Photo: Camilla Nordvik
Fjord Tours Articles / 8 Nov 2021

Trollstigen: The Troll’s Road

Trollstigen, or ‘Troll’s Road’ as it’s usually known in English, is one of the most visited tourist roads in Norway. It is a steep, narrow road with 11 sharp bends which connects the villages of Valldal and Adalsnes in Western Norway. This spectacular mountain road attracts plenty of tourists from all over the world, so let’s take a look at what makes it so special.

Matthias Ludwig
Photo: Matthias Ludwig

Where is Trollstigen?

Trollstigen is a serpentine mountain road in the area of Rauma in Romsdal, and it’s perfect for driving, hiking, cycling, camping and more. Each of the road’s 11 bends has its own name and unique features to it. Trollstigen is known internationally as a feat of engineering, with some areas featuring the road carved into stone, or into the mountain itself.

It’s said that mountain trolls live in the stony structures of the road and can be seen from time to time. These myths are what make places like Trollstigen so fascinating to travellers from all over the world. In addition to the interesting folklore, it’s no doubt that Trollstigen boasts scenery that is unlike anything else you will see in Norway. Lush green areas, sheltered strawberry patches, deep precipices and breathtaking view points await all those who will take the journey on this winding road climbing its way up the mountain.

Fakepeterpan
Photo: Fakepeterpan

Troll mythology in Norway

In Norway, there is a long-standing tradition of troll mythology. Trolls are mythical creatures that are often portrayed as being short with wild hair or larger creatures that dwell in mountains, forests and caves. In Norse mythology, they were seen as evil giants associated with magic. In written and oral accounts of Norse mythology, trolls are portrayed as mischievous creatures who like to cause trouble to humans. They are said to use their connections with nature to baffle, confuse and deceive humans.

One of the popular trolls in Norwegian folklore is Nøkken – a water spirit that is said to live by the water’s edge and lures people into the water to their death, particularly after sunset. He would often use melodious music, or appear as a floating wooden object in the water. These stories were told to keep young children and others away from large bodies of water, wild animals and strangers, and also to explain tragic drowning accidents that may occur.

The mythology of trolls remains strong today, and they are often shown in popular culture, for example in Dora the Explorer where a grumpy old troll guards bridges. Trolls are also shown helping Queen Elsa in Frozen and trying to cook Hobbits in Lord of the Rings.

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Photo: Jarle Wæhler/ Statens Vegvesen

What to do in Trollstigen?

In addition to the facinating mythology of trolls, Trollstigen offers many activities for the active adventure lover. Allow yourself plenty of time for this trip, because there’s a lot to see and discover!

Trollstigen is one of Norway’s most popular National Tourist Routes. The winding mountain road twists through 11 hairpin bends leading up to Stigrøra. The summit at the top of Trollstigen is 858 meters above sea level, and when you’ve reached the top you’ll find a platform wth fantastic views of the surrounding nature. There are also two viewpoints along the road, so we recommend that you stop to take in the sights.

A lot of people opt to drive the Trollstigen road, and it’s a fascinating drive – but if you’re nervous at the thought of navigating all those hairpin bends, it may be wise to let someone else drive or opt for a more active experience at Trollstigen. Why not join one of our tours that involve a scenic drive to the top of Trollstigen followed by a mountain hike to Bispevatnet offering fantastic views of the Romsdalen mountains?

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Photo: Friluftslek

Hiking along this unique stretch of road is an experience to remember, with breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains and valleys as you make your way up to the top. There’s also a fantastic cycling route available that will take you up high mountains and along deep fjords – so if you’d like to experience this spectacular part of Norway from the comfort of your bike seat, cycling is perfect for you.

Camping is also a very popular way to enjoy this area, and there are several camping areas along Trollstigen. Trollstigen Camping and Guesthouse is one such place, where you can camp outdoors with a tent, or rent a traditional cabin. You can also bring a tent (or rent one) or park your caravan at one of many outdoor camping spots available. The area is vast, so there is always a camping spot available!

If you’d like to take on one of Norway’s more spectacular and scenic drives or are up for an active adventure in this stunning part of Western Norway, Trollstigen is definitely the place to visit. And who knows – if you keep your eyes peeled, you may just spot a troll in the distance!

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Photo: Jarle Waehler /Statens Vegvesen