Geilo (help·info) is a centre in the municipality of Hol in Norway, in the valley of Hallingdal, with around 2,300 inhabitants. The Bergen Line facilitated Geilo's development as the first skiing resort in the country, and it is still one of the largest. It is also famous for having some of the most luxurious and expensive holiday cabins in Norway.
Geilo is primarily a ski resort town, but also offers summer activities. Geilo is in a valley with mountain ranges on each side. The center of the town lies at 800 meters above sea level, and its highest point is 1178 meters above sea level. It is 250 km from Oslo and 260 km from Bergen.
It has a train station (Geilo stasjon) with roughly five trains a day going to either Bergen (to the west) or Oslo (to the east). The closest airport is Geilo Airport, Dagali (24 km away), while the closest airport that accepts international flights is Fagernes Airport. Geilo has three lakes, Slåttahølen, Vestlefjorden, and Ustedalsfjorden, by far the largest of the three.
The ski season in Geilo is from late October until late April. Geilo has numerous small ski centres that make up one resort, which goes by the name Geilo Skiheiser. This includes slopes on the town side of the valley, Havsdalen over the back side of the mountain, and across the valley at Geilolia (formerly Vestlia) which also connects to the Kikut area. All the ski hires offer free helmet rental for children, which is an excellent safety measure for worried parents. Geilo Skiheiser has 39 slopes covering 33 km accessed by 20 lifts (14 plate, 6 chair). Geilolia skisenter (formerly Vestlia skisenter) tends to have the easier green and blue runs and is where the major ski school that operates in Geilo takes place, whereas Slaatta skisenter has the blue and red runs. There is also an extensive cross country system in Geilo, offering 220 km of tracks, including 5 km under floodlight. There are free pamphlets available showing the cross country trails and lengths. Skiing options include alpine skiing, cross country (XC) skiing, telemarking, snowboarding, dog sledging, toboggan, ski orienteering, and evening skiing most evenings. Another activity that has become very popular of late is 'kiting' (skiing or snowboarding whilst attached to a 'kite' or parasail) with the area around Geilo being rated among the best in the world. You will also see paragliders floating down from the top of the slopes with courses run in the area occasionally, although mostly in the summer months. Both sides offer a 'big air bag' where all with twin-tip skis or snowboards can jump onto an enormous air bag. This is a hit with people of all ages, with children as young as 4 having a go. Getting to Geilo is easy as the main rail line between Oslo and Bergen runs right through the centre of town. There are also bus routes from Oslo and Bergen as an alternative and the RV7 highway also runs through the town if you are coming by car. Accommodation is not overly expensive with most hotels and cabins being listed on the internet and offering special prices out of the high season times. If travelling with friends, consider renting a cabin which can sleep up to 18 people and can make for very good value when the costs are divided up. With 4 supermarkets in Geilo, and food prices not too far removed from other European countries, it can be a surprisingly affordable and refreshing change to the standard Hotel experience.
Centre of Geilo
Geilo is a small town and has few shops and entertainment spots. The sentrum mainly consists of two large wooden buildings, much like a shopping centre/mall. In one is a tourist information, Co-op supermarket, café Capri restaurant, newsagents, undercover parking, and a police station. In the other is an Intersport, supermarket, newsagent, and Geilogrillen. Down the road there is a small cinema, library, and school. There is also a large sports hall (Geilohallen), which is also the local sports club (Geilo IL). Behind the building is a floodlit prepared cross country track, and a biathlon shooting range. The tourist Centre is located next to Sport 1 and has information about the various group outings and experiences, especially in regards to experiencing the Hardangervidda National Park area, including the glacier at Finse, which is 1222 metres above sea level.
For a small town there is a large choice of hotels and apartments. One of the hotels is one of Norway’s most famous, Dr Holms with 2 afterski bars, Recepten and the Ski bar upstairs with an excellent view over Geilo. Others include the Bardøla, Vestlia, which is on the door step of Geilolia ski centre, and the Highland Hotel.
The 1980 Winter Paralympics were held at Geilo.
Out of winter season
After the winter season,there are other sporting activities available including go carts, paintballing, white water rafting, rallying, golf, tennis, cycling ; the two most popular are hiking on the mountains or mountain biking at the local downhill park or trails through the woods. The Rallarvegen route from Finse to Flåm is Norway's most breathtaking bike route and extremely popular in the summer months. Another popular day out is at the Geilolia Summer Park, where activities such as downhill biking, canoe hire or a large climbing park with a prepared route up in the trees for people of all ages, including small children. Finse was home base for filming the scenes at the beginning of 'The Empire Strikes Back', with many locals from the Geilo area appearing as extras.
Queen Sonja of Norway gained her ski instructors certificate in Geilo.
Ole Schroder II created the Havsdalen, a resort in Geilo center.
Ole Schroder I founded the Geilo Hotel in Geilo center.
The Schroders still visit Geilo in the winter and spring.
- Geilo's official website (in English and Norwegian)
- Webcams of Geilo
- Geilo Norway - Details and information about Geilo
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