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Approximately 7 Hours
The tiny hamlet of Skjolden is the gateway to the ruggedly beautiful Jotunheimen National Park. Covering 1,351 square miles, the park is home to a spectacular landscape of waterfalls, rivers, glaciers and some of the highest peaks in Europe north of the Alps. A great way to see it is with this full-day comprehensive tour. Take in the jaw-dropping scenery, visit two popular attractions and enjoy lunch in this remarkable wonderland.
Sit back and relax as your journey by coach takes you east out of Skjolden, past ice-blue Lake Fantesteinsvatnet and into the verdant countryside. For centuries, the Sognefjellet Route was the only road connecting Norway's east and west. Watch for the ancient stone cairns called varde -- these indicated safe trails over the mountain.
At 4,700 feet, a photo stop awaits you at Sognefjell Mountain pass. This is Northern Europe's highest pass and boasts eye-popping views of towering mountains and emerald valleys. You'll also see the majestic Hurrungane Mountains. Considered one of the finest mountain ranges in Scandinavia, the mountains' huge vertical walls rise almost 3,300 feet above a massive glacier.
Next, you're headed to the Stave Church in the tiny village of Lom. Did you know that Norway is the only country in Northern Europe whose medieval wooden churches remain intact? While Europe built their cathedrals in stone, a similar technique was developed in Norway using wood. A valuable part of the Norwegian architectural heritage, the stave church is truly a sight to behold. And Lom's stave church is one of the most magnificent in the country -- it was built in AD 1158 using a traditional post-and-beam construction method. The exterior features a triple nave; inside, you'll find the largest collection of paintings in any Norwegian church.
Just minutes away is the Norwegian Mountain Museum. Situated by a mighty waterfall, the museum explains the interaction between people and the mountain landscape from the Ice Age until today. Exciting exhibits include a full-scale model of a mammoth.
By now, you've worked up an appetite, so your next stop is the Fossheim Hotel for a delicious lunch featuring Norwegian favorites.
Back on the road, you'll stop in the hamlet of Elveseter to take photos of an old farm -- site of the 111-foot-tall Saga Column. Erected in 1992, the column features decorations representing Norway's history from King Harald I (AD 860) to the National Congress of 1814.
Your last photo stop is at the cascading Åsafossen Waterfall on the scenic route back to the pier.
Wear sturdy, non-skid walking shoes Dress warmly in layers with a wind- and waterproof outer layer; bring gloves, a scarf and a warm hat.