Vøringsfossen waterfall is dropping 182 meters from the Hardangervidda mountain plateau straight into the valley below. Creating a spectacular sight and loud noise, visitors can enjoy the drama from modern viewing platforms right above the waterfall. We have looked closer at how safe it is for children.
Vøringsfossen waterfall – a historic attraction in Norway
Vøringsfossen’s history as a key tourist attraction started already in the 19th century, with cruise ships arriving at Eidsfjord with locals taking English tourists up a narrow hiking path to the waterfall. Over time the road has developed a lot now mostly going through tunnels making today’s drive is a breeze compared to how it used to be. Still, there has been many car accidents going down the mountain road towards the fjord. The worst being the “Måbødalen bus accident” in 1986 when 16 people died after a bus with school children collided after brakes failed. The long and steep gradient fall means a real danger for brakes catching fire, which is why drivers need to use a low gear to maintain slow speed.
Vøringsfossen is an iconic attraction for Norwegians, similar to Niagra falls for Americans. For decades this waterfall has been one of the most visited attractions in Norway, sitting right next to one of the main roads between the two biggest cities, Oslo and Bergen. For many Norwegian children, this has been one of the first real tourist attractions they have experienced going on car vacation in Norway. Stopping at the waterfall, it offers a welcome break for car sick children after miles of swirling roads.
The new viewing platform
The current viewing platform was finished in 2017 and consists of several look-out points towards the waterfall and the canyon below. The next stage of the development will be to create a footbridge over the waterfall bringing the tourists even closer to the action. The 42-meter staircase footbridge is designed in seven pre-fabricated elements to be mounted by helicopter. This is all part of a big effort to upgrade Norway’s most scenic roads involving many of the most iconic viewpoints, such as Stegastein previously reviewed.
The viewing platform feels safe and secure, with railings around the edge of the cliff facing the waterfall. At the same time, there are ways to get around the fences so don’t feel too secure. We definitely wouldn’t let small children run around on their own, so make sure to hold their hands and keep them close at all times. There are also signs reminding parents to hold on to their children.
Is the Vøringsfossen waterfall suitable for children?
As for the panorama itself, you have to get out on the edge of the viewing platforms and look straight down to get a good view of the waterfall as you are standing almost right on top of it. The view of the waterfall itself is probably better hiking further down in the valley. We would actually consider the canyon leading into the fjord as the most spectacular element.
All in all this attraction is child-friendly because of the safe platform, but perhaps not a clear winner for younger kids since you need to keep them on a short leash while at the edge. Our five-year-old daughter is used to run around as she wants when out in nature, and got quite upset when she was forced to hold hands. Having said all that, if you’re driving between Bergen and Oslo, this is definitely worth a stop – just keep your kids close to you while out on the edge!