Hiking Trolltunga: A Beginner’s Guide

Hiking Trolltunga: A Beginner’s Guide

Unless you were born with hiking poles like most Norwegians seem to be, you many need some help before conquering the mighty tongue of the troll known as Trolltunga, Norway. After reading other blogs and doing this hike myself, I decided more help should be thrown out there into the universe so here is A Beginner’s Guide to Hiking Trolltunga.

HikingTrolltunga

When to Go

The weather in Norway is crazy. It rains quite a bit and it can be freezing in the summer. Plan carefully because you may not like walking through snow. Here are the official rules for when you can hike with and without a guide and when you may die. Seriously.

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I went the last week of August and was extremely lucky with a gorgeous day. It had rained the day before and the trail was muddy and rocks slippery, which apparently is common. I started out feeling chilly even with my layer on but after only ten minutes of hiking, took off a layer. After another ten minutes I was in a tank top and stayed that way until an hour before the sunset.

I chose to use a guide and went with the company Trolltunga Active. I am not an experienced hiker and really wasn’t sure whether I would be able to find my way on my own. Turns out this was a silly concern since the path is well-marked with red T’s on rocks and trees to guide you. It is virtually impossible to get lost.  Also if you go at peak season, there are always plenty of other hikers on the trail. If I was to get a do-over, I would go alone and save myself the money plus the annoyance of waiting for the slowest one in the group (which thankfully wasn’t me). You always meet other solo hikers along the way as well.

Hiking Trolltunga

A shout out to OJ our guide from Trolltunga Active. He was great and incredibly patient with a group of eight women.

How to Get There

Norway is not an easy country to get around. I did it the hard way and wasted a lot of time. Wherever you are in Norway you need to make your way to Skjeggedal the day of the hike which is where the hike begins.  Please don’t ask me to pronounce this. If you start in Bergen which is the closest large city,  you need to find your way via private car or public transportation to Lofthus, Odda or Tyssedal and find lodging there.

The bus from Bergen to Odda takes about 3 hours. The bus schedules and a trip planner can be found here at the Skyss website.

I wanted to try to make this travel day more scenic and touristy so I did the Norway in a Nutshell, Hardangerfjord route. I don’t really recommend this and will be posting a review of this soon.

Read More:  Norway in a Nutshell: A Review

From Odda you are well-positioned to hike Trolltunga. If you start early you can get to Trolltunga in time to hike up and camp overnight which sounds amazing and I wish I had done this. You can see sunset and sunrise and have much less people mucking up the works at the top. If you don’t plan to do this, there is no rush to get to Odda. Enjoy half a day in Bergen and take an afternoon bus. You really just need to arrive in time to sleep.

Hiking Trolltunga
View from bus station in Odda

In Odda there are buses to Tyssedal and during peak season a shuttle from Odda to Skjeggedal where the hiking trailhead is.  I stayed in Lofthus, took a bus to Tyssedal, couldn’t catch the shuttle and ended up hitchhiking. Apparently this is not all that uncommon. I have never hitchhiked in my life and probably won’t again unless desperate AF. I was with a Dutch girl I met on the bus so we were brave together. A nice man who worked for the energy company picked us up and we picked up two Filipino girls along the way.

For more information on getting to Trolltunga, http://en.hardangerfjord.comtrolltunga

Where to Stay

There is a Trolltunga Hotel that is basically an expensive hostel but is in a great location.

The Tyssedal Hotel is also very close, beautiful and some rooms have fjord views. I also heard they serve dinner until 10:00 pm which matters if your hike runs late.

Odda is a bigger town with the main bus station in the region and a few hotel options there including the Hardanger Hotel.

Lofthus is not as convenient as these other places so of course that’s where I stayed. It is a forty minute bus ride from Lofthus to Tyssedal. However there is a striking historic luxurious hotel in Lofthus called Hotel Ullensvang and I couldn’t resist forking over too much money to stay here. I regretted this decision only because Lofthus was kind of far from Trolltunga and I stressed over transportation back and forth.  Getting back in the evening I had to call a taxi from Odda, paid almost $80 and the hotel was no longer serving dinner by the time I returned. I didn’t have time to enjoy the hotel facilities at all.  You live and learn, eh?

Hiking Trolltunga

You can also check into Airbnb, hostels or couch surfing. I met other hikers who were doing some of these things.

What to Bring

Hiking Trolltunga

Backpack  I brought a cheap packable backpack since this was the only hiking I was doing on a two week trip to Scandinavia. It did the trick.

Waterproof hiking boots  Break them in first. You may be ankle-deep in mud at some points.

Extra socks  I recommend changing these at the top. Even if you didn’t step in water, your feet will like the break from those sweaty old things and you will be more comfy for the trip down.

Extra shirt   I was chilly at top so so I exchanged the sweat infested shirt with a fresh long sleeved shirt.

Layers   You are alternately sweating or freezing. This is Norway. Rain is always a possibility.  Lightweight items are best for stuffing in backpack when not using.

Snacks   You burn 3000-4000 calories on this hike depending on your size and age. Bring nutrient dense food that doesn’t take a lot of room.  I had protein bars, nuts, an apple and a couple of cheese sandwiches.

Refillable water bottle There are streams and waterfalls all with delicious clean mountain water so refill often.

Flashlight  Hopefully you won’t need this. I always bring a small one after I was stuck in the desert once after dark. Long story.

First aid stuff/blister pads  I think everyone on our hike needed these!

Camera, back up, phone charger, etc.   You will be working hard to get those great photos and not having the right equipment would be a huge downer!

Sunscreen   I actually got a sunburn. I live in Miami and NEVER get get a sunburn because I am a sunblock nazi. Wear plenty of sunblock and reapply often because it sweats right off.

How to Prepare

Do your research (like reading this…good job!!)

Work out!  I recommend stairs. Do every other step. Those bigger steps are necessary in parts of the hike.

Hiking Trolltunga

You don’t want to be that person that has to go back but take these signs seriously. If you don’t make it to this point by 1300, you won’t be able to go all the way up, enjoy it and be back before dark.

The Hike

So how is it…really? Well, it’s fantastic, but you will work hard to get that ultimate view and instagram worthy picture. I will break it down:

 The entire ascent is approximately 700 meters. The first km is extremely steep and you ascend almost 500 meters in this short distance. There are rocky steps this entire first segment, sometimes muddy and slippery. There is at times a dirty rope to hold on to and boy did I. I was very thankful for the walking stick that was provided for me. We stopped every 1/4 km to breathe a minute or so.

Hiking Trolltunga
The dreaded rock steps

After this brutal first part it gets better…for just a bit…then right at the 3rd km there is a very steep part again. After this you see the 4km/turn around sign that I showed above and you have made it. At this point you have almost ascended as high as you will go. The rest is minor ups and downs but not steep and the scenery is jaw-droppingly gorgeous…almost other- worldly. This is when I really enjoyed the hike. Not going to lie, that first part was a bitch!

Trolltunga scenery rocks

Hiking Trolltunga

Make sure you stop and refill your water at streams and waterfalls, which are everywhere. You should be drinking 1/2 liter per hour and eating snacks often. This lake is slightly more than halfway and is a good place to stop for lunch with a view. Hiking Trolltunga

It takes about five hours to reach the top unless you are an fast hiker. Stopping to eat, breathe, relieve yourself or take pics adds to the time. Once you reach the top you want to make sure you have enough time. I waited thirty minutes for a picture. I’ve heard it can be worse! You want to have at least an hour at the top to enjoy, not counting time spent in line.

Hiking Trolltunga

I enjoyed the less crowded and equally beautiful “mini tongue”  to the left of the “main tongue”.

Hiking TrolltungaIn fact. there are many view points above and below where you can get a pretty fabulous picture with little competition for that spot.

At some point, you have to go back. You need to time this properly because after dark, this would not be fun! Those rocky steps in the first few kilometers are no joke. I thought going up was hard but coming down was a different kind of misery.  In June the days are longest. In late August the sun sets around 2030. We left the top at 1530 to give ourselves enough time and we made it with some time to spare before dark.

Hiking TrolltungaI wanted to take pictures every few seconds. It was beautiful beyond my imagination and I was so lucky with the weather.

Hiking TrolltungaThe hike takes most people 10 to 12 hours total for all 22 kilometers.

I wish you all luck and would love to hear your stories and experiences with this hike! Please comment or contact me privately. Happy Trolltunga-ing!

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Hiking Trolltunga

About The Author

csaradar

33 COMMENTS

  1. Fern | 25th Apr 17

    Thank you so much for sharing your experience and tips! I’ve been considering the hike for a while but have been reluctant being unsure as to whether I’d be fit enough for the challenge but your post has inspired me to do so knowing that some step training would be sufficient!

    • csaradar | 28th Apr 17

      You can do it! I wasn’t in the best shape but managed. LOL It is worth it!

  2. Elizabeth | 8th Apr 17

    I’ll be doing this hike in less than 3 months! I cannot wait…definitely nervous though as I’m not an experienced hiker and not very well in shape, need to start working on that! But I’m so glad that there seems to be plenty of information on the web from others who have went on the hike to prepare beforehand. Thank you!

    • csaradar | 9th Apr 17

      I wasn’t in the best shape but managed to do it. It’s just the beginning that’s hard… and the very end is murder on the knees. Just do stairs over and over again until you can do them for an hour…You should be fine!

  3. Ten Best Travel Moments of 2016 - WanderingRedHead | 30th Dec 16

    […] Trolltunga basically owned me the second I saw a picture on Instagram. I’m like…where the hell is that place and how do I get there? Well, a year or so later add a few pain killers and massages and I saw it.  Worth every knee throbbing second! […]

  4. Things to Do in Bergen, Norway - WanderingRedHead | 21st Dec 16

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  5. Alyssa Ramos | 17th Dec 16

    Ahhh! I’m sooooo jealous! I wanted to do this hike so bad but when I was in Norway it was blizzard-ing! Absolutely love all of your photos and all of the useful information on how to do the hike! Will definitely use it when I finally make my return! 😀

    • csaradar | 18th Dec 16

      I would not recommend this in a blizzard! I’m sure you will go back and rock Trolltunga!

  6. Jacqui | 30th Oct 16

    Man I want to do this but I am terrified of heights… Gotta figure out how to get over that!

    • csaradar | 30th Oct 16

      Just don’t look down! Seriously, the hike itself is not scary, not near the edge looking down or anything like that. At the top, the platform is bigger than it looks. I just stayed in the middle. I didn’t go as close to the edge as others. It definitely looks scarier in pics!

  7. Gabby | 6th Oct 16

    Your photos are STUNNING! Trolltunga I’ve heard is a harder hike than most think, I hope I get to go next time I’m in Norway though!

    • csaradar | 6th Oct 16

      Thank you Gabby. I found it extremely challenging but I am not an expert hiker. It is definitely doable and worth the effort!

  8. Caroline | 6th Oct 16

    Ah, absolutely stunning photos! I went to Bergen a few months ago and fell in love with it.

    I had to laugh when you said the weather in Norway is crazy. I’m from England and find Norwegian weather really good haha.

    • csaradar | 6th Oct 16

      LOL Caroline. I am definitely a bit spoiled by living in Miami! I need to be more tolerant of other weathers:)

  9. Naomi | 6th Oct 16

    Wow I didn’t know this was such a badass hike! Glad you provided more detailed info, sometimes it can be hard to find! Love the pictures too, I’ll pin them to my hiking board

    • csaradar | 6th Oct 16

      Ahh thank you Naomi! For me it was badass because I’m not exactly Miss Fitness. Lol. I hope to give enough detail to help future hikers! It was so gorgeous. Thanks for sharing the pics!

  10. Carmy | 6th Oct 16

    I’ve always wondered where that clip is! Everyone takes such amazing photos from that spot and I’m always so jealous! Norway is so beautiful! I need this on my bucket list pronto!

    • csaradar | 6th Oct 16

      Isn’t it funny how so many of us have seen this pic and wondered! I was one of them too and obviously I figured it out. I hope you go sometime!!

  11. Marinel | 6th Oct 16

    Norway is on my list for hiking. But as noted here it’s an expensive destination so it’s not a priority for now. I’m an avid hiker and love reading other hiker’s experiences. If you wish to contribute to my blog like this one let me know. Cheers!

    • csaradar | 6th Oct 16

      Thank you so much I would love to. Yes it is very expensive. I’m definitely a bit broke after that trip!

  12. Natasha Welch | 6th Oct 16

    This looks absolutely breathtaking! I’m a hiking lover and Norway is the dream!

    • csaradar | 6th Oct 16

      Thank you! I can’t even describe how gorgeous it was. Pictures don’t even do it justice. I am getting more and more into hiking as I get older. Kind of weird!

  13. Allison | 6th Oct 16

    Wow this is super detailed and helpful! What a beautiful country!

    • csaradar | 6th Oct 16

      Thank you so much! It’s hard to take a bad picture of Norway!

  14. Flo @ Yoga, Wine & Travel | 6th Oct 16

    This is such a great guide Cher! Thanks so much for sharing the tip about hiring a guide/going with a tour – sounds like it can easily be done on your own if you do your research ahead of time and follow the signs!

    • csaradar | 6th Oct 16

      Thanks so much Flo! I am glad you found it helpful:) I always want other travelers to learn from my struggles!

  15. Lyssie | 5th Oct 16

    Wow, Norway is so beautiful! I have always loved photos from there and never knew where exactly it was, so I’m glad to have come across this! I love that you did the hike with a group of women. I’m totally adding this to my bucket list – I NEED THOSE PICTURES!!!!! So incredible!!!

    • csaradar | 5th Oct 16

      Thanks Lyssie! I had the same experience last year…saw a picture and didn’t know where it was. LOL! Let me know if I can help you plan:)

  16. Maggie | 5th Oct 16

    The views are just amazing! Great tips on what to bring. I would have never thought to bring a flash light, but sounds like you many people would need one with such a long hike.

    • csaradar | 5th Oct 16

      Thanks Maggie. I brought just a small one but hopefully nobody will need one because those rocky steps are probably treacherous in the dark!

  17. Roger Cason | 20th Sep 16

    Thanks for sharing and those views are magnificent.

    • csaradar | 5th Oct 16

      Glad you enjoyed it Roger:) Thanks for the comment!

  18. Norway in a Nutshell: A Review - WanderingRedHead | 11th Sep 16

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