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Tenting on Hardangervidda, Norway - Photo: Anders Gjengedal/Innovasjon Norge
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Tenting on Hardangervidda, Norway Photo: Anders Gjengedal/Innovasjon Norge

Hardangervidda

The vast mountain plateau of Hardangervidda is one of Europe's largest. It is also home to Northern Europe’s largest stock of reindeer.
Tallest mountains
Hallingskarvet - 1,933 metres above sea level Gaustatoppen - 1,883 metres above sea level Hardangerjøkulen - 1,876 metres above sea level

This is a popular spot for many challenging outdoor activities. The great polar explorers Roald Amundsen and Fridtjof Nansen, both used Hardangervidda to plan and prepare their many expeditions. There is an abundance of well-marked routes for walking, hiking, cycling and cross-country skiing.

Try your luck fishing in calm mountain lakes, gushing streams or in narrow arms of the Sørfjord. If you do not catch any fish, you can still see fish at the Hardangervidda Nature Centre.

Even though the furrowed face of the plateau dominates, there are extremes of mountain topography. The western part of the plateau has more of an alpine character that plunges into narrow valleys and the Sørfjord, and in the northwest lies one of Norway's largest glaciers, Hardangerjøkulen. Hårteigen peak in the centre of the plateau is the signpost. With its 1,690 metre summit elevation and characteristic hat shape, it can be seen from almost everywhere on the plateau.

Popular hiking routes

  • Kinsarvik to Stavali (Husedalen)
  • Hjølmo to Hadlaskard (Veigdalen)
  • Trondsbu/Tinnhølen to Sandhaug
  • Tuva to Heinseter
  • Haukeliseter to Hellevassbu and Litlos
  • Finse to Blåisen
  • Stavsro to Gaustatoppen

Most popular cycling route

Norway’s most popular cycle route is Rallarvegen, the Navvies’ Road. Covering a track of almost 80 kilometres, it takes you over spectacular high mountains and down to the fjord at Flåm.

Flora and fauna

Hardangervidda, which lies above the timber line, is known for its rich plant and animal life, and is the most southern area in Norway where arctic flora and fauna can be found. Over 500 plant species are registered, as well as 100 species of birds and 21 different mammals, including the arctic fox and snowy owl.

There are also many lakes, streams, rivers and bogs on Hardangervidda, which is renowned for its good fishing. Most lakes and rivers hold trout.

Northern Europe’s largest stock of reindeer can be found on Hardangervidda. They migrate across the plateau during the year, moving from their winter grazing lands on the east side of the Hardangervidda to their breeding grounds in the more fertile west of the plateau.

The varying climate of the plateau has a marked effect on the flora, which is richer on the wetter west side than in the drier east. Much of the plateau is covered by coarse grasses, mosses (especially sphagnum) and lichens.

Accommodation

There are plenty of hotels, inns, cabins and lodges in the Hardangervidda area. You can stay in town/village centres or up in the mountains. The Norwegian Trekking Association (DNT) maintains a number of mountain cabins/lodges on Hardangervidda.

For special places to stay, try Dr. Holms Hotel in Geilo and Utne Hotel by the Hardangerfjord. Both hotels are members of the Historic Hotels and Restaurants in Norway.

Most places that offer accommodation also serve food.

Camping

If you plan to sleep in a tent, caravan or mobile home you may do so anywhere, except in cultivated fields and lay-bys. You can stay for as long as you wish, as long as your tent, caravan or mobile home is no closer than 150 metres to the nearest house or cabin.

Maps

Detailed maps of the area can be bought at The Norwegian Trekking Association (DNT), local bookshops and local tourist information offices.

Local tourist information offices

Getting to Hardangervidda

From Oslo
Hardangervidda lies approximately 200 kilometres west of Oslo.

  • By car:
    You have four options by car:
    1) E 18 from Oslo to Drammen. From Drammen, E 134 to Åmot in Telemark. Rauland is 17 kilometres from Åmot.
    2) Turn off E 134 by Nutheim (50 kilometres past Notodden) via Åmotsdal to Rauland.
    3) Turn off E 134 by Ørvella (10 kilometres past Notodden) via Rjukan to Rauland.
    4) E 18 from Oslo to Sandvika. From Sandvika you take E 16 to Hønefoss and from Hønefoss you follow fv. 7/rv. 7 to Geilo.
  • By train:
    There are several options when travelling by train from Oslo to Hardangervidda. You can take the train from Oslo to Bø in Telemark. From there you can catch a connecting bus to Rauland. You can also take the Bergen Railway from Oslo to a number of places that are great starting points for exploring Hardangervidda – Myrdal, Finse, Haugastøl, Ustaoset and Geilo. For timetables and booking, please contact the Norwegian State Railways (NSB).
  • By bus:
    There are several options when travelling by train from Oslo to Hardangervidda. Take the Haukeli express bus to Haukeli or take the bus to Geilo or Rjukan – all good starting points for exploring Hardangervidda. For timetables and booking, please contact Nor-Way Bussekspress.

From Bergen
Hardangervidda lies approximately 175 kilometres east of Bergen.

  • By car:
    E 16 to Voss and then fv. 13 to Granvin. You then continue on rv. 7 to Eidfjord and then drive to Geilo. You can also start exploring Hardangervidda from Ulvik and Kinsarvik/Ullensvang.
  • By bus:
    Take the bus from Bergen to Voss. From Voss you take a bus to Eidfjord. For timetables and booking, please contact Nor-Way Bussekspress.
  • By train:
    The Bergen Railway stops at number of places that are great starting points for exploring Hardangervidda – Myrdal, Finse, Haugastøl, Ustaoset and Geilo. You can also take the train to Voss and a bus from Voss to Eidfjord. For timetables and booking, please contact the Norwegian State Railways (NSB).

From Trondheim
Hardangervidda lies approximately 490 kilometres south of Trondheim.

  • By car:
    Follow E 16 from Trondheim to Otta. After Otta go right on fv. 257 and then fv. 51 to Beitostølen and Gol. Rv. 7 from Gol to Geilo.

From Stavanger
Hardangervidda lies approximately 190 kilometres northeast of Stavanger.

  • By car:
    Follow the E 39 north from Stavanger to Våg. From Våg follow E 134 to Røldal. Driving time approximately two hours and forty-five minutes.
  • By bus:
    Take the bus from Stavanger to Røldal, via Haugesund. For timetables and booking, please contact Nor-Way Bussekspress.

Once at Hardangervidda, the best way of getting around is walking, skiing, cycling and riding.

A nice and relaxing way of getting to know Hardangervidda is to take a mountain cruise on Lake Møsvatn (919 metres above sea level).

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Last updated:  2013-01-08
Cycle Norway’s most popular cycle route - Rallarvegen (the Navvies’ Road) - Photo: Terje Rakke / Nordic Life
Cycle Norway’s most popular cycle route - Rallarvegen (the Navvies’ Road)
Cycling the Rallarvegen (the Navvies’ Road), Fjord Norway - Photo: Terje Rakke/Nordic Life/Fjord Norway
Cycling the Rallarvegen (the Navvies’ Road), Fjord Norway
Skiers at Hardangervidda, Norway - Photo: Anders Gjengedal/Innovation Norway
Skiers at Hardangervidda, Norway
Enjoy the wide-open vistas of cross-country skiing on Hardangervidda in Norway - Photo: Anders Gjengedal/Innovation Norway
Enjoy the wide-open vistas of cross-country skiing on Hardangervidda in Norway
Snow kiting on Hardangervidda, Norway - Photo: Anders Gjengedal/Innovation Norway
Snow kiting on Hardangervidda, Norway
Hardangervidda Mountain Plateau, Norway - Photo: Gunnar Mjaugedal
Hardangervidda Mountain Plateau, Norway

Interest:  Mountains, National parks

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Tenting on Hardangervidda, Norway - Photo: Anders Gjengedal/Innovation Norway

Hardangervidda

The vast mountain plateau of Hardangervidda is one of Europe's largest. It is also home to Northern Europe’s largest stock of reindeer.

Hardangervidda

Source: Visitnorway

Winter in Geilo

Geilo offers a selection of family-friendly slopes, some of which are floodlit at night. Hundreds of kilometres of cross-country trails await.

Hiking in Geilo

Recommended hiking areas around Geilo include the Hardangervidda Mountain Plateau and Geilotoppen Mountain.

Vøringsfossen waterfall

Vøringsfossen in Måbødalen is Norway's most famous waterfall, and has a fall of 182 meters, of which 145 meters is a direct drop.

Scenic attractions in and around Rauland

Top scenic attractions are the Hardangervidda National Park and Nupsfonn Glacier.

About Ullensvang, Odda, Eidfjord, Tinn, Vinje, Nore og Uvdal, Hol

Rjukan

Rjukan is located by the Hardangervidda National Park and is known for Gaustatoppen Mountain and the heavy water sabotages by the heroes of Telemark.

Numedal

Located midway between Kongsberg and Geilo, Numedal blends Norwegian nature, culture and traditions into a pleasant experience.

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Hardangervidda Hardangervidda
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