Gol is a small city in the middle of the Hallingdal valley, and it’s a popular stop for people who are travelling to their cabin in Hallingdal. It’s also a natural stop when travelling between Oslo and Bergen by car (following the Rv7 route), so this small city gets a lot of both Norwegian and foreign tourists.
Gol in itself is a popular winter sport destination with several different ski resorts and downhill ski tracks. We will be looking closer at the best things to do while visiting Gol in this article.
1) See the replica of the Gol stave church
Gol stave church is one of the most amazing stave churches in all of Norway, and it is in fact so amazing that it has been moved to Oslo to be part of the Norwegian Museum of Cultural History.
As you can imagine, the people living in Gol was not too happy about losing their stave church, so some people decided to make a complete replica of it. The result is a 1:1 scale replica of the Gol stave church, and this is located just outside the main city center in Gol, and is clearly visible from the main road (Rv7).
While it’s “just a replica”, it’s still an amazing piece of architecture, and the replica is so good that I would wager that you would not realize it to be a replica unless you already knew so.
So stop by the replica Gol stave church whenever you visit Gol, because it’s absolutely a sight to behold.
Read more about stave churches close to Oslo here.
2) Go swimming at Tropicana
Tropicana is a type of waterpark that is also part of Pers Hotell in the middle of Gol city. It’s a popular attraction for people who are travelling with children, and it’s a pretty nice place to stay for a few hours to have some fun.
The waterpark is pretty much like you expect it to be with several big pools, water slides, and children’s pools. There is an outdoor area that is very enjoyable at summer, where you can enjoy a cold drink in the sun while the children are having fun in the pool.
The admission cost to Tropicana waterpark is around 240 NOK for adults and 180 NOK for children. It’s a bit cheaper if you are already staying at Pers Hotell.
3) Learn about vikings in Gordarike
Gordarike is a family park that has a middle age / viking theme. This is also where you will find the replica of the Gol stave church.
The rest of Gordarike is a park dedicated to Norse mythology and the middle ages in Norway. There’s a viking city and buildings made to imitate viking building styles, as well as several viking exhibitions.
There are also some fun play areas for the children, and it’s nice place to stop by for a few hours. The park is pretty small, so don’t expect to spend the entire day there. The entrance fee is only 90 NOK for adults or 180 NOK for a family ticket of 2+2-3, so it’s very cheap compared to most entertainment parks in Norway.
4) Go skiing in the mountains
Gol is a typical winter destinations with a lot of mountains and skiing resorts. If you find yourself in Gol during the winter, going skiing in one of the many different downhill tracks is probably something you want to do.
There are plenty of places you can go cross country skiing as well, and there are hundreds of kilometres of prepared tracks. These are completely free to use, but you will need a skiing pass to use the downhill ski tracks.
If you love skiing in any form or shape, Gol and the rest of Hallingdal is going to be a great destination for you. While the skiing resorts in Gol are not as big as in Hemsedal or Geilo, they are still good enough for most people, and a bit cheaper.
5) Try riding on the pumptrack
There’s a big pumptrack and skatepark made for skaters and cyclist just outside the main city center, so it’s possible to rent a skateboard or pumptrack bike to have some fun at this pumptrack while visiting Gol.
The pumptrack and skate park is made for both children and adults, as well as both beginners and experienced bikers and skaters alike. There’s something for everyone at this track, and it’s lit up by huge lights after the darkness sets in at night.
6) Go hiking and find a place to swim in a mountain lake
Gol has plenty of trails in its surrounding mountains, and there is something for everyone, no matter if you are an experienced hiker or a beginner. You are guaranteed to find a trail that suits your skill level and preferred length.
The mountains of Gol have plenty of freshwater lakes that are perfect for swimming in, or maybe trying your luck at catching mountain trout. If you hike some of the least popular trails, you’re likely to get the area all to yourself, giving you a chance to just enjoy the beautiful nature on the mountains in Gol without any crowds at all.
7) Go shopping in the city center
Gol is the best shopping destination in all of Hallingdal, and has a pretty decent selection of different stores in its city center. The city is great for walking in, and it’s both cozy and relaxing to walk down the main street in Gol while looking at the different stores there.
It’s a stretch to say that Gol is a great shopping destination, but it’s the best in the surrounding area, and you are likely to be able to pick up most of the things you need there. So don’t leave Oslo or Bergen to go shopping in Gol, but also don’t worry if you forgot to buy something before you left.
8) Try an Escape Room
You either love or hate Escape Rooms, but if you are in the first group then it’s possible to try the only Escape Room in all of Hallingdal when visiting Gol. The Escape Room is run by Pers Hotell (which also runs the waterpark), and it is a big hit for tourists who visit Gol.
There are two different Escape Rooms that span several rooms each, and they are considerably bigger than most regular Escape Rooms. Most of the stuff going on is in Norwegian, so it’s best to attempt this with someone who can help you translate, but it’s definitely possible to play as long as at least one person in the party knows Norwegian.
The cost is roughly 400 NOK per person playing.
9) Learn about traditional life in Gol at Gol Bygdemuseum
Gol Bygdemuseum is an outdoor museum with lots of different buildings and items from the 1600s to the 1800s. This is a great opportunity to learn more about what life was like in Gol and the rest of Hallingdal several hundred years ago, what types of houses they lived in, and what their life was like.
The museum is open all year, but it’s particularly nice during sunny summer days since it’s all outside. Even if you don’t care too much about all the interesting history of regular farmers some hundred years ago, then you can just enjoy the beautiful area. There are tables and benches where you can enjoy your lunch in these beautiful surroundings.
What to expect when visiting Gol
Gol is typically a place you stop by for a few hours while travelling between destinations, and seeing as it’s about 3 hours away from Oslo, it is a pretty natural stop for people who are driving between Oslo and Bergen. Gol has accepted this fate, and the tourist attractions reflect this in the sense that they are best fit for a few hours of fun, and not something to spend the whole day one.
I find Gol to be a nice place to stop at and stretch my legs whenever I pass by, and there are plenty of shopping opportunities that allows me to stock up on things before I’m going to cross Hardangervidda, and the waterpark and other attractions are great when travelling with children who are bored of all the driving.
Expect Gol to be exactly the place that is perfect to stop at, and don’t plan on spending more than a few hours here, unless you are staying at a ski resort for a few days.
Gol in itself is a rather small city with only 5,000 inhabitants. It serves as kind of a capital for the Hallingdal region, although only unofficially. It’s the biggest city in Hallingdal, and the place with the biggest variety of shops and attractions. This makes it so that people from all over Hallingdal tend to travel to Gol whenever they need to go shopping at stores like Elkjøp or Biltema.
How to get to Gol
Gol is located pretty much directly on Rv7, so you will pass by it when using Rv7 to drive between Bergen and Oslo. There are plenty of buses that passes by Gol on this route, so you can easily get there by bus.
The Bergensbanen train track also stops at Gol, so you can easily get there by train as well. The train station is just outside the city center, and it’s easy to get from the train station to the city center on foot.
Gol is not exactly well-suited for people riding public transport, and you will probably want a car if you intend to get anywhere outside of the main city center. Luckily most of the things to do in Gol are all inside the city center, but public transport internally in the Gol region is pretty infrequent.
Nicklas is the owner and editor of The Norway Guide, and is responsible for most of the content on the website.
He lives in Skien, Norway with his wife and two children. Nicklas is specialized in Norwegian ecology (including Norway’s geology, wildlife and flora) from his degree in Ecology And Nature Management at University of South-Eastern Norway, but has a particular interest in tourism and content creation.
His biggest hobbies are fishkeeping, going on hikes with his dog, and rooting for the local football team.