Hiking to Trolltunga – All You Need To Know
Trolltunga (literally Troll’s Tongue) is one of Norway’s iconic hikes. In an area of wild and dramatic outstanding natural beauty, hiking Trolltunga has to be on your Norway bucket list. Our Trolltunga hike guide has all the information and tips you need to tackle this epic hike.
Intro to Trolltunga Norway
Deep in the Folgefonna National Park, Trolltunga in Norway is in the stunning Hardangerfjord region, one of the most beautiful places in Norway and home to the Folgefonna glacier and the Vøringsfossen waterfall.
Although hordes of people visit Trolltunga every year, to take their turn on the famous jutting rock, make no mistake that this is an arduous and challenging hike across the bleak and inhospitable terrain of the Hardangervidda plateau, in a country known for its changeable weather.
Preparation is key for this hike; having the correct equipment and taking the right provisions on the day and understanding the terrain and weather, and the logistics of where to stay, how to park, and getting to the starting point of the hike are all key.
Prepare well and the rewards are huge. Of Norway’s most famous hikes, this is the hiker’s choice – longer and harder than either Preikestolen (pulpit Rock) or Kjeragbolten.
Complete one of Norway’s most epic hikes; though dramatic landscapes and natural surroundings, and you’ll be part of a pretty small club (although it may feel like lots of people post that shot on Insta!).
When to Hike Trolltunga
1st June to 30th September
- The recommended season in an average year.
- A guide is not necessary.
- In June and July, you can start later in the day.
- In August and September, start by 8am to allow enough daylight hours to complete the hike.
1st October to 31st May
- Hiking is possible but it is highly recommended that you hike with an experienced guide who is familiar with the local area, such as Trolltunga Active.
- In December and January, when there is snow on the ground, it is likely that snow shoes or skis will be required.
The logistics of getting to the start point for the Trolltunga trek can be a bit confusing as there are so many options …or maybe we’re just a bit dim! We did work it out though and below we share all the options, prices and contact details for your day trip to Trolltunga.
Odda is the closest town to the trail head. With lots of accommodation options and specific Trolltunga transport, it’s the perfect place for the night before and after your hike.
Getting to Odda
If you’re staying in Bergen and want to hike Trolltunga in a day, you’ll need to leave the city very, very early. Whether you take the ferry from Tørvikbygd across Hardangerfjord, or drive via Skulestadmo, it will take at least four hours to drive from Bergen to Odda, before going on to one of the parking lots.
Unless you’re happy hiking in June until the sun sets at 11pm, this would be an extremely long day and driving after such a hike may not be advisable. Consider spending a night in Odda if you possibly can.
By Public Transport
From Bergen – take the SkySS bus route 930 from Bergen to Odda, the journey takes around three hours.
From Oslo – to do the Trolltunga hike from Oslo, take the Oslo-Voss bus route 990, which will take five to six hours to get from Oslo to Odda.
From Stavanger and Preikestolen – get the Trolltunga Preikestolen express coach service which will take around three and a half hours.
Where to Stay for the Trolltunga Hike
The site is a bit of a free for all, but has a happy vibe, clean showers (NOK20 /5 mins) and a shared kitchen and dining room. Be aware that you cannot book this site in advance, you need to be there by 2pm for the best chance of a bed or pitch.
For campervanners, there is also Odda Bobilcamp in Odda. You’ll need to be self-contained as there are no services, just hardstanding for parking, albeit with a pretty good view across the fjord – shame about the petroleum depot though!
For backpackers and road trippers, Trolltunga Camping is five minutes outside of Odda, on the Trolltunga bus route, and offers budget rooms with shared bathrooms, cottages and apartments.
Hotels & Self-Catering
If budget is not your prime consdieration, Vikinghaug Apartments are well located in the centre of Odda, and offer comfortable and clean rooms, amazing fjord views and the all-important post-Trolltunga bath.
A good middle-of the range option is the Trolltunga Hotel, just a mile from the centre of town on Lake Sandvevatnet. Some rooms have lake and glacier views, and they provide a great pre-hike breakfast and packed lunch, if required.
If you’re planning on stopping in the area a little longer, or travelling as a family, Bakkegata has one and two bedroom self-catering apartments from which to explore the region.
How to Get to Trolltunga
There are two places you can start the hike, depending on how much distance and elevation you are happy to cover on foot. These starting point are known as P2 Skjeggedal and P3 Mågelitopp, with the latter being the actual trail head, where you start off road hiking.
This is the site of the official Trolltunga parking in Tyssedal, 6km from the centre of Odda and well signed. It’s an 18km shuttle bus journey to P2 Skjeggedal from here.
The car park has no services and prohibits any kind of overnight camping or parking. Get caught sleeping in a vehicle here and you’ll face a whopping NOK500 fine.
P1 Tyssohallen is the only Trolltunga motorhome parking available as the road from P1 Tyssohallen to P2 Skjeggedal is forbidden to vehicles over 5.2m.
The first pick up at P1 is 6.15am and the last run back to P1 from P2 Skjeggedal at 8pm. Booking tickets online is advisable.
Many people start the hike from P2 at Skjeggedal, where there is a large car park, services and a cafe and information point.
The first part of the hike from here is along a switch-back tarmac private road which ends at P3 Mågelitopp. From P2, the hike to Trolltunga is 28km return with a 1200m elevation gain. The route is clearly signed.
Between 1st June and 30th September, both pick up from the main campsites and hotels in town, with the earliest departure being 5.50am and the last run back to town from P2 Skjeggedal at 8pm. Booking tickets online is advisable.
There are a limited number of parking spaces at P3, so get there as early as possible. Getting there is via Mågeliveien, the ‘Trolltunga road’, built for use by locals.
The single lane road has 17 hairpin bends and an inclination of 17%. In your vehicle is unsuitable you will be denied road access by on-site traffic attendants.
The road opens daily at about 6am and drivers permitted to proceed will first be briefed by attendants on how to navigate a steep road and how to park.
If you miss out on a parking spot or don’t want to pay the NOK600 fee, it is possible to take a shuttle bus up the steep Mågelia hillside from P2 to P3, saving 8km on the total distance and 400m on the elevation gain.
The minibus between P2 and P3 must be booked in advance. You can only book the journey up ahead of time – if you also want to take the shuttle down you can organise that at the time.
It costs about half the price as going up, when you show your initial ticket to the driver (don’t worry about language, everyone speaks English here). There is usually a small wait for the shuttle late in the afternoon as everyone starts to arrive back at the trailhead after the long return hike.
Organised Trolltunga Hiking
Are you reading this and thinking it’s all a bit complicated? Do you fancy doing the hike and staying overnight to capture the most amazing sunset and sunrise images, when no-one else is around?
Or do you prefer to get up there by via ferrata as part of a guided tour or hike out of season, or perhaps you just want someone to organise the day for you?
The Trolltunga Hike
So, you overcame the logistics of hiking Trolltunga; your bus is booked and you’re fired up and ready to go.
Before you head off into the raw wilds of Norway, selfie-stick in hand, make sure you have all the info about the hike that you need, what to expect and how to ensure you make it there and back in one piece!
Information here is based on starting at P3. From P2, the hike to Trolltunga adds 8km and 400m of elevation elevation gain, requiring at least another two hours of hiking.
You don’t need to have any technical climbing or mountaineering knowledge for this hike. However, if you’ve never hiked before then this probably isn’t the best ‘first’ hike to pick!
You need to have some degree of fitness and stamina, no respiratory issues and be able to be on the move for at least 7-8 hours, the estimated hiking time.
A determined and can-do mindset will help you keep going when you’re feeling cold and tired, especially if this is the first time you’ve hiked in this type of terrain.
Much of the hike is along level terrain, with almost all the elevation gain in the first quarter. There are quite large stone steps to climb up, flat and sloping smooth rock, rocky paths and numerous streams to get through, some with stepping stones, others without.
The risks here are of slipping, particularly during the descent of the stone staircase. Being sure-footed is an advantage – if you’re not a mountain goat, bring walking poles.
Make sure to check the Trolltunga weather before starting your hike. There is an official Facebook page where you can check weather and Trolltunga trail information before you set off. Do not hike if strong winds, heavy rain or fog are predicted.
All the advice is to start early …as in, get up at the crack of dawn and get the first bus. This is great advice in the autumn and spring when dusk comes early and it gets dark very quickly. In the summer months, it stays light until 11pm, so starting early is not so critical.
If you start a little later, you may well miss the big crowds, who generally arrive at Trolltunga around lunchtime and start to queue for their turn on the lip, sometimes the queue can be 60-70 deep and the wait up to three hours long.
Going out onto the tongue is exciting, and as you wait, you’ll see people sitting on the edge, practicing yoga and even hand-standing to try and get the perfect shot.
There is an area to the side of the tongue, where your fellow hiker(s) can capture the perfect shot. Be mindful that all around this area there are a lot of very steep drops and some unstable rocks – don’t forget where you are and be distracted, you don’t want to be the second Trolltunga death on record.
We suggest starting a little later and arriving at Trolltunga after lunch. You will be rewarded with a much shorter queue and a quieter hike home in time to catch the last bus from P2 at 8pm, and back to your hotel, tent or campervan for a much deserved beer!
Alternatively, if you’re hiking in warmer weather, start much later in the day and carry a tent and overnight supplies. You can camp (although you must not stray too far from the path) and enjoy Trolltunga at dusk or dawn, for a mostly people free experience.
Norway Travel Ideas
- Sturdy waterproof boots or approach shoes with a good grippy sole.
- A good size waterproof rucksack or day-sack to stow your stuff and keep your things dry.
- Warm clothing; layers are key here as the weather is so changeable. You will need both waterproof and windproof layers, and maybe a spare dry under-layer. Long-sleeved technical tops with lightweight windproof tops over to start are a perfect combo. We carried Gortex and down jackets and used both at various times …at one point, I had the whole lot on!
- If it’s wet or there’s snow around, then wear waterproof trousers. If you don’t have these, use gaiters to prevent water and snow ingress into your boots, giving you wet socks and thus lots of chafing and blisters.
- Plenty to eat and drink. You should not drink from the numerous streams, the water is not potable.
- If you are hiking outside of the summer season you need thermal layers, a hat, gloves and a head torch.
- Sun protection for your eyes and face in summer.
- Walking poles.
- A simple first aid kit.
- A camera!!
Trolltunga Do’s & Dont’s
- For safety reasons, don’t operate drones in the hiking areas.
- Never attach stickers onto signs or information boards. This information is vital to all hikers and helps them stay safe.
- Don’t abandon fellow hikers – stay together at all times.
- Don’t light campfires between April 15th and September 15th.
- Don’t pollute the streams by using them as a toilet.
- Leave no trace.
- Do prepare – this is key to having a great experience.
The Trolltunga Experience
We were in two minds whether to do this hike; the idea of hiking for quite a few hours through the raw, probably wet and cold mountains of Norway, to a fairly small, sticky out bit of rock, where there would be lots of other people all taking photos for Instagram seemed a bit…well, odd.
Surely there must be lots of other spectacular hikes in Norway? What about Preikestolen hike, the famous Pulpit Rock, or the Kjeragbolten hike for the famous balancing boulder? Well, neither are as challenging and both are just as crowded!
In the end, we decided to go because we thought we would always regret it if we didn’t. Hiking Trolltunga on our road trip of Norway was always a bucket list item! We wanted to take our turn on the tongue and have that special moment that relatively few people in the world will experience.
Was it the right decision? Absolutely.
As a hike, it was perfect and totally worth the effort. Challenging enough but achievable and through some of the most jaw-dropping and dramatic scenery we have ever seen. There was camaraderie on the trail, a common goal and sense of community with our fellow hikers.
The logistics associated with Trolltunga have been commercialised as much as they can be and the costs hiked (see what I did there!) to exploit people’s social media obsession.
The tongue itself is inaccessible enough to prevent it becoming a Disneyesque attraction, and I hope that it stays raw, wild and undiminished for thousands of years to come, just as Mother Nature intended.