It is always a hard choice in Norway where to stop or what to do. Especially, when the time you have is limited. And so it is always good news when you can combine visits of two and more sites. We have such a tip for you. You can combine the visits of popular touristic attraction – viewing platform over the Trollstigen road and a spectacular trek on the Romsdalseggen ridge.
Romsdalseggen – basic information
The trek is about 11km long. It takes approximately 7 hours to make it. The elevation difference is 970 meters. The highest point of the trek is 1 222 meters above the sea level. The route is marked and quite crowded in the high season. It starts from the parking place Venjedalssetra near the village Isfjorden. Through the Romsdalseggen ridge it leads you to Åndalsnes. To the Venjedalssetra parking place you can get by bus that departs daily at 9 AM from Åndalsnes. The bus stop is located directly in front of Norsk Tindesenter – the local information center.
The ticket price for about 9km drive is 140NOK. The entry fee to road leading to Venjedalssetra parking place is 70NOK. You have to pay it if you decide to get to the parking place with your own car.
Romsdalsfjord, majestic mountains and spectacular views – that is Romsdalseggen
In our case the arrival to Åndalsnes was marked by an unpleasant event. We got a 500NOK (about 57€) fine for parking. We therefore decided to save costs on the bus ticket and to make the trek in the opposite direction, i.e. to start in Åndalsnes and to finish at the Venjedalssetra parking place. We thought that it cannot be a real obstacle to walk back 9km on a paved road. And if we are lucky enough somebody will give us a lift.
We set off at 10 AM. At the beginning there was no sign that this was going to be one of the best treks ever. We had to return three times to our car – to pick up things we forgot there. It was quite cold in the morning and so we got dressed really warm. We had therefore thermal underwear and insulated pants on. We understood very soon though that we underestimated the actual weather conditions. After about 500 meters we took off the pants and stayed dressed in the underwear only for the rest of the trek. We did not mind however. At least we found out that this outfit is not only very convenient but also very effective from the point of view of thermoregulation.
We moved up in a very inconvenient muddy terrain. The surface was wet and slippery.
The first reward for our effort was a viewing platform from which we could enjoy amazing views of Åndalsnes.
We kept climbing and soon we got to a plateau. We rested a bit while walking on the straight but then another ascent followed. We moved up and soon we could enjoy a panoramic view of Åndalsnes, Romsdalsfjord and Isfjorden village.
The route led further and higher. Soon we got over a peak where the ridge awaited us. Only then it got really exciting. At some points the ridge was as narrow as 50cm. One step to the right or to the left there was only a steep terrain sloping down to a distant valley.
For us this was a pleasant adrenaline experience. We were fully consumed by the striking views. I can however imagine that for someone afraid of heights this could be a sickener.
At the Åkesvarden peak (1 140 meters above sea level) we had a quick lunch. Sunday lunch – even when it is only simple bread with spread – with such a view that is an insuperable experience.
The following legs of the route were even more demanding. At some points it was possible to proceed only with the support of chains.
Another steep ascent and then a plateau covered with snow followed. From there the path led down to the valley hidden at the other side of the mountain and to the Venjedalssetra parking place.
As soon as we got to the parking place we heard the sound of engine. We stopped the car and asked the driver to give us a lift to Åndalsnes. He agreed to take us to the nearest crossroads only since he was heading to Isfjorden. Along the way he changed his mind however and while having an interesting conversation he gave us a lift directly to Åndalsnes. We were very happy.
Here is a short video from our Romsdalseggen ridge trek.
Trollstigen – basic information
Trollstigen is a narrow serpentine road connecting Åndalsnes and Valldal village. It is only 20km away from Åndalsnes. Trollstigen is part of the road 63. It climbs the steep slopes whereby at some points it counts 10% incline. The hairpin bends make it impossible for vehicles above 12,4m to drive the Trollstigen road. And it is prohibited for such vehicles to use the road. At the time of our visit Trollstigen road celebrated its 80th anniversary. It was open on 31st July 1936. The road is not in use year-round. Usually, it is open for vehicles from the mid-May till October. Sometimes it can be longer or shorter – depending on the actual weather conditions.
Up the Trollstigen road
We arrived to Trollstigen from Åndalsnes. It means we used it in order to get up to the mountain pass. There were a couple of resting areas along the way. They provided interesting information about the place as well as beautiful views.
We recorded our way up the Trollstigen road in a short time-laps video:
However, for us the most interesting was the tourist information center and the viewing platform above the Trollstigen road.
The Norwegians are obviously very skilled in combining the environment protection, business and presentation of something extraordinary.
The tourist information center and the viewing platform above the Trollstigen is a great example. It provides you not only with the opportunity to enjoy the view of valley zigzagged by the serpentine road.
You can as well enjoy the unique architecture. Maybe you will find it odd in the first moment to insert the concrete, metal and glass in the wild nature. In fact, those are the materials that perfectly fit in here because of their abrasiveness and they are as well the only materials able to withstand the roughness of this environment.
The whole complex co-exists with the rest of the area in a full harmony.
And how the story with fine ended?
We were quite sure that the fine was a mistake. There was free parking for 3 hours where we left our car. And we parked there for less than 30 minutes. It happened on Saturday and so we had to wait until Monday in order to negotiate with the police. We asked our friends for advice. Those who live in Norway long-term wanted to convince us that it had no sense to try to solve it out. We should pay as soon as possible. No other way out of this situation. There is no way to negotiate or to come to an agreement with the Norwegian policemen. We anyway did not give up. We made the Romsdalseggen ridge trek on Sunday and on Monday we visited the police station in Åndalsnes. It turned out that the reason we got the fine was that we did not left any information on our arrival time in the car. And so the police man could not know how long we had been parking there. Fortunately, based on the pictures in our cell phone we were able to prove that we still were on our way to Åndalsnes just a half an hour before we got the fine. And so we did not exceed the allowed parking time limit, i.e. 3 hours. The police man accepted our arguments and annulled the fine. In that moment we were for sure the happiest people in the world.
Based on this experience we have two advices for you:
Our advice Nr. 1: When parking your car on a parking place like this, always leave a short notice on the time you arrived on some good visible place in the car.
Our advice Nr. 2: Always take a lot of pictures with your cell phone. Apart from the fact that you will save your memories in a very detailed way they could save you a couple of euro as well.