HARDANGERFJORD – THE ORCHARD OF NORWAY

The Hardangerfjord area,  the orchard of Norway, is known for it´s spectacular fruit tree blossoming in spring.

Drive in the Hardanger area and see all the great waterfalls. Hike the famous Trolltunga or H. M. Queen Sonja´s Panoramic Trail between Kinsarvik and Lofthus.

 

Season and Safety

Many of the activities and attractions mentioned on this website are open only in summer and are closed in winter. This also applies to many of the roads and accommodations mentioned. Season and opening time will vary. It depends on where it is and what activity, attraction, road and accommodation it is, it usually opens in the summer and closes in the autumn, depending on i.a. the amount of snow and the risk of avalanches in the area. Read more about season, important safety information and your own responsibility…

Important information about roads in western Norway: Remember that many roads in western Norway are prone to landslides, especially in rainy and snowy weather. This may include rock falls, rockslides, landslides, debris flows, mud flows, erosion, snow avalanches and rock avalanches. Some of the roads are particularly well-known for their high level of mass movements exposed over them. The roads in the Hardangerfjord area are some of these exposed roads, and many of the roads are narrow and winding.

Visit Hardangerfjord

Visit Hardangerfjord is the official destination company for the Hardangerfjord area.

Some highlights from the Hardangerfjord area

FJORDS NORWAY - Beautiful fjord view - Ulvik in Hardanger.
Fjord view – From Ulvik in Hardanger.

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 the Queens Panoramic Trail in the area between Odda, Lofthus and Kinsarvik.

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.

FJORDS NORWAY - The Hardangerfjord seen from Dronningstien above Kinsarvik
The Hardangerfjord seen from Dronningstien above Kinsarvik

Bergen – The gateway to the Fjords

Bergen is the second largest city in Norway and is known as “The Gateway to the Fjords”, and some believe that Bergen is the most beautiful city in Norway.  Bergen is also the gateway to the Hardangerfjord. The most popular fjord cruises start from Bergen Bus Station, Bergen Railway Station and from Bergen Strandkaiterminal. Mt Fløien and Fløibanen Funicular, the UNESCO World Heritage protected Bryggen in Bergen and the composer Edvard Grieg’s home Troldhaugen are three of the main attractions in Bergen.

Odda at Sørfjorden – The “hub” for the adventurous people

Odda is the perfect base if you want to explore the wild and beautiful nature in the Hardangerfjord area. Sørfjorden is one of the tributary fjords of the Hardangerfjord, and Odda is an historical industrial town at the southernmost end of the fjord. Odda has now transformed from an industrial town into an adventure town. Trolltunga Active is based at Odda, and offers guiding, equipment rental and accommodation. Some of the adventures Trolltunga Active can offer is Trolltunga Hike in all seasons, Via Ferrata Trolltunga and Tyssedal, Fjord Adventures and Winter Adventures.

Buerdalen – Guided tours on Buerbreen Glacier and to Mt Reinanuten

From Odda it is a short drive to Buer and to the parking lot at the innermost part of Buerdalen Valley. From there you can walk in the beautiful and wild nature up to Buerbreen Glacier where you will meet the guides from Hardanger Breføring who will take you on an unforgettable glacier hike on the glacier. They also offer guided mountain hikes to Mt Reinanuten. Remember to book glacier guide or mountain hike in advance. Plan to have enough time on the hike up to the glacier so you do not arrive too late for the agreed glacier guide. The mountain hikes starts from Buer Gård. Booking, season and more information on Hardanger Breføring´s website.

Tyssedal by Sørfjorden, the neighbour village to Odda

Like Odda, Tyssedal is an industrial village that was settled and developed by the hydroelectric power and metal industry in the early 20th century. Both iron, steel and aluminum plants were started up in Tyssedal, but it did not take many years before they were closed down. Today, an ilmenite-plant are operated in Tyssedal. The Hydroelectric Power Museum, which is a cultural history museum, is today located in the old hydroelectric power plant in Tyssedal.

It is also from Tyssedal you take off towards Skjeggedal which is the starting point of the Trolltunga hikes. The history of the beautiful Tyssedal Hotel dates back to when the hydroelectric power adventure began in the early 20th century. The hotel was used as accommodation for the management of the hydroelectric power plant. Today it is a great boutique hotel and restaurant which is an experience in itself.

FJORDS NORWAY - Tyssedal by Sørfjorden in Hardanger.
Tyssedal by Sørfjorden in Hardanger.

Lofthus in Hardanger

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 more that 500.000 fruit trees spread around in Lofthus and Hardanger.

FJORDS NORWAY - Lofthus in hardanger, view towards Sørfjorden
Lofthus in hardanger, view towards Sørfjorden.

Hotel Ullensvang in Lofthus

Sørfjorden is a 38 kilometer 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 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. This is a perfect base for excursions to Trolltunga and The Queen’s Panoramic Trail between Kinsarvik and Lofthus.

In a rowboat on the fjord outside Hotel Ullensvang in Lofthus

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.

Agatunet Farm Cluster at Nå

Agatunet is a farm cluster with 67 protected buildings located in the village Nå on the west side of Sørfjorden in Hardanger. The history of Agatunet goes back several thousand years. The oldest building in the farmyard is Lagmannsstova from 1220, it is a log house on high basement walls. Sigurd Brynjulfsson, who was one of King Eirik Magnusson’s advisers, lived there. This is the oldest medieval building in the country that still stands.

Utne, Utne Hotel and Hardanger Folk Museum

Utne is an idyllic small village located down by the Utnefjord in Hardanger. Here is one of Norway’s oldest hotels and the first hotel in Hardanger, beautiful and historic Utne Hotel. Utne Church is located right next to the hotel. The beautiful church was built in 1895.

At the very end of the small village and right above the fjord you will find Hardanger Folk Museum. There you can walk in the museum farmyard which is an old farm cluster. Folk costumes and national costumes, Hardanger embroidery patterns, harding fiddle and folk music, old building customs and building protection are some of the things you can see and experience at the museum. In addition to the museum yard and exhibitions, there is a café and gift shop in the museum.

Ulvik in Hardanger

Ulvik in Hardanger is known for its Apple Tree Blossoming, Cider Production and not at least as the home of the poet Olav H. Hauge. But most important, Ulvik is an idyllic fjord village that is worth visiting all year round.

Røldal Stave Church in Røldal

Røldal Stave Church is estimated to be built between year 1200 and 1250. The original church was built with the Stave Construction. During reconstructions in 1844 and between 1913 and 1918, it was discovered that Røldal Stave Church was different from other Stave Churches. The original  walls were covered and protected by new outer walls during the last reconstruction.

In the Midde Age, Røldal Stave Church was one of the most important churches in Norway for pilgrims. Due to this, the church received large donations from the pilgrims, and the village of Røldal became quite prosperous.

Fjord cruise on the Hardangerfjord from Bergen to Rosendal

Join a fjord cruise on the Hardangerfjord to beautiful Rosendal. This fjord cruise starts in Bergen, you get to experience the idyllic archipelago and the Hardangerfjord which is surrounded by snow-capped mountains and mighty waterfalls. You have three hours to explore Rosendal on your own while the boat is waiting at the quay. You can explore the Barony in Rosendal with its magnificent garden which is full of beautiful and fragrant flowers. The Barony is Scandinavia’s smallest castle and was finished built in 1665.

Fjord Cruise on the Hardangerfjord and explore Vøringsfossen

This tour from Go Fjords takes you to Hardanger, Norway`s orchard. You will experience the Hardangerfjord, the Queen of the Fjords. You will see picturesque villages along the fjord and a beautiful lush landscape with waterfalls, rivers and steep mountains. The cruise starts at Nordheimsund and ends up in Eidfjord. See video from the Fjord Cruise below. This fjord cruise starts with bus from Bergen. Video by Go Fjords.

Taste Hardanger

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.

Trolltunga in Hardanger

This hike is not suitable for children! This is a long and demanding mountain hike that starts from Skjeggedal by Odda, you should be an experienced hiker to do this hike.

As one of the most spectacular cliffs in Norway, Trolltunga has during a short time gone from being an unknown place to become one of Norway´s most famous tourist attractions. This is a relatively long and hard hike in the high mountains.

Due to the challenging and long hike in rapidly changing weather, we recommend you to join a Guided Hike to Trolltunga. The hike to Trolltunga and return takes around 10 to 12 hours or more. In the mountains it can change from summer and sunny weather to winter and frost in minutes! Always bring good clothes and hiking shoes. And have enough food and water in your rucksack.  

Season: Summer, see this link to website for more information about the hike and season.

The video below is from a summer-hike to Trolltunga with a few short detours. I walked the detours to get some great extra views.

Dronningstien Hike – H.M. Queen Sonja´s Panoramic Trail

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. The starting point is at Røte in Kinsarvik and ends at Lofthus, making it a total of 16 kilometers long. The 6-10 hour long hike is heavy and steep, so it is recommended for more experienced hikers.

The Hardangerfjord area – Geology and Landscape

The Hardangerfjord has its main direction from southwest to northeast in the Hordaland county. It has its beginning where the fjord meets the open sea – the North Sea – and can be followed 180 kilometer inwards to Eidfjord. It also has a number of tributary fjords.

The Hardangerfjord mainly follows the limit between the more than 1 milliard years old Precambrian rocks largely on the southeast side of the main fjord and the 400 to 500 million years old rocks belonging to the Caledonian mountain building, which mainly are on the northwest side of the fjord.

FJORDS NORWAY - View from Dronningstien in Kinsarvik. Five of the branches of the Hardangerfjord can be seen: Utnefjorden, Granvinsfjorden, Sørfjorden, Kinsarvikbukta and Eidfjorden.
View from Dronningstien in Kinsarvik. Five of the branches of the Hardangerfjord can be seen: Utnefjorden, Granvinsfjorden, Sørfjorden, Kinsarvikbukta and Eidfjorden.

Road Trip from the Lysefjord to the Hardangerfjord

A few years ago I had a roundtrip in the Ryfylke and Hardangerfjord area visiting some of Norway´s most famous and beautiful tourist-icons.

I started from Oslo on a Friday afternoon after work and drove the 450 kilometer long road towards Ryfylke and Preikestolhytta Mountain Lodge. It was autumn and a great time of year for hiking in the Norwegian mountains.

Hardanger National Tourist Route

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.

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 the many mountain hikes you can do in the area, you can book transport along this road at Hotel Ullensvang.

Hardangervidda National Tourist Route

The 67-kilometer-long road passes through the Hardangervidda National Park and Northern Europe’s largest mountain plateau. The Måbødalen valley and Vøringsfossen Waterfall are two tourist attractions you can see from the road. There might be a chance that the road is closed in short periods during winter.

Tailormade Fjord Cruise on the Hardangerfjord

Hardangerfjord Fjord Cruise offer private chartered cruises in the Hardangerfjord. With base and marina in Jondal in the middle of the Hardangerfjord, they operate the whole fjord including Bergen – Os – Rosendal – Ullensvang – Eidfjord – Ulvik and Odda. A Fjord Cruise can last from a few hours to several days.

Lake Bondhusvatnet

If you drive from Odda through the 11150 meter long Folgefonn Tunnel to Mauranger and continue seven kilometer to Sundal, you can hike the 2.5 kilometer long trail to Lake Bondhusvatnet. Easy hike on well prepared trail, also great for people 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.

FJORDS NORWAY - Låtefoss Waterfall in Oddadalen Valley in Hardanger
Låtefoss Waterfall in Oddadalen Valley in Hardanger

Summer Ski on FONNA Glacier Ski Resort

There are three Summer Ski Centres in Norway. One of them is Fonna Glacier Ski Resort which is located on the Folgefonna Glacier in Jondal in Kvinnherad in Hardanger. Restaurant FONNA is located at 1199 masl, at the base of the ski resort. From the ski resort you have fjord view to the Hardangerfjord. From the top of the ski-lift you can see towards the Hardangerfjord in several directions.

FJORDS NORWAY - Fonna Glacier Resort and Summer Ski in Hardanger.
Fonna Glacier Resort and Summer Ski in Hardanger.

The road up to FONNA Glacier Ski Resort

The 19 kilometer long road that goes from Jondal to Folgefonna Glacier and FONNA Glacier Ski Resort is an experience in itself. The road that goes from the Hardangerfjord (0 masl) to Folgefonna Glacier (1199 masl) takes about 30 minutes to drive, and goes through beautiful cultural landscape with small farms with cultivated land, forests, rivers and waterfalls to snow-covered high mountains and glacial landscapes.

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. The road is also a wonderful and tiring experience for those who swear by cycling. The road is closed in winter and usually opens between mid May and early June, this depends on the amount of snow. More information about opening hours on FONNA’s website.

Glacier Hiking on Folgefonna Glacier with Guide

Folgefonni Breførarlag provide glacier guiding at the Folgefonna Glacier between Odda, Jondal and Rosendal. In addition to the Blue Ice Hike on the glacier they also arrange guided kayaking, skiing, snow shoeing, climbing and bicycling tours. Folgefonni Breførarlag is based in Jondal, but arrange tours all over the Folgefonna Peninsula. Video by Go Fjords.

Kjeåsen Mountain Farm and Simafjorden

Eidfjord at the eastern part of the Hardangerfjord is a great base for nature experiences and activities. Drive to Kjeåsen Mountain Farm above Sima in Eidfjord and enjoy the great view down to Simafjorden and to Eidfjord at the innermost part of the Hardangerfjord. NOTE! You need to drive on a steep and narrow road and through a long and steep tunnel up to Kjeåsen. This tunnel is closed in different time intervals due to the tunnel is one-way drive. You need to have this in mind when planning the drive in both directions. The road is closed during winter, depending on temperature and snow.

Vøringsfossen Waterfall

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.

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 Fjell & Fjord Hotel – Eidfjord
Vik Pensjonat og Hytter – Eidfjord
Rosendal Fjordhotel – Rosendal

FJORDS – Accommodation in Western Norway

Great Hotels in the Fjords of Norway
Bath and Spa Hotels in the Fjords of Norway
Fjords Living – Special Accommodation in the Fjords of Norway

FJORDS – Useful Links

Go Fjords – Big and Small Fjord Experiences
Visit Norway – Official page for Norway
Fjord Norway – Official page for Fjord Norway

Hardangerfjord – Official page for the Hardangerfjord area
Visit Sunnhordland – Official page for the Sunnhordland area

Map Overview – The Hardangerfjord Area