Luster, Norway

Luster (spelled Lyster before 1918) is a municipality in the county of Sogn og Fjordane, Norway. It is located in the traditional district of Sogn. The administrative centre is Gaupne.

Luster centers around the inner branch of the Sognefjord, which is called the Lustrafjord. Luster is one of the largest municipalities by area in all of southern Norway. It is a fascinating part of Norway with breathtaking fjords, steep mountains, water-abundant waterfalls, blue glaciers, and luxuriant valleys.

General information


The name (Old Norse Lústr) originally belonged to the fjord (now Lustrafjorden). The name was derived from the word ljóss which means "light" or "bright" - referring to the bright color of the water from the glaciers. Until 1917 the name was written Lyster.


The coat-of-arms is from 1990, but is inspired by an old woodcarving from the Urnes stave church. It shows a rounded tilia twig.


Lyster was established as a municipality on 1 January 1838 (see formannskapsdistrikt). The original municipality was identical to the Lyster parish (prestegjeld) with the sub-parishes (sokn) of Fortun, Dale, Nes, and Gaupne. In 1917, Lyster was re-named Luster.

On 1 January 1963, the neighboring municipalities of Hafslo and Jostedal were merged with Luster. After the merger, Luster had 5,854 residents.

Since the consolidation of the three municipalities of Hafslo, Jostedal and Luster in 1963, the area has been characterized by scattered rural settlements and large distances between these settlements. Luster is the largest municipality in Sogn og Fjordane county.


The Church of Norway has 12 churches within the municipality of Aurland. It is part of the Diocese of Bjørgvin and the Rural Deanery (Prosti) of Indre Sogn.

Churches in Luster
Church Name Year Built Location
of the Church
Hafslo Parish Hafslo Hafslo kyrkje 1878 Hafslo
Veitastrond kapell 1928 Veitastrond
Solvorn Solvorn kyrkje 1883 Solvorn
Urnes stavkyrkje 1130 Urnes
Jostedal Parish Fet og Joranger Fet kyrkje 1894 Fet
Joranger kyrkje 1660 Joranger
Gaupne Gaupne kyrkje 1908 Gaupne
Gaupne gamle kyrkje 1647
Jostedal Jostedal kyrkje 1660 Jostedal
Luster Parish Dale Dale kyrkje 1250 Luster
Fortun Fortun kyrkje 1879 Fortun
Nes Nes kyrkje 1909 Nes


All municipalities in Norway, including Luster, are responsible for primary education (through 10th grade), outpatient health services, senior citizen services, unemployment and other social services, zoning, economic development, and municipal roads. The municipality is governed by a municipal council of elected representatives, which in turn elect a mayor.

Municipal council

The municipal council (Kommunestyre) of Luster is made up of 29 representatives that are elected to every four years. For 2007–2011, the party breakdown is as follows:


The mayor (ordførar) of a municipality in Norway is usually a representative of the majority party of the municipal council who is elected to lead the council. Torodd Urnes of the Christian Democratic Party (Kristeleg Folkeparti) was re-elected mayor for the 2007-2011 term.



Luster, one of the largest municipalities in southern Norway, is located in the glacial mountains where the Sognefjord begins its path to the North Sea. The fjord is fed by many large glaciers such as the Nigard glacier, Bergset glacier, Austerdal glacier and Fåbergstøl glacier.

It is bordered by five municipalities in Sogn og Fjordane county: Stryn to the north, Jølster and Balestrand to the west, and by Sogndal and Årdal to the south. It is also bordered by three municipalities in Oppland county: Skjåk to the northeast and by Lom and Vang to the east.


Store Skagastølstind (or Storen) is the third highest mountain peak in Norway at 2,405 meters (7,890 feet) high. It is located on the southern border of Luster and Årdal. It is part of the Hurrungane mountain range which contains some of the most alpine peaks in Norway. There are many beautiful lakes (such as Veitastrondsvatnet, Austdalsvatnet, Tunsbergdalvatnet, and Hafslovatnet) as well as many big waterfalls such as the Feigumfoss waterfall (218 meters tall).

Jostedalsbreen Glacier and Nigardsbreen, is the biggest glacier in continental Europe. It is located in Jostedal nearby Gaupne in the Jostedalsbreen National Park, much of which is located in the municipality of Luster.

Mountains of Luster over 2000 meters
Mountain Height Mountain Height
Store Skagastølstind 2405 metres Store Ringstind 2124 metres
Jervvasstind 2351 metres Tverrådalskyrkja 2088 metres
Store Raudalseggi 2168 metres Lodalskåpa 2083 metres
Store Raudalstind 2157 metres Store Soleiebotntind 2083 metres
Uranostind 2157 metres Søre Dyrhaugstind 2072 metres
Store Dyrhaugstind 2147 metres Fannaråken 2068 metres
Mjølkedalstind 2137 metres Stetind i Jotunheimen 2020 metres


The inhabitants of Luster make their living by farming, growing berries and fruit, tourism, and Hydroelectricity. Jøstedal and Fortun have large hydroelectric power stations. Summer tourism is quite busy. Tourist activities include mountain climbing, skiing, fishing, hiking, and hunting.


Feigumfoss waterfall

With a vertical drop of 218 meters, the Feigumfoss Waterfall is one of the highest in Scandinavia.

Historic churches

Urnes stave church

Urnes stave church was built around 1150 and is Norway's oldest Stave church. The Church lies majestically on the top of Urnes. The Stave church is one of four Norwegian Churches on UNESCO`s list of the most precious cultural monuments in the world.

The Stave churches are constructions of high quality, richly decorated with carvings. In virtually all of them the door frames are decorated from top to bottom with carvings. This tradition of rich ornamentation appears to go back to the animal carvings of the Viking age. The dragons are lovingly executed and transformed into long-limbed creatures of fantasy, here and there entwined with tendrils of vine, with winding stems and serrated leaves. The elaborate designs are executed with supreme artistic skill. The stave church doorways are, therefore, among the most distinctive works of art to be found in Norway. However, it is difficult to connect them with the Christian gospel.

Gaupne old church

This magnificent church was built in 1647 on a hill directly opposite Gaupne centre.

Dale church

This church is a stone church that was built in gothic style in the year 1250.

Breheim center

The Breheim center contains a comprehensive exhibition. A journey through 20,000 years - from the Ice age to the present day, an audio/visual show takes visitors inside the glacier. Glacier boat M/S "Jostedalsrypa" crosses the Nigard Glacier Lake. There are internationally approved guides, glacier and climbing courses, and ski-trips.

Twin cities/towns

Photo gallery


External links

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