Lillehammer is a small town, which is mostly known by the 1994 Olympic Games, but there is so much more to do in this town, and to get maximum out of the city, I will write down the places one simply must visit when in this town. And some suggestions where one should go when travelling with children. Lets start from the most famous attraction (or is the Ski Jumping Area the most famous?) Maihaugen.
Maihaugen Open Air Museum is one of the oldest open air museums in Europe and one of my favorite places to visit. The founder, Anders Sandvig, collected from old houses and farmyards within the Gudbrandsdalen valley to provide a sample of Norwegian culture and history in a museum. He first started in his backyard, but when his collection grew, in 1901, the town council offered him a permanent site for the museum. In 1904, the city of Lillehammer set aside an area already known as Maihaugen and bought Sandvig’s collection and established Sandvigske Samlinger (Sandvig Collections), the formal name for Maihaugen.
I have been walking there almost every week for a year now. On wintertime it is free of charge to walk in the park (but you cannot see inside the houses and there are no activities, it’s just pretty), on summer time the museum is opened for free from 07:00-08:00 and 17:00-22:00.
Yesterday we went there during official opening hours (ticket for adults 195NOK, 90NOK for students) and it was so much fun, so different, so many activities…You can visit many of the houses and see how people in Middle Ages lived, you can visit the trainstation and train, post museum, walk in old Lillehammer from 1920’s and visit the residential area which consists of time-typical houses from almost all decades in 20th century.
Maihaugen tells the history of how people have been living in the valley of Gudbrandsdalen from the Middle Ages until today. Social Institutions such as a church, school, post office, railway station, shops, prisons and military facilities are all represented at the museum. The Garmo stave church is one of the main attractions. In 1882, but there is so much to see and do for everyone. The main attraction for my 2,7yrs old daughter are of course the farm animals. Modern children have modern grandmas now, the grandmas don’t have goats and chickens and other animals like they did in my childhood, that’s why it is important to have living museums like Maihaugen.
Make sure to visit it when in Lillehammer!