Trolltunga, the iconic rock in Norway is known for its stunning views, long trail, and well, tourists. The popularity of the Trolltunga hike makes the trail busy, especially in the high season. Luckily, there is another way of hiking Trolltunga and admiring the views – by climbing the wall of Trolltunga via Ferrata. And you don’t even have to have any climbing experience! It’s an adventurous off-the-beaten way of getting to the famous rock and so much fun. Check out how you can climb Trolltunga via Ferrata yourself.
Trolltunga (“Troll Tounge”), the most spectacular formation in Norway is a flat rock sticking out of the edge of the mountain cliff, like a tongue. Positioned at 1,100 meters above sea level and hovering 700 meters over the Ringedalsvatnet lake, at the western edge of the Hardangervidda plateau, it provides magnificent views of the area around. Trolltunga hike is one of the best hikes in Norway, which makes it no surprise that it’s visited annually by 80,000 people.
Hiking Trolltunga was on my list since I moved to Oslo three years ago. However, the increasing popularity of the hike was putting me off a little bit. You know, I am not a fan of crowds in general, and crowds in the mountains are something that I have nightmares about. Why go somewhere and wait in the queue for 2 hours (yes, really), when Norway has so many other amazing hikes and views? But there are places that are so special, and that everyone talks about that you want to also see for yourself. The Trolltunga charm was haunting me and I decided to finally climb it.
But before that, I was looking for ways of avoiding the masses of tourists flocking to the trail. There are ways to avoid crowds, even in the most popular locations, like Kjerag hike, the one with the stone hanging above the fjord. I knew I need to find a way for Trolltunga.
Trolltunga Via Ferrata and Trolltunga Hike
The hike to Trolltunga is long and demanding (but worth what you get at the end!).
From the main parking P2 in Skjeggedal, the round trip is 28 km with an ascent of 800 meters. The hike usually takes between 8-12 hours in both ways. If you start from the car park P2, like most people, the first part of the journey would lead you through the windy asphalt 3-kilometer long road.
To avoid the unpleasant asphalt walk and shorten the hike, you can start from the top car park at P3 Mågelitopp. The hike from there takes a 20 km round trip and around 7-10 hours with 300 meters ascent. Unfortunately, the top car park is very small and only has space for 30 cars. Alternatively, you can take a bus there, but this adds to the whole cost of the trip (which is not cheap, considering the car park charges).
This trail is very popular with people and you can see groups going in each direction every day in the summer. You go up one way and come down exactly the same way. After the initial steep climb, it follows the plateau, which is nice, but it can get a bit boring after a while until you reach the lake viewpoint.
However, if you want to make things a bit more interesting, you have one more option for climbing Trolltunga – the Trolltunga via Ferrata. From the Ferrata, you first walk by the lake on a nice flat and shaded path, and then you climb up the wall, from where you have a constant stunning view of the Ringedalsvatnet lake. You can take a normal trail back to the car park.
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Trolltunga via Ferrata
Via Ferrata in Italian means “iron path”. It is a protected climbing route, typically with metal ladders, grips, and wires. In 2005, the new via Ferrata to Trolltunga has been open. Now, instead of taking the same hiking route up and down, you can awaken your adventurous self and scale the steep face of the mountain to get to Trolltunga.
The route is not difficult (graded between B/C), and consists mainly of the metal steps hanging on the wall. There are plenty of places to stop and rest and admire the view below. And a good part? You don’t need any special climbing experience or knowledge. When you go with a guide, everything will be taken care of. If you’ve already done some via Ferratas before, you can try to do this one on your own.
We took around 2 hours to climb it, with a very relaxed pace, a lot of breaks, and waiting for the organized group in front of us to pass. In nice weather, it gets quite hot on the wall, so bring plenty of water.
We were climbing end of June and the hiking trail was still covered partially in snow, but there was no snow on the via Ferrata.
Useful information for Trolltunga via Ferrata and hike
Trolltunga via Ferrata
The route is created on the wall below Trolltunga rock, near Odda town in Vestland, Norway.
The car park at Skjeggedal. The cost for a day ticket (until midnight) is 500 NOK. From the car park, you need to walk 6 kilometers along the lake by the asphalt road and then a gravel road, crossing a few streams on the way. When you go with a group, you cycle this part. You can rent the bikes from the P2 car park, but it’s rather pricey (400 NOK).
After 6 kilometers you will reach a small wooden bridge. After the bridge, you should see the board with ground rules and information about the Via Ferrata. Take the path that goes into the forest and follow it up. It’s quite steep. After some time you will come out of the forest onto the smooth rocks. Cross the loose rock debris and you should see another via Ferrata board and the metal steps going up on the rock.
The length of via Ferrata is 250 meters and the total ascent is 800 meters. It takes between 1-3 hours to climb depending on the pace.
After the via Ferrata, you still have 1-2 kilometers to walk to Trolltunga.
Trolltunga via Ferrata equipment and the guide
You can climb via Ferrata without the guide if you have climbing or via Ferrata experience, and pay via Ferrata fee of 350 NOK. You can also use your own equipment. In case you don’t have it, it’s also possible to rent it on the spot at the Trolltunga Active office. They also offer guided tours, in case you don’t want to climb alone.
The way back from Trolltunga
After reaching Trolltunga with via Ferrata and a short hike, you can come back down the same way or along the normal trail. The descent on via Ferrata is possible only after 3 pm. I have never tried going down with this route, so I am not sure how comfortable that would be. Alternatively, you can take a normal hiking route back, which is what I did.
In the high season (during the summer holidays, which is typically July), there is often a queue for the pictures on Trolltunga. Take this into consideration for planning of your Trolltunga hike or Trolltunga via Ferrata climb. To minimize the chances for the crowds and have a rock to (almost yourself), you can wild camp in the area overnight (but this idea has increasing popularity).
The rock itself is not scary, but be careful when you walk close to the edge. There have been some accidents because of falling from the rock. Remember – your life is more important than a photo!
Trolltunga Hike useful info
The hike to Trolltunga is long and can be demanding depending on the weather. The first part is very steep and follows an asphalt road. The rest of the hike goes through a plateau.
The weather in the mountains can change rapidly. Do not hike when heavy rain, strong wind, or fog are predicted. Attempt the hike only when you feel confident that you will be able to come back down on time (before the darkness – luckily, in the summer months the sun stays up for very long). Hiking Trolltunga in winter is very demanding and shouldn’t be attempted by inexperienced hikers.
The hike is recommended from the beginning of June (depending on when the snow melts) till the end of September. Start the hike very early in the morning, so you can come back on time.
Signs along the trail to Trolltunga show the remaining distance to Trolltunga and back to the car park. There is mobile coverage on most of the hike.
How to get to Trolltunga and Trolltunga car park prices
The easiest is to drive a car and follow route 13 to Tyssedal, 6 km from the center of Odda. There is also public transport with buses to Odda and then shuttle buses from Odda to Parking 1 and Parking 2.
Car park costs (prices for June 2020):
P1 in Tyssedal parking fee
Same day (until midnight) – NOK 300
Two days (until midnight) – NOK 500
Three days (until midnight) – NOK 700
Distance to Trolltunga: 40 km return hike, ascent: 1040 m, hiking time: 15 hours
P2 in Skjeggedal (180 spaces) parking fee
Same day (until midnight) – NOK 500
Two days (until midnight) – NOK 700
Three days (until midnight) – NOK 900
Distance to Trolltunga: 28 km return hike, ascent: 800 m, hiking time: 8–12 hours
P3 Mågelitopp parking fee (private road/toll) – 30 parking spaces.
NOK 600 per day, pre-booking only
Distance to Trolltunga: 20 km return hike, ascent: 320 m, hiking time: 7–10 hours
There is a shuttle bus with a limited capacity between P2 Skjeggedal and P3 Mågelitopp.
Where to stay near Trolltunga hike
Trolltunga is located in the middle of the mountains, so there is not much infrastructure around. However, in the small towns around, you can find hotels and apartments to stay. With the increasing popularity of the site, it’s recommended that you book your accommodation early, even a few months in advance. With Booking, you can usually cancel for free if your plans change.
The best place to stay around Trolltunga is in Tyssedal or Odda, as they are the closest to the hike.
Recommended places to stay in Tyssedal:
Recommended places to stay in Odda:
Bakkegata The blue House – cozy apartments in the central but quiet part of town, you have access to a private kitchen, which helps to travel Norway on a budget. Check the best prices and availability here.
Odda Camping – great budget option for a stay near Trolltunga. They offer basic guest rooms and cottages, as well as space to pitch the tents. The campsite is located just by the lake, so you can have nice views every morning when you wake up. Check the best prices and availability here.
What to pack for Trolltunga via Ferrata and Trolltunga hike
If you plan to climb to Trolltunga Via Ferrata, try to pack as light as possible. It’s not easy to climb when your backpack is pulling you down. Here are the must-have items for the Trolltunga hike:
- enough food and water for a day
- a water filter can be useful for filtering water from the streams if you don’t want to carry all of it with you.
- suncream – I always take this suncream as it has great protection, good skincare, and is perfect for kids and adults on face and body.
- good waterproof hiking shoes with ankle support – Check the price and models here.
- waterproof and windproof jacket and trousers
- first aid kit
- additional clothes for when it gets cold – I swear by the merino wool base layers ( merino wool top and merino wool bottoms), on the photos from via Ferrata, I’m wearing a merino wool T-shirt.
- Sunglasses – Check UV sunglasses in good price here
For via Ferrata add:
- Climbing harness
- Via Ferrata set
- Climbing helmet
- Comfortable trousers
Read more about Norway:
Have you done the Trolltunga hike? Or maybe you have tried Trolltunga via Ferrata? Would you like to? Let me know in the comments!
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