A brand icon

Natural attractions

Dollsteinhola cave

The caracteristic mountain Dollsteinen is situated at the most westerly point of Sandsøya, its steep sides facing the sea. On the south side, approximately 60 meters above sea level, is the entrance of the Dollstein cave, Dollsteinhola, probably the largest and strangest mountain cave in Norway. The cave is widely famous from far back in historic times. Legend has it that a man named Orm Torolvson from Ireland came to take vengeance for the killing of his foster brother, Asbjørn Prude, from Hordaland who was killed by the giant Bruse in the Dollstein cave. Earl of the Orkneys, Ragnvald Kale, visited here in the beginning of the 12th century. According to the legend he swam across the water at the bottom of the cave. Dollsteinhola is also mentioned in the Encyclopedia Britannia before 1800. Legend also has it that the cave runs under the ocean to Scotland. Excavations have proven that the cave  for some time in history has been inhabited by people. From the farm of Skare a marked path leads along the shore across somewhat rough terrain. Out here the open sea provides breath-taking experiences in rough as well as in calm weather. The trip down the inside of the cave is for most parts all right, but to cross the rock-covered slopes one has to climb as well as crawl. Visitors should not suffer from claustrofobia, nor should one need too much space in general. Good/solid shoes are needed as the terrain is rough and at times wet. Due to the crawling your clothing in general should be suitable for becoming wet and dirty.

Dovrefjell-Sunndalsfjella National Park

Welcome to one of Norway's most iconic mountain areas! A place which has shaped Norwegian identity for thousands of years. Home of the wild reindeer, musk oxen and arctic fox. The Dovrefjell-Sunndalsfjella National Park has a varied landscape with a rich cultural heritage and breath taking nature. The contrasts are great, from the dramatic almost alpine scenery with waterfalls in the northwest, to the rounded mountains and dry climate in the east. Great variation offers a range of experiences and your options are as varied as the landscape. The park contains an almost intact ecosystem that includes wild reindeer, wolverines, arctic foxes, ravens and golden eagles, and the only Norwegian population of musk oxen also lives on Dovrefjell.   Enjoy the scenery The Dovrefjella-Sunndalsfjella National Park offers many opportunities for outdoor recreation. You can walk, ski and spend the night wherever you want. Snøhetta (2286 m.) is the most majestic of the peaks in the National Park. It was once believed to be the highest mountain in Norway. The mostly used paths to the summit are from the Norwegian Ramblers Association's cabins Snøheim and Reinheim. Alternatively, you can enjoy the view of Snøhetta and learn more about the history and wild life of the area at the Norwegian Wild Reindeer Centre Pavilion at Tverrfjellet, near Hjerkinn. In the municipalities of Nesset and Sunndal, you can find good starting points for walks in the National Park in Grøvudalen, Torbudalen and Eikesdalen. In Eikesdalen you will also find Mardalen nature reserve with rich biological diversity and the Mardal waterfall. For ski mountaineering, Øksendalen and Eresfjorden are good locations. Remember to check the avalanche risk at www.varsom.no   Home of the last wild reindeers in Europe If you walk or ski, you must consider the welfare of the wild reindeer. The Dovrefjell-Sunndalsfjella National Park has viable strains of the original wild mountain reindeer. Wild reindeer reached Norway when the ice melted after the last Ice Age. The humans followed, and thousands of years of hunting and using the reindeer as a resource has left many traces all across the landscape. It has also made the reindeer very timid and vulnerable. If you discover a wild reindeer before it discovers you, please stay put until it moves away. You can learn more about the extraordinary animals and those who hunted them at Norwegian Wild Reindeer Centre at Hjerkinn.   The National Park is also home to the musk oxen. They died out during the last Ice Age, but where reintroduced from Greenland between 1932 and 1953. The cold and dry climate of Dovrefjell suites their compact bodies and robust coat. You can follow the marked Musk Ox Trail from Kongsvoll or Grønbakken. There is a good chance of seeing the shaggy prehistoric animals without risking to disturb the wild reindeer. Remember: If the musk oxen feel threatened they may attack. Should you see them on or near the trail, please walk a wide circle around them. Maintain a distance of at least 200 metres between you and the animals to prevent disturbance. The arctic fox also lives in the National Park. It is very vulnerable and was extinct from the area in the 1990s. Since 2005 foxes have been bred in captivity and released here in the hope that they will help rebuild a viable population in Norway. The varied landscape is also home to the wolverine and many different birds. From small birds to larger birds of prey like the golden eagle, gyrfalcon and rough-legged buzzard. Here, you can also find outstanding alpine flora. The calcareous rocks are much of the explanation for the unusual plant life with rarities such as the grass, Poa lindebergii, alpine hairbell, a subspecies of arctic poppy, Papaver radiactum and more.   Guest in the National Park - Do not disturb animals or birds. This is their home. Leave the reindeer in peace. Disturbing the arctic fox is prohibited. Keep at least a distance of 200 meters to the musk oxen. - You may go wherever you like, but anything with an engine is basically prohibited. - Do not leave traces. You can stop wherever you like and pitch a tent, but tidy up afterwards and take your rubbish with you. - You may light a fire, but there is a general ban of fires in woodland from April 15th to September 15th.  -  You can pick berries, mushrooms and common plants for your own use. Show consideration for cultural heritage sites, vegetation and animal life. Take extra care in breeding season. - Hunting and fishing is permitted. Remember to buy hunting and fishing licences. Never use live fish as bait, or transfer live fish from one river or lake to another. - Dogs are allowed, but must be on a leash from April 1st to August 20th (the boroughs have slightly different by-laws regarding this)

The Geirangerfjord

Formed in the shape of an S, nature herself has provided the first letter for many of the superlatives often used to describe the Geirangerfjord; stupendous, stunning, spectacular. Another often-used phrase used to describe the 20-kilomtre long between Hellesylt and Geiranger is "The pearl of the fjords". The unique and exceptionally beauty has been confirmed by UNESCO by its inclusion on the World Heritage List in 2005. You would have to be exceptionally blasé if you failed to be impressed by this astounding creation of Mother Nature, dramatised by the will of man to maintain a foothold on the steep mountainsides and glean a living here. Impressive falls cast cascades of thundering water from almost vertical mountainsides, or tease the cliffs with feather-light gossamer veils of mist whose mission seems to be to create a never-ending display of ever changing rainbows to fill us with delight and wonder. Let the breeze stroke your hair and the veils of soft mist kiss your cheeks while you feed the gull that follows you with a watchful eye into the reaches of the fjord. You will soon witness the famous falls, Dei sju systre, Friaren and Brudesløret (the Seven Sisters, the Suitor and the Bride's Veil) and high up the steep cliff sides, or almost down at the waters edge you will see the now deserted alpine and fjord farms, that spice your experience and bear witness to a lost time in history, a time that's difficult to comprehend in our modern world. Amongst many smaller farms you will see Skageflå, Knivsflå, Blomberg, Matvik and Syltevik. At its deepest the Geirangerfjord is almost 260 metres, and the mountains that surround it reach up to 1600-1700 metres above the waters of the fjord.

Kvinnafossen

Kvinnafossen falls 120 metres and is situated right beside the main road between Leikanger and Hella. During the spring thaw, the spray from the waterfall reaches across the road. When the snow melting is at its maximum strength you must be prepared to drive through an almost impenetrable cascade of water when passing the waterfall of Kvinnafossen. This waterfall is situated a few kilometres from Hella on the road to Leikanger and Sogndal. According to legend, it is possible to see a rock formation in the shape of a woman when the flow of water in the river is just right (the word "kvinne" in Norwegian means woman). For this reason passing cruise liners used to go close to land to observe this phenomenon. Another story says that the waterfall got its name after a woman who fell into the water and lost her life. A third version is that the name has nothing to do with woman at all, but comes from the whining and howling sounds of the waterfall when the flow of water is big enough. However, we cannot be sure whether these sounds are an expression of sheer spring joy or violent fury. Close to the waterfall it is possible to park your car if you want to stop to take pictures or simply to get a quick, refreshing shower for free. Along the road between Leikanger and Hella you may observe some strange wooden structures down by the fjord. These were previously used as observation posts for catching wild salmon in nets, and they are a testimony of the times when salmon fishing was a welcome supplementary source of income for the farmers along the Sognefjord.