The trip starts at Årdal in the heart of the Sognefjord. The journey here is an incredible experience in itself, whether you come over the Tindeveien mountain road via Turtagrø, travel along the fjord from Sogndal or Lærdal, or travel from Eastern Norway via Tyinkrysset.
Årdal is an excellent starting point for amazing experiences in nature. The region is full of dramatic scenery – fjords, towering mountains and waterfalls – and is considered the gateway to Jotunheimen National Park from the west. When you arrive at Årdalstangen, check in at the Klingenberg hotel, freshen up, and get ready to explore the area.
There is a long tradition of hydropower as an energy source in Årdal. In the early 1900s, work started on the road that connected Årdal with Valdres, and it was needed because of the hydropower development in the Tyinvassdraget watercourse. Today the road is known as Tunnelvegen. This incredible road, built by hand using simple tools and machinery, is now one of Norway's most beautiful cycling routes up to a fantastic viewpoint over Årdal and the mountains 1,000 metres above sea level. You can rent bicycles in Årdal, or you may want to join a guided tour with Bulder & Brak.
After returning to Årdal, you can visit Årdal visitor centre – a brand new centre that opened in 2022 that showcases the history of the metal industry in Årdal, from the 18th century until the present day. Here, you can learn about aluminium production, the use of advanced technology in heavy industry, sustainability, and the heavy industries of the future.
There are a number of wonderful experiences in nature to explore the following day: Vettisfossen waterfall is situated in the beautiful Utladalen valley in Øvre Årdal and is the tallest protected waterfall in Northern Europe, with an uninterrupted fall of 275 metres. Vettisfossen has been named Norway's most beautiful waterfall, and a roundtrip takes about 3–4 hours. You will get to see another four waterfalls on the way, and, in the summer of 2023, a spectacular new viewpoint will open at Vettisfossen waterfall.
Once back in Årdalstangen village there’s time to visit Indre Ofredal ‘down by the sea’. Down by the sea on the north side of the Årdalsfjord is a unique built environment that’s steeped in history. From the early 1800s until the Second World War, this small village was a bustling fjord community that used water to power its grain mill and sawmill. The timber from the sawmill in Indre Ofredal was transported to Bergen with their own traditional Jekt boat. It would bring back merchandise from the city that was resold to the people of Sogn, who would arrive in rowing boats to trade goods and mill their grain. The old wooden mill can still be seen to this day. After many years of decay, the association Ne fø’ sjøen restored many of the old houses. During the summer, a small café serves a simple lunch menu, freshly made waffles and refreshments. It’s also possible to spend the night here.
Either stay overnight in Årdal or drive to Høyanger, which is the next stop on the trip. It takes about three hours to drive from the village of Årdalstangen to Høyanger, and there are plenty of wonderful places to visit on the way, so it’s a good idea to leave early. On the way to Høyanger you will pass Sogndal, well worth visiting for lunch or dinner, and the beautiful Balestrand, home to award-winning apple cider and the Norwegian Museum of Travel and Tourism.
Once you arrive in Høyanger check in at Øren hotel.
In the 1900s, Høyanger played a very special role during the industrialisation of Norway. It was once a village with only 13 farmsteads and cotter’s farms, squeezed between the mountains at the bottom of the fjord arm, until the power from its waterfalls attracted industry. Power plant 1, which includes the power plant, pipelines, trolley line, steps and mountain reservoirs, was built in 1916–17.
The ‘power duo’ is two tours in one and is based around the history of power generation through the ages until the present day. The duo is made up of a 5 km tour on foot, by bike or by car, followed by a walk on, or next to, 2,500 high-altitude steps. Walking up the steps is optional. You return to the centre of Høyanger the same way as you came. More information about the Power Duo tour. Afterwards, there’s a walking tour of the industry village with visits to such places as the Industrial Museum and the protected residential area Parken.
The next day you can walk the Kraftruta power route over Bergefjell mountain, a long hike in magnificent surroundings. The 700-metre hike up the mountain ridge takes you from Toppenhytta to Skålebotn, with stunning views of the Høyangerfjord, Sognefjord and the Stølsheimen mountains. The tour takes you from the proud industrial village of Høyanger to the dams on Bergefjell mountain. You will find accommodation at Larsgarden Tunhotell farm hotel, where you can stay in the farmhouse that dates from 1901. If you would rather return to Høyanger on the same day, there is a bus service from Nordeide. The bus timetable can be found at skyss.no. It’s also possible to take this trip in reverse by staying at Larsgarden Tunhotell farm hotel instead of in Høyanger.