A Closer Look at Nordfjord
Loen is a fjord-side village in Stryn Municipality in Vestland county. It is located in the inner part of the Nordfjord region, at the easternmost end of the Nordfjord. Loen is located about 6 kilometres north of the village of Olden and about 11 kilometres southeast of the municipal center of Stryn.
Loen has been attracting tourists for more than a century with the first visitors catered to by local farmers who offered horse-drawn wagon tours around the fjord and glacier. Although this sounds particularly charming, investment in the area has developed somewhat with a new Skylift to the top of Mt. Hoven.
Opened by Her Majesty the Queen in May 2017, the cable car can deliver you safely 1011masl in little over 5 minutes where you will arrive at the Mountain Station and Hoven Restaurant. At full capacity, the cable car can transport 350 people per hour and is now the most common way for visitors to see the surrounding vistas.
Hoven restaurant on top offers delicious meals both from the grill and a-la-carte menu. With an incredible 210 degree panoramic view overlooking Mt. Skåla, Lake Lovatnet, Jostedalsbreen Glacier, and the Nordfjord you will be hard pushed to find a restaurant with better views.
Those of you who like more of a challenge to earn your views might enjoy climbing the mountain by a Via Ferrata route. Via Ferrata is an Italian term used to describe a succession of steel ladders, bridges, and wires leading you up vertical cliff faces. Translated literally it means “iron road”. Those brave enough will traverse the longest Via Ferrata bridge in Europe, Gjølmunne at 120m. The trip usually takes 5-6 hours, luckily, you can enjoy the convenience of the Skylift on your way back down.
Mt. Skåla offers a grueling yet rewarding hike if climbing does not tick any boxes for you. The imposingly beautiful mountain towers 1848m over the village of Loen. Here’s a fun fact: in 1891 a stone tower was painstakingly built with three-tier bunk beds sleeping 22. The brainchild of Dr Hans Henrik Gerhard Kloumann was built to inspire recreation for body and soul.
The Skålatårnet tower is a self-service cabin run by the Norwegian Trekking Association (DNT) and it is, without doubt, one of Norway’s – and perhaps the world’s – most unique tourist cabins. This hike has always been popular, and a surge in visits prompted the installation of the 19-bed spaced Skålabu tourist cabin in 2017.
Mt Skåla is also home to one of Europe's toughest uphill races, the La Sportiva Skaala Uphill. From 29m up to 1848m above sea level over 8,2 km the race has both competition class with individual timekeeping, and also a “fun run” class without timekeeping.
The wild and wonderful Lodalen valley is simply stunning and not to be missed. A great option for exploring this area is a boat trip on the MS Kjenndal II along the emerald green glacial lake, Lake Lovatnet. The beautiful green color intensifies on days where the sun shines but the main reason behind the color is due to clay and magnesium particles discharged from the melting Jostedalsbreen glacier. Take the boat from Sande for a fantastic day out.