Hardangervidda National Tourist Route is a 41-mile-long stretch of road between Eidfjord in the county of Hordaland in Fjord Norway and Haugastøl in the county of Buskerud in Eastern Norway.
The Måbødalen Valley and Vøringsfossen Waterfall have been a tourist magnet since tourism's infancy, and their lure remains strong.
The weather up on the plateau is shifting and varied, the kind of weather the Norwegian mountains are famous for. The Hardangervidda National Park is also an important habitat for Europe's largest herd of wild reindeer.
If you intend to cross the plateau in the winter season, the rough weather conditions will sometimes require you to drive in a long column headed by a snow-clearing vehicle. There might also be a chance that the road is closed in short periods during winter.
Viewpoints along the road
There is one panoramic view- and rest area along the Hardangervidda National Tourist Route:
Vøringsfossen Waterfall: See the majestic Vøringsfossen Waterfall, where the water thunders down a 475-feet sheer drop. Like the tourist icon Trollstigen, Vøringsfossen Waterfall is one of Norway's best-known tourist destinations. Comprehensive upgrading is planned to provide visitors with a memorable and safe experience.
National Tourist Route maps
In co-operation with Nordeca, the Norwegian Public Roads Administration (NPRA) have launched a series of new road maps, each covering one of the 18 different National Tourist Routes in Norway.
The maps describe viewpoints along the way, as well as the National Tourist Routes' nature attractions, dining, accommodations and other attractions along the routes. To give the reader a good and visual impression of the routes, several pictures and descriptions have been placed in the maps themselves.
The maps are available in English, German and Norwegian from kartbutikken.no.
What to see
The vast mountain plateau of Hardangervidda is Europe's largest, covering 1,321 square miles. It is also home to Northern Europe’s largest stock of reindeer. If you are lucky you might see some.
Hardangervidda has a cold year-round alpine climate and is the site of one of Norway's largest glaciers - Hardangerjøkulen. You can see the glacier from the western part of the Hardangervidda National Tourist Route.
The breathtakingly steep Vøringsfossen Waterfall marks the dramatic and precipitous descent from the mountains to the valleys and fjords. Vøringsfossen Waterfall in Måbødalen is Norway's most famous waterfall, and has a fall of 597 feet; of which 475 feet are a direct drop.
Hardangervidda, which lies above the timberline, is the most southern area in Norway where arctic flora and fauna can be found. The varying climate of the plateau has a marked effect on the flora, which is richer on the wetter west side than in the dryer east. Coarse grasses, mosses and lichens cover much of the plateau.
Hardanger is a major producer of fruit and berries. The region is known as the orchard of Norway. If you travel to Eidfjord and Hardanger in May, you will probably catch some of the lovely blossoming of the fruit trees along the Hardangerfjord, Norway's second longest fjord.
Read more about Hardanger and the Fjell and Fjord Area.
What to do
Hardangervidda is a popular spot for many challenging outdoor activities. There is an abundance of well-marked routes for walking, hiking, cycling and cross-country skiing.
There are numerous marked paths and a number of staffed lodges and self-service huts.
One of the finest and most famous cycle roads in Norway is the 50-mile long Rallarvegen (the Navvies Road) running from Haugastøl via Finse to Flåm. Book cycles at Haugastøl, Finse or Myrdal, travel by the Bergen Railway to the starting destinations, and cycle down to Flåm by the Sognefjord.
Try your luck fishing in calm mountain lakes, gushing streams or in narrow arms of the Hardangerfjord. There are many lakes, streams, rivers and bogs on Hardangervidda, which is renowned for its good fishing. Most lakes and rivers hold trout. Fishing licences for rivers and lakes can be bought at the local tourist information centres and other tourist establishments. Fjord fishing is free.
At the foot of the Vøringsfossen waterfall and by the ascent of the Måbødalen valley, lies the Hardangervidda Nature Centre at Eidfjord. This is a centre for the whole family, featuring lively exhibitions, hand-on activities, and visual effects.
Take a glacier hike on the Hardangerjøkulen Glacier, the sixth largest glacier in Norway, 5,925 feet above sea level. The tour starts with a train trip from Geilo to Finse where you meet the glacier guide at the train station at Finse.
Experience dog sledding with your friends and family. Fagerheim Fjellstugu organises dog sledding trips on Hardangervidda.
Lake Ørteren is a place where the wind never stands still. The lake is situated four miles south west of Haugastøl, and is said to be one of the best areas for snowkiting. Also the area around Dyranut and the area between Finse and Haugastøl are popular goals for snowkiters.
Read more about What to do in Hardanger and What to do in the Fjell and Fjord Area.
Where to stay
Fossli Hotel affords a magnificent view over the Måbødalen Valley and Vøringsfossen Waterfall. Edvard Grieg used to be a regular guest at Fossli Hotel and wrote his Opus 66 there.
Surrounded by breathtaking mountains rising up to 5,249 feet, Quality Hotel & Resort Vøringfoss is located in Eidfjord in the innermost part of the Hardangerfjord.
Øvre Eidfjord is the last settlement before you climb up to the Hardangervidda mountain plateau on the western side of the Hardangervidda Tourist Route. This is where you find Sæbø Camping, in beautiful and quiet surroundings between high mountains by the shore of Lake Eidfjordvatnet.
From Halne Fjellstova mountain lodge at 3,740 feet above sea level, you have a great view towards the 8-mile long Lake Halnefjorden. Halne Fjellstova is closed in winter.
Haugastøl Turistsenter is situated at Haugastøl and is the starting point of Rallarvegen (the Navvies Road) cycle road. Haugastøl Turistsenter offers accommodation in apartments and shared rooms.
Read more about Where to stay the Hardanger and Where to stay in the Fjell and Fjord Area.
Where to eat
The kitchen at Hardangerfjord Restaurant at Quality Hotel & Resort Vøringfoss in Eidfjord offers a high international standard. They also have an outdoor restaurant, which is idyllically situated by the fjord.
Eat breakfast, lunch and dinner in the cafeteria at Vik Pensjonat & Hytter in the centre of Eidfjord. There is also a large outdoor area where you can enjoy food and refreshments.
Enjoy homemade, traditional food, with ingredients from the Hardangervidda mountain plateau. At Dyranut Fjellstova you will among other dishes find reindeer, trout and cloudberries, prepared according to the family's own recipes.
On Hardangervidda, close to Lake Halnefjorden, Halne Fjellstova offers exciting home-cooked food with a high proportion of raw materials from the surrounding area, including trout caught in Lake Halnefjorden. Halne Fjellstova is closed in winter.
Fagerheim Fjellstugu harvests the natural resources of Hardangervidda, and uses venison, fish, mushrooms and berries in savoury dishes for their guests. The cafe at Fagerheim Fjellstugu is open from 1 July to 12 September.
Read more about Food in Hardanger and Food in the Fjell and Fjord Area.
- Road: Rv7 between Eidfjord in the county of Hordaland and Haugastøl in the county of Buskerud.
- Length: 41 miles.
- Highest point: 4,101 feet above sea level.
Getting to Hardangervidda National Tourist Route
Eidfjord and Hol are the main region centres along Hardangervidda National Tourist Route. Geilo is the largest village to the east of the Hardangervidda National Tourist Route, 14 miles east of Haugastøl. Geilo is one of Norway’s largest ski destinations.
Express buses from Oslo and Bergen stop in the area several times a day. The nearest train station is Haugastøl on the Bergen railway line.
- Distance between Bergen and Eidfjord: 95 miles.
- Distance between Oslo and Haugastøl: 164 miles.
- Distance between Trondheim and Haugastøl: 310 miles.
Read more about Getting to Hardanger and Getting to the Fjell and Fjord Area.
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