Exploring the Kingsroad

Round-trip Vindhella - Sverrestigen

Facts

Duration
1,5 - 2,5 hours
Distance
4,6 km
Difficulty
Medium
Suitable for
Everyone
Available periods
May - November

Description

The round-trip Vindhella – Sverrestigen is one of the most popular along Kongevegen across Filefjell, leading through a vast historical landscape.

The route follows Vindhella one way and Sverrestigen the other. You can start in either direction by Rimskjold/Husum in the west or by Borgund Stave Church in the east. Alternatively, you can start the round-trip at the actual Vindhellavegen starting point, 350 metres east of the stave church visitor centre.

If you start by the stave church, walk behind the new, red church and follow the signs.

Parking is available by Svartegjel close by. Unfortunately, the visitor centre does not offer parking for Kongevegen walkers.

 

FORTIFICATION AND NORSE KING

It is said that King Sverre, in October 1177, used Sverrestigen to avoid farmers who were waiting and ready with stones and logs to throw on the Birkebeiners who were expected to pass. King Sverre attacked the farmers from behind, and sent them fleeing.

The trip leads around the mountain peak “Klanten”, which is likely to have served as an old fortification. It is from this fortification, Borgund's name derives. “Borg” means fortification and “und” refers to under, i.e. «under the fortification».

Vindhellavegen is the 2.7 km horse-and-cart road built on high stone foundation walls through Vindhellaskaret. The road was built based on new techniques that at the time had not been properly tested in Norway. Built high up in the terrain, is has four 180 degree bends supported by high stone walls.

 

STEEP ROADS

The old Kongevegen from the 1790s is visible between the bends and on the sides of the road. Originally, Kongevegen had a gradient of 1:4. In an attempt to remedy this, Bergenske Hovedvej was built on top in the 1840 – but the gradient was still 1:5. In other words, neither Kongevegen nor Bergenske Hovedvej was particularly successful.

Due to its gradient, which was still steep, Vindhellavegen was given a time limit of 30 years. In 1872, it was replaced by a new road along the river and through Nesbergi. This served as the E16 route until Borgundtunnelen opened in 2004.

There are beautiful picnic areas along the route, some with seating. From Sverrestigen, it is also possible to follow Klantenstien and Annastien back to Vindhella. Remember to write your name in the visitor books in the boxes along the route.

Also, do not miss Borgund Stave Church – the most authentic and best preserved of its kind in the world. You have to buy a ticket at the visitor centre for access to the church, museum, café, and toilet facilities.