In Hardanger, South-Western Norway, there is a hiking trail called Dronningsstien. The trail is famous for being one of HM Queen Sonja´s favorite hiking trails.
It´s starting point is at Røte in Kinsarvik and ends at Lofthus, making it a total of 16 kilometres long. The 6-8 hour long hike is heavy and steep, so it is recommended for more experienced hikers.
There are however, multiple view points along the way, so an option for less experienced hikers would be to hike only a part of the trail. Whether you hike the whole trail or not, you can expect stunning, paranomic views of the Hardangerfjord.
HM Queen Sonja`s Panoramic Hiking Trail
Direction: Drive 2.5 km of steep and narrow road from Kinsarvik to Røte where you can park the car. From Røte you follow the forest road to Heng (890 metres above sea level). This is where the marked Queen`s Trail begins.
At Heng you can see down to the Hardangerfjord, and the view is breathtaking. The four branches of the Hardangerfjord meets here; Sørfjorden, Utnefjorden, Eidfjorden and Kinsarvikbukti. Heng is a great place for a break and to take in the view to the fjords, the surrounding mountains and the Folgefonna Glacier on the other side of Sørfjorden.
The descent down to Lofthus
The trail goes south towards Lofthus, and the highest point is 1100 Metres above Sea Level. Part of the descent towards Lofthus is on the famous Munketreppene (Monk`s Steps), 616 steps of large stones that was built by British monks in the 13th century.
The monks also teached the locals how to cultivate fruit trees. You can see the result of this today, with more that 500.000 fruit trees spread around in Lofthus and Hardanger. Lofthus is also referred to as the Orchard of Hardanger.
The hike ends down by the fjord at Lofthus. A great way to end a great hike is a relaxing sauna with panorama views of the Hardangerfjord followed by a refreshing dip in the outdoors pool at Hotel Ullensvang.
You can do the hike from mid June to October, all depending on the amount of snow in the mountains. A perfect base for excursions to HM Queen Sonja´s Hiking Trail and the Trolltunga Hike is Hotel Ullensvang in Lofthus. It is an approximately 15 minutes drive from the hotel to Røte in Kinsarvik, the starting point of HM Queen Sonja´s hike.
Lofthus in Hardanger
Sørfjorden is a 38 kilometre long branch of the 179 kilometer long Hardangerfjord, the “Queen of the Fjords”. In the middle of this fjord arm, between Odda and Eidfjord, you find the beautiful village Lofthus with the historic Hotel Ullensvang. Take a proper break at the hotel, one of Norway`s historic hotels. The hotel’s history dates back to 1846 and is situated by the shore of the Hardangerfjord.
While you are in Hardanger and Sunnhordland
If you drive from Odda through the 11150 meter long Folgefonn Tunnel to Mauranger and continue 7 kilometre to Sunndal, you can do the 2.5 kilometer hike to Lake Bondhusvatnet. Easy hike on well prepared trail, also great for persons in wheel chair.
Oddadalen Valley and the Waterfalls
Odda is a great hub if you want to see some of the most beautiful and wild nature Norway has to offer. There is a short distance to the Oddadalen Valley with the famous waterfalls like Låtefossen and Tjørnadalsfossen Waterfalls.
Buerdalen Valley and Buerbreen Glacier
From Odda, drive to the inner part of the Buerdalen Valley, to the Parking Lot at the innermost part of the valley. From here you can hike up to the Buerbreen Glacier and to the surrounding mountains with fantastic view down to the beautiful and wild nature around Odda and Sørfjorden in Hardanger. For guided tours on the glacier, contact the Tourist Information in Odda.
Fonna Glacier Resort
There are three Summer Ski Centres in Norway. One of them is Fonna Glacier Resort which is located on the Folgefonna Glacier in Jondal in Kvinnherad. From the Ski Resort you have fjord view to the Hardangerfjord.
WARNING! Don´t try to copy this stunt! Location: Fonna Glacier Resort.
Skier: Benjamin Forthun. Camera: Tom Erik Haukland
Vøringsfossen Waterfall and Kjeåsen Mountain Farm in Eidfjord
Eidfjord at the eastern part of the Hardangerfjord is a great base for nature experiences and activities. Drive to to Kjeåsen Mountain Farm in Eidfjord and enjoy the great view down to the Simafjord and to Eidfjord at the innermost part of the Hardangerfjord.
Between Eidfjord and the Hardangervidda Mountain Plateou, the Måbødalen Valley and Vøringsfossen Waterfall are two tourist attractions visible from the road. You can drive to the view point and see the Vøringsfossen Waterfall from above, or you can do a short 45 minutes hike and experience the waterfall from the below. This is part of the Hardangervidda National Tourist Route.
Fjord Tours: The Norwegian Fjords
Fjord Tours: Plan and book fjord travel, accommodation and activities
Fjord Pass: Great Discounts on Activities and Attractions in the Fjords
Visit Norway: Official page for Norway
Fjord Norway: Official page for Fjord Norway
Activities in the Hardanger and Sunnhordland Area
RIB Boat Fjord Safari on the Hardangerfjord
Trolltunga Via Ferrata
Guided Glacier Hikes at Folgefonna Glacier
Folgefonna Summer Ski Center
Guided Kayak Tours – Lofthus
Hike to Vøringsfossen Waterfall
HM Queen Sonja´s Panoramic Hiking Trail
By car to Kjeåsen Mountain Farm in Eidfjord