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Laerdal, Norway

Laerdal sits at the eastern end of Sognefjord, Norway’s longest and deepest, where the Laerdal river valley runs eastward over one of the easiest passes through the mountain ranges that loom between western Norway and the eastern interior.  The town has been an important market center for the fjord region for centuries, and the nearby village of Borgund has a stave church dating from 1200 CE that is one of Norway’s iconic treasures from the Viking era. The river is also famous for salmon fishing. The valley’s steep walls are laced with picturesque waterfalls and a remnant of the winding, traditional King’s Highway between Oslo and Bergen called the Vindhella is accessible to hikers. The newer Laerdal Tunnel is the world’s longest road tunnel, running under the mountains for 25 km.