The Norwegian fjord landscape is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Lærdal features dramatic mountain tops and lush, green surroundings that reveal a lively agriculture industry. The salmon river Lærdalselva that flows down the mountain to the fjord gives the valley a distinct character.
The 2014 Fire
Late in the evening of 18 January 2014, a fire was reported to have started in a house in Kyrkjegata in the center of Lærdal. Due to strong winds the fire spread quickly, and five hours later 35 houses were burned to the ground, six or seven of them of historical value. One of these were Synneva Eris' House, a protected building from 1840. Another protected building, the old school house, was also destroyed in the fire. There were no loss of life, although more than 400 people were brought to hospital for examination and approximately 100 people wre treated for various degrees of smoke inhalation.
Please note that though serious, the fire has not affected any of the attractions in the area, and all tourist offices, businesses and operators are conducting business as usual.
Read more about the fire in Lærdalsøyri.
What to do in Lærdal
Hiking in Gamle Lærdalsøyri
Go on a hiking tour around the 161 wooden houses in the old Gamle Lærdalsøyri Village and learn about traditional village life at the same time. The tour starts at the old telegraph station Telegrafen and includes entrance to Norsk Telemuseum og Postmuseet (a museum about the history of telecommunications and the postal system). You may even find the perfect postcard from the old days! On the second floor there is a hiking exhibition about the municipality's 250th anniversary and an exhibition about transport and communications.
In Lærdal you will also find Borgund Stave Church, the best preserved stave church in Norway, dating back to 1180. Next to the church there is a centre with exhibitions, a souvenir shop and a café that serves food prepared with locally produced ingredients.
Bread baking in a stone oven
At Midt Ljøsne Gård, situated at one of the high cliffs in Lærdal, you can bake your own bread in a traditional stone oven. In spring they offer guided tours where you learn about the cultivation of sweet cherries and raspberries, and you get to experience the wonderful blossoming of the fruit trees too.
At Lund Hjort everyone, young as well as old, is welcome to try deer herding. Available every evening during the summer season. Phone +47 95 94 37 89 for more information and to book tickets.
Hiking along UNESCO listed fjords or on hisoric paths
In Lærdal there are plenty of round trips on offer, for example along Vindhellaveien by Borgund Stave Church or on the longer Kongeveien (The Royal Road) across the Filefjell Mountain. From the centre of Lærdal, you can reach an altitude of 2,952 to 3,280 feet with magnificent views in just a couple of hours on foot.
At Borlo Bygdetun you can familiarise yourself with the intriguing history of Borgun, presented through a collection of buildings, tools and photographs. In the basement, hosts Kari and Dagfinn have opened a cinema and in the main building you can buy coffee and traditional bakery goods. Borlo Bygdetun is located around 25 miles from the center, just by the crossing of E16 and rv 52. Phone +47 41 69 04 35 for more information and to book tickets.
Find out about fish
Get close to wild salmon at Norsk Villakssenter. Watch a prize winning film about the life of the pink fish in the Lærdalselva River and their migration to the Atlantic Ocean. There is a café and a shop on the premises.
Inspiration at the Sogn Kunstsenter (art center)
The Sogn Kunstsenter, next to Norsk Villakssenter, is an art center that focuses on the local artist Hans Gjesme and his work. There is also a café and a shop.
Lærdal has been welcoming anglers and other travellers since the middle of the 19th century. At the family owned Lindstrøm Hotel, you can choose to stay in a traditional room in the 150 year old Swiss-style house or in a modern room in the main building. The centrally located hotel is a perfect starting point for trips to the idyllic wooden houses in Gamle Lærdalsøyri. A souvenir shop and a restaurant are open in the summer.
The guesthouse Sanden Pensjonat, located in the heart of Gamle Lærdaløyri, has nine rooms to rent and is open all year round. The old building has housed a guesthouse and a shop since 1890, and the current owners have been here since 1984.
Kongeveien across the Filefjell Mountain
If you plan to hike in the mountains around Lærdal, a convenient place to stay is the Maristuen Fjellferie – one the oldest lodgings in Norway. You can learn about the history of the area at the Margretestuen Museum, dating back to 1790. A new, family friendly hiking area is due to be completed in 2014.
Contact Lærdal’s tourist information office by phone: + 47 57 66 67 71 or by email: email@example.com
The official website for sognefjord.no