I don’t know about you, but when I think of Norway, I think Vikings. The adventurous Norse men that sailed to far off lands, loved to fight and drink, and longed to die in battle and go to Valhalla. Evidence suggests is was actually the Vikings that discovered North America centuries before Columbus was even born. But when you look at Olden, Norway, it is hard to believe the bloodthirsty warriors could have ever lived here.
Olden is a small little village of only about 500 people located at the mouth of the Oldeelva River. It is filled with quaint cottages, beautiful mountains, gorgeous views, and glaciers. There was only one church in the small village called the Old Olden Church until 1934, when the (new) Red church was built. It is these qualities that contribute to its popularity with the cruise lines.
The main activity in Olden is hiking. Olden is the home of the Briksdal glacier. Hiking up Briksdal, you may catch a glimpse of another glacier, Tjøtafossen and its waterfall that measures 739 meters in height. There are many, many other waterfalls and crystal clear lakes; all worth seeing, if you have the time.
The most famous waterfall is the Volefossen, and you can cross in front of on a troll bridge. Not for the faint of heart, but the from the bridge you can see amazing views of the surrounding glacier and countryside. Just don’t be afraid to get wet. Most people crossing the bridge either get a little wet or soaking wet, so you have a 50/50 chance.
What to Expect
But glaciers aren’t the only reason to visit Olden. Lush, green valleys contrast with the stark gray rocks surrounding the glaciers. Don’t look for nightlife and restaurants, but the people are friendly and they bottle Olden mineral water, which comes from the melted water of the glaciers. It’s not something everyone gets to try.
Not far from Olden, you can find old Viking burial mounds. Since quite a few cruise lines dock there, getting a shore excursion to the mounds should not be a problem.
Dress warmly when you visit Olden. The warmest it ever gets is about 68 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer. Don’t forget your camera. Who knows, maybe Odin, Loki or Thor will show up!
The Old Olden Church – the first church in Olden, built in 1759.
The New Red Church – the second church in Olden, built in 1934.
The Jostedal glacier – the largest glacier in Europe.
The Briksdal glacier – the arm of the Jostedal that extends into Olden.
The Volefossen – a 300-meter waterfall on the Briksdal glacier.
OldenMineral Water – flows directly in to the bottling plant from the glacier.