The valley hosted major events at the 1994 winter Olympics, alpine skiing venues at Kvitfjell and Hafjell are now popular winter sport resorts. The valley is home to a number of ancient wooden buildings (including stave churches) and other cultural heritage. Overland transport between Oslo and central eastern lowlands to Nordfjord, Trøndelag and Møre og Romsdal runs through the valley.
- - ski resort (Olympic slalom)
- - alpine ski resort (Olympic downhill)
- - highland cross-country resort
;Notable adjacent valleys (tributaries) in Gudbrandsdalen district:
- Ottadalen home of Otta river
- Heidal and Sjodal home of the Sjoa river
- Vinstra river valley
- Frydalen home of Frya river
- Gausdal and Espedal
Gudbrandsdalen and adjacent valleys are surrounded by major mountain ranges such as Jotunheimen, Breheimen (next door to Jostedalsbreen), Reinheimen/Tafjord/Romsdalen, Dovrefjell and Rondane. At Otta the main valley is joined by the major Otta valley that also holds the road to Stryn and Geiranger.
Gudbrandsdalen district sits in the rain shadow and is one of the driest areas in Norway. The climate is continental: winters are cold and summers are mild. Bjorli, the most north-western village, receives heavy snowfall and is a popular winter resort.
HistoryHenrik Ibsen, Norwegian playwright, hiked through the valley in 1862 and compiled material for dramas "Peer Gynt" as well as "Brand".
During the invasion of Norway in April 1940, some of the heaviest fighting occurred in Gudbrandsdalen around village Kvam. British troops had landed at Åndalsnes to support the Norwegian Army and with plans to recapture Trondheim. In addition to the sea battle at Narvik, this was the first engagement of Allied and German troops during the war (a few weeks later fighting began in France and Be-Ne-Lux). The British troops were not prepared for the task. There is a war memorial at Kvam. The first US casualty in world war II was the US military attache killed during the bombing of Dombås station. There is a war memorial at Dombås. The King, cabinet and Bank of Norway's gold and cash holdings were evacuated through Gudbrandsdalen towards Åndalsnes and Molde amidst heavy fighting in a bold and legendary operation. The king and the cabinet were hiding in Gudbrandsdalen while waiting for safe passage to unoccupied harbors at Åndalsnes and Molde. This was one of the most dramatic and decisive events in the history of modern Norway. British troops were evacuated on May 2. The failed British campaign in Gudbrandsdalen (and Namsos) led to the downfall of Neville Chamberlain as prime minister and Winston Churchill became prime minister.
Ironically, more than 300 years earlier Scottish mercenary troops landed at Åndalsnes and marched through Gudbrandsdalen to join the war in Sweden. Between Otta and Kvam the Scottish troops were slaughtered my local militia in a legendary ambush. This event is also included in the Kvam war memorial.
- Oslo Airport, 140 km south of Lillehammer. A major international airport with flights from the USA and major European cities.
- Oslo-Trondheim railway (Dovrebanen) via Oslo airport at Gardermoen
- Dombås-Åndalsnes railway (Raumabanen)
The Oslo-Lillehammer-Trondheim railway (Dovrebanen) runs along the valley until Dombås where the railway climbs onto the Dovrefjell plateau. The Dombås-Åndalsnes railway (Raumabanen) continues along the northernmost section of the valley (Lesja-Bjorli area). There is no railway in the Otta-Lom-Skjåk valley (Ottadalen).
Dombås railway stationDombås junction where the Rauma railway branches off towards Åndalsnes.
For more details see: Driving in Norway
- Lillehammer-Dombås main road
Otta-Lom-Skjåk main road (also served by bus)
- County roads and private (toll) roads into the hinterland
Kvam (war memorial)Heavy fighting during second world war between British and German troops.
address: South of Ringebu villageOne of the few remaining of Norway's once countless stave churches. Built around 1200 AD.
Sel churchaddress: Valley floor just north of Otta villageWooden church, 1742. Colorful, decorated interior, particularly the rich altarpiece carved in wood, copied largely from Lesja Church.
Lesja Churchaddress: Valley floor at Lesja villageA landmark in the high, even valley at Lesja. Noted mainly for the large and unusually rich altarpiece carved in wood, a masterpiece by Jacob Klukstad, Gudbrandsdalen craftsman. Church erected 1749.
Rondane range and national parkRondane mountains was protected in 1962 as Norway's first national park. No road through the park but road 27 along the edge, access also from Høvringen at E6 north of Otta.
address: Dombås-Oppdal-FolldalDovrefjell mountains/plateau and national park.
Jotunheimen rangeJotunheimen alpine mountains (national park).
Sjoa river and Heidal valleyHeidal is known for its fine ancient wooden architecture, including Bjølstad farm. The Sjoa river, well-known among rafters, flows from Jotunheimen through the valley into the main valley.
- Cross-country skiing in all mountain areas and close to towns.
NordseterWide network of groomed cross-country trails the hills near Lillehammer
address: ØyerHafjell alpine skiing resort was a 1994 olympic venue. Summer activities too
- Kvitfjell (1994 Olympic downhill venue)
address: BjorliBjorli ski resort does not have big and very steep hills, but plenty of snow and long season.
Sjoa river raftingaddress: Heidal, Sjoa riverThe Sjoa river is famous and used for rafting - either alone in kayak (only for the very experienced) or on large rafts. Caution: The river is treacherous, go with a guide and get first hand information. Several operators offer rafting.
- Hiking in mountains and uplands Gudbrandsdalen and adjacent valleys cuts into the base of the central mountains and uplands. Day hikes and in particular multi-day hikes are abundant in these areas:
- Lillehammer-Nordseter-Ringebu-Venabu uplands
- Huldreheimen (West Gausdal-Valdresflya)
Hunderfossen Troll ParkAmusement park (fair) for families
- Rondane and Dovrefjell mountains
- Jotunheimen mountains
- Valdres - a parallel valley in the uplands
- Sogn og Fjordane: Luster, Stryn
- Møre og Romsdal: Åndalsnes and Geiranger
- Oppdal - ski resort in the Trøndelag uplands