Road trip in Hardanger: See Norway at its most beautiful

One of the world’s longest fjords offers everything from glacier hiking to cider safari, fjord cruises and chocolate tasting. Here are five great stops along the road trip.

A person sitting at the far end of Trolltunga and enjoying the view

Hardanger is one of Norway’s most popular destinations, with attractions such as Folgefonna, Vøringsfossen and Trolltunga in the repertoire. In addition to beautiful waterfalls, glaciers and lookout points, Hardanger boasts over 600,000 fruit trees that blossom in spring.

Along the fjord, you’ll find everything from cute cafes to ice cream bars, cider producers, beer breweries and restaurants. And should you feel like strapping on your skis, the Fonna Ski Resort is open all summer.

The national tourist road in Hardanger makes it easy to visit the area by car, and there are countless places to explore along the fjord.

Here are five stops along the way:

Bustling life in Norheimsund

Just an hour’s drive from Bergen lies the idyllic Norheimsund. Here you will find a bustling summer scene, with a guest harbour, beach promenade and plenty of places to eat and drink. Along the harbour lies the venerable Thon Hotel Sandven, which has housed tourists since 1857. From the hotel it takes only 30 minutes to walk to Steinsdalsfossen, which is known for being able to be seen from 'inside'. Here you can walk safe and dry behind the waterfall, giving you a rare view. There are also many organised boat trips from the guest harbour, which take you to Fyksesund, for example, where it is possible to see sea eagles.

Glacier hike over Folgefonna

South of Norheimsund you will find Folgefonna, Norway’s third largest glacier on the mainland. Walking across Folgefonna is an experience for both young and old, and there are a number of tour operators in the area who ensure that you get there safely. Take a look at Folgefonna Glacier Hike and Folgefonni Breførarlag, for example. Skiing at Folgefonna in the summer is also possible – in shorts! The Fonna Ski Resort is one of Europe’s foremost summer ski resorts, with a ski lift and alpine trails for the whole family. Folgefonna is also just 15 kilometres from the cultural town of Odda, where you will find the Sentralbadet House of Literature.

Mountain hike to Trolltunga

Famous Trolltunga awaits further into the Sørfjord. The cliff formation "hangs" 700 metres above Ringedalsvatnet in Skjeggedal, and offers one of Hardanger’s most spectacular views. The demanding hike takes about 5–6 hours one way and is 23 kilometres in total. Sufficient food and drink, the right hiking clothes and a first aid kit are therefore a must. Many people start their hike from Skjeggedal, via Mågelitopp, but Fjord Tours also offer guided hikes along Via Ferrata. Trolltunga can only be reached when the snow has melted, usually from mid-June to mid-September. Avoid going to Trolltunga in strong winds or heavy rainfall.

Waterfalls and sweet temptations in Eidfjord

The Vøringsfossen waterfall is one of Hardanger’s biggest attractions, with a drop of 182 metres. To get to Vøringsfossen, you drive through Måbødalen, also known as Norway’s answer to the Grand Canyon. The terrifying footbridge over the waterfall completes the experience. The centre of Eidfjord is also well worth a visit, especially for those of you with a sweet tooth. Fjåk is a small chocolate factory, which makes everything from scratch, even its own cocoa beans. Also check out Dolcevidda for genuine Italian ice cream with a Norwegian twist. If you are looking for a great dinner, head to the cosy Sjel & Gane restaurant, which is housed in a 300-year-old beer bottler.

Cider tasting along the Hardangerfjord

Hardanger is the hometown of apples and the home of the Norwegian ciders. "Cider from Hardanger" is a protected geographic term, just like "Champagne" in France, and Hardanger celebrates its cider on several occasions throughout the year. The Hardanger International Cider Festival takes place in the spring, while the Cider Festival in Øystese takes place in October. There are a number of cider producers all over Hardanger, and several offer guided tours all year round. For example, check out De Historiske or Taste Hardanger.

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