The National Tourist Route from Geiranger to Trollstigen, also known as “The Golden Route” is probably the toughest stretch of road in Norway! The spectacular mountain roads are engineering marvels and the picturesque and charming villages, the strikingly beautiful landscape, local food along the road and stopping places prepared under the auspices of The National Tourist Route are things everyone ought to experience!
Photo: C H/Innovation Norge
National Tourist Routes is the name used for the 18 selected stretches
of road in Norway that take you through the most outstanding parts of
the Norwegian landscape. Geiranger – Trollstigen, “the Golden Route”, is
one of the ones selected and this is probably the most spectacular of
all the tourist routes. The major attractions are like pearls on a
string – this is what you can experience along the way:
(the Geiranger Road) – Dalsnibba – Flydalsjuvet.
stretches from Skjåk at the top of Ottadalen to the village of
Geiranger. The highest point is 3,200 ft above sea level, at Djupvatnet.
A side road leads up from here to the vantage point of Dalsnibba, 4,600
ft above sea level. On the way down to the village one passes by the
old ascending loop road “Knuten” (“the Knot”) and perhaps the best known
vantage point in the area, Flydalsjuvet.
completed in 1889 and 11 years later the road was awarded a gold medal
at the world fair in Paris. Geirangervegen is closed in the winter,
normally from November/December to May.
Ørnevegen (the Eagle
Road) – Ørnesvingen
Further along the Golden Route, you drive up
Ørnevegen out of Geiranger. With its 11 hairpin bends up to 1920 ft
above sea level, this is only road to Geiranger that is open all year
round. On the last bend, called Ørnesvingen (the Eagle Bend), there is
spectacular vantage point. From here you can see Dalsnibba, Geiranger,
the fjord, the mountain farm Knivsflå and the proverbial Seven Sisters
A short ferry journey from
Eidsdal to Linge takes you to the village of Valldall (Sylte). From here
it is approx 30 km up to the Trollstigen plateau, in the direction of
Åndalsnes. Half way along you pass Gudbrandsjuvet, a stretch of the
Valldøla River where it races turbulently through a rugged gorge. There
is a specially constructed stopping place here – and a fantastic viewing
The last stage takes you from
Gudbrandsjuvet to Trollstigen itself. This proverbial and dramatic road
is in Rauma Municipality and with its eleven hairpin bends it is
Norway’s most famous mountain road. Winding its way up steep
mountainsides, past waterfalls and wayside guard stones, it is a narrow
and nerve-wracking drive. But above all it is fascinating. The road
bears witness to outstanding road engineering and building skills using
the simple tools available in the depressed 1930s. Trollstigen still
enchants and frightens many people, a full 70 years after its opening in
Experience three National Tourist Routes
can of course drive along “The Golden Route” in both directions – and,
regardless of which way you go, the trip along Norway's foremost
National Tourist Route is a major experience! Not far away there are two
other well known National Tourist Routes – Atlanterhavsvegen (the
Atlantic Road) and Gamle Strynefjellsveg, the old mountain road to
Stryn. If you add these to your travels through the North West Country
you have managed to include the undreamt of contrasts between high
mountains, fjords and the sea!
The Golden Route by public
In the period 19 June to 31 August there is a bus
service between Åndalsnes and Geiranger. Refer to Fjord 1’s timetables.
Both Geirangervegen and Trollstigen are closed in winter
- they are usually closed from November/December and open again in
May/June. For information about the exact times, see the website of
Statens Vegvesen (the Norwegian Public Roads Authority (NPRA)).