Sunday, 4 October 2015

Norway's Olympic Heart: The Lillehammer Region

Lillehammer is the only destination in Norway where you can go skiing in the morning, visit an art museum during lunch and do some shopping in the afternoon. 

Lillehammer, Norway

WHAT TO SEE 

Olympic Arenas 

The Olympic Park at Lillehammer is home to five Olympic arenas: Håkons Hall, Lysgårdsbakkene Ski Jumping Arena, Birkebeineren Ski- and Biathlon Stadium, Lillehammer Olympic Bob- and Luge Track, and Kanthaugen Freestyle Arena. 

Hunderfossen Family Park 

Guarded by a 14-meter high troll, and behind the gates of the 37-meter tall fairy tale castle the treasure of the Norwegian folk stories is kept safe in Hunderfossen Family Park. The park is one of Norway's largest tourist attractions, and features a high ropes park, swimming pools, Fairytale Grotto, a racetrack and many more. 

Troll, Hunderfossen Family Park

The Norwegian Olympic Museum 

The only museum in Northern Europe that presents the entire history of the Olympic Games from the very beginning in 776 BC to modern days. It has more than 7,000 Olympic items giving insights about both Summer and Winter Olympic Games. There are three areas in the Norwegian Olympic Museum: a history section, Lillehammer ‘94 and the Olympic Room. 

Maihaugen 

Maihaugen, with close to 200 buildings, is one of Northern Europe's largest open-air museums in Norway. It is divided into three primary sections, the Rural Collection, Historic Town, and the Residential Area. 

Maihaugen, Eastern Norway

Rural Collection represents the villages in Lillehammer, focusing on the period 1700-1850 but also houses dating back to 15th century. Historic Town is the collection of buildings from Lillehammer between the early 19th century and around 1920. Residential Area consists of the time typical homes from nearly all decades of the 20th century. 

Lillehammer Art Museum 

Lillehammer Art Museum offers a vast collection of important works by Norwegian artists. It boasts a permanent collection comprising paintings and drawings by artists such as J. C. Dahl, Hans Gude, Adolph Tidemand, Erik Werenskiold, Eilif Peterssen, Christian Krohg, Frits Thaulow and Edvard Munch. Works by local Lillehammer painters are also on display. 

Skibladner 

Skibladner is the world's oldest paddle steamer. Enjoy a trip around Norway's largest lake Mjøsa from the deck. Enter the world of exciting sights, sounds and smells, unspoiled scenery and warm hospitality. Since she was built in 1856, she has carried passengers, post and goods to the surrounding towns and villages. 

Skibladner, paddle steamer

Ringebu Stave Church 

Ringebu Stave Church was first mentioned in 1270, although it could be older. It is one of 28 remaining stave churches in Norway, and one of the largest. 

WHAT TO DO 

Skiing 

Lillehammer is one of the oldest winter sport destinations in Norway and offers excellent opportunities for alpine and cross-country skiing with its long winter and perfect snow conditions. 

Lillehammer skiing

  • Alpine skiing: the Lillehammer Ski Resort ski pass provides access to five alpine centers and a total of 92 downhill runs (117 km), 45 lifts and six terrain parks. Hafjell and Kvitfjell offer family slopes as well as extreme runs, whereas Skeikampen, Sjusjøenand Gålå are ideal for those who prefer skiing on a smaller scale. 
  • Cross-country skiing: the Lillehammer region has kilometers of well-prepared trails and downhill runs suitable for all levels – from novices to professionals. 
  • More than skiing: enjoy dog sledding, tobogganing, bobsleigh runs, snowshoe walks, guided ski trips among other winter activities. 

Hiking 

Lillehammer is the gateway to the Gudbrandsdalen Valley, surrounded by impressive mountain plateaus. Hiking in the lowlands is becoming increasingly popular, and new routes are developed. The region is also an excellent starting point for visits to the national parks in Langsua, Rondane and Jotunheimen. Rafting in Sjoa Gudbrandsdalen has the country's best rafting and river paddling areas. Trips are customized to suit different levels and individual requests. Many people consider Sjoa to be one of the best rafting rivers in the world. 

Gudbrandsdalen Valley

Fishing  

Mjøsa is one of the country's best fishing lakes. In addition to famous 10-kilogram trout, you can catch pike, perch, grayling and 18 other fish species. In the mountains, you can enjoy crystal streams, running rivers, forest tarns or mountain lakes. Follow the Norwegian Trekking Association’s network of trails or bring a tent and find your own perfect spot. 


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