Dig out your mountain boots, pack some snack in your backpack and take the whole family out hiking! Here are some selected tour suggestions:
Falkenuten takes its name from falcon hunting, an important business in these parts until the 18th century. Dutch falconers used to live in stone huts below Falkenuten and hunt the world’s biggest falcon, the gyrfalcon. They sold the falcons to kings and princes in Europe, where the birds were trained to catch pheasant and other game. You can still see the remains of the stone huts below Falkenuten, and northwest of the summit was the catching ground. Gyrfalcon, merlin and common kestrel still nest in the mountains around Falkenuten.
A family-friendly hike through beautiful mountain scenery with panoramic views of Hardangervidda, Gaustatoppen and Møsstrond. Parts of the hike are across boogy moorland, so watertight footwear is essential.
From Rauland village take the road 362 in the direction of Haukeli. After 4 kilometres turn off to the right towards Kromviki. Follow Kromvikvegen (gravel road) for 10,5 kilometres until you reach a car park on the right. The trail starts at the information board on the left-hand side of the road. The trail climbs gently from the car park to Falkenuten. Several parallel paths lead to the summit, where you can enjoy a picnic and the splendid view in all directions. From Falkenuten, you can head further into the mountains on an unmarked trail or return the same route and admire the view of Gaustatoppen.
The trip to Falkenuten is a 1 hour roundtrip and is 3 kilometres long. The terrain is easy terrain, and the hike is moderate.
The trail up to Te-hytte (the tea cabin) starts 6 kilometres from the centre of Rauland in the direction of Haukeligrend. There is a small car park on the right-hand side of the road, with a signpost pointing to Raulandsfjell on the right-hand side. The trail is clear and well marked, and climbs steeply up the side of the mountain. After about 45 minutes walk, you will reach the top and a lookout point by a small cabin, with breathtaking views of Rauland and Lake Totak. From the top, you can continue your walk to Raulandsfjell, but be aware that this trail is not marked and it is therefore recommended to bring a map and compass. West of the cabin there is an alternative path that will lead you back down to the main road, about 200 metres west of the car park.
The trail up to Te-hytta is 700 meters long one way, and steep to climb. From Te-hytta to Raulandsfjell it is about 2 kilometres in unmarked and steep terrain, please bring map and compass for hikes to Raulandsfjell.
Torsvegen through Urdbøurdi in Arabygdi
At the upper end of Lake Totak, the several meters wide stone scree Urdbøurda is situated. The legend says that the Norse God Thor with the hammer was visiting two bridal processions in Arabygdi. At the one farm he was served beer in a beer mug, at the other farm he had to drink from the beer bowl. Thor thought this was rather stingy, and filled with rage he took the bridal procession from the first farm with him up the mountains, and then the struck his hammer so hard that a huge stone scree cowered the whole valley and the second bridal procession. But as he struck the hammer, he lost it in the stone scree, and cleared a road through it looking for his hammer.
It is this road that is called Torsvegen (Thor’s Way), and it is signposted and marked as a hiking trail. The trail is about 1 kilometre long one way, and easy to walk. The hiking trail is the same road that was in use before the current road 362 was built.
Viewpoint and Milkmaid's pub Dansarsteinen
Dansarsteinen, the size of a small apartment, makes the boundary between several farms and between the districts of Vinje and Seljord. In the old days the rock served as a dance floor and "summer pub" for the herdsmen and milkmaids from the surrounding summer mountain farms. Many of the "pubs" are no longer in use, but the rock still makes a great dance floor.
The hike to Dansarsteinen is a family-friendly scenic hike through mountain birch woods and over moorland to the rock, where you can enjoy a fine view of the communities and mountains surrounding Lake Lognvikvatn. Large parts of the hike are across boggy moorland, so watertight footwear is a must. The trail’s starting point is signposted on the left-hand side of the road. The trail climbs gently from the car park. Initially you are walking through birch woods and across rolling moorland. You pass several great view points along the way before reaching the top at Dansarsteinen after about 30 minutes. Enjoy a picnic and perhaps a dance before returning by the same route. The hike is a 2-kilometre long round trip.
Rauland is a good starting point for day journeys by car to attractions in Telemark, Buskerud, Setesdalen and the West Coast:
Over Haukelifjell to Ryfylke
The journey over the Haukelifjell to Ryfylke goes westwards along the Haukeli road, E 134. Close to Røldal you will find Røldal Geitostysteri, where you can buy real homemade goat cheese. In the centre of Røldal, there is a stave church from the 12th century.
The journey continues to Sand along Suldalslågen, one of the best salmon rivers on the west coast. The biggest attraction here is Sandsfossen, a 4,2 metres high waterfall in the Suldalslågen, with a salmon studio; that is a house with a glass wall where you can see salmon and sea trout in a salmon leap along the waterfall. You should also visit Ryfylkemuseet with exhibitions in restored houses.
The journey continues with the ferry across to Ropeid and onwards to Sauda, with Sauda Smelteverk. Here is a show room and a museum. You should also check out the Industrial Museum and visit the zincous mines. From Sauda you can take the summer open mountain road to Røldal.
The Telemark Canal
The Telemark Canal is one of Telemark's most stunning attractions. With the aid of locks, the canal boast are lifted 72 meters in total on its 105-kilometre long journey from the beautiful Telemark coastline in Skien to Dalen, almost by the foot of Hardangervidda. The Telemark Canal was finished in 1892, after 500 men had worked on it vigorously for 5 years. You take the canal boat the one way, and follow a bus back to your starting point.
The Hardangervidda National Park Route
The Hardangervidda National Park Route, which takes you on the exciting journey between the east and west of Norway, is the perfect gateway to the fjords.