Røldalsvegen road is an astonishing road with incredible views. Rv. 520, crosses the mountains between Sauda in Ryfylke and Røldal in Hardanger. The curvy road passes through small villages, rivers, waterfalls, and areas with metric snow. The route from Røldal to Sauda is possibly the most beautiful part of the Norwegian Scenic Route Ryfylke. Expect an exciting experience with a stunning and dramatic landscape when driving on the road. Unfortunately, due to the heavy snow conditions in winter, the road is open only in the summer/autumn.
The road to Sauda twists around forests and rivers, areas without people, not even coverage on the phones. If you are taking the road in the spring or early summer, close to Røldal, you will be surrounded by meters of snow. There are many good places where you can stop and enjoy the view from up. The frozen lakes and mountains covered in snow look like a winter drawing made by a talented artist.
The Allmannajuvet zinc mines
The Allmannajuvet zinc mines, which operated from 1881 to 1899, are an entertaining spot along the road. Back in the days, the mining operations brought life to the village with as many as 168 employees and the export of ore on ships heading abroad.
On the way to Sauda, not more than 10 km away from the city, on your right side, you will pass by a pretty impressive building, standing abnormally with the nature surrounding it.
There is a well-designed parking lot and bathroom facilities with outstanding architecture. After crossing the road, take the stairs up and continue walking on the path.
The first unusual building serves as a cafe, open in the summer season. In front of the cafe, you can see the foundation of an administration building and dining hall.
The food of the workers was made and served there. The buildings were left empty for over 40 years after the mining operations had stopped.
Not all the workers were people originally from the region. The ones that were coming from other parts of the country lived in two barracks situated on the other side of the river.
Only a few minutes walking more and you will see the mines. On top, the other significant building serves as a gallery, again open only in the high season. Below the gallery are the remains of a washery and a crushery. In the gallery's place, there used to be a wooden deck. The ore, extracted from the mines, was carried down by horse and wagon, put onto the deck, and dipped down in a silo. After the crusher and passing through the washery, the ore continues its route, carried by horse and wagon to the depot at Sønnahavn.
The impressive buildings in Allmannajuvet were designed by the talented architect Peter Zumthor.
A few kilometers south of Sauda, on your right side, you will find the impressive Svandalsfossen falls.
The waterfall has a total fall of 180m. You won't be able to miss it, especially in the spring/autumn (melting ice and/or heavy participation) seasons, as your car will be completely wet from the wild, jumping water.
Start under the road and follow the rusted stairs up for an incredible experience and gorgeous views of the waterfall and lake. The steep stairs up might exhaust you slightly, but the 40 meters of free fall water will give you a refreshing shower, rewarding your effort.
If you are visiting the waterfall in the colder months, be prepared with a waterproof jacket because I can assure you won't be going dry back home. The rivers and streams aren’t regulated by dams, and the amount of water varies with participation levels. On one side, the power with which the water is falling is indescribable. On the other side, the mesmerizing view over the lake and the fjord. Plan enough time to enjoy the experience and views fully.
The Norwegian Scenic routes have a lot to offer and many sights to impress you with. The road from Røldal to Sauda is possibly the most beautiful part of the Norwegian Scenic Route Ryfylke. The dramatic and exciting drive will reveal various landscapes from fjords to mountains.