Overlooking the southern shores of the Sognefjord, Laerdal is a small town in Norway’s scenic Vestland county. It serves as a gateway for Atlantic salmon fishing on the Lærdalselvi River and is on the doorstep of the beautifully preserved Borgund Stave Church.
Things to do
Where the Lærdalselvi River meets the Sognefjord is the Aqua - Wild Salmon Centre and Sportsfishing Museum, which celebrates the region’s international reputation for salmon fishing. Learn about the lifecycle of Atlantic salmon and how they survive the icy winters of Norway, then hear about some of the biggest specimens that have been caught here. The complex is also home to the Sogn Art Center, which showcases a large collection of works by the Norwegian artist Hans Gjemse.
Don’t miss a visit to the Borgund Stave Church, a well-preserved timber building that was constructed between 1180 and 1250 AD. It features intricately carved portals and dragon’s heads along its roof and is now operated as a museum run by the Society for the Preservation of Ancient Norwegian Monuments. You can browse the exhibits of Viking artefacts and learn about the role of stave churches in Norway during the Middle Ages.
Adjacent to the Borgund Stave Church is the trailhead for Vindhellavegen, a spectacular stretch of The King's Road that traverses the Filefjell plateau. Follow the switchbacks that lead up and over to Husum on the banks of the Lærdalselvi River, from where a return trail leads through a tract of dense forest back to Borgund.
Laerdal is around three hours’ drive from Bergen and Bergen Airport while Oslo is 2.5 hours away. Buses are the main means of accessing the town and getting around the area. The centre of Laerdal is compact enough to explore on foot.