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In the footsteps of Jan Baalsrud

Learn the dramatic story about Jan Baalsrud's escape through the occupied Northern Norway and visit the locations where it all happened.

On this excursion around the Lyngen Fjord, you will visit the exhibiton in Furuflaten, the Hotel Savoy and Jan Baalsrud's burial site in Manndalen. You have the option of going on hikes to the Baalsrud Cave and the Gentleman rock and you reflect on what it must have been like for Jan Baalsrud the winter he fled from the German soldiers during World War II.

Tour suggestion

Lyngseidet

Aurora Spirit Distillery is built at an old coastal fort, which was used during World War II and the Cold War. One of the fort's bunkers houses a small exhibition about Jan Baalsrud and the history of the coastal fort. You can stay overnight at Aurora Spirits Fjord cabins and enjoy beautiful views of the Kåfjord Alps and the Lyngenfjord.

Furuflaten

Furuflaten is a 30-minute drive from Aurora Spirit Distillery. You can visit the small Jan Baalsrud exhibition here, which features a copy of the Hotel Savoy that was used during the filming of The 12th Man. Exhibits include Jan Baalsrud’s skis and the rudder of MK Bratholm.

The exhibition at Furuflaten does not have regular opening hours. Please contact Kjellaug Grønvoll (tel. +47 957 34 949) to arrange a guided tour.

Hotel Savoy

On the other side of the Lyngenfjord, you will find the Hotel Savoy and the Gentleman Path that you follow to reach the Gentleman rock at the top of the mountain. Jan Baalsrud hid under the Gentleman rock for several days while he was waiting for local helpers to bring him to Sweden. Hotel Savoy is situated in Kåfjord municipality. When you cross the municipal boundary to Kåfjord, you will find the Hotel Savoy down by the fjord on your left-hand side. There are no signs marking Hotel Savoy, but you can find it on Google maps.

Manndalen

Continue in the direction of Alta until you reach the small village of Manndalen. In Manndalen, you can visit both the Baalsrud Cave and Jan Baalsrud’s burial site. The Baalsrud Cave is situated deep in the Manndalen valley, and there is a marked path with information on the way. You will find Jan Baalsrud’s burial site at Manndalen cemetery.

If you want to combine your visit in Northern Norway with a visit to Finland, we recommend driving to Kilpisjarvi and to Keinovuopio on the border between Finland and Sweden where Jan Baalsrud’s journey ended during World War II. 

If you are travelling to Tromsø, you can see the Bratholm monument and travel to the Toftefjord on Rebbenes island. 

Click on the map markers to read more about the locations.

Click the markers on the map for more information

If you like hiking, we can recommend these Jan Baalsrud inspired hikes

Jan Baalsrud was picked up by local helpers at Hotel Savoy. To get over the mountain from Hotel Savoy to Manndalen, he was pulled up the steep mountains on a homemade sled up the Fox valley. Due to the precence of German soldiers in Manndalen, they were not able to continue towards the Baalsrud cave. Jan was in bad shape, and not able to be transported back to Hotel Savoy, and was hidden under a rock - The Gentelman rock.

Jan Baalsrud's longest stay anywhere during his escape was in a mountain cave in the Manndalen valley. A 5.5-kilometre trail leads to this cave, the same trail that the people of Manndalen used when they sneaked up to Jan Baalsrud to bring him food. The trail is easy to follow, almost free from rocky sections and with only short stretches of bog. An elegant pedestrian bridge has been constructed across the river, almost at the end of the trial. "The hole" is a slight exaggeration; Baalsrudhula is actually just a crack in the rock. It is almost impossible to imagine how a man with frostbite could have survived here for three weeks.

Jan Baalsrud's longest stay anywhere during his escape was in a mountain fissure at the top of the Manndalen valley. A 5.5-kilometre trail leads to this fissure, the same trail that the people of Manndalen used when they sneaked up to Jan Baalsrud to bring him food. The trail is easy to follow, almost free from rocky sections and with only short stretches of bog. An elegant pedestrian bridge has been constructed across the river, almost at the end of the trial. "The hole" is a slight exaggeration; Baalsrudhula is actually just a crack in the rock. It is almost impossible to imagine how a man with frostbite could have survived here for three weeks.

Other places worth a visit

If you are travveling to or from Tromsø, we recommend a visit to the Bratholm monument. At the place where eight of the 11 onboard the MS Brattholm were executed stands a memorial today. The memorial is now in the grounds of the University of Tromsø and is engraved with the names of all of those who died.

The Toftefjord on the island of Rebbenes, where the dramatic escape began, is uninhabited today. Here you can visit a memorial to the Brattholm tragedy in the form of 11 pebbles from the area, one for each of those who died. In the now abandoned Haugland farm on the island of Hersøya, Jan Baalsrud was given shelter and food for the first time. The main house is still there.

If you are headed towards Finland you can visit Keinovuopio which is situated only 20 minutes by car from Kilpisjarvi, and is where Jan Baalsrud ended his escape.

Movies and books about Jan Baalsrud

The history of Jan Baalsrud

In late March 1943, Jan Baalsrud and 11 other intelligence officers from Kompani Linge and crew were sailing to Troms on the MS Bratholm to organise teams of saboteurs in occupied Norway. The boat was discovered; three of the men were shot and eight arrested and later executed in Tromsø. Only Jan Baalsrud, the 12th man, managed to get away. He escaped across North Troms from 30 March to 1 June and, with the help of many locals, he managed to reach Sweden. However, he did not arrive entirely intact as he was forced to amputate most of his toes because of the frostbite he developed while in a snow cave.

Jan Baalsrud died in Kongsvinger on 30 December 1988 and, in accordance with his wishes, he was buried in Manndalen in Kåfjord municipality.