Norwegians are famous for chitchatting a lot about the weather. It is perhaps not so odd when you notice how much it can change during the course of one day. It may snow in morning, rain in the afternoon and be sunny and warm at night. This is one of the reasons why so many Norwegians prefer to go overseas for their summer vacation instead of traveling in their own country.
It gets pretty cold here throughout the year so I understand why you want to go some place with consistent weather when you finally have your vacation. That does not mean that you can’t get amazing summer vacations here. At my previous job in Stavanger I would meet and talk to a lot of foreign visitors. The feedback I got from travelers varied so much and almost always the conversation came back to the weather. Some people have traveled to Lofoten or taken the Hurtigruta ferry and had amazing weather with long warm summer nights and they could not speak fonder of the country. Others come back from a 2-week trip in rain and terrible conditions and said they would never come back.
This year I wanted to experience Norway. I wanted to see the beautiful mountains and fjords and discover more of what is right outside my doorstep. I prepared myself for unpredictable weather conditions and bought warm and waterproof clothes, hiking shoes and a tent.
Early this June I started my road trip from Folldalen in the middle of Norway. My first goal was to get to Åndalsnes. The drive from Folldalen to Åndalsnes was about 170-kilometer long. In one hour of driving the scenery changed from green forests and narrow roads to a white winter wonderland. When I approach the top end of the Romsdal Valley about 40 kilometers from Åndalsnes I made my first stop in Verma.
I stopped in Verma to check out the most photographed Railway Bridge in Norway of all time. The unusually named Chicken Bridge is a beautiful bridge in its own, but it is also a part of a spectacular train journey called The Rauma Railway. The bridge is built 200 feet above the river and underneath you have the powerful Vermafossen. To get to the bridge you must stop at the convenience store across the street and walk 250 meters down a narrow path.
After a short stop I continue driving through The Romsdalen valley. This long and narrow road with majestic towering mountains on each side was seriously affecting my driving. I drove past Trollveggen, Europe’s tallest vertical, overhanging rock face. On the opposite side of the valley, the Romsdalshorn peak towers. I was blown away by the majestic looking mountains on both sides. It is definitely hard to keep your eyes on the road when the scenery is that breathtaking.
After about 2 hours of driving I arrived in Åndalsnes. I drove around to find a campsite and a tourist office. My main reason for visiting Åndalsnes was to hike Romsdalseggen. Romsdalseggen is a mountain ridge that runs between Venjesdalen and Åndalsnes. It offers splendid views of some of the wildest mountains in Norway. The hike takes about 7-8 hours and you can choose between 3 different tracks. Usually a bus from the center of Åndalsnes takes you to Venjesdal and you walk over the mountain and end up back in Åndalsnes.
Unfortunately, this year the bus did not start running until the 01st of July and the locals told me that there was too much snow on the mountain to walk safely yet. Again we come back to Norway and weather. The year before people hiked Romsdalseggen without problems in late May.
Luckily there is plenty of other cool stuff to do in Åndalsnes. 537 meters above sea level they have built a lookout tower that is nothing less than spectacular. The hike is classified as a moderate hike, however I found it to be quite steep. I would say the whole hike takes about 2-3 hours. The trail made from excellent Sherpa architecture makes it easier to climb. When you reach the tower walk all the way out to the tip and enjoy a breathtaking view over the valley and Åndalsnes town.
If you are traveling to Norway in July or August this year Åndalsnes and the areas around is worth checking out. There is a music festival in Åndalsnes from the 30th of July to the 01st of August with scandinavian bands and hopefully nice weather.