After such a relaxing day yesterday we were well rested and had prepared all our snacks and lunch, so we were all set for an early start. We said goodbye to Bergen and set off on our journey of just over 4 1/2 hours to make our way to Aurland, avoiding highways and tolls as much as possible.
Our first scheduled itinerary stop was the Undredal Stave Church nearly three hours away. We found lots to stop and look at on the way including the beautiful multi strand waterfall, Tvindefossen.
Prior to 1988 the town of Undredal was only accessible by boat. Once leaving the main highway there is now an amazing drive via the 601 road, flanked on both sides by extraordinarily clear rivers and huge imposing mountains.
Undredal is famous in Norway for its brown goat cheese (geitost) that is still produced in the traditional way. The production of cheese is important to the local economy and they produce about 10,000 kg of cheese each year. Of course this means that they need goats – lots and lots of goats. In fact we later found out that the 100 people that live in Undredal are outnumbered 5 to 1 by the goats!
In summer the goats are left to wander and they can be seen as spots of colour on the mountains and fields. We had a number of up close and personal introductions to a few of them!
The village of Undredal sits on the banks of the Aurlandsfjord, an inlet which together with its dramatic mountain scenery is part of a UNESCO World Heritage site.
The Undredal Stave Church was what had prompted us to visit this incredible location. The wooden church was built around the year 1147. It is the smallest stave church in Scandinavia with seating for only 40 parishioners.
Located at the inner end of the Aurlandsfjorden is the village of Flåm. It’s quite a famous tourist destination with over 450,000 people and 160 cruise ships visiting each year. It is popular not just for its beauty but also because of the Flåm Railway Line. The line operates between Flåm and Myrdal and is noted as a spectacular trip for train enthusiasts and one of steepest railway tracks in the world.
As we found a carpark we realised there were no cruise ships docked and therefore took the opportunity to take loads of photos with unobscured views of the beautiful village and its fjord.
After we’d had a good look around, we decided to sit in the park and have our lunch. During this time we realised how lucky we had been from a timing perspective. As we ate we watched a huge cruise ship reverse park and dock for the night!
From Flåm our next destination was Aurland but as the weather had cleared up quite a bit we decided to head straight to the Stegastein Viewpoint first.
Whilst only 8km from Aurland this drive is very steep and narrow and has about seven significant hairpin turns. It made for an interesting drive up the mountain as we negotiated tourist buses, motorhomes and some adventurous hikers.
The Stegastein Lookout (Stegastein Utsiktspunkt), completed in 2006, juts 30m from the mountainside and is 650m above the fjord. It provides a fantastic view of the fjord, the mountains and the beautiful fjord landscape.
After taking many photos and enjoying the view for ages we made our way back down to Aurland and explored this beautiful village.
After having a good look around it was time for afternoon tea. We decided to check out the Marianne Bakery & Cafe and had the most delicious gluten free cakes we’ve ever eaten!
Our accomodation for tonight was at an Airbnb only 8 minutes away from the village. Surrounded by mountains the only sound we could hear as we went to sleep was the river. Today had been another trip highlight we won’t soon forget.