Photograph of the week: Stegastein viewpoint, Norway


A must-stop for anyone travelling between Oslo and Bergen, Flam sits plum in the middle of UNESCO World Heritage fjord territory. The Stegastein viewpoint, near Flam, offers the best views of those fjords.

Stegastein is likely one of the most photographed viewpoints in Norway, a veritable Mecca for avid Instagrammers seeking selfie-stardom. But don’t let that deter you. It may not be the road less travelled by, but those who never travel this twisting, turning, winding road, littered with spectacular views at every hairpin bend, miss out on, well, spectacular views at every hairpin bend. After all, tourist attractions become tourist attractions for a reason.

The panoramic views at Stegastein are proof of this. They are, quite simply, stunning. And the platform from which you view them is just as stunning in its own right.

Part of the Aurlandsfjellet National Tourist Route that runs from Aurland to Lærdal, popularly known as ‘The Snow Road’, the Stegastein viewpoint was designed by Todd Saunders and Tommie Wilhelmsen. Completed in 2006, this pine and steel platform juts out 30 metres (98 ft) from the mountain and a staggering 650 metres (2132 ft) above Aurlandsfjord.

To get there, bus directly from Flam via Aurland or, if you’re feeling brave, self-drive, slowly, by taking route E16 from Flam towards Aurland. Top tip: to avoid the worst of the tourist crowds, avoid arriving between 11am and 2pm, which seems to be when the biggest tour busses unload.

An even better tip? Make the trip in winter, by snowshoe. With summer being peak visiting season to the Stegastein viewpoint, you can avoid even more crowds by taking in the views in winter. The waterfalls may not be flowing then, but neither will the streams of tourists. These are replaced by an icy, exquisitely serene, silence. The waterfalls become frozen walls of ice, the fjords become silent pools, crusted with thin layers of ice, and the tourists become, well, too cold to visit.

Whenever you choose to go, know that the views are spectacular in all seasons, and the viewpoint is open 365 days a year.

Fun fact: In 2015, the toilet at Stegastein received the ‘Most Beautiful Toilet’ award from Design Curial Magazine. Talk about a room with a view…

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Comments (7)

  1. Maggie says:

    Quite an achievement to take the world’s “Most Beautiful Toilet” Award. But is that a good thing? Are people going to be lingering? Will poor people in the queue have to wait whilst the occupant is posting a selfie in social media?

  2. Claire Smith says:

    Show someone something amazing and they will always want more. Could you show a picture from this viewpoint in winter? It must be even more spectacular. And also where does the title for “Most Beautiful Toilet” reside now? Any one got a picture of the current title holder?

  3. Melissa Johnson says:

    Good tip about avoiding the swam of tourists by visiting between 11 and 2, unless they’re all reading this and decide to do the same! I wonder how long it would take to self drive from Flam?
    I can see why this is a dream of a destination for Instagrammers. It looks absolutely incredible, and that is a stunning photograph, I like the painting style effect. I imagine the views at Stegastein are utterly breathtaking.

  4. Zoe says:

    I have probably said this before but photograph of the week is absolutely brilliant. Sure you can buy glossy calendars but they just fon’t Have the back story like Photograph of the Week does it. Not only does this post tell you how to have a go at taking this picture perfectly for yourself. It then goes on to tell you how to take what would probably be an even better one in winter. Keep this feature coming.

  5. Roger says:

    Paul – Not sure if you have the copyright on these photos but have you thought about publishing them in book form? Of course the images would need to be very high rise. I think there’s real potential here for a glossy coffee-table book. It’s the text that goes with the images which make the photos do appealing and what would raise it above the normal trash sold at Christmas.

  6. Chris H says:

    The Snow Road presents an epic challenge. The line about it becoming too cold for tourists is s challenge. In the spirit of the great explorers, such as Captain Scott, it would be a great experience to kit yourself out with winter thermals and head off into the ice for an amazing adventure.

  7. This looks amazing.
    Love the picture.

    The contrast is so amazing. Have been studying making pictures myself the last couple of weeks, but I am still far from this point. Love the blog by the way!

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