Roadtrip around the Hardangerfjord, Norway
The summer of 2019 my friend and I did a roadtrip in Norway. We had about five days together to explore the area around the Hardangerfjord in the middle of hot July. From Sweden we took the road from Linköping, via Karlstad and then over the border. We started driving towards the Norwegian border without really knowing where to begin or what to see in Norway. The only thing we had decided before the trip was that during one out of our three days we would hike to Trolltunga and therefore we stayed around the Hardangerfjord.
The first day we reached Norway around 9 pm, so we didn’t get so far before it was time to sleep. During the trip we used the app park4night to find different places where you can sleep. In the app travellers are adding spots and rate different locations so others can find them, mostly as information for people with a van but it can be useful if you are sleeping in a tent too.
It wasn’t until here we really started to plan our days. We looked at some maps and tried to map out the perfect route to cover the spots we wanted to see. Finally we had a good rough plan that ended up to be very nice. The route below is how we ended up driving with some markers for references to photos further down. This is a very good route where you get to see a lot over just a few days. We made two smaller day trips and a whole day hike during this time and of course we had very nice views along the entire way.
In Norway there are 18 so called scenic routes. These roads are there to get you closer to the nature and make the roadtrip a joy. Along these routes you have the most beautiful nature as well as good roads to drive on. A lot of work has also been put in to make good resting areas with toilets and water taps, and of course viewing points! We drove parts of two of these roads on this trip. One of the roads are from Haugastöl to Eidfjord, or point 1 to 3 on my map. The other one covers many of the roads that we drove, but we also drove on “normal” roads. :) Read more on their website, and then I recommend to get a real map when you’re out on these roads.
After a good nights sleep in the tent we got up early the next day. We drove for a while just waiting for the views to begin…We had our minds set for Vöringsfossen as our first stop.
Hardangervidda (1 to 2)
It wasn’t until we reached the area around point 1 that it started to look very good. This road between 1 and 2 is just north of Hardangervidda, the biggest national park in Norway. We were actually a bit tired of driving and just wanted to get to the waterfall and the fjords. Because of that we almost didn’t stop at all while driving here. I regret it now though, and since I was the one driving I don’t even have a photo from the car. The first photo below is from the beginning. And then close to the end we stopped by Sysendammen, which was just a dam…
And after just another short drive we were finally at our first real stop! We were planning on doing the short hike to Vöringsfossen, but on the road there we saw a sign for a viewpoint. We had to take that detour and got to see a very nice view over Vöringsfossen and the valley.
After the viewpoint we drove to the starting point for the hike. And the hike then was amazing! Or at least reaching the waterfall. More about the hike to Vöringsfossen here!
Now it felt like we were finally here – exploring Norway. We had gone on an amazing hike to the beautiful waterfall, which succeeded our expectations, and were now looking for a place to stay. We had planned to continue sleeping in a tent but wouldn’t know how hard it would be to find a spot. After a short drive from Vöringsfossen we reached Eidfjord. On the app previously mentioned I had seen there would be showers. So we took a turn and looked for the place. At first I didn’t think we were at the right spot, cause it looked too nice, not at all what I would think a public beach spot would look like. But we arrived and it was just the best place. We sat here and enjoyed our dinner while watching the sun set. What a place!
After taking a swim and a shower we were looking for a place to put up our tent. After another short drive we stopped to watch the fog forming and moving over the water, amazing spectacle.
The Hardangerfjord (4)
The next day we just spent driving around. From Eidfjord we drove over the Hardangerbridge and saw the sights on the northern side of the fjord. We stopped every once in a while and had a break and watched the view. It was truly so beautiful everywhere and it was hard not to stop all the time. It was a really nice hot summers day too, it was almost too hot to be outside, much nicer to be in the air-conditioned car. :)
One of the stops on this side of the fjord was Steindalsfossen. One out of many waterfalls in this area. This one is really easy to reach though and a popular tourist spot. You can walk straight up to it and also behind it. Not as cool as Vöringsfossen, but waterfalls are always nice, right?
The western side (6)
From the waterfall we continued south along the western coast of the fjord. This was a very beautiful road too. It was a little different from the other parts but still very nice. This wasn’t a tourist road though and there weren’t that much traffic. Every once in a while there were small stands that were selling berries. I thought the villages here looked very picturesque and I could imagine myself living here, or at least have a summer-house here.
The ferry transfer (7)
When we reached Gjerdmundshamn we drove on to the ferry that took us over the fjord to the eastern part. This was our first ferry transfer so we didn’t know what to do at first. But it was really simple. We just drove to the right line (the one with the sign for Årsnes) and then a seller came up to our car so we could buy a ticket.
On the eastern side we saw even more waterfalls, just by the road, and some salmon plantations (I think…).
Again it was time to find a place for the night. It wasn’t the simplest task this time. But we found a pretty nice spot to have dinner at.
At last we decided to head to Folgefonna national park and put up our tent there. The next day we were planning on hiking to Bondhusvatnet which is in that park, so it was very convenient.
After waking up in the national park it was time to explore it! We packed everything in the car and then headed to Bondhusvatnet. The trail was very easy, but the view when we got there really nice. We continued to the other side of the lake where we had a swim and look at a waterfall. You can read more about our great day here.
The long road to Odda (9)
The hike at Bondhusvatnet didn’t take the entire day, so we still had some time for driving. So that’s what we did. We drove the long road to Odda where we were planning on staying before our hike to Trolltunga. Along this road we saw a lot of apple plantations and more waterfalls. Just so beautiful here too…
And then when we got to Odda it was time to find another spot for the night. Well, it took forever for us to find a place, we drove around like crazy. Finally we ended up booking a hotel room instead.
The next day it was finally time for the Trolltunga hike. This took the whole day from early morning to early evening. Afterwards we were really tired from the walking and being out in the sun all day long. But the hike was terrific and the views awesome. More photos and a longer post about it you can find here.
The eastern side (10 to 11)
The road from Odda and northwards along the eastern coast is part of a scenic route, although I thought there were few places to stop at. But of course, the views here were amazing too. Here you could see all the waterfalls on the other side of the fjord. Though this was in the middle of summer many of them were dried up.
The day after Trolltunga my friend continued to Stavanger with the bus, and I continued north with the car. That’s another story though. I got so see many nice things too, but the route itself wasn’t as good this one! A trip like this around the Hardangerfjord I can really recommend! We spent 5 nights in Norway during this trip and got to see so much. In one way I really like to sleep in a tent or in the car, that way you can stay wherever you want. But at the same time it can be really hard to find this place sometimes. It all came together well for us in the end, but right then and there it can be really annoying looking for a place to put up your tent.
Hope to see you soon again Norway!!