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Kayaking in Geiranger: A beautiful fjord seen from the water

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The Geiranger fjord is one of the greatest places to visit in Norway. Seeing it from the water is an experience you shouldn’t miss out on. This is a perfect one day activity, where you get to experience tall mountains, and amazing cascading waterfalls.

If you don’t have your own kayak, there are several places to rent. We rented from Geiranger Fjordservice, and were very happy with the service and kayaks they provided. You can also try Grande Hytteutleie or Active Geiranger. (FYI: We had a bad experience with Active Geiranger. We booked two kayaks early in the day, and late in the evening  they told us they had given our spots away to cruise tourists, as they have priority (same experience as others have reported on TripAdvisor). Luckily Geiranger Fjordservice saved the day.)

 

GET OUT!

Finding your way in the Geiranger fjord is quite easy, as it doesn’t take any detours 😉  We started at the head of the fjord, keeping close to the right shore line . This way you will have the sun in your face (if you are lucky enough to have sun), and the biggest waterfalls are available on your right hand side. Some of them close enough to feel the drizzle.

Start paddling on the right side of the fjord. If you are lucky, you will have the sun in your face.

You will se many magnificent waterfalls on your way, the greatest of them all is “The Seven Sisters”. It is called the Seven Sisters because it kinda looks like the hair of seven women. This is a waterfall that has a fall length of 300 meters. As it is so tall, it looks like the water is rushing from the skies when looking at it from sea level. It is truly an amazing sight.

The spectacular waterfall “The Seven Sisters”.
The Seven Sisters seen from “Ørnevegen”

Close to the Seven Sisters waterfall,  you can find an old mountain farm called Knivsflå. It is the light green patch seen on the right on the picture above. It’s a very quick and easy hike done in approximately an hour, and with a beautiful view at the top.

Paddling under the trees is very idyllic
Posts: Knivsflå – An Idyllic Old Mountain Farm (Coming very soon)

 

GETTING BACK

Straight across the fjord from the Seven Sisters, you will see another huge waterfall called Friaren/ Skageflåfossen (the suitor). Continue paddling as long as you like, keeping to the right shore line. Along the way you will still find a lot of small waterfalls and rivers.

Be sure to turn around in good time before you have to be back to deliver the kayaks. The wind might pick up, making the return journey a lot heavier than paddling out was. Based on true events;)

Paddling back to Geiranger. Make sure to turn back in time.

A FEW WORDS OF CAUTION

Paddling close to the mountains is really great, but it could also be dangerous as rocks can come loose and fall down. Be sure to have ample distance from the mountain walls to the kayak. Especially when getting close to those 90 degree walls that shoot right up from the fjord.

Fill your water bottle from one of the many streams

WHAT TO BRING?

As always when paddling, be sure to use a life west. Depending on the season, help can be far away. Also make sure you have a wind breaker jacket, and an extra layer of clothing. Even in the summer time. Water is accessible from some of the waterfalls, if you are comfortable getting in and out of the kayak.

 

WHERE TO STAY?

There are several hotels to stay at nearby and in Geiranger when visiting, so you can enjoy the whole day out on the fjord.

We hope you will have a great time paddling in Geiranger. It is truly a great experience!

 

We hope you enjoyed this article. Be sure to drop a comment in the comment section, and share the post with your friends.

If you want to stay up to date with new articles, pictures and videos, subscribe to our newsletter, or follow one of our social media profiles (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram). We also have a Facebook group community where you can post questions, or discuss how and where to travel in Norway.

Do you like the blog, or do you miss any information? We would love to hear from you in our feedback form.
– And as always, all pictures seen on the site is available for print or licensing through larskorvald.com.

Make your hike to Trolltunga safe and enjoyable

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Stretching out from the mountain as if reaching for the sky, Trolltunga cliff hovers 700 meters above lake Ringedalsvatnet at a total of 1100 m amsl. With a magnificent view of the scenery below and the possibility for some awesome pictures, Trolltunga has become increasingly popular over the last couple of years. Today, it is one of Norway’s most popular tourist destinations. However, it’s not an easy hike, so make sure you learn everything you need to know in order to make your hike as safe and enjoyable as possible.

 

    Destination: Skjeggedal, Odda, Hordaland
    Distance: 23 km
 Vertical meters: 700 meters
    Time: 10-12 hours
    Difficulty: Hard
   Season: Spring, Summer, Autumn,
   Type: Hiking

 

WHERE TO STAY?

If you are hiking Trolltunga in one day, we recommend spending the night in Odda. This way you can start the trip early, and get there before the majority of other people arrive. You can stay at the hotels in Odda or rent smaller cabins and huts. 

 

ESSENTIAL EQUIPMENT

At the start of the trail you will find signs pointing you in the right direction, and a sign informing you on what you have to bring along on the hike. Among other things, the recommendations include a flashlight, hiking boots, extra clothes and enough food. You should be able to find water in the many rivers or streams along the trail, but it is a good idea to at least bring enough for the first part of the hike.  It’s important to bring a flashlight as the darkness sets in quite early during the late summer and in the autumn, and has taken many tourists by surprise.

As the Norwegian weather can be quite unpredictable, it is always a good idea to bring some extra clothes, as they might be just the thing that can separate a great hike from a terrible one if you get wet or cold. Hiking boots are essential. Most parts of the season the trail is partly covered in snow, and good boots will keep your feet dry and comfortable. If you are hiking during spring or early summer, we recommend that you bring gaiters too.  Hiking boots with ankle support will also be better for your feet, as they give you better protection against ankle sprains.

 

STARTING POINT

Trolltunga is only available by hike, and the hike is quite long. The hike to Trolltunga starts in Skjeggedal, about 7 km from Odda, and covers about 23 km(in total). It takes about 10-12 hours to hike up and down, and you should calculate at least 5 hours just for for the hike up. Preferably, you should leave Skjeggedal no later than 10am if you don’t plan on spending the night.

This is the starting point of the hike, just beside the parking lot in Skjeggedal.

THE EASY OR HARD START?

The traditional start of the trail goes through the forest, and is very steep. Some people prefer to walk up a gravel road nearby instead (walk to the right from the parking lot instead of to the left). This is a longer and less interesting trail than the forest.  By taking the forest trail, you get the worst inclination over and done with fast. We chose the gravel route on our way down, as it is more comfortable for tired feet.

Expect a steep start when walking through the forest.

THE LONG WALK

After walking in the forest for some time, you’ll probably think that you have covered several kilometers. Think again. We were surprised when we reached the sign congratulating us with having covered just one kilometer. These signs are placed along the whole trail, indicating how far you have walked, and how far you have left (which is always longer than you’d expect). These signs also give recommendations as to where you should turn around, if the time is past a certain time of day.  

After exiting the forest, you’ll reach a more open scenery. If you’re hiking in the springtime, you’ll probably start to see and walk in snow from this point. From this point and onwards, the trail alternates between quite steep inclinations and flatter areas, but after having walked for about four kilometers, the trail flattens out a bit, with just a few steeper hills from time to time for the last six/seven kilometers. 

The landscape opens up after reaching the top of the forest.
Be sure to enjoy the view of Ringedalsvatnet on the way.
Enjoy the a well worth view from the tip of Trolltunga.

SEASON

Trolltunga is available from mid June till mid September, depending on when the snow melts. From March you can join guided tours using snowshoes or skis. Do not attempt to hike Trolltunga during the winter, or in heavy rain, snow, or fog. This can be really dangerous, and numerous tourists have had to be rescued in demanding rescue operations over the last few years, because of a lacking respect for nature.

This is how much snow there was on 26th of May 2017

CAMPING

We really recommend spending the night in the mountain when hiking Trolltunga. If you wish to camp, you have to bring your own tent. There are no designated camping areas, but once you pass the cabin area in the beginning of the trail, you are free to set up your tent just about wherever. Keep in mind that it’s probably not a good idea to pitch your tent in the middle of the trail, and not very idyllic either 😉 Find yourself a secluded spot, and enjoy the beautiful surroundings!

We found a beautiful hillside to pitch our tent
Not the worst view to wake up to

There are two emergency shelters around six and eight km into the trail. These are for emergencies only, so don’t rely on using them for camping (they’re not comfortable either).

 

SKILL LEVEL AND EQUIPMENT

When attempting to hike Trolltunga, you should be in generally good shape, but you don’t have to be an athlete. Calculate enough time, bring enough supplies, good shoes and gear, and you should be fine. Great gear doesn’t have to be expensive, as long as it keeps you dry, comfortable, and blister free 🙂 A lot of people prefer using walking poles when hiking in this kind of terrain. Although we don’t use them ourselves, we recommend that you use some if you aren’t that used to hiking in rough terrain. They can provide great stability assistance as well as a bit of relief for your legs.

After 6km you can start to see the area where Trolltunga is located (right in the middle of the frame)

As previously mentioned, the weather can change quite quickly in the Norwegian mountains. For this reason, bring an extra set of warm clothes, and a wind and waterproof jacket even if the sun is shining when you leave Skjeggedal. Extra socks are also a great tip, as you might get wet on your feet if there is snow or if you step into a puddle.

You’ll get hungry at some point, so remember bring good food, some trails snacks and enough water. Any hike could be ruined because of a lack of snacks 😉 There are streams where you can fill your bottle along the trail, and it is safe to drink the running water (never drink still standing water).

If it is sunny, remember sunscreen and sunglasses. We got really burnt on our hike. Especially if there is snow; this will reflect the sun rays and reinforce them.

 

HOW DO I GET THERE?

There are several possibilities, the easiest ones being by bus or car.  

By car

Take highway 13 (rv 13) to Tyssedal, which is about 6 km from Odda. From Tyssedal, there are signs pointing you in the direction of Trolltunga and Skjeggedal. After about 7 km you will reach the parking lot in Skjeggedal. You can park your car in Skjeggedal for 300NOK per day. You can rent a car in your nearest city here.

By public transport

Between June 15th and September 15th, you can take the Trolltunga shuttle from Odda to the starting point of the trail in Skjeggedal. The bus stops at hotels and camping sites in Odda. The bus can also give you a lift back in the afternoon/evening.

There is also a public bus that goes to Trolltunga, route number 995 (Skyss.no).

From Bergen you can take route number 930 (skyss.no), and from Oslo you can take Haukeliekspressen to Odda(nor-way.no).

 

FINAL NOTE

As pictures from Trolltunga have spread over various social media and the destination has become increasingly popular,  people (especially tourists) have started underestimating the difficulty of the hike. The hike is actually one of the more demanding one day hikes we have ventured on, and we met a lot of people along the trail who were definitely not prepared for the level of difficulty of this hike. 

Follow the tips we have given you, and weather permitting you should be able to have an amazing hike, giving you memories for a lifetime:)

 

PS: You can also check out the Trolltunga hike on google maps!

Keep in Touch!

If you want to stay up to date with new articles, pictures and videos, subscribe to our newsletter, or follow one of our social media profiles (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram). We also have a Facebook group community where you can post questions, or discuss how and where to travel in Norway.

Do you like the blog, or do you miss any information? We would love to hear from you in our feedback form.
– And as always, all pictures seen on the site is available for print or licensing through larskorvald.com.

What to do and see in Lofoten

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We have all seen the Instagram and Facebook pictures of northern lights on snowy beaches, steep mountains rising straight up from the ocean, and picturesque fishing villages . Can Lofoten really live up to all the hype?

In our opinion, yes it really can! In this guide, we will present you with our best tips to make your vacation in Lofoten a memorable one, and indeed make it live up to the hype. We will show you how to get to Lofoten, where you should stay, what you should do, and last but not least, show you some of our favorite hikes

 

WHAT MAKES LOFOTEN SO POPULAR?

There are a number of reasons why Lofoten has become so wildly popular in the last few years. To name a few; ocean fishing (Skreifiske), staggeringly beautiful scenery and mountains, picturesque fishing villages, amazing surfing conditions, long white beaches, midnight sun, and the last but not least, the aurora borealis (during the winter months). – And these are just a few of the wonderful experiences you can expect.  In our opinion, there is also a special kind of mood, a tranquility that comes to us in the Lofoten islands. – Hiking beautiful mountains during the daytime, and enjoying the midnight sun in the summer together with good friends, or waiting for northern lights in the winter.

There is a lot to do and see in Lofoten. If you just want to cover the basics and see the places most frequented on Instagram and other social media, you can manage it in a long weekend. However, if you wish to really discover Lofoten and all its wonders, you should at least stay a week.

Reading on, you will find our favorite things to do and see in Lofoten, and suggestions on what you should do based on the length of your stay, as well as our suggestions for means of transportation and where to stay.

 

From the top of Reinebrignen. This is some of the scenery you can expect to see when visiting Lofoten.

Depending on where you arrive from, there are several possibilities. Perhaps the most popular way to reach Lofoten, is to arrive by plane in Bodø, and then rent a car there. Then you board the ferry to Moskenes, which takes about three hours. By using this alternative, you will arrive at the southern end of Lofoten, and can drive your way to the northern end, experiencing all the sights along the way. This is our favorite way to reach and experience Lofoten.

Another alternative is to arrive by plane in Svolvær, Leknes, or Røst, and hire a car from one of these places.

 

HOW DO I GET AROUND IN LOFOTEN? 

There several alternatives of how to get around in Lofoten.  The most popular is to  hire or bring a car and drive around on your own. We recommend booking a car in advance, as Lofoten is a popular destination, especially during the summer time.  You can also hire or bring a caravan, as there are many nice places to park and spend the night.

There are other ways to get around as well, and you don’t always need to rent a car if you don’t have one. You can stay in one of the bigger fishing villages and get around by bus. By packing lightly, it is also possible to bike, paddle or even walk huge parts of Lofoten.

Want to know exactly where this picture is taken? Download our detailed guide “11 must see places on the road in Lofoten” below.

Want to know where the picture above is taken?
We made a guide called 11 must see places on the road in Lofoten. It features pictures and detailed GPS coordinates to some of the most famous places to visit in Lofoten. They are all easily accessible from the road.

Get our PDF guide 11 must see places on the road in Lofoten.

 

TOWNS OF LOFOTEN – WHERE TO STAY

Lofoten consists of seven bigger islands; Austvågøya, Vestvågøya, Gimsøya, Flakstadøya, Moskenesøya, Værøy and Røst, all with their own unique charm. Most of the towns have fishing lodges (“rorbuer”) available for rent.

The small city of Å on Moskenesøy is the southernmost city of Lofoten. Å is the furthest south you get in Lofoten by car, and is a historic fishing community with charming red fishing lodges, and a crazy amount of seagulls. Be ware in the hatching season, they can be a bit aggressive if you get too close 😉  In Å you will find museums, and some parts of the season, lots of stockfish hanging to dry.

Reine is a spectacular village, also situated on Moskenesøya. Reine is famous for the mountain Reinebringen, and you might have seen some pictures from the bridge overlooking the city. We recommend hiking to the top of Reinebringen, for an amazing view of Reine from above. It is not a very difficult hike, but some parts of the trail are very steep, and can be slippery after heavy rain, or periods of drought (as it gets quite sandy). In Reine you will also find an art museum, a tourist information, and some restaurants and cafés worth a visit, such as Bringen café. Reine is also known to be a photographers wonderland, with postcard sceneries around every corner, and walking distances to places such as Sakrisøy and Hamnøy. If you want to stay at Sakrisøy or Hamnøy you should try the famous fishing lodges. If you are stationary, and only want to stay in one places, this is it! The the red fishing lodges in Reine are also very popular to stay in. Be sure to book early, as they get sold out quickly.

The city of Reine.

Nusfjord is a small picturesque fishing community, with two large fishing boats still using it as their harbor.In the summertime, a small fee applies to enter Nusfjord. We really recommend spending a night in a rorbu in Nusfjord.

Panorama shot of Nusfjord

Henningsvær is a fantastic mix of small city living, combined with amazing nature experiences. Especially if you are into climbing. Eat a meal of bacalao at Klatrecaféen (the climbing café), and enjoy the cosy surroundings. Henningsvær also offers souvenirs from the many local shops, such as locally made glass items or knitted garments. In Henningsvær you will also find local restaurants serving fish based meals, gourmet style and a lot of alternative places to spend the night.

Henningsvær

The city of Svolvær is famous for its Svolværgeita (The Svolvær goat).  – A mountain peak that looks like a goat with horns. You can climb the goat by using a local guide and climbing equipment, or you can hike to the close by Djevelporten, which we really recommend. Svolvær is a bigger city, and we feel that when you reach Svolvær you start to loose the feeling og being in Lofoten, and start moving towards more regular Norwegian cities. – But it is still worth a visit! The view from the fishing lodges is still great.

The city of Svolvær during the midnight sun

 

LONG WHITE BEACHES

White sand and turquoise water; the long beaches are one of the many good reasons to visit Lofoten. Beach vacation in Norway? Why not! Even though the temperature does not always permit swimming, the surroundings and scenery make up for the cold water. – And many beaches permit surfing or other water based activities all year round.

Birdseye view of Utakleiv beach during late summer hours.

The West side of Lofoten is perhaps the most beautiful if you wish to explore some beaches. One of the more hidden gems there, is Kvalvika beach. Kvalvika requires a short hike to reach the final destination, but boy is it worth it. Kvalvika is a peaceful beach, with tall mountains rising all around it. Close by, you can also find the popular Ryten mountain, where the picture below is taken. Makes for some creative shots 😉 Check out our article about hiking to Kvalvika Beach.

Kari Schibevaag and her dog “Truls” hanging from one of the stones on top of Ryten. PS: This is much safer than it looks 😉

A bit further north, you will find Ramberg beach – a long and shallow beach with many small rivers that flow across the beach. They are really fun to explore, especially in the winter, as they form lots of little crystals in the sand. In the winter, the ice forms intriguing formations because of the rivers, and because of the tide, so bring your camera! Ramberg is also a great place to stay, and there are several hiking and kayak adventures available.

Even further north on Flakstadøya, Vikten is situated. Explore the long beautiful beach, and sit on the rock that looks like a meamaid’s tail. At Vikten we’ve enjoyed many spectacular sunsets, and we can only image what it’s like living here, seeing these sunsets every day.

Northern lights over Flakstad beach. Flakstad is great for kiting, and also northern lights photography.

Further north, at Vestvågøy, you will find the Haukland Beach, with camping possibilities. Haukland beach is one of the most visited beaches in Lofoten, as it is beautiful, accessible, family friendly and has toilet facilities during the summertime.  Because it is so popular, you will most likely find a lot of tourists and photographers at Haukland, all year around.

Utakleiv – a magnificent place to capture the northern lights, is situated even further north at Vestvågøy. Utakleiv is a nice place to spend the night (a small fee applies), or eat your lunch at one of the many artisanal benches and tables installed close by the beach, while you hear the roar of the waves.

Utakleiv beach is great for northern lights photography

Unstad – the surfers paradise with camping possibilities, is situated further north. Unstad beach is perhaps the most popular surfing beach in Lofoten, with people playing in the surf all year round. At Unstad you can also spend the night for a small fee, in a tent or a camper van, or you can rent a cabin. During the summer months, the camping area at Unstad is filled up with surfing or nature enthusiasts, and you can easily find a group of like minded people to hang out with. We spent some time at Unstad this summer together with some of our friends, and it was truly an amazing time.

Surfing in the midnight sun at Unstad beach

 

STEEP MOUNTAINS

Lofoten is honestly one of the best places in Norway to hike, as there are so many mountains to choose from, and in many different categories of difficulty. If you are of the adventurous kind and not afraid of heights, we recommend Vågakallen in Kabelvåg as an absolute must. Other hikes we really enjoy are Reinebringen in Reine, and Fløyfjellet in Svolvær. At Fløyfjellet you can climb the famous Svolværgeita in the company of a local guide, or you can hike a different route to Djevelporten (The devils gate), where you can get some awesome shots, if you dare. Detailed hiking guides to Lofoten are coming soon. Here is our preliminary top 10 list of highly recommended hikes in Lofoten: (Difficulty 1-3)

    • Reinebringen 442m, 2 hours (dif 2)
    • Helvetestind 602m, 4 hours (dif 2)
    • Ryten 543m, 3 hours (dif 1)
    • Moltinden 696m, 3 hours (dif 2)
    • Hustinden 691m, 3 hours (dif 1)
    • Skottinden 671m, 4 hours  (dif 2)
    • Veggen 489m, 2 hours (dif 1)
    • Vågakallen 943m, 8 hours (dif 3)
    • Festvågtind 541m, 2 hours (dif 1)
    • Djevelporten 561m, 3 hours (dif 2)

 

Henrikke enjoying the view from Vågakallen
South-west view of Lofoten from the top of “Veggen” in between Utakleiv and Haukland beach.

KITING

Kari Schibevaag is a several time world champion in kiting. She lives in a container house at Ramberg beach, and really know here way around the best kite spots in Lofoten. According to Kari, the best beaches to kite is Ramberg, Yttersand and Flakstad. Ramberg is best when the wind blows north-west, Yttersand when it blows north to north-east, and Flakstad is good on both north and south direction. Lars and Kari made a video together about Kari kiting close to her home at Ramberg. Check it out below.

 

 

KAYAK IN LOFOTEN

Because of Lofoten’s archipelago and clear turquoise water, it is a dream to kayak in Lofoten. You can for example rent a kayak in Svolvær, and paddle your way to Henningsvær and back in the course of a day. We really recommend this trip. Paddling in Reine and Trollfjorden should also rank high on your list. Kayaks are available for hire a number of places, but most of them require that you have a license (in Norwegian called a “våtkort”) or that you must be accompanied by a guide.

A magical moment in Reinefjorden in the middle of the night.

DIVING IN LOFOTEN

Diving in the cold waters of Norway might not be the first thing that comes to mind, but it should! The colder the water, the better the visibility often is. In Lofoten, diving accommodations be found at Ballestad.

Norwegian kelp forest

SURFING LOFOTEN

As previously mentioned, there are some awesome surfing possibilities in Lofoten, for instance at Unstad. At Unstad, several surfing companies are stationed, and you can rent equipment and surf on your own, or you can join a course. Flakstad is also a very decent surfing beach. It often has somewhat smaller and easier waves then Unstad which makes it perfect for beginners. Kari Schibevaag at Schibevaag Adventure has a lot of water-sports equipment available for rent.

Winter surfing at Unstad

LOFOTEN CULTURE

Lofoten has a rich historic culture, and if often called mini- Norway. In Lofoten you will find many old traditional fishing villages, such as Nusfjord. In Lofoten they still dry fish they way it has been have done for hundreds of years, using outdoors wooden stands to hang the fish to dry. During the winter to spring period, Lofoten is dominated by the smell of fish being dried from these stands, it is really a sight to be seen (and smelled).

The old lighthouse at Værøy

We recommend stopping by previously mentioned Nusfjord if you are interested in seeing what a traditional fishing community looked like. In the summer time, they charge a visitors fee to enter, but in the winter it is free.

If you are interested in old norse and viking culture, we recommend stopping by the Lofoten viking museum in Vestvågøy.

 

Dry-fish racks in Svolvær

 

ONLY GOT TIME FOR A LONG WEEK END IN LOFOTEN? 

If you have a week or so in Lofoten, you are welcome to follow the previously mentioned suggestions. If you only have time for a long weekend, no worries, you can still manage the see many of the famous sights. If this is the case, we have made a fast track guide for you.

Start by taking the three hour ferry from Bodø to Moskenes. From Moskenes, you can drive south west, until you get to Å. Å is the furthest south you get in Lofoten by car. Head north towards Reine, and be sure to stop at in Reine, Sakrisøy and Hamnes on your way.

After enjoying Reine, we recommend driving north- west towards Ramberg, and enjoy the beautiful Ramberg beach. After Ramberg, you should head north- east, towards Nusfjord and Storavatnet. After Nusfjord, continue north towards Haukland and Utakleiv beach, for wild and sandy beaches.

After visiting Utakleiv, we recommend that you also consider going to Unstad beach. If you’re into surfing, you should really suit up and try the waves. If not, it is a lot of fun to watch others measure their strengths against the ocean.

From Unstad, we recommend heading east, towards Henningsvær. Henningsvær also offers souvenirs from the many local shops, such as locally made glass items or knitted garments. After visiting Henningsvær, the last stop on your journey should be Svolvær.

Make sure you download our guide, so you won’t miss anything. “11 must see places on the road in Lofoten”

 

We hope you found this guide useful. Be sure to drop a comment in the comment section, and share the post with your friends. We hope to see you in Lofoten 🙂

 

Keep in touch!

If you want to stay up to date with new articles, pictures and videos, subscribe to our newsletter, or follow one of our social media profiles (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram). We also have a Facebook group community where you can post questions, or discuss how and where to travel in Norway.

Do you like the blog, or do you miss any information? We would love to hear from you in our feedback form.
– And as always, all pictures seen on the site is available for print or licensing through larskorvald.com.

What to do and see in Geiranger

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Fairytale like landscape, tall dramatic mountain, lush green forests, and a deep blue fjord – No wonder Geiranger is a UNESCO world heritage site.

Geiranger is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Norway, and has since 2005 been categorized as a UNESCO world heritage site. It is considered to be one of the most scenically outstanding fjord areas on the planet, and the landscape is truly fairytale like, we guarantee it.

View of Geiranger from Ørnesvingen

The city:

The city of Geiranger is situated at the innermost part of the Geirangerfjord. The city is cosy with it’s bakeries and small cafés, where you can enjoy a calm morning before you embark on some of the exciting adventures Geiranger has to offer. During the summer months, the city itself can be quite crowded as cruise ships are docked there most of the time. – But we never really think of this as a problem, as it’s in the mountains and on the fjord the real Geiranger magic happens.

Henrikke enjoying the view on the way to Skagelå

Where to stay?

There are several places to stay in Geiranger. All the hotels and cabins are located very close to the fjord, thus it does not matter that much which one you choose. You’ll still get to experience all that Geiranger has to offer. Geiranger is very popular, and the hotels sell out early. Be sure to book your stay early. Check out the available hotels here. There is also a lot of camp spots available for your car or tent.

 

What to do?

From Geiranger, there are several companies that offer guided  trips on the fjord, be it by kayak or by a bigger boat. This is a really nice way to get close to the many waterfalls and steep mountain sides, and experience the magic of the fjord. If you are hiring a kayak during the high season, it might be a good idea to book some time in advance, and to confirm/check your reservation a few days before you arrive, as many of the rental companies prioritize cruise tourists. Read more about this in our guide to paddling in Geiranger.

 

Feel the power of “The Seven Sister” falling down the mountain side.

Kayak, Hike, Sightseeing

Along the Geirangerfjord you’ll find many sights worth a visit. There are several abandoned mountain farms clinging to the mountain sides, for example Knivsflå, Blomberg and Skageflå. We really encourage you to hike to these farms. The hikes are somewhat steep, but you will be greatly rewarded with an amazing view of the fjord, and get an idea of the endurance it took to run a farm this high up in the mountain. To hike to Blomberg and Knivsflå, you’ll have to access the starting point by boat. You can catch one of the sightseeing/ferry boats and ask the crew to stop at your destination, or you can rent your own boat or kayak at one of the camping sites, or ask at the tourist information. Skageflå is accessible without using a boat, but many people prefer to access it from the water.

View of Knivsflå. Knivsflå is a 45 minutes hike from the fjord.

What to see?

Along the fjord, you’ll also find waterfalls of varying size, cascading down the steep mountains. The most spectacular ones are Brudesløret (The bride’s vail), Friaren(The suitor) and De syv søstre (the seven sisters). Looking up  from the fjord, at the way these waterfalls cascade down the mountains, is a truly memorable sight.

As well as the beautiful fjord, Geiranger is also famous for the twisting and turning roads that lead down into the valley. Experience a breathtaking view of the fjord from the Geiranger Skywalk at Mt. Dalsnibba 1500 meters above the fjord, take instagram friendly photos at the iconic Flydalsjuvet, and get our favourite view of Geiranger at Ørnesvingen. If you are driving your own car, it might be a good idea to check the state of your brakes before you start the drive towards the the valley. You do not want your breaks to give in while driving down here, believe me.

If you want to set up your tent near Ørnesvingen, we recommend that you hike for a few hundred meters into the forest behind the viewing platform. There you can find a secluded spot with a great view of the fjord. This is a popular spot for campers, so if you want one of the spots with the best view, you should set up your tent quite early.

The perfect place to pitch a tent. Walk a few hundred meters into the forest from Ørnesvingen.

Despite the long way down into the valley (and back up again), Geiranger is actually a popular biking destination, and you’ll see many people struggle their way up Ørnesvingene on a bike. It is also possible to rent electric bikes for those in need of a little push up those hills.  

Nearby Geiranger you’ll also find the famous Trollstigen, with its seemingly never ending turns, and with a beautiful viewing platform at the top. For the best view and images of the road, we recommend that you position yourself at on of the ramps, put on a wide angle lens, and capture the amazing view of the valley. There are sevral busses going to Trollstigen from Geiranger if you don’t have a car. On the way you will also have the opportunity to experience Gudbrandsjuvet. There you can stay at Juvet Landskapshotell. A really amazing hotel situated in raw Norwegian nature. We have not yet stayed at the hotel, but it’s definitely on our list.

View of Trollstigen. A 2 hour drive from Geiranger.

If you have any questions about traveling in Geiranger,  or if you think we have forgotten something important in this article, don’t hesitate to contact us!

Be sure to drop a comment in the comment section, and share the post with your friends.
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Kvalvika & Ryten – A perfect place to watch the sunset

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Sandy white beaches, steep mountains, and an amazing view towards never ending oceans. Ryten and Kvalvika is an unmatched combination you can’t afford to miss if you’re going to Lofoten, and it is the perfect place to watch the sunset.

In this article you will read about the hike to Ryten, and the amazing Kvalvika beach at the foot of the mountain.

    Destination: Fredvang, Moskenesøy
    Distance: 3,5km
 Vertical meters: 543 meters
    Time:2-3 hours
    Difficulty: Easy
   Season: Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter
   Type: Hiking

Ryten

On the North- West side of Moskenesøya, you will find the mountain Ryten. Ryten stretches 542 meters above the sea, and has a panoramic view of Kvalvika beach. From the top of Ryten, you really get to enjoy the unbeatable Lofoten combination of sandy white beaches, turquoise oceans, and steep mountains. – And that with a relatively minimal effort!

How do I get there?

There are two main route alternatives. You can either go straight to Kvalvika beach, and hike to Ryten from the beach, or you can go directly to the mountaintop first and take a detour to Kvalvika, which is what we did. These hikes have two different parking spots. 

If you wish to go directly to Kvalvika, take E10 and head towards Yttersand, and then towards Fredvang. Park your car in the parking lot here (Google Maps), (shown in the image below). If you want to hike Ryten first and take a detour to Kvalvika second, you should drive approximately 3 km past Fredvang, on Fv808 and park your car approximately here. There are signs pointing out where to park.

From both parking spots lot you’ll see a sign and a path leading towards the trail.

Map showing the hike to Kvalvika and Ryten

The hike

This describes the hike to Ryten first, and then to Kvalvika. The path is quite clearly marked, and since it is regularly used, it is easy to follow. The first part of the trail takes you through a meadow, where you’ll have to pass several sheep gates. The trail then takes you towards the mountains, and will after some time turn towards the right, and the inclination will start to increase. After about 30 minutes you will be on top of a valley, where you’ll have to pass to small lakes. The terrain flattens out a bit, and you will eventually be able to get a nice view of Kvalvika. You will also start to see the ridge of the mountain. You can choose to follow the ridge towards the top for the best view, or you can take one of the less exposed trails towards the top. After a last steep inclination, you will find yourself on top of Ryten with a breathtaking view of Kvalvika.

Towards the top, you will find a rock that is popular to make optical illusions with. – It is actually much safer than it looks 😉

Our hiking buddy Kari Schibevaag with her dog Truls in the backpack. Great view of Kvalvika in the background. This is much safer than it looks 😉
Ryten is a great place to watch the sun dipping into the ocean.

Kvalvika

To get to Kvalvika, you will have to descend for a little bit the way you came up. Once you have descended from the top, you will find a trail slightly to your right, leading you down towards the beach. Most likely you will be able to see it quite clearly, as you will have a great view of the beach, and the path is well worn.

The trail leading down towards the beach

The hike from the parking lot to Kvalvika directly takes about 60 minutes.

Kvalvika is perhaps the most beautiful beach we have ever visited, and if you are lucky enough to get it to yourself, it is paradise on earth.

On the right side of the beach, you will find a river running down the side of the mountain. This is a nice source for drinking water if you are spending the night. If you continue towards the left end of the beach, you’ll find (with some searching) a small ‘hobbit cabin’ built by two norwegian explorers who spent nine months surfing at Kvalvika some years ago. Look up ‘nordfor sola’ if you are interested in their story.

Spending the night?

After the sun has set, you can either camp on top of Ryten, or at the beach. Both places are recommended, and you will find plenty of space to pitch your tent. On the beach there are several grassy patches suitable, and on top of Ryten there are some flatter areas suitable for a tent as well.

Tip:  This is a very popular hike during the day, especially in the summer season. If you do the hike during the afternoon/evening, you might get the place virtually to yourself. Remember to bring a head lamp, even in the summer 🙂

NB! This is one of the most popular hikes in Lofoten, and the trail gets a rough treatment during the summer months. Try to avoid making new tracks, and follow the trail as much as you can. We try to do as little damage as possible, and to preserve nature as much as we can:)

We hope you enjoyed this article. Be sure to drop a comment in the comment section, and share the post with your friends. You should check out our complete guide about Lofoten, if you learn more of what Lofoten has to offer.

 Related Posts: Complete Lofoten Guide

 

Keep in touch!

If you want to stay up to date with new articles, pictures and videos, subscribe to our newsletter, or follow one of our social media profiles (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram). We also have a Facebook group community where you can post questions, or discuss how and where to travel in Norway.

Do you like the blog, or do you miss any information? We would love to hear from you in our feedback form.
– And as always, all pictures seen on the site is available for print or licensing through larskorvald.com.

Useful Information About Destinations In Norway

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So, you’re completely new to Norway? Don’t know what regions you want to visit, or what you want to do? In this post we will give you some introductory information about Norway and its regions.

 

NORWAY, A COUNTRY OF GREAT DISTANCES

With a population of just over 5 millions, and an area of 385 000 square kilometers, the population density of Norway is 73 300 square meters per person. This gives plenty of room to experience untouched spectacular nature in peaceful surroundings. However, Norway is a long country. It will take you about 35 hours to drive from north to south, and that’s just in a straight line, passing through Sweden.  The long distances make it preferable to plan your visit and to prioritize which areas you want to cover, as most of us have  limited time or a limited budget for our holidays. Let us tell you about Norway’s regions, and hopefully help you decide which ones you want to visit!

Norway is generally divided into five geographical regions; East- , West- , North- , South- , and Middle- Norway (also called Trøndelag). Each of these regions have a unique geography, and are suited for different types of activities and experiences.

 

WESTERN NORWAY – VISIT THE FJORDS:

Western Norway is a region along the Atlantic coast of southern Norway. It features beautiful fjords stretching far into the country, tall luxuriant mountains and picturesque cities close to the ocean. Bergen is the largest city of the region, famous for its fish market, “Bryggen”, and the seven mountains encircling  the city. You can actually hike them all in one day! In May every year, the seven- mountain trip is arranged, and a crowd of both local people and visitors walk the approximate 35 km together. Bergen is our home town, so we are particularly fond of this city, providing urban city life, as well as spectacular nature experiences.

The magnificent Geiranger fjord, surrounded by lush mountains

Stavanger is the second largest city of Western Norway, and like Bergen, it provides urban city life as well as great nature experiences. Ever heard of the pulpit rock, perhaps? It is within a 1,5 hours drive from Stavanger, so if you wish to visit the pulpit rock, Stavanger can be a nice base for your trip. Did you know, Stavanger is also famous for the surfing conditions? In both Stavanger and close by Jæren, you will find amazing wave conditions and long white sandy beaches.

In Western Norway, you will also find Avaldsnes, Norway’s oldest cashel with a rich viking history. In Avaldsnes we find the place that has given Norway it’s name, the narrow strait called Nordvegen (the north way), where all ship traffic was forced to pass through for nearly 3000 years.

Last but not least, we find Geiranger in Western Norway. The Geiranger fjord is, in our opinion, perhaps the most beautiful fjord in Norway. The hiking possibilities around it are magnificent, but unfortunately the city center itself can be a bit crowded during the summer months, as several cruise boats enter the harbour every day.

The list of amazing places in Western Norway is very long. It includes many more destinations than we have listed here,  such as Trolltunga, Rallarvegen (Flåm), and Kjerag. There are too many to render them all in this short informational post, but some of the must see places are listed below, and you will also find dedicated travel guides to some of them, check them out here.

Must see destinations in Western Norway:

[column size=one_half position=first ]

  • Bergen
  • Ålesund
  • Stavanger
  • The Pulpit Rock
  • Trolltunga
  • Hornindal

[/column]

  • Geiranger
  • Atlantic Ocean Road
  • Flåm
  • Nærøyfjorden
  • Loen
  • Kjeragbolten

 

NORTHERN NORWAY – THE REGION OF LIGHT:

Northern Norway is generally recognizable by the tall, dramatic mountains rising straight up from the ocean, the many picturesque fishing villages, and the amazing light. Northern Norway not only houses Norwegians, but also the indigenous sami people, making this region particularly culturally rich and diverse.

View of Reine in Lofoten, from the top of Reinebringen

By visiting northern Norway during the winter months, it is very likely you will experience the northern light phenomenon (aurora borealis). Seeing the northern lights really should be on your bucket list. Staring up at the sky, watching the green and purple lights dancing can really take your breath away.

“Life is not measured by the number breaths we take, but by the moments that takes our breath away.”

Northern Norway is also great to visit during the summer months. In the summer you can experience the midnight sun, hike amazing mountains, and do coastal activities such as kayaking, boating, kiting or surfing. Northern Norway is Norway’s largest region, and you would have to drive for a long time to get through it all. Luckily, there are so many possibilities in the different areas of Northern Norway, that you can easily stay in one place for weeks, never wanting to leave.

 

Our favorite places and attractions in Northern Norway are:

  • Lofoten
  • Senja
  • Vesterålen
  • Helgelandskysten
  • Narvik
  • Andøya
  • Nordkapp
  • Lyngsalpene
  • Whale safaris
  • Northern lights

 

If Northern Norway sounds like the place for you, check out our travel guides about Northern Norway.

 

EASTERN NORWAY:

The Eastern part of Norway harbors a lot of culture rich cities, and is by far the most populous region in Norway. Over half the population lives on this side of the country. Even though there are a lot of bigger cities in the east, there are also great nature experiences to be found.  Going a bit north or west in Eastern Norway, you will find glaciers and wild mountains areas such as Rondane. Norway’s tallest mountain, Galdhøpiggen (2469m), is located in this region, just a few hours outside of the capital Oslo. Some of the attractions worth seeing in Eastern Norway are:

  • Oslo
  • Lillehammer (Winter Olympics 94)
  • Geilo
  • Trysil
  • Halden
  • Jotunheimen
  • Telemark
  • Kvitfjell
  • Dovrefjell

We have yet to release any travel guides from Eastern Norway, but they are coming soon. Stay tuned!

 

MIDDLE NORWAY/ TRØNDELAG:

Trøndelag is situated in the middle of Norway, and has several national parks well suited for hiking, cycling, hunting and fishing. The geography is characterized by a beautiful wild coast line, as well as mountains and lush plateaus perfect for hunting.  Trondheim is the largest city of the region, and is Norway’s third largest city behind Oslo and Bergen. In Trondheim you will find the legendary Nidaros cathedral, many museums and concert venues, and a thriving student atmosphere. However, what we like most about Trøndelag is the amazing diving opportunities at Hitra. In our experience Hitra is the single best destination for diving in Norway. There is a vibrant marine life and wonderful currents to dive in. We are currently making a detailed guide about diving at Hitra that will be released shortly. 

Diving at Hitra
SOUTHERN NORWAY:

Southern Norway is a region along the Skagerrak coast of southern Norway. It is the number one summer destination in Norway, because of its steady climate and relaxed atmosphere. Here you can enjoy lazy days at the beach or stroll in one of the many picturesque small cities with charming white painted houses. You should also try the fresh shrimp, it is fantastic. Exploring the archipelago by boat is a popular activity along with fishing. In Southern Norway you also find the popular and historic Setesdalen, where you can go skiing in the winter, or hiking beautiful trails in the summer. We have yet to release any dedicated travel guides for Southern Norway, but stay tuned:)
We hope you enjoyed this article. Be sure to drop a comment in the comment section, and share the post with your friends.

If you want to stay up to date with new articles, pictures and videos, subscribe to our newsletter, or follow one of our social media profiles (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram). We also have a Facebook group community where you can post questions, or discuss how and where to travel in Norway.

Do you like the blog, or do you miss any information? We would love to hear from you in our feedback form.
– And as always, all pictures seen on the site is available for print or licensing through larskorvald.com.

A Complete Guide to Diving Hitra

 

Hitra is the nicest place we have dived in Norway this far. We are currently making a more comprehensive guide to diving in Hitra, but  take a look at our videos and photos from this great destination in the mean time.

 

 

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Be sure to drop a comment in the comment section, and share the post with your friends.
If you want to stay up to date with new articles, images and videos, make sure you are subscribed to our newsletter, or follow one of our social media profiles (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram). We also have a Facebook group community, where you can post questions or discuss how to travel and where to visit in Norway.
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6 tips for hiking in Norway

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So you’re planning a hiking trip in Norway, but you’re worried about what you should bring? Don’t worry, let us help you get started.

With this guide we will help you avoid the typical “touristy” mistakes of not bringing the right clothes or enough food. Whether your hike is long or short, we hope that this post will provide you with some basic information about what to bring when hiking in the spring, summer, or autumn.

 

1: KEEP THAT BODY WARM 

What you should wear on a hike is (obviously) very dependent on the season and on the weather in the place you will be hiking. Here we will present what we find to be the most optimal method when it comes to layering clothes. Depending on the weather, season, etc. you just stop the layering when you feel warm enough 😉

As a base rule, it is better to dress in multiple thin layers, than few thick ones. The layers create pockets of air between them, insulating the body and keeping it hot. Layering also makes it easier to remove or add clothing, making your temperature just right.

The layer closest to the body can either be a technical layer absorbing sweat, or it can be a thin woolen layer. The only thing you have to remember it to never wear cotton, as it gets moist quite quickly, and takes a long time to dry, leaving you both cold and wet. You don’t want to be either. We prefer to use wool, as it has antibacterial properties, making it less subjected to unwanted odors. Wool also has the amazing quality of acting cooling in warm weather, and warming in cold weather, and that it insulates even though it is wet. Thin woolen layers is therefore our preferred base layer for most seasons.

Outside of the inner layer, we usually wear a second layer of thin wool, a little thicker than the base layer.

If it is really cold, we wear a thicker wool or fleece layer above the second layer. This layer can also consist of a light weight down jacket. Finally, as our last layer, we wear a water proof shell jacket.

For your lower body, the shoes are perhaps the most important piece of ‘clothing’. Use waterproof shoes with a good grip, and always test them before going on a longer hike, so you avoid annoying blisters. We seldom find it necessary to wear woolen long johns under our hiking pants, except for in the winter of course. Still, we almost always bring them in our backpacks( except for in the summertime when it is very hot). The weather in Norway can change quite quickly, so you never know when they might come in handy. Pro tip: use long johns that have zippers going all the way down on both sides, so you can remove them and put them on without taking your pants completely off. Check out these from Devold for example.

When walking in high grass in the summer time, we recommend using hiking pants instead of shorts, and shoving them into your socks. This makes it harder for the ticks and mosquitos to find those precious juicy legs and bite you.

 

2: PACK YOUR BACKPACK LIKE AN EXPERT

Hiking in Norway can be easy breezy, but suddenly turn extremely difficult and dangerous because of quick weather changes. So when going on a hike in Norway, long or short, you should always be prepared for colder and wetter weather. Simply by putting a light shell jacket or a thin woolen layer in your backpack, you can save a hike from becoming an uncomfortable experience.

Even if the weather is warm and nice when you start your hike, there is no guarantee that the weather will stay this way the entire hike. That is why it is always important to bring extra clothes, and why you almost never see Norwegians without backpacks when hiking.

We prefer to always have some layers of wool in our backpacks. These materials are light and easy to carry, but are warm and comfortable to wear, and can potentially save the entire hike if you get cold. Usually we bring a complete extra inner layer of wool, such as a pair of long johns, and a thin woolen sweater. In the late summer and autumn, we also bring thin, packable down jackets. They are super neat to put on when you reach that mountain top and it starts to get chilly. These extra layers are not only utilized if we get cold, but also if we get sweaty, which we often do. It makes your hike more enjoyable if you can change out of a wet inner layer, and put on a nice dry one once you reach your destination. Pro tip: Once you have reached your destination and are having a break, put on dry, warm clothes before you get cold.

 

3: SUPPLIES

Always bring water. If you’re not sure that you can find any water sources where you’re going, make sure to bring enough for the entire hike, based on the temperature, and the duration of the hike.

When it comes to food, the amount is of course highly individual. Make sure to bring enough food for the entire hike, and to bring necessary tools in case you’re bringing canned food. Even if you’re planning to live off of what nature provides, be sure to bring some backup. We ourselves prefer to bring freeze dried food from Real turmat, as it tastes delicious, and doesn’t take up too much space. We also bring a lot of oatmeal for breakfast, as it keeps you full for a long time. Pro tip: When using a camping stove, remember to keep your matches dry, or to bring flint steel or a lighter, and to bring enough fuel.

 

4: SUPER PRO EXTRAS

The first thing we always recommend people to bring when hiking late summer and autumn, is a flash light.  It gets dark much earlier than people expect, and a head lamp or a flash light will be a great advantage when the twilight kicks in. A knife or a multitool is also heavily recommended.

A seat pad is also nice to bring, as it keeps your butt from getting cold when sitting down for a well deserved break.

 

5: SPENDING THE NIGHT? 

If you’re spending one or several night outside, you’ll obviously need sleeping gear. The first thing you’ll need is a sleeping bag, and a sleeping pad. Be sure to check the night temperature of your destination, and choose a sleeping bag that matches the temperature. For sleeping pads, it depends on how sensitive your back is, but we prefer to bring inflatable Exped sleeping pads. Just makes the night so much more comfy.

In case you’re not sleeping under an open sky, you’ll need a tent or some sort of tarp. We recommend using one that has a mosquito net, as Norway is known to be inhabited by the odd mosquito or two.

 

6: GET YOUR SHIT TOGETHER ( …or at least bury it)

When hiking for a longer period, you are bound to hear nature call at some point. To put it bluntly, you will have to pee (or more). If you have to use wipes of some sort, never use non- degradable paper such as wet wipes, and NEVER leave it on or by the trail. Use degradable paper such as regular toilet paper or kleenex, and when you have finished your business (preferable far away from the trail), you bury that stuff along with the paper. We hate seeing people leaving non degradable paper along with their remains close to or on the trail. Ew.

 


SUM UP

It might sound like a lot to bring and to remember, but if you’re only going on a day’s hike, all of the things you need should nicely fit inside a 30L backpack. If you are going on a longer hike, you will need a bigger backpack for the extra clothes, food, and sleeping gear. We usually wear a 80L backpack each when going on longer trips, which fits all the necessary gear listed in this post, as well as a lot of camera gear.

To sum it all up, your backpack might get a little heavier than you’re used to by following these tips, but there is a chance that they can save you from an extremely uncomfortable hike, and make it an amazing one.

 

We hope you enjoyed this article. Be sure to drop a comment in the comment section, and share the post with your friends.

 

Keep in touch!

If you want to stay up to date with new articles, pictures and videos, subscribe to our newsletter, or follow one of our social media profiles (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram). We also have a Facebook group community where you can post questions, or discuss how and where to travel in Norway.

Do you like the blog, or do you miss any information? We would love to hear from you in our feedback form.
– And as always, all pictures seen on the site is available for print or licensing through larskorvald.com.

Lygnstøylsvatnet – Norway’s Atlantis

Imagine you are floating through crystal clear water, looking down at what looks to be an enchanted forest. You can see the remains of a settlement, the roads and stone fences used to herd sheep and transport goods over a hundred years ago.

Welcome to Norway’s Atlantis, welcome to Lygnstøylsvatnet.

 

 

General information:

    Destination: Sunnmøre, Norangsdalen, Lygnstøylsvatnet
    GPS:62°10’30.6″N 6°43’44.0″E
   Maximum 13 meters
    Time: 45min each dive
   Height: 152 meters
    Difficulty: Medium
   Season: Spring, Summer, Autumn
    Type: Diving/Freediving
   Special Equipment: Scuba/Freediving gear

Henrikke swimming through one of the stone fences

How it came to be

Lake Lygnstøylsvatnet, situated in Nordangsdalen Valley in the West of Norway,  is one of the most amazing dive destinations in Norway. Originally there shouldn’t be a lake to dive in, but the 26th of May 1908, the 1218 meters tall mountain Keipen cracked. A large amount of rocks came crashing down the mountain side, creating a dam across the valley. The river was blocked and the water had nowhere to go. Slowly the valley filled with water, and thus Lygnstøylsvatnet was created.

On clear, calm days you can actually see some of the remains just by parking and looking out your car window. However, the experience is most rewarding for those who can scuba or freedive down to 5-13 meters, and swim through the remains of the old road, the forest and the farm houses. 

The old farm buildings and the road before the landslide (Photo: Knud Knudsen, Universitetsbiblioteket i Bergen)
The landslide

What to see

When scuba or free diving, you will be able to see the remains of nine farm buildings, two bridges, a farm road, stone fences, a gate,  and most importantly; a mesmerizing underwater forest consisting of bare apple trees, over a hundred years old, frozen in time.

The old “Troll forest”, frozen in time

How to find the lake?

Finding the lake is quite easy; You follow country road 655, between Hellesylt and Øye in Sunnmøre, or simply enter Lygnstøylsvatnet into google maps. You will pass several smaller lakes, but once you reach Lygnstøylen, you will see a plackard stating that this is the Lygnstøylsvatnet lake. Weather permitting, you might also be able to see some of the old farm buildings from the shore. There are a few parking spaces available by the lake.

Overview of Lygnstøylsvatnet

How many dives?

The visibility of the lake varies from crystal clear to murky, depending on how rainy the weather has been the previous days. The more rain, the more sediments are dragged into the lake from the mountains, making the visibility bad. 

We believe that you will be able to experience the most important features of Lygnstøylsvatnet in two (scuba) dives. Thus, we have made a suggestion as to how you can perform these two dives; one longer dive at the south west end of the lake, and a shorter second dive at the north west side of the lake. Take a look at the map above to look at the main points of interest. These are approximate placements, but they should be close enough to navigate by. If you don’t want to do scuba diving, it is also perfectly possible to have a nice free diving session at the lake, and we highly recommend this as well as scuba diving.

Henrikke getting ready to descend, looking real intense
 Related Posts: How to get stunning underwater video from a GoPro

 

DIVE 1 – The tunnel and forest:

Descend, and start off by swimming close to the fences you will see from the starting point. Follow the fences a bit south, and you will arrive at the first bridge at about 5-6 meters depth. It is great fun to swim through it, but be careful not to kick up too much sediments, as this will possibly annoy the diver following behind you.  

Old fences close by the old road
The first bridge

After swimming under the bridge, it is nice to follow the “riverbed” into the mysterious forest at about 10 meters depth. If you want to see more of the forest, you can swim east for an extended period. If you do this, you will see even bigger trees at about 12-13 meters depth. Please remember: All the trees in the lake are very brittle, and very little contact is necessary to break them. Be mindful of your fins and your arms, and never lean on the trees. The branches can snap quite easily. Keep that buoyancy controlled! 

The riverbed, where the river used to run over a 100 years agoRemains of an old gate

 

After enjoying the forest you can swim northwest and arrive at the road. Continue towards north east to shallower waters, and you will find the old farms at 2-3 meters depths. This is a very nice place to perform your safety stop. Surface when you feel like it, and walk or swim back to the starting point.

Get out of the water, get yourself a cup of coffee, and get excited for your next dive!

One of several old farm buildings 

DIVE 2 – The road and old farms:

The second dive covers a shorter distance, and gives you time to enjoy the old buildings and the large rocks in the land slide. Start descending near the fences until you reach the road at about 5 meters depth. Swim north while following the road, and you will soon reach the landslide with its massive rocks, at about 6-7 meters depth. At the end of the road, you will also find the second bridge, which you can also swim under. Turn around, and ascend to 2-3 meters depth. Swim back towards the starting point, while checking out the old farms and fences along the way. 

Henrikke and Morten swimming towards the landslide
The second bridge

SUM UP

Diving in Lygnstøylsvatnet is quite easy, as it is not so deep. However, it requires good buoyancy control. We want to stress the fact that you should never lean on any of the fragile trees, and that it is not considered good dive etiquette to stir up sediments from the bottom, making it murky for the divers following behind. You should also be mindful that the drive to and from Lygnstøylsvatnet could include mountain passes. All in all, be considerate and careful, so that Lygnstøylsvatnet will continue to be a place we can all visit and enjoy in the future as well 🙂 

Farmhouse foundation falling apart

Lars made a movie from some of the scuba dives we’ve had at Lygnstøylsvatnet. It was recorded over a period of 3 dives. The weather conditions were cloudy and we experienced some rain, but the underwater conditions were absolutely fantastic. Check it out at the top of the post.

Henrikke swimming over the fences

Where to stay, and where to rent equipment.

If you want to spend the night close to Lygnstøylen you can try Hotel Union Øye, or Hellesylt on the other side of the mountain. Contact Ålesund Dive Center if you need to hire equipment.

 

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How to get stunning underwater video from a GoPro

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Using a GoPro as an underwater device can yield great results if used properly. In this post, Lars will give you his best tips for making great underwater video.

Henrikke filming in the kelp

Settings I use most often in Norway:

  • Res: 4K SUPER
  • FPS: 24
  • FOV: W – Wide (super)
  • Protune: On
  • CAM RAW
  • Colours: Flat
  • ISO limit: 1600
  • Sharpness: medium
  • Exposure compensation: +0,5
  • Up Side Down (If filming on a pole)
  • No filters

 

Stability:

You can have the most spectacular activities and scenery going on in your view screen and still not get great results, if you video is not stabilized. My suggestion will be to use a sturdy pole or a steady tray to get the most fluid motion as possible. Practicing good buoyancy control is also very important to get fluid motion. You can have as stable hands as you like, but it won’t help if you’re wobbling uncontrollably in the water. Planting your knees in the sand or holding on to something will help if you don’t have the best buoyancy control.

Thor Inge using Ikelite GoPro tray

View angle:

If filming wide angle you should generally try to set the view angle as high as possible. If possible, preferably the  superwide setting. Medium or narrow should be considered if you want to shoot objects up close. In that case, I will recommend using some kind of artificial light to make the colours pop even more.

Wide angle of the wall

Frames per second:

Frames per second (FPS for short) is also important to consider, and which one you use depends much on what you want as an end result. Generally I use 24 fps, which will give nice smooth video, and will let the maximum amount of light to reach the camera sensor.

If I want to slow down my video in post production, I will have to use a higher frame rate such as 50 or 60,120 fps, or even 240 fps in the most extreme circumstances. Using such high frame rates will require more than double amount of light, which is why I will only recommend using such frame rates on sunny days, on shallow depths, or if you have powerful artificial light.

 

Protune:

Using Protune and camera RAW is the most important setting to get right if you want vivid colors in your video. Having a RAW white balance means that you can adjust the colours in GoPro’s free editing software in post production. Using Raw this will bring forth a lot more vivid colours than without it. Using Protune you also get more details in the shadows and highlights, meaning you get a greater dynamic range. NB: Don’t be upset if the video doesn’t look good straight out of the camera; Using protune and RAW will make your video look flat and more boring than using auto. The advantage of using Protune and RAW will present itself after using editing software.

The slider below shows the effect of a RAW white balance, and how you are able to choose correct colors. The effect will not be as big on GoPro as the image is taken with a dSLR with higher bitrate. But you will see significant results using a GoPro as well.

Some people ask me if I use colour filters, I generally don’t. The reason is that using filters will require more available light when filming. Since the light is very limited underwater, I generally leave it at home. It also won’t work as intended if not following specific guidelines for how to use it, such as having the sun coming in from behind you. In my option you can get just as good results using Protune and RAW white balance. – But if you are not at all interested in editing your video, a filter might be the right choice.

 

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I-Torch Venom C-92

[dropcap size=big]Y[/dropcap]ou should seriously consider the new Venom C-c92 video lights from I-Torch if you want to take your underwater footage to the next level. I have been using the C-92 lights for about 15 dives now, and they really change the way my underwater scenes are lit. Continue for the full review of the Venom C-92 video lights.

 

Here is a list of the most important features of the lights:

  • CRI Value of 92
  • 4000 lumens
  • 110° beam angle
  • Possibility to install remote control
  • Burn time (full power) of 1 hour
  • Size: 54mm diameter, 117mm long (460g on land)
C-92 in action. Foreground illuminated with C-92 lights
CRI Value:

One of the biggest selling points is the exceptional CRI value. Color rendering index (CRI) is a quantitative measure of the ability of a light source to faithfully reveal the colors of various objects in comparison with an ideal or natural light source (Yes, straight from Wiki). In other words; you get a great colors very close to natural light. This will give you a lot of wiggle room in post processing. The skin tones are rendered really beautifully, which makes them very suitable for lighting a diver’s face as well as marine life. Check out the video further down for real life examples.

 

Beam angle:

One of my favorite features! Sometimes I am using a Sigma 15mm FE with my full frame 5D mk2 camera. By using two c-92 lights I get full coverage across the whole frame and beautiful even lighting. This is way better than the SOLA lights I was previously using, and really makes the footage look professional without any hotspots.

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4000 Lumens:

4000 lumens gives you the ability to equalize natural light in most scenes, and really get the colors popping in front of the image. Because of the quality and wide beam of the lights, I actually would not mind to have a few extra lumens available, as I sometimes during bright light use them in full power. However this is only something I have missed a few times, and nothing that could not be fixed in post processing.

Using them on full power gives you an approximate burn time of 1 hour. I have actually found myself running out of power on several of my first dives. However, when I tweaked the remote control a bit I was able to shut the lights off easily in between shots, which made the lights last the whole dive. You should be prepared to charge them between each dive, or get an additional battery pack.

 

Remote control:

This together with the CRI value was one of the main reasons why I bought VenomC92 over the Venom38 (which comes 40% cheaper). Having the remote control makes it easy to expose and access the controls. With the remote control you can either connect two lights to one controller, and control them simultaneously, or buy two remotes and control them separately. With the remote control you have the options to control the lights “step-less” from full to off, and switch between red and white output.

I use a two lights, one control configuration. However I am going to switch to a two lights, two controller configuration after a while. I have been quite happy with my configuration which works great in most cases, but there are a few circumstances where two controllers could make a big difference.

The main circumstance is when I have obstacles or a wall/wreak on the side. Say if I am recording a diver swimming towards me with a wall on his right, I would not want to illuminate the wall with the same power as I am with the other light. I always have the lights angled 45deg away from the dome. By doing that, part of the wall will be illuminated to a greater extent than the diver, and pull focus away from the diver and towards the wall.  In this scenario I might want to have the light illuminating the wall on half the power as the one lighting from the other side. It might also come in handy when I want to change the intensity of the lights to create more depth in some of the scenes. Before I buy another one I will have to make sure that it actually is room for another remote when operating the camera.

The fiber optic cables that runs from the light to the control, has caused some frustration. Especially in the beginning, I was not able to connect them to my Ikelite housing properly. I solved this by 3D-printing my own plate which I connected to the ball head in the middle of my Ikelite housing. For housings like Nauticam or Acuatica there should be no problems, but be sure to check the available connection points before buying. Making sure the cables stay put was also a bit of a hassle, especially when moving the arms around. This was solved by using some rubber bands and cable ties. After that I have not had any problems with the cables popping out of its attachment. In the future, I would love to see a more robust connection out of the box.

Fiber optic cables connected to the video lights and remote
Bonus tips:

Unfortunately there is no way to turn the lights off other than turning the dial down to zero. I don’t want to turn the dial all the time, especially when using it on full (as it takes a few seconds), and want to conserve battery in between shots. By pressing the button once, it switches to red lights. However during daytime I never use the red lights, so by turning the red light output down to zero the lights are actually off (In standby mode). By pressing the button again you are able to switch between white light and red (off) on both lights with just the press of a button. You can see this demonstrated in the movie. It also shows the instant difference between lights on/off. In future products I would love to have a dedicated off button. For example by holding the button down 2-3 seconds.

 

Sea Rose illuminated with C-92
Size:

The size and weights of the lights are phenomenal. It only weighs 460g on land, and is 54mm in diameter and 117mm long. This makes it easy to handle and travel with. It is also possible to easily screw off the top head, separating the battery from the head, which is an important increase to safety when traveling by plane.

 

General feel of the lights:

Diving with the lights is really great. As mentioned they output nice even lighting, with beautiful color rendering and a great way to control the power. They are easy to attach to, arms either with ball heads or special clamps. The seam really robust and easy to maintain.

They do come with an option to use red light. I have not been using this feature at all, but it’s nice to have during nighttime when you want to do macro. I would love to have a spot function instead of red lights, but this is because of my style of shooting.

 

Summary:

The Venom C-92 lights will truly be a great addition to your underwater media device. As stated they output colorful even light with great beam angle. The remote(s) are fantastic to use, and I would never dive without them. However, the lights are quite expensive, and I will categorize them as pro equipment. If you can do without the remote control and CRI-value, I would recommend the I-torch38 which comes 40% cheaper, as they share many of the same features as the C-92.

 

Pros:

  • Very nice beam angle with even light
  • Possibility to connect remote control
  • Color rendering
  • Size

 

Cons: (nitpicking, but always room for improvements)

  • Buttons on the lights can be a bit hard to press with thick gloves
  • Weak fiber optic cable connection on remote and lights

 

I have created two (three) movies when using the C-92 lights which I recommend watching. The first movie is called “battle for Narvik”, and shows underwater footage of several wrecks from world war two. Unfortunately the visibility was really bad, so I had to angle the lights towards the wall, and not as straight as I would want to. I still think they did a phenomenal job that few other lights could have done. I also had to use a fisheye lens to give the impression of better visibility. I would have loved to use my 16mm rectangular lens which I am sure would have made it even more spectacular, and made the lights reach further. I have posted the edited version, and a version the shows how the editing affect the footage. The diver in most of the scenes are using two Venom C-92 lights with a remote controller.

The lights can be bought at Fotografit.eu Expect great service and a fast reply.

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Climb in stunning scenery, without knowing anything about climbing

The Iron Road – or as they say in Italian: Via Ferrata 

Have you ever wanted to try outdoors climbing, but don’t have the skills, equipment, or experience? Then you should try the Via Ferrata trail in Loen! Via Ferrata means ‘iron road’, and is a mountain trail that has been made easier to ascend by adding iron steps, grips, and cables that help you up the mountain. For the most part, these kinds of trails allow you to walk just using the iron cables to support or pull yourself up, but you have to wear safety gear (a via ferrata sling, helmet, harness, and gloves) and some parts of these trails might include some actual climbing. Walking a via ferrata trail is easier than traditional climbing, but don’t fool yourself, it is still hard work and not for everyone.

Via Ferrata trails are highly popular and you can find them all around the world. In this post we will give you a review of the beautiful via ferrata in Loen, Norway.

 

 

    Destination: Western Norway, Sunnmøre, Loen
    Distance: 5km
 Vertical meters: 0-1011 meters
    Time:6-8 hours
    Difficulty: Demanding
   Season: Spring, Summer, Autumn
   Type: Climbing and hiking
   Special Equipment:  Via ferrata sling, helmet, harness, good shoes, gloves

Where to stay

If you want to stay nearby Loen you can find lots of hotels in Stryn, or the more luxurious hotel Alexandria in Loen. You can also check out booking.com for smaller cottages and houses to rent.

Loen from above

Walking the Via Ferrata trail in Loen is a fantastic way to see the beautiful scenery of Loen from above. The trail meanders up the mountain, giving you wonderful surprises all along the trail. The route has different levels of difficulty, and you can choose the one you feel most comfortable with. You will have to wear safety gear, which you can rent from Loen active.

First part of the actual via ferrata trail

You can walk the route with or without a guide. If you don’t have much experience with climbing or don’t know the area, it is highly recommended that you hire a guide. At least bring someone who knows the trail.

Hang in there

The trail starts down by the fjord in Loen, near the hotel Alexandria. At the very beginning of the trail you have to walk some pretty steep hills, but don’t let them scare you off; the fun part is about to begin. After you have walked for about 440 meters up hill and into the forest, you will reach a plateau(picture above), with a placard that describes the via ferrata. Now is the time to start suiting up. Get your gear out, and get ready to have some fun.

The first hundred meters are pretty easy, with little actual climbing. You should still click yourself in by the cable, just to get the hang of it. When you are climbing a via ferrata, it is important that you use both of the carbines, so that one of the carbines on your via ferrata sling is always connected to the rope/ steel wire. This way, you will never be unsecured, even though you are passing an obstacle.

After climbing and walking some hundred meters, the via ferrata splits. You can choose to go the ‘extremely difficult’ route, or the ‘difficult’ route. The ‘extremely difficult’ route is not for those with shaky legs. Although if you don’t have a fear of heights and are in generally good shape, you should manage it. The ‘difficult’ route is easier, but don’t be fooled, it is challenging as well. Be prepared to do some actual climbing on both routes.

The “extremely difficult” path

Take a deep breath and enjoy the view

Puh… Once you have completed this part of the trail, you will be greatly rewarded! You will soon reach ‘Gudbrandsjuvet’. This is a canyon that you can cross by using a narrow hanging bridge, “Gjølmunnebrua” which is the longest suspension bridge in Europe, inside a via ferrata.

Remember to stop at the middle of the bridge, take a deep breath, and enjoy the spectacular view of Loen.

At the other side of the bridge is a viewing platform, where you can watch the rest of your party shakily cross the bridge.

 

Hanging bridge over Gudbrandsjuvet

Line dance

You can choose to end the trip here, or you can continue up, and challenge yourself even further. If you continue, you will find a line bridge. This is a bridge consisting of only one wire for your feet (and support for your hands of course). Even line dancers would get shaky here, but once you have crossed it, what a feeling. There is also a traditional trail to the right of the line bridge, if you’re having  second thoughts.

Henrikke on the line bridge
Ingrid balancing on the line bridge

Enjoy a three course meal at the top

You’ll soon reach the end of the Via Ferrata cable, where you can take off your gear. As of May 2017 Loen Skylift opened up. At Hoven, 5 minute walk from the top of the Via Ferrata trail, you will now find a restaurant with the nicest view we have ever experienced from a restaurant.

View from the new restaurant at the top of the Via Ferrata trail
Enjoy a three course meal with an insane view.

Everything that goes up must come down

To get back, you can choose the new Loen Skylift which is the worlds steepest cableway. Although a little expensive, flying over the edge of the mountain is so exciting and fun, and well worth a try. The ride with the gondola will set you back 355 NOK, and a two way ticket is 455 NOK.

 

Flying over the edge will definitely create butterflies in your stomach.
It’s a lot of fun to watch the view from the gondola

If you don’t want to take the cableway you can walk down as well. The trail back down can be a little challenging to find if you are walking without people who know the area (not recommended). Follow the construction trail, and you should see a sign after a while. If you want a more foresty route, you can also walk down the old trail, marked with red Ts. It might be a little harder to find your way back by using this trail.

Back at the farms close to the parking

Bonus tip

If you have the opportunity to take two cars, you could park one at the start of the trail, and the other one at Opheim, as the trail does not end up at the exact same place as where it starts. If you don’t, no worries, it just makes the hike a little longer.

Map of the Via Ferrata trail. By Loen Active

 

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Want to live off the grid? Try kayaking in the beautiful Helgelandskysten

Ever wanted to try island hopping? Well, consider islet hopping by kayak in Helgelandskysten instead!  Hear the wing strokes of birds passing close above your head, catch as much fish as you can eat, and experience the tranquility of the beautiful Norwegian archipelago.

In the summer of 2016, we had an amazing camping and kayaking trip to Helgelandskysten together with some of our friends. We were extremely lucky with the weather and experienced sun, cloudless skies, and calm sea almost every day. We even got a tan! In this post, we will take you through our five day trip to Helgeland, and hopefully inspire you to go yourself!

 

 

Starting out at Søvik

The starting point of our journey, was at the ferry dock at Søvik. From Søvik, we headed south- west, paddling quite an open stretch for the first few hours. After some time, we found the most amazing little lagoon, with crystal clear waters, and chalk white sand. Step aside, Caribbean!

The first night we spent at a small beach on the south end of Blomsøya. Those of us who had brought eye masks and earplugs were quite happy with ourselves, as the midnight sun and some happy seagulls made it quite difficult to sleep without.

Pål Andersen padling through the lagoon
Drone view of Vega Islands

Inexhaustible ocean and a private island

In beautiful weather, we continued north west. We took our time, using our fishing rods along the way. The amount of fish at Helgelandskysten is crazy, so we could easily have lived off of the fish we got during this trip. The species of fish we got the most was cod, which tastes delicious fried in butter. We found an amazing camp site at Slottøya, and set up our tents on a small hill overseeing a shallow beach. We spent the evening freediving, preparing dinner, and having a really good time. A perfect place to enjoy the midnight sun.

Morten Tokildsen pulling a 6kg cod
Pål enjoying the midnight sun

Buøya and free diving

On our third day, we headed north, and paddled for several hours only stopping to eat. After a while, we found a great campsite on the north side of Buøya. There were a few sheep welcoming us as we got there, but they quickly decided we were boring, and moved to the other side of the island. At this location, we did some great freediving in a nearby current.

Sheeps walking around on the campsite
Hotel room with free ocean view

Long white beach at Alterøyan

As this was our last night out in the archipelago, we wanted to find an especially nice camp site for the night, and boy did we! After some hours of paddling, we ended up at the north side of Alterøyan. We found an amazing long white beach with nice, soft grass to camp on. On this island as well, we were welcomed by some curious sheep. We prepared a fine meal of cod, and enjoyed the midnight sun along with some beers, from the top of the islet. This was an excellent ending to an amazing trip.

One of many beautiful camp sites. Be mindful of the tides. At midnight only a few meters out 100 was left of the beach.
Moten spending the night on top of the island on his sleeping pad

Heading back

The last day of our trip, we took our time, stopping whenever we felt like it, and made sure to get a lot of good pictures. This day was also a beautiful sunny one, so it did not feel especially good when we once again reached the ferry terminal, and had to get our kayaks out of the water. We wanted to turn back and do it all again.

Paddling back to the ferry quay

Lastly:  

In Norway we have something we call “public right of access”. This entitles you to hike and camp in the countryside. You can walk and ski wherever we wish and camp wherever we want on uncultivated land, and no closer than 150 metres to a house or cottage. If you want to spend more than 48 hours in the same place, you have to ask the landowner’s permission. We are so lucky and privileged to have this, and should therefore take good care of the nature we are allowed to use. Therefore; Never ever leave behind trash or any other sort of evidence of your visit, and be respectful of the land owners. We are lucky to be able to access this beautiful scenery and wildlife, and we would like to keep it that way in the future.

Morten watching the sheep pasture

Where and how to take the photos:

While paddling close to Herøy and the Seven Sisters you have a wonderful background to get some amazing shots. I would try as often as I could to get the Seven Sisters, and Dønnamannen in the background to bring some scale to my pictures.

I was mostly using my Sony a6300 and the 16-70mm f4 lens. Then you will have the options to use both wide angle for those landscape shots, and the ability to zoom your subject if you are further away.

I highly recommend using Peak Design Capture Pro plate, the rain cover and their camera strap. This way your camera is secured from water splash and accidental drops.

I would also avoid using polorizer filters when the water is deep, as it can get very dark and artificial. I only use them when I want to cut the water and see the bottom underneath.

Load More Pictures

 

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