Hiking Kongevegen in Norway (The King Road)

by Thomas Sorheim | Last Updated: September 9, 2020
Hiking Kongevegen in Laerdal Norway
Starting point: Lærdal or Vang
Difficulty: Beginner and intermediate
Type: Day hike + Multi-day hikes
Hiking distance : From 2 km / 1.25 mi to 100 km / 17.4 mi (full hike)
Hiking time: From 2 hours to 6 days
Season: June – October
Elevation gain : 570 meters / 1870 feet (full hike)

You can hike Kongevegen in many ways; short or long.

Kongevegen offer shorter day hikes suitable for beginners.

And you can hike the whole 100km/63mi road with many nights in either a tent or guesthouses along the way.

You can hike on your own, or you can hire a local guide for one of the standard day hikes (2-6 hours).

Before we get started, we want to mention we have a brief write-up of the history of Kongevegen at the end of the article.

This article is a part of the article Hiking in Norway: The Ultimate Guide.

Hiking options Kongevegen over Filefjell – The Kings Road

Kongevegen offers great hiking experiences for both the beginner, intermediate and experienced hikers.

The hiking itself is not technically very challenging, since you are hiking on a road. But it is a multiday hike of 100km/63mi if you want to hike the full distance.

Typically, hikers spend 4-6 days (3-5 nights) doing the full hike.

Hiker looking at info sign while hiking in Norway

Kongevegen Day Hikes

Vindhellavegen hike

We had to put his one on the top of the article!

Even if you are just passing through Lærdal, this is one of the smallest, yet most impressive hikes you could do.

It is only 2.7 km / 1.7 mi, but it will show you some of the most unique parts of the Kongevegen. The 180-degree twists and turns up the mountain with the foundation walls impresses. This building technique was new in Norway at that time.

The hike should not take you more than an hour or so.

The road itself was in effect an unsuccessful road project. But the steep narrow bends on high foundations walls have made this road famous.

A good place to start the hike is from the historically significant stave church of Borgund.

Simply walk behind the new red church and up the hills.

There are signs that guide you. It is not hard to find.

This hike will in its entirety follow the original Kongevegen.

The trip will finish at Rimskjold where there is parking and toilet facilities.

You can hike this part of Kongevegen between May and November.

A lone hiker hiking in the forest along Kings road over Filefjell in Norway

Kvamskleive hike

This hike is the first part of Kongevegen over Filefjell if you came from the East. And the last part of you started in the West.

It is also where you start or finish if you hike the full 100 km of Kongevegen over Filefjell.

But here we will only talk about a small day hike, or the first part of the road from East to West.

4.7 km / 2.9 mi is the length of this moderate hike that is suitable for everyone.

It should not take you much more than about 1,5 hours.

This hike is an original stretch of the road and it is on a grassy track.

This part of the road opened in 1808 and replaced the original part from 1790, which was on the other side of the lake.

Kvamskleive was quite dangerous back in the days due to its steep climb. The 150 meters / 492 feet of heigh gain the first two kilometers / 1.2 miles of the road was a challenge during winter.

You will start your hike from Neset, not far from Hemsingbrue bus stop.

Here you will find info about the hike.

But as always when hiking, prepare and do your research in advance, have a map and proper equipment etc.

As you climb the first steep hill, you will see the sign “Tørisgalden”.

Keep on walking.

A flat and grassy track will take you towards the Raudeskreda and upwards to the Saubekken bridge.

As you get closer to the top of the mountain, the views are spectacular. You can see the Vang villages, lake Vangsmjøsa, and of course the surrounding mountains.

Further on you will reach a flat area known as Grønolen.

You will walk through a mix of forest and open cultural landscape until you reach Kvam farm.

The Kongevegen continues in a straight, but with small hills up and down.

Shortly after Smørhøla farm, you will be walking down the final hill and reach the main road (E16) and a small parking lot.

This is the end of the Kvamskleive hike.

2 girls hiking Kongevegen in Norway

Kyrkjestølen to Maristova Kongevegen hike

This day hike is approximately 10 km / 6.2 mi long.

It will take you anywhere from 3-5 hours, depending on fitness level and ambitions.

This hike will take you over Filefjell and its highest point at 1250 meters / 4101 feet above sea level.

This hike, despite being pretty much in a straight line, requires some fitness level. If you unfit and an unexperienced hiker, this may not be the best route for you. It is not technical, it requires some physical form).

It is a beautiful walk where you will get to see and experience the wonders of the Kongevegen, and its amazing views!

You will also see what is meant by the Kongevegen road was built according to “The French Principle”. – the road should be in a straight line, no matter the character or terrain.

This part of Kongevegen is known as “the seven disappointments”.

Why?

If you go from West to East, you meet 7 hills in succession.

Every time you think you are finished climbing the hills, another appears.

The disappointment will come 7 times before you reach the top.

This hike will start about 7 km / 4.3 mi from west of Tyrinkrysset.

Kyrkjestølen is along the E16 road.

Follow the signs.

Kyrkjestølen has both food and accommodation facilities, as well as parking.

The first part of this hike is through a scattered birch forest and will climb up about 300 m / 984 feet in elevation before you reach the top of Filefjell.

This hike will get your heart going and test your strength.

But it is well worth it.

Close to the top you see the Stiftestøtta – the marble monument marks the old border between Akershus and Bjørgvin.

On top of the mountain, the terrain is gentle and flat before the trail descends to Maristova.

Along the hike, you will find several information points that will tell you a bit more about the road and the area.

Once you reach Maristova (and E16, the main road), your hike is done for today.

For those who do the full Kongevegen hike continues to Lærdal (unless they choose to overnight here).

There are several other day hikes you can do on parts of the Kongevegen.

The best place for more information is the Kongevegen website.

A suspension bridge over the river along the Kings road

Kongevegen Multiday Hikes

You can hike the Kongevegen at your own pace, with a tent on your backpack and all the needed equipment for spending days in the mountains.

Those who want more comfort can consider the organized tours, where transport of your luggage between the various hotel/B&B is included.

Then all you have to do is hike worry-free with only the essentials for the day.

Another option is to stay in Lærdal and have daily transports to the start of the daily hike. Every day you end up back at Lærdal in the afternoon.

A unique mountain church along the Kongevegen

The Kingsroad Highlights

This is a 3 days/3 nights package you can buy from the VisitKongevegen.com website.

This hike will give you an amazing overview of the Kongevegen and consists of 3-day hikes.

The service people of Lærdal will drive you daily to the starting point of the hike, and once you have completed the hike, you jump on the public transport back to your hotel/B&B in Lærdal.

You bring your essentials for the day, and then you are free to enjoy the day without large and heavy hiking backpacks.

The first day you will hike through Galdane, which is full of myths and stories that have inspired many Norwegian national hymns and themes.

You will be hiking historical cultural and natural landscapes. The hike will also take you along the Lærdal river and many other historical parts, ruins, and more.

The hike finishes at Sjurhaugen, where you will take the public transport back to your hotel.

The second day will bring you to the famous Vindhellavegen, and national icon Borgund Stave Church.

You will hike through very rich landscapes.

The round trip today will take about 2-3 hours.

After you are done hiking for the day, you take the public transport back to Lærdal.

Day three is not really a hike, but rather a day of experiencing the historic Old Lærdalsøyri, one of Norway’s best-preserved wooden house towns.

The main street, Øyragata, is part of the original Kongevegen.

The Kongevegen ends at the old harbor.

You will find cozy little shops and cafes in Old Lærdalsøyri.

On day 1 and 2 a driver will drive you to the starting point of the hike.

But after you will need to take the public transport back to Lærdal and your hotel/B&B.

You can find out more about this hike and experience at Visit Kongevegen

Cultural landscape with old wooden cottages along Kongevegen over Filefjell

The Kingsroad Mountain Pass

This is a 3 days/3 nights package you can buy from VisitKongevegen.com website.

On this 3-day hike, you will follow the footsteps of the Viking Kings of Norway.

The hike starts at Øye and the first day will take you about 12 km / 7.5 mi up the east side of Filefjell.

You will hike the authentic Kongevegen, through the forest, past lakes and mountain farms, and more.

The hike will end at Filefjellstuene, which is where you will stay the night.

The luggage is waiting at your hotel.

The second day will start from the hotel and continue westwards to Kyrkjestølen (The church’s summer pasture).

Then onwards over Filefjell, the highest point of Kongevegen, 1250 m / 4101 feet above sea level.

Today’s hike will finish at Maristova lodge.

This is the longest day hike of the 3 days and should take you anywhere from 5-8 hours to complete.

Your luggage will be waiting for you when you arrive.

The third day is the shortest hike and will take you from Maristova to the hamlet of Borlaug.

During today’s hike, you will see and experience different cultural landscapes, ruins, and old farms. There are rivers, streams, forests, and mountains to see.

At the end of the journey, you will take the public transport back to Filefjellstuene, where your luggage is waiting for you.

Read more about this amazing hike and tour package over at Visit Kongevegen.

A local concert along the Kings Road in Lærdal Norway

Hike the full Kongevegen over Filefjell

This is multi-day hiking over 5-6 days.

What does Viking kings, medieval kings, and Danish King and his officials have in common?

They all had to walk or ride over the Filefjell mountain if they wanted to cross Norway from East to West.

Why not walk in the footsteps of royalty and historical figures?

You can join the Kingsroad Supreme tour every year between June and October.

It will take you 6 days, 5 nights to walk it.

If you want to walk it at your own pace and without any external organizing, that completely up to you of course.

Just make sure you have all the necessary supplies and hiking equipment, and a good tent!

You can also stop at the various hotels or restaurants along the hike for a coffee or a homemade meal.

Although you can walk any direction, the more popular direction is from East to West, starting in Valdres, and finishing in Lærdal.

The Supreme Tour follows this route/direction.

This hike will take you through unique and amazing cultural and historical landscapes, as well as cultural heritage sites and monuments.

You will stay at various hotels and guests houses along the Kongevegen.

The organizers will transport your luggage from place to place.

All you need to worry about is to bring the necessary clothes, equipment, food, and drinks for the day hike.

A lot more convenient and comfortable than for the royals back in the days. Albeit, the kings probably did not do much carrying either.

During the 5 days you will see and experience all the amazing places along the Kingsroad!

This hike, despite not being the most technical hike you can ever do, requires some fitness level, as you will be walking a grand total of 100 km / 63 mi over 5 days.

Proper shoes or hiking boots are essential!

A good daypack likewise!

If you want to do the organized hike, you can read more about it and make your bookings over at Visit Kongevegen.

Hiking Kongevegen over Filefjell is on the top of our bucket list here at Leisure Hiking.

At the time of this writing, none of the team have yet to hike Kongevegen.

The Kongevegen hike was something we had planned for the summer of 2020. But as we all know, the coronavirus put an abrupt end to a lot of travel plans, including this one.

We plan to hike Kongevegen in 2021 and will be documenting the hike both on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and here on the website.

Hikers coming down from a day hike
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A brief introduction to the history of Kongevegen

Kongevegen over Filefjell, or The Kings Road, was built between 1790-1794.

It was the first road in Norway where people could travel by horse and carriage between Eastern- and Western Norway.

The road was the main road between Christiania (Oslo) and Bergen. This passage over Filefjell was the preferred route between South and West in Norway.

It has been this for hundreds of years, including for the various kings of Norway. This has given its name, The Kings Road.

The Kings Road replaced the old riding road from medieval times, and the postal road from the 1600s.

The part over Filefjell, between Vang and Lærdal, is the part which we talk about in this article.

The building of the road was done by soldiers and farmers. It was a huge challenge with steep mountains and difficult terrain. This was before the invention of dynamite, which means the road was built by hand using simple tools.

The development and modernization of Kongevegen was a large communication project.

It was an important link in the modernization and development of Norway.

The road was built according to the road-building ideology of its time – “The French Principle”. This means as many straight lines as possible.

The width of the road was 4 meters / 13 feet.

Today Kongevegen over Filefjell is ranked as one of the most unique, authentic, and historical roads in Europe.