Hardangerfjord Hiking – Odda, Norway

Near the Hardangerfjord area, on the western coast of Norway, there are some drop-dead gorgeous, awe-inspiring, can-we-stay-here-for-ever views.  People come from all around the world to see the fjords and partake in many of the outdoor activities that the region offers: hiking, biking, kayaking, skiing, and even base-jumping.  For the first part of our fjord experience, we decided to stay in the small town of Odda, which sits at the mouth of one of the fingers of the Hardangerfjord.  Odda serves as a great base if you want to hike one of the most famous routes in all of Norway, the 22 km (some say it’s more like 25 km) route to Trolltunga.  You can also make your way up to the Buer glacier from Odda.  Because visiting the fjords of Norway is a once in a lifetime opportunity (according to us), we decided it was necessary to do both treks.

View of the Hardangerfjord (Odda is in the distance)

After our first night’s stay at Odda Camping, one of two places to stay in the tiny town, we drove up to the village of Skjeggedal.  Here, we parked our car and began the long journey to Trolltunga.  There are two main ascents/uphill portions to Trolltunga, both of which occur in the first third of the hike.  On the first ascent, you can choose to go up the old cable car tracks or take the normal hiking path.  We had read online that the cable car tracks were prohibited, so we were surprised to see people heading up that way.  On our way back down, however, after scrambling down many rocks over the 8 hour hike, we took the more regimented (but perhaps more dangerous) tracks.

On the way back down on the cable car tracks (and very glad to see the parking lot!)

So what is Trolltunga?  Trolltunga (or “Troll’s Tongue” in English) is a massive piece of rock that juts out horizontally above the village of Skjeggedal.  It sits 1100 meters (or 3,608 ft) above the Hardangerfjord and boasts exceptional views, especially on a clear day.  Unfortunately for us, it misted rain most of the day.  Even though the view was pretty cloudy at the top, it was still breathtaking.

View of Hardangerfjord on the hike

These pyramid structures (along with painted red “T” signs) mark the path

One of the MANY lakes along the hike

The Hardangerfjord far below

…and again….

And now for the grand finale, Trolltunga!

And after 11km (one way) we made it to Trolltunga!

On the edge of the world!

Ahhh!

The sun did come out once on the way back!

…and I could let my hood down! Enter crazy wet hair….

Okay, so I’m not going to lie.  We were actually in Odda for 3 full days, but after the half marathon hike on the first day, we took the second day to let our feet and hips rest.  I know, we’re old.  On the third day, we got back at it, taking a much shorter five mile hike to the edge of the Buer glacier, which is an arm of the larger Folgefanna glacier.  Folgefanna is Norway’s 3rd largest glacier, running 37 km (23 miles) north to south and it sits 250 meters (820 ft) above sea level.  The valley below, because of the very tall mountains surrounding it, does not receive any sun from approximately September 25th until March 18th.  Bobby and I are convinced that the houses in the valley must be summer homes!

The glacier hike was interesting; we started out in the beautiful and very lush valley, followed the waterfalls from the glacier, and then climbed up pretty quickly via a series of ropes.  Although it was a shorter hike, it was more technical and we got a good workout!

On the drive to the parking area, you can already see the glacier in the distance!

Beginning of the hike through the valley

We ran into this guy at the beginning.  He’s an Irish Wolfhound, which are the tallest of all dog breeds!  He’d tower over Bobby if he stood on his hind legs!

Angus, the Irish Wolfhound

Like the markings on the Trolltunga path, the Buer glacier hike was signaled with similar pyramids and “T” signs.  Along the stream people went crazy, creating hundreds of these pyramids from creek rocks.  Bobby accidentally knocked one over so as realign our chi/karma we added our own pyramid to the group.

Hundreds of pyramids

Pyramids, pyramids, and more pyramids

Even the sign was pyramid-ed

The Buer glacier behind us, with its runoff to the left

View back down to the valley

Crazy amounts of water coming off the glacier

Buer glacier

Close-up

Really impressive (and windy)!

 

Comments

  1. tonya evans says:

    I am sure your dad will be talking to you about this one! HaHa! I am just so thankful you had a wonderful experience and got back down safely! The blog is just so very beautiful. It is so lush!

  2. Thank you so much for posting this! I am about to set out for Norway in just a few days and this was perfect timing. I will be in Bergen before heading to Odda and was just wondering how exactly you arrived in Odda and if you suggest renting a car?

    • TheFlammias says:

      Hi Linsey! My husband and I did have our car, so we drove to Odda. I know that a bus exists between Bergan and Odda because some other campers that stayed at Odda Camping mentioned they took it. I think it’s a 2 or 3 hour bus ride. If you are going to rent a car, just know that most of the roads through the area are narrow. Two cars are supposed to pass on what is really only wide enough for one car. There are no “fast” routes through the fjords region, but the scenery is beautiful. I hope that helps!

  3. I am going solo to hike trolltunga and is quite excited hehe. Did you guys ask someone to take a pic while you guys were seating at the ledge of trolltunga?

    • TheFlammias says:

      We did, yes! There were several groups of people there and we asked a couple of girls if they wanted their photo taken and then we exchanged duties. :) We do that quite often on trips, actually. Tip though…try to find someone who has a similar camera to yours (if you have something other than a point and shoot) so they know what they are doing! Otherwise, they come out blurry or cut off your head. Or in this case, Trolltunga. That would just be sad!

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