Are you looking for an insider’s adventure travel guide for the best outdoor activities in Lillehammer?
As part of our Adventure City Guide series, Satu from Destination Unknown, shares with you her expert insider tips on the top adventure and outdoor activities to do in Lillehammer.
Why visit Lillehammer for adventure?
Without the 1994 Winter Olympics Lillehammer might not even be on the map. It’s a small, cosy Norwegian town of approximately 25,000 inhabitants, two hours by train from Oslo’s main airport Gardermoen.
Today Lillehammer is a home and holiday destination for families, adrenaline junkies and weekend warriors in search of adventure on land, snow and water. With most activities easily accessible by public transport. As there are activities for all seasons and budgets, Lillehammer is the perfect hub for outdoor adventures, all through the year!
Outdoor Activities in Lillehammer
Making the most of SNOW
Lillehammer is the town of not one or two, but five ski resorts, all accessible with one single ski lift pass. The mountains here are not tall and angular like the Alps, but they have their own charm without the crowds of the Central European resorts. If travelling long distance is more your thing, there are hundreds and then again hundreds of kilometres of cross-country ski tracks criss-crossing the mountain plateau.
Getting to the ski resorts
The most convenient of the ski resorts to public transport is Hafjell, just 15 kilometres north from Lillehammer. Regular shuttle buses from Lillehammer run to the ski centre every hour. Cross-country skiers can take the gondola up to the top of the ski hill for access to the Nordic-skiing tracks, or the free Hafjell shuttle bus straight to the mountain plateau.
In the summer the ski resort turns in to a downhill bike park, which has hosted the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup.
One day ski pass / adult: 370 NOK (approx. 50€)
Return on gondola / adult: 90 NOK (approx. 12€)
Find out more information about the five Lillehammer ski resorts on the Lillehammer tourism website, and check out also the Hafjell ski centre’s website for the latest news on the snow conditions. If you are up for some speedy biking, head over to the Hafjell Bikepark’s site.
Hiking in Lillehammer
If the Norwegian prices are making you cringe, the best, and one of the cheapest adventure activities to do in Lillehammer, is to pack your backpack and head to the mountains by foot.
Your accommodation doesn’t need to cost a penny either. According to the “Right of Access” also known as everyman’s rights, in Norway everyone has the unrestricted right of free access to the countryside. This means that you can pitch your tent anywhere for a night, as long as it is at least 150 meters from the nearest house or cabin, and not on a cultivated field or a lay-by.
Getting to the mountains
There are many alternative locations to start your hike from and it all depends on what you are planning to do. Getting to Hafjell and taking the gondola up to the top is one of the available options.
FREE! With priceless views.
DNT, The Norwegian Trekking Association has tons of route suggestions and information on their website.
Getting wet on the WATER
For kayakers, Norway is a paradise. While there are some local white water runs very close to Lillehammer, the better destination for experienced kayakers, and for those wanting to try out either kayaking or rafting is the Sjoa valley, just 100 kilometres north from Lillehammer.
Getting to the rivers
To get to the village of Sjoa, you can catch a bus from Lillehammer to the petrol station in the village. Alternatively, a train to the nearby town of Otta is also a good option. Both options take about 1,5 hours.
Kayaking with own equipment – FREE!
Rafting from 750 NOK (approx. 100€) per person.
Beginner’s 1-day kayaking courses from 1200 NOK (approx. 160€) per person.
There are several rafting companies in the Sjoa valley of which the largest ones are Sjoa Rafting and Heidal Rafting. Both companies also offer accommodation. For white water kayaking courses visit Sjoa Kajakksenter.
Best time of the year to visit Lillehammer for adventure?
It all depends on what you want to do. For snow-based activities the most reliable snow conditions are from January to March, but this winter we were already skiing in the end of October. For hiking and kayaking the season starts when the snow starts melting, but when it comes to the weather, June-August tends to be the most settled.
Alternatively you could do as us, and move to Lillehammer for all year around access to adventure!
Finally, the reason I love Lillehammer for adventure is because…
There is something to do in all seasons. For sure, in the dark autumn months before the arrival of snow I’d often rather head to warmer destinations, but still, you can easily hit the outdoors even then.
Originally from Finland, I’m an eternal nomad who couple of years a go got happily stuck in Norway after testing out the waters and what it would be like to live around Europe and the States. With a job in the travel industry and the passion to travel at all opportunities, I do get around and out of the country regularly, most of the time trying to smuggle skis, snowboard, kayak or a mountain bike on a plane.
Medieval Towns with German Castles Near Munich & Frankfurt
Our favorite castles in Germany near Frankfurt and Munich:
We were crazy enough to visit Neuschwanstein Castle on a public holiday. This meant that along with all the Asian tourists, there were an awful lot of Germans. Plus, even though we arrived by 11 am, the soonest tickets we could buy were for the German tour at 2.30 pm, as the terms in English were sold out until 4 pm. So, if you don’t have German friends at hand to translate the tour for you, we recommend booking in advance online. The castle was impressive, and the time was undoubtedly fascinating! Don’t worry, I won’t spill the beans, but the manmade Grotto room made my jaw drop!
Mespelbrunn Castle is located on a pond between Frankfurt and Wurzburg. Unfortunately, we arrived 30 minutes after its closing time of 5 pm, but it looked cool from behind the fence!
Lichtenstein Castle is located on a clifftop near Stuttgart and costs 6 euros per person for a tour in German; however, they did give us a very informative written guide in English. This castle is small compared to Hohenzollern castle, but its story is fascinating. Tanks shelled it in World War II, and today you can still see the cracked mirror from where a small fragment of a tank grenade ricocheted!
Hohenzollern Castle is not too far from Lichtenstein Castle. It is located on a hilltop near Hechingen, and we enjoyed the guided tour. Along with getting to wear GIANT slippers, make sure you explore the casemates and secret passages. One sign made me want to learn more. It read, “Exactly where these steps lead to is unknown. More casemates and secret passageways are likely waiting to be discovered in the heart of the mountain”!
Heidelberg Castle was a lot larger than we expected! Unfortunately, we had spent far too much time at the Auto & Technik Museum in Sinsheim, so we did not have time to explore this castle. But if we get the chance, we will explore the town and its castle next time in Germany.
On our drive from Munich to Frankfurt, we also loved:
The beer garden at Andechs Monastery was just like Oktoberfest but amongst trees and more family-friendly. The beer was cheaper, and the food was great, including the giant pork knuckle, which Moss could not finish. It was also fun walking up multiple flights of stairs to the tower’s very top.
Three hours in Rothenburg was not enough to explore this wonderful medieval town! We recommend getting your hands on a city map from the tourist information office. We enjoyed Roder Gate, walking along the wall and exploring the 17th-century spital bastion, plus Moss lost me in the Kathe Wohlfahrt Christmas shop for over half an hour, and I didn’t even buy anything!
The average person would Google Munich to Frankfurt and see that it only takes about 3 ½ hours depending on how fast you wish to drive on the autobahn! However, we are NOT typical. We took one look at train prices and decided that hiring a car wouldn’t cost too much more.
We aren’t going to tell you our exact route. Still, after surviving Oktoberfest in Munich, we did a giant zigzag to see as many castles and medieval towns as possible. So to save you doing so much driving, we have picked our favorite cities and castles. First of all, ‘Ausfahrt’ is not a destination accessible from every off-ramp! It means ‘Exit’! Another word of wisdom to keep in mind is that the autobahns with speed limits do have speed cameras… and the flash is blinding!
Running with the Bulls Video
Our shaky Running with the Bulls Video footage from the Festival de San Fermin in 2012. Experience it first hand in Pamplona. Enjoy.
We recently wrote about our life or death experience of Running with the Bulls this year at the Festival of San Fermin in Pamplona. On that run, I carried along with our GoPro video camera and tried to shoot some footage for our running with the video of the bull.
All our travel video shooting techniques went out the window when the bulls’ hooves started to shake the ground beneath our feet.
Once we had lined up for the running with the bulls, there was no escape from it as we were walled in by apartment blocks, shopfront windows, and 3-meter high wooden barriers packed with photographers along the entire length. At one end lay the relative safety of the bull ring pulsating with the cheers of the crowd who were still partying from the night before. Behind me, a dozen wild bulls pawed the stony ground looking for freedom.
Unfortunately, I was standing in their path.
What we ended up with is below. However, I think what we filmed for our running with the bull video captures the chaos, craziness, and complete madness a lot better than if I had stood my ground.
Enjoy it and watch for the guy that nearly gets trampled to death near the beginning!
Running with the Bulls Video
Would you ever consider running with the bulls?
While we are very aware that not all people agree that the San Fermin Festival should be allowed to go ahead mainly due to animal cruelty, we think there are two sides to every story. We wrote a post about the controversy surrounding Bullfighting in Spain and the Festival de San Fermin.
We would love to hear your thoughts on the Festival de San Fermin and whether you would ever consider running with the bulls.
Outdoor Activities in Bangkok – Adventure City Guide
Find out how you can explore the streets, canals and local markets within minutes of Bangkok with our Outdoor Activities in Bangkok Adventure City Guide.
Are you looking for an insider’s adventure travel guide for the best outdoor activities in Bangkok?
Why visit Bangkok for adventure?
Bangkok is one of the world’s largest metropolises and a gateway for most of the world to access the rest of South East Asia. With numbers surpassing 14 million people in the Greater Bangkok Region, this is no small player in the world’s super-cities. Of course, having such a long history with foreign visitors, the city has become incredibly established in the world’s tourist sector.
This has allowed it to grow many facets of adventurous activities – making access to something for everyone!
Outdoor Activities in Bangkok
Exploring the Klongs
Klongs are canals that used to feed the entire city with life-giving water, branched off from the city’s main artery – the Chao Phraya River. Today, the locals wouldn’t drink the water if you paid them, but there is still a fascinating life along the Klongs’ banks. There is so much to explore, from floating markets to old houses on stilts, and it gives insight into this ancient way of life!
What’s it cost, and how to get to the Klongs?
You can usually arrange the Klongs from the pier “Saphan Taksin” along the Chao Phraya River. This is conveniently a stop on the Skytrain, making it very easy to access. Usually, you will be renting the entire boat for the day (about 1000 THB, or USD 35) and not paying a per-person rate. So if you can find a few people to go with, the price will drop significantly per person.
Rickshaw City Tours
If you’ve never been to Asia before, Rickshaws are one of the most fun ways to get around. Although they can often be a little more expensive than metered taxis, you get an experience (and a view) that is unparalleled, especially in the busy streets of Bangkok.
What’s it cost?
Occasionally, you can even haggle a deal for a city tour for next to nothing (50-100 THB or $1.50-3 USD), as long as you visit a couple of affiliated ‘custom suit tailors’ throughout the day, as they’ll get a kickback from the shops just for bringing you there… No purchase is necessary.
You can often find Tuk Tuk drivers willing to do this standing along the perimeter of the Kings’ Palace. It may take a few attempts of asking for a ‘special city tour,’ but you will be bound to find someone ready for a cut of this business.
Local Secret Spot
Though most people wouldn’t consider going to a market an adventure, they probably have never experienced the likes of Chatuchak (also known as JJs). This is one of SE Asia’s LARGEST outdoor markets. It’s so prominent that you can find maps of the market to help navigate. It’s roughly the size of 4 city blocks and is divided into various sections.
You’ll find everything under the sun here, from clothing to handicrafts, food, mobile phones, and even puppies and other cute critters for sale!! It’s bonkers. If it gets too much for you, you can take a break in one of Bangkok’s most famous parks (Chatuchak park), located next to the market.
How to get there?
You can get here via Skytrain (BTS), subway (MRT), taxi, bus, you name it – it’s very accessible! But it’s only open on weekends, from about dawn until 5 or 6 pm at its peak. Some shops stay open longer, but most will be closed by dusk. It’s free entry and a perfect place to buy ANY souvenirs at the end of your time in Thailand.
Suppose you can coordinate to be here on the weekend. I generally hate shopping for ‘stuff,’ but I love this market and its energy!
Best time of the year to visit Bangkok for adventure?
Bangkok is in the tropics and quite close to the Equator. Of course, this means it’s hot on a year-round basis.
It’s considered the rainy season from May to October, though showers can happen at any time of the year. This is generally a less busy time for tourists, though the rains are not quite as bad as expected and often only last 30 mins-1 hour, cooling the city’s heart. Peak season is in December-January when temperatures are at their most astounding ad driest… though it’s still pretty hot!
And if Bangkok isn’t to your taste, the luxury Koh Samui will be. Endless sandy beach, beautiful clear waters, and nightlife that could be lived in forever. The luxury rental properties are stunning, and we recommend Tempston Luxury villa rentals.
Finally, the reason I love Bangkok for adventure is that…
It’s never-ending. This city is SO BIG that you could get lost in a new neighborhood almost every day. Single. Day. And still find new, exciting things to explore. On my list for the upcoming weeks, I’ve got the Scala Cinema, the Thai Air Force Museum, Papaya Vintage Shop, and the Erawan Museum – to name a few. Every time I explore one place, I learn of 3 more!!
From a young age, Ian was always a wanderer. He’s since travelled to all 7 continents, and has spent the majority of his life pursuing this passion. You can follow him in his off-the-beaten-path adventures and discoveries on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and his travel blog Where Sidewalks End.
Have you been to Bangkok? What were your favorite outdoor activities in Bangkok?
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We have been wearing out our jandals (Kiwi for flip-flops) on our travel adventures around the world since 2009. We think our blog is thought provoking and a little witty. But we have been proven wrong before. Find out more about us here...
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