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Photo: Kjersti Wold / Statens Vegvesen

The mighty Vøringsfossen at the Hardangervidda plateau is visited by hundreds of thousands of hikers each year. After an extensive upgrade of the surrounding facilities, the site is ready for summer season.  

Published: 2 July 2018

As one of the 18 Norwegian Scenic Routes, several things make Hardangervidda stand out among Norway’s stretches of road.

The mountain plateau is Northern Europe’s largest, stretches across three counties and two regions and is characterized by majestic mountain tops, deep valleys and a rich flora and fauna. 

To many hikers, the main goal of this journey will be Vøringsfossen, Norway’s most visited waterfall, plunging almost 200 metres from the plateau and into the valley below. 

The last few years, this major attraction has been upgraded by the Norwegian Public Roads Administration (NPRA). On July 4, the first phase of their work is finally ready to be unveiled officially. 

Photo: Silja Lena Løken / Statens vegvesen
Photo: Paal Audestad

A drama that makes an impression

What is it, then, that makes Vøringsfossen such a special site? Therese Ruud is responsible for this particular road stretch at NPRA and knows it better than most.

“The area by Vøringsfossen is where east meets west and Hardangervidda becomes Måbødalen. The waterfall, with a total fall of 182 metres and the dramatic transition from fjord to highland, makes an impression,” Ruud says to Visit Norway.

Despite regulation of the water flow due to hydropower development: The forces at work at this landmark are impressive.

“The watercourse is regulated, but with a water flow at 11,5 cubic metres per second in the summer, Vøringsfossen is still a great destination. It’s Norway’s best-known waterfall for a reason,” says Ruud.

Photo: Silja Lena Løken / Statens vegvesen

Safety and beauty hand in hand

The extensive upgrade of Vøringsfossen started back in 2015, and Therese Ruud predicts that those who already have been to the site will notice – and appreciate – the changes by the waterfall.

“In the first phase of construction, there’s been a major upgrade of the area by Fossli Hotel. Those who have been there before will see noticeable changes. At the edge of the gorge below Fossli there’s been built viewing plattforms, trails and stairs making the experience nicer and safer. The site now has new toilets, parking spaces and information.”

The combination of safety and the best possible experience at Vøringsfossen has been central to this first phase, Ruud says to Visit Norway.

Photo: Silja Lena Løken / Statens vegvesen

“Vøringsfossen is one of the most popular natural attractions in Norway. With our focus on the National Scenic Routes, NPRA wishes to make Vøringsfossen even more attractive, and not least safer, as a destination. So that’s one of the main reasons for this facilitation – making it possible to experience Vøringsfossen safely”.

Therese Ruud has no doubt that this will turn even more visitors to the beauty of Hardangervidda.

“With this upgrade, Fossli Hotel has a complete attraction just outside its doorstep. For the travel industry, this is an exciting chance to market Norway as a destination, both nationally and abroad,” she says.

A spectacular stairbridge coming up 

Photo: Silja Lena Løken / Statens vegvesen

The upgrade of Vøringsfossen is, however, far from over. The work will continue for two more years, Therese Ruud at NPRA says to Visit Norway.

“This year we’ll start the construction of a spectacular stairbridge connecting Fossli east of the river and Fossetromma west. The bridge will be located upstream from the waterfall and be accessed from an improved path and a new road. This second construction phase will be finished in 2020.”


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