Most individuals’s expertise of the Norwegian fjords is from the deck of a cruise ship, but it surely’s extra rewarding to set out on foot and discover. After all, the geography dictates that the walks contain large ups and downs, beginning and ending on the fjord edge. It’s exhilarating and never for the fainthearted.
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I fly into Stavanger and decide up my automobile. It’s a reasonably port, tall-masted crusing boats moored within the harbour and rows of 18th century white picket homes rising from the water’s edge. Usually it’s filled with cruise ships, however the pandemic has put a cease to that.
That is Norway’s Oil Metropolis, the North Sea oilfields not distant, and the income helps a number of high-end eating places. You possibly can eat effectively right here, as I discover out throughout my three nights keep.
Preikestolen (The Pulpit Rock) four hours return
Norway has some lengthy highway tunnels, and my first day leads me by means of two, the longest over 13km. I’m heading east to Lysefjord, 42km lengthy and probably the most lovely. The goal right here is Preikestolen or Pulpit rock, excessive above the fjord, and it’s a well-liked climb with individuals of all ages. Nonetheless, it begins off steeply, then crosses boggy sections earlier than levelling out at round 600m.
From this level, it’s a simple stroll throughout white granite slabs with gorgeous views of the fjord beneath. Quickly the rock itself comes into sight as you negotiate a slender path alongside the cliffs. It juts out into the air, excessive above the water, and there aren’t any fences or guard rails. Courageous souls go proper to the sting performing vertigo-inducing acrobatics for the cameras. I’m content material simply to take their photos earlier than descending and returning to Stavanger.
Trollpikken 2 hours return
In the present day I drive south following the coast, mist nonetheless clinging to the shore, previous tiny fishing villages and solitary lighthouses. Previously, this was often called probably the most harmful shoreline in Norway, however as we speak it’s a nice scenic drive.
After an hour, I attain the engaging port of Egersund and switch inland. A slender highway results in a small parking space, and I set off on foot into rolling hills.
There aren’t any fjords as we speak, simply patches of water populating the boggy panorama. It’s a simple uphill climb and, simply after a small lake, I come head to head with Trollpikken, an enormous upright rocky protrusion named after the intimate anatomy of a Troll. Vandals within the 1990s planted explosives at its base with disastrous impact, but it surely’s since been re-erected. Two younger women scramble up its sides for a photo-call, and I’m blissful to oblige.
Langfoss Waterfall four hours
I go away my base in Stavanger and head north by means of tunnels and even a ferry earlier than arriving at Åkrafjorden. Cruise passengers take day journeys right here to see the Langfoss Waterfall; it’s a 612m drop making it considered one of Norway’sfinest.
The summer time has been dry, so there’s not an enormous quantity of water, but it surely’s nonetheless spectacular, dropping immediately into the fjord. It often makes the checklist of the world’s ten finest waterfalls.
I set off steeply on foot, climbing an previous mountain path linking the fjord to a farm on the plateau above the waterfall. It leads up by means of the pine forest, and I cease to catch my breath simply above the treeline.
Beneath, Åkrafjord is laid out on the valley flooring and excessive above, and I can simply make out the Folgefonna Glacier. On the high, listening to I’m English, a fisherman tells me that the RAF dropped copious provides to the resistance, hiding right here throughout WW2. He’s all the time looking out for any remaining however has been upset to this point.
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Rullestad Glacial Potholes four hours
I spend the evening at Åkrafjord, and the subsequent day the proprietor of my lodgings is eager to point out me one of many pure wonders of the realm. To succeed in the Rullestad Glacial Potholes, it’s one other steep climb, adopted by the ascent of a sheer rock face, aided by steel rungs and chains. Happily, it’s dry, as this positively shouldn’t be tackled within the moist.
Constructed into the rock face are the potholes, deep holes floor into the rock by water, ice and stones, over the last ice age. They happen as single, and doubles and most are partially crammed with mud and water. With out a specific amount of bodily health, they’d be not possible to get to. The information tells me that they’re within the strategy of making use of for UNESCO world heritage itemizing.
Trolltunga Eight hours
Driving additional north, I arrive on the industrial city of Odda, on the high of Hardangerfjord, the second-longest fjord in Norway. It makes an excellent base for exploring Folgefonna Nationwide Park and climbing to Trolltunga, the Troll’s Tongue. That is considered one of Norway’s most well-known hikes, partly due to its size, as it’s important to permit Eight-12 hours for the return journey. At daybreak, fellow hikers are already gathering within the automobile park, able to profit from the daylight.
It’s drizzling sporadically, and I climb on a broad large monitor, previous small lakes and waterfalls. The mist lifts every now and then to disclose Lake Ringedalsvatnet beneath. I’m not alone, but it surely’s not crowded, and everybody has the identical aim.
The Troll’s Tongue is an enormous slab of rock jutting out from a cliff 700m above the lake, and I attain it in round four hours. The altering visibility makes it much more spectacular, and I’m persuaded to stroll to the sting for a photograph.
From Odda, I drive North West to Bergen, with a cease to pattern the apple juice at Spildegarden. Hardangerfjord has a microclimate which makes it excellent for fruit bushes, and there’s been a wonderful harvest this yr. Simply outdoors the city is Steinsdalsfossen, one other spectacular waterfall you possibly can stroll beneath, however there’s no time to linger.
In Bergen, I really feel I’ve reached the large metropolis, however the location is engaging, and there’s nonetheless some mountain climbing to be achieved. So I cheat by taking Fløibanen funicular to the highest of Mt Fløyen at 320m and benefit from the spectacular view. Effectively-marked mountain climbing trails lead into the forest and the hills past, however I’ll have to save lots of these for an additional day.
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MORE INFO: Fjord Norway has journey particulars.
GUIDE: All trails are effectively signed, but it surely’s safer to take a information from Trolltunga Energetic for Trolltunga,
FLY: Widerøe flies direct from London to Stavanger and Bergen.
Lodge Victoria in Stavanger is correct on the quayside.
Åkrafjorden Nature Bnb is useful for the potholes.
The Trolltunga Lodge makes an excellent base in Odda.
The Bergen Børs Lodge is a trendy institution within the metropolis centre.
The Fish & Cow in Stavanger serves each.
Renaa Matbaren is a superb bistro in Stavanger.
Spiseriet Restaurant on the Stavanger Live performance Corridor serves scrumptious small plates.
Eigra restaurant in Egersund has wonderful fish.
Preikestolen fjellstue gives hearty meals after mountain climbing.
Bien Restaurant in Bergen has subtle delicacies close to the harbour.