no signs) or you can collect a map at the tourism center. If you go up towards Litlefjellet, 20 minutes in, you gone have an amazing view (picture above left). Here you can choose right or left depending which mountain you want to climb. It can be pretty difficult n slippery in hard weather so be careful.
Other places to visit in the area
Romsdalseggen(Crazy beautiful hike)
Trollstigen (30 minutes drive)
Ålesund (2 hours drive if you have the time you should visit this unique town)
Atlantic ocean road