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One journey - 10 Stave churches

The cradle of Norwegian culture - Individual tour with own vehicle


Have you read the historical fiction novel ‘The Bell in the Lake’ (Die Glocke im See) by Lars Mytting? This is the story about a small village in Gudbrandsdalen in the 19th century.
A story about how one of Norway’s most magnificent stave churches were sold and moved to Dresden in Germany. It’s about myths, hope, faith, and love.
Most are fiction, but the story is based on real events and Stave churches still form an important part of Norway’s cultural heritage.
Before the Reformation in 1537, Norway had more than 1000 stave churches. Today there are 28 of these churches left. One of them is in Ringebu, where the myth originates and ‘The Bell in the lake’ story is set. 
This tour covers a total of 10 stave churches, Norwegian history in general, and lots of wonderful nature experiences.

Parts of the tour follows Norwegian Scenic Routes Sognefjellet and Valdresflye.

Dates:
June to August on request

Price 2020:
Per person in double room: From NOK 9 100. -

Included in the price:
4 x accommodation with 3 course dinner and breakfast
1 x accommodation with breakfast (Lillehammer)
Entrance fees for Maihaugen, Aulestad and Lillehammer Art Museum
Tour description

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Day by day program

Day 1, Arrive in Lillehammer
Make a visit to Maihaugen open-air museum. Enjoy the idyllic surroundings of this great open-air museum and experience life like in the old days. A collection of more than 200 houses from as far back as the 12th century and until today, including the Garmo Stave Church.
Make a visit to Bjerkebæk, where the Nobel laureate, Sigrid Undset, created a distinctive home in two old log houses. This is where she lived when she wrote Kristin Lavransdatter, a trilogy of historical novels describing life and faith in medieval Norway.
Make a visit to Lillehammer Art Museum The museum´s permanent collection comprises Norwegian visual art from the 1800s up until today. It is considered one of the countries’ most important art museums with particularly important and representative works from the years 1820 – 1930.
For families with children, we recommend a visit to Hunderfossen Family Park, an amusement park and land of Trolls and traditional Norwegian fairy tales. 
Accommodation in Lillehammer

Day 2, Lillehammer - Ringebu - Hundorp - Vågå, 139 km 
Make a stop at Ringebu Stave Church, dating back to around 1220 and among the country's largest stave churches. If you have read the historical fiction novel ‘The Bell in the Lake’ by Lars Mytting, this is where the real myth is from.  
Make a stop at Dale-Gudbrands Farm, in Hundorp and learn about the happening that led the people in Gudbrandsdalen from Norse faith to Christianity. 
Make a stop in Vågå and walk in Munch's footsteps to the beautiful Ullinsvin prestige. The garden was planted by the priest Johan Storm - great grandfather of the artist Edvard Munch. 
Accommodation in Vågå

Day 3, Vågå - Sognefjellet - Urnes - Luster, 133 km
Make a stop at Lom Stave Church. This is one of the biggest and most beautiful Stave Churches in Norway. 
Continue on the Norwegian Scenic Routes Sognefjellet. The road slowly ascends up the valley to the summit at 1 434 metres, making the road Northern Europe’s highest mountain pass. The landscapes provide a natural dramatic setting with the towering peaks of Jotunheimen National Park, the home of Norse Gods and Giants as well as Trolls. Along the road, you will be tempted to stop at the viewpoints to soak in the beauty of the natural surroundings. If the weather is good, it’s possible to have short hike.
Continue down towards the Sognefjord whose clear waters change colour from green to blue in tune with the light and the weather. From Skjolen, you continue on a narrow road on the south side of Lustrafjorden (The Romantic Route). Follow signs to Urnes Stavkyrkje. This is the only Norwegian Stave Church who is included on the UNESCO World Heritage list.
Along the road, you can stop and see the magnificent Feigefossen waterfall. With a free drop of 218 meters, it is one of Norway’s highest untamed waterfalls.
Ferry from Ornes to Solvorn. 
Accommodation in Luster.

Day 4, Luster - Kaupanger - Lærdal - Borgund - Filefjell - Vang, 146 km
Make a stop at the Heiberg Collections, Sogn Folk Museum. This is one of the oldest and biggest folk museums in Norway. Exhibits of agriculture, handcraft and rustic art, clothes and textiles, church and folklore, and childhood activities. 
Make a stop at Kaupanger Stave Church. The height is its most notable feature, along with the lack of carvings on the wall and in the interior.
Visit the old village centre in Lærdalsøyri with well-preserved wooden houses from 1700 - 1800. A unique attraction in Western Norway with small shops, cafes and a museum.
Make a stop at Borgund Stave Church, built around 1180. The church is exceptionally well preserved and the most distinctive stave church in Norway. (Kilde: stavechurches.com) 
Walk parts of the Kings road. The round-trip Vindhella - Sverrestigen is one of the most popular part of the old road, leading through a vast historical landscape. 
Drive across the Filefjell mountain pass, 1 013 metres at its highest. Notice St. Thomas Church on Filefjell. This was originally a small Stave Church. It lay in ruins for a long time, but a new church was erected in 1971. There are many myths related to the church, about spirits, healing powers and magic church bells.
Visit Øye Stave Church.
Accommodation in Vang, Valdres

Day 5, Vang - Fagernes - Valdresflye - Sjodalen, 93 km
Make a stop at Høre Stave Church, rich in dragon and lion wood carvings from the Middle Ages, and among these are two beautiful portals. 
Make a stop at Lomen Stave Church. Several medieval portals featuring wood carvings and animal decorations can be found in the church.
Make a stop at Slidredomen, the old principal parish church in Valdres, dating back to the 1100s.
Visit Valdres Folk Museum in Fagernes. The museum contents nearly 100 houses and constructions, around 20.000 items, and is the fourth largest open-air museum of Norway. The museum has a permanent exhibit of Norwegian folk costumes.
Make a stop at Hegge Stave Church. Inside the church, you can see the original staves with carved face masks. One of the staves has a runic inscription. 
Drive the Scenic route Valdresflye, with a beautiful view to the impressive mountains in Jotunheimen. You pass the lake Gjende and the famous Besseggen ridge, known as The Gjendin Edge in ‘Peer Gynt’ by Henrik Ibsen.
Accommodation in Sjodalen

Day 6, Sjodalen - Lillehammer, 144 km
Drive the Heidal Valley with the largest density of heritage-listed buildings in Norway.
Continue down the Gudbrandsdalen valley to Lillehammer.