Møre og Romsdal

Møre og Romsdal is in West Norway. It is the most northerly of the famous west coast fjord regions and its northern location possibly cuts visitors - but it yields to none of the others in its scenery. It is an area of iconic fjords but also of alpine mountains rising directly from the ocean, countless waterfalls, myriad of islands, rugged coast and great valleys. There are also interesting man-made sights such as the unusual city of Ålesund and the Trollstigen mountain road.

Regions

Møre og Romsdal regions - Color-coded map
Nordmøre
The northern coastal region around Kristiansund and the inner area around Sunndal Valley.
Romsdal
The area around the great Molde fjord and the monumental Romsdal Valley.
Sunnmøre
The southern region around Ålesund and the iconic Geirangerfjord and lovely Hjørundfjord.
Flø beach on Hareid island

Towns

There are no large cities in Møre og Romsdal, but there are a few towns around. These are mainly:

Romsdalen valley with iconic mountains

Other destinations

Understand

Hurtigruten visiting Hjørundfjorden
See also: Fjords of Norway

Møre og Romsdal county includes deep fjords, alpine mountains, gentle valleys, countless green islands, wide forests, the wild Atlantic coast, impressive mountain roads, numerous lakes, barren mountain plateaus, charming mountain farms, and the highest waterfalls in Norway. This region is rich in natural resources such as fisheries, natural gas and hydro electric power. While the area is famous for its iconic fjords and tall waterfalls in the interior, the county is in fact largely facing the ocean. Two of three main towns, Kristiansund and Ålesund, both sits on islands. Only recently Kristiansund was connected to the main land by complex tunnel and bridge systems. Important industry as well as two of four airports are on islands. The interior is relatively scarcely populated, while the most population is concentrated on islands and outer areas.

The highest mountains and waterfalls are in the district around Hjørundfjord, Geiranger, Valldal, Tafjord, Åndalsnes, Eikesdalen valley and Sunndal valley. Around Hjørundfjord and Åndalsnes are the some the most alpine areas in Norway, known as Sunnmøre alps and Romsdal alps respectively. The rivers of Sunndal, Geiranger and Romsdal flow west/northwest from the watershed. In Geiranger the river flows few kilometers to the fjord while the corresponding rivers in East Norway flow gently 600 km to the Oslo fjord. This means that western rivers are much more powerful and has for thousands of years dug deep into the bedrock creating gorges and waterfalls, this process has also shifted the watershed east/south such that what was once tributaries to the eastern rivers became tributaries to western rivers. While the water in these tributaries end up in a western fjord, their valley still point south/east, this phenomenon is known as "reverse" or "barb valley". Such barb valleys can be seen in the upper parts of Romsdalen and Sunndal valleys.

Along the coast and to the North (in the Nordmøre area closer to Trondheim), the mountains are lower, less steep and the forests wide and deep. Due to the deep fjords and numerous islands all parts of this region has easy access to the Atlantic and transport depends on ferries. While Geiranger has for 100 years been a popular destination, there is a number of great fjords in all parts of the county.

This area, partly together with Nordfjord, is often referred to as the "northwest" - that is the northern part of Western Norway (Stavanger and surrounding region in contrast is informally called the southwest).

Climate

Møre og Romsdal weather is dominated by the North Atlantic. On the islands and close the ocean it's never really hot in summer and rarely cold in winter. Fog tends to emerge on warm summer days. At the eastern end of fjords and in the long valleys, summers are warmer and gentler. In places like Valldal and Geiranger there is typically snow cover from December to April, frequently 50-100 centimeters heavy snow, occasionally more than 100 centimeters in the valley.

Note that temperature is related to altitude. In the mountains, the temperature can be close to zero C even in summer.

Talk

As in the rest of Norway, virtually everybody speaks or understands English. In tourist hot spots, like Geiranger, French and German are also common among service personnel. Due to some immigration from Poland, the Netherlands etc., don't be surprised to meet service workers that manage other languages as well.

The language in Møre og Romsdal is Norwegian, with dialects that are distinctly different from Oslo and Bergen dialects. In the northern area (Nordmøre), the dialect is similar to Trondheim dialect.

Get in

Rauma railway includes the Kylling bridge

By air

There are four airports in the county, at Ålesund, Molde, Ørsta/Volda and Kristiansund. Ålesund has the best connections and can be reached from Oslo, Bergen and Trondheim, ans some international cities like London.

By rail

The Rauma railway terminates at Åndalsnes and runs parallel to road E136, and are connected to both Oslo and Trondheim via Dombås junction. This is also a very scenic piece of railway.

By boat

A large number of cruise ships (mostly departing from Denmark, Britain or the Continent) visit towns and fjords every summer. Hurtigruten has daily departures from Bergen and Trondheim towards the coastal ports of Kristiansund, Molde and Ålesund.

By bus

Both Nettbuss and NOR-WAY Bussekspress have bus services that can bring you in to the area.

By car

From the inland Road E136 connects the region to road E6 (Norway's main north-south road) at Dombås. About seven hours from Oslo to Åndalsnes. E136 is an all-year road and the main access by car to the county.

In summer, the region can also be reached via the famous Geiranger road. Road 15 from Otta (on E6) connects to Road 63 on the mountain pass above Geiranger.

From the south On the west coast, the main entrance to Møre og Romsdal is the E39 from Bergen to Volda, Ålesund and Molde. Tourists should consider the more scenic Road 60 (connecting to E39 at Byrkjelo) across a small mountain pass, further along fjords and through Olden and Stryn to Hellesylt.

From the north The E39 is also the main entrance from Middle Norway (Trøndelag) and Trondheim. Tourists could however consider the more scenic road 70 through Sunndal valley connecting to E6 at Oppdal.

Get around

A trip by car or bus around the county involves numerous ferry crossing

By rail

The only railway in this district ends at Åndalsnes and covers only the stretch from Dombås via Bjorli down Romsdalen valley.

By bus

Frequent buses connect the towns, whereas in remote areas there may be only one or two buses daily. Search using rutebok.no.

By road

Route 63 runs through Trollstigen and passed Trollstigen waterfall
Old stretch of route 63 can be used to circumvent tunnel
"The road is the trip": Route 655 through Norangsdalen gorge
See also: Driving in Norway

Your own car or motorcycle is the best way to get around and travel at your own speed and reaching and stop at the most scenic places.

Hitchhiking is a cheap way to travel the tourist routes. Many drivers won't let hitchhikers on, so don't expect immediate response.

Cycling is a nice way to move around the varied landscape, steep hills and numerous tunnels are challenging. Read maps carefully to avoid long tunnels on main roads. In some tunnels, bicycles are not allowed.

Winter

The Møre og Romsdal area stretches from the shores of the mild Atlantic where there are only brief periods of frost and snow, to the high mountains and interior with heavy snowfalls and periods of deep frost. Trollstigen and Geiranger mountain passes on Road 63 are always closed during winter (usually November to mid May). Ice and snow is common on all roads during the winter months December-March, in the interior and uplands from late October to mid April. Some roads are occasionally closed by avalanche. Travel in winter should always allow generous time for the unforeseen.

By boat

Ferries like the Geiranger-Hellesylt ferry or the longer Valldal-Geiranger ferry offer opportunities to rest for the bicycle traveler.

Because of the many islands and deep fjords, Møre og Romsdal has a large number of relatively short (10-20 min) ferry crossings. Car ferries are an integral part of the road network and trips across this county always involves ferries, but these ferries are generally not a separate means of transport. Car ferries on the main roads are rather frequent (typically every half hour), extremely reliable and operate with reserve capacity. Except for the popular Geiranger-Hellesylt and Valldal-Geiranger ferries, tourists need not worry about time tables and reservations. Tourists are however recommended to calculate plenty of time for trips involving car ferries. Buses, ambulances and livestock transport have priority. On the longer crossings, ferries have cafeteria selling coffee, beverages, sandwiches and some hot food. Menu also include the typical thick pancake ("svele") served with brown cheese, butter or marmalade.

There are in addition a few express boats (passengers only).

For additional information regarding public transportation in Møre og Romsdal, contact the public transport information Trafikanten Møre og Romsdal or on phone number +47 177.

See

Atlantic road, road construction Averøy-Kristiansund
Interior of Kvernes stave church
Rose church in characteristic style.
Mardalsfossen watefall

The most important sights in Møre og Romsdal is the nature and landscape itself, although the old center of Ålesund and some charming villages and mountain farms are worth a visit. A number of interesting and impressive road constructions are perhaps the most important man-made attractions in this region. Trollstigen, Atlanterhavsveien and the Geiranger road are some of the great road constructions. There is also a number of great constructions related to hydro electric power production notably in Tafjord and Sunndal. The best way to see and experience this area is by driving your own car, taking a bus tour or by taking a cruise on the fjords and see something of the below.

Cultural

Natural

Itineraries

Sunndal mountains seen from Snøhetta summit
Skodje bridges near Ålesund

Alpine Highlights - by car From Otta on E6 road 15 passed Grotli, change to road 63, make a detour to Dalsnibba (at Djupvasshytta), continue down the famous Geiranger road (don't stop in Geiranger village), continue up Eagle's Highway (short stop for photos near the top) on road 63. Take the ferry from Eidsdal to Linge (10 minutes), at Linge turn left onto road 650 for a 10 kilometer detour to Liabygda, enjoy the panorama, and return to Valldal village on road 63. Return to Valldal village and continue up Valldal valley on road 63 towards Trollstigen, short stop at Gudbrandsjuvet to look at the gorge, continue to the mountain pass and drive down Trollstigen after stop "on the edge". Continue towards Verma and look at the waterfalls there. Connect to E6 at Dombås.

Do

Eat

The northern part of the county has long traditions in fishing and is famous for its bacalao. Another "typical" dish worth mentioning is "Raspeball". Also try the typical thick pancake ("svele") served on ferries.

Drink

Most towns has a few or more nightclubs, pubs etc. and decent nightlife in the weekends.

Slogen beer, brewed in Liabygda at Sunnmøre is supposed to be a superb contest-winning local beer brand.

Stay safe

Norway has in general a low crime rate. Møre og Romsdal does not have any big cities where crime is relatively more frequent. Violent crimes are very rare. Petty thefts and vandalism are the most common form of crime. Most of Møre og Romsdal are small, peaceful villages where everybody knows each other, and tourists do not need to worry about their safety in public places. Tourists should however watch their belongings in crowded tourist spots like Geiranger and in the busy shopping areas of Ålesund.

People generally drive careful on mountain roads and few car accidents happen even if many tourists feel unsafe. Drivers tend to use their breaks to much causing the break fluid to boil - use a low gear and let the engine control the speed downhill.

Møre og Romsdal has large numbers of red deer (hart, "hjort") that can suddenly jump into the road at dusk and dawn (particularly where road is passing through dense forest). The red deer is much smaller than the moose (elk) found in Eastern Norway, but can still create a dangerous situation and cause serious damage to your car. Note the special warning sign. Call the police at 02800 (or emergency number 112) if you wound an animal.

Do not walk near or on glaciers without a guide and proper equipment. Do not underestimate the risk on slippery slopes (particularly near waterfalls).

Do not underestimate the power of waves along the Atlantic. Always wear a life west when in a small open boat. Keep well away from the sea in stormy weather - wave height may suddenly cause surprises.

Go next

Routes through Møre og Romsdal

Ålesund Åndalsnes  W  E  Romsdalen Dombås
Bergen Førde  S  N  Orkanger Trondheim
Kristiansund  W  E  Sunndal Oppdal


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