Norway's Trolltunga: Remote, Beautiful & Just a Little Bit Terrifying

12 Apr 2016

Even if the name doesn't sound familiar, you've probably seen pictures of Trolltunga in Norway - a thin finger of rock jutting dramatically out over the Lake Ringedalsvatnet in the Hardangerfjord region.

Depending on your perspective, a hike to this spot is either terrifying or spectacular. For me, it's something that had been on the must-do list for ages. Then finally, I got a chance to go, and with the season for visiting approaching, I thought I'd pass on some tips... 

Key stats

Duration: 8-10 hours
Distance: 12km
Ascent: 1000 metres
When to go: late June-early October

Getting there

The trail starts at a car park in Skjeggedal (100 NOK per day - approx £8.50), which is a 7-km drive from Tyssedal.

Bergen is the closest airport (a 3-hour drive from Tyssedal). It’s a bit more of a trek from Oslo (5-6 hours).


Need to know
Although this is a popular route, it’s certainly not for the faint hearted. The trail itself is 11km each way, so you do need to be physically fit. Plus, the hike starts with a very steep ascent for 2km, followed by another ascent of approximately 4km. However, the markings (a red T painted on rocks) are very easy to follow - just keep your eyes peeled!

Preparation is essential – strong, waterproof footwear will be needed, as will waterproof jackets, trousers and plenty of layers. The weather in the fjords is as dramatic as the landscape and can quickly change, so you do need to be prepared. You may also find hiking poles are useful for the steeper stages.

Pack plenty of food and snacks to keep your energy levels up. However, there are plenty of streams with spring water, so there's no need to carry litres of liquid – a 500ml bottle that can be refilled along the way will be more than enough.

Remember, there is no mobile signal and the terrain is tough going, so it could take hours for rescue teams to find you should an accident happen. Don’t do anything that could put you at risk and stay on the trail at all times.

Recommendations

My advice would be to start early. We were some of the first of the day to set off at 7am, although others had also camped overnight. An early start meant we were able to spend large portions of the walk on our own, taking our time over the stunning views, and we didn’t have to queue for photos at Trolltunga.

The early start also gave us plenty of time to make our way back down the trail before dark. It’s worthwhile packing a head torch and taking your time on the final 2km – it’s very steep, can be slippery and your legs will be tired by that point.

Also bear in mind, there are no toilets en route, so a pack of baby wipes and a rubbish bag for litter are essential!

Visitor numbers for Trolltunga have swelled (from 500 visitors in 2009 to 40,000 in 2014), so the trail can get crowded during peak season. If packs of tourists and queuing for photos aren’t for you, there are plenty more opportunities for isolated hikes in the area. Here are two options:

Husedalen Valley’s four waterfalls
Duration: 5-6 hours
Distance: 12km
Description: From Kinsarvik, follow the powerful Kinso River along the valley to see Tveitafossen, Nyastølsfossen, Nykkjesøyfossen, and Søtefossen.
Click here for more information.  

HM Queen Sonja’s panoramic hiking trail
Duration: 8-10 hours
Distance: 16km
Description: Hike between Kinsarvik and Lofthus for incredible views across Hardangerfjord.
Click here for more information


Hotels We Love in Oslo 

If you're planning a trip to Trolltunga, there's a good chance you'll stop off in Oslo along the way. Here are three of our favourite hotels in Norway's capital.

Hotel Continental
Where:
A few minutes’ walk from Aker Brygge and the Royal Palace  
Why we love it:
The super-central location of this 5-star hotel makes it a great base from which to explore. The Vienna-themed Theatercaféen is an Oslo institution, and there’s a large collection of Edvard Munch prints, many on the walls of the lobby bar.
Click here for rates and availability

Saga Hotel Oslo
Where: City-centre location on a tree-lined street near the Royal Palace
Why we love it: Within walking distance of Bogstadveien, one of Oslo's best-known streets, which is full of cafés, restaurants and shops. It is also five minutes from Frognerparken (the Vigeland Sculpture Park).
Click here for rates and availability


Park Inn by Radisson

Where: 10-minute walk from Oslo Central Station
Why we love it: This affordable option is within easy reach of many of the city’s most popular attractions. Karl Johans Gate (Oslo’s main street), the Akershus Fortress, the harbour and the Oslo Opera House are all within a 15-minute walk.
Click here for rates and availability


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