Møre og Romsdal
Møre og Romsdal is in West Norway. It is the most northerly of the famous west coast fjord regions and its northern location possibly cuts visitors - but it yields to none of the others in its scenery.
Møre og Romsdal is an administrative district (county). Historically the county consists of three distinct areas, each with its own dialect:
Møre og Romsdal county includes deep fjords, alpine mountains, gentle vallies, countless green islands, wide forests, the wild Atlantic coast, impressive mountain roads, numerous lakes, barren mountain plateaus, charming mountain farms, and the highest waterfalls in Norway. This region is rich in natural resources such as fisheries, natural gas and hydro electric power. The highest mountains and waterfalls are in the district around Geiranger, Valldal, Tafjord, Åndalsnes, Eikesdalen valley and Sunndal valley. Along the coast and to the North (in the Nordmøre area closer to Trondheim), the mountains are lower, less steep and the forrests wide and deep. Due to the deep fjords and numerous islands all parts of this region has easy access to the Atlantic and transport depends on ferries.
Møre og Romsdal weather is dominated by the North Atlantic. On the islands and close the ocean it's never really hot in summer and rarely cold in winter. Fog tends to emerge on warm summer days. At the end of fjords and in the long valleys, summers are warmer and gentler. In Valldal and Geiranger there is typically snow cover from December to April, frequently 50-100 centimeters heavy snow, occasionaly more than 100 centimeters in the valley.
Note that temperature is related to altitude. In the mountains, the temperature can be close to zero C even in summer.
The language in Møre og Romsdal is Norwegian, with dialects that are distinctly different from Oslo and Bergen dialects. In the northern area (Nordmøre), the dialect is similar to Trondheim dialect.
As in the rest of Norway, virtually everybody under 60 speak or understand English. In tourist hot spots, like Geiranger, French and German are also common among service personnel. Due to some immigration from Poland, the Netherlands etc, don't be surprised to meet service workers that manage other languages as well.
By car Road E136 connects the region to road E6 (Norway's main north-south road) at Dombås. About seven hours from Oslo to Åndalsnes. E136 is an all-year road.
In summer, the region can also be reached via the famous Geiranger road. Road 15 from Otta (on E6) connects to Road 63 on the mountain pass above Geiranger.
From the south, on the western side, the main entrence to Møre og Romsdal is the E39 from Bergen to Volda, Ålesund and Molde. Tourists should consider the more scenic Road 60 (connecting to E39 at Byrkjelo) across a small mountain pass, further through Olden and Stryn to Hellesylt.
The E39 is also the main entrance from the Middle Norway and Trondheim. Tourists could however consider the more scenic road 70 through Sunndal valley connecting to E6 at Oppdal.
The only railway in this district ends at Åndalsnes.
Your own car or motorcycle is the best way to get around and travel at your own speed.
Frequent buses connect the towns, whereas in remote vallies there may be only one or two buses daily.
Hitchhiking is a cheap way to travel the tourist routes. Many drivers won't let hitchhikers on, so don't expect immediate response.
Cycling is a nice way to move around the varied landscape, steep hills and numerous tunnels are challenging.
Ferries like the long Valldal-Geiranger ferry offer opportunities to rest for the bicycle traveler.
Because of the many islands and deep fjords, Møre og Romsdal has a large number of relatively short (10-20 min) ferry crossings. Ferries are an integral part of the road network and trips across this county always involves ferries. Car ferries on the main roads are rather frequent (typically every half hour), extremely reliable and operate with reserve capacity. Except for the popular Geiranger-Hellesylt and Valldal-Geiranger ferries, tourists need not worry about time tables and reservations. Tourists are however recommended to caclulate plenty of time for trips involving car ferries. Buses, ambulances and livestock transport have priority. On the longer crossings, ferries have cafeteria selling coffee, beverages, sandwiches and some hot food. Menu also include the typical thick pancake ("svele") served with brown cheese, butter or marmelade.
There are in addition a few express boats (passengers only).
For additional information regarding public transportation in Møre og Romsdal, contact the public transport information "Trafikanten Møre og Romsdal" on phone number 177.
The most important sights in Møre og Romsdal is the nature and landscape itself, although the old center of Ålesund and some charming villages and mountain farms are worth a visit. A number of interesting and impressive road constructions are perhaps the most important man-made attractions in this region. The best way to see and experience this area is by driving your own car, taking a bus tour or by taking a cruise on the fjords.
By car - suggestions
From Otta on E6 road 15 passed Grotli, change to road 63, make a detour to Dalsnibba (at Djupvasshytta), continue down the famous Geiranger road (don't stop in Geiranger village), continue up Eagle's Highway (short stop for photos near the top) on road 63. Take the ferry from Eidsdal to Linge (10 minutes), at Linge turn left onto road 650 for a 10 kilometer detour to Liabygda, enjoy the panorama, and return to Valldal village on road 63. From Valldal make a 15 kilometer detour to Tafjord to look at the great dam and power production. Return to Valldal village and continue up Valldal valley on road 63 towards Trollstigen, short stop at Gudbrandsjuvet to look at the gorge, continue to the mountain pass and drive down Trollstigen after stop "on the edge". At Sogge bridge turn right onto E136, look at the majestic Romsdal valley including Trollveggen, continue towards Verma and look at the waterfalls there. Connect to E6 at Dombås.
Raumabanen, the Dombås-Åndalsnes line, is the only railway in Møre og Romsdal and an attraction itself. Åndalsnes is the end station.
The northern part of the county has long traditions in fishing and is famous for its bacalao. Also try the typical thick pancake ("svele") served on ferries.
See information for specific destinations.
Norway has in general a low crime rate. Møre og Romsdal does not have any big cities where crime is relatively more frequent. Violent crimes are very rare. Petty thefts and vandalism are the most common form of crime. Most of Møre og Romsdal are small, peaceful villages where everybody knows each other, and tourists do not need to worry about their safety in public places. Tourists should however watch their belongings in crowded tourist spots like Geiranger and in the busy shopping areas of Ålesund.
In general, people drive carefully on mountain roads and few car accidents happen, even if many tourists feel unsafe. However, drivers tend to overuse their brakes which causes the brake fluid to boil - use a low gear and let the engine control the speed downhill.
Møre og Romsdal has large numbers of red deer (hart, "hjort") that can suddenly jump into the road at dusk and dawn (particularly where road is passing through dense forest). Red deer is much smaller than the moose (elk) found in Eastern Norway, but it can still create a situation of danger and cause serious damage to your car. Note the special warning sign along many roads. Call the police at 02800 (or emergency number 112) if you wound an animal.
Do not walk near or on glaciers without proper equipment and instructions. Do not underestimate the risk on slippery slopes (particularly near waterfalls).
Do not underestimate the power of waves along the Atlantic. Wear a life vest when in a small open boat.