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Vågå


Vågå in Norway Vågå municipality coat of arms

Population:
3,675

Areal:
1.330,2 km2


Vågå Local Directory


Accommodation, Businesses and more pictures from Vågå

Vågå municipality has approximately 3.720 inhabitants and covers a area of 1.330,2 km2 and are located in Oppland. Vågå, the name is derived from the old Norwegian word "vega", which means to travel or journey. The name tells us of a very old traffic artery between East and West. It is here that people have found rest during a journey in the olden days. Today also, modern people find a resting place where they can stop and discover some of Norway’s traditions. Sun-soaked log buildings nestling safely on generous hillsides, large farms and smallholdings at one with nature through the centuries. Work and satisfaction have gone hand in hand, people have found their identity here. The bell on the store house roof has called the seasonal workers for meals, the old houses forming a frame around the scene.

150 buildings in Vågå district have preservation orders on them. These are found on 16 farm complexes. The oldest building is an outbuilding from the middle ages. Up in the mountains it was the hunters who were dominant after the end of the ice age, ten thousand years ago. The old trapping areas with pits, guiding rails and bow-and-arrow-stands bear witness to this. There have also been stone-age finds of different types in the mountains. Finds from the bronze age and Viking times witness to the dawn of land cultivation which began to be a feature of the landscape.

The roads and tracks are unlimited for those who wish to spend time in Vågå. You will find most types of inland countryside here - including mountains, forests and lakes. A large proportion of Vågå is over 900 metres above sea level, a mountain kingdom of tremendous dimensions with the swishing of quiet pine forests, gushing rivers, twinkling, ice-green mountain lakes. You may hear grouse chuckling at you from the hillsides; perhaps the capercaillies, with its great wings flapping, will come through the forest and thicket, or the black grouse will be playing on frost-covered marshes. Moose and deer are plentiful, whilst in the high mountains there are reindeer.

The trout plays in the Sjoa watercourse and in the lakes in the Lemonsjø area, while Vågåvatnet also offers good fishing. Not least in unsettled weather - in mist, wind or rain - the landscape offers an adventure to be explored. Dress up well and explore Vågå in rough weather. Regardless of the fact that we are in an area with a small annual rainfall, we can still offer variable weather!

Parts of Jotunheimen National Park are in Vågå district, including Lake Gjende, which is an ice-green pearl almost a thousand metres above sea level. Along the banks of the Gjende there is a rich selection of wild flowers, including many typical lowland plants found here well over 1000 metres avove sea level. Besseggen, famous from Henrik Ibsen’s "Peer Gynt", makes up part of the most-used footpath in the Norwegian Tourist Association’s network. Tourism providing overnight accommodation and food services in Sjodalen and at Gjende.

BESSEGGEN

"Have you seen That Gjendin ridge"?
It cuts along
With an edge like a scythe for miles and miles.
You're able to look from that height of snows
And scars and glaciers sheer down.
The precipice to the glassy lakes Sixteen hundred feet below
On either side.- - -"

This is how Henrik Ibsen described "Peer Gynt´s" reindeer-back ride over Gjendineggen Ridge, which is today known as Besseggen. Over 30 000 people walk the route between Gjendesheim and Memurubu during three months in the summer part of the year. The walk takes about six hours, with its highest point at 1.743 metres above sea level. Besseggen itself is a part of this walk. The sharp mountain ridge cuts its way west towards Bandet, a flat plateau between Gjende and Bessvatnet lake. You will go past the water´s edge at Bessvatnet lake, whilst Gjende, which is 984 metres above sea level, is 400 metres below on the opposite side!

Another phenomenon that we will draw your attention to here is that Bessvatnet lake is crystal clear and blue in colour whilst Gjende shines through with its characteristic emerald-green glacial colour. The reason for this is Memuru, the river which brings large quantities of earth, clay and stone from the glacier in to the lake.

LAKE GJENDE

The proglacial lake shows typical characteristics of glacial formation, being long and narrow, with steep walls and 18 km in length and only 1.5 km in width at the broadest point. Lake Gjende has a characteristic light-green color resulting from the large quantity of rock flour which is discharged into the Gjende by the Muru river. The Sjoa river provides the outlet from Gjende at Gjendesheim, and flows eastward into the Gudbrandsdalslågen river.

RIDDERSPRANGET

Ridderspranget is a "Gjel" (place) in the river Sjoa. It is formed by the River has gnawed deep into the bedrock, so that erosion has only occurred in the river bottom.

"Gjelet" is named after a legend about Sigvat Leirholar, one of the king´s advisers, who received a letter from a beautiful girl who would marry the knight Eldjarn. The girl would not marry, and Sigvat decided to free her. He rode to Eldjarn farm and picked the girl. Eldjarn chased after them, but had to give up when Sigvat jumped Sjoa namely "Ridderspranget".

Ridderspranget is easy to get to, with a driveable road which turns off Road 51, 5 km south of Randsverk. From the car park it is only a short walk to the gorge. Please don´t try to jump across the gorge. It is highly dangerous!

GUDBRANDSDALEN

Gudbrandsdalen valley is oriented in a north-westerly direction from Lillehammer and the lake Mjøsa, extending 230 kilometers toward Romsdalen. The river of Gudbrandsdalslågen (Lågen) flows through the valley, starting from Lesjaskogsvatnet and ending at Mjøsa. The Otta river flowing through Otta valley is a major tributary to Gudbrandsdalslågen.

Together with Glomma river and Østerdalen, Gudbrandsdalslågen and Gudbrandsdalen forms Norway´s largest river / valley system. Gudbrandsdalen is home to Dovre Line and the E6 road, and is the main land transport corridor through South Norway, from Oslo and central eastern lowlands to Trondheim and Møre & Romsdal.

JUTULPORTEN

"The Jutul gate" - is a rock formation by the side of road 454, next to Jutulheimen village museum. The rock face is shaped like a gateway, and legend tells us that in this rock lived Jutulen - the local troll. It was he who brought Jehans Blessom home by horse from Copenhagen one Christmas Eve - so fast that they flew over hill and valley. Safely back in Vågå, Jehans was told not to look up if he heard a bang, but he forgot and looked up.

He saw the Jutul gate open at the moment Jutulen came in - and he knew then who had brought him. Blessom's neck was fixed and immovable for the rest of his life - in the position that it was in when he looked up! Jehans Blessom is in fact a real historical person who lived in the 1600s, and the Jutul gate fits in well with the story. At the side of the Jutul gate there is a special geological formation. The chalk rock was here compressed under great heat, and appears today as a remarkable wave form.

LALM

Situated in Lalm is Tolstadkvennberget, a preserved industrial site dating back many hundreds of years. Here we can find partly-shaped millstones, landfill and finished (and evidently stockpiled) stones, which bear witness to active trading and a long history. There are accounts of trading in the fifteenth century, but there is every reason to believe that millstones were quarried in this area right back in the Viking times. Right up until 1789, when the "Stor-ofsen" flood devastated the landscape, there was also activity higher up the hillside than where remains are now visible.

So far as we know, everyone could quarry millstones, subject to a fee payable to Tolstad, the site owner. If the face was easy to quarry, the quarriers' fee was one stone in every three that they quarried, but it seems to have been more usual that the owner took one stone in four. The bedrock here contains seams of garnet, and high-quality millstones were also valuable. In the seventeenth century a millstone could be worth as much as two or three cows. Millstones from Tolstadkvennberget were also exported to Denmark, the Netherlands and other parts of Central Europe.

BLÅHØE

During the summer, there is a toll road to Blåhøe, which lies at 1617 metres above sea level. On the top, there is a 67 metre high tower housing the Jetta telecommunications mast. The tower was first used in 1969. In the construction, 1500 cubic metres of concrete were used. The antenna alone weighs 40 tons. From the top of Blåhø there is a panoramic view of three national parks: Jotunheimen, Dovrefjell and Rondane. The road to Blåhø passes Vole and Salknappane. These are starting points used by the National Centre For Hang gliding and Paragliding in Norway, which is based here in Vågå.

VÅGÅ STAVE CHURCH

Vågå church is an extended stave church which has had its present form since 1630. The old church had a single nave and supposedly stood 300 metres to the west. Amongst other things, there are carved wall planks from the old church placed at the main entrance of the new one. By the style of these carvings we can date the old stave church at about the 1100s. Werner Olsen was responsible for extending Vågå church between 1625 and 1630. The pointed 8-sided tower surrounded by 4 smaller towers is a trade mark of his. He made the church cross-shaped, and the style of building resembles that which was used in the old stave churches. The vestry, built of shaped logs, was built later on in the 1600s.

The Stave Churches are constructions of high quality, richly decorated with carvings. In virtually all of them the door frames are decorated from top to bottom with carvings. This tradition of rich ornamentation appears to go back to the animal carvings of the Viking age. The dragons are lovingly executed and transformed into long-limbed creatures of fantasy, here and there entwined with tendrils of vine, with winding stems and serrated leaves. The elaborate designs are executed with supreme artistic skill. The stave church doorways are, therefore, among the most distinctive works of art to be found in Norway. However, it is difficult to connect them with the Christian gospel.

MAMMOTHS

Mammoths were common in our mountains and valleys 35.000 years ago. At the Norwegian Mountain Museum a full-size mammoth is on display. You can also learn about this species that died out about 7.000 years ago. The mammoth is related to the elephant and it has been known for 12 -14 million years. They were closely connected to the arctic environment and lived here in Jotunheimen about 35.000 years ago. A fully grown male mammoth could be about 4 meters high and weigh about 6000 kilos.

They were covered in reddish brown fur with a long «overcoat». The ears were round and small. Small skin flaps covered delicate areas at the tip of the trunk and the anus to protect them from frost. The mammoth´s trunk was very suitable for shovelling snow. In the upper jaw the mammoth had two tusks, these were very useful as weapons and for procuring food. They could be up to 5 meters long and weigh 60 kilos each.

The dairy maid Kari Jotun made the first mammoth find in Norway, at Skårvangsætrin in Vågå in 1886.

NATIONAL CENTER of HANG and PARAGLIDING

The National center for hang and paragliding in Norway is located in Vågå, about 300 km from Oslo. The center offers accomodation, camping facilities, meals, transport, salesarea etc. Vågå and the surroundings offers good places to launch on every wind direction. The highest start is Blåhø, 1618 meters above sea level and 1200 meters above landing. Good place to launch for XC or just to fly for fun. The center is open from easter until october and most of the time there will be a person in charge there. Hang and Paragliding are regulated from HP/NLF (that is Hang and Paragliding section of the Norwegian Airsports association). HP/NLF is situated in Oslo and the opening hours is every day from 8.30 - 16.00 hours.

TOUR SUGGESTIONS

Vågåmo - Sjodalen - Valdresflye - Beitostølen (round trip 180 km). The tourist road 51 across Valdresflye is closed in the winter. From Darthus, it is possible to see Glittertinden Peak to the south west. The preserved area of virgin forest at Randsverk lies a few minutes from the junction of roads 257 and Rv 51.

KVILINGSSETER

Turn-off to Ridderspranget 5 km south of Randsverk. The Hulderstigen route starts at Russlie. The sand ridge Fjosranden by Sjodalsvatnet Lake was formed by the thawing after the ice age 10000 years ago.

SLÅDALEN

From the mountain pass road between Vågå and Lesja, you can see into the kingdom of the wild reindeer in North Ottadalen. By the roadside, you´ll perhaps meet "huldra" - the legendary nymph of the mountains - offering mountain refreshments in Hulderbu. To the east, the characteristic Jønndalen Valley divides the mountain in two towards Dovre. Toll road open during the summer months.

NORDHERAD

All year round. A little round trip along roads 454 and 468, with an excellent view over Vågåvatnet lake to Kvitingskjølen, which lies 2064 metres above sea level. The route also passes Ullinsvin, Jutulporten and Jutulheimen.

FINNDALEN

An old mountain farming valley. Stone-age settlements. Quantities of ancient reindeer-trapping sites on the mountains. The characteristic V-shaped valley becomes a typical glacial U-shape to the west, where the river Finna meanders along and creates ox-bow patterns, in which sand accumulates on the insides of the bends. Toll road open during the summer months.

HIKING

Both in the vicinity of Vågåmo and in the mountains there are innumerable unmarked and marked paths and forest tracks that lend themselves to walk. Sjodalen is a central starting point for a comprehensive, marked all-season route network by The Norwegian Tourist Association (DNT). Ask for information and map at the tourist office or at tourist establishments.

HULDERSTIGEN

A nature- and culture trail from Russlie through Stuttgonglia Nature Reserve. 5 km of easy walking, suitable for children. 14 exciting features along the way. There is an opportunity to catch small fish at Birisjøtjønne pool. Picnic site with table and chairs. Information and map at the tourist office.

MOUNTAIN

Mountains over 2.000 metres: Surtningssui 2.368 metres, Store Knutsholstind 2.341 metres, Tjørnholstind 2.330 metres, Østre Leirungstind 2.288 metres, Mesmogtind 2.264 metres, Besshø 2.258 metres, Nautgardstind 2.258 metres, Vestre Leirungstind 2.255 metres, Skarvflyløyfttinden 2.250 metres, Søre Skarvflyløyfttinden 2.210 metres, Nordre Skarvflyløyfttinden 2.073 metres, Midtre Skarvflyløyfttinden 2.154 metres, Kvitskardstind 2.193 metres, Rasletind 2.105 metres and Leirungskampen 2.079 metres.

NATIONAL PARKS

Parts of Jotunheimen National Park are in Vågå district, including Lake Gjende, which is an ice-green pearl almost a thousand metres above sea level. Along the banks of the Gjende there is a rich selection of wild flowers, including many typical lowland plants found here well over 1000 metres avove sea level. Besseggen, famous from Henrik Ibsen´s "Peer Gynt", makes up part of the most-used footpath in the Norwegian Tourist Association’s network.

RAFTING

For those who want to experience the wet element, we can offer both rafting and paddling. You can’t get any nearer the river Sjoa than that.

FISHING

The trout plays in the Sjoa watercourse and in the lakes in the Lemonsjø area, while Vågåvatnet also offers good fishing.