Loen (Olden), Norway
The small village of Olden is located deep in the Nordfjord, cradled in a lush valley among snowcapped peaks. It has welcomed visitors arriving by ship since the end of the 19th century, as attested by the venerable Hotel Alexandria dating from 1884. There are some very old farms around Olden, including some believed to predate the Christian era here. Less than four miles away, the village of Loen is nestled at the base of Mt. Hoven, where a newly opened Skylift cable car can carry visitors from sea level to the mountaintop at 1,011 meters in about five minutes. There, they will enjoy panoramic views of the surrounding peaks and glaciers, and the fjords, farms and villages below. A strung cable Via Ferrata invites ambitious climbers to clip on and ascend the mountain on foot. The village is the popular gateway to the sprawling Jostedalsbreen National Park, with its system of glaciers feeding waterfalls including the Ramnefjellsfossen, whose three free-falling cascades tumble nearly 2,700 feet, making it the world’s third-highest waterfall. Mt. Skala is another popular attraction, boasting twin peaks of over 7,000 feet in altitude.