Active holidays in Røldal, Norway
March 16, 2019
by Mari Ragde
Are you looking for a place to go skiing this winter? Somewhere you are guaranteed snow, even powder? Or are you more interested in hiking in the summer? Then, let me tell you about Røldal.
Skiing, kiting or just afterski?
Røldal is a small town located in southern Norway. Not many have heard of it unless you are a skier or a snowboarder. Or maybe a big fan of old stave churches. To live in Røldal you have to love snow, and I guess the 400 people who live there do. Røldal is known for the huge amounts of snow that drops every year, and you are guaranteed snow every winter. You can do both crosscountry skiing or try out the slopes. Every year in April they also arrange a freeride competition where all the best skiers and snowboarders from all over the world come to compete followed by the best party of the year. So if you want to watch some big mountain skiing, go there in April. The ski resort is located 7 kilometers away from the town Røldal. The resort itself is quite small with only 4 lifts and 2 chairlifts. But this doesn’t limit your possibilities for good skiing, because the offpist and randonee options are endless. One option is Saudasvingen, where you get a good, long ride before you set off down the mountainside. How steep you like it is up to you. Are you new at skiing, don’t worry, there are slopes for you too. For example Gamleveien, a scenic route down to the right of the ski center. Anyway, beginners or professionals, make sure to try out the afterski in the area.
Are you more of a kite fan, or do you just want to try it?, then Haukeliseter is only 20 minutes away. Haukeliseter is a cabin with rooms for rent and a nice restaurant with a famous bakery. Outside on the frozen lake, they arrange kite courses every weekend during the winter season. Haukeliseter is also a starting point for treks during winter and summer with marked routes.
Hiking and history
Røldal is not all about snow and winter sports. Situated just at the border to Hardangervidda, Northern Europes highest mountain plateau, the hiking options are many. There are several hiking routes where you can start walking from outside the door and reach mountaintops with amazing views in just a few hours. If you are more into the multiple day hikes then a very popular option is starting from Valldalen and walk up and into Hardangervidda, or you can start at Haukeliseter. Either way, the mountains are all yours to explore. But be sure to get a map and to always let someone know where you are going. The areas you are walking in are so vast, you might not meet anyone for days. Also, the weather is very shifting, and it can get very cold in the summers too. Snow in June is not uncommon. If you are lucky you will see the wild reindeers on your hike, and if you are really lucky you might even see the arctic fox. If you are more into birds then look out for the grouse, they are everywhere. Another possibility when you are in Røldal is going to the now very famous Trolltunga, it is a one hour drive to the start of the hike and the hike itself is about 10 hours. Another possibility is Preikestolen which is a 3 hours drive to the start, this hike is only 2 hours each way. Both trips will take a whole day, and you should start early to get back safe before it gets dark.
If you are not into all this hiking and skiing stuff, Røldal also offers something for history lovers. The stave church in the middle of the town is originating from the period around the year 1200. The crucifix inside is said to have healing powers, and every year pilgrims from all over Norway are coming to be healed and to see the miracle of Jesus sweating on the cross at midsummer night. Whether you believe in miracles or not, the church is worth a visit.
On a rainy day
Shopping, swimming, and sightseeing
Of course, the sun isn`t always out, and it is nice to have some options for those rainy days. If you get in your car and drive 40 minutes you get to the little town Odda. Here there are shops, cafès, and restaurants you can visit. And if you are up for some more driving you can go on a little sightseeing in Hardanger, this is highly recommended if you are visiting during spring and blooming season. If you want to go for a swim instead, Hovden Badeland is only an hour and a half away from Røldal. And for more and bigger shopping possibilities the city Haugesund is a 2 hour drive away, and Stavanger a 3,5 hour drive away.
Sleeping and eating
Campings, hotels, and restaurants in Røldal
The camping options in Røldal are many. You have several camping sites down in Røldal, and you also have the hotel Hordatun, about 3 km outside the town. If you want to stay close to the ski area there is Røldalsterrassen which is a restaurant and afterski with apartments for rent also. These are ski in/ ski out apartments. These days there are also popping up airbnb`s and private apartments for rent everywhere, so you shouldn’t have a hard time finding somewhere to sleep. The dining options are not that many, but it should be something for everyone. In the ski resort, they sell some food, both hot and cold. But if you want something more homemade you can go to Røldalsterrassen, where they also arrange afterski in the winter and a buffet every Sunday. Hordatun Hotel is recommended if you are a pizza person. They also have the best afterski in the winter season with live music on many nights. In the town of Røldal you have Skysstasjonen, where they have different sandwiches, cakes, and hot food on the menu. They also offer cabins for rent and are open all year around. At Haukeliseter, a 20 minutes drive east, you can stay in nice rooms, while you enjoy some of the best cinnamon buns in Norway. The view is also amazing. But if you prefer to cook your own dinner you can shop your food at the local grocery store Coop.
How to get there
Røldal is located between Stavanger, Bergen and Oslo. Just on the side of the road E 134. From Oslo it takes approximately 5 hours of driving. And by bus, 6 hours. From Stavanger you can get there in 3-4 hours, depending on which road you take. And from Bergen also 3-4 hours. The bus options aren`t too many, so make sure to do some research before you jump on a bus.
Once you have figured out whether you want to go there during summer or winter, I hope you have a fantastic holiday. Enjoy!