8 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in the Hardangerfjord Area
The 111-mile long Hardangerfjord, Norway's second largest fjord, extends from Herøysund to Odda on the Sørfjord and is one of the country's most popular destinations due to its mild climate and stunning scenery. In fact, one of the world's first tour operators, Thomas Cook, offered cruises from London to the Hardangerfjord as far back as 1875, showing off the region's spectacular nature, glaciers and grand waterfalls to enthralled Victorian-era travellers. The Vikings, too, liked the Hardangerfjord, settling in the area for its fertile soil, excellent fishing and mild weather. The region is also famous for its bountiful fruit trees, particularly cherries and apples which add a brilliant display of color when in blossom each May.
Voss, the Hardanderfjord's largest town, is situated at the east end of the Vangsvatn and is an important junction on the Bergen Railroad and a popular year-round tourist destination. Popular attractions in Voss include the Voss Church (1270); the 11th Century St Olav's Cross; Norway's oldest secular wooden building, Finneloftet, built in 1270 (now a museum); the Voss Folk Museum, consisting of 16 original wooden buildings dating back to the 1600s; and the Vossa Jazz festival held in March.
Address: Vangsgata 20, 5700 Voss
At 24 miles in length, the Sørfjorden is the longest of the Hardangerfjord's many arms and stretches from Kinsarvik in the north to the industrial town of Odda. It's a perfect spot from which to explore Folgefonna National Park with its massive glacier - 21 miles long and 10 miles wide in places, it's the third largest glacier in Norway. While in Kinsarvik, be sure to hike the trail to Husedalen Valley with its four wonderful waterfalls and magnificent scenery.
Easy to get to from Kinsarvik, Hardangervidda is one of Europe's largest mountain plateaus and is where Explorers Roald Amundsen and Fridtjof Nansen planned and prepared their many expeditions. Today, the plateau is one of Norway's most popular spots for outdoor activities and camping, attracting hikers, mountain bikers and Nordic skiers to its well-marked trails, as well as fishing fans keen to try their luck in the numerous lakes and streams. To the northwest of the plateau lies another of Norway's big glaciers, Hardangerjøkulen. Finally, the Hardangervidda Nature Centre is a great place to learn more about the area's alpine flora and fauna.
Address: Eidfjord AS N-5784, Øvre Eidfjord
4 Kjeåsen Mountain Farm
Perched on the side of a mountain, the amazing Kjeåsen farmstead is so remote it can only be reached by a 1½-mile long tunnel… which just so happens to be its only means of communication with the rest of the world. It's located up a very steep and narrow road, but the incredible views of the Hardanger peaks and the Simadalsfjord make the hour-long drive worthwhile.
Address: Kjeåsen, 5783 Eidfjord
5 The Hardangerfjord Route
This superb hiking/biking trail passes through some of Norway's most beautiful scenery, and features many of Hardangerfjord's best waterfalls, glaciers and mountains. Accessible at a variety of points along the fjord - many offering great food stops, accommodations and attractions - the trail's highest point reaches
1,150ft. A shorter, less challenging route includes the excellent walking/cycling path from Skjervet to Voss.
Skiers and snowboarders are well served in the Hardangerfjord area, particularly around Voss. The region is one of the best ski destinations in Norway, its 31 miles of well-prepped slopes as popular with families as they are with die-hards. The easiest hills to access are at Voss Resort in Bavallen, just three miles from Voss town center. The other ski destination is Voss Fjellandsby Myrkdalen in Myrkdalen, 15 miles away. Dedicated ski buses service both.
Address: Vangsgata 20, 5700 Voss
The village of Ulvik, one of the most popular holiday resorts in the Hardanger and a frequent stop-over for cruise ships, was the home of Norway's best-known lyric poet, Olav Hauge, who was greatly influenced by the natural beauty around him. Getting there is half the fun, as it's accessed by a particularly attractive stretch of road that descends from a height of 1,150 ft down to the village. In addition to its quaint church (built in 1858), the village is home to the State College of Horticulture where Kristofer Sjursen Hjeltnes planted Norway's first potatoes in 1765. The nearby train station at Finse on the Bergen railway line is the highest station on the Norwegian rail network.
Address: Ulvik, Hordaland
8 Agatunet Museum
One of Norway's only remaining original farm hamlets, Agatunet Museum in Aga consists of 30 listed building, some of them dating back to the Middle Ages. A must-see is the courthouse built by Sigurd Brynjulvson Aga, a medieval knight who lived around the year 1250, as well as the displays of traditional costumes. Guided tours are available, and the on-site café serving traditionally baked breads is well worth a visit, as is its well-stocked erb garden.
Address: Aga, 5776 Nå