After two nights in Odda and our big Trolltunga hike, it was back behind wheel on the fifth day of our Norwegian roadtrip. Roughly half way through our ten-night itinerary, we would be covering a fair bit of the Hardanger National Scenic Route that follows the Hardangerfjord east to Eidfjord, before tracing its northern shores back west towards our final destination of the day, the city of Bergen. The Hardangerfjord is the second longest fjord in Norway, and the fourth longest in the world.
We start our journey in the town of Odda at the southern tip of Sørfjorden, one of the innermost branches of the larger Hardangerfjord. The fertile fjord valley is considered the “fruit orchard of Norway”, and the winding roads are lined with self-service fruit stalls where you can enjoy the late summer harvest – apples, pears, cherries and plums.
The scenery along the fjord is like a picture postcard, and it’s best to take your time to soak it all in. We make a brief stop at the small village of Kinsarvik, located at the convergence of the Sørfjorden and Eidfjorden arms, where they join to form the main branch of the Hardanger fjord.
We push further east, joining the Hardangervidda National Scenic Route past Eidfjord to check out the spectacular Vøringfossen falls over the dramatic Måbødalen valley. With a total drop of 182 meters, Vøringfossen is one of the country’s most famous waterfalls, and a very popular attraction on the route from the Hardangervidda mountain plateau to Hardangerfjord.
Backtracking in a westward direction, we trace the northern shore of Hardangerfjord before making another stop at the village of Steine, roughly half way between Eidfjord and Bergen. This is the location of Steinsdalsfossen, a 20-meter tall waterfall where a footpath leads behind rumbling water for a great view of they valley below.
Although the total driving distance today was only around 300 kilometers, it still took us a good 8 hours to cover the distance – a testament to the winding roads but also the many breaks to fully enjoy the wonderful scenery along the way. We reach Bergen, Norway’s second largest city, with a few hours of daylight still remaining. Time to do some downtown exploring – and that’s a topic for my next post!