It's best known as a winter resort, but Norway's Beitostølen has plenty to offer travellers on a summer road trip too.
Planning a summer road trip around Norway? From hiking to a family-friendly activity park, here are some top things to do in Beitostølen in the summer.
During the summer of 2021 we planned a road trip around central Norway and the fjord region. My first stop? Two nights in Beitostølen, a mountain village in the Valdres valley close to the Jotunheimen mountains.
We knew of the village as a winter resort, so was curious to see what it would offer in the summer. It turns out it was pretty busy with keen hikers.
Video tour of Beitostølen
First things first, let's start off with this quick video of a walk around the village centre:
Hiking in Beitostølen
While some of Norway's famous hikes are within a day trip of the village, many people simply choose to hike the mountains in the immediate vicinity instead. One of the reasons is being able to use the ski lift to skip a pretty hefty ascent!
Once you're at the top of the ski lift, many trails peel off in all directions. There are a few reserved for downhill cyclists, but most are for hikers only.
The trails are all connected in various places over an area of many square kilometers, allowing hikers to choose the best option for them. If you change you mind, there'll be an opportunity to shorten or lengthen the route.
Read more: Hiking in Norway
The ‘junctions' of the trails are marked with handy numbers, corresponding to the Beitostølen hiking map. Pick up one of these from your hotel or pretty much anywhere in central Beitostølen. You won't get lost, but a map will help all the same!
You'll also see named trails, which are popular set routes with both locals and tourists. We took the Knausehøgda trail and were rewarded with fantastic 360-degree views at several points.
Beyond the village, there is the big attraction of the Besseggen ridge, one of Norway's best-known hiking trails.
Considered one of the “Norwegian classics”, it's a must-do hike for any keen Norwegian hiker and the best way to experience the natural joy of Jotunheimen National Park.
Either side of the ridge, the green Gjende lake and blue Bessvatnet lake create an endlessly fascinating landscape together with the mountains.
Beitostølen is a popular place to stay for hikers planning the Besseggen trip as it's just 34km (20 miles) from the ferry (mid-June to early Oct) that most people use to start the route. Booking an advance ticket for the ferry is highly recommended.
Valdresflye road trip
The car park for the Besseggen hike is just off route 51 at the northernmost end of the Valdres valley. This stretch of road is known as Valdresflye, a must-drive for any keen driver.
One of Norway's 18 national scenic routes, Valdresflye soars above the tree line giving spectacular and often otherworldly views from the roadside. Highlights include the Flye 1389 cafe and the giant rock cairn Steinplassen.
Note that during the worst of the Norwegian winter, a stretch of Valdresflye just north of Beitostølen is closed. The closure dates vary. In 2021, the road stayed open all the way through to 31 December. Typically, the stretch is reopened by early April.
Beitostølen summer park
A fun addition to the village is a summer park, home to family-friendly activities. The ski centre is transformed into an activity centre including a bob track, electric cart track, bike hire, gyro trampolines and many other attractions.
The park opens mid-June and typically stays open until early October. It's right in the centre of Beitolstølen village, just across the road from the Radisson Hotel. So if you're staying within the village, the park is within easy walking distance.
We didn't get much of a chance to spend much time at the park as we were out hiking and driving in the area most of the time. But from what I saw, the park was popular later in the day and much quieter when it opened at 10am.
Relax in Beitostølen centre
Beitostølen isn't the liveliest of places in the summer. But there are still a number of bars and restaurants along both sides of the road (yes, there's essentially just one road!) competing for your attention.
So whether you want a fancy dinner or a pizza takeout, there's an option for you. We also found a spot in the shade (it was extremely hot when we visited!) for a refreshing gin cocktail.
Booking a place for dinner is advisable in high season, as the number of people staying in the hotels, cabins and campsites can easily outnumber the capacity in the handful of eateries.
Other things to do near Beitostølen
Beyond hiking, there are a ton of things to do in and around the village during the summer. This is especially true if you're an outdoors type. Horse riding, fishing and rafting are just some of the possibilities.
Hegge Stave Church: This charming 13th-century wooden church is just 13km (8 miles) south of Beitostølen. We stopped on the way from Beitostølen to Fagernes and I'm really glad we did. Here's a quick video:
Originally constructed as early as 1216, the church has been extensively rebuilt and renovated over the centuries. The Hegge stave church of today is mostly from the post-reformation period.
Chapel of Lights: This small Christian chapel just south of Beitostølen is open to all, every day. The chapel takes its name from the impressive glass mosaic.
Fagernes: Continuing on south from Beitostølen past Hegge, Fagernes is the first town you'll reach. Fagernes is a charming place, considered to be at the very heart of Valdres.
If you have the time, it's worth stopping for a stroll along the waterfront. We did just that, and yes, there's another video!
With a decent-sized shopping mall, Fagernes is also a good place to restock ahead of your drive to wherever. If you are sticking around for longer, the open-air Valdres Folk Museum is one of the largest of its kind in Norway.
Where to stay in Beitostølen in the summer
If you're planning a trip to Valdres in the summer, I recommend booking accommodation far in advance. There are plenty of places to stay, but they do book up quickly.
We chose to stay in the Radisson Blu Mountain Resort. It's a hotel that's clearly setup for the winter season, but it was comfortable and had everything we needed for our summer stay.
You can't miss the hotel as it's right by the roadside immediately opposite the ski lift and summer park. There's plenty of parking available in front and behind the hotel.
Elsewhere in the village, there are several smaller hotels, apartments and cabins available to rent. The same is true for the surrounding area.
I recommend checking out our partners Booking.com for a great deal. Just be sure to check how far away your intended accommodation is from central Beitostølen.