Henrik Ibsen travelled through Norway in 1862, searching for inspiration to write through collecting myths and folktales from the Norwegian people. This journey was the inspirational source for several of his most known pieces. Have a closer look at Ibsen’s route on Google Maps.
Follow Ibsen’s footsteps on this suggested route with your own vehicle or by public transport. Even though you can travel this journey by public transport it is recommended that you drive your own vehicle, as it makes you more flexible and time efficient. The journey in Ibsen’s footsteps is described with suggestions to public transport, and who you should contact for information on bus and train schedules.
Take note that this journey can only be done during the summer season, due to mountain passages that close during winter season.
Through the journey described, you will get suggestions to activities and recommended accommodation. At the same time you will get suggestions to see and do what Ibsen himself did, so that your journey will be as authentic as possible.
The journey also includes the most authentic version of the well-renowned Norwegian theatre play "Peer Gynt" at Gålå. You can experience the theatre when you accommodate in Lillehammer or the Gudbrandsdalen valley, or on your way back from the round-trip in Norway.
Ibsen travelled the inspirational route in Norway from 24 June to around 12 August, but he had to travel by train, boat, cariole and by foot. With your own vehicle or by public transport you should plan for a journey over 10 days, but you could choose to spend more or less time at the different destinations.
Ibsen travelled through Eidsvoll on his way to Lillehammer. Eidsvoll is a very important place in Norwegian history with a museum worth to visit.
On 10 April 1814, 112 representatives from all over Norway were gathered at Eidsvoll Verk to frame the Constitution of Norway. It was finished on 17 May the same year. The buildings have been well preserved, and it is now a museum where you can experience the Eidsvoll House - the house where one of the most important parts of the Norwegian history took place.
Travel with the Norwegian State Railway (NSB) from Oslo central station or Oslo International Airport to ”Eidsvoll verk”. The museum is approximately 1,5 kilometres from the railway station.
Ibsen travelled to Lillehammer by steamboat. This is still possible today, with the world’s oldest preserved paddle steamer "Skibladner". On the boat you will experience the same view as Ibsen did, and you can choose to enjoy traditional Norwegian food as you travel up beautiful Mjøsa river.
To get to Lillehammer you need to take 2 different boats, and the entire journey is time consuming. If you wish to shorten the time on this part, enjoy the paddle steamer from Eidsvoll to Hamar, and then take the train from Hamar to Lillehammer. If you drive your own vehicle, you could enjoy the paddle steamer from Eidsvoll to Hamar, and return to Eidsvoll by train to pick up your car.
Ibsen spent one night in Lillehammer before he continued his travel. Today, Lillehammer has much to offer travelling tourists.
Visit the historical museum Maihaugen. With 200 buildings from as far back as year 1600, you can experience how Norwegians have lived through centuries. The museum offers activities for the entire family during the summer season.
During the Peer Gynt Festival period you can join a guided tour on Maihaugen and experience the Norwegian culture that inspired the three masters of art; Ibsen, Grieg and Munch, and their connection to the Gudbrandsdalen valley and Peer Gynt.
If you want to travel the way Ibsen did, walking is what you want to do. The walking street in Lillehammer is world renowned, with many cafes, stores and a relaxed vibe. To experience some of the most beautiful parts of Lillehammer, go hiking up the Mesna river, or walk or take the elevator up the Lillehammer ski-jump for the best view of the city.
Ibsen went fishing, which you also can do. Contact the tourist information office at Lillehammer Station to get information on where you can go fishing in Lillehammer.
For local and Norwegian food, visit Lillehammer Brewery. This brewery has an exiting menu with moose meat and locally caught fish, and a wide range of home-brewed beers.
Lillehammer could also be your base for the Peer Gynt Festival experience. Most hotels in Lillehammer offer package tickets with accommodation, transport and tickets to the Peer Gynt Festival. There is also a festival bus departing from hotels in Lillehammer, Øyer and Skei.
Recommended accommodation: Mølla Hotell, which was originally an important mill and granary in Lillehammer from 1863, but was rebuilt into a hotel for the Winter Olympics in 1994.
Henrik Ibsen only travelled through Øyer, but today there is much to see and do in Hafjell - a large resort area, and it is well worth to spend the night here, or have a days trip from Lillehammer. Øyer and Hafjell is located a 20 minute drive north of Lillehammer. Contact the tourist office at Lillehammer station to get information about the bus schedule.
Ibsen arrived at Moshus, which was an old station. Today this area is a farm, and it is not possible to stay overnight here.
Recommended accommodation: Nermo Hotell, a historical hotel in the heart of Hafjell.
When Ibsen travelled through Ringebu, he stayed at a house not far from the Ringebu Stave church. The church is dated back to year 1220. Not far from the church you can also visit the old Rectory, where there is a stave church collection and an exhibition of Weidemann paintings. Learn more about Ringebu Stave church and rectory.
If you have time to enjoy the small town Ringebu, we recommend a visit to the local butcher shop “Anni’s pølsemakeri”, that sells a broad selection of local foods, like sausages, cheese and jams. Get contact information to "Annis Pølsemakeri" (information only in Norwegian). Ringebu is also a nice small town to have a walk in and enjoy local shops.
You can travel to Ringebu by bus or by train. The bus can stop by the E6, and there is a 15 minutes walk to the stave church. Contact the tourist office in Lillehammer for bus schedule. The church is a 50 minutes walk from the train station. The Pilgrim way through Gudbrandsdalen also passes the Ringebu Stave church.
Recommended accommodation: Sygard Grytting, a historical hotel that has been in the same family since year 1300. They offer great accommodation, and combination tickets with Peer Gynt by lake Gålåvatnet, as well as with dinner and night snack.
Take the bus or train to Vinstra. Contact the tourist office in Lillehammer or Ringebu for bus schedule, and find train tickets and information from NSB.
Vinstra is the main city for the historical person Per Gynt. Here you can visit the Sødorp Chapel, where there is a memorial stone for the man assumed to be the historical Per Gynt.
Stop by the Peer Gynt Festival office to purchase tickets, souvenirs, or to get more information about the Peer Gynt Festival. During the festival period there is a lot to see and do. Read more about the Peer Gynt Festival events, and find out what to see and do in the area. Learn more about hotels and packages near by.
Travel by train or bus from Vinstra to Otta.
Ibsen travelled by cariole between Otta and Vågå, but as one would imagine, this is not possible today. However, it is possible to continue your travel by bus. Contact the tourist office in Vinstra for information and bus tickets.
In Vågå, you can visit the Vågå Stave church, dated to year 1150. Edvard Munch’s great grandparents lived at the Rectory in Vågå. When you are in Vågå, make sure to stop by and look at the rectory where Munch himself has visited. Contact the tourist information in Vågå for more information about the Vågå Rectory.
In the end of July each year there is a farm festival between Vågå and Lom. If you are in the area at this time it’s well worth to check out some of the program, with concerts, exhibitions and local food.
It’s believed that Ibsen visited a market in Lom, and that this became his inspiration for how he described local festivities in his stories: with fiddle music, dance and moonshine. Contact the tourist information in Vågå for bus schedule to Lom.
In Lom there are several great places to experience local food and drinks. Stop by “Smak i Lom” to purchase local meat, cheese, fish, fruit and drinks, and also eat in the café where they serve traditional food. Another famous place is the Bakery in Lom, where you can purchase exclusive baked goods.
Ibsen stayed at a Rectory in Lom. This building still exists today, but has been rebuilt in to a school. The Lom Stave Church is still at its original place, and it is also open for visitors. It is dated to year 1100, and is one of Norway’s largest stave churches.
Lom is a great base for trekking and hiking in the Norwegian mountains. For example you can visit Norway´s highest mountain; Galdhøpiggen. There are also guided tours inside glaciers. Visit the Norwegian Mountain Museum in Lom for more information about hiking tours and Norwegian nature.
Recommended accommodation in Lom: Nordigard Blessom, a family owned sheep-farm from the 17th century in Lom.
If you drive your own car, you can travel further south to accommodate in Røysheim hotel, a boutique hotel from the 1700s where artists like Ibsen and Munch have stopped on their journey. Ibsen rented a horse from this farm before he continued over the mountain.
One of the last notes from Ibsen was that he arrived in Skjolden after a long and exhausting walk over Sognefjell. It’s not known in detail what he did after arriving in Skjolden, but one thing is for sure – there is more then enough to see and do on the places that Ibsen visited.
Skjolden is a small town in the end of the world’s longest fjord, Sognefjorden. Take a cruise in the fjord, or enjoy activities like cycling, fishing or hiking. Visit the tourist office in Skjolden for more information.
Take a bus from Lom to Skjolden. Note that the buses do not go often, and there is no direct bus, so you need to plan this part of the trip. Contact the tourist information in Lom for bus schedule and tickets.
On your journey through the Norwegian fjords you will be able to do all sorts of activities. Find out what to see and do in the Sognefjord area.
To travel the same route as Ibsen did, take the bus to Sogndal and then down to Lærdal. Lærdal is a historical city, where fishermen have been welcomed since the middle of the 1850s, and has many buildings from this time. Lærdal also has one of the best-preserved stave churches in Norway. Bake your own bread in a traditional stone oven, go hiking in UNESCO listed fjords or tag along on a guided tour in the old city. Get more information about what to do in Lærdal. If you drive your own car, make sure to drive through Lærdalstunnellen tunell to Aurdal - the world’s longest road tunnel.
Recommended accommodation Lærdal: Lindstrøm Hotel, which was originally a posting in, but has since 1845 been a hotel run by the same family.
To continue your travel, go back to Sognefjord and travel past Leikanger, take a ferry over to Balestrand, continue to Hoyanger and then up to Førde. On this road you will see some of the best views in Norway, with steep mountains and deep fjords. The view is breathtaking. You will have to take different busses on this journey. Contact the tourist office in Lærdal for bus schedules and information.
We don’t know if Ibsen stayed in Førde, so this route continues to the small town Breim, also called Re. If you are driving yourself, visit the Jølstra Museum in Vassenden, a historical museum with old Norwegian buildings.
Ibsen enjoyed his stay in Re. He stayed at the old Gordon Hotel – which is still a romantic hotel where the guests can enjoy the beautiful nature Ibsen spoke so well about.
Reccommended accommodation: Gordon Hotel in Re, where Ibsen himself stayed in 1862.
If you get the chance to stop in Stryn, feast on local and traditional food. Since there was quite a scene when Ibsen visited the church in Hellesylt, it would be natural to take a stroll in Ibsen’s footpath and visit Sunnylven Church. You can also visit the Peer Gynt gallery in Hellesylt, with wooden carvings of characters from the story.
Recommended accommodation: Villa Norangdal, a boutique hotel awarded with the hallmark of Norwegian Heritage.
Ibsen travelled by boat from Hellesylt to Sjøholt. There are no ferries or cruises that take this trip today, but you can however buy a ticket from Hellesylt in to the magnificent Geiranger and then up to Valldal. Continue by bus from Valldal to Sjøholt. Contact the tourist information in Hellesylt for more information on schedules and tickets.
Ibsen stayed at Sjøholt for a few days, but you could however travel to the famous city Ålesund, known for its special architecture and beautiful surroundings. Join a guided tour in the city or take the city train up to the viewpoint. Learn more about what to see and do in Ålesund.
Recommended accommodation in Ålesund: Hotel Brosundet, a historical hotel that is modern and delicate, and 100 years old.
When you pass Åndalsnes, you can choose to travel to “Trollveggen”, an extremely steep mountain-wall in a narrow valley, and continue through Romsdalen to Dombås. You can also take the Rauma Railway from Åndalsnes to Dombås, which also has guided tours in the summer season.
You can also travel by bus to the Trollstigen road over to Geiranger, and then back through Lom and to Otta. Learn more about Trollstigen and other exiting places to see on this journey. Contact the tourist information office in Hellesylt or Ålesund for more information on bus schedules and tickets to Åndalsnes.
From Dombås there are regularly train and bus departures to Oslo. Contact the tourist office in Dombås for more information and bus tickets, or book your train ticket online. If you planned to visit the Peer Gynt Festival at the end of your trip, you will also pass Vinstra on the way back from Dombås.