Exploring the Romsdalen Valley: A Journey Into the Heart of Norway

Romsdalen Valley

blog authorBy Johanna Hansen shield verificationVerified Expert

    Welcome to our latest adventure! We're here to shed light on the enchanting Romsdalen Valley, a gem in the heart of Norway, celebrated for its breathtaking landscapes and rich cultural tapestry. 

    Encompassing towering mountains, cascading waterfalls, and the serene Rauma River, Romsdalen offers an unparalleled appeal for those thirsting for nature and adventure. We've spent over a decade guiding travelers like you through Norway's majestic scenery, and Romsdalen is a destination we can't recommend enough. 

    This blog is your gateway to understanding why this valley is a must-visit for any nature lover or adventure seeker, promising unforgettable experiences amidst some of the most stunning vistas Norway has to offer. Join us on this explorative journey!

    What is the Romsdalen?

    Romsdalen is a magnificent valley in Norway, renowned for its striking natural beauty and rich historical significance. Extending over 60 kilometers (37 miles), it features the Rauma River, which flows between high cliffs and verdant landscapes. 

    The valley is home to Europe's tallest vertical rock face, the Troll Wall, standing over 1,100 meters (about 3,600 feet) high with a dramatic 50-meter (164-foot) overhang. It also boasts Mongefossen, one of Norway's tallest waterfalls, with a total drop of 773 meters (2,536 feet), making it a breathtaking sight. 

    Romsdalen is renowned for being the heart of Norwegian mountaineering, with its rugged terrain and challenging trails attracting adventure enthusiasts from around the globe. 

    Tallest Vertical Rock in Europe

    The History of Romsdalen

    Exploring Romsdalen's history uncovers a fascinating mix of Norse origins and adventures. The name 'Raumsdalr' combines 'Rauma River' with 'dalr,' meaning 'The Dale of Rauma.' Legend has it that Romsdal was named after Raum the Old, son of Nór, who is considered a founding figure of Norway. 

    As mountaineering emerged, Romsdalen's cliffs attracted adventurers. Romsdalshorn, with its first climb recorded in 1828, became a mountaineering milestone. Although officially recognized in 1881, Arne Randers Heen's 1930 winter ascent challenged the norms.

    Beyond climbing, the Rauma River's pristine waters drew English salmon fishers by the late 19th century, establishing it as a famed fishing site. Today, Elveguiden continues the tradition, offering salmon fishing at 26 peaceful spots along the river. The towering Trollveggen, with its steep faces, challenged climbers and attracted Europe's BASE jumping pioneers, adding to Romsdalen's mystique and thrill-seeking allure.

    Legends Surrounding Romsdal

    Romsdal, a valley steeped in beauty and mystery, is not just known for its breathtaking landscapes but also for the rich tapestry of legends that shroud its mountains and fjords. Among the most captivating is the legend of the Trolls' Wall (Trollveggen), where folklore paints a vivid picture of a grand wedding held by trolls in the heart of the Romsdalen valley. 

    The tales speak of these mystical beings celebrating until the break of dawn when they were caught by sunlight, turning them into the stunning stone formations that today mesmerize visitors from around the globe. 

    But that's not all; the valley holds many more stories, including those of Vikings and their fearless expeditions across these rugged terrains. Keep your ears open for whispers of such tales as you wander through Romsdalen.

    How to Get To Romsdalen in Norway

    Navigating your way to Romsdalen, nestled in the northern part of the Norwegian West Fjords in the Rauma Municipality, is a straightforward affair, whether you're wheeling in by car or catching a flight. This area, with Åndalsnes at its heart - dubbed the mountain capital - unfolds a realm easily accessible and ripe for exploration. Here's a snapshot of your travel options, each with its own allure:

    View Point in Romsdalen Valley

    By Car or Campervan

    For those keen on steering their own adventure, driving or taking a campervan from Oslo to Åndalsnes is the scenic route of about 6.5 hours. You're slicing through the breathtaking landscapes of Reinheimen and Rondane national parks.

    Renting a campervan in Norway specifically should be high on your list since you'll have your transport and lodging all in one, ready to hit the road anytime. There are also plenty of camping spots along the way, including scenic ones by the Rauma River.

    By Plane

    Touching down near Romsdalen means aiming for the nearest airstrips at Kristiansund or Molde, with each offering direct links from Oslo. However, prepare for a leg stretch as you pivot from plane to bus, possibly a ferry, then a taxi to finally reach Åndalsnes. This route's a little more puzzle-like, but it's part of the adventure for those who choose it.

    By Train

    Norway's efficient train network can take you from Oslo to Lillehammer station with ease, with services running hourly every day. However, if you're heading to Åndalsnes, it's important to plan ahead, as direct train options from Lillehammer are limited to weekdays.

    Things to Do in Romsdalen Valley

    Now that you've made it to Romsdalen, your adventure can begin! The valley offers a plethora of activities for nature lovers and thrill-seekers alike. Here are just a few to get you started:

    Hiking the Trollveggen Trail

    Hiking up Trollveggen to the Stabbeskaret Viewpoint is something of a hidden gem in Norway, offering a trail rich in underrated beauty. This spectacular trek near Åndalsnes is known for its breathtaking vistas, showcasing the kind of awe-inspiring scenes you'd expect from a place steeped in such myth and legend.

     The trail kicks off at an impressive trailhead perched high above the iconic Trollstigen road, famed for its winding loops and cascading waterfalls. The journey culminates at a dramatic cliff on the Trollveggen wall, presenting a view straight into the heart of the Romsdalen valley—a truly stunning finale that's not for the faint-hearted. 

    For those keen on hiking in Norway, this trek is one for the books, stretching 10.2 km (6.3 miles) and taking approximately 6 hours to complete. It's a challenging out-and-back route, demanding a good physical condition due to continuous climbing and scrambling over boulders. The well-marked path offers stunning views throughout, though it requires caution around cliff edges and is not recommended for those with a fear of heights.

    Trollveggen Trail

    Drive Up the Trollstigen Road

    Driving up the Trollstigen Road is akin to navigating a masterpiece sculpted by nature and perfected by human ingenuity. This iconic serpentine masterpiece near Romsdal stands as a testament to Norway's engineering prowess, seamlessly blended with its breathtaking natural landscapes. With eleven hairpin turns, each boasting a daring 10% incline, the drive offers a thrilling experience complemented by staggeringly beautiful vistas. 

    What's fascinating is that each curve is named after the overseers of its construction, weaving a narrative of human endeavor into the mountainous pass. Constructed from stone and carved directly into the mountainside, Trollstigen isn't just a road; it's a corridor through the heart of Norway's rugged beauty.

    This segment of the Geiranger - Trollstigen route offers a vivid two-hour drive, showcasing everything from towering peaks to the deep blue of Geirangerfjorden, punctuated by the majestic Stigfossen Waterfall. Accessible from late May to October, it aligns perfectly with the prime tourist season, inviting visitors to experience a piece of Norway's proud heritage and stunning views.

    Visit Trollstigen Visitor Centre 

    After conquering the serpentine twists of Trollstigen Road, a key stop that awaits is the Trollstigen Visitor Centre, an architectural marvel that perfectly complements its rugged surroundings. Showcasing a modern design, the center masterfully incorporates concrete and cor-ten steel, striking a fine balance with the natural wilderness. 

    The panoramic views from here are simply spectacular, offering breathtaking vistas of the fjord below and the winding Trollstigen Road you've just navigated. With a large parking space available, visitors can easily stop by, though it's worth noting that overnight camping is prohibited, keeping the area pristine for all to enjoy. 

    Ideal for hikers, the center serves as the perfect starting point for those looking to trek up to Stabbeskaret Viewpoint along Trollveggen, promising even more awe-inspiring views. Its strategic location also allows visitors to seamlessly combine activities - visiting the center, driving up the iconic road, and venturing on a hike - making it a hub of adventure in the heart of Norway's breathtaking landscape.

    Trollstigen Visitor Centre

    Take a Ride on The Romsdalen Gondola

    The Romsdalsgondolen, Åndalsnes's latest attraction, propels you into the air on Norway's longest cable car ride. Known affectionately as the Romsdalsgondolen, this engineering marvel offers an unparalleled aerial journey to Nesaksla, providing easy access to the breathtaking Rampestreken viewpoint. 

    Open daily throughout the summer, from 11 am to 9:30 pm, it's a must-visit for any adventurer in Norway. Pricing is straightforward – 300NOK for a one-way trip and 450NOK for a round trip, making it an accessible option for everyone. For those feeling energetic, Rampestreken's stunning views are also reachable via a 1.5-hour hike from Åndalsnes Center. 

    It's a challenging walk but incredibly rewarding. Flexible ticketing means you can buy in advance online, at the Romsdalsgondolen base via machine, or at the Åndalsnes information desk. Planning ahead is wise, especially if your adventure includes hiking up and riding down – remember, there are no tickets.

    Planning Your Visit to Romsdalen 

    Planning your visit to Romsdalen Valley? Great choice! Here's a quick guide to make the most of your trip, taking into account activities and where to rest your head:

    Why Visiting Romsdalen is a Must-Do in Norway

    Romsdalen is a true hidden gem of Norway, offering breathtaking natural beauty and endless adventure opportunities. 

    With incredible hikes, iconic roads, and stunning viewpoints, it's an ideal destination for outdoor enthusiasts seeking to explore the rugged beauty of this Nordic country. Add in modern amenities and friendly locals, and you have a destination that should be on every traveler's itinerary. 

    So pack your bags, pull out the map, and get ready to experience Norway at its best - in Romsdalen Valley. So why wait? Plan your visit today and get ready for an adventure like no other! 

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