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Getting to Geiranger via Hellesylt Ferry or Stalheimskleiva Road (rte 55)

This summer, we will be driving one day from near Sogndal to Geiranger. There are 3 route options:

A. Drive via Hellesylt on Rte 60 and take the ferry. About 4.5 hours drive time.
B. Drive straight (no ferry). About 3.5 hours drive time (through Utvik, Loen, Stryn, Erdal)
C. Drive Rte 55 via Luster and Lom. About 4.5 hours of drive time

Would love to hear the pros and cons of each.

As an FYI, we will have one full day in Geiranger after, and then will be heading to Alesund. This could be our only ferry unless we use the ferry from Gudvangen to Kaupanger on the prior day.

Posted by
1574 posts

My response is very limited - I have only done A (Hellesylt and ferry) - this is from 5-6 years ago (2018 or 2019).

We had taken a ferry to Kaupanger, had Hertz pick us up at the ferry and then drove N. Spent the night at the Hotel/Hostel in Hellesylt - this was more of a backpacker type hostel/hotel - this was the only hotel close to the ferry, everything else seemed to be AirBnBs and some distance away.
I found the ferry awesome especially because we caught the first ferry in the morning (~8 AM) - this helped beat the cruise crowds into Geiranger. Also, by starting early the ferry was empty - I'm certain there were less that 15 passengers on that early ferry which enabled one to enjoy the awesome scenery. Not sure how crowded that ferry will be now. This route let me see the fjord and then continue driving the areas around Geiranger.

Posted by
14 posts

Thanks Arnold. Can I say I am most impressed that Hertz picked you up anywhere! So it sounds like you did two ferries (we are considering the one from Gudvangen to Kaupanger also, then the Hellesylt. I'm glad you enjoyed it. I would hope there would be good views around the crowds. We definitely won't be catching the first ferry as we are staying near Sogndal so there's a good drive to the ferry.

Posted by
8630 posts

Just a heads up that Geiranger could be quite busy with cruise passengers. There are new requirements that go into effect next year that would prohibit ships that are not zero emission from entering UNESCO designated fjords such as Geirangerfjord. Ships that are scheduled to go there this year before the regulations go into effect are often sold out as people want to take advantage of this last opportunity. I have to admit I am one of those passengers that purposefully booked that way.

I don't know what other ship schedules are, but ours arrives at 11 am and departs at 7 pm. I think those early morning hours would be golden for you if you are hoping to avoid at least some of the crowds. You might want to get an early, really early, start on your drive.

Posted by
14 posts

Thanks Carol. We will have the following day in Geiranger so we can do things in town early before the cruises arrive. The driving day will get us there in the afternoon and we may do further things then.

Posted by
2653 posts

Stalheimskleiva is a small pass road near E16 south of Sognefjord - not relevant here.

A. Although some nice places such as Fjaerland and some beautiful valleys passing through It is not my favorite option because very long and no fjell with wide view included. It is more or less a route mainly through valleys and on fjord or sometimes lake level. Ferry ride through fjord is somehow a must-have - independent on route.

B. In wide parts a mix of start A and end B. To me most unspectacular - except detour Gamle Strynefjell.

C. The mountain / Sognefjell tour with some scenic views but only very few onto fjords. Can be closed between Nov and June. With some luck you can see national cross-country skiing teams of Norway doing training in early June.

In total a question of taste. Do not forget Hellesylt ferry in every case and Dalsnibba.

Posted by
675 posts

I'm not sure if I am understanding your post.

We took a passenger -only, fjord tour out of Geiranger. (We went on plenty of car ferries on the regular road system.) In my opinion, the roads in and out of Geiranger are both worth driving.

Posted by
14 posts

Markk, thank you for your comments. It sounds like you don't think any drive from Sogndal to Geiranger is very nice. Tell me if I read this wrong.

Posted by
14 posts

Mnannie, Thank you. I'm trying to figure out our best route for driving. It sounds like any route (without the ferry) is your preferred, and take the ferry separately. We will be driving from Geiranger to Alesund, and also to places like Dalsnibba and Flydalsjuvet Lookout. Does that help? I appreciate the feedback.

Posted by
2653 posts

Wrong interpretation. All three are nice in their way but each has a special focus.

You asked for pros and cons which I tried to list.

Personally B is my last priority. A and C on eye-level. Choose C if you like mountains and fjells without trees, choose B if you like valleys and lakes. Just my view from some drives and stays.

Posted by
14 posts

Markk, thank you for the clarification. I wasn't seeing much on the "pro" list. But now I understand better.

Posted by
675 posts

Yes, I wouldn't do the car ferry at Geiranger.

I think I would do C, but I need to pull out our good map to be sure. I will look at it on Monday when we are home from our eclipse road trip.

Are you going to Trollstigen? That was a favorite drive of mine.

Posted by
454 posts

If you take Geiranger ferry with car do get advance reservation. We did it last May and at least some in line did not get on the departure we had booked.