An introduction to Hellesylt, a small village close to the entrance of the famous Geirangerfjord.
This small village is at the western end of the Geirangerfjord. Although it also welcomes cruise ships, Hellesylt tends to enjoy a more sedate atmosphere than its famous brother, Geiranger.
For that reason, walking in the hills above the village can be a more enjoyable experience than in Geiranger.
Watch a video tour
Last summer, I spent some time in Hellesylt and filmed this short walk. As international tourism was difficult at the time, it's a quiet day!
I hope you enjoyed the video. Now, read on for more details about what you just saw.
Where is Hellesylt?
The small village is part of Stranda municipality in Møre og Romsdal. It lies at the head of the Sunnylvsfjord, close to the entrance of the Geirangerfjord. The Sunnylvsfjord is a southern branch of the much bigger Storfjord.
Hellesylt is on route 60, a fjord and mountain road that connects with the E39 route at Hornindal near the Nordfjord and at Vegsund near Ålesund. From route 60, ferries are available to connect with route 63 at Geiranger and route 650 / route 63 at Libabygda.
Finally, Hellesylt is just 23km from the historic Hotel Union Øye and the Hjørundfjord along the mountain road 655.
All this makes Hellesylt a popular stop on any fjord road trip that includes the Geirangerfjord and Nordfjord. At the very least, it's a good place to stop to refuel both your car and yourselves!
Even if you’re just passing through on the Geiranger-Hellesylt car ferry, make time to see the Hellesyltfossen waterfall, which literally splits the village in two.
In contrast to the slender beauty of Norway's fjord waterfalls, Hellesylt’s version showcases the raw power of nature, as a flood of water thunders over the granite rocks despite its height of only 20 metres.
The cascade is at its most impressive from April to early June, when melting snow from the surrounding mountains swells the flow. A steep path on the northern side of the water leads you up to a stone bridge for the best vantage point.
Get out onto the fjords
There is a fantastic viewpoint of the Sunnylvsfjord and entrance to the Geirangerfjord just a few minutes drive from the village. But to fully appreciate the beauty of the Norwegian fjords, you have to get on them.
Local company Bonseye offer daily rides in a RIB boat down the Geirangerfjord to Geiranger, returning later in the day once you've had a chance to explore the village.
There's an optional stop at Skagehola from where passengers can choose to hike up to the iconic Skageflå mountain farm and then over to Geiranger from where they can catch the return boat.
Alternatively, Fjord1 runs a regular car ferry (high season only) that doubles as a sightseeing cruise for tourists. It's possible to take the journey one way or return, with or without a car.
Oher things to see and do in Hellesylt
Sunnylven Church: Take a stroll up the steep paths through the village’s residential core to take a closer look at this 19th-century church. from where you can also enjoy a picturesque view across the rooftops to the fjord.
The local church is open sporadically, but visitors are usually welcome whenever a cruise ship is in port.
Peer Gynt Gallery: A curious addition to the region’s culture is this series of extravagant wooden carvings made by a local artist. They depict the famous Peer Gynt story, which was set over 300 km away in the Gudbrandsdalen valley.
While a genuinely unique venue that's cooperatively owned by locals, it is of limited appeal for tourists aside from fans of the Ibsen play.
Hiking: Many marked trails of varying degrees of difficulty start from the hills above the village, so consult one of the information boards near the ferry dock or pick up a map from the tourist information office to make the most of your stay.
Devold outlet: Open during the summer season, Devold operates a small factory outlet store by the car ferry port. The Norwegian outdoor clothing brand has a history stretching back more than 150 years.
Where to stay in and around Hellesylt
Simple accommodation is available above the village in Hellesylt Hostel and Motel. It's basic and cheap, but bear in mind the steep walk back up to the accommodation from the village.
If you are camping in Norway, consider the plots available at Hellesylt Camping, located on the waterfront in a quiet corner of the village.