The idyllic fjord village Lofthus is best known for its apple tree blossoming, the composer Edvard Grieg and the historic hotel Ullensvang.
In the 13th century, British monks teached the locals how to cultivate fruit trees. You can see the result of this today, with hundreds of thousands of fruit trees spread around in Lofthus and Hardanger.
Visit Hardangerfjord and Visit Sunnhordland are the official destination companies for the Hardangerfjord area.
INFORMATION ABOUT ROADS IN THE LOFTHUS AREA – Many of the roads in Western Norway can be prone to landslides and avalanches, especially in rainy and snowy weather. The roads in the Lofthus area and along Sørfjorden are some of these exposed roads.
Lofthus by Sørfjorden in Hardanger
Lofthus is an idyllic fjord village situated in the northern part of Sørfjorden, on the eastern side of the fjord. Sørfjorden is a branch of the Hardangerfjord, the Queen of the Norwegian fjords.
Lofthus is referred to as the Orchard of Hardanger. In addition to apples, a lot of cherries (moreller) are also grown in Lofthus. Every year, a Morelle Festival is held, where among other things, there is an official Norwegian championship in Cherry Stone Spitting.
There is a grocery store, Bunnpris, in the centre of Lofthus in addition to a bakery and pastry shop, café´s and restaurants and cider sales from local fruit farms. There is also a petrol station, approximately 2.3 kilometers north of the centre of Lofthus.
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. The selected fruit and berry farms grow apple trees, plums and sweet cherries and produce short-travelled ciders where you can both taste and buy the local cider products. The cider cruise runs between Eidfjord and Odda and also stops in Ulvik, Lofthus, Aga, Nå and Tyssedal.
Blossoming in Hardanger
Idyllic Lofthus is widely known for the wonderful apple trees, plum trees and morel trees blossoming in the spring. In the 13th century, British monks taught the local people how to grow fruit trees. You can see the result of this today, with thousands of fruit trees scattered all over Lofthus.
You can get a taste of Hardanger when you visit one or more of the many farms that grow apple trees and produce local cider in their own farms in Hardanger. Several of these farms are located in Lofthus where you can visit the farms and buy and taste the local cider products. Lofthus Sideri, Helleland Gard, Alvavoll Frukt- og Sidergard, Opedalstunet and Lofthus Ekspedisjon are all located in Lofthus and are well worth a visit. You can also join a Cider Cruise on Sørfjorden in Hardanger, where you can combine a fjord cruise with a visit to the farms and a taste the local cider products.
In the summer you can experience a great round trip by boat on the Hardangerfjord. The tour starts from Bergen with bus to Nordheimsund and then a fjord cruise from Norheimsund on the Hardangerfjord. The fjord cruise passes the idyllic fjord villages Herand, Utne, Lofthus, Kinsarvik and Ulvik on the way to Eidfjord. The return to Bergen goes back the opposite way. Season: See Go Fjords website.
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.
The composer Edvard Grieg and Lofthus
Around the year 1880, the world famous composer Edvard Grieg built a composer’s cabin in Lofthus which he called Komposten. The composer´s cabin can today be seen in Hotel Ullensvang´s garden.
The beautiful nature in Lofthus and in the area around the Hardangerfjord gave the composer a lot of inspiration for his national romantic music. String Quartet in G minor and Den Bergtekne are both inspired by the fjord and the beautiful nature in Hardanger. The video below is from a nice summer day in Lofthus. Music: Edvard Grieg – “Morning mood”.
Skredhaugen Farmyard is part of the Hardanger and Voss Museum and is located around three kilometers north of the center of Lofthus. The artist Bernard Greve bought Skredhaugen in 1918 and developed the farmyard to what it is today. 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.
They also arrange concerts in addition to other events at regular basis. Skredhaugen Bygdetun is open in the summer, in addition to opening on request. See Skredhaugen Farmyard´s website for more information about the opening dates and opening times.
A beautiful detour in Lofthus
Join me on a short detour in Lofthus. On this ride you can see colourful small wooden houses in a beautiful cultural landscape that is surrounded by thousands of apple trees and with a great view down to the Sørfjord. On the way we pass Lofthus Camping, perhaps the most beautifully situated campsite in Norway.
The Dronningsstien hike is famous for being one of HM Queen Sonja´s favorite hiking trails. The normal starting point is at Røte in Kinsarvik and ends in Lofthus, making it a total of 16 kilometers long. The 6-10 hour long hike is heavy and steep and it is recommended for more experienced hikers.
Other popular hikes that starts from Lofthus is the hike up Kråkestien to Vetlehedlesetenipa, the Elvedalen hike (the River Valley hike) and Fruktstien (the Fruit Trail).
You get the Taste of Hardanger when you visit some of the apple-tree-farms which produce their own cider. At Taste Hardanger you get an overview of the many apple-tree- and cider-farms that you can visit in Hardanger. You can also join a Cider Cruise on Sørfjorden in Hardanger, where you can combine a fjord cruise with a visit to the farms and a taste the local cider products. Lofthus is one of several stops on the Cider Cruise on Sørfjorden.
The 158-kilometer-long Hardanger National Tourist Route passes through the scenic Hardangerfjord area, where for more than a century travellers have come to experience mountains, fjords, waterfalls and glaciers. Two great hikes in the area are the hike to Trolltunga and HM Queen Sonja´s Panoramic Trail. The area offers many opportunities for hiking, outdoor adventure and culture experiences. The road that goes through Lofthus is part of the National Tourist Route.
A drive along Sørfjorden from Kinsarvik to Lofthus
The drive along the nine kilometer long road between Kinsarvik and Lofthus is a great experience, with farms and beautiful cultural landscape on the hillsides between mountains and fjords as a backdrop. The road is part of the Hardanger National Tourist Route. Many of those who will hike Dronningstien stay at Hotel Ullensvang in Lofthus and drive along this road either before or after the hike, depending on where they start the hikes from.
Remember that the road is narrow and winding and in many places there is room for only one vehicle in the width, so you must drive carefully and be prepared to stop and reverse to the nearest meeting place. In connection with Dronningstien and the many other mountain hikes you can do in the area, you can book transport along this road at Shuttlebus Hardanger.
At Hotel Ullensvang in the centre of Lofthus you can take a proper break in one of Norway`s beautiful Historic Hotels. The hotel’s history dates back to 1846 and is situated by the shore of Sørfjorden which is a branch of the Hardangerfjord.
Taste the flavours of Hardanger from Hotel Ullensvang. Take in the breathtaking views upwards towards the Hardangervidda mountain plateau and the Folgefonna glacier, and down to the beautiful Hardangerfjord. You can relax in the swimming pools and enjoy the delightful gardens with private beach.
The hotel in Lofthus by the Hardangerfjord is the perfect base for excursions to Trolltunga (the Troll`s Tongue) and HM Queen Sonja’s Panoramic Hiking Trail.
If you stay at Hotel Ullensvang in Lofthus, you can borrow a rowboat and enjoy the silence and the nature around beautiful Sørfjorden, a branch of the Hardangerfjord.
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. 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.
The Hardangerfjord area, the orchard of Norway, is known for Summer Skiing at Folgefonna Glacier and a spectacular fruit tree blossoming in spring. Drive in the Hardanger area and see the Vøringsfossen Waterfall and all the other great waterfalls. Hike the famous Trolltunga Hike or Dronningstien (the Queens Panoramic Trail) in the area around Sørfjorden. Lake Bondhusvatnet and Bondhusbreen Glacier was one of the first places the English tourists visited when they discovered Norway in the mid 1800´s. Join a Fjord Cruise on the Hardangerfjord which is located in the county of Vestland, near Bergen, in the middle of Western Norway.