Facts and figures
The Hardangerfjord area has a population of 23,000, and covers an area of 6,266 square kilometres. The Hardangerfjord is 179 kilometres long and its maximum depth is 860 metres.
The mountainous eastern part - the Hardangervidda - is the largest highland plateau in Northern Europe.
Hardanger has been an important European tourist destination since the nineteenth century and you can choose accommodation from top class resort hotels, mountain lodges to guesthouses, cabins and camp sites.
Within a one hour-drive from Bergen you are in Hardanger. From Oslo it is a five hour-drive. Voss and the Sognefjord are just north of the Hardangerfjord area, in the south you will find Ryfylke and Sunnhordland.
Nature and activities
There are two national parks in Hardanger – the Hardangervidd National Park and the Folgefonna National Park. In both there are numerous marked paths and a number of staffed lodges and self service huts.
Hardangervidda is an eldorado for hikers with tent and fishing rods. The area is famous for its many lakes and rivers full of brown trout.
At the Folgefonna Glacier there are several options for guided glacier hikes and skiing (alpine/cross-country) during the summer.
Hardanger is excellent for drives, hikes, fjord cruises and other outdoor adventures. There are guided tours or equipment rental available for kayaking, rafting, cycling, summer skiing/snowboarding, hikes, blue ice glacier walks and more.
The fjord landscape is beautiful with glaciers, steep mountains, waterfalls and lush vegetation and fruit trees along the fjord.
History and culture
There have been permanent settlements in the area since prehistoric times. Today you can still see beautiful rock carvings dating more than 5,000 years back in time.
During the nation building process in the late nineteenth century the Hardangerfjord area played a vital role. The romantic-nationalism movement used the traditional Hardanger folk costume as a national symbol. Folk music and the nature have also played an important part in Norwegian fine arts, music, prose and poetry. Hardanger embroidery can be studied at Hardanger Folkemuseum in Utne.
Røldal Stave Church is the only stave schurch that has been preserved in the county of Hordaland. Next to the Nidaros Cathedral in Trondheim, Røldal was the most important destination for pilgrimages in Norway.
There are several historic hotels in the region. Utne Hotel has been in continous operation since 1722 and Jaunsen Gjestgjevarstad (guesthouse) in Granvin was established in 1674.
Traditonal local produce
Fruit growing in Hardanger began in the thirteenth cetury when Cistercian monks settled down in the area.
Today Hardanger is a major producer of fruit and berries (mainly apples, pears, cherries, plums, raspberries and strawberries). The region is known as the orchard of Norway.
Apple cider from Hardanger is also well-known in Norway. Ulvik Cider House is a major producer of cider, and is open for visitors.