Norwegian Museum for Hydroelectric Power & Industry

Bergen & the Southwestern Fjords

A tour around a hydroelectric power station might not sound that promising, but this is one industrial landmark that's worth a detour. The Tysso 1 power plant was constructed between 1906 and 1918 by Thorvald Astrup, who blended classical European architecture with austere, functionalist lines. It's a striking monument to industrial ambition, and can be explored on a guided tour.

A student of the burgeoning functionalist movement, and a passionate lover of Italian cathedrals, Astrup was a visionary architect who believed that industrial sites could be beautiful as well as functional. Tyssedal is perhaps his masterpiece, a striking structure that looks more like an abbey than a power plant. It's one of the country’s most significant industrial heritage sites, and is now protected under historic monument legislation.

You can wander around by yourself, but you'll learn much more by taking a guided tour, which also visits the nearby Ringedal dam and some well-preserved workers’ houses in Odda.

If you're feeling fit, and you have good shoes, you can also climb the footpath used by the workers to reach the beginning of the pipeline at Lilletopp, 400m above the power station. There is also a small intake dam, the dam-watcher's house, water tunnels and the huge waterpipes, not to mention spectacular views of the Sørfjord.

Trolltunga Active also offer guided climbs along a via ferrata that replicates the experience of the workers who built the plant.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Bergen & the Southwestern Fjords attractions

1. Trolltunga

4.99 MILES

A slender spur of rock projecting into the void above Lake Ringedalsvatnet, Trolltunga is one of Norway's most-photographed features, and – along with…

2. Lofthus Church

14.09 MILES

This stone church dates back to 1250 (although the tower was added in the 1880s) and has some fine stained-glass windows. It's surrounded by an…

3. Grieg's Hut

14.75 MILES

The one-time retreat of Norwegian composer Edvard Grieg is in the garden of Hotel Ullensvang.

4. Kinsarvik Stone Church

18.52 MILES

Built in around 1180, this is one of Norway's oldest stone churches. It was restored in the 1960s; the walls still bear traces of lime-and-chalk paintings…

5. Baroniet Rosendal

20.65 MILES

Norway's only baronial mansion dates back to 1665 and sits on a gentle rise above the town. The period interiors include a collection of tapestries, an…

6. Steinparken

20.7 MILES

Signposted off the road running to Baroniet Rosendal, this intriguing little open-air gallery has rock monoliths from the Folgefonna region that have been…

7. Steinstø Fruktgard

20.94 MILES

A high summer pilgrimage to this farm, a short distance east of Øystese, rewards with strawberries ripe in June and a bounty of raspberries, cherries,…

8. Hardanger Folk Museum

21.16 MILES

This excellent open-air museum is a repository for the cultural heritage of the Hardanger region. Wander through its collection of historic homes, boats,…