scenic mountain road
The nearly fifty kilometre-long trip from Hemsedal to Fagernes, does not shame its name. The contrast between mighty high mountains with steep drops and with clusters of mountain summer dairy farms, fishing lakes, rivers and birch woods can really take your breath away. Some mountain dairy farms are still in operation.
Skogshorn peak (alt. 1728 m) is one of the best known mountains in Hemsedal. The hike to the top provides a fantastic view and takes no more than 3 – 3 1/2 hours.
Lykkja is the highest altitude farming community in Norway. Here you'll also find Lykkja chapel which was consecrated in 1961.
From the Panorama Road there is an impressive view of the Hemsedal and Valdres Mountains. On the way there, you also have a view of the Grunke summer mountain farms. The Nordic best-selling author Margit Sandemo has a summer house here at "Huldrehaugen". Right after Nøsen lies the Reinsennvannet lake (alt. 922 m) offering splendid opportunities for taking a dip. You might want to stop at Vasetstølen and Gomobu Mountain Lodge for a snack and a cup of coffee.
The small town of Fagernes provides ample opportunities for shopping. Valdres Folkemuseum (local museum of cultural history) is located here. With its facilities of 30 acres, about 80 houses and more than 16,000 items, it ranges fourth in the country in size. The buildings and collections cover the period from the 1200s up to our century. Things to see include a courtyard, mountain dairy farm, cotter’s farm, school house and freight station. Several houses have craftsmen at work during the high season, and traditional Norwegian food is sold at the Nystøga cottage. The exhibition of national costumes from the entire country provides an insight into the great variety of Norwegian traditional costumes.
Fagernes Lufthavn at Leirin was the highest airport in the country (alt. 820 m). It was closed in 2018. At Fagernes railway station stands a switch engine reminding us of the Valdresbanen railway that transported people and goods between Fagernes and the Gjøvikbanen railway (109 km).
If you would like to make the trip a little longer, you can include Leira and Aurdal. From downtown Leira, you can see the so-called "Rock Flag", unveiled 17. May, 1905. Aurdal is where the author Knut Hamsun had his home during several periods, working as acting post master at the freight station, among other tasks. Later he authored the beautiful love story Victoria living at Onstadmarken north of Aurdal. Aurdal church is a sight worth seeing, over 270 years old and with a steatite (soapstone) baptismal font from the Middle Ages. The burial mound at Faslefoss is from the Bronze Age.
At Vestringsbygda you will find Valdres golf course in very nice surroundings
The drive back across the Golsfjellet Mountains lets you enjoy a very pleasant view of the Hemsedal Mountains.
Gol is a junction in Hallingdal, displaying a fine selection of shops and restaurants. We recommend the following: Tropicana waterpark, Oline Spa, Gol Stave Church, The Middle Age Park, Skagatunet (museum). At Pers Hotell you find Tropicana waterpark with outdoor and indoor pools, water slides, wave pool, jacuzzis, cool-off pond, squash, bowling and lots more for the entire family! Gol Stave Church is a copy of the original church from the 1200s. The church stood on Golreppen by the new church up till 1882 when it was sold and moved to The Norwegian Museum of Cultural History at Bygdøy in Oslo. Skagatunet local museum is originally an old farm. Sights include Halling cottage, storehouse on pillars, barn, school house, creek mill etc. The oldest house dates back to the end of the 1600s, most of them from the early 1800s.
Length of round trip: approx. 130 km. The Panorama Road is open all year.