Pack your bags and get ready for a journey to the hidden gem of Norway: Undredal! Nestled in the picturesque fjords of Western Norway, this charming little village is sure to captivate you with its beautiful natural sights and uniquely delicious attractions.
Let’s get the main attraction out of the way: the fjords are undeniably spectacular and make a visit to this corner of the world completely worth doing. But there’s more than just gazing in awe at the nature reaching far above you, as you can also munch on local delicacies, most notably Norway’s famous brown goat cheese, which is made right here.
And if you’d like something more active, there are plenty of outdoor activities in the area, meaning there’s certainly no shortage of ways to experience all that this unique location has to offer!
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Where is Undredal, Norway?
Undredal is a small village located in the Aurlandsfjord, which itself branches off from the 127 mile (204 km) long Sognefjord nearby. The village is located about 3.1 miles (5 km) from the mouth of the Nærøyfjord, putting it firmly in Norway’s “fjord country”.
Official numbers show that, at one point, there were just over 100 people living here however it seems that may have dropped slightly. In any case, expect anywhere from 80 to 100 people actually being residents of the village, many of whom work in Undredal’s cheese industry. You’ll also find some local production of goat sausage, although its cheese is far more famous.
One other claim to fame: Undredal was the inspiration for the village in the movie Frozen!
How to get to Undredal, Norway
Undredal is located about 8 miles (13 km) from the town of Flåm in Norway. It can be reached by car, bus or boat, with a 15 to 25-minute drive from Flåm or by taking the express boat from Bergen to Flåm.
Interestingly, Undredal was only accessible by boat before 1988 when the first road connection was created, now accessible via two lengthy tunnels, the Gudvanga and the Flenja, which makes it much easier for tourists and local industry.
Once you arrive in Undredal, you can easily explore the village on foot as it’s relatively small. You can also rent a bike or take a guided tour to explore the surrounding areas.
Some more information on the different options for getting to Undredal are as follows.
Undredal can be reached by car via the E16 road, which runs between Bergen and Oslo. It’s a 15 to 25-minute drive from Flåm and Aurland respectively.
If you’re driving between Undredal and Bergen, the journey takes around 2.5 hours. The drive to Undredal is very scenic and passes through a network of tunnels and down a narrow country road, which adds to the adventure.
If you prefer to use public transportation, you can take the bus to the nearest stop to Undredal, which is Langhuso along the main road E16. From there, it’s a 8-10 minute drive to Undredal or a 45-minute walk.
The bus service to Langhuso is operated by Nor-Way Bussekspress and offers connections to Bergen, Voss, and Oslo.
There are a few boat options to get to Undredal. The quickest option is to take the express boat from Bergen to Flåm, which makes a stop in Undredal if you notify them in advance.
Alternatively, the more beautiful but slower way is that you can take a fjord cruise between Gudvangen and Flåm, which also stops in Undredal.
Another exciting way to get to Undredal is by taking a high-speed RIB boat from Flåm, which takes around 20 minutes and offers stunning views of the fjord.
What to see in Undredal, Norway
1. Visit Undredal Stave Church
If you’re a history or architecture enthusiast (or just like pretty buildings with amazing backdrops) then the Undredal Stave Church is for you. This is the smallest stave church in all of Scandinavia, making it a one-of-a-kind experience.
Built around 1147 and restored in 1722, the church is a historical gem that boasts white clapboard sidings on its exterior, a distinctive feature not found in most stave churches. Inside, the medieval chandelier adds to the church’s unique charm.
Given its small size, the Undredal Stave Church offers an intimate atmosphere that accommodates only 40 people, making it a truly special experience.
2. Sample some of the famous Undredal cheese
If you’re a cheese lover, then Undredal is a must-visit destination! This charming village is famous for producing some of the best goat cheese in the world, using traditional methods that have been preserved for centuries.
The Undredal Stølsysteri is a cooperative dairy that makes both brown and white goat cheese, which are legendary and still produced using unpasteurized and raw goat milk.
The brown cheese is sugary, creamy, and so delicious that it melts in your mouth. Meanwhile, the white cheese comes in two varieties: fresh and aged, and the traditional unsalted white cheese, Sogna, is the regional specialty.
You can taste and buy these local delicacies at Undredalsbui, the local store in the village that sells cheese year-round. During the summer season, you can also tour the Eldhuset Museum to see the entire process of cheese-making and the history behind it.
If you’re lucky, you might even catch the famous Goat’s Cheese Festival (Geitostfestivalen) that used to be held every other summer in Undredal, which is a celebration of the making and traditions of cheese-making, with live music, cheese tastings, and farmer’s markets. Unfortunately, it’s no longer held as regularly so check before going if the festival is on in the summer you plan to go, to avoid being disappointed.
But even if there’s no festival on, that doesn’t mean you have to miss the chance to savor the authentic and delicious goat cheese that put Undredal on the map!
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3. Do a fjordsafari
If you’re pressed for time and looking to experience the highlights of Undredal, don’t miss the Fjordsafari Taste Experience. This roughly three-hour adventure is a thrilling combination of a RIB boat tour and a stopover in Undredal to sample their renowned goat’s cheese and learn about cheese-making traditions.
You’ll meet your captain at Flåm harbor and begin your journey on the fjord with a RIB boat, stopping at attractions along the way to spot wildlife such as seals, porpoises, and some of Norway’s eagles. Your guide will share local history, information about the fjord, and stories, tales, and legends from the area.
In Undredal, you’ll get a chance to try the famous goat’s cheese and learn about the traditions of cheese production. Local folktales and folk songs will add to your unique experience.
You can find out more and book this here. Just note that it only runs from May to September.
4. Say hi to the goats
Undredal, Norway has a unique human-goat ratio, with less than 100 people and as many as 500 goats roaming around the village! This is due to the village’s steep mountains and fjords that had made it impassable for centuries, and goats were the preferred farm animal of the area.
You can still see some goats grazing on the hills as you approach the village today. Come and experience the charming and authentic atmosphere of Undredal, where goats are an essential part of the village’s culture and lifestyle.
5. Visit the Hjødna viewpoint
Looking for a quick and easy way to take in the beauty of Undredal? A visit to the Hjødna viewpoint is a must!
Just a short walk from Undredal itself, this spot offers breathtaking views of the fjord and the village below without taking too much effort.
From this vantage point, you’ll have an amazing bird’s-eye view of the stunning natural surroundings that make Undredal such a special place. Whether you’re looking to relax and take in the beauty of the fjord, or simply want to stretch your legs and enjoy a quick hike, the Hjødna viewpoint is the perfect destination.
The hike to the viewpoint is relatively easy and takes only about 20-30 minutes. Once you arrive, you can take a moment to rest, catch your breath, and soak in the magnificent views that surround you.
While it’s not as well-known as some of the other viewpoints in the area, the Hjødna viewpoint is a hidden gem that’s waiting to be discovered.
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6. Hike to Stigen Farm
Nestled snugly high above the fjord on a grassy plateau is Stigen Farm, a unique and fascinating place to visit during your stay in Undredal.
From the fjord, you’ll be awed by the sight of this isolated farm, perched on the mountainside, seemingly inaccessible. In the olden days, getting to the farm required climbing up a ladder, and legend has it that the farm managed to avoid paying taxes by simply pulling up the ladder so the tax man couldn’t reach them!
(Just to drive the access issue home: there’s a reason Stigen Farm was featured on the Norwegian television show “Der Ingen Skulle Tru at Nokon Kunne Bu,” which translates more or less to “Where Nobody Thought Anyone Could Live”.)
To reach the farm now, there’s a small and narrow trail carved into the mountainside, and after a short (but relatively tough – although there are harder ones nearby, as you’ll see in a moment) hike, you’ll arrive at the farm. It’s also possible to visit the farm by boat or kayak, or by hiking down from Hovdungo.
The farm is surrounded by lush, green landscapes and offers stunning views of the fjord and surrounding mountains. It’s also now open to visitors, and you can even join the owners on a week-long camp, immersing yourself in farm living.
The camp is called Camp NaTURligvis, with “Naturligvis” translating to “of course”, with the “TUR” being emphasized because it means “hike”. Clever, no?
You’ll get to experience traditional Norwegian farm life, enjoy home-cooked meals made from locally-sourced ingredients, and participate in daily activities like milking goats, making cheese, collecting Norwegian blueberries when in season and hiking in the surrounding mountains.
Just make sure you book your visit early to ensure availability.
7. Hike Hovdungo and Ørnareiret (Eagle’s Nest)
As you can tell by now, Undredal is surrounded by steep mountains and offers visitors a range of hiking opportunities. A popular choice among locals is the Hovdungo and Ørnareiret (Eagle’s Nest) hike, which provides breathtaking views of the Aurlandsfjord.
Hovdungo is a mountain farm located in Aurland Municipality, although keep in mind that there’s one in Aurland and another in Undredal, both with the same name. For that reason, it’s essential to be clear about which one you’ll be hiking.
The hike in Undredal is rather challenging, with a length of five miles (8.2km) and an elevation gain of around 2,300 feet (700 meters), taking about two hours to reach the top.
Despite the strenuous climb, the view from the top is well worth it, and you’ll be rewarded with absolutely panoramic views of the fjord.
For a unique overnight experience, consider staying at Ørnareiret, a small hut located around 250 meters above Hovdungo. The hut offers accommodation for one night at a time and can be booked in advance here.
This is an excellent option for those who love nature and want to spend the night under the stars, listening to the sounds of nature. It helps give you a good rest before the hike down too!
8. Hike to Stokko
If you’re not feeling up for a strenuous hike like Hovdungo, fear not! There’s a shorter and easier alternative to explore the great outdoors in Undredal: the hike to Stokko.
Follow a scenic tractor road along the fjord from Undredal to Stokko, around 2 kilometers towards Stigen Farm. The route (which you can see here) follows the fjord without too much elevation, so it’s an ideal walk for all fitness levels.
It’s a lovely and peaceful stroll that lets you take in the stunning views of the fjord, and it’s perfect if you’re looking for a couple of hours’ adventure.
9. Visit Eldhuset
In the heart of Undredal stands the Eldhus, a historical Norwegian building used for cooking and, in the case of Undredal, cheese-making. If you want to delve into the village’s cheese-making tradition, this is a must-visit.
Here, you can learn about the process of cheese making, as the Eldhus offers tours to show visitors the history of Undredal and to let them taste some delicious local cheese.
Eldhuset is open only during summer, from May to September. But don’t worry, if you’re traveling with a group outside of these months, you can still contact them and ask if they can arrange a tour for you.
Where to stay in Undredal, Norway
Many people choose to only do day trips to Undredal, which is fine if you’re short on time. That said, if you can manage it, spending at least one night here can be magical.
This is especially the case if you visit in summer, as you’ll get those extremely long days that let you see the soft light of sunset dance over the fjord far later than you would in most other parts of the world.
As mentioned though, Undredal is tiny so accommodation options are limited. I’d suggest staying at the Undredal Fjord Apartments. You’ll get an apartment rather than just a room, letting you take advantage of having a small kitchen if you wish.
But the highlight is the fact that each apartment comes with a balcony with beautiful views of the surrounding mountains. I’d recommend bringing a bottle of wine with you, buying some of the famous Undredal cheese and enjoying the show that nature puts on for you.
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When is the best time to visit Undredal?
Undredal is an idyllic village that is best visited during the high season from June to August. But don’t fret if you’re traveling outside this period as visiting in May and September can still offer you great experiences.
Although many activities are closed during winter months, visiting the village is still worthwhile then too. If you’re looking for peace and tranquility, then winter is the perfect time to visit Undredal.
The village is just as beautiful in winter and the lack of crowds only enhances its serene charm. Just keep in mind that days will be shorter and some hikes won’t be as doable without the right equipment due to the lack of light and the presence of ice.
Overall, a trip to Undredal will be an unforgettable experience. It’s a small village with a big heart, and the natural beauty of the surrounding area is awe-inspiring.
I’d highly recommend a visit to anyone looking for a peaceful, charming, and authentic Norwegian experience.
(And some incredible cheese helps too!)