Buskerud is a fylke (county) in Norway, located west and north west of Oslo. Buskerud cover the area from the Drammensfjorden in the south, covering parts of Hardangervidda in the west, and reaching almost to Jotunheimen in the north. Buskerud includes the valleys Hallingdal, Sigdal/Eggedal (calling itself Kunstnerdalen - Artist's Valley) and Numedal. Buskerud's valleys are home to a number of ancient wooden buildings, notably several of Norway's surving stave churches.
Buskerud is also home to some of Norway's top ski resorts, as well as resorts conveniently near Oslo and other major eastern towns.
Towns and regions
- Drammen - a major town and part of the wider Oslo metropolitan area
- Hønefoss - a hub in lower Buskerud
- Kongsberg - the old silver mining town, once a key town in Norway, also a ski resort
- Numedal is the less visited second valley, from Kongsberg into the uplands. This peaceful valley with its ancient culture is still off the beaten track.
- Vikersund - home the world's highest ski jump
- Hallingdal - one of Norway's major valleys, cuts through the bedrock for about 150 km from Lake Krøderen to Hardangervidda at Geilo. Hemsedal is a branch of the main valley. The valley floor is gentle while the surrounding hills and mountains are steep and home to several ski resorts. The valley is also home to road 7 (a key east-west road) and Bergensbanen (the Bergen railway line).
Buskerud stretches from the fertile shores of Oslofjord/Drammensfjord to the high plateau at Hardangervidda. Between there are great valleys, major rivers and lovely lakes. The lower parts around Drammen are densely populated and part of the wider Oslo metropolitan area, while the higher are wide forests and barren mountains. Buskerud is home to several popular ski resorts, as well as the huge ski jump at Vikersund. In the valleys ancient wooden houses are maintained as part of Norways cultural heritage. The large valley is Hallingdal with branches at Hemsedal and Hol. Because Hallindal is the main transport korridor it is also the most visited. Less visited is the second valley, Numedal from Kongsberg into the uplands. This peaceful valley with its ancient culture is still off the beaten track.
In the barren mountains the reindeer is master, while the forests is home to a large number of elk/moose ("elg") - Buskerud is moose territory. Some brown bears also thrive there, some are kept in a park (zoo) at Flå.
Road 7 (Hardangervidda), road 50 (Hol Aurland), road 40 (Numedal) and road 52 (Hemsedal) are key roads and mountain passes between east and west.
Buskerud has a largely continental climate. The interior valleys has cold winters and warm summers. The highest temperatures in Norway have been rekorded in Hallingdal. The long cold winter in the high areas are ideal for ski resorts. The lower areas around Drammen and Hønefoss have relatively mild winters and warm summers, creating a fertile area where strawberries, Apples and veletables are grown on large scale.
Norwegian is the main language, but virtually everybody speaks English. A number of migrant workers from Sweden, Poland and elsewhere means that English is more used than Norwegian in some services.
- Oslo Airport(IATA: OSL), located 70 km east of Hønefoss and 90 km northeast of Drammen. This is a major international airport, with flights also to the USA. Trains to Oslo and Drammen with Flytoget.
- Sandefjord Torp Airport (IATA: TRF) near Sandefjord has flights to some major and minor cities around Norway and Europe, including Amsterdam, Copenhagen, London, Warsaw. There is a free transfer bus to a nearby railway station, which has trains to Oslo and Drammen.
All westbound railway lines from Oslo goes through parts of Buskerud:
- Trains on Bergensbanen between Oslo and Bergen stop at Drammen, Hønefoss, Gol, Ål, Geilo. Some trains stop also at Hokksund, Vikersund, Flå, Nesbyen, Ustaoset.
- Trains between Oslo and Kristiansand and further to Stavanger also stop at Drammen, Hokksund and Kongsberg, and at Sandefjord Torp airport station.
- Regional trains between Oslo and Kongsberg (via Drammen) are faster and skip smaller stops east of Drammen.
- Local trains go between Oslo and Drammen and between Oslo and Spikkestad.
Tickets are sold by NSB
- Several coach and bus lines connects Buskerud to other parts of Norway. See rutebok.no
- By rail
- Trains, as described in the Get in section. Drammen and lower Buskerud as well as Hallingdal are well connected by train. Tickets are sold by NSB.
- The Numedal railway line is out of operation but parts of line can be travelled by draisine
- Gol is the station closest to Hemsedal
- Ordinary service on Krøderbanen (Krøderen line) was discontinued in 1958, but the line is maintained as a museum and steam engines transport tourists in the summer months.
- Local buses; tickets and info by Brakar (Norwegian only). Route info on rutebok.no (also in English).
- By car
- Road 7 is the main road in the interior, from Hønefoss through Hallingdal and into Hardangervidda. This road has been notably improved in lower Hallingdal, whereas towards Geilo and Hardangervidda it is steep and partly curvy. Rush at weekends and holidays.
- E16 branches off from E18 at Sandvika near Oslo and runs through Hønefoss passed Sperillen lake towards Valdres
- E18 from Oslo through Drammen and south, high speed motorway, heavy traffic is common
- E134 branches off from E18 at Drammen and runs through Hokksund and Kongsberg to Telemark, partly semi-motorway, heavy traffic is common
- Road 40 runs through Numedal valley and Dagali mt pass to Geilo where it connects to 7
- Road 52 connects Hemsedal vally to the main valley at Gol. Road 52 also connects Hemsedal to E16 in Lærdal through Hemsedal mt pass. This road is preferred by trucks.
- Kittelsenmuseet in Sigdal
- Skredsvigstua in Sigdal
- Åspaviljongen in Drammen
- Hringariki – Veien Kulturminnepark (Veien Cultural Heritage Park). Veien Kulturminnepark is one of Eastern Norway's oldest graveyards from 900 b.c. – 500 a.c. You see a rebuilt house, built after a model of how we thought the houses were built around year 0-200. June 2009 opens a new museum with an exciting archeological and cultural exhibition.
- Krøderen Line (Krøderbanen). Krøderbanen is a railway in Modum and Krødsherad that ran ordinary operations from 1873 to 1985 (passengers until 1958). Now maintained and operated as museum railway. Until the Bergen railway was constructed in 1909 the Krøderen Line connected the ships on Krøderen Lake to Tyrifjorden lake, Drammen and Oslo. Krøderen end station shown on map.
- Vikersund ski jump (Vikersundbakken), Vikersund. Vikersund ski jump is the biggest in the world, along with Kulm in Austria. Jumps at 250 meters has been done (world record). The huge hill is visible from far away.
- Kongsberg silver mines and museum (Kongsberg Sølvverk & Norsk Bergverksmuseum). The silver mines in the Kongsberg bedrock were in continuous operation from 1623 to 1958, and was Norway's most important business before industrialization. Output was up to 10,000 kg silver annually. The underground mines includes some 1,000 km tunnels and 300 shafts. The mines reach a depth of 1000 meters, well below the sea level. The town of Kongsberg, literally the "King's mines", as a key town in Norway. In 1770 more than 4000 were employed in the mines, Kongsberg was then Norway's second largest city behind Bergen. The large church in Kongsberg is a legacy of the town's heydays. Parts of the mines are open to the public and Norwegian mining museum is downtown Kongsberg.
- Torpo stave church (Torpo stavkyrkje), Torpo in Ål district, Hallingdal. National cultural heritage
- Flesberg stave church (Flesberg stavkyrkje), Flesberg, Numedal. Medieval stave church, modified 17th century, surrounded by unusual fence.
- Cobalt color mines (Blaafarveverket i Modum), Modum. Blaafarveværke was in the 1770s. It was one of the largest industrial companies of the country in the mid-19th century. The works mined cobalt ore and manufactured by smelting blue cobalt glass (smalt) and cobalt blue (cobalt aluminate) pigment. At the time, it employed more than 2,000 workers, and in its heyday supplied 80 percent of the world market for cobalt pigments. the cobalt mines and associated facilities are open for visitors. Buildings are also used for art exhibitions.
- Drammen Spiral (Spiralen). The Drammen Spiral is a 1,650 metres (5,410 ft) long tunnel in the shape of a helix, with six rising circles. Each rotation of the helix rises 22 m, covering a diameter of 70 m. The tunnel emerges at a summit 180 m above the town on Skansen Ridge, where there are parking facilities and a cafe. The maximum height for vehicles is 3.65 metres (12.0 ft). A local bus makes trips through the tunnel. Part of Eivind Olsen street, north of the river (left side). 35 NOK.
- Hardangervidda and Hallingskarvet
- Walk along Kjøsterudjuvet in Drammen
- Alpine skiing
- Geilo (skiing). Geilo ski resort is on the gentle slopes in upper part of Hallingdal. Ideal for families and beginners. Limited off-piste options. Frequently mentioned as one of Norway's top 10 ski resorts. Excellent for cross-country skiing too.
- Hemsedal. Hemsedal ski resort is on the steep slopes in the high Hemsedal valley. Long season. Frequently mentioned as one of Norway's most complete alpine resort, can be compared to leading resorts in Austria and Canada.
- Norefjell (skiing). Norefjell alpine skiing facilities is on the slopes above Krøderen lake, near Noresund village.
- Kongsberg ski resort (Kongsberg skisenter), Funkeliaveien 105. Ski resort near downtown Kongsberg. Along with Norefjell this is one of the ski resorts closest to the major towns (Oslo, Drammen) in east Norway.
- Cross-country skiing
- Krokskogen (Oslo forest)
- Outdoor go-cart in Sigdal
As Norway in general Buskerud is a safe place.
- Outdoor. Visitors should be prepared when they go on hikes in the high plateaus and mountains - weather can be cold even in summer and navigation can be difficult in bad weather. Waterfalls are treacherous and rivers are cold even in summer. Several rivers are controlled by hydro electric power plants and flow may change suddenly.
- Driving. Drivers should take it easy on the steep roads such as around Geilo and Dagali. Many roads are narrow and winding, even if speed limit is 80 km/h safe speed around corners may be 50 or 60. In the interior winter is long and frost/snow can occur spring and autumn. Drivers should consult weather forecasts and inspect road surface when on the road. Buskerud is moose territory and the big animal may suddenly wander into the road, particularly at dusk and dawn.