Trolltunga, or Troll’s Tongue in English, is one of the most scenic rock formations in the world and one of Norway’s most famous attractions. The challenging 27-km-long hike to Trolltunga is the dream of hikers from all over the world, and the trail is becoming more and more popular.
Located on the outskirts of Odda village, easily accessible by driving from Bergen or Oslo, Trolltunga is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful hikes in Europe, and the view of Ringedalsvatnet Lake and the stunning surrounding mountainous landscape is simply breathtaking.
What you will find in this guide to the Trolltunga hike:
- Trolltunga: Things to Know Before You Go
- Trolltunga Hike: What to Expect
- Trolltunga Parking and Prices
- Useful Tips for the Trolltunga Hike
- How to Get to the Trolltunga
Trolltunga: Things to Know Before You Go
Trolltunga is one of the most famous and scenic attractions in Norway: a rock jutting into space 700 meters above Ringedalsvatnet Lake, one of the most evocative pictures of the breathtaking landscapes of Southern Norway.
Located at over 1100 meters above sea level, the Trolltunga, which means “Troll’s Tongue” is a rock formation dating back to over 10,000 years ago, during the Ice Age. It is located in a remote area on the edge of the Hardangervidda Nasjonalpark, immersed in an amazing landscape, but it is no longer a secret: until a few years ago only a few hundred hikers faced the challenging hike to get to the Trolltunga, but now its popularity is growing rapidly, and in recent years the Trolltunga receives around 100,000 visitors a year, making it one of Norway’s most popular hikes!
The Trolltunga is located near about 17 km from Odda and 190 km from Bergen. But people come here from all over Southern Norway, as Norwegian National Road 13 makes it quite easy to get to the village of Tyssedal and from there the Ringedals Dam, in the village of Skjeggedal, where the trail to Trolltunga starts. From Oslo it is about 400 km, from Stavanger it is 200 km and from Kristiansand it is 350 km.
To get to Trolltunga there is a 27-kilometer (round trip) trail that runs through the beautiful highland landscape around Ringedalsvatnet. It is a challenging hike, at least 10-12 hours on rough terrain. There are no shelters along the route, so it requires good endurance as well as proper hiking boots and equipment.
The best season for Trolltunga is summer, in fact the Trolltunga is only accessible from mid-June to mid-September, unless you go there with an expert guide, with skis or snowshoes. However, in the months between October and February it is really not recommended to go because it is highly dangerous.
There are sections of the trail where there is no mobile phone coverage, so you need to pay close attention, plan your times well and start early in the morning. The weather may be unpredictable, so be prepared for rain and fog. Every year there are dozens of search and rescue operations for hikers in serious trouble, so be a responsible hiker, or book a guided excursion with an expert guide, which is the best way to enjoy this unforgettable experience to the fullest and in total safety.
Trolltunga Hike: What to Expect
Trolltunga is undoubtedly one of the most memorable hikes in Norway, but not only because of the breathtaking view from the famous rock protruding on the Ringedalsvannet. The Trolltunga hike is a wonderful walk in nature, surrounded by a dramatic landscape interspersed with lakes, streams and stunning views of the lake from the top of the towering cliffs.
The trail passes through the highlands north of Ringedalsvannet, a lake located near the tiny village of Skjeggedal. It can be reached from the village of Tyssedal, located on the Hardangerfjord, about 6 km from Odda.
ODDA AND TYSSEDAL
Odda is a quiet town located approximately 12 km from Trolltunga’s trailhead and is the main base for hikers heading to Trolltunga. Here are the best places to stay, such as the Vikinghaug, which offers apartments in a fabulous traditional house, the Bakkegata, which offers great accommodation in rooms and apartments, and the Trolltunga Hotel, which is the most popular hotel in the area and offers also a good breakfast included in the price. For those traveling on a budget the best option is Trolltunga Camping which offers good rooms and cottages.
Tyssedal is a small village, there are just a handful of houses, a couple of hotels, like the Tyssedal Hotel and the Trolltunga Guesthouse, and a modern church in an attractive Nordic style. Tyssedal also boasts a really cool attraction: the Norwegian Museum of Hydropower and Industry. This amazing museum is located in the Tyssedal Power Station, a hydroelectric plant built in the early 1900s, which can now be visited: you can see the turbine room, the control rooms and learn many interesting things.
SKJEGGEDAL AND THE TRAIL TO TROLLTUNGA
The Ringedalsvannet is actually the upper lake of the hydroelectric power plant. You can get there by the narrow road leading to the village of Skjeggedal. Right here is the Ringedals Dam, the parking lots for the Trolltunga and the start of the trail.
Now, there are actually several trails. Those starting from P3, the highest parking lot, can continue directly towards the main trail to Trolltunga. This way you will have skipped the first stretch, which means saving more or less 3 km of steep ascent. Otherwise from the lower parking lots you can go up the hairpin bends that lead to the upper parking lots or follow the various old trails along the woods, there are at least a couple of them and they are signposted.
Once, near the car park there was the lower station of the Mågelibanen, a spectacular funicular from the early 1900s that was used to bring the workers of the hydroelectric constructions. The funicular was closed in 2010 and fell into disrepair. Once it was also possible to climb along its tracks, through a wooden staircase, but now it is no longer possible because during the works for the road that leads to the upper parking lots, most of the tracks of the funicular have been removed.
Parking P3 requires you to drive up a winding and narrow road with a 17% gradient. But these are not the only drawbacks: it is the most expensive car park, has a limited number of spaces (officially it has a maximum capacity of 30 cars) and must be booked well in advance. But that saves you almost 7 km of trail, which means almost 3 hours. From the upper parking lot to the Trolltunga it’s a 4-hour hike, so you could do your hike in about 8 hours round trip.
However, most hikers start from the trailhead located next to the lower car park (P2), which means around 27 km round trip. On average it takes about 11-12 hours, but it really depends on your pace. I’ve known guys who did it in 7 or 8 hours, but they were athletes, not hikers. There is no point in rushing, the best thing about Trolltunga is to enjoy the path and the wonderful views, so consider frequent stops and at least an hour around the famous Trolltunga rock.
Also, keep in mind that the landscape is so beautiful that you will want to take tons of photos. In addition, to take the photo on the scenic rock of Trolltunga often you have to queue up. Trolltunga was once considered a multi-day hike, now most hikers do it in the day, but this requires honesty towards the times and limits. Start the hike no later than 8.00 AM to be safe.
THE TROLLTUNGA HIKE
The first part of the Trolltunga trail is from Skjeggedal to Måglitopp, which roughly means from P2 to P3. It is a muddy and rocky uphill trail, very steep. This first leg is about 4km long and may take you a bit more than an hour. It’s pretty tiring, so it’s a good test to see if you’re fit enough for the rest of the hike.
From Måglitopp the trail is quite level and easy, mainly a walk on muddy and rocky terrain. In case of rain it could become unpleasant, because the trail tends to get very muddy. After the first 45 minutes of walking you will arrive near the Gryteskaret and the trail climbs steeply up a long rocky slope. This is one of the most challenging parts of the Trolltunga hike.
Once on the top you will have a fabulous grassy valley in front of you, interspersed with lakes and streams. This is one of the most popular areas to camp, in fact, multi-day hikers bring along tents and equipment to spend the night along the trail and this is a good place to camp. You can camp freely along the Trolltunga hike, just respect nature.
From here, after a small flat stretch and another (less strenuous than the previous one) climb, the trail descends towards the Ringedalsvatnet and you can enjoy one of the most beautiful views of the Trolltunga hike: a scenic picture of the valley, with the blue waters of the lake surrounded by mountains.
This area is called Store Floren: once the trail to Trolltunga was an ancient route for those traveling through Western and Eastern Norway, and this place was a popular summer pasture for farmers who lived in these remote lands. Some remains of old huts and stables are still visible today. There is also an emergency shelter here: use is only permitted in severe emergencies.
From here the trail to Trolltunga is pretty easy, mainly an up and down ride through scenic valleys interspersed with streams and sometimes even patches of snow. A little further on you will pass through the former riverbed that once fed the Tyssestrengene, Norway’s tallest and most famous waterfall. In the mid-1900s it was one of the country’s main tourist attractions, but in the late 1960s the river was diverted to power a hydroelectric power plant built inside the mountain. Today the falls are dry and therefore no longer exist, except on the occasion of the melting of very abundant snows.
Further on, after a few kilometers on a mostly flat rocky trail, you will have arrived at your destination the Trolltunga, or Troll’s Tongue, will be right in front of you. You will be on the top of the cliff, so be very careful not to get too close to the edge. As safe as the trail is, it happened that someone fell to his death for taking a misstep. So, be responsible! Don’t run and do silly things near the cliff’s edge.
Trolltunga, Norway’s most famous rock formation and one of the most impressive in the world, is there, perched 700 meters above Ringedalsvatnet lake. You will probably have to queue to climb down onto Trolltunga itself, the rock is a few steps further down. And now, enjoy your moment! Breathe and enjoy the insane view of one of the most beautiful places in Norway.
Trolltunga Via Ferrata
Another trail is the Trolltunga Via Ferrata, a breathtaking via ferrata that climbs almost vertically from the shore of Ringedalsvatnet Lake until it reaches Trolltunga. This attraction, recommended only for experienced and courageous hikers, can be reached by a trail (about 6.5 km long) that runs along the shore of the lake. The trail is easy and for the most part it is a flat dirt road.
Near the beginning of the Trolltunga Via Ferrata you will find signs that indicate the direction and remind you of the safety equipment necessary for the climb. From there continue a steep climb up to the start of the actual via ferrata. This requires the proper skills, but technically it’s not difficult: it’s just very exposed and at an insane height. However, there are guided excursions that allow you to climb the Trolltunga Via Ferrata in total safety with an expert local guide.
Another interesting via ferrata in the surrounding area is the Tysso Via Ferrata, which starts from Tyssedal and climbs along the very steep penstocks of the hydroelectric power plant up to the top of the mountain, where there is the wonderful Lilletopp viewpoint.
Trolltunga Parking and Prices
Most travelers arrive in Odda the day before the hike to Trolltunga and spend the night in one of the hotels in Odda or Tyssedal, so that the hike can start early in the morning. At the end of the hike they return to their hotel in Odda or Tyssedal and then leave the next day or stay a few more days to explore the surroundings, such as the Lilletopp, another beautiful hike on the Hardangerfjord or the various via ferratas and ziplines. From Odda to Skjeggedal it is about 13 km and it will take you about 30 minutes.
Staying in Odda or Tyssedal is very convenient, also because a bus leaves from there and takes you directly to the Trolltunga trailhead and back. Let’s see what are the different options to get to Trolltunga and the prices of parking and toll roads.
If you arrive at Trolltunga by car there are 3 different parking lots:
- Parking P1: Located in Tyssedal (8 km from Skjeggedal), it is the most popular and largest parking. It is connected by bus to the Trolltunga trailhead in Skjeggedal.
- Parking P2: Located in Skjeggedal, right next to the Trolltunga trailhead.
- Parking P3: Located in Mågelitopp, it is the upper parking that saves you a few kilometers of steep ascent. It has a capacity of only 30 cars and must be booked in advance.
To get to P2 and P3 you will need to drive along the road to Skjeggedal. It is a narrow mountain road, not suitable for buses, campers or caravans. This type of vehicle will have to park at P1. The road from Tyssedal to Skjeggedal is tolled, the toll is included in the parking price for P2, while it is to be paid separately for P3.
Trolltunga Parking P1
Parking P1 is located in Tyssedal and has 220 parking spaces. It is the only car park near the Trolltunga that is also suitable for campers, vans and buses. From here you will need to take a shuttle bus that will take you to P2, near the Trolltunga trailhead.
- Trolltunga P1 Parking Price: from 300 NOK (until midnight)
- Trolltunga Shuttle Bus from P1 to P2: from 100 NOK (one way)
Trolltunga Parking P2
Parking P2 is located in Skjeggedal, near the starting point of the Trolltunga hike. Here there is also the shop of the tourist agency Trolltunga Active, the toilets and the parking machine. The car park has only 80 spaces, so you should arrive very early in the morning.
- Trolltunga P2 Parking Price: from 500 NOK (until midnight)
- Trolltunga Shuttle Bus from P2 to P3: there are some shuttle buses that allow you to skip the first strenuous stretch of the trail and arrive directly at the upper parking lot. The price starts from 130 NOK per person (one way).
Trolltunga Parking P3
A private toll road leads from P2 to P3, the upper car park. P3 is only open from June to September and has a maximum capacity of 80 cars. You will need to reserve your parking space a long time in advance. The reservation must be made online on the official website of Trolltunga Norway.
- Trolltunga P3 Parking Price: from NOK 600 (until midnight) + NOK 200 for the toll road from P1 to P2.
Shuttle Bus from Odda to Trolltunga
From mid-May to mid-September there is a convenient shuttle bus from Odda to the Trolltunga trailhead which passes by the P1 in Tyssedal and the P2 in Skjeggedal. There are several stops in the villages of Odda and Tyssedal, mainly in front of all the popular hotels and guesthouses.
- Shuttle Bus Prices from Odda to P2 Skjeggedal: starting from NOK 250 (round trip) or NOK 150 (one way)
- Shuttle Bus Prices from P1 Tyssedal to P2 Skjeggedal: from 150 NOK (round trip) or 100 NOK (one way)
The companies that operate the shuttle buses (Odda Buss and Odda Taxi) may change their prices during the season. Tickets can be purchased on site or pre-booked online.
Taxi to the Trolltunga
Alternatively to the shuttle bus there are some official taxis that shuttle between Odda or the P1 and the starting point of the Trolltunga hike. The rates are fixed:
- From Odda to P2 Skjeggedal: NOK 600
- From P1 Tyssedal to P2 Skjeggedal: 400 NOK
- From Odda to P3 Mågelitopp: 1000 NOK
Useful Tips for the Trolltunga Hike
1. Bring Appropriate Clothing and Equipment
Being a fairly long and demanding hike, it is essential to tackle it with comfortable and appropriate clothing. It is advisable to bring a good trekking backpack, not too big, with some supplies of water and food. Dress in layers and don’t underestimate the mountain weather. It may be sunny, but the weather in Norway is quite unpredictable, especially in the highlands. So bring a good waterproof windbreaker.
Good hiking boots are absolutely essential, preferably waterproof. It is also advisable to bring sunglasses, sunscreen and a hat. If you opt for a multi-day hike then you will also need to bring your own tent, a mat and a good sleeping bag. The tent must be well resistant to strong winds, and the sleeping bag warm enough, as the temperature can easily go below freezing even in summer.
2. Start your Trolltunga Hike early in the morning
In the summer the route can be very busy, while in the spring and autumn it gets dark early. So it is very important to start early in the morning, approximately no later than 8.00. This way you will be able to walk the path in daylight, which is very important for your safety.
3. Spend the night near the Trolltunga
To start the hike early in the morning you should stay overnight near the Trolltunga. The closest villages are Odda and Tyssedal, where there are some good accommodations. The most popular in Odda are the Trolltunga Hotel (good modern rooms with breakfast included in the price), the Vikinghaug (good and large apartments with fully equipped kitchens), Trolltunga Camping (budget accommodation in rooms and cottages) and Bakkegata (nice rooms in a traditional house). Another popular solution is the Trolltunga Guesthouse in Tyssedal.
All of these hotels and guesthouses offer free private parking, and the shuttle bus to Trolltunga stops right outside.
How to Get to the Trolltunga
Trolltunga (Troll’s Tongue) is located near the Hardangerfjord and the nearest town is Odda, which is easily accessible from Bergen or Oslo.
Getting to Trolltunga from Bergen
From Bergen to Odda it is about 135 km by car via Tørvikbygd, otherwise it is about 190 km via Vossevangen. You can rent a car in Bergen and drive along the scenic roads to the Trolltunga, so you’ll also get a nice view of the stunning fjords in the area. You can check prices and availability on Rentalcars or Discovercars, which offer the best deals from the best car rentals in town.
Alternatively you could go by bus. From Bergen Bus Station, Bus 930 leaves for Odda (approximately 3 hours). There are 2-3 buses per day operated by Skyss.
Getting to Trolltunga from Oslo
Odda is about 350 km from Oslo. You can choose between two main roads, the E134 which passes south of the Hardangervidda Nasjonalpark, or the Rv7 which passes north. Both go through very beautiful landscapes. The fastest and most popular is the E134 which also passes by Notodden, a beautiful town boasting a fabulous old wooden church, and Seljord, a village nestled in a breathtaking landscape.
You could rent a car in Oslo and drive to Trolltunga, and from there then maybe explore the beautiful fjords of southwestern Norway. Car rentals are often in high demand in Oslo, so it’s best to book well in advance. You can check prices and availability on Rentalcars or Discovercars.
If you want to go by bus, from Oslo Bus Station there are two buses a day to and from Odda (6.5 hours) operated by Nor-way.