If the port of Olden is on your Norwegian Fjords cruise itinerary, you simply must make time to scale the heights of Mount Hoven (even if your mobility is limited)! Let’s explore what it is, how to get there and why it is an absolute must-do excursion!
What Is Loen Skylift?
Exactly what it says on the tin, and so much more! Quite simply, it is a modern, comfortable and super smooth cable car that take takes you from the village of Loen to the top of Mount Hoven. Awaiting your arrival at the top are a viewing platform, walking trails and a gorgeous restaurant with panoramic views and terrace. You may also spot some sheep roaming around and a rather impressive sculpture too (I wonder how they got that up here)! Intrigued? You should be!
Where Is Loen Skylift?
The charming village of Loen sits at the foot of Mount Hoven, just a 6km drive along the Nordfjord from Olden. In the summer months it is a popular holiday spot for locals with a number of small hotels, camping and caravan facilities, several mapped walking routes and a small village shop. Visit in the winter however, and you can expect plenty of snow with opportunities for cross country skiing.
Loen Skylift itself is positioned at the north end of the village, with a modern purpose-built gift shop & ticket office at fjord level. Here you can buy tickets, or simply join the queue for the Skylift if you purchased them in advance.
Do I Need To Book In Advance?
Booking in advance is not essential, but as we were visiting with 4,000 other fjord enthusiasts, we thought we would book ahead, just in case! We opted to book ours with roundtrip transportation from Olden, and you can do so here, at Olden Cruise. Prices are in Norwegian Krone (NOK), and start from 850NOK per adult (approx. £64). It may seem a lot, but this is Norway, and booking on board with the cruise excursion desk will cost you even more (on our cruise the same trip costs from £79 and children were charged a full ticket price from the age of 2, not 6). It is not any cheaper buying it locally. The price on the day is the same as on the Loen Skylift website.
How Often Does It Run?
The Skylift itself runs continuously during the day, with departures every 30 minutes as a minimum. There are 2 cable cars, each with an approximate ride time of 5-7 minutes each way. With this in mind, on a busy day you should expect a cable car to be boarding approximately every 10 minutes or so. Each car holds up to 35 people. For specific opening hours and operational information, please visit the Loen Skylift website here.
How Long Does It Take?
How long is a piece of string?! If we are talking about the Olden Cruise (was Olden Active) excursion from Olden to Loen Skylift which includes bus transportation, logistically it will take 10 minutes to get there by bus (buses run in a continuous loop), approximately 30 minutes to get from the bus, through the queue, on the cable car and up the mountain, then repeat for the return journey. I would say allow at least an hour for all of the transportation elements. The rest really depends on how long you want to spend on the mountain! People ask me if they can do it in half a day, and you absolutely can. This will allow you plenty of time to explore the village of Olden too or partake in another half day excursion.
Is It Worth It?
Absolutely, yes! This is a must-do for anyone visiting Olden. On a Norwegian Fjords cruise, you will be used to seeing the beautiful scenery from sea level, but it is not often you get to admire the breathtaking vistas of the fjord from above. This is the most accessible and relaxing way to admire the Nordfjord, and I strongly encourage everyone to do it. Whether you just want to take a few photos and relax with a coffee, or seek your inner mountain goat and explore the mountain further, you will find hygge here.
Is It Accessible?
Yes. The facilities at Loen Skylift have been universally designed with accessibility in mind. Wheelchair users can access the transfer bus from the port via ramp, then use the cable car, access the shops and restaurant and traverse the mountain top footpaths completely step-free. This is of course good news for pushchair users too! There are also toilet facilities at both the top and bottom of the Skylift.
Is It Sustainable?
When it opened on 20th May 2017, Loen Skylift was designed to be one of the most sustainable cable cars in the world. It is run entirely by electricity and uses physics and technology keep usage to a minimum. The Skylift project is locally owned and benefits the immediate community and businesses alike. You can read all about the Skylift and it’s sustainability here.
Check the weather before deciding when to head out. If it is a very misty start but due to be sunny, go first thing. By the time you get to the top of the mountain, the mist will be clearing, you may get some mysterious photos of the fjord in the mist before it burns away, and you will have beat the rush. Take layers though – it can get pretty chilly up there, but when the sun comes out, it’s hot! Don’t be put off by the rain either – its still beautiful by nature and panoramic views can be enjoyed from the cosy comfort of Hoven Restaurant & Bar.
Have You Heard The Tale of Mount Hoven?
The mountain is said to be named after the Norse God Odin’s horse Sleipner, who, on a ride across the mountains, struck his hoof and left the powerful impression on the mountain side! You can read all about it on the Loen Skylift website, or why not ask a local?!
Our Favourite Memory
We visited on a beautifully sunny summers day. The sky was as clear as the fjord, the breeze was gentle and warm… it couldn’t have been more perfect. My mother is terrified of heights and was nervous of this excursion before we even booked it, but once she was in the cable car, her fears were allayed. The ride was smooth, it wasn’t overcrowded and the views were incredible. When we got to the top, the view really did take our breath away. We could even see our cruise ship docked in Olden, and my gosh did it look small! We held our son’s hand tightly as we traversed the mountain paths for a while, took some pictures and inhaled that fresh fjord air. We could have walked all day, but Teddy (who was almost 3 at the time) had other ideas! He made it very clear it was time to stop for refreshments, and what better place to sit than the sun terrace of Hoven Restaurant. We ordered some coffees and hot chocolates, and much to our delight, the restaurant has a selection of family board games! It really was like the Gods were shining down at us! My otherwise restless bundle of energy finally had something to sit down and focus on, and we could all just relax and enjoy the moment. 1,011 meters above sea level, in the silence of the fjord, we had found our hygge. If I could live in that moment forever, I truly would.
It is moments like these that keep us coming back to the fjords of Norway over and over again. You simply can’t have experiences like these anywhere else in the world. It is why I implore you to go and book your Norwegian Fjords adventure right now. Whatever itinerary you choose, whenever you choose to visit, you will make memories like never before, and you will be so forever grateful you did it.
Loen Skylift www.loenskylift.com
Olden Adventure / Olden Cruise (for excursion / shuttle tickets) www.oldencruise.com
Hoven Restaurant www.loenskylift.com/restaurant
Do you have any questions about Loen Skylift or cruising the Norwegian Fjords in general? Feel free to leave a comment and we’ll be sure to help where we can!
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