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Trollstigen: Essential tips for driving Norway's most famous road

Frazer Norwell
Frazer Norwell - [email protected]
Trollstigen: Essential tips for driving Norway's most famous road
Here's what you need to know if you are visiting Trollstigen in Norway. Pictured is the iconic mountain road. Photo by Ivars Utināns on Unsplash.

One of Norway's most iconic roads, Trollstigen, has reopened for the summer season. But, before you buckle up and take in the spectacular scenery, there are a few things you should know.

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Trollstigen, famous for its 11 hairpin turns draped over a breathtaking mountain pass, reopened for summer traffic on June 7th. 

Up to one million tourists, motorists, cyclists and motorcyclists are expected to take to the road in Møre og Romsdal, west Norway. 

The mountain pass is probably the most iconic of Norway's 18 tourist route roads.

Where is Trollstigen? 

Trollstigen, meaning the "the troll's path" is located on country road 63 in the Rauma and Fjord municipalities in the Møre og Romsdal county of west Norway. The Geiranger to Trollstigen stretch is 104 kilometres long and has an elevation change of 1,000 metres. All in all, it should take between two or three hours to drive the entire stretch of road one way. 

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However, the most famous part of the road is the section which ascends, or descends, from Stigøra. This stretch of road is blanketed with 11 hairpin bends and is notable for being carved into the mountain, supported by stone walls and the impressive bridge which crosses the Stigfossen waterfall. 

What to see? 

Looking out of the windows will be the easiest place to start, but you shouldn't just pass through the road and valley as there are plenty of places to stop. 

For starters, there is the large viewing platform which hovers 200 metres above the most picturesque stretch of road, with different observation points for both bold and more cautious visitors. 

Near the road's end is Flydalsjuvet, located on the steep mountains that back onto the inner Geirangerfjord. The fjord is a UNESCO world heritage site, and the rest stop at Flydalsjuvet is excellent for taking photos.

 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by Kristina Laurynaitytė (@kristina_lauryna)

If you get hungry, you can stop at the Gudbrandsjuvet viewing point. The café there is open from 10am until 5pm every day during the summer season. 

For more inspiration on where to stop and what to see, click here

Expect some congestion too

You may be left disappointed if you dream of having the open road ahead of you and the mountain pass all to yourself. The reason for this is that during the high season, 2,000 vehicles pass the Trollstigveien Plateau. This is the equivalent of a car every 10 seconds. 

Furthermore, the route is becoming a popular cycling destination, and slower vehicles such as mobile homes and coaches full of tourists, which can struggle with the inclines, also use the road. Therefore you can expect slow-moving traffic. 

This may not be the worst thing in the world, as it means you'll have more time to take in the views. If you prefer quieter roads then it is best taking the route outside of peak hours, such as early in the morning or before sunset. 

A number of measures have been implemented to try and prevent queues and congestion in landslide prone areas. This includes the closure of some of the stopping points and the presence of traffic controllers at key locations on the road. 

Weather in the west of Norway can't always be relied on

Perhaps after seeing a picture of the road, it'll be easy to imagine yourself pootling down it, or meandering up it with the sun shining, windows opening and clear skies above. 

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This may not be the case as the weather in west Norway doesn't always cooperate, and grey skies and rain are relatively common during the summer. 

Due to the altitude, weather can also affect visibility significantly, so if you plan a trip to see the road especially, you should do so when the forecast is on your side. 

Checking the weather will help give more nervous drivers a heads up to whether they can expect wet or greasy roads, while cyclists and motorbike owners can avoid having their trip ruined by bucketing rain. 

The road isn't always guaranteed to be open

Due to the risk of landslides and rock falls, the road can be closed at quite short notice to keep the public safe. The road has been hit by several landslides in recent years, which have led to closures. 

Ole Jan Tønnesen, county road manager in Møre and Romsdal county municipality, has told public broadcaster NRK that the road has become more unpredictable in recent years. 

"We must expect that there may be more frequent closures throughout the season. The situation in Trollstigen is more unpredictable than it has been before," he said. 

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