Skageflå is an abandoned mountain farm above the UNESCO Geirangerfjord. If you see Skageflå farm for the first time, be it on the images on the internet or from the cruise ship in the fjord, you can´t stop scratching your head about how the hell did the people get there or how did they manage to build the houses there in the first case.
The iconic deep-blue Geirangerfjord is by many considered one of the most beautiful fjords in the world. Together with Nærøyfjord it is included on the UNESCO World Heritage list. Surrounded by majestic, snow-covered mountain peaks, wild waterfalls and lush, green vegetation it looks like straight out of a fairytale.
Therefore it is not surprising that the Geirangerfjord belongs to one of the most popular touristic attractions in Norway. For nature lovers, the Geirangerfjord has plenty to offer. The best way (or the least physically demanding at least) to get close to nature and see the famous waterfalls in Geiranger is by boat.
If you are up for more challenging activities then you can go hiking in the stunning surroundings and scale some of the majestic mountains above the fjord.
Apart from all the natural beauties in the surroundings, the Geirangerfjord is also known for its deserted fjord farms situated high up on the steep cliffsides, that tell the tales of a different time and way of life. You can visit some of the farms, such as Skageflå, Knivsflå, Blomberg, Matvik, Syltevik, and Westerås.
The only summer farm that is still in operation is the idyllic Herdal Summer Farm, which has been operated for over 300 years. In the picturesque valley, you will find farm buildings with typical grass on the roof and grazing goats and sheep. The owners of the farm and their staff will gladly tell you all about the farm and invite you to taste their homemade goat cheese.
The farm is situated on 250 meters (820 ft) tall cliff above the stunning Geirangerfjord. The drop off the top of the cliff is so precarious that the farmers had to tie up their children when they were outside playing to stop them from falling off the edge.
Despite its location, the farm has been in use since the Middle Ages, and it once belonged to the wealthiest farms in Geiranger area. It was mostly due to fertile grazing possibilities in Skagedalen valley, where the animals were shepherded for summer grazing. The farm could feed up to 125 goats, 8-10 cows, and two horses. While the hay for the animals was brought from the pastures higher up in the mountains, the fields around the farm were used for growing grain.
In the early years, the trail up to Skageflå went through a steep and difficult mountainside. Due to this, in the year 1855, the council in Geiranger decided to give financial support to erect railings along the most dangerous parts of the trail and to make the access a little bit safer. Before that, the farmers used tree trunks to get over the exposed sections.
There is a rumor, that once the local sheriff went up to the Skageflå farm to collect the taxis but had to turn back because the farmer removed the tree trunks.
There are different possibilities how to get to Skageflå mountain farm. Most people take a boat from Geiranger village to Skagehola and then hike up the steep trail to the farm. The round trip with the boat costs 350 NOK and it is recommended to book it in advance. The boat leaves daily during the summer season (May to October). Outside of the summer season, there will be no boat departure.
The hiking trail from Skagehola up to Skageflå is well marked. It goes pretty much straight up, and it is quite steep. In exposed places, there are steps cut into the rock and the ropes on the side of the path make it pretty safe for a trip even for those who do not have heads for hights. Be ready though for about 45 minutes strenuous hike in rocky terrain but at the end, you will be rewarded with breathtaking views to the Geirangerfjord and the waterfalls "The Seven Sister" and "The Suitor".
If you are up for a longer hike or do not fancy a boat ride, you can hike to Skageflå from Homlong. The whole hike takes about 2-3 hours one way depending on your stamina and number of pictures you are going to take along the way :)
The path goes uphill for about half of the way until you reach Homlongsætra at 550m. From there it is quite a steep path down to the farm. The most exposed places are secured with ropes.
- If the weather is good and dry, then you would be perfectly OK wearing regular jogging shoes. If it has been raining though and the ground is wet, then you should go for mountain boots with a decent grip.
- There is a source of drinking water at Skageflå so you do not have to bring water with you. Most mountain streams in Norway are drinkable, and the mountain water tastes delicious.
- It is not allowed to camp at Skageflå
- There is an outside toilet (utedo in Norwegian) with the most spectacular view, so you do not have to run to the bushes if you need to go :)
Geiranger offers multiple options for an overnight stay. However, most of them are very pricey. Hotel Geiranger and Hotel Utsikten belong to the most expensive ones, but you can always go for cheaper options like Homlong Gjestetun- Fjelltun or Vinje Camping. There is also a selection of Airbnb available.
We stayed in a cozy cabin outside Geiranger in the Solvang camp. Norway also has excellent possibilities for wild camping. It is allowed to camp anywhere, as long as it is not prohibited and it is more than 150m from the nearest building.