Geilo Resort Guide
Ten things we love about Geilo
1. World-class for beginners - Gentle, quiet and unintimidating slopes make this the perfect learning ground for families and first-timers. There’s also an award-winning ski school with English-speaking instructors.
2. Escape the crowds - Skiing holidays in Geilo are refreshingly quiet compared to the Alps. This means you won’t need to battle for a place in the lift queues and that the slopes are particularly good for beginners and families.
3. Travelling here is a highlight - Your transfer to and from Geilo, the Bergen railway is one of the top 20 rail journeys in the world. Passing, fjords, forests and rock formations, the views are incredible and there’s even a dedicated family carriage.
4. Superb crèche - Conveniently set at the base of the ski slopes, the Trollklubben crèche takes babies from six months, as well as pre-ski kids and older children up to the age of eight.
5. Friendly and helpful locals - From the lift attendants who help you on and off the lifts, to the friendly faces on the slopes, the locals here are remarkably friendly and really help to enrich your overall experience.
6. Designated National Park - Geilo is a designated National Park village, and the natural surroundings are noticeably beautiful with wonderful wildlife. The village also has an authentic charm that more commercialised resorts can’t match.
7. World class-country trails - Graded from beginner to expert, there are more than 340 miles of cross-country trails in the resort area. Many extend into the national park.
8. Fantastic non-ski activities - Geilo has everything from dog sledding, snowkiting and snowmobiling, to cross-country skiing, fat-biking and ice fishing. Perfect for families who want a back up if skiing doesn't go to plan.
9. Less than two-hours flight - The short flight to Oslo or Bergen means that journeys are easier for families. Geilo is also a great option for shorter breaks, with the rail transfer making it easy to get to and from the airport and resort.
10. Superb city add-ons - Geilo is located between two of Norway’s major cities, Oslo and Bergen . Both are accessible by rail, and make fantastic add-ons at the start, end or part-way through your week.
Oslo Bergen Railway
Generally the journey to and from your resort of choice is just a means to an end. Not so with Geilo - it’s a real holiday highlight in its own right. Enjoy spectacular views, relaxing in the comfort and convenience of a train journey that takes you to the mountains passing, fjords, pine forests, dramatic rock formations and awe inspiring national parks. This is one of the great rail journeys of the world – widely recognised as being in the top 20 must do trips.
It’s also a really civilised way to travel as an individual, group or family. You avoid the confined environment of a coach journey – you can easily stretch your legs, visit the buffet car or toilet facilities. For young families there’s even a dedicated family carriage with soft padded play area, books, films and DVDs for the children to pass the journey.
Using the train also means total flexibility on the days of travel - we can offer ski holidays to Geilo departing on any day of the week and for any duration, only limited by flight and property availability.
Geilo’s ski area spans a pretty, two-sided valley that’s separated by the Ustedalsfjorden lake and linked by a shuttle service. With predominantly south-facing slopes, the Geiloheisen side is closest to the village centre, while the north-facing slopes on the Geilolia (Vestlia) & Kikut side hold their snow particularly well at the end of the season.
To access the fantastic beginner terrain that Geilo is famous for, the north side (Geilolia & Kikut) has the best slopes. Here, there are two high-speed chairlifts to whisk you up the mountain, so you can avoid the drag lifts if you want to. Over on the south side, there’s a fantastic variety of terrain split across three main areas: Geiloheisen offers access to the most diverse terrain, Slaata has gentle nursery slopes, and Havsdalen’s slopes have beautiful views across the valley.
Cross-country skiing is a national obsession for Norwegians, and Geilo is one of the country's premier cross-country resorts. Graded from green to black, there are more than 340 miles of immaculately prepared classic and skate-skiing trails. Free to access, they extend from the village and up onto the Hargdangervidda mountain plateau.
Every Thursday and Friday on the Vestlia side and every Tuesday on the Slaatta side, the lifts stay open until 8pm for floodlit night skiing. Not only does this give you more time on the slopes, it's a wonderful way to enjoy the resort from another perspective.
More of an early bird? Vestlia's slopes open at 7:30am every Saturday for early morning skiing, with breakfast served in the hotel 7-7:30am.
Kids in Geilo
If you're travelling with young ones you'll appreciate the convenience of having all the facilities you need in one place. The Geilolia (north) side of resort is particularly good in this respect, with ski rentals, ski school and childcare all in one place at the base of the slopes and lifts.
Childcare - At the base of the Geilolia ski centre, the Trollklubben crèche takes children from six months to eight years old. Daily activities range from stories, drawing and sledging, to sculpture building and singing. You can pay by the hour, day or week. Opens daily 9.30am - 3.30pm.
Ski Play - An alternative childcare option for older children who can already ski, the idea of Ski Play is to have some supervised fun on skis away from Mum and Dad. Sessions are run by ski school instructors and last 80 minutes.
Child-friendly train transfers - The convenience of the rail journey to and from Geilo is a real bonus for families. Reserved seats on a comfortable train with spectacular scenery make the journey a highlight of your holiday. There’s even a dedicated family carriage with a soft padded play area, books, films and DVDs.
Family-friendly Geilolia - Home to a purpose-built beginner area that surrounds the Forest Cabins and Vestlia Resort , this section of the resort is particularly good for families. There are three child-friendly lifts, a slalom course and a self-timer piste, as well as a beginner’s snow park, sledging slope and high ropes course with a zip line and café.
Food and Drink
We’ve tested and tasted our way around a huge variety of Geilo’s eateries and bars. Here are some of our top recommendations
On the Mountain
KikutKroa - This characterful cabin has a large outdoor terrace and serves homemade dishes made from fresh ingredients. Located at the base of Toppheisen chair lift.
Stuga Café - Serves hot and cold dishes, as well as occasional outdoor barbecues. At the base of the Geilolia slopes.
Toppen Café - This cosy restaurant is famous for their burgers and Norwegian waffles. Located at the top of the Vestliheisen chairlift, the views of the Hallingskarvet National Park are stunning.
Taubane Kroa - A self-service restaurant at the base of the Geiloheisen chairlift at Geilo Taubane.
Havsdalskroa - Serves local specialities as well as pizzas and burgers. Has a self-service counter and occasional barbecues. Right on the slopes in Havsdalen.
Halstensgårdkroa - A popular spot to bring your own packed lunch. At the base of the Halstensgård lift.
In the Village
Our Family Favourites
Bowl & Dine - American-style diner beside the eight-lane tenpin bowling alley at the Dr Holms Hotel.
Peppes Pizza - Eat in, take-out and delivery pizza in the village centre. Open 11am-10pm most days.
Al Paso Pizza & Grill -
Turkish inspired cuisine beside the Highland Lodge and Geilolia Apartments in the village centre.
Golden House - Geilo’s best Chinese cuisine. Eat-in or take-away.
A la Carte Dining
Hallingstuene - Fine dining with Geilo’s very own celebrity chef, Frode Aga. Expect Nordic flavours using locally sourced organic ingredients. Located in the centre of the village close to the train station.
Escalón Geilo - Tapas restaurant at the Dr Holms Hotel.
Sofia’s Café and Bar - A locals’ favourite with traditional and international dishes. Away from the slopes at the Bardøla Hotel.
Bars and clubs
As a small village with an emphasis on family holidays, Geilo isn’t a place for wild après ski. That said, if you stay up and party with the locals, you'll still find some local spots that stay open late.
Best Après Bars (or ‘after ski’ as the Norwegians say)
Recepten Pub - With regular DJs, this is Geilo’s most popular bar, particularly at the weekends. Located at Dr Holms Hotel.
Ski Bar/Piano Bar - Cosy atmosphere, open fire and great views across the valley. Located at Dr Holms Hotel.
Best Evening Bars
The best après bars are also good in the evenings, while other popular spots include:
Off-Pist - Late night bar/club in the centre of the village with theme nights and a dance floor. Open Tuesday to Sunday 9pm-2.30pm.
From swimming and bowling to sleigh-rides and snowshoeing, Geilo has a fantastic range of non-ski activities. While many are suitable for families, it’s also possible to escape the kids for a spa treatment at Dr Holms or Vestlia Resort.
Non-ski Activities: Our Top Ten
Tobogganing - Take the drag lift up and whizz back down on the mile-long toboggan run in Havsdalen which is one of the longest in Norway, steering your sledge as you speed downhill. Great fun from 10 years and over. There is also a separate track for the younger children!
Dog Sledding - Meet your team of friendly, well-trained Alaskan huskies, and then head off on a three-mile taster, a full day trip, or an overnight experience. Great fun for all the family. There are two husky sledding companies in Geilo.
Snowshoeing - Join a guided group, individual or private trip. Go after dark to take in the winter landscape by moonlight or head torch.
Horse sleigh ride - Take a sleigh ride into Geilo town, or explore the forest. Best done in the evening under torchlight.
Fat Bike taster - Like mountain biking but with bigger tyres, snow-biking or ‘fat biking’ has become very popular in Norway in recent years. The wide tyres help you to float on the snow, following the same principle as off-piste skis.
Snowmobiling - Ride past stunning scenery, looking out for elk, deer and eagles. Norway has strict rules on where snowmobiles can be used, but there’s a designated area 15 miles outside Geilo.
Bowling - Dr Holms Hotel, in the village centre, has a six-lane ten pin bowling alley and American style diner. If you’re staying on the Geilolia side of the valley, Vestlia Resort has an eight-lane bowling alley. Both are open to non-residents.
Swimming & Spa - Vestlia Resort, at the base of the Geilolia slopes, has a superb family pool with an 82-metre waterslide, whirlpool and children’s pool. The separate spa area has a pool, steam room, plunge pool, saunas and treatment rooms. There’s also a superb wellness centre at Dr Holms which has six treatment rooms and a hydrotherapy bath.
Bergen Railway - One of the world’s most scenic train lines runs right through the resort. Riding the railway is a fantastic way to experience more of the local area, with daytrips to the Flåm Railway a highlight.
Geilolia Tree Top Walkway - This high ropes course is one of Norway’s biggest, and includes a 150-metre zip line. Located in the Geilolia area, there’s also a children’s play area and a café nearby.