Southern/Southwest Norway (5/23-6/4)

The Best of Southern/Southwest Norway

Welcome to our twelve day tour of Southern Norway. We hope you enjoy traveling with us and are inspired to take your own trip. This trip was part of our seven month journey around the world which began in Flores, Guatemala. See a summary of the destinations we traveled to over our seven months here: link.

We had just spent a few weeks in Nepal before hopping on a plane to spend some quality time with Kurt’s Norwegian relatives in Southern Norway. Kurt’s mom and sister joined us from the U.S. as well.

Note: Kurt also traveled solo to Norway back in 2012. We have also included photos below from that trip which was in the Fall.

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Why Travel to Norway?

When we think about our trip to Norway we reminiscence about the gorgeous and unique landscape full of mountains, crisp mountain fed lakes, forests, and impressive Fjords. A Fjord is a long, narrow, deep inlet of the sea between high cliffs. For these reasons we highly recommend visiting Norway.

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Best Time to Travel to Norway

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How Long to Stay in Southern Norway?

This is very difficult question for us to answer. There is so much to see in Southern Norway and Norway in general. We spent a lot of time with family rather than exploring all the corners we normally would. But from the time we did spend we would certainly recommend spending some extended time in this beautiful country. A special thanks to Uncle Roy for hosting us and carting us around to see a lot of the nearby (and not so nearby) sights. We hope to repay the favor the next time you are in the U.S. The only downsides we know of are the cost as Norway is very expensive and the weather if you go in the winter which has very little sunlight and cold temperatures.

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Top Things to Do in Norway


1) Hike Preikestolen


Trip Duration: 4 hours return

Distance: 8 kilometers (5 miles)

Elevation Gain: 500 meters (1,640 feet)

Preikestolen is one of Norway’s best and most famous hikes. Hike to this 604 meter (1,981 foot) tall cliff with unbelievable panoramic views of Lysebotn Fjord. Some parts of the trail are steep, but in general the hike is of moderate difficulty.

We made it to the top! (photo from May of 2018)
Taking some time to relax and take in this unique experience (photo from May of 2018)
The lush greenery surrounding the Scandinavian mountains (photo from May of 2018)
The iconic Pulpit Rock (where Mission: Impossible – Fallout was filmed) (photo from May of 2018)

(photo from May of 2018)
(photo from May of 2018)
(photo from May of 2018)
(photo from May of 2018)
That’s a steep drop (photo from May of 2018)
Just don’t look down…(photo from May of 2018)
A view along the hike to Preikestolen (photo from May of 2018)
At the end of our hike we were rewarded with this view from the visitors center (photo from May of 2018)
Norway 101: Be prepared by bringing waterproof clothing in case of inclement weather and comfortable shoes. Start the hike earlier in the day to leave enough time to get back. Also, weather is usually better in the morning and less cloud coverage. 

2) Enjoy a Cruise on the Lysebotn Fjord


Sit back and enjoy the ride along the 42-kilometer (26-mile) long Lysebotn Fjord. The fjord is one of the gems of southern Norway and can be seen from many different areas including Preikestolen, Lysevegen Road, and Øygardsstølen.

The Norwegian flag waving proudly (photo from Fall of 2012)
The rainy start made for a dramatic landscape (photo from Fall of 2012)
The lush mountains along the fjord (photo from Fall of 2012)
(photo from Fall of 2012)
The rain ceased and the clouds parted presenting Kurt and his family with this view of the open fjord (photo from Fall of 2012)
View from the fjord of Kjeragbolten, (“Kjerag boulder”) (photo from Fall of 2012). You can actually hike to this rock wedged between the mountains and stand on it if you dare.

3) Visit Hidra


Hidra is a scenic island just outside of Flekkefjord, accessible by ferry. The landscapes you view from the island and along the route are marvelous. Once again we were lucky enough to have a family friend who owned a boat and volunteered to take us and Kurt’s family (his mom, sister, cousin and his cousin’s kids) along for a ride. Thank you!

(photo from May of 2018)
(photo from May of 2018)
This photo with the homes reflecting off the water looks like a puzzle (photo from May of 2018)
Walking around the top of the Hågåsen (photo from May of 2018)

Be sure to admire the Hågåsen cultural trail at the top of the hilly landscape. From Kirkehamn we went for a 30-minute walk up to Hågåsen, overlooking the beautiful island. Here we found a german costal fortification from the World War II which was part of the Atlantic wall.

You will come across the many sheep of Hidra (photo from May of 2018)
A great view of the north sea (photo from May of 2018)
Norway 101: You can stay at this unique cabin (the red building) with amazing views of the North Sea. The cabin is located at the top of Hågåsen at the island of Hidra outside of Flekkefjord.
This picture looks like a fairytale (photo credit: sandsurd) (photo from May of 2018)
Breathtaking views over Kirkehamn and the North Sea (photo from May of 2018)
Hill overlooking Kirkehamn (photo from May of 2018)
(photo from May of 2018)
(photo from May of 2018)
(photo from May of 2018)
(photo from May of 2018)

4) Take Scenic Drives


The entire country of Norway is scenic; you can spend all of your time driving around and not get sick of its beauty. As mentioned before, we were lucky enough to have Kurt’s uncle Roy volunteer to cart us around on several drives and show us several amazing places in Norway. The following are a couple of routes/day trips we took:

This route starts at Rogefossen waterfall, travels to Roskrepp dam, and then on to Lysebotn fjord (where you’ll enjoy scenic views in route) before returning to Rogefossen. The route is 2 hr 45 min excluding stops which you will want ample time for.

This route is a round trip starting from Helleren to Blafjell Mines to Ruggesteinen and back to Helleren. 1 hr 30 minutes excluding stops which you will want ample time for.


5) Enjoy the Drive to Lysebotn Fjord and the Eagles Nest


This was one of our favorite drives which we started at Dorgefossen waterfall after traveling from Sira.

Drive up to the to roskrepp hoveddam

+40 minute from Dorgefossen waterfall

Enjoy a scenic drive to Roskrepp Hoveddam and take in the wonderful views of the surrounding area and Roskrepp Fjord as shown in the pictures below.

(picture from Fall of 2012)
(picture from Fall of 2012)
(picture from Fall of 2012)
Beautiful stream along the road (picture from Fall of 2012)
The Roskrepp Hoveddam (picture from Fall of 2012)
Greeted by Roskrepp Fjord and rainbow on the other side of the dam (picture from Fall of 2012)
The drive to Lysebotn Fjord and the eagles nest

+1.25 hr from Roskrepp Hoveddam

Follow the winding Lysevegen Road through the high mountains of Rogaland and Vest-Agder range where even in the summer months you’ll see snow capped mountains and lakes.

(photo from May 2018)
(photo from May 2018)
(photo from May 2018)
(photo from May 2018)
(photo from May 2018)
(photo from May 2018)
(photo from May 2018)
THe Eagles Nest and winding Road of Lysebotn

+1.25 hr from Roskrepp Hoveddam (views along this route are shown above).

The Eagles Nest (or Ørneredet) is the next highlight along the route. This restaurant is situated at the ridge of 640 meter (2,100 feet) tall cliffs overlooking Lysbotn fjord and offer one of the best panoramic views in all of Norway.

The impressive Eagles Nest sitting atop the mountainside (photo from Fall of 2012)
Norway 101: When reaching the Eagle's nest you can quickly knock a few things off your "to do/see" list. Viewing the Eagle's Nest, seeing a great view of Lysebotn Fjord, and driving the hairpin turns of Lysebotn road. The start of the famous Kjerag boulder hike also begins here, though this hike may take you three to five hours to complete.
The view from outside the restaurant (photo from Fall of 2012)
The panoramic view of the beginning of the Lysebotn Fjord (photo from Fall of 2012)

After enjoying the views from the Eagle’s Nest it’s now time to drive down the famous Lysevegen Road, known for its “hairpin bends” to reach Lysebotn Fjord. This popular road first passes through a 1,100 meter (3,609 foot) tunnel followed by 27 switchbacks winding down to the base of Lysebotn Fjord.

On the left is a picture from our summer trip in 2018 and the right is from Kurt’s trip in the fall of 2012
Lysebotn Fjord

+15 minutes drive down the winding Lysevegen road from the Eagles nest

Lysebotn Fjord is located in southwestern Norway and is hard to miss. The fjord stretches 42-kilometers (26-mile) long. We highly recommend taking the ferry ride through the fjord (see #2 – Enjoy a Cruise on the Lysebotn Fjord).

Lysebotn Fjord (photo from Fall of 2012
A very scenic lookout (photo from Fall of 2012)

6) Walk Around the Towns


While spending time with Kurt’s family in southern Norway we ventured around various neighborhood towns as shown in the pictures below. We especially enjoyed strolling around the coastal towns lined with brightly-painted sea-house cottages.

View from Kurt’s cousin’s house (photo from May of 2018)
(photo from Fall of 2012)
A quick hour hike up (photo from May of 2018)
(photo from May of 2018)
(photo from May of 2018)
(photo from Fall of 2012)
View from Kurt’s cousin’s house (photo from Fall of 2012)
Check out this sweet lawn decoration (photo from May of 2018)
(photo from May of 2018)
Stunning view from a family friend’s backyard (photo from May of 2018)
Trolls are a staple in Norwegian folklore (photo from May of 2018)
(photo from May of 2018)
Cafes, shops and more (photo from May of 2018)
(photo from May of 2018)
(photo from May of 2018)
(photo from May of 2018)
The grass roofs of Norway, they provide good insulation and are long-lasting
Sogndalstrand
Walking to the village (photo from May of 2018)

We were fond of strolling the quiet town of Sogndalstrand; a harbor village located at the mouth of the Sokno River. The town is full of small shops and galleries.

(photo from May of 2018)
Unbelievable views from the coast of Sogndalstrand (photo from May of 2018)
The white painted buildings and fences are adorned with brightly-colored flowers (photo from May of 2018)
Take a seat and enjoy the calmness (photo from May of 2018)
(photo from May of 2018)

7) Stand on a Troll’s Penis (Trollpikken)


Trollpikken is a phallus-shaped stone created during the last ice age that ended about 10,000 years ago. If you didn’t know, Trolls originated in Norse mythology and are a cornerstone of Nordic legends. In 2017 (one year before we visited) the stone was vandalized and cut off at the base. Luckily, it was re”erected” a mere 14 days later.

View along the hike to Trollpikken (photo from May of 2018)
View along the hike to Trollpikken (photo from May of 2018)
View along the hike to Trollpikken (photo from May of 2018)
Gotta ride the Trollpikken (photo from May of 2018)
You can see where the rock was cut (photo from May of 2018)
Kurt clinging on for dear life (photo from May of 2018)
(photo from May of 2018)

8) Helleren, Blajfjell (Mining cave) and the Wiggle Rock



Helleren

+1.5 hrs from Sira, Norway (where we were staying)

Stop by the famous Helleren houses located under a large overhanging cliff. The houses themselves are from the 1800’s, however, evidence has been found estimating settlements living under Helleren (the rock structure) dating back from the 1500’s.

The enormous rock face above the houses (photo from May of 2018)
Kurt exploring around the houses (photo from May of 2018)
The Helleren houses (photo from May of 2018)
The view from Helleren is stellar (photo from May of 2018)
Blafjell (Mining Cave)

+40 minutes from Helleren

This is old ore mining cave that operated in the 19th century for over a decade. You can walk through on your own or go for a guided tour.

Surrounding area (photo from May of 2018)
Eerie cave; nobody but us walking the grounds (photo from May of 2018)
We entered the old mining cave (photo from May of 2018)
The rain made for quite the view (photo from May of 2018)
Ruggesteinen (rocking rock/Wiggle Rock)

+10 minutes from Blafjell

Less than a 10 minute drive from Blafjell lies Ruggesteinen, Northern Europe’s largest rocking stone (or “wiggle rock” as uncle Roy liked to call it) weighing 74 tons (148,000 pounds). It’s called a rocking stone because an average person can make it move because of how it is positioned, albeit just a small amount.

The bridge to get to the rock (photo from May of 2018)
Don’t tip it over Kurt (photo from May of 2018)
Pretty sure I got some movement (photo from May of 2018)
Watching the raindrops dance on the nearby stream (photo from May of 2018)

9) Hausvikodden fort


+1.25 Hr from Sira, Norway (where we were staying)

This jagged coastal area was used as fort by the Germans in WWII. Remnants of the fort still stand today including the tunnels and cannons facing the sea. Be sure to bring a headlight as there are tunnels you can walk through.

(photo from May of 2018)
(photo from May of 2018)
(photo from May of 2018)
Gun pointing out in the sea (photo from May of 2018)
(photo from May of 2018)
(photo from May of 2018)

10)Dorgefossen Waterfall


+1.5 hrs from Sira, Norway (where we were staying)

This waterfall was a great scenic stop-off on our journey to the Eagles nest and Lysebotn Fjord. Check out the waterfalls cascading down the canyon rocks. (Note: These pictures were taken in the fall of 2012 when Kurt had visited prior to this trip)

The canyons and rocks look great after a rain (picture from Fall 2012)
Waterfall being parted by a boulder wedged between the rocks (picture from Fall 2012)
Powerful waterfall between the rock crevasse (picture from Fall 2012)
Pretty lake and fall tree colors nearby (picture from Fall 2012)

11) Take a dip in norwegian waters


Kurt’s uncle swore by the brisk frigid cold waters. Kurt lasted a longer than I did, but it sure was revitalizing.

Thank goodness for the sun warming us up (photo from May of 2018)
So cold… (photo from May of 2018)

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Where to Stay in Norway

We had the pleasure of staying with Kurt’s uncle Roy, a gracious and hospitable host. As a local he showed us around town and took us sightseeing. This was extremely helpful, as accommodation in Norway is pretty expensive.


Nyperosa


The red cottage is Nyperosa (photo from May of 2018)

It is possible to rent the red cabin “Nyperosa”. We didn’t stay overnight at this unique cabin, but we would highly suggest spending a night overlooking the magical North Sea. The cabin is located at the top of Hågåsen on the island, Hidra, outside Flekkefjord.

Enter the blue building and sign-in that you visited while marveling at the view (photo from May of 2018)

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Other Recommendations of Things to Do

These are all adventures that we unfortunately didn’t have time to do on our own but would have considered if we had more time:

  • Trolltunga (6 hour drive way from Sira): Trolltunga is an impressive 700 meter (2,296 foot) high rock ledge jutting out from mountainside making the appearance of a tongue. The hike can take upward of 12 hours and is not for the ill-fainted or inexperienced hikers.
  • Kjerag Boulder – Kjeragbolten (2 hour drive from Sira): The Kjerag boulder is a giant boulder wedged in a mountain crevasse 959 m (3,156 feet) above Lysefjorden fjord. This hike can take up to 5 hours but can be completed in a couple hours less. At the famous boulder expect a queue of people waiting for their perfect shot on the rock, this is what can add a lot of time to your hike.
  • Northern Lights (‘Aurora borealis’) This natural light display is usually best seen in high altitudes such as Northern Norway. An Aurora Borealis occurs when particles from the sun enter the Earth’s atmosphere and omit certain gaseous particles. The particles in the Earth’s atmosphere can be a range of beautiful colors ranging from green to purplish red. Some of the best towns to see the northern Light are Tromsø, Kirkenes, The Lofoten Islands, North Cape (Nordkapp), and Svalbard. These towns are all located at the northern points of Norway.

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Questions For You

  • Would you be daring enough to stand on Pulpit Rock at Preikestolen?
  • Have you seen any of the fjords in Norway and if so, which was the most incredible?
  • Have you witnessed the Northern Lights?

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7 Comments

  1. Very cool! And a great trip no doubt. I only have two very small corrections on a great post👍 two words with only one letter difference but huge differences in meaning: piken is girl, so trollpiken is troll girl, pikken is cock, so it should be trollpikken, the trolls cock😬 and as a citizen of southern Norway, we are quite fierce that south Norway is only the southern tip of Norway. Stavanger and all the way down to around Flekkefjord, is still western Norway. But then again, we southerners are regarded as quaint at best by the rest of Norway🤣👍

    Like

    1. Ah! Duly noted. I have fixed the penis.🤣 Thanks for catching that..as for the title..hmm maybe something like Best of the Bottom Quarter of Norway? Haha lol up for suggestions. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ok Orjan, I have updated the title to be more geographically correct. We really appreciate you giving us feedback and catching that. 🙏

        Like

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