18. June 2012 / Robert Schäfer
Opening of Trollstigen National Tourist Route in Norway
The 16th of June marked the official inauguration of the Trollstigen Tourist Route and its associated programs. Architectural highlights have been built along 18 scenic routes in Norway to enhance visitor experience.
The 106km tourist route Geiranger-Trollstigen, which passes around the upper reaches of one of Norway's most visited Fjords, was officially opened featuring new installations on the Trollstigen-Plateau. The Ferry Terminal, Ørnesvingen, Flydalsjuvet and Gudbrandsjuvet rest-points have already been open for some time, and work first began on the tourist route project over 8 years ago. Transport Minister Magnhild Meltviet Kleppa and the head of the Norwegian Road Office Terje Moe Gustavsen, whose department is responsible for the tourist routes, inaugurated the new service area which includes observation walkways and viewpoints. Trollstigen is visited by approx. 700 000 people per year who come to drive and admire the mountain road, which was completed in 1936 with an impressive 11 hairpin bends.
The viewing platforms and buildings were designed by Oslo architects Reiulf Ramstad. The service areas are formed with robust concrete, glass and steel, however in their context still appear rather modest due to the dominance of the mountain landscape. The same architectural language is used in a set of formal pools, into which a mountain stream flows before crashing into the depths of the valley beyond as the Trollstigen Falls.
Since the Trollstigen Plateau is also a popular base for mountain and ski tours, the spacious parking lot is often crowded. Critics have already pointed out that the service area is too small, which signals a visitor guidance dilemma. Tourism is the third largest industry in Norway, but the scenic highlights are located in areas that cannot allow for mass tourism. The National Tourist Routes will undoubtedly attract even more travelers to these places. The danger is that soon these selected routes will be clogged with coaches and camper-vans, at least for the three-month tourist season.
The Trollstigen Plateau, with the new service building designed by architects Reiulf Ramstad, stands 850 metres above sea level. A former building on the site was destroyed in 1963 by an avalanche. In the 1970s a restaurant was built with a collection of huts and stalls. All this was demolished and the entire area has now emerged with a very modern appearance. The new boardwalks and viewing platforms now provide safe access for the numerous visitors. Images: Robert Schäfer