North side of the Sognefjord
This tour has all the ingredients a round trip in Western Norway should have; mountains, fjords, waterfalls, fruit gardens and green pastures, in additon it offers a taste of our area rich and exciting culture and history. Start by following route E-16 to Vinje where you change to Route R-13 across the Vikafjell Mountains to Vik in Sogn (app. 1 hour ), the mountain area you going through is considered one of Western Norway’s prettiest mountain plateaux. While descending to Vik you are offered a superb panorama over the Sognefjord, including a glimpse of Jostedalsbreen, Norway's largest glazier.
Vik is a quiet little village with a unique atmosphere, and a stroll around Vik should include a visit to the Hopperstad Stave Church ( picture ) that dates back to around 1230. From Vik continue on to Vangsnes (15 kilometres). In Vangsnes you should, if time permits, walk up the hill (5 minutes) to admire the enormous statue of Fridjov the Viking. The statue was erected and given to the Norwegian people by the German Emperor Wilhelm II in the years before World War I. According to the myths Fridjov was a viking king who lived in Vangsnes, and was continuously fighting his foe, King Bale of Balestrand (just across the fjord).
By ferry you cross the fjord to Hella (20 minutes), from Hella continue along the north side the Sognefjord through the prosperous fruit and farming parishes of Leikanger and Hermansverk to Sogndal. In Sogndal, the district centre, lunch and shopping possibilities are ample.
After lunch, continue to Kaupanger, and board the ferry to Gudvangen, a 2 hours long spectacular fjord cruise. If you are going by your own car remember that during the summer the ferry very often gets full so it is advisable to be on the ferry quay in good time. The ferry docks in Gudvangen shortly before 6 p.m. and including the 20 minute drive from Gudvangen to Stalheim you should be back at Stalheim around 18:30.
If your are travelling by bus please ask the reception to arrange for you to be picked up at the main road as the bus corresponding with the six o’clock ferry do not call at Stalheim. Alternatively, you can cross the fjord from Manhellar to Fodnes (10 minutes), and either take the 23 kilometres long tunnel from Lærdal to Aurland or follow the spectacular snow road across the mountain from Lærdal to Aurland, from Aurland follow route E-16 back to Flåm, Gudvangen and Stalheim.