Hardanger

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Hardanger is a traditional region in Hordaland, Norway. It comprises the Hardangerfjord, the surrounding shores and valleys, and related uplands, mountains and glaciers. Despite its location below the glacier and the rough highlands, Hardanger enjoys a mild climate and has for centuries been a centre for fruit production in Norway. Hardanger also include wild waterfalls, alpine summits, high plateaus and major glaciers.

Panorama of the mountains along the Ulvikfjord, a side arm of the Hardangerfjord in Western Norway.

Regions[edit]

Hardanger (green) within Hordaland county

Hardanger consists of the following municipalities: Jondal, Kvam, Granvin, Ulvik, Eidfjord, Ullensvang and Odda

Towns[edit]

  • Odda - The only real town in the region. Industrial centre at the far end of Sørfjorden branch of Hardangerfjord.
  • Norheimsund - Commercial center of the region. Entrance point when arriving from Bergen.
  • Øystese - Commercial center. Almost merged with Norheimsund.
  • Rosendal - Small village that is a popular stop among tourists. Famous for Norway's only barony, dated back to 1665.
  • Ulvik - Small village in the far end of the Hardangerfjord.
  • Granvin - Small village. Entrance point when arriving from Voss.
  • Eidfjord - Small village. Entrance point when arriving from Oslo.
  • Lofthus - Small village. Home to the annual cherry-festival

Other destinations[edit]

  • Hardangervidda - Largest mountain plateau in Europe and the largest national park in Norway.
  • Folgefonna - Glacier located on the east side of the Hardangerfjord, mostly protected as national park
  • Kvamskogen - Upland area with several ski resorts.

Understand[edit]

Bridal journey in Hardanger, iconic painting from the romantic era

When thinking of Norway, most people think of fjords and mountains, and to that degree, Hardanger is one the most stereotypical Norwegian areas in Norway. The region covers the area from Kvam in the west, up north along the Hardangerfjord to Granvin and Ulvik in the north, Eidfjord in the east, and down along the Sørfjord to Odda in the south. Roads cling to the mountainsides along the fjord, and there are three ferries crossing the fjords. Apart from the grand nature, the region is most famous for it's huge fruit production. Farms growing apples, pears, cherries and plums cover almost all the fields along the fjords. This makes the region a spectacular travel location during the fruit blooming in May and early June. The region is also home of several notable artists, musicians and writers. The mountain-areas of the region are good locations for skiing and winter sports. The Folgefonna glacier also has a summer-ski center.

Bondhusbreen arm of Folgefonna

Get in[edit]

By car[edit]

From Bergen

  • Follow E39 to Arna where you enter E16, which will take you all the way to Norheimsund. 74km.

From Voss

  • Follow RV13 south to Granvin. 26km.

From Oslo and East Norway From Oslo there are several routes.

  • Route 7 from Hønefoss (E18 to Sandvika, E16 to Hønefoss). This is the shortest route and includes a drive through Hallingdal and across Hardangervidda. 330 km to Eidfjord
    • Instead of road 7 through Hallingdal follow E18 to Drammen, then E134 to Kongsberg and from Kongsberg road for about 150 km to road junction with 7. 350 km
  • Route E134 from Drammen via Røldal connects to road 13 from the south

From Stavanger

  • Road 13 from Sandnes near Stavanger via Suldal to Odda. Slow but scenic
  • Road E39 to Haugesund, then E134 towards Odda and road 13.

By bus[edit]

Lake Bondhus, with Bondhus arm of Folgefonna glacier in the background

From Bergen

From Voss

From Oslo

By train[edit]

Bergen and Voss are the nearest railway stations. Finse station is at the high plateau and without road connections, but excellent starting point for hiking (summer) and skiing (winter until May).

  • NSB operates the railway from Oslo and Bergen to Voss. Use bus from Voss.

By boat[edit]

  • There are no regular boat lines serving Hardanger, however you can easily sail here in your own boat. Follow the Hardangerfjord to Norheimsund where you will find a well equipped guest-harbor.
  • Hardangerfjordekspress is a sightseeing trip by fast catamaran from Bergen to Rosendal and back.

Get around[edit]

The great Hardanger bridge connects north and south shore near Eidfjord (toll).

If you bring a bicycle, the area is well suited for biking trips. Hiking in Hardanger is also recommended.

By car[edit]

The easiest way of getting around once you reach Hardanger, is by using a car. Because the mighty Hardangerfjord and its arms cuts through the area roads continue onto ferries across the fjord, these ferry crossings are part of the road network and road numbers include the crossing. There are 3 major crossings, the fourth crossing near Eidfjord is now replaced by a huge bridge.

The two key roads are # 7 from Geilo via Eidfjord and Norheimsund (east-west), and # 13 Odda-Granvin-Voss (north-south). Folgefunntunnelen is a short cut under the glacier from Odda to the western part of Hardanger.

By bus[edit]

If you would like to travel by bus or coach, the national coach operator is called NOR-WAY Bussekspress. Further regional and local buses are managed by the public transport authority in Hordaland, Skyss on Public Service Obligations. In Hardanger, you may find some lines to be rather infrequent. Some lines run only a handful of times per day, some only on schooldays and so on. Even so, the network does cover most areas.

See[edit]

Vøringsfosse waterfall and canyon below.
Fruit has been produced since the 14th century
Tyssedal power plant
Låtefossen waterfall and road 13

Nature[edit]

  •    Vøringsfossen waterfall and canyonMåbødalen/Hardangervidda (Road 7). 24 h. About 180 meter fall into a wild canyon. The waterfall has been a major tourist attraction and icon since it was first described by visitors in the 1800s. Road 7 along the canyon is a masterpiece of engineering. The road makes a full circle within the mountain in order to make the steep ascent. Free.
  •    Hardangerjøkulen (glacier)Finse/Hardangervidda (Road 7). 24 h. One the large glaciers in Norway, between road 7 (Hardangervidda road) and Bergen railway (Finse-Myrdal). Visible from a long distance because of its elevation above Hardangervidda plateau. Caution: Hiking the glacier is only for experts, do not attempt a hike on your own. Free.
  •    Folgefonna (glacier). 24 h. One the large glaciers in Norway, Hardanger's main glacier, between Sørfjorden and main Hardangerfjord. Visible from a long distance because of its elevation above the deep fjords around. On clear days it is visible from Bergen and from the ocean. Arms of the big glacier stretch into the valleys below, for instance at Odda (Buerbreen) and Mauranger (Bondhusbreen in Sunndal). Summer ski resorts on the glacier. Caution: Hiking the glacier is only for experts, do not attempt a hike outside marked trails at the ski resort on your own. Free.
    •    Buerbreen (glacier)Odda. 24 h. Buerbreen arm of Folgefonna glacier, visible from road 13 at Sandvin lake. Road up valley towards Buer.
  •    Låtefossen waterfall] (Road 13 south from Odda). 24 h. The most popular of the waterfalls in the "valley of waterfalls". A 160 meters high cascade fall. Road 13 crosses flow and mist from the cascade keeps the road wet. Free.

Culture[edit]

  •    Kinsarvik churchKinsarvik village (Road 13). Ancient (about 1160) masonry church.
  •    Agatunet outdoor museumAga (west shore of Sørfjorden) (Road 550). Museum showing traditional west Norway buildings and village settlement.
  •    Barony Rosendal (Baroniet Rosendal), Rosendal. Small, pretty 17th century manor, known as the Barony. Pretty garden and romantic surroundings.
  •    Tokagjelet gorge/road 7Norheimsund (Road 7). Legendary road construction through Tokagjelet gorge above Norheimsund village. Old road construction still available from new tunnel deeper in mountain.
  •    Hardanger bridgeNorheimsund (Road 7 and 13). One of the longest suspension bridges in the world, the longest two-lane suspension bridge. Towers are more than 200 meters high. Fascinating tunnel system connects the bridge to the roads on either side. 150 NOK (cars).
  •    Tyssedal power plant and museumTyssedal at Odda (Road 13). Monumental and stylish power plant building from early industrialization, now hosting the Norwegian museum of industry and hydro power. The architects were inspired by Italian cathedrals. The building is protected cultural heritage and is nominated to the UNESCO world heritage list. Named "building of the century" in Hordaland county.

Itineraries[edit]

Do[edit]

Eat[edit]

Hardanger is famous for it's fruit. Small fruit stalls can be found along all major roads from late summer 'till mid-fall. Most of these stalls are not manned, but rely on the honesty of the customer. Most often there is a small jar where you leave the money for the purchased products. Stealing from these jars would be considered extremely rude.

Drink[edit]

The Hardanger apple-cider is world famous, and should be tried if you find yourself in the region. The cider comes in both alcoholic and non-alcoholic variants. However, due to national law, the variant containing alcohol can no longer be sold outside the state owned liquor store, where it is only rarely available, The non-alcoholic variant is sold from the fruit stall along all major roads from August 'till early October. The price ranges from 50NOK to 80NOK per litre.

Stay safe[edit]

Go next[edit]

Routes through Hardanger
Hønefoss ← Geilo ←  E Riksvei 7.svg W  Trengereid (E16)
Stavanger ← Suldal ←  S Riksvei 13.svg N  VossBalestrand



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