The chapel that blends into the beautiful scenery

The little brown wooden chapel almost merges into the background on the wooded headland in Viksdalsvatnet lake in Sogn og Fjordane county. It was built in 1805 to replace a stave church that had stood there since the Middle Ages. The chapel is quite crudely built, and different types of materials have been used. Its interior has not changed much since 1805.

Sande i Sunnfjord, Sogn og Fjordane (Vestland)

Owned by the National Trust of Norway since 1917.

The new cog-jointed church on beautiful Øyra. The headland in the beautiful Viksdalsvatnet lake is called Øyra, and legend has it that there was a church here as early as the 12th century, but the first mention of this church in a written source is in papal accounts from 1327. In 1805, the stave church was pulled down and replaced by a new church. The chancel and nave are made from timber, while the porch is built in the stave technique and then clad. The rough carpentry and reuse of materials give the impression that the church may have been built by the locals themselves. Staves from the old church have been used in the tower, and the corner posts in the porch are probably also taken from the old church. The altarpiece and pulpit are painted in the same colours and date from the time the church was built. The year 1805 is inscribed on the altarpiece’s pediment. Hestad chapel has belonged to the National Trust of Norway since 1917, when the Trust took it over from the 17 farmers who owned it free of charge.

A charming venue for big occasions. The chapel is open to the public in July. This romantic church is also a popular wedding venue and can be hired for wedding ceremonies.

Things to do in the area. In 1971, a landscape protection area was established around the chapel. National Tourist Route Gaularfjellet and the watercourse Gaularvassdraget with its waterfalls provide ample opportunity for outdoor experiences and activities in the beautiful landscape. Sunnfjord.no  

Sources: En reise gjennom norsk byggekunst, ed. Terje Forseth. National Trust of Norway, 1994.