Norwegian police warn of ‘big challenges’ as second tourist destination sees crowds

Norwegian police warn of 'big challenges' as second tourist destination sees crowds
Photo: Sébastien Goldberg/Unsplash
Police in Vestfold and Telemark county have warned of a high volume of cars at the Gaustatoppen mountain trail, resulting in a packed parking area and vehicles parked on the roadside.

Earlier this week, heavy queuing at Preikestolen resulted in police being asked for assistance, and the issue now appears not limited to a single location.

South-East Police District reported “total parking chaos” at the parking area serving Gaustatoppen, the highest mountain in Vestfold and Telemark county, VG reports.

Cars parked along the side of the road presented a risk to access for emergency vehicles, the police district’s operations leader Trond Egil Groth told VG.

The county road from the village of Tuddal towards Rjukan in the Vestfjorddalen valley was cited as a particular concern.

“This (road) must obviously be clear… not least for traffic, for emergency services,” Groth told the newspaper.

The road is narrow and bendy and therefore not suited to parking, according to the report.

 

Police called in a tweet for motorists to observe parking and road regulations, and a patrol attended the area on Thursday evening to help manage traffic.

Like Preikestolen, the area is receiving heightened interest from Norwegian tourists currently on summer vacation, with foreign travel both in and out of Norway currently limited by measures taken to control the coronavirus pandemic.

“I have never observed so many people at Gaustatoppen before. Today is a record,” Halvor Haukaas, manager of the Gaustabanen funicular railway, told VG.

“It is obvious that many Norwegians have decided to holiday in their own country. There are also a lot of Danes here,” Haukaas said, adding that despite the long queues, “most people are observant of the corona situation and keeping their distance”.