BLOSSOM IN HARDANGER

Blossom in Hardanger – Nothing awakens the Norwegian national feeling more than these three words. Hardanger in the spring with snow-covered mountain peaks, green valleys, waterfalls and rivers, narrow fjords and blooming apple trees is a beautiful sight.

It all happens in May. Usually the apple trees start to bloom around the middle of May. The blooming lasts for three to four weeks. But the time may vary from year to year. It depends, among other things, on the type of apple trees, weather, temperature and solar conditions.

Visit HardangerfjordVisit Sunnhordland

Visit Hardangerfjord and Visit Sunnhordland are the official destination companies for the Hardangerfjord area.

It all started in the 13th century

Apple tree blossoming in Lofthus in Hardanger.
Apple tree blossoming in Lofthus in Hardanger.

It was as early as the 13th century that it all began. British monks taught the locals in Hardanger how to grow fruit trees.

You can see the result of this today, with hundreds of thousands of fruit trees scattered around the entire Hardangerfjord.

It is particularly in the picturesque villages by Sørfjorden and in Ulvik that the focus is on fruit tree cultivation and the processing of apples, plums and sweet cherries. But the focus is also on fruit trees in other parts of Hardanger.

It is said that of the apple tree, plum tree and sweet cherry tree blossoms, the blossoms on the apple trees are the most beautiful.

The sweet cherry and plum trees do not necessarily bloom at the same time as the apple trees, sweet cherries and plums usually bloom first. Finally comes Le Grand Final – when the apple trees bloom. In Hardanger, apple trees are in the majority, and many believe that these are the ones with the most beautiful flowers.

Fruit and berries from Hardanger – A stamp of Quality

Lofthus by Sørfjorden in Hardanger, from the apple tree blossom in May.
Lofthus by Sørfjorden in Hardanger, from the apple tree blossom in May.

Apples from Hardanger are a stamp of quality in themselves. In addition to apples, the world’s best apple juice and apple cider are made and sold.

The orchards have farm sales along the entire Sørfjorden, in Ulvik and in other parts of Hardanger. Apples, sweet cherries, plums, jams and juices from Hardanger are sold in shops all over the country.

You will also find several unattended stalls along the roads where you can buy berries, apples and juices. Based on trust, you can choose what you want and pay for what you choose.

In Hardanger you will find several such great sales stalls with fruit, berries and juices.
In Hardanger you will find several such great sales stalls with fruit, berries and juices.

A “bee-product” of fruit tree cultivation is the wonderfully beautiful cultural landscape that this creates. It shows particularly well in May when the flowering is at its most beautiful. Then Hardanger is really worth a visit, and people come from all over the world to see all the beauty.

We should be very grateful for the work that the farmers does every day to produce our food and to maintain the beautiful cultural landscape that we have along the fjords. If it hadn’t been for the farmers, the landscape surrounding our fjords would not be as beautiful as it is today. For generations, they have persevered and worked hard to survive in the wild and harsh Norwegian nature.

Apple tree blossoming in Ulvik in Hardanger shows Norway at its most beautiful.
Apple tree blossoming in Ulvik in Hardanger shows Norway at its most beautiful.

Fruit tree cultivation creates a vibrant rural community

Lofthus by Sørfjorden in Hardanger, from the apple tree blossom in May. Hotel Ullensvang in the background.
Lofthus by Sørfjorden in Hardanger, from the apple tree blossom in May. Hotel Ullensvang in the background.

The cultivation of apples, sweet cherries and plums forms an entire industry in Hardanger. This results in vibrant villages where people want to work and live.

Many come to see the fruit trees, the blossoming, the cultural landscape and the beautiful and wild nature in Hardanger.

In the villages around Sørfjorden, there are cafés and restaurants and sales of products from local orchards. On Taste Hardanger’s website there is an overview of the many fruit and cider farms that you can visit. Most are located around Sørfjorden and in Ulvik, but you can also find them in Øystese and in Norheimsund on the other side of the Hardangerfjord.

At the bottom of this page you will find an overview of the juice and cider producers along Sørfjorden, in Ulvik and in the other parts of the Hardangerfjord. In addition, the juice and cider producers are entered on the map, which you will also find at the bottom of the page.

Lofthus Sideri is one of several apple juice and cider outlets in Lofthus. Here is a bee on its way to work in Lofthus.
Lofthus Sideri is one of several apple juice and cider outlets in Lofthus. Here is a bee on its way to work in Lofthus.

In Ulvik you can walk from apple farm to apple farm and taste and buy local products from the farm sales; the Fruit and Cider Route in Ulvik. In Lofthus, four childhood friends each have their own orchard, and together they run Lofthus Sideri where they press the apples and produce cider and juice.

On the west side of Sørfjorden, on the opposite side of Lofthus, is the small village of Nå. At Nå, there are several orchards in addition to Agatunet, which is a farmyard with a history that goes back several thousand years. Today, Agatunet, which is a protected cultural monument, is a living museum both indoors and outdoors.

At Grimo, which lies between Nå and Utne, there are also several orchards with “cideries”. Even further north, on the edge of Sørfjorden, lies one of Norway’s oldest hotels and the first hotel in Hardanger, the beautiful and historic Utne Hotel.

There is also a separate Cider Cruise on Sørfjorden, where you can combine a fjord cruise with a visit to some of the fruit farms and a taste of local jus and cider products. Remember that if you want to visit some of the local juice and cider producers, you must book this in advance.

Apple tree blossoming in Ulvik in Hardanger. View from Brakanes Hotel towards Ulvikafjorden.
Apple tree blossoming in Ulvik in Hardanger. View from Brakanes Hotel towards Ulvikafjorden.

Lofthus by Sørfjorden in Hardanger

Lofthus in Hardanger with view towards Sørfjorden, which is an arm of the Hardangerfjord. In this picture, the blossom is over.
Lofthus in Hardanger with view towards Sørfjorden, which is an arm of the Hardangerfjord. In this picture, the blossom is over.

In the middle of Sørfjorden, between Odda and Eidfjord, lies the idyllic fjord village of Lofthus with the historic Hotel Ullensvang.

Lofthus have attracted travellers since the dawn of time, ever since English tourists discovered Norway in the mid-19th century. Lofthus is synonymous with the expression Blossom in Hardanger. Lofthus in May, with all the apple tree blossoms, is a fantastic spectacle with the snow-capped mountain peaks, green meadows and the blue fjord as a beautiful backdrop.

View from Hotel Ullensvang towards Sørfjorden in Lofthus.
View from Hotel Ullensvang towards Sørfjorden in Lofthus.

The historic Hotel Ullensvang is located down by the banks of Sørfjorden, and the hotel’s history goes all the way back to year 1846. There you can relax in the sauna at Ullensvang Bad with a panoramic view of Sørfjorden and the surrounding mountains, followed by a refreshing dip in the outdoor pool.

Around year 1880, the Norwegian composer Edvard Grieg built a composer’s cottage in Lofthus, which he called Komposten. The composer’s cabin can today be seen in Hotel Ullensvang’s garden. The beautiful nature in the area around Sørfjorden and the Hardangerfjord was a great inspiration for his work and his national romantic music.

Lofthus by Sørfjorden in Hardanger, from the apple tree blossom in May.
Lofthus by Sørfjorden in Hardanger, from the apple tree blossom in May.

In addition to apples, a lot of sweet cherries (moreller) are also grown in Hardanger. Every year the Morelle Festival is held in Lofthus, where, among other things, the official Norwegian championship in Sweet Cherry Stone spitting is organised. Later in the autumn, the Hardanger Musikkfest music festival is organized, also in Lofthus.

Below is a collection of photos from Lofthus and from the apple tree blossoming in May. It is a wonderful experience to stroll around Lofthus when the flowering is at its most powerful.

Fylkesveg 102, Hellelandsvegen, in Lofthus is a “detour” that runs between the center of Lofthus and Skredhaugen Farmyard. Skredhaugen Farmyard consists of a collection of old houses and buildings from the area around Lofthus and Sørfjorden, and is now maintained by the foundation Skredhaugens Vener. In addition, the cultural landscape around the farmyard is maintained by a herd of goats.

From Hellelandsvegen in Lofthus. A detour is often worth taking.
From Hellelandsvegen in Lofthus. A detour is often worth taking.

Hellelandsvegen is a three kilometer long rural road that winds through a wonderful cultural landscape with thousands of apple trees and juice and cider sales. The video below shows a drive along Hellelandsvegen, from Skredhaugen to Lofthus. The video was filmed in June, after the blossoming was over.

If you take another detour and continue up the hill, you will come to Lofthus Sideri, which is a farm outlet where you can both buy and taste the products they make.

At the top of the Hellelandsvegen road is Lofthus Camping, which is one of Norway’s most beautiful campsites with a fantastic view down to Lofthus and into Sørfjorden and to all the mountains that surround the fjord.

Opedalstunet is another farm outlet that has a great view of Lofthus and Sørfjorden. This is also a detour from Hellelandsvegen. Opedalstunet is located by Opedalsvegen, a few hundred meters above the center of Lofthus.

Ulvik in Hardanger

FJORDS NORGE - Ulvik in Hardanger.
Ulvik in Hardanger.

Ulvik in Hardanger is known for fruit blossoming, cider production and not least as the home of the poet Olav H. Hauge. But first and foremost, Ulvik is an idyllic fjord village that is worth visiting all year round.

Ulvik, which is the name of both the village and the municipality, is located in the north-east and at the very heart of the Hardangerfjord. The Bergen Railway runs through Ulvik Herad, and Finse Railway Station at 1,222 meters above sea level is also located in the municipality. From fjord to the high mountains is therefore descriptive of Ulvik.

Apple tree blossom in Hardanger. This is from Ulvik.
Apple tree blossom in Hardanger. This is from Ulvik.

In summer, you can take part in a Sider Cruise on the Hardangerfjord, where you can combine a fjord cruise in beautiful nature with a visit to some of the local fruit farms along the fjord. Some of these farms are located in Ulvik.

In Ulvik you can also walk from apple farm to apple farm and taste and buy local products from the farm sales; the Fruit and Cider Route in Ulvik.

Brakanes Hotel in Ulvik is idyllically located down by the Ulvikafjord and is one of several Historic Hotels in Norway. Brakanes’ history began as early as in 1860, and the hotel has since then been expanded at regular intervals.

Taste Hardanger

Apple tree blossom at Ulvik in Hardanger.
Apple tree blossom at Ulvik in Hardanger.

You get the taste of Hardanger when you visit one or more of the farms that grow apple trees and produce not-travelled juice and cider on their own farm.

At Taste Hardanger you get an overview of the many fruit and cider farms that you can visit in Hardanger. Most of the farms are located along Sørfjorden and in Ulvik. There are also fruit and cider farms in Øystese and Nordheimsund, which lie further west in the Hardangerfjord area.

There is also a separate fjord cruise, Siderbåten, which runs along Sørfjorden and on the eastern part of the Hardangerfjord. There you can combine a fjord cruise with a visit to some of the orchards and get a taste of local juice and cider products. Remember that if you want to visit local orchards, you must book this in advance.

In Ulvik there is a separate Fruit and Cider route. There you can walk between the orchards and at the same time experience the village and the beautiful nature and taste and buy short-travelled products from three of the orchards; Ulvik Frukt og Cideri, Syse Gard and Hardanger Saft- og Siderfrabrikk.

Cider Cruise on the Hardangerfjord

The Cider Cruise boat docks in Lofthus.
The Cider Cruise boat docks in Lofthus.

In summer, you can take part on a Cider Cruise on the Hardangerfjord, where you can combine a fjord cruise in beautiful nature with a visit to some of the local fruit-farms along the fjord.

The selected fruit and berry farms grow apple trees, plums and sweet cherries and produce short-travelled juices and ciders where you can both taste and buy the local products.

The Cider Cruise runs between Eidfjord and Odda and also stops in Ulvik, Lofthus, Aga, Nå and Tyssedal.

Read more on the website of Norway’s best_ for more information about the Cider Cruise, season and booking. Remember that if you want to visit local fruit farms and Juice and Cider Producers, you must book this in advance.

The Cider Cruise runs along the entire Sørfjorden, which is part of the Hardangerfjord.
The Cider Cruise runs along the entire Sørfjorden, which is part of the Hardangerfjord.

Festivals in Lofthus

In addition to apples and plums, a lot of Sweet Cherry (Morelle in Norwegian) are also grown in Hardanger. Every year, the Morelle Festival is held in Lofthus, where among other things, the official Norwegian Championship in Morelle Stone Spitting is organised.

Later in the autumn, the Hardanger Music Festival is arranged. It is a festival where classical chamber music and folk music are served to audiences from both far and near. Concerts are organized in all municipalities in Hardanger, also in Lofthus.

Edvard Grieg’s composer’s cabin at Hotel Ullensvang.
Edvard Grieg’s composer’s cabin at Hotel Ullensvang.

Sørfjorden in Hardanger

From the mountains above Kinsarvik. Sørfjorden goes inwards to the left.
From the mountains above Kinsarvik. Sørfjorden goes inwards to the left.

The 38 kilometer long Sørfjorden is one of the many side fjords of the Hardangerfjord.

Along Sørfjorden are small picturesque villages like pearls on a string, surrounded by fjords, mountains, waterfalls and rivers and not least all the fruit trees that are widely known for their beautiful blossoming in spring.

In the villages around Sørfjorden, there are cafés and restaurants and sales of produce from local orchards.

Here you can read more about Sørfjorden which has attracted travellers since the dawn of time, ever since English tourists discovered Norway in the mid-19th century.

But Sørfjorden and Hardanger have attracted travellers long before the tourists rediscovered our country in the 19th century. As early as the 13th century, British monks taught local people how to grow apple trees. You can see the result of this today, with with many hundreds of thousands of apple trees scattered around Sørfjorden and throughout Hardanger.

The Hardangerfjord Area – What to See and Do

FJORDS NORGE - The Hardangerfjord and Eidfjord seen from Kjeåsen.
Hardangerfjord.

The Hardangerfjord area,  the orchard of Norway, is known for Summer Skiing at Folgefonna Glacier and a spectacular fruit tree blossoming in spring.

Lake Bondhusvatnet and the Bondhusbreen Glacier in Kvinnherad was one of the first places the English tourists visited when they discovered Norway in the mid 1800´s.

Drive in the Hardanger area and see the Vøringsfossen Waterfall in Måbødalen in Eidfjord, the Låtefoss Waterfall in Oddadalen and all the other great waterfalls in the Hardangerfjord area.

In summer, you can take part in a Cider Cruise on the Hardangerfjord, where you can combine a fjord cruise in beautiful nature with a visit to some of the local farms along the fjord. Remember that if you want to visit local cider producers, you must book this in advance.

Odda, in the heart of Sørfjorden,  has now transformed from an industrial town into an adventure town. Trolltunga Active and Trolltunga Adventures are based at Odda, and offers guiding and equipment rental. Some of the adventures they offer are Trolltunga hikes, the Dronningstien hike, Via Ferrata Trolltunga and Tyssedal, Fjord Adventures and Winter Adventures.

Combine a fjord cruise on the Hardangerfjord with a trip to Måbødalen to see the mighty Vøringsfossen Waterfall from the new viewing platform and viewing bridge built in connection with the Hardangervidda National Tourist Route.

The Hardangerfjord is located in the county of Vestland, near Bergen, in the middle of Western Norway. Bergen is the second largest city in Norway and is known as The Gateway to the Fjords. Bergen is also the gateway to the Hardangerfjord.

Juice and Cider sales along the Hardangerfjord

Harding Sideri – Grimo
Hajen Sideri – Grimo
Velure Gard – Grimo
Raaen Sider – Grimo
Jaastad Sideri – Jåstad
Aga Sideri – Nå
Store Naa Siderkompani – Nå
Alde Sider – Nå
Kvestad Sideri – Nå
Edel Sider Åkre Gård – Nå
Maage Gård – Nå
Hardangerbonden – Sekse
Hardangergutane – Hovland
Lie Gard – Lofthus
Lofthus Sideri – Lofthus
Helleland Gard – Lofthus
Opedalstunet – Lofthus
Alvavoll Frukt- og Sidergard – Lofthus
Lofthus Ekspedisjon – Lofthus

Hardanger Saft og Siderfabrikk – Ulvik
Kveik Brygghus – Ulvik
Syse Gard – Ulvik
Ulvik Frukt og Cideri – Ulvik

Spildegarden – Øystese
Sjuragarden – Nordheimsund

Hotels and Accommodation by the Hardangerfjord

Accommodation in the Hardangerfjord area
Accommodation in the Sunnhordland area
Trolltunga Hotel – Odda
Woodnest Treehouse – Odda
Hotel Ullensvang – Lofthus
Hardanger House – Jondal
Hardangerfjord Hotel – Øystese
Utne Hotel – Utne
Brakanes Hotel – Ulvik
Hotel Vøringsfoss – Eidfjord
Eidfjord Hotel – Eidfjord
Vik Pensjonat og Hytter – Eidfjord
Rosendal Fjordhotel – Rosendal

 

HOTELS - LINKS - FAQ

Here you will find an overview of recommended HOTELS in addition to SPA & BATH HOTELS and OTHER ACCOMMODATION PLACES in Western Norway. The combination of beautiful nature, activities that you can do in all four seasons and a stay at a great accommodation is unique. A stay in one of these places will do you good, both for body and mind.

There are ten restaurants that have awarded Michelin stars and Michelin awards in Western Norway. Eight of the Michelin restaurants are in Stavanger and two in Bergen. Here you will find FJORDS MICHELIN, where you will also find a list of recommended hotels in Western Norway, recommended by Michelin.

USEFUL LINKS is a list of websites with great information on Norway and the Fjords. FAQ is an overview of articles that answer the most common questions you have when planning to visit the fjords in Western Norway.

Orchards in Hardanger – Map overview