Beitostølen is a village in the beautiful region of Valdres in central Norway. It is close to the wonderful Jotunheimen National Park where you will find the Besseggen Ridge and Norway’s highest mountain, Galdhøpiggen at 2469m.
Beitostølen is popular with visitors all year round, as people love to come to the area for its great range of outdoor activities. In the winter it really takes advantage of the guaranteed snow and has a host of fun winter pastimes on offer. In the summer visitors make the most of the dramatic scenery and come to hike, cycle and kayak.
To reach Beitostølen you can fly to Oslo then drive up the E16, which should take you a little over 3.5 hours.
Beitostølen in Winter
Beitostølen is the perfect place to visit if you want to experience a range of winter activities and it is popular with families. Their ski season is long, opening in the beginning of November and carrying on right through to the end of April. The resort is small so you don’t need a car and the Beitostølen Aktiv & Ski School is a great website where you can organise all your winter activities. You can do something different every day of the week, from dog sledding, to riding snowmobiles to ice fishing, if you want to!
Beitostølen in Summer
Beitostølen is a popular summer destination with people seeking outdoor activities. They come to hike, cycle and kayak in the dramatic Jotunheimen National Park and there are plenty of guided activities – again the Beitostølen Aktiv & Ski School have a range of summer guided activities so you can make the most of your time in Norway.
Jotunheimen National Park
The Jotunheimen National Park is truly stunning; with dramatic scenery and over 250 mountains in the region or 2,000m high there are plenty of options for hiking. In fact Norway’s highest mountain Galdhøpiggen is within the park. Other popular hikes are the Besseggen Ridge, Knutshøe and Kalvedalen.
Besseggen Ridge Walk
One of Norway’s most popular hikes is the Besseggen Ridge. You start off at Gjendesheim where you can park your car in the long stay car park and catch a free minibus to the ferry quay. There you catch the Gjende ferry, which take you along lake to Memurubu, which is a spectacular journey itself. The ferry is busy with walkers and it is advisable to book your departure before you arrive. The boats run from mid-June to October and the most popular months are July and September. There are eight departures a day, but the early ones are the most popular.
When you disembark at Memurubu you head straight up the ridge and walk back to Gjendesheim, which is around 17km, the highest point being 1,743m. The whole trip can take anywhere from 4 to 10 hours, but a good guide would be to allow 8 hours including plenty of breaks and lunch.
Cycling around Beitostølen
The Valdres and the area around Beitostølen is a cycling haven and there are a number of recommended routes in the area. Beitostølen is on the Old Milk Route or Mjølkevegen as it’s called in Norwegian, and you can follow this amazing route in either direction.
National Turistveger – Valdresflye
The National Turistveger is a Norwegian Scenic Route and there are 18 of these throughout the country. The Valdresflye is a 49km stretch of road running from Garli to Hindsæter with a small dogleg up to Gjendesheim. The landscapes are open and sweeping and if you have time it is worth stopping at Gjendesheim to catch a ferry on the lake, or even to walk the Besseggen Ridge if you have time!
Knight’s Leap - Ridderspranget
If you drive an hour north of Beitostølen you will reach Ridderspranget which roughly translates as the Knight’s Leap. It got its name from a medieval tale involving a beautiful girl and the Knight of Valdres who fell in love, and had to leap across the narrow gorge to escape the Knight of Sandbu who she was destined to marry.
You can get to Ridderspranget from the Rv51 where you can follow the signs to a small car park. Here you can park and walk up to the narrowest part of the gorge where the river Sjoa has cut down right through the rock.
Canoeing, canyoning, rafting, high ropes, fishing and other activities
There are plenty of popular outdoor activities in the area, and most can be undertaken with guides from the Beitostolen Aktiv and Ski School.
Valdres Folk Museum
Founded way back in 1901 the Valdres Folk Museum is just a 40-minute drive south on the RV51 and well worth the visit. It is a collection of pre-industrial agricultural buildings, which give a real insight as to how rural communities lived in the past. This fascinating open-air museum is also an important partner to the National Institute for Folk Costumes in Norway. A new reception building for the museum was opened in 2010. It was designed as a modern interpretation of a traditional building and uses traditional material designed to blend into the landscape.
Lyskapellet Chapel of Light
This lovely little chapel just outside Beitostølen is in a beautiful setting and is a new additional to the area as it only opened towards the end of the 1990s. Anyone can visit and enjoy the calm interior and the beautiful stained glass windows.
Traditional food from Beitostølen
Beitostølen is set within a rural area of Norway, home to many free-range dairy farms. Many of these farms take advantage of the high summer pastures and make and sell a range of traditional mountain foods. These include dairy products such as cheese, yoghurt and ice cream as well as meat products such as beef, pork and lamb. Traditional methods of preserving meats such as curing and smoking are popular, with many regions having their own special recipes.
If you are visiting Beitostølen you can visit the summer mountain farm Olestølen Mikroysteri which on Lake Olevatnet. The farm is in a lovely setting and you can also say help to the animals there. At the farm they make and sell their own brown cheese as well as white goat’s cheese and other dairy products. Brown cheese is a traditional Norwegian cheese made from goat’s whey. It gets its brown colour as the whey boils down and the natural sugar caramelises and is somewhat of an acquired taste!