Located halfway between Oslo and Bergen, in the centre of southern Norway, Geilo is the perfect destination all year round. As one of Norway’s oldest ski resorts it has the benefits of being both easily accessible and surrounded by stunning scenery. Located half way along the Oslo to Bergen railway, or the RV7 road route (with a bus option), just getting there is part of the adventure! In fact the Bergensbanen stretch of the Oslo to Bergen route has been described as “one of the best train journeys in the world!” although the more attractive part is from Geilo to Bergen.
Depending which stretch you are travelling you can see fjords (and the newly constructed Hardanger Suspension Bridge) flatlands, valleys and alpine terrain as you make your way along this spectacular route!
Geilo in winter
With over 38 downhill slopes, and over 500km of cross country ski tracks, Geilo is fantastically versatile and will suit skiers of all abilities, including beginners. For the more adventurous, you can add some extra fun to your winter break by taking part in some of the more unusual winter sports such as snow-biking and snow-kiting. Alternatively why not treat yourself to a ride on a husky sleigh or a snow scooter safari?
Winter activities in Geilo
The Geilo ski centre and ski passes
The Ski Geilo website is a great resource to help you plan your winter Geilo stay. It has all the information you need on Geilo ski passes and the ski school which can both be arranged online. It also has recommendations for ski rentals. Once you are there you can check out the latest Geilo weather forecast, which Geilo ski lifts and slopes are open, webcams, the Geilo ski bus timetables, parking information and of course the all-important piste map.
Geilo in summer
If you are planning to visit in the summer months, don’t worry, you won’t be short of things to do. Geilo is the gateway to two national parks, Hallingskarvet to the west, with its steep cliffs, waterfalls and artic foxes. A little further south you will find the larger Hardangervidda National Park with its rugged mountain plateau, open spaces and reindeer herds. White water rafting, fishing, hiking, biking or horse riding in the wilds are all popular summer pastimes. This really is a chance to experience nature on your doorstep!
Hallingskarvet National Park
The beautiful Hallingskarvet National Park was created by the Norwegian Government in 2006 in order to preserve the glacial landscape and its unique ecosystem with a number of rare plants. Parts of the park, especially the south, are remote and a great way to reach this area is by train. The Bergensbanen railway (which is part of the Oslo to Bergen rail route) hugs the southern border of the park and Finse Station, which opened in 1908 and is the highest point on the Norwegian rail network. This is the sole access to a large area of the park and the start to popular hiking trails.
Hardangervidda National Park Centre
The Hardangervidda National Park is a large mountain plateau, which is above the tree line, so has a rugged appeal. It is home to herds of wild reindeer, which make up over a quarter of Norway’s reindeer population. The reindeer are shy and difficult to spot as they roam from various pastures throughout the park in search of the best grazing. The Hardangervidda National Park Centre, which is located near Skinnarbu, is a fantastic visitor centre with an award winning interactive exhibition about the wild reindeer where you can find out more about their history and habits. Next door is a superb panoramic café with spectacular views of Lake Møsvatn.
Summer activities in Geilo
Geilo food and local cuisine
Geilo is proud of its local cuisine, much of which is traditionally produced using methods that go back centuries. There are so many things to try either at home or from one of the popular cafes or restaurants:
Shopping in Geilo
Geilo is a resort with over 40 shops in the town centre so whatever you need during your stay, whether it be a new pair of ski gloves, something to wear in the evening, or something from the pharmacy, you are sure to find it.
Geilo is also home to many traditional crafts, most notably blacksmithing, so it is a great place to pick up some well-crafted gifts to take home. Tools, knives and cutlery are all made in local workshops along with wooden crafts and a range of items from sheep skin and other hides.