A solid 2 hour drive from Oslo you’ll find a very well know Norwegian city called Lillehammer. With a population of around 20.000 it sure ain’t in the top of Norway’s biggest cities. Yet it’s well known among most of us as the host of the 1994 Winter Olympics. I’ve set out to have a look and discover this city.
Located in the district of Gudbrandsdal within the Oppland county, Lillehammer is not only a town. It’s also the name of the municipality of which the town itself is the administrative center.
The, for most of us, small city center mostly consist of a concentration of 19th-century wooden houses. It’s location is wonderful. Surrounded by mountains and with views over the northern part of lake Mjøsa and the river Lågen picturesque scenes are guaranteed.
Strolling Lillehammer city center
Lillehammer’s city center is quite small, but it sure gives it’s authentic and cozy atmosphere. I’m here during the winter, so I do have to watch where I set foot as it can be slippery. As Lillehammer has been an important trading area since 1300s it does not only offer your average kind of stores.
In the wooden buildings you will find specialized stores with craft products, interior and souvenirs. Besides that, you can visit galleries and museums. But don’t rush! Make sure you visit one of the many cozy and warm cafes or restaurants as well.
Throwback to the 1994 Olympics
Up the hill, not far away from Lillehammer center, you find a place called Lysgårdsbakkene, the ski jumping hill used during the 1994 winter Olympics. Whether it’s summer or winter time, this is a must visit if you ask me. The fact that sportsman are crazy enough to launch them from these ski jumps is impressive.
Best of all though is that you are more than welcome to walk the 954 steps to the top of the Ski jumping arena. It’s though, but the views over the city and surroundings are very rewarding.
With time to spare
If you have more than a day to spend in Lillehammer, there is actually a lot more you can get out of your trip. During winter time there are loads of winter sports and activities for you to try. The summer ain’t much different, though the type of activity is most likely to be different.
While most of the activities available are on a small to far distance for the actual city of Lillehammer, many of them are must do’s! How about going down the Olympic bob- and lunge track? Or test yourself on the Olympic 50km cross country trail? It’s all possible in this beautiful region by the name of Lillehammer.