The Hardangerfjord region has been an important European tourist destination since the 19th century.
There are seven municipalities in Hardanger; Eidfjord, Granvin, Jondal, Kvam, Odda, Ullensvang and Ulvik. 23,000 people live here, and the region covers 2,432 square miles. By car, Bergen is an hour away, and driving to Oslo takes 5 hours. The Sognefjord, Flåm and Voss is just north of the Hardangerfjord. Travelling south, you will see Ryfylke and Sunnhordland.
The Hardangerfjord is 111-mile long and is the third longest fjord in the world. Its largest depth is 2,952 feet. The definition of a fjord is a long, narrow inlet from the sea with steep sides or cliffs, created by glacial erosion during the ice ages. Where the fjord meets the open sea, there is usually a more shallow threshold. A fjord is usually divided in several branches or arms.
The National Tourist Routes and the waterfalls
The National Tourist Routes are carefully selected touring routes through the most scenic parts of Norway. In the Hardangerfjord region there are two routes - Hardangervidda and Hardanger. Along these routes you will also find the magnificent waterfalls Vøringsfossen in Øvre Eidfjord, Låtefoss in Odda and Steinsdalsfossen in Norheimsund. There is a wide range of activities, attractions and places to stay overnight.
Amazing hikes in the Hardangerfjord region
People from all over the world come to see Trolltunga, one of the most spectacular cliffs in Norway. It is a challenging hike in the high mountains and takes 8-10 hours in total. The season for hiking is normally mid June - mid September.
HM Queen Sonja's panoramic hiking trail between Kinsarvik and Lofthus is one Her Majesty's favourite hikes in the area. It is a challenging full day hike, and offers some majestic panoramic views.
The four waterfalls trail in Husedalen valley from Kinsarvik towards Hardangervidda is considered by many to be one of the most beautiful hikes in Norway. Even a short two hour hike offers impressive views, to see all the waterfalls takes 5-6 hours.
The largest national park in Norway is Hardangervidda National Park. This vast mountain plateau offers excellent hiking opportunities for both seasoned hikers and recreational hikers.
The hike in Odda through the lush Buerdalen valley towards the Buer glacier is also a great experience.
Folgefonna glacier is a part of Folgefonna National Park. You can join Folgefonni Glacier Team on guided blue ice hikes from the summer ski centre in Jondal from mid June to September.
Living cultural heritage
Hardanger is a region with a living cultural heritage. The Hardanger fiddle, the traditional Hardanger folk costume and Hardanger embroidery are all well known in Norway and regarded as national symbols. The museums in the region give a unique insight in the local history, culture and art. At Hardanger Folk Museum at Utne there is an open air museum and exhibitions of traditional costumes, Hardanger embroidery and the Hardanger fiddle.
During the 13th century growing apples was introduced in Hardanger by monks from England. Today 40% of all Norwegian fruit is grown in the Hardangerfjord region including apples, sweet cherries, pears and plums. The strong local Hardanger cider is made from apples, and is available in the government controlled liquor stores Vinmonopolet in Odda, Norheimsund and Voss.
Røldal stave church from the 13th century is known for its crucifix and beautiful interior. Guided tours during the summer. In medieval times Røldal Stave Church was the second most important place for pilgrimage in Norway, second only to Nidarosdomen cathedral in Trondheim.