Trollstigen – Western Norwegian nature at its most powerful
2 hours inland from Molde, is one of the most scenic routes in Norway, and possibly in the world. At some spots on the route, the driving alone will get your pulse racing.
11 hairpin bends with spectacular views
Trollstigen is a mountain road that sneakes up from Isterdalen at the back of Trollveggen (Troll Wall), passes the beautiful 180-metre-long Stigfossen waterfall and up over the mountain to Valldal. It is a drive that should and must be taken slowly, not only because of the 11 hairpin bends you will need to navigate, but also since it offers so many sumptuous to take in. It is spectacular in the all the senses of the word! The hairpin bends are so sharp that considerable restrictions are placed on the types of vehicles permitted to drive on the road. Vehicles longer than 13 metres are completely prohibited on this stretch.
Half a million visitors
Even though you won’t encounter large trailers, there is plenty of traffic on this road in the summer. In fact, Trollstigen is Norway’s third most visited tourist attraction. It is estimated that more than 500,000 people come to drive the road each year.
And there’s a reason the road is so popular. Not only is the road a symbol of Norwegian determination to cross mountains for good trade, it also provides beautiful contrast to the green valley and the grand mountains all around. In fact, the road is surrounded by several mountains well over 1,000 metres tall. That the mountains are named Bispen (The Bishop), Dronninga (The Queen) and Kongen (The King) say something about how majestic they are.
Trollstigen visitor centre and Valldal
At the very top of Trollstigen plateau, you will find an award-winning visitor centre and a café where you can get a bite to eat. This is also a good starting point for hiking in the mountains. You can reach the edge of Trollveggen in 4-5 hours, but make sure you know what is required before embarking on a hike in these mountains.
Descending the other side of the mountain brings you to Valldal, an agricultural municipality known for its delicious strawberries. Make sure to get a basket and pick some if it’s the right season. It's something completely different from what you find in stores.
The road ahead
You can drive the tourist road all the way to Geiranger and see Norway’s most postcard-photographed fjord. Here you will also find several hairpin bends and majestic vantage points, but be aware that Geiranger can get a little crowded during the tourist season.
You can take a totally different kind of drive along the coast between Molde Kristiansund. There, the Atlantic Road meanders from islet to islet amidst spraying seawater and the wide ocean.
Photo right-hand side: Espen Mills/ Matlangsnasjonaleturistveger.no/ Visitnorway.com