5 stone cairns on Besseggen.

Things to do in Otta

Spectacular nature, fun activities and Rondane National Park as the closest neighbour: Otta is an excellent starting point for exciting experiences for both young and old.

About halfway between Trondheim and Oslo, and at the junction between the E6 and Riksvei 15 to Western Norway, you will find charming Otta. And you shouldn't just drive straight past the small town by Rondane, as there are plenty of experiences worth stopping for here.  

Surrounded by Rondane, Jotunheimen and Dovrefjell, Otta is a great starting point for mountaineers, while food enthusiasts can look forward to the fact that several of Otta’s eateries are known to serve what in local vernacular is known as "stuttreist" food. Car enthusiasts can head to the Otta Motor Festival, while those interested in culture should catch the annual Kristin Lavransdatterspelet, played at Jørundgard. In other words: There’s something for everyone on Otta! 

Hotel Otta is located in the heart of the town centre and offers 85 newly renovated rooms. 

Here are things worth checking out if you check in at Hotel Otta:

  • Mountain tours and hiking

Mountain tours and hiking

Peak hike to Rondeslottet

If you’re looking for Norway’s mountain peaks, the hike to Rondeslottet is a must – here you get to scale two 2,000-metre peaks on the same hike. First up is the ridge up to the Vinjeronden at 2,044 metres above sea level, before the king of Rondane awaits, with a 360-degree panoramic view of the beautiful mountain scenery. Rondeslottet towers 2,178 metres above sea level and is both the highest mountain and the most popular of Rondane’s ten peaks above 2,000 metres. 

A good starting point for the hike starts at the DNT cabin Rondvassbu, but you must park at Spranget, around half an hour’s drive from Otta, and either walk or cycle the last six kilometres to the cabin. They have a bike hire service at Spranget, and the best time to go is from mid-June to the beginning of October. The hike roundtrip takes approx. 6–8 hours to Rondvassbu, but calculate extra time from Spranget. If you want to go with a guide, you can book a hike with Rondaneguiden or Rondvassbu.

Besseggen

A little over an hour from Otta, one of Norway’s greatest mountain classics, Besseggen, awaits. The hike across the airy ridge takes around 7–9 hours, but can boast a majestic view of the green water of Gjende, which is framed by the beautiful Jotunheimen. There is a bus between Otta Skysstasjon and Gjendeosen, where you can hop on the Gjendebåten boat, which rums a shuttle service between Gjendesheim, Memurubu and Gjendebu. You can choose which way to go and then just take the boat the other way. You can also park your own car at Reinsvangen and take a free shuttle bus (approx. 2 km) to the quay. 

Peer Gynt cabin

When you find yourself in the middle of Peer Gynt country – it’s said that it was here in the area that Asbjørnsen heard of the legend of Peer Gynt for the first time in 1842 – a trip to the Peer Gynt cabin is almost a must. From the stone cabin, located in the far west of Rondane National Park between Høvringen and Mysusæter, you will find a number of excellent hiking trails. The cabin also serves freshly made sour cream waffles and coffee during holidays and high season. Mysusæter, located around 20 kilometres from the centre of Otta, is a good starting point for both the Peer Gynt cabin, the waterfalls Veslulfossen and Brudesløret, as well as other mountain hikes in Rondane. 

Pillarguritoppen and Thokampen

Heard of Pillarguri? According to the legend, she warned the farmers that the Scottish force was heading down the valley by blowing her lure, before the battle at Kringen just south of Otta in 1612. Today there is a statue in memory of the Battle of Pillarguritoppen, 852 metres above sea level, popularly called Otta’s "town mountain". If you hike up, you will also be rewarded with a view of both Rondane and the beautiful Gudbrandsdalen. The hike, which is on gravel roads and trails, starts at the Fjellvegen, is well signposted and the roundtrip takes approx. 3 hours. If you continue on a little further, you will come to Thokampen, where you can visit the "Sameti" cabin which belonged to one of Norway’s most famous psychics, Marcello Haugen. 

Around Otta

To get to know the town, the four-kilometre long "Across the bridges" tour is a great option. The tour goes across six bridges and is well suited for both cyclists and those with prams and wheelchairs. If you’re visiting the town centre for the first time, make sure to check out the many blue cultural history plaques you’ll come across, set up to mark buildings and famous names. A great and fun way to learn more about the station town. 

Two hikers climb down the precipitous Besseggen.
Beautiful nature in Otta, with mountains with snow-covered peaks in the background.
  • Activities on land and at sea

Activities on land and at sea

Muskox safari

You don't have to travel to Africa for exciting animal encounters on safari, it’s enough to go to Dovrefjell. This is where you can spot an exotic primeval animal – Norway’s only surviving muskox herd. Thanks to its hardy nature, the muskox has survived the last ice age, and today a herd of around 200-300 still lives on Dovrefjell. Moskussafari.no arrange organised tours every day during the summer, and on request for the rest of the year, where a local guide will ensure that you have a safe encounter with the hairy beast. If you would rather observe nature – and muskox if you are lucky – in quieter surroundings, you can head to Viewpoint Snøhetta, around 1.5 hours’ drive from Otta. Remember the binoculars! 

Be Tarzan

A half an hour's drive from Hotel Otta awaits the Brimiskogen climbing park with high-flying fun for both young and old. The climbing park has five trails up in the trees of varying degrees of difficulty, which wind through idyllic mountain pine forests, between bridges, ropes and fun challenges that give you real butterflies in the stomach. Remember also to enjoy the views from the treetops to Tessevatnet and the mountains of Jotunheimen. 

Raw and wet with rafting

Get ready for a wild, beautiful and wet adventure! Sjoa, which is about a quarter of an hour’s drive from Otta, offers what is considered one of the world’s best rivers for rafting. Together with a skilled guide, you can travel down the river at great speed, while the rubber dinghy is steered through fast rapids and obstacle courses made of rocks. Rafting is suitable for those who like butterflies in their stomach, but of course you will get a good introduction to both safety and technique and provided with the necessary equipment before the trip. The tours are of varying degrees of difficulty and can be adapted to families. See companies such as Go Rafting Sjoa, Heidal Rafting and Sjoa Rafting for booking, as well as several fun activities such as canyoning and bridge jumping. 

Discover the mountains on horseback

Whether you’ve been riding a lot before or never sat on a horse, you can join Øien Øvre Hesteaktiviteter on a tour. Together with an experienced guide, you get to pick up and saddle the horses, before heading into beautiful mountain terrain, including views of Glittertind, Rondane and Snøhetta at the same time. Choose between a half-day tour of four hours including a coffee break, an eight hours’ full-day tour with lunch break or three-day long tour. For the last two you should have some riding experience. 

Find the best fishing lakes

If you want to test your fishing luck, why not go with a local expert who knows where there’s the greatest chance of catching something on the hook? Rondaneguiden arranges a six-hour evening trip, where you can find fishing spots according to the type of fish you want, and you can also get good advice on fishing along the way. Meet at Otta Skysstasjon. N.B. The age limit is 16 years. 

Rondane ski resort

At the foot of Rondane National Park, about 20 minutes’ drive from Hotel Otta, is the Rondane ski resort, which offers fun for both young and old skiers. The small, family-friendly facility has one lift and two slopes – the Main trail and the Forest – as well as an off-piste area. You will also find opportunities for ski rental and cafe. 

  • Attractions and places to see

Attractions and places to see

Get up close to the animals

At the beautiful Glittersjå Fjellgård, which is beautifully located in Murudalen at the foot of Jotunheimen, you can meet the tame elks, hares, horses, dogs, goats, cows and ducks. You can also enter the elk enclosure to feed and get closer to the king of the forest, ride Shetland ponies, take a ride into the bear forest filled with wooden sculptures or drive a horse and carriage. There is also a guided tour with feeding and information about all the farm animals. The visitor farm is about 45 minutes drive from Hotel Otta and is open every day during the summer season. 

Northern Europe’s largest earth pyramids

With their several metre-high pillars of the moraine and stone boulder caps, the Kvitskriuprestene in Uladalen are an exciting sight and natural phenomenon worth a look. These earth pyramids, formed thanks to stone boulders that protect the moraine from rainwater, are only found here in the whole of Northern Europe. There is parking about 100 metres from the path that takes you up to the lookout point, around a quarter of an hour’s drive from the centre of Otta. The path up is steep, but it is fitted with stairs. You’ll also find a metre high replica of the earth pyramids in Otta town centre, but the best thing is of course to see the real ones! 

Otta Bergverkssenter

If you’d like to learn more about Sel’s industrial history from the 17th–20th centuries, and about slate mining, copper works and soapstone, then head to Otta Bergverkssenter. The museum has a themed exhibition, with text, photographs and artefacts, and a cultural trail, both of which provide an insight into the industrial history that has played an important role for the people in Gudbrandsdalen and been a central part of Norwegian cultural heritage. 

Back to the Middle Ages

Around 15 kilometres north of Otta you will find Jørundgard Middelaldersenter. The farm with its 16 houses and stave church replica was originally built as a backdrop for the film Kransen in 1994, based on Sigrid Undset’s novel about Kristin Lavransdatter, and you can visit the houses furnished with props from the film. Concerts and Norway’s largest dance festival are hosted here, and in the summer you can see Kristinspelet’s annual trilogy about Kristin Lavransdatter. 

Motor enthusiast?

Whether you prefer a car, motorbike, ATV, Amcar, truck or classic car, head to the Otta Motor Festival, which takes place in the centre of Otta and at the Vinstra Motorsport Arena. The weekend will be full of speed and excitement, including motor shows, exhibitors, street cruising, awards for the fastest vehicles in the country, activities for young and old, concerts and a lively party atmosphere. 

  • Food and drinks

Food and drinks

Solstad Kafé

Solstad Kafé, located right next to Otta Skysstasjon, is known for serving traditional, homemade food "just like home away from home". The cafe has been cooking for over sixty years, and is now run by the third and fourth generation. The menu includes freshly baked goods and roast pork and cabbage stews, and in the summer you can enjoy a good, homemade meal out on the terrace overlooking both Rondane and Pillarguritoppen. 

Pillarguri Café

Otta’s oldest cafe has a long tradition of serving food and accommodation, and was established as early as 1900. Today, Pillarguri Café is at the centre of everything from fresh cinnamon rolls and pizza baked in its own pizza bakery to dishes based on local treats from, among others, Avdem Gardsysteri, Aukrust gard og urteri and Lom brewery. 

Kafé Kos

If you need a break from shopping at the Amfi Otta shopping centre, Kafé Kos, located inside the centre, is a good choice. Cakes, bread and yeast-based pastries baked in their own bakery are served here, as well as delicious lunches and traditional dinners in the afternoon. The cafe also has its own shop section, including lovely edible gifts. 

Ødegaarden Bakeri & Konditori

If you’re a fan of real artisan baking, head to Ødegaarden Bakeri & Konditori, which is about a five-minute walk from the hotel. The traditional bakery opened its doors at Vinstra as early as 1898, and today has a bakery and pastry outlets at Otta, Kvam and Vinstra. The menu includes fresh pastries

  • Group activities

Group activities

Muskox safari

You don't have to travel to Africa for exciting animal encounters on safari, it’s enough to go to Dovrefjell! This is where you can spot an exotic primeval animal – Norway’s only surviving muskox herd. Thanks to its hardy nature, the muskox has survived the last ice age, and today a herd of around 200–300 still lives on Dovrefjell. Moskussafari.no arrange organised tours every day during the summer, and on request for the rest of the year, where a local guide will ensure that you have a safe encounter with the hairy beast. If you would rather observe nature – and muskox if you are lucky – in quieter surroundings, you can head to Viewpoint Snøhetta, around 1.5 hours’ drive from Otta. Remember the binoculars! 

Raw and wet with rafting

Get ready for a wild, beautiful and wet adventure! Sjoa, which is about a quarter of an hour’s drive from Otta, offers what is considered one of the world’s best rivers for rafting. Together with a skilled guide, you can travel down the river at great speed, while the rubber dinghy is steered through fast rapids and obstacle courses made of rocks. Rafting is suitable for those who like butterflies in their stomach, but of course you will get a good introduction to both safety and technique and provided with the necessary equipment before the trip. The tours are of varying degrees of difficulty and can be adapted to families. There are several companies that arrange both rafting and other fun activities such as canyoning and bridge jumping.

Be Tarzan

A half an hour's drive from Hotel Otta awaits the Brimiskogen climbing park with high-flying fun for both young and old. The climbing park has five trails up in the trees of varying degrees of difficulty, which wind through idyllic mountain pine forests, between bridges, ropes and fun challenges that give you real butterflies in the stomach. Remember also to enjoy the views from the treetops to Tessevatnet and the mountains of Jotunheimen. 

Discover the mountains on horseback

Whether you’ve been riding a lot before or never sat on a horse, you can join Øien Øvre Hesteaktiviteter on a tour. Together with an experienced guide, you get to pick up and saddle the horses, before heading into beautiful mountain terrain, including views of Glittertind, Rondane and Snøhetta at the same time. Choose between a half-day tour of four hours including a coffee break, an eight hours’ full-day tour with lunch break or three-day long tour. For the last two you should have some riding experience. 

Peak hike to Rondeslottet

If you’re looking for Norway's mountain peaks, the hike to Rondeslottet is a must – here you get to scale two 2,000-metre peaks on the same hike! First up is the ridge up to the Vinjeronden at 2,044 metres above sea level, before the king of Rondane awaits, with a 360-degree panoramic view of the beautiful mountain scenery. Rondeslottet towers 2,178 metres above sea level and is both the highest mountain and the most popular of Rondane’s ten peaks above 2,000 metres. 

A good starting point for the hike starts at the DNT cabin Rondvassbu, but you must park at Spranget, around half an hour’s drive from Otta, and either walk or cycle the last six kilometres to the cabin. They have a bike hire service at Spranget, and the best time is from mid-June to the beginning of October. The hike roundtrip takes approx. 6–8 hours to Rondvassbu, but calculate extra time from Spranget. If you want to go with a guide, you can book a hike with Rondaneguiden or Rondvassbu.

A long line of rafts down the river.
Two muskox wander in the snow.

Our hotel