The little mountain lodge with the big heart
TEXT: INGRID OPSTAD | PHOTO © STRAND FJELLSTUE
Breathtaking views, great opportunities for activities all year round, delicious, traditional Norwegian food, comfortable beds and pleasant hosts – the small mountain lodge Strand Fjellstue will charm you and make you want to come back again.
Strand Fjellstue is located in Espedalen in Lillehammer, a peaceful place surrounded by towering mountains, idyllic lakes and captivating Norwegian nature. This small mountain lodge with a big heart is run by Tom and Kari Anne Sukkerstad. With its charm and history dating back to before the war, the couple decided to turn it into a modern lodge in 2017 and has since focused on giving their guests delicious homemade food, great service and wonderful adventures. “We renovated the lodge but wanted to keep its traditional feel and characteristic look. When you step inside, you get to experience a piece of Norwegian history,” says Kari Anne.
Today, the lodge has 18 homely rooms, each with their unique interior and antique furniture, a restaurant and large dining room for social gatherings, and an intimate lounge with a fireplace where you can unwind. “Our aim is to provide a cosy yet sociable place. Somewhere you can feel at home and relax,” she says.
On the menu in the restaurant, you find homemade, traditional Norwegian dishes with a modern twist, based on locally sourced ingredients as often as possible. The meat is provided by a local hunting team and the fish is fresh from the lake nearby. “We use a lot of moose meat in our delicious burgers, but also in other dishes – it’s our signature ingredient,” says Kari Anne. Every Sunday, a large buffet is served with hot and cold dishes as well as dessert.
Espedalen is a great place to visit all year round, whether you are after a fun-packed, adventurous time or more of a quiet, relaxing break. Not only is Strand Fjellstue a fantastic starting point for spectacular mountain hikes, bike rides, kayaking and other summer activities outdoors; the area is also known for its ski trails and great opportunities during the winter months. Offering everything from historic sights to wildlife, there is something for everyone of all ages to enjoy. “I recommend a visit to northern Europe’s largest potholes in Helvete Nature Park, which is close by,” Kari Anne suggests. “We also have moose walking around quite regularly, so you might see a few while you are here, which is truly a unique and typically Norwegian experience, if you ask me.”