Nesbyen is a small town located in the Hallingdal region, just a few hours from Oslo. It’s a natural stop for anyone who travels between Oslo and Bergen using the Rv7 route, so it gets a lot of tourism from people who need to stretch their legs during this rather long car ride.
The mountainous municipality of Nesbyen is also a popular place to own a cabin, and it is considered to be a pretty expensive and nice place to have a cabin. It’s located very close to alpine ski resorts, and makes for a good destination both in the winter as well as in the summer.
Despite being a rather small town, Nesbyen has a lot of fun to offer for everyone who visits, and can brag about having a lot of action-filled activities as well as plenty of beautiful nature. Let’s take a closer look at the best things to do in Nesbyen!
1) Visit Langedrag Nature Park
Langedrag nature park is a kind of a zoo combined with a typical Norwegian mountain farm. This is a very exciting place for children who want to get close to the farm animals, and it’s pretty cool for anyone who wants to learn more what the Norwegian mountain farms looked like.
The main area allows the children to pet and interact with farm animals, while the area outside of the main farm has big enclosures with Norwegian animals like the lynx, wolves and arctic fox.
There are some play areas for the children, and plenty of cool opportunities to learn more about the Norwegian wildlife. If you got the money, you can even pay to enter the enclosures of the wolf or lynx, but only with a guide. This is a truly unique experience!
Langedrag nature park is roughly 20 – 25 minutes away from Nesbyen town itself, but it must be reached by car (or taxi if you are willing to pay). It’s open pretty much all year, and can be enjoyed both in the summer as well as during the winter.
2) Go for a swim at Trytetjern
Trytetjern is a public beach just a few minutes outside of Nesbyen town center, and it’s the perfect place to stop by for a swim if you are visiting Nesbyen during the summer.
The sand beach is big enough to make room for anyone who wants to chill there, and it’s suitable for all ages. There is a water trampoline that is immensely popular for the children, and the public area also has changing booths, toilets, a small kiosk (only open in the summer) and a few playing fields for playing beach volleyball.
The photo below shows Trytetjern, but keep in mind that the beach is a lot bigger than what I’ve managed to photograph.
The surrounding area around Trytetjern has several good hiking spots, as well as trails that are suited for children, families and even strollers and wheelchairs. There are also several downhill bike trails that starts from Trytetjern, which brings us to..
3) Ride one of the many downhill bike trails
Nesbyen is one of the best places in Norway to try downhill biking, and there are dozens of of downhill bike trails that are suited for both beginners, professionals and everything in-between. You can rent a downhill bike and security gear for a day at the bike shop in Nesbyen city, and then you are free to try any of the trails.
The downhill bike trails themselves are free to use, but you might want to rent a driver if you want to get the most out of the experience. A driver will meet you by the end of the trail to let you pack up your pick, then drive you to the mountains again to try another downhill run. This will save you from the difficult uphill rides, and you can focus on the fun and exciting parts of the experience.
4) See the huge meteor crater at Gardnos
The Gardnos meteorite crater is one of very few meteorite craters in Norway, and the only one that is even close to easy to reach by car or other types of transportation. It is in fact only around 10 kilometres from Nesbyen city center, so it’s very easy to get to by car or bus.
The meteorite crater is open all year, but it is only really “open” during the summer months. At this time period, there are guided tours in the crater, and no snow to prevent you from fully exploring it. There’s also a small shop that sells some souvenirs and food.
Keep in mind that the meteorite crater at Gardnos is so big that it is difficult to see the actual outline of the crater from the ground. You need to get up in the air by drone to really see the crater, and from the ground you will mainly see geological differences.
If you want to get the most out of the experience, pay to join the guided tours. These guides are highly skilled and will teach you a lot about Norwegian geology and how the meteorite affected the area.
5) Go skiing at Nesfjellet Alpinsenter
Nesbyen, like most of the Hallingdal region, is a great place to go if you enjoy downhill skiing. The main skiing area in Nesbyen is the Nesfjellet Alpinsenter. This skiing resort has lots of different downhill trails, and plenty of cross country ski trails in the surrounding area.
As you can expect from any ski resort, there are places to eat, a ski lift that takes up all the way to the top of the trail, and a place to enjoy something good to drink. There is no hotel there, so you will need to book a room in downtown Nesbyen if you want to spend the night.
While Nesfjellet might not be the best ski place in Hallingdal, it’s reasonably priced and pretty easily accessible from the town, so it’s a nice place to enjoy a day skiing.
6) Get an amazing view of the town and valley from Beia is one of the best things to do in Nesbyen
Beia is the big mountain top just outside of Nesbyen town center, and the trails leading up to the mountain starts from Hallingdal Museum, just a few minutes away from the main town center. The hike up to Beia is a bit challenging, but you will be rewarded with a spectacular sight down the valley as well as down to Nesbyen itself.
You get to see some amazing things along the trail, from dense forest to mountain ecosystems with bogs and mires. There’s also a good chance that you will find some cloud berries close to the trail if you hike it during the autumn.
Beia is only one of many hiking and forest trails in Nesbyen, so feel free to explore these hikes if you ever visit the area.
7) Learn about traditional Norwegian life in Hallingdal Museum
Hallingdal Museum is a big, outdoor museum just a few minutes outside of the main Nesbyen town center. It has plenty of traditional buildings from different parts of Hallingdal, and will give you a unique look into Hallingdal’s past. You get to see how life was like for the regular people and farms in the past few hundred years, and there are plenty of opportunities to learn.
The museum area is located close to the start of several hiking and forest trails. It’s a nice little stop if you want a chill stop that’s fairly cheap, but be aware that the museum might be a bit dry compared to many other.
8) See the incredible water rapids in Rukkedalselva
Nesbyen is home to lots of amazing nature, and if you’re visiting Hallingdal Museum, make sure to get a good view of Rukkedalselva just outside of the main museum area. This river has plenty of rapids and small waterfalls, and it’s fascinating to watch the water flow.
If you’re really lucky you might even get a glimpse of Norway’s national bird, the white-throated dipper. This small bird lives close to rapids like this, and I’ve seen it in these rapids several times personally.
9) See some of the historic buildings
Nesbyen is a very old town, and most of the original buildings are still standing in the “old town”. There is a trail that takes you around all these older buildings called “Nesbyen rundt”. You can either follow this yourself and read the signs, or sign up for a guided tour during the summer months.
If you’re interested in architecture, then this will be pretty interesting for you. Some of the buildings have a long history behind them, and there’s lots of information for those of you who care about the history of the town.
10) See some of the amazing artwork from Hallingdal all around the town
Nesbyen and the rest of Hallingdal was a hugely popular artistic inspiration during the romanticism era (during the late 18th century), with artists like Hans Gude finding a lot of inspiration in Nesbyen. Many of the most well-known works from Nesbyen and the rest of Hallingdal is on display along the “Nesbyen rundt” trail in the town, allowing you to see where some of the most well-known Norwegian artists got their inspiration from.
The trail has plenty of different plaques where you can read more about local history, the paintings that were inspired from that place, and the life of Norwegian artists who were connected to Nesbyen and Hallingdal.
This artistic trail goes alongside the historic building one, so you won’t need to choose, and can do both at the same time. As you can see in the photo below, the plaques are almost identical, so just read up on the ones who interest you.
11) Go fishing in Hallingdalselva
Hallingdalselva is a great place to fish, and the most common fish species in the river is brown trout. There’s plenty of it, but you might also be very lucky and get one of the salmons that might get that far upstream.
One of the best things about Hallingdalselva is that there are thousands of different places to go fishing. The freedom to roam allows you to go pretty much anywhere to fish, and you can choose if you want to stay close to the city, or just fish in the middle of nowhere.
PS. remember that you need to buy a fisher’s card to be able to legally fish in the river. These are pretty cheap, but you still need to buy one before you catch any fish.
12) Try Stand Up Paddle (SUP) in the river
Stand Up Paddle (SUP) has become very popular in Norway in the last few years, and it’s common to see SUP surfers on both Hallingdalselva as well as on Trytetjern. You can easily rent a SUP board if you want to try this activity for yourself. Both adults and children are guaranteed to have a great time!
13) Test your golf skills at Nesfjellet Golf
If you’re a golfing type, then you might want to check out Nesfjellet Golf. It’s a nine course mountain golf course that is considered the best golf course in the area. You can either bring your own equipment or rent it. As you can probably guess, the golf course is only open during the summer half of the year.
The golf course is close to the ski resort, so it’s a bit of a hassle to get there from the main town center unless you got a car.
What to expect when visiting Nesbyen
Nesbyen is a typical Norwegian small town where all the shops and experiences are directed towards cabin tourism, and this gives the town a bit of a different feel compared to regular small towns in Norway. The great thing about this is that it does give tourists a lot more options when it comes to experiences and attractions, so while Nesbyen doesn’t have the worlds best attractions, it does have a lot compared to other towns of its size.
In addition to all these different attractions, it’s worth noting that the town has plenty of forest trails for both hikers and bikers, as well as plenty of skiing trails in the winter. It’s a nice place to stop for a hike if you are passing by, but it’s also very rare to have Nesbyen as a primary destination unless you own a cabin there.
How to get to Nesbyen
Nesbyen is just about 1 minute away from the main Rv7 road that goes between Bergen and the eastern part of Norway, so it’s very easy to stop by if you are crossing from east to west or the other way around. Travel time from Oslo to Nesbyen is about 2 – 2.5 hours. The time from Bergen to Nesbyen is about 4.5 hours.
Nesbyen is very rarely a destination you aim at unless you own a cabin there, but it’s a great place to stop by for a few hours if you need a break from driving.
There are plenty of buses that stops at Nesbyen. Again, just book a bus that goes between Oslo and Bergen along the Rv7 route. You will find that there are plenty of daily departures that stops at Nesbyen, so it should not be a problem getting there.
The train track Bergensbanen also stops at Nesbyen, so you can book a train ticket from Oslo or Bergen to Nesbyen easily.