Gaularfjellet National Tourist Route is a 80-mile-long stretch of road between Balestrand in Sogn and Moskog and Sande in Sunnfjord in the county of Sogn og Fjordane in Fjord Norway.
The protected Gaular Watercourse, with its many lively rapids, waterfalls and shining lakes, is like a row of pearls along Gaularfjellet National Tourist Route. The drive is exciting and varied, along narrow fjords, on twisting roads up steep mountainsides, over high mountains and back down sheltered valleys.
The route offers a peaceful alternative to the main roads between Sogn and Sunnfjord. Here children and adults can experience trout fishing at its best and wander on good paths beside waterfalls and rapids. It is also possible to rent a boat or take a walk in the mountains. In Balestrand there are museums and galleries and a wide selection of services.
Viewpoints along the road
There is one panoramic view- and rest area made in collaboration with Gaularfjellet National Tourist Route:
Likholefossen features a parking lot, small rest area and a footbridge across one of the many rapids in the Gaula River. From the bridge you can walk along the "river path" skirting the protected river. Benches can be found along the path to the bridge.
Work is progressing on a second viewpoint along the route, which will be completed and open to the public in 2015. Utsikten at Gaularfjellet mountain is the new main rest- and view area along the route, and is found at the top of the ascent from Vetlefjorden towards Moskog. From there, you can enjoy the wide views of a green and lush landscape in which the serpentine Rv13 road winds its way up the hill.
National Tourist Route maps
In co-operation with Nordeca, the Norwegian Public Roads Administration (NPRA) have launched a series of new road maps, each covering one of the 18 different National Tourist Routes in Norway.
The maps describe viewpoints along the way, as well as the National Tourist Routes' nature attractions, dining, accommodations and other attractions along the routes. To give the reader a good and visual impression of the routes, several pictures and descriptions have been placed in the maps themselves.
The maps are available in English, German and Norwegian from kartbutikken.no.
What to see
Explore the distinctive bridge over Likholefossen. The steel bridge crosses one of the many rapids in the Gaula River. From the bridge you can walk along the Fossestien River Path.
St. Olaf's Church in Balestrand, built in 1897. Also called The English Church, it is built in the likeness of a stave church.
The elongated wooden church by the Hestadfjord in Gaular is 42 feet long and 19 feet wide. Hestad Church was built in 1805 from materials salvaged from an older stave church.
The Viksdal style of rose painting is quite distinctive and dates back to the 18th century. At Eldalstunet you can attend a rose painting workshop where you can buy handicrafts made exclusively from local materials.
At the Norwegian Glacier Museum in Fjærland you will get answers to questions like "Why is glacier ice blue?", "Why is the fjord green?" and "How were the fjords formed?". Do not miss the panoramic film from the Jostedalsbreen Glacier.
The aim of the Lunde Arboretum is to encourage an interest in botany, dendrology and horticulture. Parking area with toilet facilities, paths adapted for wheelchair use. Bathing and barbecue area by the fjord.
Read more about the Sognefjord area and the Sunnfjord area.
What to do
Fossestien (the Waterfall Path) is a nature trail from Gaularfjellet to Viksdalen. The path follows the main branch of the Gaular Watercourse. You can start from any point you like. Four places are organised with signposts, maps and parking areas: Torsnesstølen, Longestølen, the Likholefossen Waterfall and Eldal.
Trout fishing in rivers, streams and mountain lakes. Gaular and Sunnfjord are an eldorado for sports and hobby fishermen. Fishing licences can be purchased at Hov Hyttegrend.
Hiking with fjord view: A hiking trail goes up the mountainside from Balestrand to the top of Raudmelen, 3,188 feet above sea level. From the top you have great views over the Sognefjord. This is a demanding hike. You will find easier hikes in the Balestrand area.
From 1 May to 30 September the ferry trip between Balestrand and Fjærland offers the chance to experience the scenic Fjærlandsfjord. The ferry goes daily (but please note that in May it only takes passengers).
You can also take a fjord cruise on the Fjærlandsfjord from Balestrand and Hella to Fjærland. From Fjærland there is a bus taking you to the Norwegian Glacier Centre and further closer to the glaciers. Visit the Norwegian Book Town and have a meal at the historical hotel. Return to Balestrand in the afternoon by boat.
Join Fjærland Kayak & Glacier on a guided kayak tour on the Fjærlandsfjord or a guided glacier walk on the glaciers in Fjærland.
Read more about What to do in the Sognefjord area and What to do in the Sunnfjord Area.
Where to stay
The historic Kviknes Hotel in Balestrand has 200 rooms, most of them with balcony and fjord views. The hotel is graced with an extensive collection of artworks and antiques, which give it its special style.
Åmot Operagard in Bygstad, Sunnfjord, was the recipient of Reiselivs Perle (Tourism Gem) 2012. It offers an unusual blend of gourmet food and world-class opera in a fine rural setting, as well as intimate, elegant accommodation.
Hov Hyttegrend with its 22 cabins can offer trout fishing in rivers and lakes, rowing boats and canoes. Sale of fishing licence. Daily mini-bus service for hikers on Fossestien (the Waterfall Path).
At Sande Hotel the visitors will find peace and quiet, fresh air and outdoor recreation in a modern agricultural village.
The charming Nedrestrand Gard is a farmhouse that dates back to 1864. The building contains a traditional Norwegian smokehouse. Food is served here, and guests are given an insight into the farm's history.
Read more about Where to stay in the Sognefjord area and Where to stay in the Sunnfjord area.
Where to eat
The cuisine and the chefs are international. Kviknes in Balestrand use local ingredients as far as possible, and the fjord is an outstanding larder.
The farm kitchen is the heart of the building at Åmot Operafarm in Bygstad. And the philosophy is to serve supreme food prepared from local Sunnfjord produce in a quite special setting.
At the Cider House in Balestrand you will find a combination of cider production, cultural activities, serving of food and cider tasting for groups.
Read more about Food in the Sognefjord area and Food in the Sunnfjord Area.
- Road: Fv55 and Fv13 from Balestrand via Eldalsosen to Moskog and Fv610 from Eldalsosen to Sande in Sogn og Fjordane.
- Length: 80 miles. The stretch of road between Mel and Mjell is closed in winter. It usually closes in December and reopens in May.
Getting to Gaularfjellet National Tourist Route
The distance from Førde to Moskog at the north end of Gaularfjellet National Tourist Route is 6 miles. The distance from Førde to Sande, the northwest end of the Gaularfjellet National Tourist Route, is 13 miles.
The distance from Sogndal to Balestrand, the south end of the Gaularfjellet National Tourist Route, is 29 miles and includes one ferry crossing.
- Distance between Oslo and Sogndal: 209 miles including one ferry crossing.
- Distance between Bergen and Sogndal: 147 miles including one ferry crossing.
- Distance between Bergen and Førde: 110 miles including one ferry crossing.
- Distance between Trondheim and Førde: 325 miles.
Read more about Getting to the Sognefjord area and the Getting to the Sunnfjord area.
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