Tucked deep into the mountains off the western coast of Norway, the Trollstigen Mountain Road is one of Norway's most dramatic and most visited attractions. Dangerous conditions here include the incline, narrow driving space, and the poor traction and visibility that come with rain and fog. It's one of the famous scenic drives in Norway. The route is known for its 11 hair-raising hairpin turns and steep, 9% gradient. Yet despite the dangers of the one-lane road.
Trollstigen (part of Norwegian National Road 63), with a length of 55km, is located approximately 15 kilometers south of Åndalsnes in the county of Romsdal, and connects Åndalsnes in Rauma and Valldal in Norddal. The road has a steep incline of 9 percent with 11 hairpin bends as it snakes its way along the steep mountainside at its a highest point, Stigrøra, at an elevation of 858 meters above the sea level. The road brutally twists and turns through the mountainous terrain and drivers can expect rock falls, narrow lanes, steep inclines and unpredictable weather. The route is at its most dangerous in the dark and wet which make it incredibly challenging to navigate.
This road has humbled many egos. It’s not for the sissies and shouldn’t be attempted by novice drivers. The road is in dreadful condition and requires strong nerves to negotiate it. Test your stomach by driving Trollstigen, one of Norway’s twistiest roads. The route’s steep 10% incline, narrow width and 11 hairpin bends make it a supremely wavy ride. An exceptional driving experience along a route steeped in tradition, through spectacular scenery of deep fjords and lush valleys - wild, wonderful and vibrant.
Known as "The Troll's Path”, this road is closed during late autumn and winter. A normal operating season stretches from mid-May to October, but may sometimes be shorter or longer due to weather conditions. But it can be closed anytime when the access is not cleared of snow. Trollstigen twists and climbs through a mountainous terrain of waterfalls, fjords, tunnels and frozen lakes. This road is an impressive piece of road building where the road snakes and climbs its way up and up along steep mountainsides. Being able to drive up these steep mountainsides is thanks to the skills of engineers and road builders.
The historic Trollstigen road, with its 11 hairpin bends, was opened in 1936, and in 2005 the Geirangerfjord was included on UNESCO's World Heritage List. According to Norwegian folk legend, trolls roam through the mountains of Trollstigen every night, but change to stone when they are hit by sunlight each morning. Clouded in a veil of mist, their stone bodies create an unbelievable mass of cliffs and winding beauty that mesmerize both visitors and Norwaynatives alike. There are ideal photography opportunities where you can pull over and capture the fjords and lush valleys below, and waterfalls so close you can touch them.
The road is difficult and it’s a nightmare in the wet or dark (or both) because occasional rock falls, bad weather, extreme hairpin bends and very narrow with little room to pass. The road is an exceptional driving experience along a route steeped in tradition, through spectacular scenery of deep fjords and lush valleys - wild, wonderful and vibrant. It is a popular tourist attraction due to its steep incline of 10% and eleven hairpin bends up a steep mountainside. The surface of the road is asphalted, and chains or snow tyres can be required throughout the year. Although the road has been widened in recent years, it’s still narrow. The government prohibits vehicles that are over 39 feet long from driving on the road. At the summit there’s a parking area; a ten-minute walk brings visitors to a viewing balcony that overlooks the bends in the road as well as Stigfossen Waterfall.
The road is winding, in some places only wide enough for one vehicle. Unfortunately, the many hairpin bends make it unsuitable for buses longer than 12.4 metres. Most motorhome rental or campervan hire vehicles are shorter than that, but if you are undertaking this scenic drive please check. During the top tourist season, about 2,500 vehicles pass daily.During the 2012 season, 161,421 vehicles traversed the route, compared to 155,230 vehicles during 2009.
The drive is definitely worth it. Trollstigen has been a magnet for tourists since the road opened on 31 July 1936, by King Haakon VII after eight years of construction. The long construction period has to do with the long winters without any possibility to get any work done. Every bend has its own name, most of them named for one of the foremen that led the construction gangs that built the road. The bends and curves bear witness to the skill of the constructors, built up on the base rock of the steep mountainsides, or hewn by hand into the mountain itself.