Norway is the ultimate country to visit for many outdoor enthusiasts because of the rugged mountains and beautiful landscapes. Hikers from all over the world travel to Norway each year to see the incredible views and breathe the fresh air our country has to offer.
The strenuous hike towards Trolltunga in Hordaland is one of Norway’s most popular hikes even though it’s only accessible during summer months. Up to 500 people head out on this 22km hike each day.
According to legends, Trolltunga, which translates to “Troll Tongue”, got its name from a cocky troll that believed he wouldn’t turn into stone when the sun shined at him. The troll waited for the sun to appear while sticking his tongue out mocking it. Apparently, he was no different than other trolls and turned into stone.
If you’re not a big believer of legends and prefer facts, Trolltunga is a 10,000-year-old formation created from glacier erosion. In fact, you can still see parts of the glacier on the mountaintops around and it’s possible to do guided tours there.
You might already have seen images of people standing on the cliff and it’s become so popular that BuzzFeed named Trolltunga the most stunning place in the world to take a selfie in 2014.
When going on such a strenuous hike it’s extremely important to be prepared. Weather changes quickly in the Norwegian mountains and even in summertime temperatures can suddenly drop. There are information posters at the beginning of the hike but it’s recommended that you make preparations first.
How to Get to Trolltunga Starting Point
Public transportation can be a bit tricky and somewhat complicated in this area. If you’re traveling from Bergen or Oslo you might need to connect multiple train and bus rides to arrive Odda. From Odda you can then get the shuttle bus to the parking area and starting point in Skjeggedal.
Renting a car is the easiest option. From Bergen it’s roughly a 3-hour drive to Skjeggedal and from Oslo it’s closer to 5.5 hours.
Since the latest recommended starting time of the hike is 10am, you either need to get accommodation close to Odda or leave early in the morning.
To maintain the path and surrounding area there’s a parking fee of 200NOK per day but if you’re there for less than 12 hours the fee is 100NOK.
The Trolltunga Route
The 22km round-trip starts by the parking at Skjeggedal. The path is located on the left side of the parking area and you'll quickly learn that there’s no easy start on this hike.
During the first kilometer, the path takes you up a steep but well-marked trail that elevates 450 meters. This is the toughest part of the hike and it’s recommended to walk in a slow tempo so that you don’t exhaust yourself after only the first kilometer.
After reaching the first plateau, Mågelitopp, you get to rest your legs a little as the terrain flattens out for about one kilometer before it gets steep again. When you’ve reached the second top the terrain flattens out yet again but now you’ve gained most of the elevation.
The next 6 kilometers consists of mostly hilled terrain but it’s friendlier towards the legs than the first two. On the way, you pass many rivers and waterfalls that are great opportunities to refill your water bottle.
Nearly 11 kilometers into the hike you’ll reach the main attraction, Trolltunga. Take some time to rest and enjoy the beautiful view. For those who dare, you can also walk out on the cliff that has a vertical drop of 700 meters. This is an experience you won’t forget!
Show extreme caution when you’re on the edge as sudden wind gusts might appear. Also show respect to other tourists who are on the edge and give them space.
What to Know Before Visiting Trolltunga
Due to large amounts of snow, Trolltunga is only accessible from the end of June until the middle of September. It is possible to do the hike earlier in June but only with a guide.
This hike is not recommended unless you’re in good physical shape. It’s an exhausting 22-kilometer hike that gains 900 meters in elevation with rough terrain and river crossings. There's also parts of the path where you'll be crossing patches of snow and ice.
As the Norwegian Mountain Code says: Turn back in time; sensible retreat is no disgrace. If you are not sure if you can reach your destination because of weather or conditions, turn around! Others might have to risk their lives trying to rescue you. Also, try to notify anyone that may have been expecting you.
Expect to use at least 8-10 hours on the round-trip. If you wish to spend more time enjoying the scenery and preparing some food, you’ll naturally need to add this to the expected time.
There’s no lack of cold and clean water on the hike so you don’t need to bring extra water bottles. Simply stop by a stream or waterfall and fill you your bottle. It’s the greatest water you’ll try!
Be sure to take advantage of the parking lot restroom before you head out on the hike as there are no restrooms on the trek.
Lastly, be prepared when you hike Trolltunga. Even if you’re trekking in the middle of summer make sure that you’ve got extra layers of clothes in your backpack. Weather is unpredictable and can suddenly change.
What to bring on your hike
Packing for a hike such as this can be challenging, especially for those who haven’t done anything like it before. While you don’t want your backpack to be too heavy, you want to carry enough with you in the case of an emergency.
Here’s a list of what you should bring on your Trolltunga hike:
1. A Comfortable Hiking Backpack – Having a comfortable hiking backpack will be important for your comfort on this trip. Ideally, such a backpack should have a waist support.
2. Warm Clothes – Since the weather is unpredictable you should bring an extra layer of clothes, even during summer. Bring mittens and a hat as well.
3. Hiking Boots – Sneakers or normal shoes are not suitable. Bring good quality hiking boots that ideally are water resistant.
4. Change of clothes – Bring an extra pair of socks and a t-shirt. This will make your trek back down much more pleasant as you might get wet on the way.
5. A Reusable Water Bottle – It’s important to stay hydrated on a strenuous hike like this. There’s lots of cold and clean glacier water on the where you can refill the bottle.
6. High Energy Foods – In total the hike takes between 8-10 hours, it goes without saying that you need food in that period. Bring high-energy foods that are easy to carry. Protein bars or other high-energy snacks should also be brought along.
7. Flashlight or Headlight – If you’re hiking after the 1st of August you should bring a good flashlight or headlight.
8. Camera – You didn’t hike all this way without wanting to take a picture, right? Be sure to bring some sort of a camera to capture the beautiful view and perhaps ask someone to take a picture of you on the edge!
Enjoy your hike and stay safe!