I grew up in Aurland and am often asked questions about the most popular tourist attraction/sight here – The Stegastein Viewpoint. I live so close to it that you can actually see my house from the viewpoint! So, it’s about time I write a post sharing all the information I have, so you have an in-depth guide to this crowd-pleaser of an attraction in Norway.
The Stegastein Viewpoint (or Stegastein Lookout or Stegastein Viewing Platform as some call it) is a part of the Norwegian Scenic Routes – Aurlandsfjellet (one of the 18 most beautiful road stretches in Norway). These routes combine nature with architecture and design in the most spectacular way. The ‘Snow Road’ over the Aurlandsfjellet (the Aurland mountain) features Stegastein Viewpoint, where you can stop on your way down the mountain.
Of course, you don’t have to drive all across the mountain in order to see Stegastein. More on that below.
In this guide, I cover everything you need to know about the viewing platform before your trip to the fjords. Regardless of which village you visit (Aurland, Flåm, Undredal or Gudvangen), Stegastein should be on your list.
Table of Contents
A guide to visiting the Stegastein Viewpoint, Norway
The Aurlandsfjellet Scenic Road starts from Lærdal, covers a distance of 47 kilometres, and ends at the Aurland village (home sweet home!). This road stretch is closed from November to May during winters, due to snow. However, the scenic road from the Aurland village to Stegastein Viewpoint is open all year round, and hence the viewing platform can be visited any time of the year.
The driving distance from Flam to the Stegastein lookout is 18 kilometres, and from Aurland village, the drive is 8 kilometres. Once you cross through Aurland, the road starts becoming steeper and narrower, but more and more beautiful with each curve.
Keep reading for my guide to visiting the Stegastein viewing platform in Norway!
About the Stegastein Viewpoint
The Stegastein lookout is a 30-metre (98 feet) long and 4-metre (13 feet) wide viewing platform in Aurland that offers breath-taking views of the Aurlandsfjord and the surrounding mountains. Made of steel, concrete, glass, and laminated pine wood, this platform is constructed to give you an illusion of floating above the fjord! So it’s quite spectacular indeed.
Suspended at 650-metres (2133 feet) above sea level, the Viewpoint is amongst the most visited tourist attractions in Aurland. Todd Saunders and Tommie Wilhelmsen designed this architectural marvel, and the construction was completed in 2006.
I actually remember when it was finished, and how cool it was to be able to look up and see it from the village (I was 15 at the time).
From the viewing platform at Stegastein, you can see the panoramic view of the Aurlandsfjord, the Aurland village, the village’s church and school, and even my home. The landscape view that you get from Stegastein Viewpoint is the most unparallel view you can get of any fjord in Norway (unless you go on a hike in the area). On a clear day, you will also be able to spot the Flåm village and the closest end of the Sognefjord. Trust me, Stegastein viewing platform is the most photographed and instagrammable place in the area!
When to visit Stegastein Lookout?
As mentioned earlier, the Stegastein Viewpoint is open all year round. However, it gets really busy in the summer months. So much that you actually have to form a queue and wait for your turn to get a good photo without anyone else photobombing it. During these peak summer months (May to August), you should visit the viewing platform early in the morning (just before sunrise).
Note that sunrise in summer is ridiculously early, so you might not be up for that. However, if you are a content creator or a photographer, and it’s important to you not to have other people in your shots, you might just have to.
In winters, the road from Flam to Stegastein gets closed intermittently when it snows heavily. The times when this road is blocked, you can access the viewing platform only from Aurland. The roads above Stegastein are closed from November to April.
The public toilet at Stegastein Viewpoint
Bet you never thought you’d see this as a heading in a travel guide?
The restrooms along the Norwegian Scenic Routes are considered amongst the world’s best toilets. Yeah, you read that right! And so is the public toilet located in the parking lot of the Stegastein lookout. This unique toilet has large windows that offer a panoramic view of the fjords from the toilet seat!
(No, no one can see you from outside.)
The public toilet at the Stegastein lookout was recognised as the world’s 4th best public toilet in 2016 by the website named DesignCurial. Even if you don’t have to use the loo, they are worth a visit. Sadly, the public toilet at Stegastein viewing platform is closed in the winter months, so make sure you go before you head up there if you are visiting in the low season.
How to get to the Stegastein Viewing Platform in Norway
Most travellers who wish to explore the Stegastein viewing platform stay in Flam during their trip to the western fjords. There are 4 ways you can reach Stegastein from Flam or Aurland.
Read more: the best things to do in Flåm
1. Visiting Stegastein by bus from Flåm and Aurland
You can join a bus tour from Flam to Stegastein lookout. The one major tour company that operates such tours is Norway’s Best They have departures from both Flam and Aurland all year-round. In the summers, there are hourly departures, whereas in winters, there are two departures daily. Regardless of whether you are staying in Aurland or Flåm, joining this tour is quite easy.
The guided tour lasts for 1,5 hours, where you spend 1 hour travelling to and back from Stegastein. You get a 30-minute time window to get to the viewing platform and take photos. They also provide you with an audio guide with a pair of headphones where you get to learn about the region and its history.
The best part about guided tour is that you don’t have to stress about the traffic or driving on the steep hairpin bends; you just sit back, relax, and enjoy the scenic landscapes.
2. Visiting Stegastein by bus from Bergen
It is also possible to visit Stegastein lookout on a guided tour from Bergen. There are a handful of companies that offer day trips from Bergen to the fjord, and these often include a lot more than just the trip to Stegastein. Usually, they include a train or boat transfer to the fjords, the Nærøyfjord fjord cruise and the Flåm Railway as well! So this might just be the perfect way for you to see the fjords from Bergen, especially if you are short on time.
3. Drive to Stegastein
If you have a car, you can drive yourself to the Stegastein viewing platform from Flam or Aurland. From the base of the mountain in Aurland, you need to drive up a steep road with a total of seven sharp hairpin bends. This should take you around 20 minutes. In summers, however, the road up to the viewing platform gets very busy and might take you as long as an hour (or more).
As mentioned earlier, the road from Aurland to Stegastein lookout is steep and narrow. So, unless you are 100% comfortable driving on such narrow winding roads in Norway, kindly do not drive yourself. There are very few meeting points along this road. Every summer, there are delays on the road as many tourists who rent out cars are not able to manoeuvre the vehicle on the narrow stretches. And if it comes to reversing their vehicle, they get really stressed at the idea of falling off the mountainside. If you are one of such, it’s better to join a guided tour than drive yourself.
You can even rent a small electric car in Flam and visit the Stegastein viewpoint and area around Aurland and Flam on your own. Such cars are really small (2-seater), are GPS guided, and hence quite easy to drive on narrow roads.
If you decide to drive, stay up-to-date regarding the road conditions by checking the Norwegian Road Directory. It will flag any road closures or ongoing road works, as well as delays relating to accidents. And again I want to stress; if you are not 100% comfortable on winding Norwegian roads, please don’t drive yourself.
4. Take a taxi to the Stegastein viewing platform
Joining a guided tour could turn out to be quite expensive if you are a part of a big group, as they (naturally) charge per person. In such instances, you can hire a maxi taxi with a driver that will be cheaper than the tour.
There is one main taxi company in Flåm and Aurland. The taxi drivers are experienced in driving on these roads and will take you to the Stegastein lookout safely; while you simply enjoy the stunning scenery. This way, you are also in control of how much time you can spend at the top, as the bus has a schedule it needs to stick to. You can arrange with your driver how long you want to spend there.
5. Hike to the Stegastein Viewpoint
If you have done some hiking in Norway, you already know how beautiful the landscapes are. And so, you might want to hike all the way up to Stegastein!
The hike to the Stegastein viewing platform starts from the car park at the Vangen Church in Aurland village. From here, you have to follow the marked trail to Rygg, the highest road in the residential area. At the end of this road, you will find a sign marked Dagsturhytta and Stegastein. Dagsturhytta is a shorter hike following the same trail as the Stegastein hike.
Please note that the hike to Stegastein lookout is marked as a ‘RED’ hike in Norway, which means that it falls under the hard and strenuous category. The hike is steep and challenging and can become more difficult if it snows or rains. If the trail is wet and slippery, its best to walk the road than hike the trail (or to simply drive or join a bus tour). It can be quite muddy in April and early May, so prime hiking time would be late May to September.
I have hiked to the Stegastein viewing platform from Aurland, and it took me around 2 hours to complete the trek. The hike was indeed strenuous; however, it was totally worth it when I reached the top. I think the hike is pretty doable if you go easy and have the right gear. The hike is “just” around 2 kilometres long, but you are climbing 650 metres in height, so you can imagine how steep it is.
See my video from the hike below!
The viewing platform is free to visit, and open all year round. However, if you want to join the bus tour there, the current price of this is 415 NOK per person (2023 prices).
Yes, visiting the viewpoint is free.
You can book the bus tour to the lookout here.
The total drive time from Bergen to Stegastein is 3,5 hours.
You can either travel from Bergen to Aurland by bus (book here), and then hike, take a taxi or join the bus tour to Stegastein.
Alternatively, you can take the train to Flåm (book here), and join the bus tour (or arrange for a taxi) from there.
I hope this post helps you plan your visit to the Stegastein Viewpoint. The viewing platform is worth visiting if you are in the area, and is amongst the top attractions there. If you have any questions not covered in the FAQ, please drop them in the comments section below and I’ll make sure to add them in!