Explore some of Norway’s most iconic viewpoints
During our six day adventure, we would be able to hike three of the most iconic and exciting viewpoints of Norway: Trolltunga, Preikestolen, and Kjerag. We would be able to explore and walk on one of Norway's largest glaciers, to hike in Norway’s biggest National Park, to stay in charming and local hotels, to eat lovely and traditional dinners, and to enjoy beautiful views from our minibus.
Time to meet the group
The starting point of this tour was in Oslo where I met my group, nine happy and expectant participants from six different countries. As we got comfortable in our minibus, we took off towards Heddal Stave Church, Norway's largest stave church constructed in the beginning of the 13th century. It´s a truly beautiful place. Here we stopped for lunch and a guided tour before taking off for our next stop, Haukeli situated in Hardangervidda, Norway’s biggest national park. Here we made a first short hike together, it was nice to stretch our legs and share a glimpse of what our upcoming hiking days would look like. We stretched out legs, purchased any last minute needed items, and tested our gear and group pace. Our end destination for the day was the small village of Odda where we enjoyed a delicious three-course dinner and got to know each other a little better. Soon it was time to think of a comfortable bed, as we had an early morning ahead of us.
Photo: Johanna Thörnblom
Hiking Trolltunga together
Trolltunga is a very famous and spectacular sight in Norway, but many have only seen it in a photo. And no wonder, it is located in the interior of Norway and with a distance of about 11 km one way and ascent of about 1,000 meters. It is a tough hike, taking 9-10 hours. The weather is unpredictable and changes quickly, equivalent to the reputation of Patagonia. To give us the best conditions, we started early in the morning, a light rain greeting us. Soon we took on a challenging uphill battle, one foot in front of the other, but everyone was in a good mood and happy to be in the wilderness of Norway. Once reaching Trolltunga the rain had stopped and the sun appeared now and again, but the real reward was that we had reached this spectacular rock formation 700 meters above Lake Ringedalsvatnet. We went out on the “tongue”, took our hard-earned photos and enjoyed our packed lunch. The way back down was smooth and I got the feeling that the group had adapted to the terrain and walking pace. It was a pleasure to see how happy and full of gratitude everyone was when reaching the minibus again. Gratitude for beautiful views, but also that the long hike was finally was over and we had all made it safe and sound.
Photo: Johanna Thörnblom
We continue, Rosendal and Folgefonna glacier
To be able to reach all iconic places on our journey, we stayed at different locations and spent quite a bit of time in our minibus. This allowed us to enjoy the Norwegian landscape and rest in between our hikes. Our next location was Rosendal Fjord Hotel, where we stayed two nights, located just by the fjord with great possibilities to swim and enjoy the sunset. The day after Trolltunga offered quite a different hiking experience from the day before. Folgefonna, Norway’s third largest glacier, roped together and equipped with crampons, ice axes and helmets. The group was ready to take on the adventure, and start walking into the white landscape. We had a beautiful and sunny day, and the sun stayed with us the rest of the tour.
Preikestolen (The Pulpit Rock)
Preikestolen was formed more than 10,000 years ago and is perhaps Norway’s most iconic natural landmark. Many, many people do this hike and once doing it yourself you will understand why. To avoid the worst crowds, we took off late in the afternoon, hoping to enjoy an evening on the stunning viewpoint. The trail is dynamic, going into the forest, over bogs, on stone stairs built by Nepalese sherpas, and over mountain plateaus. The multifaceted aspects of this hike are simply stunning. The sun was shining and we were sweating, stopping from time to time to catch our breath. As our journey continued, we could hear Preikestolen calling, and our breaks became less frequent as our destination came closer. Once you have Preikestolen in sight, the view is magnificent. Sheer drops down to the fjord encourage our guests to walk carefully, and we pick our way across the cliff to stand and gaze at the gorgeous rock we have worked so hard to stand upon 604 meters above Lysefjord. We stayed as long as we pleased, taking in the view, having a picnic on the rock and watching fellow travellers gaze out upon this beautiful setting.
Photos: Johanna Thörnblom
Kjeragbolten (Kjerag Rock)
The next morning, we woke early to take the morning ferry at 6 am in order to reach Kjerag, our last hiking destination. We travelled along Lysefjorden by boat and saw Preikestolen from sea level, hardly daring to believe we had been up there the evening before. This day another spectacular hike called to us, Kjeragbolten, a rock anchored between two cliffs. After some long hiking days together, the tough and uphill hike proved difficult and some parts were quite tricky, but there are chains laid out to support and our moral was kept high together. We all moved forward at a steady pace and supported one another, working together towards our goal. The hike itself is incredibly beautiful, but Kjeragbolten is really something out of the ordinary. This rock is located 1,000 meters above the fjord. It is just a step away from standing on it, but that step is pretty crazy. A step over open air, 1,000 meters of nothing-ness below you, it is not a step for everyone. But if you decide to take that step, wow, it really gives a rush.
Last evening together
When we got back to the trailhead we celebrated with ice-cream in the sun before heading towards Dalen Hotel, our last stop on this tour. This historic hotel first opened in 1894 and has retained its grandeur and soul. Once entering the hotel, it really felt like we had travelled back in time. Before dinner many of us took the opportunity to enjoy a pristine and isolated sauna, swimming in the lake with a view of our fantastic surroundings. All eager for our well-earned dinner, we enjoyed a super delicious four-course dinner. Our last meal together, and a very nice last evening on this eventful journey.
Wow what a trip!
To sum up this trip, WOW for Norway’s fantastic nature, WOW for what great weather we had, and WOW for what a nice bunch of people I got to meet!