We arrived to Aurland after completing the Trolltunga hike in Odda. I was tired after finishing three strenous hikes - Kjeragbolten, Preikestolen and Trolltunga in the span of five days and all I wanted to do in Aurland was lie back and relax my feet. As usual, life had other plans :)

Related: Check out our day-to-day Norway Itinerary for 2 weeks

The drive from Odda to Aurland was through the National Tourist Route Hardanger and we camped at Lunde Camping both the nights we were at Aurland. We got a beautiful lake-view campsite.

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The campsite manager told us about the Aurland Valley hike (aka Aurlandsdalen) which was 20 kms long, but all downhill. After asking, he also told us about the Prest hike which was shorter in distance, but had elevation gain. He told us we couldn't go wrong with either hike - so we went with the valley hike, since I didn't want to do uphill hikes anymore.

Later that day, we met a German couple in the camp kitchen while cooking dinner. They were coming down south from Lofoten Island and they told us to not miss the R55 route and Jostedal Camping. That turned out to be one of the best advices we got, but more on that in a future post ;)

Coming back to the Aurland Valley hike from Osterbo to Vassbygdi, we had to first park our car at a bus-station, and take the bus to the top of a mountain at Osterbo. We started at around 8.30 am; and after a 45 min bus ride, got started on our hike at about 9.30 am. This hike was actually the route to get down from the top of the mountain before roads, cars and industrial revolution took over. This route was used by humans and their horses, and at one point in the hike, we saw a small ancient settlement where people used to live, cook, eat and sleep.

Looking at how people used to live in those times in such remote and hard-to-reach locations made me appreciate all the comforts we have in modern life today, and how we often take them for granted. Just a few decades ago, everything we have today was almost unimaginable. This is why I appreciate traveling, hiking and being surrounded by nature -- because it gives me a perspective that I often miss in my regular day-to-day life.

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Coming back to the hike, the part we explored from Osterbo to Vassbygdi is one part of a three-day hike from Finse to Vassbygdi, should you be interested in doing a longer hike in this area. The very first thing different about this hike from the rest of the hikes in Norway was the greenery. We were walking in the midst of a valley, so there were trees, plants, shrubs, flowers and even mushrooms along-side our trail.

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The second thing was the down-hill. At some parts in this hike, the down-hill was so steep that my knees were paining badly. This was when I realized that down-hill descents were as bad as uphill ascents, if not worse. If you're planning to attempt this hike, carrying hiking sticks for downhill is a good idea.

There are no stunning, I can't believe this is real moments on this hike. But if you want to experience a unique, one-of-a-kind hike in Norway, nothing beats this. I didn't realize it at the moment, but looking back, this hike definitely has that special quality to it. It reminds you that the valleys, the greenery, the flowers and the gorges are as much a part of Norway as the fjords and mountains.

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In the course of this hike, we came across a ton of waterfalls. Some were large, some were long, some were small, but most importantly there were present, reminding us of the abundance of fresh water in this area.

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We also saw some gorges, filled with water, uncertain how deep they were, but again, adding a touch of beauty to the surroundings. We sat down and ate our lunch sitting next to one of these gorges, enjoying the greenery and the beauty. A few folks were taking a dip in these gorges, so that's an option as well.

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In the middle of the hike, we came across rocky cave-like formations called Vetlahelvete, which were very distinct, and something that I'd never seen in any hike in Norway or elsewhere before.

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We passed through a few abandoned farms and after what seemed like a long time, we finished the hike. To say that I was proud when I completed the hike is an under-statement. I was delighted, and I was also done with all the long hikes in Norway. :)

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We went to see the Stegastein view-point after finishing the hike, since it was a must-visit of this area. This provides a view of the stunning Aurlandsfjord without much effort. By the time we went the sky was overcast, so I don't think we got the best view with a grey sky -- but since we didn't have to hike to see this view, I was very happy with what I saw. The construction of a glass barrier at a view-point was also unique, showcasing the Scandinavian design sensibilities.

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Hike Details

  • Total Distance: 20 kms
  • Total Time Taken: 6 hours
  • Elevation Change (from uphill to downhill): 1500 metres
  • There are no restrooms on the trail
  • Carry hiking sticks if you can and avoid this hike if you have bad knees

There are plenty of other hikes to explore in the area, starting with the easy hikes for families like Vatnahalsen, to harder ones like Rimstigen. Bottom-line is, there is no dearth of hikes anywhere in Norway should you be willing to explore.

That was our day at Aurland, and we started to Jostedal the next day based on the recommendation we got.

Related: Check out our day-to-day Norway Itinerary for 2 weeks


What was your one-of-a-kind hiking experience in a country? What did you see that you didn't think you'd get to see in those hikes?