Aurlandsfjellet National Tourist Route is a 47-kilometre-long stretch of road between Aurlandsvangen by the Aurlandsfjord and Lærdalsøyri by the Sognefjord in the county of Sogn og Fjordane in Fjord Norway.
The road between Aurland and Lærdal has its highest point at 1,306 metres above sea level. There is snow along the road most of the summer. Because of this, the road is also called the "Snow road".
Travelling from Lærdal, the view that opens up on the descent towards the dramatic fjord landscape in and around Aurland is astounding, with the award-winning Stegastein viewpoint as the pièce de résistance. Made of laminated timber and steel, this platform sticking 30 metres out into thin air, 650 metres above the fjord gives the landscape a whole new dimension.
The old buildings at Lærdalsøyri, the Flåm Railway, the Aurlandsdalen Valley and the Nærøyfjord, which like Geirangerfjord is on UNESCO's World Heritage List, are all attractions in the area that are well worth a visit. So is the Norwegian Wild Salmon Centre in Lærdal.
A thousand metres down inside the mountain, motorists are passing through the blue and green light of the three mountain halls of the Lærdal Tunnel, at 24.5 kilometres the world's longest road tunnel. Both roads connect the tourist villages of Aurland and Lærdal in the heart of Sogn. Together, they make up a round trip of contrasts and an experience of the mountain from both inside and outside.
Viewpoints along the road
There are three panoramic view- and rest areas along the Aurlandsfjellet National Tourist Route:
The new installation at Stegastein expresses the architects' desire to lift the visitors out into open space, and thereby enhance the experience of the panoramic view over the Aurlandsfjord. Viewing platform, parking lot and services.
Flotane has for many years been a popular spot to make a stop, and has now been upgraded with service facilities, picnic tables and a spacious parking area. This is also a starting point for hikes along the old construction road leading into the mountains.
At Vedahaugane, travellers can enjoy the view of the nearby mountains and valley as well as the peaks of the Jotunheimen Mountains. A parking area is located near the road, and a ramp leads up to a viewing platform.
What to see
At Aurlandsfjellet Mountain Road, 650 metres above sea level, you will find the breathtaking Stegastein Viewpoint. Situated six kilometres from the centre of Aurland, it offers a fantastic view of the Aurlandsfjord and the surrounding mountains. Can be combined with a walk to Prest Mountain.
At the Norwegian Wild Salmon Centre in Lærdal, visitors are given an insight into the life history of the Atlantic salmon and the traditions of salmon fishing. You can also observe wild salmon and sea trout in the currents.
Built around 1180 and dedicated to the Apostle Andrew, Borgund Stave Church, also in Lærdal, is exceptionally well-preserved and is one of the most distinctive stave churches in Norway.
With 27 different buildings dating back to the 1600s and a fabulous view towards Flåm and the Aurlandsfjord, Otternes Bygdetun is a cultural treasure and a "living museum".
The village of Undredal by the Aurlandsfjord is renowned for its long tradition in the making of goat's cheese, both white and brown. Undredal has 80 inhabitants, 500 goats and the smallest stave church in Scandinavia.
Walk the streets and alleys between reconstructed workshops, smell the fireplaces and tar covered walls in the Viking Village in Gudvangen.
Inside the white mountain of Anorthosit, the Magic White Caves of Gudvangen welcomes you with colours and darkness, silence and music, magic ponds, Grieg, Trolls and Vikings.
Read more about the Aurland and Lærdal area on Aurland og Lærdal Reiselivslag website.
Read more about the Sognefjord area
What to do
Join a fjord cruise on the Aurlandsfjord and/or Nærøyfjord, the wildest and most spectacular branches of the Sognefjord. You will see snow-covered mountain peaks, waterfalls and idyllic farms clinging to the mountainsides. Join one of several organised cruises/round trips with Fjord Tours, Fjord1, Sognefjorden Cruise, Discover Sognefjord or Norway Fjord Cruise.
Enjoy a ride on the Flåm Railway (Flåmsbana), one of the world's steepest railway lines, which takes you past cascading waterfalls and in and out of snow-capped mountains.
Go on a fjord safari. An exciting experience in secure and comfortable RIB boats with Flåm Guide Service will give you the opportunity to experience the beautiful Norwegian fjord landscape and its rich wildlife at close range.
Cycle Rallarvegen, one of the most popular and most scenic bicycle rides in Norway. Following the Rallarvegen (the Navvies' Road), you cycle from the vast mountain plateau of Hardangervidda right down to Flåm and the Aurlandsfjord, or Voss.
Kayak on the Nærøyfjord and Aurlandsfjord. The feeling of the silent glide on the fjord in untouched nature is fantastic. In a kayak, you will also easily find hidden places that are great starting points for walks along the fjords, in the surrounding valleys or in the mountains. There are several possibilities for guided kayaking trips.
Drive up Stalheimskleiva Road. Stalheimskleiva is the name of the 1.5-kilometre-long stretch of road that winds its way up the mountainside from the end of the Nærøydalen Valley to the top at Stalheim. On its way to the top, the road winds its way up 13 sharp hairpin bends.
At Aurlandsfjellet there are several lakes where you can fish for trout. Fishing licenses can be purchased at the Tourist Information in Aurland.
Hike to Prest Mountain (a three-hour hike from Stegastein), follow the Royal Post Road along the shores of the UNESCO protected Nærøyfjord, or explore the Aurlandsdalen Valley, which is known as Norway's Grand Canyon. You will also find many historical trails in Lærdal.
Read more about hiking in the Sognefjord area
Read more about what to do in the Sognefjord area
Where to stay
Mountains and the fjord surround Fretheim Hotel, a hotel in Flåm with a history that dates back to 1870.
Flåmsbrygga Hotel in Flåm is located on the pier with a splendid view of the Sognefjord. Just a few steps from the express boat and the Flåm Railway, but still quiet and peaceful.
Stalheim Hotel has a spectacular location at the top of the Stalheimskleiva, overlooking the Nærøydalen Valley.
Lindstrøm Hotel in Lærdal was originally a posting inn. Now the hotel consists of five buildings of various styles. A garden building from 1840, built in a Swiss style, is the oldest one.
Read more about where to stay in the Sognefjord area
Where to eat
Visit the exciting Ægir Microbrewery in Flåm, serving a variety of beers made on site along with meals made from local organic producers.
Have a taste of the conscious kitchen at Fretheim Hotel in Flåm, with food from the surrounding nature and prepared in the good old way. Home-made organic specialities.
Local food in Lærdal can be found at Kort og Godt (tel 94 25 22 22).
Eldhuset Cookhouse in Undredal is the centre for the Undredal cheese. Here you can enjoy the fjord panorama with lunch, dinner, small meals and other delicacies.
Read more about food in the Sognefjord area
- Road: Fv. 243 between Aurlandsvangen and Lærdalsøyri in Sogn og Fjordane.
- Length: 47 kilometres.
- Highest point: 1,306 metres above sea level.
- The Aurlandsfjellet mountain road is closed in winter (but the stretch from Aurland to the Stegastein viewpoint is open all year).
- Buses: Recommended length for buses and coaches is 12.4 metres.
Getting to Aurlandsfjellet National Tourist Route
Aurlandsfjellet National Tourist Route lies approximately 350 kilometres northwest of Oslo.
- By car: The drive from Oslo to Lærdal and Aurland takes approximately five and a half hours. Follow the E18 from Oslo to Sandvika. From Sandvika you follow the E16 all the way to Lærdal and Aurland, passing through Hønefoss, Fagernes, Vang and Borgund.
- By bus: Daily departures to Lærdal and Aurland (approximately seven hours). For timetables and booking, contact Nor-Way Bussekspress.
- By train: Take the Bergen Railway from Oslo to Myrdal. Then change to the Flåm Railway that will take you down to Flåm. Total travel time six hours. For timetables and booking, contact the Norwegian State Railways (NSB)and the Flåm Railway. From Flåm you can take the bus to Aurland and Lærdal.
- By plane: Direct flights between Oslo and Sogndal with Widerøe. Flight time approximately 50 minutes. From Sogndal you can take Nor-Way Bussekspress or Fjord1 Bus to Lærdal and Aurland (approximately one to one and a half hours).
Aurlandsfjellet National Tourist Route lies approximately 150 kilometres north of Bergen.
- By car: The drive from Bergen to Aurland takes approximately three hours. Follow E16 and continue to Voss and Stalheim. From Stalheim you can drive the steep and spectacular hairpin bends of Stalheimskleiva. The road down from Stalheim Hotel has 13 steep bends before you get down to Gudvangen. Then continue to Flåm, Aurland and Lærdal.
- By bus: Daily departures to Aurland and Lærdal (approximately three to three and a half hours) with Nor-Way Bussekspress.
- By train: Take the Bergen Railway from Bergen to Myrdal. Then change to the Flåm Railway that will take you down to Flåm. Total travel time a little under three hours. From Flåm you can take the bus to Aurland and Lærdal.
- By plane: Direct flights between Bergen and Sogndal with Widerøe. Flight time approximately 40 minutes. From Sogndal you can take Nor-Way Bussekspress or Fjord1 Bus to Lærdal and Aurland (approximately one to one and a half hours).
- By boat: From 1 May to 30 September express boats run daily from Bergen all the way to Flåm. These boats connect with ferries to Gudvangen, Kaupanger and Lærdal and transfer passengers out in the middle of the fjord. For timetables and booking, contact Fjord1.
Aurlandsfjellet National Tourist Route lies approximately 530 kilometres southwest of Trondheim.
- By car: The drive from Trondheim takes approximately seven hours. From Trondheim follow the E6 southwards past Otta. Then follow rv. 257 to Randsverk, and continue on rv. 51 to Fagernes, via Beitostølen. From Fagernes follow the E16 to Lærdal and Aurland, passing through Vang and Borgund.
Read more about getting to the Sognefjord area.
National Tourist Routes in Norway
Aurland and Lærdal Tourist Information
The Sognefjord Area