Canoeing and kayaking
With a canoe or kayak you can have some great paddling experiences near Lillehammer. Most obviously the Laagen river delta right below town. Don't underestimate this area! It's a strict nature reserve (main focus is on birds and aqautic life), but you can enter by canoe and kayak amongst the islands. Good fishing. Also the northern end of lake Randsfjorden some 70 kilometers away is nice, and the Velmunden/ Fjorda area even nearer Oslo, west of Randsfjorden is a great canoeing area. Maybe the Lillehammer Kayak and Rowing club can help you with a rental? Ask at the tourist office.
At the Velmunden/Fjorda area there is a canoe rental place.
The Laagen River Delta
The river Laagen runs into Lake Mjosa at Lillehammer and forms a delta area which is quite nice. It is the richest freshwater fisheries area in Norway, but few people come here apart from locals. The delta consists of a few islands, shallows, sandbanks, bays and some deeper channels. The surrounding landscape is forested or agricultural land. You can get to the delta by foot from town, or by bike or car to get to other areas. It doesn't look particularily exciting, but grayling and whitefish here is abundant and easy to catch, likewise perch, pike, various carp fishes and giant brown trout. A smallish herring-type fish (lagesild) of the salmonide family spawn here during autumn (1st week of October - see separate tip) and gives rise to a spectacular fishery and abundant bird life. Apart from aquatic life, there are many birds and a variety of plants here, some common mammals including the beaver. Some of the plants are at their global northern range here. Waterfowl nest here and several Arctic species use the area as a resting place during spring and autumn migration.
To get around, the best idea is to use a rowing boat, canoe or kayak, or a bike if you are land-bound. The current is strong in the upper parts. You can go exploring, fishing, birding, watching plants, swimming. The latter is for the haried, though, as with warm summer weather the northern glaciers melt and feed the river, green, icy cold glacier water.
The Laagen River Delta is a protected nature conservation area, and includes some of the nearby cultivated fields and riparian brush, and no hunting or excessive collecting of plants is permitted.
Of course, being a Sunday, the shops were not open - but I never imagined it would be such a hard time to find an open pub! I thought up here in the cold nordic country everyone appreciated their early evening drink ;-)
The "Skibladner" paddle steamer
During the summer months the living museum the "Skibladner" paddle steamer plies Lake Mjosa between the towns Eidsvoll (south), Hamar (east), Govik (vest) and Moelv and Lillehammer (north) on a regular schedule.
She is the oldest operating paddle steamer in the world, running her 148th season this year (04), started in 1856. The web page will have all necessary schedules and the historical infromationabout the ship.
You can take the ship as part of a trip from or to Oslo and any of the towns mentioned, or as an excursion from Lillehammer. Very nice is the short late morning train ride from Lillehammer to Hamer, board the Skibladner that proceeds via Gjovik and Moelv to Lillehammer. The schedule si\uits well with a dinner on board, the speciality being poached salomon with freshly picked potatoes and cucumber salad, and equally fresh strawberries with cream for dessert. And a good white wine to go with the fish. If the weather is nice this is such a pleasure.
Bring wind gear - this ride will be drafty if you want to see anything. Perhaps a rain coat if the weather is not too favourable... And not too much luggage.
The great outdoors - go for a day hike
For day hikes from Lillehammer you can generally head eastwards. The western hills are less accessible, even if they also can be attractive. There is an office of the DNT (Hikers' Association) in town, as well as a helpful tourist office at the railway & bus station.
The best thing to do is to get on the bus and head for Nordseter some 15 km east of town at 800 meters and start hiking from there in any direction you fancy. No major mountains here, merely rounded hills and ridges up to 1030 meters. The treeline is at about 850 meter. The hike up to Neverfjell is good, offering great views around, and easily done in a day, summer as well as winter (with skis, though). Just consult your map, find the trailheads and off! The hike back to town could easily take the whole day if you spend some time in the Gropmarka area. Some small lakes there, tussocky marshes, stunted pine trees, some old-growth spruce forests and maybe a chance to see some moose.