The Hardangerfjord is in an area of Norway where you can truly enjoy being outdoors with the family. Activities include hiking to waterfalls, skiing on a glacier or climbing up to amazing viewpoints like Trolltunga. We have reviewed some of our favourite things to do with kids along the 179 km long fjord!
A travel destination for generations
Since the birth of tourism, the Norwegian fjords have been among the most iconic travel destinations in Europe. The first tourists arrived at Hardangerfjord already in the 1820s and in 1875 Thomas Cook started weekly cruise departures from London to the Hardangerfjord. Imagine the contrast between a smog-filled polluted Victorian London and the raw unspoilt nature of Norway! Soon enough the modern world came to the fjords as well, with some of the waterfalls used to generate clean hydro-powered electricity and others protected to preserve the amazing fjord landscape.
The Hardangerfjord is Norway’s Orchard
A feature of the Hardangerfjord that you’ll quickly notice driving along the fjord is all the apple orchards! Who would think that you would find such good conditions for growing fruit this far north! Here you’ll find another link to the UK – it was Scottish monks that started planting fruit trees between the year 1200 and 1210. Today there are more than 600,000 apple trees along the fjord. With such good conditions, Hardanger has become the most important fruit-producing region in Norway famous for its quality apples. The fjord is particularly beautiful during spring when the apple trees are blossoming. We also like the autumn when you can taste the freshly tapped apple cider and admire the beautiful golden foliage.
Eidsfjord last point before the mountains
The innermost point in the Hardangerfjord is Eidsfjord. This charming town in beautiful surroundings is an excellent starting point if you want to experience both mountains and the fjords. A steep drive up the mountain takes you to the Vøringsfossen waterfall with its many hiking options. By car, you can go to the area around Flåm and visit attractions such as Stegastein and Viking Valley.
Adventurous activities in Hardangerfjord
A bit further out in the fjord you can go for an adventure and experience the Folgefonna National Park. Folgefonna is a glacier where you can take guided walks with children from 7 years of age from April to September. Here you can also enjoy the summer ski centre FONNA Glacier Ski Resort, offering alpine skiing, snowboard and cross country skiing.
Another adventurous option is the hike to the iconic and very Instagram friendly Trolltunga rock sticking out of the mountain. Note that this is a long and strenuous 28 km hike, taking 8-12 hours with an ascent of almost 800 meters! This is not something we would recommend for families with young children or someone without any mountain hiking experience. On the other side, if your family is into mountain climbing and hiking this could be an incredible memory from Norway.
The small town of Kinsarvik is good starting point exploring the fjord with kids. Most attractions and hikes will be within short driving distance, and you also have some local activities. Mikkelparken is a small theme park for kids with cabins and apartments ideal for families nearby. From Kinsarvik you can easily go over to the other side of the fjord. There are frequent ferries going from Kinsarvik harbour and you can also drive over the nearby Hardangerbridge. From Kinsarvik you can also hike less demanding trails such as the Husedalen valley. Here you can find less strenuous terrain where you can hike to beautiful waterfalls.
Another fun thing could be to visit an apple farm, such as Edel Cider at Aakre Farm where you can get a taste of their amazing apple products. Gravenstein, Discovery, Summerred and Aroma are some of the apple-types used in Hardanger.
This was a quick introduction to a region of Norway that has a lot to offer, and we will definitely be back with more reviews over time