- Secret scenic roads
- Ski towns galore
Looking for an alternative road to the mountains, bypassing the tourists, highways and seeing the secret beauty of Norway? This drive is perfect. I know, the Egersund to Dalen drive is not the most commonly suggested route in Norway, but it is worth the consideration. Both towns are very cute and scenic with plenty to do, and they are separated by a beautiful valley and mountain range that you’ll pass.
On this page, you’ll find practical info outlining what you’ll see between the two towns, plus where you can stay and what you can do. Be sure to watch my own drive, where I’ve put together a timelapse with information.
If you have done this drive, or have any questions for me, let me know in the comments.
Table of Contents
Watch on YouTube
Egersund is a beautiful town on the southwestern coast of Norway. It is located on the opposite end of the Jæren Scenic Drive from Stavanger. If you can, I highly recommend doing that drive first.
Detailed information about Egersund can be found below.
Head north out of Egersund and then turn right onto the highway 42 (Fv42)
Trollpikken is a unique and strange rock formation in Norway. In the last few years, it has gained popularity due to its, well, shape. ‘Pikk’ is a relatively new word in Norway that translates to ‘dick’, and as you can see in the image, the name describes what locals have come to recognise the formation as.
Trollpikken made the news in 2017, when it was vandalised and severed off using power tools. The locals were saddened by this and a crowdfunding campaign raised an incredible 226,000 NOK and within two weeks the rock was reattached (watch the video on the left!). One person was arrested for vandalism.
Since this incident, there was more effort made in promoting Trollpikken. It’s got its own website now (click here), which goes over the history, folklore, and practical info of the site. There are road signs leading to the large carpark, and the walk to the monument is well marked with modern signs. The name is also recent; it’s only from 2017.
For those interested in geology, the rock is anorthosite. This is a very rare type of rock that’s found on the south-western coast of Norway and the moon. Yes, the moon! When astronauts were training for going to the moon, they came here to practice collecting rock samples. Trollpikken is 12m (39ft) high.
It is relatively easy to hike to Trollpikken, and the info can be found here: https://ut.no/turforslag/1113153/trollpikken
Join onto the European Highway 9 (E9)
Helleland is a small village just outside Egersund. The language used here is nynorsk rather than the commonly used bokmål. The Sørlandet train connection between Oslo and Stavanger runs through (and stops at) Helleland.
Helleland Church is from 1832. It is built in wood and has seats for 500. The architect was Hans Linstow, who also designed the Royal Palace and Karl Johans gate in Oslo.
In Helleland, there are memorials dedicated to the British aircraft which crashed during the occupation of Norway by Nazi Germany in connection with the Operation Freshman sabotage attempt, part of an action that was aimed at the Vemork hydroelectric plant, site of heavy water production. Furthermore, there is a cave in the forest which was used as a hiding place during World War II. People who had kept illegal radio equipment hid in this cave, and the Germans never discovered them.
You’ll find a grocery store in Helleland (Coop).
Just after Helleland, turn left onto the Fv42
Terland Klopp was built around 1800 as a stone slab bridge. With 21 runs and 60 metres, it is considered the largest in the Nordic region of this type. The bridge crosses the river Gyaåna, which we are following on this road. The valley we are in is called the Gyadalen Valley.
Terland Klopp has not been in use since 1977; today it is a listed monument. It is considered the best-preserved bridge of this kind.
The Development of Agder
Life in Agder Today
Continue on the Fv42
Welcome to Tonstad! The name means “Tone’s Farm” and is a typical small town name; towns were often built around farmsteads where the church was located. The church here is Tonstad Church and it’s from 1852. It seats 300.
The town has a large hydroelectric power station and a large ski centre. In fact, Tonstad has one of Norway’s most modern biathlon facilities, and it is known for producing many highly regarded biathletes. The local high school uses the facility for training.
Tonstad is located on the northern end of the Sirdal Lake. In July, the boat ‘Snorre’ does tours of the lake every Wednesday. A guide on board tells you the stories and local legends, as well as some tales of Vikings from the Norse Sagas.
Continue straight onto Fylkesvei 468 (Fv468)
Continue on the Fv42
Dorgefossen is a regulated waterfall, though it is more like a gorge. Due to the water regulations, the waterfall is much smaller than it used to be.
An old legend from Sirdal tells that death row inmates got one last chance to save their lives by jumping over Dorgefoss. If they managed to do so, they would be free. If they did not succeed, the fall of the waterfall and the rapids fulfilled the death sentence.
It is possible to swim in the river, but without warning water can be released from the pond, making the water colder than normal.
By the road, there is a picnic area with restrooms and information boards. The road we drive over goes over the waterfall via the Dorge Bridge. The bridge is from 1919.
Continue on the Fv42
Sinnes is a small village located in the upper part of the Sirdal valley. There are two ski centres here: Ålsheia and Tjørhomfjellet. Together, they make the largest alpine facility in southwestern Norway.
Several alpine and cross-country competitions are held in the area. The largest one is Sesilåmi, which is a 52km long ski run.
Sinnes is a popular cabin area for people from Stavanger, Sandnes and Jaeren.
The mountains to the north are called Setesdalsheiene. Just north of them is the Hardangervidda plateau, while the Ryfylke mountains lie to the west. The highest point is 1,300m (4,300ft). Wild reindeer herds live here.
The lake on our right is Håhellervatn. The total walking distance around the lake is 6km (4 mi).
On the east side is a cave called Håhelleren. It has a lot of stories associated with it. After the Napoleonic Wars, two families moved to the area. They first settled in a fisherman’s hut, and then built a home. Their main job was to keep the road clear and shelter road users in bad weather. They were unable to grow grain on the site, but they did try to grow potatoes, though without luck. After living here for 26 years, they realised it was not such a great place to live and they moved to Sirdal. After their house was torn down, road users used the cave for shelter if need be. Today there is a tourist cabin on the sight, and up to 16 adults can take accommodation in the cave.
Turn left onto the E9
Turn left onto the E9
Skafså is a small town known for its mountain farm Grimdalen. Today it’s a museum with farm buildings from the time of barter economy in the 17th century.
Famous sculptor Anne Grimdalen is from here, and there’s a gallery with 300 of her sculptures here.
Skafså Church is from 1839. There used to be a medieval crucifix standing outside the church; this is now at the Vest-Telemark Museum.