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Destination: Rondane National Park; so beautiful it should be painted

Wait a minute, it has been painted. In fact, apart from Munch’s 'The Scream', Harald Sohlberg’s 'Winter Night in the Mountains' is perhaps one of the most iconic Norwegian paintings ever created which is on display in Norway's National Museum.


And Sohlberg found his inspiration in the breathtaking landscape of Rondane National Park. I recently visited for the first time and was equally blown off my feet by the unspoiled beauty of this mountainous and incredibly diverse part of Norway.


Being just over a 2.5-hour drive from Oslo, it’s one of those spectacular landscapes that you can easily include in your itinerary. In this modest article, I’ll provide you with:


  • My recommendations for a fantastic overnight stay

  • The must-see spots

  • Places you might unjustly overlook


Your Stay


Let’s start at the beginning. When you’re planning to explore this area partially on foot, having a good base is an essential part of your experience. And for that, I have a wonderful recommendation. Picture a crystal-clear river gently flowing by, a charming meadow flanked with wildflowers, fire pits, a barbecue, and a sauna. From there, you overlook a terrain featuring a beautifully old red-painted farmhouse and several cabins. Welcome to the Rondane River Lodge.


A sense of summer nostalgia washed over me as I first sat down on the terrace. The atmosphere is charming and peaceful. Flowers everywhere and it smells like the forest. To my great surprise, I found fresh Belgian waffles on the lunch menu. The explanation came when I met the hostess, a Belgian. The brilliance of this place, apart from its central location in the heart of Rondane, lies in the intimate and personal hospitality extended by the Belgians. I’ve always had a bit of a love affair with Belgium and Belgians.


The beauty of this place is that you can either rent a hotel room or a fully furnished cabin, making it suitable for both transient travelers and those who wish to stay longer. It’s also ideal for couples and families with children, something not every hotel can claim. They offer a modest lunch and dinner menu, but the dishes on offer are of excellent quality.


We stayed in one of the larger cabins. After a long day outdoors, it’s wonderful to hang up your hiking boots, light the fireplace, and relax with a nice beer from Hogna Brygg. In the evening, they serve a three-course dinner in the restaurant with delicious, locally sourced dishes.


The Must-Sees of Rondane


As I mentioned in the introduction, Rondane’s allure lies in its breathtakingly beautiful nature. The diversity of landscapes is vast, from high mountains with snowy peaks to fairy-tale forests threaded with crystal-clear streams. It’s no coincidence that one of Norway’s scenic roads runs through Rondane. This road has several stops along the way, some enhanced with small architectural features such as viewing platforms, sanitary facilities, or visitor centers. These stops are invariably worth pulling over for. When you see this symbol, you know there’s something to see.


Sohlbergplassen in Rondane
Sohlbergplassen

One of these stops is Strømbu. This is an excellent starting point for a day hike through one of the most beautiful parts of Rondane. In summer, hiking paths lead in all directions, but when the snow falls, kilometers of groomed tracks await cross-country skiers. As you now understand, Rondane is for lovers of breathtaking nature, flora and fauna, hiking, and cross-country skiing.


Places You Might Unjustly Overlook


When heading to Rondane from Oslo, you’re likely to pass through Ringebu, from where you take the road that leads you up into the mountains and valleys of Rondane. Make sure to stop in Ringebu, as you owe it to yourself to pick up some delicacies for the journey at Annis Pølsemakeri. They make arguably the best sausages in the country and sell various other locally made treats.


Don’t forget to visit the Ringebu Stave Church. This is one of the 28 remaining stave churches in Norway, located in the municipality of Ringebu in Innlandet county. The stave church, probably built around 1220, is a significant cultural heritage site and one of the oldest stave churches in the country.


The brilliance of Rondane is that it’s not overrun by hordes of tourists; no cruise ships dock here, no trains run through, and there are no tourist shops. This gives the area its unspoiled character. So don’t spread the word too much after spending a few days here! Let’s keep this tip to ourselves, shall we?



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