Drammen Spiral tunnel (Spiralen Drammen)

Drammen Spiral tunnel (Spiralen Drammen)

The spiral tunnel in the city of Drammen is a unique experience and in fact has been ranged by CNN Travel as one of the world’s most special tunnels.  You enter from the town and drive up 1650 meters in six and a half spirals , to emerge at Skansen. Here, apart from the magnificent view over the city, the river, and far away across the valley to the snow topped mountains of Blefjell, you will find a restaurant, outdoor folk museum and lovely paths for walking or skiing.  A dense network of these paths is lit in the winter for evening skiing.

The tunnel was excavated in 1953 when stone was needed for road and harbour building in the city.  It starts 50 meters above sea level and comes out at the top at 213 meters over sea level. The tunnel is in the shape of a helix and the car driver will soon find that he can set the driving wheel in one position to take the vehicle all the way up to the top.  Pedestrians may not use the tunnel and instead there is a zigzag track up the hillside.

Kongen’s Utsikt – The King’s Viewing Platform

Kongen’s Utsikt – The King’s Viewing Platform

The King’s Viewing Platform is 484 meters above the Tyrifjorden and Steinsfjorden lakes.  You can either start at Sundvolden and hike the 1300 meters up to Kleivstua or you can drive up to Kleivstua parking area beside the hotel (this is a toll road and costs NOK 30,-)  From Kleivstua you hike the rest of the way on a well marked (blue stripes on trees) path to the the viewing platform. This takes about 30 minutes each way and when you arrive, the steep parts of the path have been worth the effort for the views are amazing!  However it is sensible to bring water bottles and perhaps a snack to eat at the top.

We enthusiastically recommend the restaurant at Sundvolden Hotell. Pictured are the King’s View Chicken salad and the delicious Prawn sandwich (Rekedigg).  Either cost under Nkr 200,- in 2018.  The chef uses herbs from the Hotel herb garden – I found it to be one of the best I’ve seen in Norway.  Do ask to look at it!

Gaustatoppen

Gaustatoppen

Gaustatoppen is a spectacular mountain top – at 1883 meters and in clear weather it is possible to see approximately 60,000 sq.m., one sixth of Norway’s mainland.
However a visit to Gausta also offers amazing nature experiences throughout the year – beautiful paths, ski tracks, the wonderful Gausta railway, places to stay and restaurants.  If you want to do this trip in one day, it is important to start early in the morning as driving takes about two and a half hours each way.  Many choose to spend a day or two at the town of Rjukan on their way to or from the West Coast of Norway.

In the last week of August each year, there is a night arrangement when several thousand people walk up to the top of Gausta mountain and on arrival enjoy a spectacular concert on the highest stage in Norway.  The climb/walk up is 4.4 km long and takes about 2 hours. Participants carry torches and there are 17 beautiful light points along the way.

The arrangement is free but it is important to book somewhere to stay the night.  Warm clothes, mountain boots and a head-lamp are required.

The Gausta railway is a cable track which runs right inside the Gausta mountain.  The ride takes about 15 minutes and takes 20 passengers each time.  For the first 50 years, the railway was a completely closed NATO construction.  Today everyone can experience this amazing train ride inside the mountain.
Prices:
Adult single ticket 300,-  Return 390,-
Child 4 – 15 yrs single ticket 150,-, Return 195,-

The railway is open every day from 10th February – 21st October.
9.00 hrs to 18.00 hrs

For more information, please consult the Gausta railway website

Blaafarveværket (The Cobalt works) and the Haugfoss waterfalls

Blaafarveværket (The Cobalt works) and the Haugfoss waterfalls

The cobalt ore from the mines 8 km further up the hills was brought down to the Haugfoss waterfalls where it was processed using the power from the big 6 meter water wheel.  Today the Blaafarveværket site is a beautiful natural museum about the making of cobalt used for fine china many years ago.  We recommend that you set aside some time here as it is very worthwhile to stroll along the Culture Path of a little over a kilometer.  You begin at the car park , walk up to the delightful Thranestua café (where the waffles are delicious!), cross above the waterfall and then down to the huge waterwheel and further to the lake side.  Here you can take the pulley float across the Simoa lake back to the Cobalt works centre.  You might also be interested in visiting the annual art exhibition.   Those who are energetic might enjoy renting a bicycle to visit the fascinating Cobalt mines, 8 kilometers further up in the hills,  or to explore more of this district.

You will find lots of more information about the museums, parks and mines on the Blaafarveværket website

Above are pictures of the pulley-float on Simoa lake, waffles at Thranestua cafe, a view of the museum buildings and one of the water wheel and waterfalls.  These pictures were taken in July after weeks of dry weather.  After rain, the waterfalls can be really dramatic!

Some of the beautiful cobalt blue articles in the shop are quite pricey but there are also lovely little items too so you will be sure to find something to remind you of your visit!

Haugfoss waterfall after a week of rain – Viewed from the path from Thranestua cafe to museum buildings on 5th September 2015.

Drive to the End of the World (Verdens Ende)

Drive to the End of the World (Verdens Ende)

The name is perhaps a little dramatic, but that what the southernmost point of the island of Tjøme is called.  Two of our guests from the Netherlands drove down one windy afternoon in March and thoroughly recommended making the trip.  Verdens Ende is reached by driving from Vollen to Tønsberg, crossing the bridge to the island of Nøtterøy and then across another bridge unto the island of Tjøme.   These islands are a paradise in the summer months but winds and gales in other seasons make the experience even more thrilling as the waves from the Skaggerak break onto the polished rocks of the shores.   Many of the art galleries, kiosks and booths are closed outside the summer season but there are restaurants such as Verdens Ende Spiseriet which has an absolutely amazing panoramic view of the sea. This restaurant is open daily from 12:00 – 19:00 but closed on Mondays.

The restaurant can be seen in the middle of the photo, up on the top of the rocks.

Even on a fine July day, it can be pretty windy right out at the end of the island.  Best to bring a light jacket and it’s always possible to find a sheltered spot for some sun-bathing…

On fine days you might see wedding groups having photographs taken at The End of the World

The restaurant is especially popular on fine days but cosy and with spectacular views in stormy weather.

Middle Ages Cathedral at Hamar / Domkirkeruinene på Hamar

Middle Ages Cathedral at Hamar / Domkirkeruinene på Hamar

The Middle Ages Cathedral ruins date from 1152.  In 1998 a magnificent protective encasement of glass was erected and this was  consecrated as a church.  The building is now used for religious ceremonies, concerts and theatre productions.  There is room for an audience of up to 800 people.