The 170 km loop around Gaustatoppen in Telemark in Norway is quite a unique experience taking you through the beautiful Norwegian highlands. And it's just a few hours by car from Oslo. The top of Gaustatoppen is at 1883 meter. Even though the road won't take you all the way to the top of the mountain, the scenery is nevertheless outstanding.
When I did this loop we started out in Sauland - which is about 100 meter above sea-level - at the foothills of Guastatoppen. It was an exceptionally hot day and the Garmin said 32 degrees C at the most. That is very hot in this part of the world. From Sauland we went clockwise all the way around the rock climbing slowly to about 1000 meter over the first 100 km. From there the 15 km descent to Rjukan is just out of this world!
In Rjukan there is only one way - and that is up! The climb from the valley to Guastatoppen (13,6km/973 elevation difference) takes you up to 1215 meter and makes you reconsider a lot of things in life. But the descent that follows is just 35 km of pure happiness.
On the way we had our lunch after 70 km at more or less the the only open gas station we could find. Cheese burger with bacon and a coke was just what I needed at the time!
Historical fact: On the route you pass the Vemork Hydroelectric Plant from 1935 in Rjukan where the Germans acquired heavy water for their nuclear weapons project during WW2. It was sabotaged in February 1943 by British trained Norwegian saboteurs in what has since then been referred to (not only by the Norwegians) as one of the war’s most successful acts of sabotage. It’s a proud moment in Norwegian history!