Accommodation, Businesses and more pictures from Aurland
Aurland municipality has approximately 1.700 inhabitants and covers a area of 1.467,9 km2. The Aurlandsvegen mountainroad between Aurland and Lærdal is open from the 1st of June to approximatly 15th of October. From Aurland to the viewpoint Bjørgo, the road is open all year. The crossing Aurland - Lærdal is 48 km and the highest point is 1.306. The road gives you a fantastic view. Snow along the road most of the summer and the road is also called the "Snowroad".
FLÅM and FLÅM RAILWAY
Flåm is a smalI town with approximately 450 inhabitants, nestled in the innermost corner of the Aurlandsfjord, and centrally located along the new main road. The world's longest road tunnel from Lærdal to Aurland is open. The Flåm railway winds its away through a narrow valley with steep mountainsides and ends in Flåm beside the Sognefjord.NSB invites you to take a train journey on the Flåm railway - a train journey that's really quite special. This 20 km long track offers just about everything: wild and beautiful mountain scenery, fertile heritage landscape and historical traditions going back to pagan times.
80% of the Flåm railway has a gradient of 55%. At the same time, there are 20 tunnels with a total length of 6 km - evidence of the most daring and skilful engineering feats in the history of Norwegian railways. Some of the tunnels are constructed as loops which wind in and out of the mountains. In order to ensure safety on this unusual stretch of track, all carriages are equipped with five different brakes, each of which can stop the whole train.
THE HEROS BEHIND THE LINE
Your astonishment at the Flåm railway will last for ever. We have mentioned the wild, changing scenery, the mild, fertile heritage landscape and the skilled engineers. However, the skilled engineers could not have demonstrated these skills with out the work of the navvies.
The biggest challenge was building tunnels on the stretch of line from Vatnahalsen to Blomheller alone, which is just over 5 km in length, almost 4 of these kilometres are given over to tunnels. Most of them were hewn out of the rock by hand. Each metre of these tunnels cost the workers a month's toil. It also took 20 years to finish the work, something to think about as we enjoy the journey on this fantastic stretch.
THE STORY BEHIND THE RAILWAY
If you had stood on the Myrdal plateau and looked down the 350 metre drop down toward the Flåm valley, you would definitely have wondered how anyone could imagine building a railway in this terrain.
The story starts in 1871, during the union between Sweden and Norway, when there was a desire to link the two most important trading towns in the double kingdom, Stockholm and Bergen, by railway. This is how the Bergen railway came into being, and in order to ensure transport to places around Hardanger Fjord and Sogne Fjord, branch lines were gradually built, the Flåm railway being one of these.
The Bergen railway was finished in 1909 and the Flåm railway 35 years later. Together, these two lines ilIustrate what is best and most challenging in Norwegian railway history. Today the two lines represent major challenges to NSB's staff and equipment. The Flåm railway is a high mountain railway, which means it has been built to tackle steep inclines and sharp bends. The trains require this because they travel up and down steep slopes, along narrow mountain ledges and tight hairpin bends.
As mentioned earlier, the Flåm railway is included in the list of the world's most beautiful railway journeys and has therefore become an international destination for many tourists. There are few places in the world which offer train journeys through scenery as wild and magnificent as between Myrdal and Flåm.
THE FLÅM VALLEY
The Flåm valley is a typical west Norwegian fjord valley. It is cut into ancient mountains, and glaciers and rivers have carved out both the Aurland Fjord and the Flåm valley. You can find so-called "giant's cauldrons", formed by smelt water from the glaciers at the end of the last Ice Age at several places in Flåm valley. Vegetable matter formed more than 9,000 years ago has been found in the bottom of the largest giant's cauldrons, behind the hotel in Flåm.
The oldest settlements in Flåm valley date back to 4900 BC. Until 1834, 17 pagan hanging stones stood on the plain just in front of Flåm Church, a sign of a living culture from 2.500 years ago. These stones gave Fretheim its name: the way to Fretta - the place where you asked the gods for advice. Today the hanging stones are benches in a small park at Lunden.
Magnus over the mount ains from Raundalen to Flåm in 1177. The route King Sverre took is still called Sverresgong. Shortly after Sverre died in 1202, Vangskirken church was built in Aurland. There are grounds for believing that it was consecrated in honour of the king.
On the journey from the high mountain at Myrdal you can see the green shades change, reflecting a cross-section of Norwegian landscape and vegetation. More than 500 types of plants have been found in this area, i.e. more than half of all mountain plants found in Norway.
All this as you descend from a height of almost 900 metres down to sea level at the Aurland Fjord. Down in the valley the climate is nice and mild, and if you travel at the right time of year you'll see some of Norway's most fertile orchards. So it is no coincidence that the Flåm railway, together with the Bergen railway, is one of the most spectacular train journeys in the world.
UNESCO´s WORLD HERITAGE
The West Norwegian Fjords of Geirangefjord and Nærøyfjord was inscribed on UNESCOs World Heritage List in 2005. The two fjords are situated 120 km from each other and they are separated by the Jostedal glacier. The World Heritage Site possesses a unique combination of glacial landforms at the same time as each area is characterised by its own outstanding beauty.
The wildest and most beautiful branch of the Sognefjord. Fjord cruises in unique setting, with sheer, snow-topped mountains, waterfalls and idyllic farms clinging to the mountainsides. The Nærøyfjord is 17 km long and the narrowest point is only 250 metres wide. The passage through Nærøyfjord is one of the most dramatic fjord trips in Europe. You'll also see charterboats and large cruiseship coming and going in the fjord.
Both the Geirangerfjord and the Nærøyfjord stretches through the municipality of Aurland, Lærdal, Norddal, Stranda, Vik and Voss.
On the hills surrounded by powerful mountains, and with a spectacular view of the fjord, you will find Otternes Farm. The farm consisting of 27 buildings, each with its own function, was probably cleared for cultivation before the Black Death.
In addition the old cultural landscape with hills, wells, stairs and stone structure is intact. Experience old handcraft techniques and food made in traditional style. Throughout the summer different activities like spinning, weaving, colouring of thread, baking and brewing will be arranged.
This cultural treasure emerges as a vivid museum where animals and people once again have moved in.
UNDREDAL STAVE CHURCH
This is a simple, small one-nave church. It is mentioned for the first time in 1321, however, the year 1147 is inscribed upon the ceiling grinder. This indicates that the Undredal stave church is one of the oldest preserved stave churches. The church was rebuilt in 1722. In 1962 it was restored, at which time an interesting discovery was made.
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.
Vangen church was built (1202) by a mighty and wealthy family that lived in Aurland in the Viking- and Middle ages. The church is built in a style that indicates an influence from English architecture. English merchants used to stay in Aurland during long periods to buy different articles and they took part in the building of the church. The church is built in an early Gothic style. The church has been restored several times and the restoration in the 1860's brought radical changes. The last restoration was performed in 1926. The pulpit dates back to the 17th century, the two candlesticks on the altar date from 1637.The stained-glass windows are made by the norwegian artist Emanuel Vigeland. In 1725 the Danish-Norwegian King sold the church, and thus it came into privat possesion. It remained in private property up to about 1900, when it was taken over by local administration.
Nærøy community in the parish of Aurland consists of the small villages: Dyrdal, Styvi, Tufte, Bakka and the inhabitants in the Nærøy valley / Gudvangen. The church is situated at Bakka, a small village by the Nærøyfjord. The church was build in year 1859 and has about 200 seats. It's a white wooden church. There are about 10 church-services a year. The church is open during the summer.
Flåm chuch is situated 3 km up the Flåm valley. A wooden church constructed in 1667. The altar piece, dated 1681. The decorations of the choir date from the same periode, showing grapevine patterns. The church nave has been decorated some time in the 18th century with pictures of deciduous trees and different kinds of animal . These pictures are unique in their kind as chuch art. During the last restauration, an old piece of cloth, know to have been used as antependium as late as 1930, was found. Museum experts stated that it has been a knight's cloak, voven in venice around 1300. This is said to be the only of its kind found in Norway. The church is open during the summer.
View Points in our destination you can reach by car or train. (On the many hikingtrips it is lots of viewpoints)
BJØRGAÅSEN - RV-243 Aurlandsvegen the Mountain road between Aurland and Lærdal, 6 km from the center of Aurland. From Lærdal 40 km. 1.300 metres above s.l. - down to the Aurlandsfjord.
LÅVISBERGET - RV50, Carroad between Aurland and Hol, about 18 km from the centre of Aurland or 76 km from Hagafoss/Hol. About 600 m above s.l. - view to Aurland/Aurlandsfjord.
VATNAHALSEN - Stop on the Flåm railway before Myrdal station. Hiking-/bikingroad - viewpoint to the Flåm valley.
HEDLER - 1 km from Lærdal Centre. Lovely view of the village, the river and the fjord.