The King’s Road in Norway was historically one of the main routes between Eastern and Western Norway, and has been in use since 1793. Since 2009 a collaborative upgrading project, involving public and private sectors, has aimed to teach people about the importance of the history of transport over Filefjell.
The result is a 100 km long continuous cultural heritage path between Lærdalsøyri and Vang. Every second year, the Norwegian Public Roads Administration awards “The Beautiful Roads Award” which is the Norwegian Director of Roads’ prestigious honorary prize for “roads with good aesthetic qualities adapted to their surroundings.” Now, the King’s Road is voted the most beautiful road together with the Skjarvelandet landslide project on the Havøysund road in Northern Norway.
The King’s Road was the first passable road over Filefjell mountain pass, built by hand under C. J. Hammer’s leadership using simple tools at a time when dynamite had not yet been invented.
The route runs from the narrow, dramatic fjord landscape at the head of Sognefjorden over the Filefjell Mountains and down to the rural villages in Valdres. It is a journey between regions.
There is a lovely view over the surrounding mountains, and the highest point is about 1250 meters above sea level. Walking takes about 4 – 5 hours each way. There is a bus connection to Kyrkjestølen mountain farm at Filefjell on the E16 approximately 65 kilometers from the center of Lærdal. You can return by bus from Maristova.
Since 2012 sherpas from Nepal have constructed new walls, bridges have been erected after ancient drawings, vegetation has been cleared, and it is signposted and embellished along the route.
The historic Royal Route has been the theme for the project, and alternative paths have been combined to a continuous route where it no longer was suited for hiking. Thus it also offers hikers a complete holiday experience that enlivens all their senses. You can leave your car behind as you walk along historic paths through spectacular scenery; the joy of travelling slowly.
The Most Beautiful Road in Norway Reopened, written by Tor Kjolberg