Accommodation, Businesses and more pictures from Sogndal
Sogndal muncipality has approximately 7.500 inhabitants and covers a area of 746,0 km2. The village of Sogndalsfjøra is the administrative center of Sogndal municipality. Other main villages include Kaupanger, Kjørnes, and Fjærland. Sogndal Airport, Haukåsen is located 10 kilometres southwest of Kaupanger.
Sogndal has a central situation on the Sognefjord. The Sognefjord is the world´s longest fjord, 204 km long and 1.296 metres deep. The Sognefjord cannot be discovered in just a day or two. If you want to experience the diversity and specialness of this area, you must plan for a longer stay. Sogndal is the regional centre for transportation, commerce, services and education. Agriculture has always played a major role in the municipality of Sogndal. Traditionally, the industries in Sogndal have been centered around the processing of agricultural and forestry products.
The Kaupanger Industrial Park is home to several large companies. Lerum Industries, a producer of lemonade, syrup, juice, and jam, is a cornerstone company in Sogndal, and it is also the largest factory of its kind in Norway. Gilde is a meat processing company specializing in cured meat products. Together with Lerum it constitutes the majority of the traditional industry in Sogndal. Many of the public service functions for the region are also located in Sogndal.
Sogndal is the shopping and retail center for the surrounding region which has about 30,000 inhabitants. There are about 70 shops in the compact center of Sogndalsfjøra. Many of these shops are located in the new, modern shopping mall called Sogningen Storsenter. Winter sports in Hodlekveheisen and Sogndalsdalen.
Sogndal is the educational center of Sogn og Fjordane County. Students from all over Norway come to Sogndal and they create a high level of activity, which is hard to find in places of similar size. Sogndal has University College, a large upper secondary school and the oldest continuously running folk high school in the country.
Fjærland is the district surrounding Fjærlandsfjord, a branch of Sognefjord. Fjærland has 300 inhabitants, and is part of Sogndal municipality. The area has been settled since the Viking Age. The size of the population has varied over the years. Large scale emigration to America took place at the turn of the century. The centre in Fjærland is Mundal, about 3 km from the main road down the fjord. Mundal centre includes school, church and tourist information, as well as shops, hotels and other services. The church is from 1861, rebuilt in 1931. It is open to the public. In Mundal you will also find several bookshops, this being the eighth booktown in Europe and the first in Scandinavia since 1996.
Most people in Fjærland are engaged in farming. The farms are large and easy to run compared to most farms in Western Norway. Soil quality and climate are particularly good with respect to animal food production. All the valleys in Fjærland have mountain pastures, so called "støl" or "sæter". Few of them are in use today. They can be reached by path or cart road. The landscape in Fjærland has been shaped by glaciers through successive ice ages during the last 2,5 to 3 million years. Towering mountains and U-shaped valleys surround large delta areas which results from the accumulation of sediment supplied by the glacier rivers.
The glaciers Bøyabreen and Supphellebreen come down to the valley floor in Fjærland. These are branches of Jostedalsbreen, the largest glacier on the European continent (487 km2). The ice falls of the glaciers move about 2 metres per day they are among the fastest in Norway. The lower Supphellebreen, at an elevation of 60 meters, is the lowest lying glacier in Southern Norway. Parts of Fjærland lie within Jostedalsbreen National Park. The national park covers 1.230 km2 and is characterized by great variation within short distances, from fjords and lowland, to mountains and glaciers. The cultural landscape in the valleys below the glacier tells about early settlements. Jostedalsbreen has been in use as a transport route for several hundred years. One of the most popular routes at the southern part of Jostedalsbreen is between Lunde and Fjærland, crossing Marabreen.
The Bøyaøyri estuary at the head of the fjord is a protected nature reserve, due to its part in bird migration during the spring and autumn. 90 species have been observed and approximately 50 species nest in the area. Most of the trade is directed towards tourism, which has long traditions in Fjærland. Over the past 100 years travellers have come to see the fjord, the mountains and glaciers. In the early years numerous cruiseships brought tourists to Fjærland, where they travelled by horse and carriage to the glaciers. Today these round-trips are made by bus. Several cruise ships visit Fjærland every summer. Especially the magnificent nature, the stillness and the good hiking conditions continue to delight the visitors. The path from the valley Supphelledalen up to the hut Flatbrehytta is the best gateway for the hikers to the glaciers.
The local sports association has marked 10 more trails, from easy 1 hour walks to more difficult walks for 5-6 hours. Until 1985 the only way to get to Fjærland was to travel by boat on the Fjærlandsfjord. In 1986 the road Fjærland - Skei was built. It was opened by former U.S. Vice President Walter F. Mondale, whose family and name originated in Mundal in Fjærland. In 1994 the road was continued to Sogndal - making Fjærland a center of communications in Sogn og Fjordane. The car ferry Fjærland - Balestrand - Vangsnes - Leikanger offers a connection by boat to / from Bergen and Flåm. Busses are going from Mundal to the glaciers and to the glacier museum.
THE NORWEGIAN BOOK TOWN
The Norwegian Booktown consists of 12 second-hand bookshops in Fjærland, Norway, together offering almost every category of literature. Here you will find books in several languages, most of them in Norwegian of course, but also an extensive selection of books in English, French and German. The Booktown has office hours from 10 am to 6 pm every day from 1 May to 30 September. Between April and October, groups are welcome to visit the Booktown upon further arrangement. You can order books all year.
NORWEGIAN GLACIER MUSEUM
Possibly the most entertaining museum in Norway. A hands-on museum where you can learn about glaciers and landscape. Here you can conduct your own experiments with 1000-year old glacial ice. Experince the unique and staggering panoramafilm from the Jostedal Glacier. Do you know why the ice blue is blue and the fjord green?
THE JOSTEDAL GLACIER NATIONAL PARK
The national park surrounds Jostedalsbreen the largest glacier on the continent of Europe. This is a big plateau glacier with many glacial outcroppings. In the national park there are also many smaller separate glaciers. Glaciers and water have shaped the landscape with many moraines and other geologically interesting phenomena. Fåbergstøls-grandane is the largest active outwash plain in Norway. The landscape around Jostedalsbreen is characterized by large contrasts. Within short distances you find a spectacular scenic variety, from fiord and luxuriant u-shaped valleys with farms and traditional agricultural landscape to barren mountains and glaciers with peaks rising to 2.000 metres.
Gushing streams, rivers and waterfalls cascading down steep mountain sides or deep down in the valleys are the hallmarks of the area, especially the Stryn and Loen river systems. Jostedalsbreen constitutes one of the largest wilderness areas in southern Norway. Some of the valley glaciers are among the most frequently visited tourist attractions in Norway. Nigardsbreen Nature Reserve borders on the national park. In the past, tracks and drove-roads crossed the great Jostedal ice-sheet, linking the western valleys with the inland districts of Sogn and south-east Norway. Cattle and horses were driven across the glacier to be sold in the markets in the east. This would be difficult today as the ice-sheet has shrunk and is therefore steeper and has more crevasses.
Jostedalsbreen has long been regarded as an attractive area for walkers and hikers. Skiing the length of the glacier has become popular in recent years. Without specialist knowledge and proper equipment, however, walking or skiing on the glacier is highly dangerous. The old routes in the valleys around the glacier, such as Oldeskardet, offers exciting walking tours. Some of the valley glaciers like Briksdalsbreen, Bøyabreen and Nigardsbreen are among the most frequently visited tourist attractions in Norway. Jostedalsbreen National Park covers parts of the following municipalities: Luster, Sogndal, Balestrand, Førde, Jølster, Gloppen and Stryn. There are access roads to the park from many of the surrounding valleys, including Jostedalen, Veitastrond, Fjærland, Stardalen, Oldedalen and Lodalen. Accomodation at camp sites, guest houses and hotels in the valleys outside the park, and at cabins within the park a few hours by foot from the main roads. In the vicinity of the park there are three visitor centres, Jostedalsbreen Nasjonalparksenter, Norsk Bremuseum and Breheimsenteret.
A living museum, the Heiberg Collections document life along the Sognefjord throughout the last 4-5 centuries. Here you can experince the living conditions of the people of Sogn over the last 4-500 years. The open-air museum contains more than 30 historic buildings, from the open-hearth room of the Middle Ages, to the prefabricated house of the 1980´s. The museum also maintains a farm dating from the latter part of the 19th century, where you can experience how a farm was run, and see animal races from times past. Opening season: May and September.
Aspecial branch of the Heiberg Collection presents the fjord culture. The museum has an exhibition of boats that ranks among the best ones in the country and a workshop of a boatbuilder that displays the tools of this trade. In addition you will find fishing equipment and various bits and pieces connected with the fjord and fjord life. Opening season is June, July and August.
Historic tour of Sogndalsfjøra. The area has a long and interesting past as a well established landing point, and may have been a natural mid - point in the parish for many centuries. Tourist information boards in the centre showing Fjøra's history.
KAUPANGER STAVE CHURCH
This church was built approximately 1180 and is one of the largest stave churches. It has freestanding masts which support the roof of the center section. The roof of the nave was rebuilt in the 1600´s. It was at this time that the church acquired its altarpiece and pulpit, as well as the two richly carved and painted sepulchral tablets. Season is June, July and August.
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.
The church was built in 1867. Located near Stedje church you will find a runic stone. Its 1.9 meters high, approximately 1100 A.D. The inscription reads: "Olafr Konungr skaut milli steina dessa".
Visit a summer dairy with 600 goats. The hosts will demostrate milking and cheesemaking. A taste of brown goat cheese is a must. Season is June, July, August and September.
The Fonnafly air company offers flights starting at Sogndal, providing the most stunning view of the Sognefjord and the Jostedal Glacier. Season is approxemately end of May, June, July and August.
Sognefjord Rafting experience high speed and excitement on the fjord. We don our buoyance suits and go on board. Welcome for an astounding scenic experience in a spacious open boat!
There are 16 marked trails around Sogndal. Touring map available from the tourist information office.
The fjord, lakes in Sogndalsdalen and the Sogndal river offer excellent fishing opportunities. Please contact Sogndal tourist office for fishing licence and appointments with landowners. Boatrental by the Sognefjord, Motorboat rental.
Sogn Golfclub is under construction.