On Day 3 of our Norwegian Adventure, it was time to hit the road for some real long distance driving. Having spent the night in Stavanger followed by a giant brunch at my aunt’s place, and still reeling from the tougher-than-expected Pulpit Rock hike, we were ready to start the next segment of our itinerary. Our destination is the town of Odda where we would be spending the next two nights. While only about 200km north of Stavanger, we would soon discover that in Norway, getting from A to B takes much longer than you’d expect, as you need to factor in winding roads, ferry connections, and scenic viewpoints. This is especially true when driving one of the official National Scenic Routes, because there is so much to see!
Before leaving Stavanger, one more local attraction: We stop briefly at Sverd i fjell (Sword in Rock), a monument commemorating the Battle of Hafrsfjord and the birth of the Kingdom of Norway. Three bronze swords, 10m tall, stand planted into the rock in the fjord. It’s an impressive sight and oh-so-Viking!
We then take a 45-minute ferry ride from downtown Stavanger to Tau, where we join Route 13, also known as the Ryfylke National Scenic Route. This is one of Norway’s eighteen official touring routes (Nasjonale turistveger), highways specially designated for their picturesque scenery and tourist-friendly infrastructure such as rest stops and viewpoints, as well as popular attractions. On our roadtrip we would be hitting five of these eighteen routes.
Ryfylke region is a varied landscape of serene fjords and dramatic cliffs interspersed with islands and islets, dense forest and lush farmland. It really is a mix of the best Norwegian landscape has to offer. We already saw part of that at Preikestolen and the adjacent Kjerag mountain, as well as Lysefjord, probably Ryfylke’s three most famous natural attractions. At 260km it is also one of the longest of the scenic routes.
Driving along Sandsfjord just north of the village of Sand, we pause at the first of three waterfall stops on route to Odda – Svandalsfoss falls. From the side of the highway, you can climb a set of stairs to the main falls and get very close to the action!
At the town of Sauda, a local attraction is Høllandsfoss falls cascading through a narrow gorge. Some guys were trying their luck here – is it even possible to catch fish in these rough waters? They seemed to know what they were doing, though.
We reach the twin falls of Låtefossen by late evening but we still managed to get a few shots of this impressive waterfall. Taking photos in the dark on the narrow bridge was a bit tricky due to the traffic.
By nightfall we reach Odda, idyllically located on the southern shores of Sørfjorden fjord and the economic seat of Hardanger region. Our end destination of the day, the town is a centre for exploring the surrounding area known for its outdoor activities and natural beauty. This would be the base for our big Trolltunga hike early next morning – and the topic of my next post. Check back soon!