Jølster – In the heart of Sogn and Fjordane and West-Norway
The vision of the municipality of Jølster is «Creativity – in the world’s most beautiful frame». Jølster is both the home of many artists, among others the famous painter Nikolai Astrup. It is from the nature here that he got the inspiration for many of his paintings. If you pay Jølster a visit, it won`t take you long before you see why he and many other Norwegian painters did not travel to Europe to be inspired: Here you are standing in a work of art – literally in the most beautiful frame in the world!
Jølster is placed in the heart of West-Norway, and in the middle of Sogn og Fjordane county, around a lake called Jølstravatnet. The municipality has approximately 3100 inhabitants and covers about 671 square kilometres. 90 km2 out of these are glaciers, and 43,5 km2 are freshwater. The highest mountain is Snønipa (1827 meters above sea level). The community centre, Skei, is located on the eastern bank of Jølstravatnet. Jølster has an active agricultural sector, but many people work within construction and in the public sector as well. The municipality is the location of energy production, and they have a significant excess of water power. There are currently developed small power plant which produces 157 GWh, but according to estimates made by the Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate the potential is as high as 362 GWh.
Jølster is a good place for people who enjoy outdoor activities. There are pleasant hikes for everybody, from easy hikes around Jølstravatnet to mountain hikes with a great view to both sea and glaciers. Jølster is also a good place if you like to fish – Jølstravatnet is the best fishing lake in Northern Europe, and there have been caught a 15.5 kg trout in the lake! There are possibilities for fishing in the rivers and mountain waters as well. To be able to go fishing, you will need a fishing card, which you can buy at the tourist information, at gas stations and in stores. You can also buy it online at naturogferie.no; follow this link.
In addition to widespread opportunities for hiking, you can also visit Nikolai Astrup’s home, Astruptunet. It is idyllically located on the south side of Jølstravatnet, where you can see and hear about how the painter lived, and see some of his work where it was actually created. On the opposite side of the lake you can find Eikaas Gallery, which gives the opportunity to see the works of another great artist – Ludvig Eikaas. We will also highly recommend a visit to the Museum of Jølster – which contains a collection of old houses, clothing and other artefacts from the history of the municipality. At Vassenden there is a downhill ski slope and a golf course, you can go rafting in the Stardal river or hiking on the glacier Jostedalsbreen, a National Park. If you want to visit Norway’s biggest chain store for Norwegian handicrafts and souvenirs, you can go to «Audhild Vikens Vevstove» at Skei.
Welcome to Jølster!