Hallingskarvet in the summer
Hallingskarvet in wintertime
Centrally located between Oslo and Bergen, Geilo is one of Norway’s most famous mountain resorts.
Geilo is a spesialist in the moutains, you can expect both alpine skiing and cross country. But winter season offers also many great winter activities for the whole family. What about falbike riding on snow, isbathing in the lake, horse sledge riding in the dark winter night with all the lovely lights and fun snowshoe tours with guide.
In Geilo center you will find a great variety of stores and restaurants and in the hotels there are good spa treatments and indoor kids playgrounds for those days you don't want to be outside.
Attractions in Geilo
Discover Geilo all year around
In the summer, Geilo is most well known for beautiful hiking and mountain biking trails. But many other exciting activities are fast gaining popularity, including white water rafting, canyoning, and horseback riding. Numerous local lakes are coveted fishing spots. The town can also serve as an excellent stop before embarking on the popular Rallarvegen bike route.
Due to Geilo’s high altitude (798 m.a.s.l.), the winter is long and stable with lots of snow. Some of the first ski areas in Norway were developed here and there are slopes on either side of the valley. Geilo offers alpine skiing all the way down to the centre of town, providing a quick connection between the ski slopes and the village. It is a true ski town with slopes for all abilities – perfect for families and beginners. A massive network of cross-country trails winds its way out of and around Geilo. For a break from skiing, there are options for husky dog sledding, snowmobile safaris, snowshoeing, and ice fishing.
The quaint town maintains an active yet relaxed pace. Take a stroll in the village center, go shopping, or try a Norwegian speciality in one of the many restaurants. The area is also home to many festivals and events throughout the year.
Geilo offers adventures for all seasons and abilities. The Bergensbanen railway between Oslo and Bergen passes through Geilo, as does one of the main roads between the two cities, making Geilo easily accessible.
Further below we will inform you about:
- Why you hould visit Geilo
- Geilo; the entrance for two National parks
- Experiences and things to do
- The best time to visit Geilo
We hope this information helps you planing your holiday the our fantastic region. You are more then Welcome!
Why visit Geilo?
- Easy access on the Bergen railway – 3.5 hours from Bergen or Oslo with the famous Bergensbanen
- Hiking, bikeing and skiing from the city center
- The famous Rallarvegen just around the corner
- Gateway to Hardangervidda and Hallingskarvet National Parks
- Short distance to The Fjords, just two hours to Eidfjord and Flåm
- Varied activities all year round like dog sledding, fatbike cycling, white water rafting, and horseback riding and much more
- Family friendly – many activities are suitable children
- Wide selection of accommodation, restaurants, and cafés
- Focus on sustainable tourism
- Norway's oldest turistdestination with long history
Geilo the entrance for two National Parks
Geilo is the entrance for two National Parks and the Hol municipallity has a status as National Park Community with Geilo as National Park Village.
The most famous National Park is Hardangervidda; the biggest Scandinavian high plateau known worldwide over. Big areas are in the Hol municipality and from Geilo you will get easy acces for short day hikes and long distanse hikes. You can get an easy start by taking the chairlift up during summertime to start your tour, or take the buss towards Eidfjord and stop in the middel of the Hardangervidda to start you tour from here.
You won't get bored on the Hardangervidda plateau, there are large local diffrences in elevation, climate and wildlife. On the east side the areas are wide and you can see as long as your eye can see. Are you new to longdistance walking with a backpack we advise you to start on the eastside and walk your way up towards the west side which has more elevations and a rocky ground.
Accomodation and trails
You can pitch up your tent in order with the Norwegian Right to Roam law or stay overnight in one of the touristcabins, here you can also order something to eat and drink and continue your journey. The trails are sign posted with signs and the red T's from the DNT (Norwegian Mountain Association). During winter time the back country trails are marked by branches in the snow.
Plant and animal life
An important intention with the national park was to secure the areas of the wild strain which is Europe’s largest. Here the wild herring still allows natural walks without excessive obstacles.Hardangervidda is considered to be the southern boundary of several arctic plants and animals, especially the mountain fox and snow owl. Within the national park, we also find rich vegetation and an animal and birdlife with many species. In addition, Hardangervidda is known for its many lakes and waters with rich fishing opportunities.
The mountain massif Hallingskarvet rises from the surrounding moorland, with steep cliffs towards the north and south and Folarskardnuten towering on top at 1,933 metres above sea level. Between the barren high mountain plateau and the fertile area around lies the characteristic steep cliff edge, which has given it the name Hallingskarvet. Skarv means bare mountain or rock.
If you visit Hallingskarvet you can find jumping hares or follow the sound of the wind whistling down from the bare mountain. You can follow paths others have walked before you, or you can wander around without anyone showing the way. In wintertime you can follow miles of marked or prepared ski trails keeping you on the right path, or you can make your own tracks in the snow. In the summertime the marked paths take you from cabin to cabin through mountain passes and fertile hillsides.
Accomodations and trails
There are no touristcabins in the National Park, Hol/ Hovet, Geilo, Ustaoset and Finse are the best places to stay ovenight, you can pitch up your tent in order the the Norwegian Right to Roam law. There are marked and unmarked trails and during winter time there are both groomed cross country trails and marked back country trails. On the soutside there is build a stairs with sherpa's from Nepal to protect the nature for erosion. There are 2239 steps and is a popular tour for all ages.
Plant and animal life
It’s a hard life in the mountains. Some have learned to tackle the conditions however. The wild reindeer wander around the mountain all year round, looking for pastures, and the glacier buttercup turns her face towards the sun to gather light and warmth.
Collections with tours in the National Parks around Geilo
Experiences and things to do
Your holiday will be to short to visit all autentic, historical and cultural places, discover all trails and experience all activities and guidet tours. The region really has someting to offer for every guest. The valley Hallingdal with easy acces by train and by car offers an enormeous wide range of things to see and things to do. Big cities as Oslo and Bergen are just halv a day ride away, and the impressie views of The Fjords are just two hours drive from all sides of the Hol municipallity. That makes Geilo the perfect start point for long stay holidays.
Outdoor activities all year
Of course short hikes to authentic summer farms or long distanse hikes both in the valley close by the city center and in the National Parks are the main reason guests visit Geilo.But what about biking, the famous Rallarvegen with easy acces by train from Geilo, romantic mountain roads up to natural areas and tough mountainbiking on natural trails and manmade flow trails in the bikepark. The last several years the region has build on the bike possibilities for both families, e-bikers and extreme bikers.
Jump into a cool mountain lake on the Hardangervidda plateau, pitch up your tent and see the sunset or the sunrise over the Hallingskarvet. Try you fishing luck in the enormeus amount of lakes and rivers, most of them accecible with the right lisense.
During wintertime you can go cross country skiing on groomed trails for miles and miles or find your own trail with snowshoes. Make a little fire and warm up your hot choclate. In the Hardangervidda National Park you can go back country skiing from cabin to cabin.
Experiences and guided tours - summer
Geilo is a whole year round destination which offers activities both summertime and wintertime. During summertime we can offer waterfun, activities close by nature, action with motorsport and Geilo Summerpark. Geilo and the surrounding area offer a variety of activities and experiences in the mountains. Here you can whiz down a 1000 meter long zipline, throw yourself around the high rope park, experience the mountains on horseback, to exciting guided glacier hiking and rides... and of course a lot of awesome cycling! For the motor and action enthusiast, in Dagali you will find possibilities for go-karting, car slalom, powerturn buggy, paintball, and much more
Near Geilo you will find one of Europe's best rafting rivers. Here you can venture out into the wildest rapids or join a quiet walk for the whole family. Rafting is a thrilling experience that is suitable for anyone who tolerates water. At Geilo there are several companies that offer rafting and other river sports both for adventurous toddlers and families with children who want a nice and exciting day.
Explore a hidden canyon, rappel, jump and slide down waterfalls and get a thrilling memory of your visit. With canyoning you get the opportunity to frolic with nature as a playground. Rappel down and along rock walls, jump into potholes and slide down the water slides that nature itself has created.
Canoe and boat rental on Ustedalsfjorden / Veslefjorden. A perfect experience even on gray weather days. Maybe you spot the beaver that lives in the area? Stand up paddle board on the Ustedalsfjord! Nothing is better than splashing around on the fjord in the summer heat in fantastic mountain surroundings. SUP rentals can be found at Vestlia Resort.
Whether you want exhausting trail biking or a quiet family trip on gravel roads in the mountains, Geilo has something to suit your needs. Bring your own bike and push your limits in the Geilo Summerpark, or rent a bike and explore the technical flowtrails in the Bikepark Vestlia, here you will find both pumptrack, jumplines and flowtrails with several levels. Hallingdal is becoming Norways bikedestination which suites all bikers.
Take the trail to Haugastøl or Finse and bike on the famous Rallarvegen, a whole day experience from the highest train station in Norway, Finse at 1222m down the Flåm at sea level. Geilo and the Hallingdal region has an extensive network of mountain roads to bike with your tourbike or e-bike. Some of them leads to a deadend with romantic summer farms where you can buy local chees, others will lead you trough several municipallities and long distanse biking.
Action and speed, buckle up and go go-karting with your friends or take your family on a car (ice) slalom experience on a old airport runway.
Have you tried out Powerturn buggy, we garantuee laughter and good memories. Imagine a vehicle that looks like a big gocart with a rollcage. Both back wheels has its independent motor, who is controlled by the drivers with each lever. No pedals or steering wheel.This means you can perform incredible stunts, like turning 360 around at the spot, and go up on two wheels. And the fun doesnt stop here, two people can drive the buggy at once by using one lever each. The right word is we guess “organized chaos”.
Activities close by nature
Be with a guide on the Hardangerjøkulen glacier, together with experienced glacier guides, you can have the opportunity to experience Hardangerjøkulen up close, learn about the history and everything the ice can tell us. Start with the train journey on the Bergensbanento Finse and get a whole day walk on snow and ice.
Local guides are ready to take you on a guided tour of the mountains and the surrounding area. In addition to a good dose of mountain air, you will gain knowledge about nature, local history and outdoor life.
Experience the high mountains from the horseback. Geilo has great walks in the high mountain terrain that are suitable for both beginners and the more experienced. Fishing experiences for you as a beginner and food lover. Join a fishing trip with a locally known guide where you get the opportunity to try your luck at fishing and prepare the catch for a wonderful mountain meal.
There is not such thing as bad weather in Norway, but are you not the person walking around in rain and storm then Geilo also has indoor activities to offer. How about a relaxing spa and massage, movie at the cinema every Sunday, or yoga and mindfulness? Maybe a trip to the gym or the swimming pool? In Geilo we also have a playground for the kids, bowling and you can go shopping in 40 different shops. In addition, you will find a lot of culture in Hol municipality with a number of churches you can visit, art exhibitions and large art collections in the hotels and you can visit the factories with proud craftmenship and good offers on knifes and axes.
Here we have a summer café, free play and activity area for the kids, a climbing park, zipline, frisbee golf, and not least fun bicycle products such as jump lines, skill trail, paved pump track and lift-based flow track.
Experience the exciting feeling of flying! Geilo Zipline is 1100 meters long, and guarantees a fun experience for the whole family. Fly alone or in tandem with someone you want to share the experience with. Perfect for anyone who likes that it tickles a little in the stomach! Spectacular views over Geilo and towards Hallingskarvet! In the high rope park you can challenge your climbing and balance skills and throw yourself from tree to tree with a big smile on your face!
The best thing with Geilo Summerpark is the summer lift and National Park view, specially for you intressted in walking. The summer lift is an ideal starting point for hiking in the Hardangervidda National Park. At the top there is a fantastic view to Hallingskarvet and Hallingskarvet National Park. The summer lift is equipped with a bike rack so you can easily take your bike up the mountain!
More then alpine and snowboard - wintertime
Geilo is a classic winter sports resort, and one of the most complete and popular winter destinations. With a great terrain, an atmospheric city and lots of skiing possibilities, the area is created for many pleasant winter vacation days. Few resorts in Norway have so many accommodation alternatives, activities and service offers - right in the center. In Geilo, with its loong tourist history, you will find real joy of skiing, where the children are in the focus.
Collections with activities to do in and around Geilo
The best time to visit Geilo
Geilo is a year-round mountain resort with plenty of activities to keep the entire family entertained. That being said, if you want to optimize your chance at having the best conditions or dodging the crowds, there are a few things to keep in mind. Geilo and the Hallingdal valley are popular locations for locals to have cabins and you can expect them to make the most of summer and winter weekends, as well as school holiday periods.
The true beginning and end of the seasons varies depending on snowfalls and general weather conditions. The Norwegian national weather service provides detailed weather reports and forecasts for Geilo in English.
The winter season builds throughout December and the period between Christmas and New Year is popular for skiing. January and February are the coldest months with a daily average high of around -4°C. Norwegian winter school holidays are staggered over several weeks in February and if families haven't fled south for some sun they will likely be in the mountains skiing. True winter experiences like dog sledding, ice fishing, sleigh rides and snowshoeing are available.
Easter for Norwegians means escaping to their cabins for ski trips and reading by the fireplace. Expect roads, public transport, and services to be busy. It starts to really feel like spring in May and hiking becomes possible in lower-lying areas. Water-based activities are beginning to kick off but remember to wear layers to stay warm.
The hiking season begins in earnest in July with warmer days and thinning snow cover at higher altitudes. Norwegian summer school holidays begin in late June and last until late August with July being the busiest month. Summers are cool, with high temperatures under 20°C. Rafting and canyoning are in full swing throughout the summer.
The weather starts to cool off in September and the beautiful fall colors appear across the landscape. Hiking and other summer activities draw to a close in early October and the first snowfall is usually not far away. Some cross-country skiing may be possible later in October and the ski resorts often open in November.
Authentic Experiences and Guided Tours
Geilo is easily accessible from both Oslo and Bergen. National Road 7 passes through Geilo and and is a main route between eastern and western Norway. Additionally, Geilo is a stop on the famous Bergensbanen railway that connects Oslo and Bergen. Make sure to grab a window seat to enjoy the views. From Geilo it is a short train ride to either Haugastøl or Finse for the Rallarvegen bike route. If you are taking your own bicycle you are required to buy a ticket for it.
Oslo to Geilo
The drive to Geilo from Oslo is 220 km and takes about 3.5 hours. From Hønefoss the route joins National Road 7 which leads up through the beautiful Hallingdal valley. There are many places to stop and explore before reaching Geilo.
The 3.5 hour train journey to Geilo from Oslo is an experience in itself. There are five trains per day from Oslo to Geilo with three in the morning, one in the afternoon, and an overnight service.
Bergen to Geilo
The spectacular drive from Bergen to Geilo is 250 km and takes 4 hours. The route passes through Voss, before joining National Road 7 and travelling over Hardanger Bridge (Norway's longest suspension bridge) and into Eidfjord. From Eidfjord to Haugastøl the road forms the scenic route Hardangervidda and a stop at Vøringsfossen waterfall is a must.
The train ride from Bergen to Geilo is around 3 hours and passes over the fascinating Hardangervidda mountain plateau. There are five trains daily, with two in the morning, two in the afternoon and an overnight service.