Travel

Loen Skylift from Olden Norway

If you’re visiting Olden in Norway then you’ll undoubtedly have heard of the Leon Skylift. Along with the Briksdal Glacier complete with Troll Cars, it’s one of the top attractions for anyone visiting this small, scenic village. Other things you may be considering to do in Olden are wild swimming, hiking, buying souvenirs or taking an open top bus. I have visited Olden several times, and already have plans to visit again next year, so it’s safe to say I’m a big fan and also quite experienced in the area. I will always recommend the Leon Skylift as the absolute number one unmissable thing to do in Olden – and perhaps even in Norway – but if you’re only here for one day on a cruise, you can fit in both the Skylift and the Briksdal Glacier if you want to!

Leon Skylift – What is it?

The Loen Skylift is a one of the steepest cable cars in the world. In under 5 minutes it moves a lift of people from Fjord to 1011metres above sea level. It is a large secure lift that fits about 50 people in it. It ascends gently and smoothly. From there you have access to a restaurant, gift shop, outdoor and indoor viewing platforms, and outside there are many hiking trails to walk around or continue heading even higher up the mountain. From the top of the Loen Skylift you can also access the Via Ferrata Leon, a protected guided climbing route, and the Leon Zip Line, which runs June to October. When there is snow on the mountain you can hire toboggans at the top or may see an ice house constructed over winter to visit.

The following photo shows the start of the Skylift, where coaches will drop you or you will park. You queue here to ascend and you can see the lift ascending in this photo.

Leon Skylift Norway Olden Cruise Excursion

This is the view you will see on a clear day from the viewing platform down to the Fjord.

Leon Skylift Norway Olden Cruise Excursion
Leon Skylift Norway Olden Cruise Excursion

Loen Skylift – Independent, Buy a Cruise Excursion, or Book Olden Adventures?

If you’re looking to go on the Loen Skylift from Olden, you have three options. Loen is about 15 minutes away from Olden, so you will need transportation to get there. Your options are :

  1. Independent Visit – You can attempt to get a taxi from your cruise ship, or you can catch the local bus, and then buy tickets direct with Loen Skylift. You can do this in advance here, or you can simply buy on the day. A local bus is the cheapest option, but does require some walking and timing things right and to be honest, you really don’t save much money compared to Olden Adventures. You can use Entur.no to find bus schedules across Norway, but the usual bus is number 130 or 111 from Olden. You’ll need to walk to this bus stop and you can find an exact map of that on the above website as well. A taxi is sometimes possible but they are actually quite a bit harder to find than you would expect as Olden has a relatively small population and does not usually have many taxi’s around.
  2. Cruise Ship Excursion – Every ship cruising the Norwegian Fjords and stopping at Olden will offer Loen Skylift, but it may be paired with other options too, and sometimes you don’t want a full coach tour or to visit somewhere else in a package. Cruise ship excursions have the advantage of being the most secure and protected. If the port is cancelled you can get a refund, and if the coach is delayed for any reason, you know the cruise ship will wait, so you don’t have to worry about timings. The downside of cruise ship excursions is you are paying for that price, sometimes up to double what you would pay otherwise and you are also stuck on someone else’s schedule. If you want to stay longer, or leave earlier, it’s not possible.
  3. Olden AdventureOlden Adventure is a tour company which operates shuttle buses direct from the cruise ship to the Skylift, and includes your tickets in the price. This is the middle ground, it’s cheaper than the ship excursion, but more expensive than using a local bus. You have the convenience of being taken straight from the ship and being able to choose your own time, but make sure you’re back on board by the final boarding time. This is the option I have chosen in the past, and will choose again in the future. Olden Adventure will send you an email with instructions, but it’s really simple to follow – you simply get off the cruise ship and they will have tables set up directly on shore. You pick up your tickets from this by showing your booking reference and then you can head straight to the bus. The buses will come and go continuously throughout the day. There is no need to select a bus time.

Here’s an example on pricing structure: In July 2023 we visited Loen Skylift with Olden Adventures and we paid 2014NOK for 2 adults and 1 child. That’s a total of £149 for the three of us, but it did include a 10% off discount voucher which they were advertising at the time. P&O Cruises wanted £104 per adult and £68 for a child which is a total of £276, but included an additional coach trip to Stryn Lake, which I personally had no interest in. Your price comparison will vary based on the cruise line stopping and what is bundled into the cruise packages.

Cost per adult Summer (May 1st+) 2024 without any discount vouchers:

Direct at the Skylift: 595NOK / £45
Olden Adventures: 875 NOK / £65

As you can see, you’re paying £20 for the convenience of the shuttle bus in both directions, which I personally think is good value since it runs every 15-30 minutes all day. However if you are not on a cruise ship then this shuttle may not be convenient for you at all.

Do you have the pricing from a different cruise line? Please share it with me in the comments so I can share it with others!

In general I believe that cruise ship pricing is for those not interested in doing any research or organization themselves. The fact that you’re reading this says to me you’re not one of those people, so I’d recommend using Olden Adventures.

Is Loen Skylift Disabled and Pushchair Friendly?

I see this asked a lot on Forums and Facebook so I thought I would include my personal information here. Yes, Loen Skylift is very disabled friendly. If you are travelling by cruise excursion make sure that accessibility is offered. My experience of Olden Adventures is that there is a wheelchair ramp that the driver can unfold and a space for wheelchairs at the center of the shuttle bus. However, if using a pushchair I would urge you to think about a sling or carrier instead, as there is limited space and you will get on quicker without your pushchair.

Loen Skylift itself is very disabled friendly. There are 2 flights of stairs from the gift shop to the queue, but there is a lift, or an outside ramp available. The Cable car is flat and wheelchairs can be wheeled right on. If you are not in a wheelchair but have mobility problems there are rails around the edge of the cable car you can hold onto. Once at the top, there is a flight of stairs or a lift to take you up to the gift shop and viewing platform. The viewing platform itself is concrete and perfectly accessible, but the trails outside and around the mountain are gravel, so might be tricky especially if there’s snow.

Does Loen Skylift have a lot of queues?

There are only two cable cars that go up and down and they can fit approximately 50 people per trip. Cruise ships deposit very large amounts of people into this port and this is a very popular attraction. If you are visiting the area not on a cruise ship, I would recommend using a website like Cruise Mapper to see if any cruise ships are in port that day. If you can visit on a day there are no cruise ships, there will be no queues as there are not that many local visitors. If you are on a cruise ship then the queue will depend on the time of year and the weather.

We visited last during the summer holidays, on a rainy and overcast day. We got the third shuttle bus of the morning, and the queue was about 25 minutes for the shuttle bus and 45 minutes for the Skylift. If we had been on an earlier shuttle bus the queue would be less, but the weather can also be more cloudy early in the morning. The queue was longer when we came down at about 1pm, but the weather was also better. The queue towards the end of the day gets less as the day goes on as p eople become concerned about having enough time to make it worth it or making their cruise ship departure on time. I have heard reports of queues up to 2 hours at peak times. I would recommend very early (but the weather is the least likely to be clear) or very late (but you need to be confident in your timing to get back to the ship) to avoid queues. There is no where to sit whilst you queue, so bear that in mind.

Is Loen Skylift worth doing if the weather is bad?

One of the advantages of not prebooking is that you can judge the weather on the day. The weather in Norway can be very variable. It can be raining one moment, low cloud another, then clear skies and sun. It is unpredictable, but in my opinion it is absolutely still worth the experience of the Loen Skylift whether it’s raining and overcast, or bright and sunny. Either way the trip is an adventure and the view from the top breath taking. Being up above the clouds can be lots of fun, and there are great walks at the top suitable for any weather – just wear a waterproof! Being from Wales, we have a saying here that if you waited for a dry day you’d never leave the house and I think that applies to Norway as well. Go and have a fabulous time.

Share this page with someone

You Might Also Like

1 Comment

  • Reply Veronica Gilbert March 26, 2024 at 11:56 am

    Hi I stumbled across your website as I’m looking for independent travel to the skylift but now I realise that using Olden Adventure will be the easiest! How did you find the discount vouchers please???
    Thanks again for the very clear and helpful information.
    Going to read on!

  • Leave a Reply