About the village of Heidal
In Nord-Gudbrandsdalen, surrounded by five of the country's most spectacular national parks, you'll find Heidal - the village that is said to be "in the middle of nowhere"!
Heidal is a perfect starting point for much of the best that the National Park Kingdom has to offer.
A village for the adventurous!
Many of Heidal's visitors also have Glittertind, Besseggen, Sjodalen and Gjende in their plans, as the road to them passes through Heidal. It is also from Gjende that the river Sjoa has its outlet, before winding its way through Heidal. It can be glimpsed roaring far down in steep gorges, and flattens out alongside buildings. The name Heidal probably comes from Heardal, where the first part is the genitive of Hjò, an old name for Sjoa, meaning "the shiny one".
Sjoa is a river with a strong personality and character! It has emerged as a true celebrity in the rafting world, with beautiful surroundings and challenges of all levels of difficulty. River sports include rafting, river kayaking, river boarding and canyoning, and in recent times the industry has seen strong local growth. It even has its own festival - the Sjoa River Festival - which takes place every summer! The road through the village follows the Sjoa River, and you can take part in the many activities offered both in and around the river. In summer and fall, the river is bustling with life, both in hot tubs, lavvos and around campfires along the riverbank. People come here from all corners of the world, but many Norwegians also make the trip. Sjoa is a playground for both young and old adrenaline hunters!
The horse community in the area is active and you can go horseback riding in both summer and winter - a horseback ride through real troll forest is a great way to get in close contact with our nature. In winter, there are also dog teams in Sjodalen, a different experience filled with speed and fun! At Glittersjå Fjellgard in Murudalen, the whole family can visit the animals and feed their moose - and enjoy the view of Glittertind.
There are also many great hiking areas in Heidal. The hiking guide, part of the hiking sign project in Heidal and produced under the auspices of the sports team, has compiled a selection of great hikes that are worth taking. The signposted walks are scattered throughout the village and are varied in both length and difficulty.
Fishing is popular in Heidal, in everything from large mountain lakes to streams and rivers, both with fly and rod. There is free fishing in Sjoa within Heidal's boundary, otherwise separate cards are sold. Fish sizes vary from small trout down in Heidal to larger and finer fish up through Sjodalen. To the west of Heidalsskogen is Flatningen, which is a well-known fishing lake, both in summer and winter (pilking). It is also possible to hire a boat at Lemonsjøen.
Winter in Heidal is great with miles of cross-country skiing trails; both hiking trails and cross-country trails, in the forest and above the tree line. Lemonsjøen Ski Center has a popular alpine slope and is only 20 km from the city center. The ski center is also the starting point for many fine ski trails. From Kvernbru and Stålane, you can hike to Heidal's highest mountain peak, Mukampen, which has a distinctive curved shape. Here you might spot hundreds of passing reindeer! In winter, during the blue hour, "Heidalsmuen" is like something out of a fairytale!
Heidal is full of adventurous experiences! If you make the trip here, we recommend making several stops, preferably over several days. There are many exciting accommodation options here that are unique and memorable in themselves! Perhaps you'd like to spend a night in a furnished firehouse at Øvre Åseng Gard, with 120 Boer goats outside in scenic surroundings? Or how about a room at Søre Harildstad, a completely preserved 18th century farm?
Norway's largest and best-preserved rural culture - a living museum!
As part of its famous character, in Heidal you'll find elements of rose painting, various kinds of handicrafts, woodcarving and old log houses, some dating back to the 16th century! Many with turf on the roof, which makes the cottages and farmhouses blend harmoniously into the landscape (and makes foreign tourists stop and scratch their heads!). The traditional use of the farmhouses in Heidal is almost over. The farmers and animals are sadly gone, but the farmhouses still stand as romantic features in the landscape. Almost like a little piece of Asbjørnsen & Moe!
Heidal has the highest density of listed buildings in Norway. With over 100 listed houses on 17 different farms and a total of nine listed farm complexes, Heidal is a popular destination for those who want to experience Norwegian rural and cultural history up close. The well-kept farms and grazing animals testify to the fact that Heidal is a village characterized by agriculture and old Norwegian traditions.
Many of the large farms are now divided into smaller farms, but you can still get an impression of what this area looked like 100 years ago. Higher up the hill are many of the former crofts that belonged to the large farms. The crofters' families farmed the land themselves in exchange for doing chores on the larger farms. At the top of the village, at Leirflaten, a road turns south towards Murudalen. This is where cattle farming started in the interwar period. In the dense forest in Murudalen, good soil was broken up with pickaxes, diggers and stump breakers. Today, some of the largest farms in the village are located there. The famous big game hunter Jo Gjende lived in Brurusten, which is located at the top of Murudalen. From here, he had a short distance to hunt wild reindeer around Gjende.
The village for real taste experiences!
At the heart of our local kitchen is traditional Norwegian food made from scratch - and of the highest quality. This is part of our distinctive character. Juicy, stuffed lefse rolls, hand-baked flatbread cooked on griddle in a fireplace, locally sourced game meat and cured meats, magic cream and "stomp" with butter and brown cheese... The food culture in Heidal has been shaped and passed down through many generations and still stands firmly as an important part of our identity. The menus of our restaurants are also often characterized by modern taste and variety. In Heidal, we value the art of combining the old with the new, and the same goes for the food!
Many of the farms in the village offer both accommodation and dining. The historic farm hotel Nordre Ekre has its own gourmet restaurant and roots dating back to the early Iron Age! In the summer of 2019, Banken Bryggeri & Spiseri opened as a breath of fresh air and a meeting point in the center of Heidal. It also hosts social events such as concerts, quizzes and parties!
Since time immemorial, butter has been churned and cheese has been made in Heidal. If you have the opportunity, you should also visit Ysteriet and take a tour of how they make the well-known Heidalsosten the old-fashioned way, as it was first made on one of the local farms. Ysteriet also serves good, old-fashioned rømmegrøt that few people can resist (and with a kind of natural satiety guarantee)!
Adventurous taste experiences from Heidal are made possible by extensive use of locally sourced genuine products and few compromises, prepared by dedicated food people - with great taste!
For the community in Heidal, it is important to work to keep the village alive in the face of modern times while preserving and strengthening the village soul. We greatly appreciate everyone who wants to visit us and take part in the cultural heritage through exciting activities and experiences in Heidal's adventurous surroundings.
Heidal welcomes you and yours - spring, summer, autumn and winter!