The first time I saw a picture of Trolltunga was in Lonely Planet's Norway travel guide. I read about it, and decided it wasn't for me since it was a long 20 kms hike at best, and upto 28 kms at worst, depending on where you start the hike.
But I kept going back to it, over and over. My heart wanted to go, but my head was questioning my hiking abilities. I convinced myself that I had to see it, because if not now, then I'll probably never do such a hike again. Looking back at it today, I'm so glad I did the hike, because Trolltunga was the most scenic hike I did in Norway. It was breath-takingly beautiful. The view at the end is great, but even during the course of the hike I saw so many stunning panoramas that my heart is enriched by the experience!
Let's get into the details.
Trolltunga (aka Troll's Tongue) is located at Tyssedal with the closest town being Odda. We camped at Odda Camping for two days, day before the hike and day of the hike. Since we came early, we snagged a water-facing camspite, but expect the campsite to be crowded especially during the summer months.
Related: Check out a day-to-day Norway Itinerary for 2 weeks
Coming to the hike itself, there are two parking lots the upper and lower one, where you can park your car and start the hike. As the name implies, the upper parking lot is at the top of a hill, almost 4 kms into the hike. There are only 30 parking spots available at the upper lot. These spots are filled on a first-come, first-serve basis and the gate to these spots opens at 6 am. We asked in the Odda tourist information center and decided to arrive at 5.30 am for a spot on the upper lot. We had to wait in our car in-line for 30 minutes, but we managed to snag a spot in the upper lot and get started on our hike at 6.30 am.
We started out on a pretty valley and hiked along watching the sun come up, and fill everything with light. Soon enough, it was time for to go uphill. I remember the ascent being steep, but not even remotely close to the brutal uphill stretches of Kjeragbolten. The weather helped too, since it was bright and sunny.
After the ascent, we could see snow-capped mountains on the other side which was a first for me in Norwegian hikes. Soon, we reached a vista-point which had a beautiful view of the lake Ringedalsvatnet below, and I got overwhelmed with the sight. The lake was crystal clear with a beautiful mirror-like reflection. We continued along in this route which had occasional lake-views for some more time, before taking a break to munch on our snacks enjoying the sight.
As we continued, I realized that we were walking on the top of the mountain which was all rocky but the green moss which covered most of the rocks made the terrain look a lot more green than it actually was. The weather was cold when we started, and although the sun was shining as the day progressed, the chill in the air remained. We got occasional views of the lake down below, depending on the angle of the trail and every time I saw the lake, I was bowled over by it's clarity. It remained motionless with not even a tiny hint of movement.
We trudged along, mostly in a flat route until we hit an all-rocky terrain. This was when we knew we were close, and soon enough, there it was - the cliff (aka the tongue) which jutted out from the mountain. The view of the entire landscape was stunning from here, starting from the lake with it's clear reflection. The deep blue lake with snake-like bends traversing through rocky granite mountains which were partly moss-covered and snow-covered, made it look surreal. It was hard to believe that it was a real place on planet Earth. No matter how many times you see, it looks unreal.
There was a ladder which allowed you to descend onto the cliff and when we arrived (around 10 am) there was a small line of 5-8 people waiting to get their pictures taken. We relaxed for some time there enjoying the view, ate some more food and after realizing that the crowd had gotten much bigger decided to take a few pictures and get started. I had to wait in-line for close to 30 minutes for my picture as there were about 30 people ahead of me by then.
I have to admit that getting onto the cliff itself was a little anti-climactic. I didn't feel any fear or have an adrenaline-rush, when I was on it, nor did I feel fearful when others were on it (unlike Kjeragbolten). It was 100% safe, unless you tried something rash.
After all the photo snapping, we started back on the same route around noon. Despite walking on the same route back, perhaps due to the angle of the sun, the lake view near the center of the trail was much more pretty when we were coming back. We indulged in more picture snapping, and finally made it back to the upper parking lot at 4 pm.
- Total time taken - 10 hours
- Total hike distance - 20 kms (28 kms if you start from lower parking lot)
- Follow T signs to stay on trail
- The hike starts at around 400 metres and highest point of the hike is at 1200 metres. The first uphill from the lower parking lot to upper lot is about 400 metres of the total ascent.
This hike is hard not just because of the elevation gain, but because of the distance. Especially if you don't get a spot in the upper lot and have to start from the beginning, which is very likely. Make sure you are in a fit condition before you attempt this hike. Practice elevation gain via staircases and make sure you finish atleast one other 15+ km hike before even considering this.
Pack all your food - snacks, sandwiches, but make sure you don't overpack since you need to carry everything in your back-pack with you. There are no trash cans on the trail to empty extra food. Pack sufficient water too, but you can refill water from an open water stream during the hike should you run out of it.
There are no restrooms on the trail. The closest public restrooms are in the lower parking lot.
We saw a few tents around during the course of the hike, so camping enroute to Trolltunga is possible. Make sure you're aware of the camping regulations, and weather conditions if you do decide to camp overnight.
Other things to do in Odda
- Check out the local fisherman's market for fresh catch of the day. We ate freshly-made fish cakes on one day and purchased smoked salmon the next. Both were excellent, I cannot recommend them enough!
- There are many other stunning hikes in the area, including Buer Valley for a glacier-view, Mt. Rossnos for fjord views overlooking Odda and Holmaskjer for a hike from the fjord to the glacier. We didn't attempt these hikes because we weren't there long enough, but we heard great things about them from the locals and definitely want to try them next time we go!
So that was my favorite hike in Norway. What is your favorite all-time hike? Why do you love it?
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