Exploring Norway’s architecture and industrial history

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3 nights/4 days. Follow in the footsteps of Norwegian Hydro and experience a journey of evolution, spanning more than a century. This roadtrip takes you through spectacular nature and magnificent history. Roadtrip with accommodation and dinner included

This 4-day tour showcases Norway’s exciting industrial history and architecture, as well as beautiful scenery.


This package includes:

  • 1 night accommodation with breakfast at Rjukan Admini Hotel
  • 1 night accommodation with breakfast at Energihotellet
  • 1 night accommodation with breakfast at either Høyevarde Fyrhotell or GamlaVærket
  • Dinner each night

Dag 1: Arrival at Rjukan Admini Hotel

This short break starts at Rjukan, which played an important role in the industrial history not just of Norway, but of the world. Rjukan is located approximately 180 km from Oslo, with a driving time of around 2½ hours. See route from Oslo here.

This was the cradle of the Second Industrial Revolution in Norway, which also marked the start of the country’s increasing prosperity. The Rjukan-Notodden Industrial Heritage Site is on UNESCO’s World Heritage List, partly for the invention of mineral fertiliser, which in 2011 was named as Norway’s most important invention of the last 100 years.

Until summer 2015, the building popularly known as Rjukan Admini Hotel belonged to Norsk Hydro and was used by the company for entertaining. Built in 1908, it was designed by the architect Thorvald Astrup, and guests over the years have included all the kings of Norway and their families, as well as other big names.

In the evening, dinner is served in Rjukan Admini’s distinctive dining room.


Day 2: Industrial history in Rjukan and arrival at Energihotellet

After breakfast the next morning, there’s chance to experience the area’s industrial history.

Take a ride on the Rjukan Line heritage railway, which runs throughout the high season. You can also visit the railway ferries D/F Ammonia and MF Storegut, which are docked at Mæl. Take a walk around the centre of Rjukan and experience the beautifully preserved architect-designed buildings, including a well-maintained industrial area. The Krossobanen cable car operates daily, taking you to the foot of the Hardangervidda mountain plateau, as it has done since it was completed in 1928 as a gift to the people of Rjukan. Since the centre of Rjukan didn’t see the sun for six months of the year, this gave people the chance to enjoy sunshine all year long, a full 85 years before Solspeilet – the sun mirror – was installed at the marketplace.

The former Vemork power plant is home to the Norwegian Industrial Workers’ Museum, where visitors can find out more about the cable car, the people who worked in Norway’s mines and factories and, not least, the world-famous ‘Battle for Heavy Water’ of World War Two. Our world heritage site is surrounded by beautiful scenery in all directions, and is perfect for mountain hikes whatever the season. And don’t miss Gaustatoppen, perhaps Norway’s most beautiful mountain – or in any case the most accessible one, with the Gaustabanen cable car taking you up inside the mountain. The cable car was built in the 1950s using expertise garnered from building the power stations and associated tunnels down in Rjukan.

Once you’ve had your fill of everything Rjukan has to offer, the tour continues to Suldal and Energihotellet, where you can experience Geir Grung’s unique 1960s functionalist architecture designed for Norsk Hydro.

Energihotellet is approx. 170 km from Rjukan, with a driving time of around 2½ hours. See route here.

As well as being in close proximity to nature, staying here gives you an insight into the history of hydroelectric power, which has helped to shape modern Norway. Grung’s buildings comprise a power plant, residence and what is now Energihotellet. Grung strove for a minimalist style in designing this building, with the bedroom functioning as a kind of painting, framing the idyllic views out towards Suldalsvatnet lake and the surrounding mountains. Energihotellet forms part of the architectural tour on the Ryfylke National Tourist Route.

In the evening, enjoy a 3-course dinner, served with majestic views and a personal introduction to the history of the building in front of the hotel’s famous gilded fireplace.


Day 3: History and architecture at Energihotellet and unique industrial impulses in the West

After breakfast on day 3, we suggest driving the short distance to Almannajuvet (approx. 45 minutes). Almannajuvet forms part of the architectural tour on the Ryfylke National Tourist Route. Here you can marvel at Swiss architect Peter Zumthor’s spectacular installation and find out about the zinc mines around which the town of Sauda grew up. The installation consists of the museum building, a café and toilets.

From Almannajuvet, your journey can take to routes; to Karmøy and Høyevarde Fyrhotell, or perhaps the urban life in Sandnes and GamlaVærket is more fitting?

Høyevarde Fyrhotell is located in approx. 6 hectares of virgin landscape and is truly a hidden treasure within the Hydro facility on Karmøy. First constructed in 1700, the lighthouse has been important in the Karmsund strait, previously known as 'Nordvegen' – the north passage. The present lighthouse dates from 1858 and comprises a lighthouse keeper's house, customs building, boathouse, warehouse and wood-fired bakery. In 1700, Heinrich Petersen Ysted was granted a royal licence to operate the lighthouse here. All of Høyevarde is now protected by the Directorate for Cultural Heritage.(Please note that this option is only available from 30.6 - 30.7)

GamlaVærket is one of Norway's most distinctive hotels and restaurants. The building started it's life as a prominent tile factory and the first industrial factory in all of Rogaland county. Today, the carefully preserved walls that was built over 230 years ago transport the guests of GamlaVærket's hotel and restaurant to an authentic glimpse of Norway's industrial history.


Day 4: Check out and new adventures

After the last hotel breakfast of the trip you are ready to check out. Stay in the area to explore more of what your hotels surroundings has to offer, or get in the car to experience new adventures. Wether you head north, east or south, Western Norway has a ton of unique experiences close by. Perhaps you'll find your new adventure with us?