Dronningstien Hike – Panoramic Queen’s Trail In Norway

Dronningstien hike is a favorite trail of Norwegian Queen Sonja, hence named “Queen’s Trail”. Stunning views, varied terrain, and 360 degrees views, make this trail a great hike for everyone. Check all the details about the Dronningstien hike here.

Dronningstien hike cover

Dronningstien is one of the most beautiful hikes in Norway. The views from it are so stunning, that even HM Queen Sonja of Norway chose it as one of her favorite trails in the Hardangerfjord region. The hike is located in the high mountains between Kinsarvik and Lofthus and offers spectacular fjord views.

The Queen’s Trail is less known by international travel groups than other famous hikes in Norway, such as Trolltunga, Kjeragbolten, or Romsdalseggen. This makes it quieter and more tranquil!

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View from Dronningstien hike
View from Dronningstien hike

Dronningstien Hike – The Location

The Dronningstien trail lies between Kinsarvik and Lofthus in the Hardanger region of Norway.

The path is well marked, and on the top of the Hardangervidda plateau, there are blue letters “D” to guide you through the trail. 

Beginning of Dronningstien hike
Beginning of Dronningstien hike
Views from Dronningstien Queen's trail
Views from Dronningstien Queen’s trail
Views from Dronningstien Queen’s trail

Dronningstien Hike – The Details

Total distance: 16km from Røte to Lofthus (3km more, if you walk from Kinsarvik to Røte.)

Total time: 6-7 hours

Highest point: 1100m

Elevation difference: around 900 m

Path: Marked path with red T, and then blue D.

Difficulty: Demanding (but not too exposed or strenuous in my opinion).

Season: Summer (June to October, depending on snow)

Starting point: Carpark at Røte (a road 3 km up from Kinsarvik)

Endpoint: Lofthus (it can be done the other way round too). You can take a bus or a shuttle back to the car.

Dronningstien Queen's trail
Dronningstien Queen’s trail
On the way Dronningstien Queen's trail
On the way Dronningstien Queen’s trail

Car park at Dronningstien

The car park in Røte costs 200 NOK (as of June 2022). You need to pay it before entering the last part of the road up, by cash or by Vipps (Norwegian money app).

If you want, you can also park the car by the ESSO petrol station in Kinsarvik, and then walk the first part of the road up. I would recommend this option since you still need to get your car back.

We started the hike from Kinsarvik, and we drove up to the car park at Røte. I liked walking in this direction for beautiful views and then descending in Lofthus to the path surrounded by apple trees. The taste of fresh apple juice after the long hike was amazing!


However, this meant we needed to pay 200 NOK for the car park at the beginning of the trail, and then still come back to get the car. We took a public bus from Lofthus to Kinsarvik for 40 NOK per person. However, the bus didn’t go up the hill to Røte, which meant that we needed to do another 3km up to get the car (two amazing girls from our group did that for us!).

Toll fee at Dronningstien car park Kensarvik
Toll fee at Dronningstien car park Kensarvik
Views from Queen's trail
Views from Queen’s trail
View to the waterfall from Dronningstien hike
View of the waterfall from the Dronningstien hike

How to get to Dronningstien Hiking Trail – Transport to Dronnigstien

By car

This is probably the easiest way of getting to the beginning of the trail.

If you start from Kinsarvik, then drive up the road from Esso Gas Station to Røte. The car park costs 200 NOK there. Or, leave your car by the petrol station and walk up.

If you start the hike from Lofthus, you can park near the harbor next to the Bunnpris (free).

By bus

There is a bus that goes between Lofthus and Kinsarvik – check the timetable here. The trip takes around 15 min and costs 40 NOK pp.

By shuttlebus

There is a shuttle bus that runs in the high season from Lofthus to the beginning of the Dronningstien hike at Røte and costs 165 NOK per person. Check more detail here.

Lofthus, views from Dronningstien hike
Lofthus, views from Dronningstien hike
Dronningstien hike
Dronningstien hike

Dronningstien Hike Description

The hike is described as long and demanding with a steep descent towards Lofthus. Towards the end, I could definitely feel my legs being tired. My Strava app showed me a moving time of 4 hours and 20 minutes. In total, we took 6 hours and 50 minutes to complete the trail (with many photos stops).

Dronningstien Map

Dronningstien Map
Dronningstien Map

Stages of Dronningstien hiking trail

During the hike, you walk through forests, high mountains, and lush orchards.

The beginning of the hike is all going up along the gravel road. There are some occasional views on the way.

Once you reach the beginning of the high plateau and the sign of “Dronningstien” with HM Queen Sonja stone in front of it, the breathtaking views of Hardangerfjord start there. It doesn’t take long to realize why this hike is one of the Queen’s favorites.

On top of the plateau, there are some ups and downs but the terrain is relatively flat.

At all points, the views of Hardangerfjord are to the right. Along the way, you can admire the views of Kinsarvik, Lofthus, Hardangerfjord, and Edifjord.

Snow on Dronningstien hike
Snow on Dronningstien hike in June

In June there was plenty of fresh water on the trail in form of rivers.

The high point of a route is a cairn at 1110m with a box including a tour book you can sign.

From here, it is mostly descending all the way back to Lofthus.

Highest point of Dronningstien hike
The highest point of the Dronningstien hike
View point of Dronningstien hike
Viewpoint of Dronningstien hike

Queen’s Trail – Monk Steps

On the Lofthus side of the Queen’s Trail, you can find a big stone staircase with over 600 steps. These are the Munktrappene (Monk Steps), which were built by monks between the 13th and 16th centuries.

The descent is steep and winding. It eventually reaches tree coverage and then opens up to the view of Lofthus and fruit farms.

Don’t forget to buy a bottle of apple juice or cider from the local farm at the end of the hike. Along the trail, there are some self-serving fridges, where you just take what you want, and send money by Vipps (or cash into the box).

Lofthus
Lofthus
Apple trees in Lofthus on the way down from Dronningstien
Apple trees in Lofthus on the way down from Dronningstien
Apple juice in Lofthus on the way down from Dronningstien
Apple juice in Lofthus on the way down from Dronningstien

Where to stay near the Dronningstien hike?

There are several places for good Dronningstien hike accommodation in nearby villages. The towns are all very pretty, so you can be guaranteed to have amazing views. Some of the recommended places include guest houses, campsites, and hotels in Lofthus and Kinsarvik or Eidfjord:

Loftus as seen from above
Lofthus
Lofthus

Have you done Dronningstien hike before? Would you like to do it? Let me know in the comments!



Read more about Norway:

Tips on how to travel Norway on a budget

Kjerag hike without the crowds – Kjeragbolten

Best Norwegian gifts and souvenirs to bring back from your trip

Trolltunga via ferrata

Best via Ferrata routes in Norway and other adventurous activities

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