The strawberry village Valldal twists and turns from the top of Trollstigen and forty kilometres downwards to the centre, called Sylte.
Valldal is situated at the edge of Storfjorden, and is known for its mild climate and fertile farming land. This is partly because it is surrounded by tall mountains that shelter against the often raw weather conditions of West Coast Norway. Valldal and Tafjord often have the highest measured temperatures in the whole country. In mid-summer season the traffic is usually quite hectic and busy in the village, as it is a major tourist destination. Besides foreign tourists, Norwegians also travel here from larger towns and cities to rest, camp, swim, fish or go hiking.
Valldal is the administrative centre for Norddal municipality. In walking distance from Fjellro there are supermarkets, post office, bank, dentist, doctor’s office, hairdresser, tourist information, petrol station, library and public transport.
The old Sylte street
Alongside the foot of the dramatic Sylte mountain, you find the former main street in Valldal. This used to be a busy road, but has now given way to the new main street about 50 metres away. The old Sylte street is quiet, charming and popular with both tourists and locals. It has traditional country houses, many of which are listed —many with intricate details and cosy backyard gardens. Opposite the houses lie the church and churchyard.
At the top of this street lies Fjellro Tourist Hotel, which is also a listed building. The waterfront is a mere 100 metres from the hotel, at the end of the Sylte street – which is also where the commercial centre is located, with two supermarkets and other shops.
Fruit and jam
Fortunate weather conditions and rich soil have created an unusually lush vegetation, resulting in an abundance of fruit, berries and vegetables. A few kilometres from the centre are the farms at Linge — Europe’s northernmost commercial fruit garden.
Large strawberry fields are to be found everywhere throughout the valley. The juicy, red berries and the resources invested in growing and harvesting them, have led to the strawberry production becoming an iconic cornerstone industry, as seen on the municipality coat of arms.
A variety of jams and juices are still produced in the old jam factory in old Sylte street. Strawberry, blueberry, raspberry, cowberry, cloudberry or apple, pear and plum products may be purchased from the shop outlet beside the factory.
Less than 100 metres from Fjellro lies the commercial centre in Valldal. Here are two supermarkets, one with its own department for furniture, gifts, toys and art supplies. Both supermarkets are open on Sundays during mid-season summer. Valldal also has a clothes shop and hairdresser.
If you are interested in souvenirs, we recommend stopping by the arts and crafts shop and the jam shop in the centre. The strawberries from Valldal are famous throughout Norway for their quality and taste. Postcards and more traditional souvenirs are found in the tourist information by the quay.
If you are an active person, but you prefer not to go mountain hiking, there are alternative in-door activities. 250 metres from Fjellro hotel, you will find Kulå bowling, which offers bowling, billiards, air hockey and darts. A further 50 metres away lies Muritunet, a rehabilitation facility that also offer an indoor pool, sauna, sunbeds and a gym. If weather permits, you can rent the tennis court or play beach volleyball by the fiord.
Beach and swimming
In Valldal there is a natural beach that is popular amongst families with children. You can wade quite far out and enjoy the beautiful surroundings, as the water is reasonably shallow. For the more adventurous, you can jump directly into the fiord from the quay or cliffs nearby. In Tafjord there is a popular outdoor pool.
The quay lies right in the centre and is a popular fishing spot. Around the quay are the shops, tourist information and the marina. If you wish to get even closer to the fiord, you should get in touch with Valldal Naturopplevingar\’s office on the quay, where you can rent a cayak, standup paddleboard or raft for the river.
Olsok and other events
During summertime there are many events going on in Valldal, with arts and crafts exhibitions, sports arrangements and other cultural events. On the final weekend of July we celebrate Olsok, and this is normally a festival with lots of life. During the festival, people from the whole county visit the valley, something that does not go unnoticed in a village with just over 800 inhabitants. In the old Sylte street you can find markets and stands, and the pub and cafes are heaving.
The Olsok festival is related to old king Heilag Olav’s (Holy Olav) dramatic escape in 1028 through Valldal. Many legends and myths about this are still told and is traced to the still visible marks of the sea serpent Heilag Olav threw at the mountainside – an iconic, coiling white mark on Syltefjellet (Sylte Mountain).