Complete Guide and Travel Tips to Hiking Trolltunga Norway
Trolltunga in Norway (also called Trolls Tongue) is a rock projection located between Oslo and Bergen. It is located in Hardangerfjord and overlooks Ringedalsvatnet, a beautiful lake with deep blue waters. You have to hike to get there and even though it’s a strenuous and demanding hike, the views at the end are rewarding. This travel guide has all the tips you need for your Trolltunga hike: what to expect and what you need to do to prepare for it, as well as a checklist for camping Trolltunga. This is one of the best hikes in Norway and should be on everyone’s bucket list and will make you feel tired but extremely accomplished afterwards. And you’ll have amazing photos to remember it by!
When to Hike Trolltunga
The Trolltunga hiking season technically starts in June and ends in September. Hiking Trolltunga in May or October requires a guide and hiking during winter months is illegal. After hiking and camping there in the middle of summer (August), I completely understand why visit Norway has posted this regulation on a sign. It was COLD overnight and I can’t even imagine the weather a hiker would come across during winter months. It’s simply not safe. Ideally, you would hike in the end of July or beginning of August. Be sure to also watch weather conditions carefully even if you are hiking during summer.
Can you hike Trolltunga in the rain?
If it’s already raining before you leave, rethink your plan for that day. Hiking 10 hours in the rain isn’t ideal and the trail becomes slippery and pretty dangerous when it’s wet. On top of that, Trolltunga is best viewed when it’s sunny and clear.
How to Get to Trolltunga Norway
Getting to Trolltunga is easy as long as you have a vehicle. I would highly recommend renting a car when you’re visiting Norway as it’s generally difficult to get around the country without one. Auto Europe is a great option for car rentals and they make it easy to rent a vehicle from Oslo or Bergen, assuming you’re flying in from either airport.
Trolltunga from Bergen: 4 hours
Trolltunga from Oslo: 6.5 hours
The easiest way to get to Trolltunga is by mapping yourself to Trolltunga Active. You’ll go through the town of Odda and then drive through some homes until you reach signs for Trolltunga and then eventually the first car park. You can see the approximate location in the Trolltunga map below but ignore the allotted Google 3.5 hour estimation of the hike. It’s only accurate on the way back or if you’re incredibly fast at hiking.
The Three Car Parks
The Trolltunga trek is lengthy but the exact length depends on where you park. There are now three car parks. The first parking lot is for campers and vans only and costs 360 NOK (approx. $45) while the second parking lot is open to cars only and costs 600 NOK (approx. $74). This car park is the largest. The third (and newest) parking lot is much more expensive at 800 NOK (approx. $98) and is only open to a handful of cars; leave early to ensure there’s enough space for you. If you choose to park at the lower lots, then you can take a shuttle bus up to the starting point of the hike. I’m not exactly sure of the costs for the bus but I believe they’re around 150 NOK one way. You can also follow the windy paved road on foot.
We made a huge mistake and paid for parking at the very bottom lot because all the reviews we had read only mentioned two parking lots and our plan was to park at the first one and hike the extra 3km one way. However, we quickly realized this was the bottom lot and so we got back into the car and drove to the next one. Even though we paid an extra $45 for no reason, we were both glad we did as the distance between lots one and two was about 6km one way. It was all uphill too. What was a 9 hour hike for us could have easily turned into an 11 or 12 hour hike. Make sure you plan this part of your hike well. If you are a newbie hiker, then maybe plan for the upper car park.
Tips for the Trolltunga Trek
Trolltunga can be done in one day or you can opt to stay there overnight and turn the hike into a multi-day trip. One thing to note is that there are no bathroom facilities on the trail or at the top. To make things even more difficult, most of the trail is open, making it nearly impossible to find a private place should you need it. Make sure you use the restrooms at the car park! Once you’re at the top, the queue for getting your photo on the Troll’s Tongue is 45 minutes average with possibly up to 2.5 hours during the mid-day rush.
Where to stay before hiking Trolltunga?
Most people stay in the small town of Odda. Odda is about 20 minutes away from the road to Trolltunga. Alternatively, some people opt to stay in small hostels/stays at the bottom of the Trolltunga road; these are not hotels. If you prefer Airbnb, I would recommend staying on the outskirts of Odda. We found a cute home in Ænes in Hordaland County. It was about a 40 minute drive to Trolltunga but it passed through some gorgeous scenery and it had the prettiest lake views.
What to wear for hiking Trolltunga?
First, I highly recommend packing lightly. Take a raincoat, waterproof hiking pants if you have them, a light backpack with a small water bottle (you can actually refill your bottle along the route as there are many water sources with safe water), snacks and a camera or phone. Don’t take anything extra because the hike is exhausting and if you overpack, you may not be able to make the it back. If you decide to do it in a day, make sure you leave early and give yourself plenty of time to return. You may even want to consider paying the full amount and parking at the top lot. I would also recommend hiking boots especially if you have weak ankles. But make sure your boots are worn in and comfortable.
Can I hike Trolltunga alone?
Yes – however, it is recommended that you pack smartly (first aid kit, etc) and that you hike in good weather. On top of that, hike between 7am and 6pm to ensure that there are other hikers on the path. Hiking alone at night or in the dark is NOT recommended. Visit Norway recommends leaving no later than 10 in the morning. Most people take anywhere between 8-12 hours to hike so plan accordingly. The trail is marked well with cairns but I can’t imagine trying to find them without sunlight. It would be extremely easy to get lost at night as even during the day you really had to keep an eye out for the trail.
The Trolls Tongue Hike
The hike begins with a steep uphill hike. I had read that you can opt for a 1km hike in the forest but we couldn’t find the trail for it and so we just hiked the 3km following the paved road that leads to the starting point. Once you’re finished with this steep section, the trail evens out a bit for about 2km. This section is pretty flat and fun to breeze through as you’ll pass a few streams and tiny waterfalls. However, soon after, the trail begins an incredibly difficult challenge uphill for at least 3km. I found this to be the hardest section simply because I wasn’t expecting another stretch of straight uphill climb. Once you reach the top, the trail slowly begins to even out again and the remaining kilometers are tiring but doable. The trail weaves through expanses of barren land that is super scenic and pretty soon you’ll come across a portion of the fjord.
The Trolltunga trail continues its way past more streams and some makeshift bridges. The distance markers quickly become your best friend, bringing you yet another kilometer closer to your goal. You’ll soon come across a vast section of rock and after a few steps, you’ll find yourself at Trolltunga. You’ll have to climb some metal rungs to get to the actual Trolls Tongue but that part is easy.
If you continue further down to the left, you’ll come across the mini Trolltunga that has no line. You can take a few shots here as well:
Camping Trolltunga Tips & Checklist
I planned our Trolltunga trek extensively because I wasn’t sure I wanted to camp overnight. I really wanted to get sunrise shots but knew we couldn’t hike it in the dark. Also, I wanted to miss as much of the crowds as possible (we visited in August, the busiest month for this hike) and the only way to do so was to camp. The advantage to staying overnight was getting to see both sunset AND sunrise and seeing this piece of beauty without hoards of people. If you plan to camp in Trolltunga, I’d recommend leaving the car park around 2pm and heading back around 8am the following day. This gives you plenty of time for photos and helps you avoid people coming in.
Trolltunga camping is easy, especially if you’re an experienced camper. Setup is pretty simple as there are quite a few places to pitch your tent. However, I would recommend a 4 season tent and a sleeping bag built for freezing temperatures even if you camp in the summer. The weather in Norway is unpredictable and you’ll never know when it’ll decide to start raining. It got cold during the night and we both wished we had better equipment (note: we are very amateur campers and had a 2 season tent and a sleeping bag unsuitable for freezing temperatures). I would also recommend going as light as possible on your pack as hiking uphill with a heavy backpack is not ideal. The Trolltunga hike elevation plus the sheer steepness of the trail is enough to leave you winded, let alone carrying heavy camping gear. I will point out that there are no facilities and so plan to bring a plastic bag to carry your trash back out. It was sad to see just how much trash people left behind at the top.
Checklist for what to pack for Trolltunga camping:
1. all season tent that is waterproof and windproof – the wind at the top is unreal and it will rip through your tent so make sure you’ve chosen a quality tent that is weatherproof and waterproof.
2. quality sleeping bag built for cold weather – you want to pick a sleeping bag that can keep you warm if the temperature drops below freezing because it will regardless of the time of year you go
3. sleeping pads – the ground beneath you will most likely be rocky and you’ll be grateful for that extra padding
4. lightweight foods: energy and protein bars, fruit, snacks, sandwiches – I would recommend going to the grocery store in Odda for your supplies; it’s convenient and they have already made sandwiches if you want something a little more filling
5. bathroom supplies (i.e. toilet paper) – there are NO facilities at the top and there is very little coverage so make sure you bring a long anything you need as far as toiletries go. But TAKE YOUR TRASH WITH YOU – what you bring in, you must bring back out.
6. refillable water bottle – though the top does not have any streams, you can refill your water bottle when you’re about 30 minutes away from the Troll’s Tongue. Drink your fill before topping off your bottle as you won’t have access to water until the following morning.
7. bag for your trash – I can’t emphasize this enough. There are no trash cans at the top so please bag your trash and hike back out with it. Far too many people have left their trash at the top (including toilet paper, orange peel and banana peel etc) that it really detracts from the experience. It’s absolutely disgusting running into someone’s dirty trash so keep nature clean and take it back with you to properly dispose of.
*Sunset vs Sunrise*
If you’re interested in lesser known hikes in Norway, then check out this guide on hiking to Bondhusvatnet Lake in Folgefonna National Park.
And if you’re planning to head to Trolltunga from Bergen, the you’ll find this photo guide to Bergen helpful!
*I received a discount for my car rental with Auto Europe. However, all thoughts and opinions are my own*