Exploring Norway’s Fjord Region – Flam to Solvorn

Exploring Norway’s Fjord Region – Flam to Solvorn

By Vivienne Chapleo, photos by Jill Hoelting

Exploring Norway's Fjord Region - Flam to Solvorn

Exploring Norway’s Fjord Region – Flam to Solvorn

Flam to Solvorn – National Tourist Route:
After we completed our buffet breakfast at the Fretheim Hotel, it was time to depart and we started the drive to Solvorn. We first drove 8 km along Aurlandsfjord to Aurland, then continued for another 48 km along Aurlandsfjellet – the National Tourist Route – to Laedal.

Stegastein Viewpoint

Stegastein Viewpoint

As we drove higher up the narrow, winding road, the scenery became even more spectacular, and at one point – Stegastein – there was a viewing platform that offered the most spectacular fjord and mountain views. This part of the road is open all year round and is only 7.5 km from Aurland.

Note: Great WC stop – it even has an amazing view.

Aurlandsfjellet - National Tourist Route

Aurlandsfjellet – National Tourist Route

Then we continued up the narrow, steep and remote road, where we eventually ended up at the summit on the National Tourist Route; a very snowy area with just us and plenty of sheep. We could definitely understand why this section of the road is only open from early June until about mid-October – there was still so much snow at the higher elevations, and it was so isolated that we felt much further from civilization than we actually were.

Only Us and Sheep on the National Tourist Route

Only Us and Sheep on the National Tourist Route

After cresting the summit at 1306 meters, we drove down through the valley and took a short (15-minute) ferry ride across Årdalsfjord from Fodnes to Mannheller (NOK 132/US$22.75).

Ferry Across Årdalsfjord from Fodnes to Mannheller

Ferry Across Årdalsfjord from Fodnes to Mannheller

Walaker Hotell:

Walaker Hotell in Solvorn

Walaker Hotell in Solvorn

From Mannheller it was approximately a one-hour pleasant drive to the village of Solvorn, where we checked into Walaker Hotel, Norway’s oldest hotel and overlooking Lusterfjord. The hotel has 23 guestrooms in three buildings, and we stayed in a room (53) in the original building – which dates back to 1630.

Room 53 - Christen and Birgitte

Room 53 – Christen and Birgitte

Our room was named after the first owners of the hotel, Christen and Birgitte, who ran the hotel between 1690 and 1733. Guests can stay in a variety of accommodation styles; ranging from spacious and more modern finishes with fabulous fjord views to quaint and compact rooms with garden views.

Urnes Stave Church:

Urnes Stave Church

Urnes Stave Church

Wanting to visit Urnes Stave Church in Ornes, we walked across the parking lot from Walaker Hotell and took a scenic 20-minute ferry ride aboard M/S Urnes across Lustrafjord. We found it convenient to go as a foot passenger on the small ferry, and then walk the 1 km uphill road to the stave church. A few passengers did share a taxi from the ferry landing in Ornes and ride up.

M/S Urnes on Lustrafjord

M/S Urnes on Lustrafjord

Urnes Stave Church is a UNESCO World Heritage site dating back to the early 12th century, and is the oldest wooden church in Norway. The decorative carvings on the outside of the wooden building were most impressive . As we found the church custodians to be very rigid and unfriendly, we decided not to take their tour of the interior, so remained outside the stone wall and just took exterior photos. We thought it was amazing that such a church had survived through so many long cold winters.

Note: The fee to visit the church is 60 NOK/US$10.40, and no photographs are allowed of the interior. If you don’t want to pay to go inside the church, it is possible to just take photos and view the church from outside the surrounding stone wall for free. Also, make sure to check the ferry schedule so not to miss the last one back to Solvorn.

Urnes Farm & Store:

Urnes Gard - Farm and Store

Urnes Gard – Farm and Store

Next to the church is a general store that is worth a stop. The owners of the store also have Urnes Farm, and are very helpful and friendly. You can purchase a variety of locally produced items, including: soft drinks made from their homegrown fruit; sandwiches; cakes; souvenirs; gifts. We found their homemade raspberry juice to be particularly enjoyable and refreshing.

Solvorn:

Solvorn, Norway

Solvorn, Norway

Returning to Solvorn, we set off to explore the tiny village on foot. It didn’t take long for us to wander around as there are only a few streets, Walaker Gallery, Linahagen Cafe, a general store, and Eplet Bed & Apple (hostel). But hikers will be delighted with the multitude of hiking trails in the area, all within quick and easy access of the Walaker Hotell.

Dinner at Walaker Hotell:

Dinner at Walaker Hotell

Dinner at Walaker Hotell

Each evening at 7:30 pm, the charming and historic Walaker Hotell serves a delicious 4-course dinner made from ingredients that are locally sourced and produced. Our meal was amazing and we dined on Norwegian Lobster Soup, Confit of Quail with a Vegetable Ragout, Pan Fried Loin of Cod with Petite Pois and Creamed Potatoes, and Milk Chocolate Panna Cotta. The wine pairing offered with the menu was perfect, and we gave the evening top marks for an incredible dining experience.

Pan Fried Loin of Cod with Petite Pois and Creamed Potatoes

Pan Fried Loin of Cod with Petite Pois and Creamed Potatoes

Note: Guests need to make a dinner reservation in advance.

Lusterfjord

Lusterfjord

Continue Reading – Solvorn to Geiranger

If You Go:

Follow More of WAVEJourney’s June 2012 Travels in Norway:

WAVEJourney Explores Norway’s Fjord Region | Explore Bergen | Bergen to Flam | Flam to Solvorn | Solvorn to Geiranger | Geiranger to Alesund | Explore Oslo |

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