Lodalen: becoming one of the most popular tourist attractions in Western Norway – the case of challenges for sustainable development of a mountain destination

By Anna Maria Urbaniak-Brekke, researcher at the Western Norway Research Institute.

Loen is an idyllically located village in Western Norway. It is surrounded by mighty mountains on both sides, in a beautiful fjord landscape: with Lodalen valley and Lovatnet lake in the back, and the fjord in the front. Loen is not large with its approximately 600 inhabitants, but the number of people increases sharply during the tourist season. In the last years, growing popularity of social media such as Facebook and especially Instagram, has led to a drastic increase in the amount of tourists visiting Lodalen a valley offering an astonishing view of a glacier surrounded by steep mountain slopes and bathing in a turquoise lake water. However, the local infrastructure is not ready for such a load and the environmental, economic and social sustainability of the area can be threatened.