It’s about time I write a post about one of the most popular tourist attractions where I grew up, and I know I should have done so ages ago (you guys keep asking). You can actually see my house from the Stegastein Viewpoint, so why wouldn’t I write about it? You know I love sharing information and guides about attractions in Norway, especially when it covers Aurland, Flåm and the Sognefjord area! So let’s dive in.
The Stegastein Viewpoint (or Stegastein Lookout as some call it) along the Norwegian ‘Snow Road’ is one of Aurland’s most visited tourist attractions (head this way for some more things to do in Aurland, Norway). The viewing platform itself has won several architectural awards, and has been built to give you the illusion of floating above the fjord. At 650 metres above sea level, it provides you with a breathtaking panoramic view of the fjords. It is the first place I bring my friends when they visit Aurland for the first time and is usually at the top of your average tourist’s to-do list for Norway.
To add some more things to your own to-do list, head to my Ultimate Norway Travel Guide!
This post has been published in Norwegian here.
A guide to visiting Stegastein Viewpoint, Norway
Side note: annoyingly enough I can’t find any of my photos from the Stegastein Lookout, which sucks because I have been taking my friends there for years whenever they visit (and I have a lot of photos). So, the photos here are by Robert Bye on Unsplash, until I get my ass up to Stegastein to take some new photos of my own.
From Stegastein you can see the village of Aurland right below you, which is where I grew up. You will be able to point out the church, the school and the village hall, and if I ever take you I’ll even point you to my house!
If you lift your eyes a bit, you will also be able to see Flåm, the tiny village at the end of the Sognefjord, and the entrance of the fjord on the other side. The panoramic view of the fjord landscape you get from the Stegastein viewing platform is unlike anything else. So trust me; the photos from Stegastein will include your new Facebook cover photo. The fjord below is definitely one of the most beautiful fjords to visit in Norway.
Now, over to the important stuff.
The platform gets busy, especially in the summer months, so prepare yourself for meeting other visitors to the area when you are up there. If you want a photo with no one else in it, I recommend getting there just before sunrise (in the high season, I mean). The Viewpoint is popular (and beautiful) all year round, but is definitely at its busiest from May to August.
There are public restrooms at Stegastein, in case you need it, but they are not always open. I wish I could tell you here that they are open year-round (as they should be), but due to issues accessing them (I assume), they are sometimes closed in the winter and for longer periods of time throughout the year (for example, if they are blocked, and it takes ages for them to be fixed). This is an issue that many locals aren’t happy about, and I hope it will change in the future.
So, my tip to you is to use the restroom before you go to Stegastein Viewpoint.
Side note: if the toilets are open, however, I would go have a look. In 2016 they were named the 4th Best Public Toilets in the World by Design Curial.
If you want information on how to get to Stegastein (from either Flåm or Aurland, for example), keep reading. I cover it all further down in this post.
Is it the Stegastein Viewing Platform, Lookout or what?
Just a quick note to clear up some misunderstandings as to what to actually call the viewpoint, as there are several names going around the internet. People call it the Stegastein Lookout, the Stegastein Viewing Platform, and so on, but the correct name (in English) is the Stegastein Viewpoint.
In Norwegian, we call it Stegastein Utsiktspunkt, but locals simply call it Stegastein most of the time.
So now you know.
How to get to Stegastein Viewpoint from Flåm (or Aurland or anywhere else)
The #1 question I get from visitors to the area when it comes to the viewpoint is how to get to Stegastein Viewpoint from Flåm. As most travellers stay in Flåm for their trip to the fjords (here are my favourite hotels in Flåm), it is only natural that this is their starting point for visiting Stegastein.
There are two main ways to get there (actually three, but the third kind of goes into the second), and I’ve covered both here.
Hiking to the Stegastein Viewpoint
I recently hiked to Stegastein for the first time, and had to make a video (of course)! You can see it below (please don’t forget to give it a thumbs up and subscribe to my Youtube channel here!). The hike takes around 2 hours, and is quite strenuous (it’s marked as a RED hike, which is one of the harder classifications in Norway). However, it was totally worth it once we got to the top, and I believe most people can do it if they take their time and ensure they have the right gear (these are my hiking shoes, for reference).
Visiting Stegastein on a tour
There is one main tour company that takes you from Flåm (and Aurland) to the Stegastein Viewpoint. There are hourly departures in the high season, and two daily departures in the winter. So, the odds of fitting the Stegastein tour into your schedule is quite high.
The tour takes 1,5 hour total, with the drive from Flåm to Stegastein being 30 minutes each way (allowing for a 30-minute stop at Stegastein). My favourite part of the tour (if I don’t count the actual stop at Stegastein) is the audio guide that is included in the ticket price. You get your own little audio device and a set of headphones, so you can learn about the area and the history of Norway during the drive!
Stegastein Viewpoint Drive
Of course, you can also drive to Stegastein yourself. From the bottom of the mountain (the centre of Aurland), it takes approximately 20 minutes – on a good day. Please note that the road from Aurland to Stegasten is very narrow in some places, with very few meeting points along the road, so if you are not 100% comfortable driving in Norway, please do not drive yourself.
I repeat; do not drive to Stegastein unless you know how to (1) manoeuvre the car in tight spaces, (2) reverse without getting stressed at the idea of falling off the side of the mountain if you miss, and (3) stay calm even when there is heavy traffic, a lot of cars behind you, and not enough room to pass the car coming towards you.
This may seem like a joke, but I’m quite serious. Every summer, there are delays on the road to Stegastein (sometimes it can take over an hour to make the 20-minute drive). This is largely due to tourists in rental cars who should never have been driving there in the first place. More often than not I hear stories of friends and locals who have to get out of their cars in order to help visitors reverse their rental cars into one of the meeting places.
If you don’t believe me, check out the photo in this article (it’s in Norwegian, but the photo says at least 4000 words).
So; if you are a little unsure of how comfortable you would be driving; go by tour. Then, you’ll be able to take in the stunning scenery (the drive is almost as beautiful as the viewpoint), and trust that an experienced driver is taking you there safely.
Finally, I’ll say that it is possible to visit Stegastein Viewpoint by taxi (this is the third way I mentioned above). There are no taxi companies in the area that I recommend, but I wanted to mention it as it could be a good solution if you are a bigger group (a maxi taxi may turn out cheaper per person than the tour).
If you do decide to drive to Stegastein, make sure to check the Norwegian Road Directory before you go, to ensure you are up to date with any road works (or closures).
Final words on visiting Stegastein, Norway
Hopefully, you’ll be a little better equipped to visit Stegastein now than you were before reading this post. Stegastein is a viewpoint worth visiting if you are in the area, and whether you decide to join the tour or drive yourself, I know you are going to love it! If you have any questions at all, please leave them in the comment section. Meanwhile, why not keep reading some of my other Norway guides:
- eBook: Flåm and the Fjords – Travel Guide written by yours truly!
- The Ultimate Norway Travel Guide
- How to get from Bergen to Flåm
- An overview of the hotels in Flåm, Norway
- A guide to Flåm Zipline
- Fun and sustainable things to do in Aurland, Norway
- How to spend a weekend by the fjords
- Guide to hiking Mount Ulriken, Bergen