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Urnes Stave Church

Orneset, 6870, Norway
+47 57 67 88 40
Review Highlights
A Time Capsule.

OK, so this is reputedly the oldest Stave church in the country, and the only one Unesco listed... read more

Reviewed 2 August 2017
Croydon, United Kingdom
Straight to the heart

This extremely well positioned church high above the fjord is smaller than you might think from the... read more

Reviewed 27 July 2017
Read all 123 reviews
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Urnes Stave Church is the only stave church on the UNESCO World Heritage List (since 1979), and is an outstanding example of traditional North-Western European wooden architecture. It brings together traces of Celtic art, Viking traditions and Romanesque spatial structures. The wooden church was built in the 12th Century and is surrounded by a medieval cemetary and situated on the Ornes promontory in the dramatic, steep fjord landscape of Western Norway. The stave churches constitute one of the most elaborate and technically advanced types of wooden construction that formerly existed in North-Western Europe. Today they are only found in Norway where 28 of them are preserved. Of these Urnes stave church is the most outstanding and oldest example. The church is unique both as a representative of the highest technical standard in wood construction during the middle ages and as an artistic object. The church expresses in wood the language and spatial structures of Romanesque stone architecture. Some reused outside panels from an earlier 11th Century church have sculpted decor of exquisite quality in the Celitic/Viking tradition known as the Urnes style. The carvings are of an unparalleled quality and depicts different biblical and mythical creatures. The carvings are important both as outstanding artistic artifacts, and as a link between the pre-Christian Nordic culture and the Christianity of the medieval ages. The carvings are also a sign of the cultural and religious connection between Norway and the Celtic people on the British isles.
  • Excellent70%
  • Very good24%
  • Average4%
  • Poor1%
  • Terrible1%
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Orneset, 6870, Norway
+47 57 67 88 40
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Reviews (123)
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1 - 10 of 57 reviews

Reviewed 2 August 2017

OK, so this is reputedly the oldest Stave church in the country, and the only one Unesco listed, and impressive it certainly is. Not easily accessed as it is across Sogn og Fjordane (Sognefjord) from the village of Solvorn although the ferry is regular and...More

Thank KathIan999
Reviewed 27 July 2017

This extremely well positioned church high above the fjord is smaller than you might think from the pictures. As with the stave church in Burgundy you feel the connection with the old norse world and the transition into christianity. The church is from around 1150,...More

Thank atlanticophelia
Reviewed 27 July 2017

The Urnes Stave Church dates back to 1130 and is extremely well preserved. It was built as a private chapel. Carvings on the outside of the church's north wall date from a previous church built in 1070. The carvings have been preserved by pitch and...More

Thank Barheat
Reviewed 10 July 2017

I visited this Stave Church from Sogndal and indeed it was worth the visit. I took the bus to Solvorn and then a ferry from Solvorn to Ornes. The Stave Church is a bit uphill hike up from the ferry terminal in Sogndal. The hike...More

Thank PrasunChoudhury
Reviewed 16 June 2017

This was as simple ferry ride from Solvorn, where we were staying (Hotel Walaker). Then an reasonably energetic but not long hike up the hill. Wonderful view on a clear day. There are guided tours, our guide gave us a tremendous amount of information about...More

Thank CCRussell
Reviewed 15 June 2017

We took the ferry from Solvorn to Urnes which was quick and easy, then walked up the hill to the church. If you are athletically challenged this will be a tough hike, and you may be better off finding a way to get a ride...More

1  Thank Elizabeth N
Reviewed 7 June 2017

Beautiful location and very interesting church. The onsite tour guide was fantastic and very knowledgable in English. The walk is about twenty minutes uphill from the ferry if your fit. You can put your car on the ferry and drive up the hill if desired....More

1  Thank stevecass2016
Reviewed 29 May 2017

Urnes Stave Church is located in the municipality of Luster in Sognefjord. It is the oldest of Norway's stave churches and is included on UNESCO's World Heritage List. It was built in the 12th-century, but the distinctive carvings on the north portal are from an...More

Review collected in partnership with VisitNorway.com
Thank LuizaCoutinho
Reviewed 15 May 2017

Dating back to the 12th century, an amazing site. Catch the ferry from Solvorn and then buy a ticket at the little shop near the church. A guide opens it up and takes you round.

Thank Julie F
Reviewed 30 December 2016

A 20 minute drive north from our hotel in Sogndal through a beautiful, heavily forested area brought us to the small, very pretty town of Solvorn where we would catch the ferry to Urnes. While we waited for the ferry we had a chance to...More

1  Thank Walt K
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Questions & Answers
Pamela R
12 August 2017|
Response from Barheat | Reviewed this property |
I don't think that this is a day trip. By car the trip is ~2.5 hours (91km). You would have to investigate ferry routes from Flam to Solvorn (I'm not sure if they exist). It is over 3 hours by bus, taking two buses. From... More