There is only so much you can experience through Instagram. Some places you need to see, feel, and smell for yourself.
The Hardangerfjord region in Fjord Norway is one of those places. Let the natural rage of the waterfalls spray your face, and the rich flavours of the world’s best cider fill you up.
Standing on Trolltunga is a question of “when” rather than “if” for the expert hiker (but no worries if you aren’t – there are plenty of less strenuous world-class hikes in the area).
You’ll surely earn a mark for toughness after the 10–14 kilometres to the top, as this is no hike for quitters!
Do you want to bask in the glory of having made it to the top for a while? Spend the night glamping in a sunset/sunrise dome with a glass ceiling!
For another exhilarating adventure, try one of the via ferratas in the area, or explore the world’s third-longest fjord in a kayak or on a RIB-safari.
Come to think of it, the whole region is an activity goldmine.
Let the skilled Folgefonni Glacier Team lead you across the mighty Folgefonna. Soak up some knowledge about the natural forces responsible for the deep cracks and changes in the glacier.
And don’t forget to enjoy the view of the mystical blue ice underfoot and the turquoise fjord that seems to stretch to the edge of the world.
The opportunities continue at the summer ski resort Fonna, where you can ski for the first time, tweak your already excellent freestyle skills, or go cross-country skiing. Or maybe you’d like to see if snowshoeing is your thing?
Prepare for jaw-dropping sights as you venture out on the Norwegian Scenic Route Hardangervidda, which will take you to some truly impressive sights.
One of the highlights is the Vøringsfossen waterfall.
Do you dare to step out on a viewpoint that hangs above one of the deepest canyons in Norway? Butterflies in your stomach are guaranteed!
Feel the power from the cascading water, and let the sound drown out everything else.
If you continue through the narrow Måbødalen valley, you’ll reach the fjord village Eidfjord, another activity hub.
A detour up to the old mountain farm Kjeåsen, 600 metres above the fjord, is well worth the extra steps.
The route goes on to Øystese and Norheimsund, which have several excellent museums, as well as another unique waterfall: Steinsdalsfossen.
The thing that makes this 50-metre drop so special? The pathway behind it, which gives you a most unusual angle of the rapids.
Speaking of special – Hardangerfjord has the prettiest orchards in Norway.
In spring, the hills are speckled with white flowers, and in autumn, they are heavy with fruit – like the juiciest apples you’ll ever taste!
Experience for yourself why the cider houses in Hardanger keep winning awards for their “Nordic champagne”.
Cruise the Sørfjord with the Cider boat, or join the guided fruit and cider route in Ulvik (tastings included).
Syse gard is one of three farm stops on the cider route. For five generations, the farmers here have made all of their products on site. Taste their jams, cider, apple juice, ice cream, and exquisite lamb meat – yum!
Aga sideri is one of several high-quality cider producers in the Sørfjorden area. Once a traditional family farm, Aga is now a hip and award-winning cider company.
The apples here get plenty of love and care to become the golden happy bubbles of your dreams.
Only 50 metres from this cider paradise lies Agatunet, an idyllic hamlet with houses dating back to around 1220.
History lies thick between these wooden walls, and you can join guided tours, art shows, and cultural and historical exhibitions.
Here, you’ll also find the historic Utne hotel, that has been serving guests for more than 300 years and promotes itself as a “Cider hotel”.
The hosts associate the charm of creaking floorboards with staying in an old history book.
And it is no secret that the hotel you stay in will give you a feeling for the area. In Hardanger, the struggle will be to choose among all the unique and historic hotels!
One example is the noble Ullensvang hotel in Lofthus, where you can go for a swim both indoors and outdoors, or just lie back and admire the fjordscape from a steaming hot sauna.
Which might be the best choice after a full day’s hike. For instance up the Munketrappene stairs to the famous HM Queen Sonja’s panoramic hiking trail.
Before you leave the Hardangerfjord region, you need to experience yet another historical attraction: the secret gardens of Baroniet Rosendal.
This castle from the 1600s might be the smallest in Scandinavia, but its scenic park and rose garden make up for it many times over.
But in Hardanger, culture comes in many different clothings. Some claim that the Hardangerbunad is Norway’s most popular national costume, with its various colour and embroidery combinations.
In nearby Utne, the Hardanger Folk Museum will give you a deeper understanding of the rich traditions and folklore of the area.
Are you ready to start exploring?
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