Around Voss Stalheim

This gorgeous little spot high above the valley is an extraordinary place. Between 1647 and 1909, Stalheim was a stopping-off point for travellers on the Royal Mail route between Copenhagen, Christiania (Oslo) and Bergen. A road was built for horses and carriages in 1780. The mailmen and their weary steeds rested in Stalheim and changed to fresh horses after climbing up the valley and through the Stalheimskleiva gorge, flanked by the thundering Stalheim and Sivle waterfalls. Although a modern...

Preikestolen by

Six ferries a day run from Stavanger's Fiskespiren Quay to Tau (adult child foot passengers Nkr38 20) from late June to mid-August and just three daily the rest of summer the first departure from Stavanger is at 8am (8.25am on Sunday). In summer, the ferries are met by a bus (Nkr55), which runs between the Tau pier and the Preikestolhytta Vandrerhjem. From there, the two-hour trail leads up to Preikestolen. The last bus from Preikestolhytta to Tau leaves at 8.10pm (7.50pm on Saturday).

Eidfjord

In the innermost reaches of Hardangerfjorden, Eidfjord wins our prize as the most beautiful town among many in this part of Norway. Dwarfed by sheer mountains and cascading waterfalls, accessible by spiral tunnels and close to charming farms perched on mountain ledges with great views, Eidfjord is simply magnificent. Eidfjord's beauty does, however, come at a price in summer, cruise ships arrive on an almost daily basis and the town can get overwhelmed. Over the next few years, Eidfjord will...

Around Haugesund Karmoy Island

Not content with playing a role in the family history of one American icon (Marilyn Monroe see left), Haugesund was also essential to the founding of another. Copper from the mine at Visnes - now the Visnes Mining Museum ( 52 83 84 00 www.karmoy.kom mune.no Visnes adult child Nkr50 10 S 11am-5pm Mon-Fri, noon-5pm Sun mid-May-mid-Aug) - 4km west of Avaldsnes, was used to build the Statue of Liberty in New York. About 5km south of central Haugesund, King Hakon Hakonsson's huge stone church ( 52...

Exploring Hardangerfjord From Ulvik

Little Ulvik is a terrific base from which to explore Hardarigerfjord. The Ulvik tourist office ( 56 52 63 60 www.visitulvik.com) sells tickets to a range of self-guided day excursions that take in much of Hardangerfjord by boat, ferry and express boat from June to August. These include the following Eidfjord (adult child return Nkr219 110 Monday to Saturday) - via Bruravik and Brimnes allows two hours each at Hardangervidda Nature Centre and Eidfjord departs Ulvik 8.55am and arrives back at...

Vangskyrkja St Olavs Cross

Voss' stone church ( 5651 38 80 www.voss.kyrkjer .net Uttragata adult child Nkr15 free S 10am-4pm Mon-Fri, 10am-2pm Sat, 2-4pm Sun Jun-Aug, shorter hrs rest-of-year) occupies the site of an ancient pagan temple. A Gothic-style stone church was built here in the mid-13th century. Although the original stone altar and unique wooden spire remain, the Lutheran Reformation of 1536 saw the removal of many original features. The 1923 stained-glass work commemorates the 900th anniversary of...

Bergen Card

The Bergen Card (www.visitbergen.com ber gencard adult per 24 48 hrs Nkr170 250, child Nkr70 10) is worth considering given the rising admission fees, although it takes careful planning, an early start and a steady pace to make sure its economical. The card covers free travel on local buses and the Floibanen funicular (Map p196) free entrance to some museums with discounted admission to the rest free guided tours of Bergen and discounts on city and boat sightseeing tours, concerts and cultural...

Rondane National Park

Henrik Ibsen described the 963-sq-km Rondane National Park www.visitrondane.com as 'palace piled upon palace'. It was created in 1962 as Norway's first national park to protect the fabulous Rondane massif, regarded by many as the finest alpine hiking country in Norway. Ancient reindeer-trapping sites and burial mounds suggest that the area has been inhabited for thousands of years and the park is now one of the last refuges for the wild reindeer. Much of the park's glaciated and li-chen-coated...

Getting There Around

In summer, buses run twice daily between Otta and Mysusaeter Nkr29, 45 minutes , from where it's a further 4km to the car park. From Rondvassbu, the ferry Rondegubben crosses the lake Rondvatnet to Nordvika Nkr50, 30 minutes three times daily from early July to late August. Sjoa is arguably the white-water rafting capital of Norway. The season runs from the middle of May until early October. Excursions range from sedate Class I runs ideal for families up to thrilling Class Vs. Prices start from...

Folklore

Fana Folklore Map p194 55 91 52 40 Fana church tickets ind bus ride Nkr350 S 7pm FriJun-Aug If you're finding traditional Norwegian culture elusive, this folklore show in the Fana stave church may cut through the obscurity. Yes, it's tourist-oriented, but it's well done and a healthy proportion of the spectators is likely to be Norwegian. Fana Folklore buses pick up ticket holders at Festplassen at 7pm, returning at 10.30pm tickets can be bought at the tourist office. Bergen Folklore Map p196...

Hartzgarden Solvsmie Roros Jewelry

Given its unaffected ambience, it isn't surprising that Roros has attracted dozens of artists and artisans. Galleri Thomasgarden 72 41 24 70 Kjerkgata 48 Sl0am-5pm Mon-Fri, 10am-4pm Sat, noon-4pm Sun summer, shorter hrs rest-of-year At the worthwhile Galleri Thomasgarden, potter Torgeir Henriksen creates rustic stoneware and porcelain. You'll also find the wonderful nature-inspired wood carvings of Henry Solli. The player piano is one of only two in Norway and dates back to 1929. Potteriet...

Theta Museum

This excellent one-room reconstruction of a clandestine Resistance headquarters, uncovered by the Nazis in 1942, is now Norway's tiniest museum Map p196 Enhjorningsgarden adult child Nkr20 5 S 2-4pm Tue, Sat amp Sun mid-May-mid- To Haugesund Stavanger Sognefjorden Denmark Lerwick Shetland isson SAS 52 Biyggestr al Hotel Q ffl To Mt Floye 200m Floye Folkerestaurant Vandrerhjem J Montana 3km 2 Ulriksbanen Cable rg Car 3km To FantoftStave Church 5km Troldhaugen 7km Siljustel 10km . Bratland....

Voss Folk Museum

The main portion of the Voss Folk Museum Voss Folkemuseum is the Molstertunet Museum 56 51 15 11 IVtalstervegen 143 adult child Nkr45 free S 10am-5pm daily mid-May-mid-Sep, 10am-3pm Mon-Fri, noon-3pm Sun rest-of-year , on a hilltop at the farm Molster high above Voss. The collection of 16 historic farm buildings once typical of the region dates from 1600 to 1870. There are guided tours on the hour, every hour. The other two portions of the museum, the Nesheimstunet Museum 12 farm buildings, the...

Western Central Norway

Ardal Norway Map

If you were to set up a town as a travellers' gateway, you'd put it somewhere like Lom, in the heart of some of Norway's most spectacular mountain scenery. Roads lead from Lom to Geiranger 74km p259 and the staggering Sognefjellet Road leads from here across the top of the Jotunheimen National Park pl84 . Lom itself is picturesque with a lovely stave church. The helpful Lom tourist office 61 21 29 90 www .visitlom.com orwww.visitjotunheimen.com S 9am-7pm Mon-Fri amp 10am-7pm Sat amp Sun...

Lygardsbakkene Ski Jump

The main ski jump K120 drops 136m with a landing-slope angle of 37.5 . The speed at takeoff is a brisk 91km h with a record leap of 136.5m. During the Olympics, the site was surrounded by seating for 50,000 spectators and it was here that the opening ceremony was held the tower for the Olympic flame stands near the foot of the jump. There's also a smaller jump K90 alongside where you'll often see athletes honing their preparations. The ski jump chairlift adult child return Nkr40 35 S 9am-8pm 9...

Boat

There are daily Fylkesbatane 55 90 70 70 www .fylkesbaatane.no express boats to Balestrand Nkr410, four hours , Flam Nkr552, SVi hours , Maloy Nkr595, AVi hours , Selje Nkr640, five hours and Stavanger one way return Nkr620 710, four hours from the Strandkaiterminal Map pl96 . The Hurtigruten coastal ferry leaves from the Frieleneskaien Map pl96 , to the south of the university, at 8pm daily. See p412 for details. International ferries to from Bergen dock at Skoltegrunnskaien Map p 196 ,...

Sleeping Eating

The original DNT Snoheim hut was, thankfully, judged to be too near the army's Hjerkinn firing range and was replaced by the new self-service Reinheim hut, 5km north and at 1341m, in Stroplsjodalen. DNT also maintains several other self-service huts in the adjacent Skrymtheimen region keys are available from Dombas tourist office. Kongsvold Fjeldstue 72 40 43 40 www.kongs vold.no Kongsvold d from Nkr650 Park information, maps, meals and accommodation are available at this charming and historic...

Peer Gynt Vegen

Of all the beautiful mountain roads of Central Norway, one stands out for its combination of scenery and storytelling Peer Gynt Vegen www.peergyntvegen.no toll Nkr60 S-lun-Sep . Running for 60km from Skei to Espedalen, it takes you along the trail followed by that ill-fated, fictional character created by Henrik Ibsen and offers unrivalled views of the Jotunheimen and Rondane massifs en route. Climbing up to 1053m above sea level, it passes the Solbra Seter farm where Gudbrandsdal cheese was...

Budget

For the Mosvangen Vandrerhjem or Mossvangen Camping, take bus 78 or 79 Nkr25 from opposite the cathedral to Ullandhaugveien, 3km to the south. Bus 4 also passes by. Mosvangen Vandrerhjem 5154 36 36 stavanger .hostel vandrerhjem.no Henrik Ibsensgate 19 dm s d with shared bathroom Nkr240 400 480, S mid-May-mid-Sep Stavanger's pleasant and simple lakeside hostel, 3km southwest of the city centre, charges Nkr60 for breakfast. Mosvangen Camping 51 53 29 71 www.mosvan gencamping.no indexengelsk...

Lysebotn by Ferry

Ferry services from Stavanger to Lysebotn opposite were in a state of flux when we visited. The tourist office has plans to incorporate the Kjeragbolten opposite into the ferry service as visiting is difficult without a car. At the time of writing, the following companies were offering four-hour There are no fences and those with vertigo will find themselves unable to go right to the edge even watching the death-defying antics of people dangling limbs over the abyss can make the heart skip a...

Dovrefjellsunndalsfjella National Park

This 4367-sq-km national park, Norway's largest continuous protected area, protects the dramatic highlands around the 2286m-high Snohetta and provides a suitably bleak habitat for Arctic foxes, reindeer, wolverines and musk oxen. Snohetta can be ascended by hikers from Snoheim allow six hours . The Knutshoene massif 1690m section of the park, east of the E6, protects Europe's most diverse intact alpine ecosystem. The Fokstumyra marshes are home to an as tonishing array of bird life....

Sleeping

Otta Camping 61 23 03 09 www.ottacamping.no in Norwegian Ottadalen tent or caravan sites for 2 people Nkr130,4-bed cabins Nkr350-550 The convenient and popular riverside Otta Camping is a 1.5km walk from the train and bus stations cross the Otta bridge from the centre, turn right and continue about 1km upstream. Killis Overnatting S 61 23 04 92 Ola Dahlsgate 35 s d trwith shared bathroom Nkr250 280 325 The Killis Overnatting offers simple rooms a shower cost Nkr5 and it is overseen by a...

Eating

Haugesund's waterfront promenade, Smedasundet, is almost entirely given over to restaurants, giving the area an agreeable hum whenever the weather's warm. Any Haugesund restaurant worth its salt morphs into a bar as the night wears on. NB Sorensen's Damskipsexpedisjon S 527000 50 Smedsundet 90 English breakfast Nkr99, lunch mains Nkr99-125, dinner mains Nkr229-295 S llam-midnightMon-Thu, 11am-2am Fri amp Sat, 1-11pm Sun One of the more architecturally distinguished buildings along Smedasundet,...

Around Ulvik

At the Stream Nest complex 56 52 69 90 Osa adult child Nkr40 free S 10.30am-4pmMay-Aug , 10km east of Ulvik, highlights include the ecological herb garden, several artworks, including Allan Christensen's Rambukk pile driver , and the odd eponymous log sculpture, Stream Nest, originally conceived by Japanese artist Takamasa Kuniyasu for the 1994 Winter Olympics in Lillehammer. The sculpture, which consists of 3000 logs and 23,000 bricks, resounds with the tuba music of Geir Lovold, just as it...

Midrange

Villa Nordnes Map p196 92 44 03 80, 55 23 29 44 Haugeveien 34 s Nkr350-500, d Nkr650-750 This lovely, rambling house out on the Nordnes Peninsula close to the aquarium is illuminated by a fine collection of antiques and by the friendly owner, Grethe Marthinussen. It's a good choice in a quiet location. G B Skansen Pensjonat Map p196 s 55 31 90 80 www.skansen-pensjonat.no Vetrlidsalmenning 29 s Nkr375-500, d Nkr600-700, apt Nkr750 There are family-run guesthouses springing up all over Bergen,...

Oppdal Activities Whitewater Rafting

The nearby, wild and white Driva promisesexcellent rafting runs from May to October. The outdoor adventure company Opplev Oppdal 72 40 41 80 www.opplev-oppdal.no in Norwegian Olav Skasliens vei 12 organises trips, from the relatively tame Class l-ll family trips to full-day Class lll-IV trips that provide substantial thrills. Prices range from Nkr590 to Nkr830 per person per day. The same company also offers canoe rental from Nkr320 per day , river surfing Nkr830 and rock climbing Nkr830 .

Folgefonn

Folgefonn is mainland Norway's third-largest icefield and offers summer skiing, snowboard-ing and sledding from mid-June to October. For more information, contact the Folgefonn Sommar Skisenter 53 66 80 28 www.folgefonn.no . Short tours to the ski centre leave from Jondal Quay at 10.30am from mid-June to mid-August and return at 3.30pm. From Odda, weekend glacier trips run to Odda Turlag's Holmaskjaer mountain hut contact the tourist office for details. Anyone in good physical condition with...

Hardangervidda

The desolate and beautiful Hardangervidda plateau, part of the 3430-sq-km Hardangervidda National Park, ranges across an otherworldly tundra landscape that's the southernmost refuge of the Arctic fox and Norway's largest herd of wild reindeer caribou . Long a trade and Trekking through the Western Hardangervidda is possible only in July and August - for the rest of the time, snow and the possibility of sudden changes in weather conditions make setting out hazardous. Before exploring the park,...

Walk Along The Precipice

Norwegians may seem to delight in building their homes in the most inaccessible places, but Husmannsplassen Nali the Cotter's Farm of Nali , along the ledge from Stalheim high above Naeroydalen, may just win the prize. Built in 1870 when the first cotter moved there with two cows, four sheep and 11 goats, it was occupied until 1930. Now overgrown, it's an evocative spot, although the route there two hours return is not for the faint-hearted with the path beneath the cliff wall extremely narrow...

Fjord Tours From Bergen

You can join any one of dozens of tours of Bergen and longer fjord tours the tourist office has a full list and you can buy tickets there or purchase online in some cases. Most offer discounts if you have a Bergen Card. Fjord Tours 81 56 82 22 www.fjordtours.com has mastered the art of making the most of limited time with a series of tours into the fjords. Its popular and year-round Norway in a Nutshell tour is a great way to see far more than you thought possible in a single day. The day...