Andalsnes is one of the most beautiful places in Norway, and even though it rained for most of our stay, below, I detail some of the must see spots in this region of Norway.
We traveled to Andalsnes in the 3rd week of September because we found a one way non-stop 10 hour flight to Oslo for $288.5/person. Seriously, my eyes nearly popped out of my head when I saw that deal. For context, I've paid triple that for a flight from Los Angeles to Ohio - freaking Ohio! Anyway, before I get derailed by my absolute hatred of Midwest flights, let's talk about my love for Norway, shall we?
My love affair with Norway began years ago through Pinterest. The sheer number of gorgeous hikes shared by folk inspired me to return to that country and ensure that I ventured past Oslo - it's capital and largest city - which is all I did during my first trip there in 2016.
During this trip we landed in Oslo and almost immediately boarded a flight for Molde - the closest airport to Andalsnes. At Molde, we rented an electric car - because Norway is way ahead of the game when it comes to EVs. Majority of the new vehicle sales in Norway are either fully electric or hybrid vehicles. Our Hyundai Ioniq was a very reliable car with more than enough charge for the over 1 hour drive to Andalsnes and because we already own EVs back in the States, it was a very easy transition.
To get to Andalsnes from Molde, you will need to take a ferry that is completely free of charge and runs about every 40 minutes. The views on the Ferry ride are also to die for.
Our Airbnb in Andalsnes was a fully equipped house that was lovely and also very affordable. The owners were so responsive to any questions we had, including about how to get to hiking areas. The views from the house, although cloudy for the duration of our stay, were quite lovely.
Day 1: Stigfossen
Fun fact: 'fossen' means 'the waterfall' in Norwegian and Swedish so you'll see many waterfalls that have that word attached to them. Anyhoo, when we realized our arrival day was most likely the last non-rainy day for the duration of our stay, we immediately decided to attempt to see Stigfossen since it was only a 20 minute drive away. The views and lookouts alone on the way to the waterfall are worth it by themselves.
The waterfall itself is beautiful and cascades beautifully down its chosen mountainside.
As you can see by the paved road, you can drive right up to the falls, so no hike needed for anyone with physical limitations. Gorgeous picture right?? Anyway, my absolutely favorite thing about Norway is the sheer amount of waterfalls you'll see on every corner. I was in heaven - waterfall heaven, because is there any other kind of heaven?
But onwards to day 2...
Day 2: Rampelstrakken
The next day, the deluge began and did not let up for the remainder of the 3 days we stayed in Andalsnes. I was heartbroken. We had planned to hike Romsdalseggen, however the cold, foggy and rainy day discouraged us from attempting such a feat and potentially risking our lives in the process. We decided on taking a chance on Rampelstrekken instead because the entrance to the hike was literally just a 10 minute walk from our Airbnb. After two hours of cold, muddy and rainy hiking, we were hoping against all hope to have this view:
Unfortunately, no miracles happened that day and instead, what we got was this view:
A whole heap of nothing but fog. Props to my boyfriend for making lemonade out of lemons by choosing to take this artistic photo, despite the fact that we could not see the views we'd desperately hoped to see.
Day 3: Dombas
The next day, we decided to take the scenic train to Dombas - once more, the train station was a mere 5 minute drive from our Airbnb. Once again, the glorious site of numerous waterfalls treated us on our journey.
When we arrived in Dombas we were unsure what to do because honestly the online recommendations about visiting the park and the church were just meh. So we decided to try to find a hike instead. It was tricky but we found one that was quite a challenge, but provided lovely autumn views along the way, along with some free-range sheep.
We stayed in Dombas for some lunch (and had quite literally the worst vegan burger I'd had in years ) before we boarded the last train back to Andalsnes.
Day 4: Dovrefjell-sunndalsfjella nasjonal park
On our last day, we decided to drive to Dovrefjell-sunndalsfjella nasjonal park because it was the closest place we could find that wasn't planning to dump rain on us. In order to get to this park from Andalsnes, you will drive past Donbas and this was wonderful for us because we felt that the scenery on the way to Donbas was to pretty to absorb on a quick train ride. Being able to drive that road enabled us to stop as many times as we liked and just bask in the beauty while of course taking hundreds of pictures.
Now at the park, It was freezing (for me)! It was around 30 degrees Fahrenheit and man...I was so freaking cold! However, there was no rain...just a few specks of snow. This park turned out to be very beautiful, especially because the flora had begun to change into lovely autumn colors.
When we departed Andalsnes, we knew we had to plan a return trip; in fact, we'd like to return to Norway annually (or more often if possible) because there's just so much to see. In addition, the customs process at the airports in Norway were so smooth and streamlined compared to the other countries and airports we visited and passed through (I'm judging you very hard Heathrow Airport). Having visited several European countries - Norway, Scotland, England, Spain, France, Portugal, Czech Republic, Ireland, Switzerland, Croatia, and Germany, I can confidently say that Norway is by far my favorite country in Europe. I, of course plan to visit some of these countries again and explore different regions. But because of the eco-friendly and socially responsible policies of Norway and just the ease of travel and stunning beauty of its scenery, I believe Norway checks all my boxes for a place I'd love to return to again and again.
Where to stay: AirBnb is the way to go (in my humble opinion). The views from our AirBnB were excellent and it was very close (like 5 minutes driving distance) to multiple hikes including the big one - Romsdalseggen. Where to eat: honestly, I would recommend just going to the nearby grocery stores and making yourself a nice dinner if you're into cooking, or making some sandwiches for your hikes. For my fellow plant-based beauties, there was lots of plant milk and fruits and veggies. I was unsuccessful in finding Tofu though so maybe they haven't caught up to that yet. If you go to Donbas, DEFINITELY skip the vegan burger in Frich's Kafeteria. Mine tasted like it'd been trampled upon by many a sheep. Places to see: Let's start with the one everyone goes for first: Romsdalseggen - unfortunately, it was raining pretty badly on the day we were supposed to go for this 8 hour hike so we went for its equally difficult but a little shorter sister hike - Rampelstrekken. Another good option for those who'd rather spend 4 hours hiking rather than 8.
Stigfossen - it's a quick drive to it with lovely views all around so it's a must-see
Dovrefjell-sunndalsfjella nasjonal park - you can't beat those autumn layers
I had such a great time taking pictures and videos of all the waterfalls and fjords. Andalsnes is truly one of the most beautiful places on earth and I would go back again and again. Next time though, I would stay a good 2 weeks in Norway, and explore the more northern parts of Norway like Senja and all the stunning hikes in that region.
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