Travel Tip: Buarbreen Glacier

Buarbreen is a glacier offshoot from Folgefonna glacier, and it’s a popular tourist attraction for anyone who want to see a real glacier when visiting Norway.

The great thing about Buarbreen is that it’s just a few kilometres away from the town called Odda, so it’s easy to get to by public transport. The hike up to the glacier itself is also pretty easy (compared to other glacier hikes), and even families who travel with children will be able to reach it.

Buarbreen glacier is one of the glaciers closest to Oslo, but it’s still a pretty long drive to get to it. However, if you are staying in Oslo and want to experience a glacier, Buarbreen is probably your best bet.

Buarbreen glacier. Photo by JoarOyg / CC BY-SA 4.0.

What makes Buarbreen worth a visit

Buarbreen is the name of two different glaciers that are both parts of Folgefonna, and it’s one of the easiest glaciers to get to in all of south-western Norway. You will get to experience a lot of beautiful nature on your hike up to the glacier, and will be rewarded with a spectacular view of the glacier when you reach your destination.

If you want to see the beauty of the Norwegian glaciers with your own eyes, then hiking up to see Buarbreen is well worth your time.

It’s also worth noting that Buarbreen is very close to a Odda, a town that is famous for it’s proximity to lots of breathtaking natural wonders. The hike to Trolltunga is one of the most popular in all of Norway, and the town is also at the end of Hardangerfjorden for those of you that want to see the Norwegian fjords on your visit.

What could be better than seeing the fjords, hiking to a glacier and experience so much different Norwegian nature in the same area?

Trolltunga is a popular tourist destination just outside Odda. Photo published with permission.

The trail to Buarbreen

The trail to Buarbreen starts at a parking spot where you can park your car for a fee of 150 NOK. It’s very close to Odda, the and trail itself is fairly easy.

During the hike, expect a pretty steep ascent with several areas where you need to use ropes to get higher (these are bolted into the mountain, so you don’t need to bring your own ropes). You will need to bring good hiking shoes, and it’s a good idea to be somewhat experienced with Norwegian hikes.

That said, there are people who hike the trail with children, so it’s possible for most people to get to the glacier. Remember to bring a bottle of water, a snack or lunch, and clothes that can handle a change of weather.

Expect the hike to take between 1 hour and 90 minutes from the beginning until you reach the glacier. It it a little faster to descent than hiking up, but expect around an hour for this as well.

The beginning of the hike starts with a typical Norwegian forest that slowly changes towards a typical mountain ecotype. The nature along the way is absolutely breathtaking, and the trail is generally very well marked, so it’s easy to follow.

There will be guides that offer group hikes, but it’s absolutely possible to do this hike all by yourself.

Buarbreen. Photo published with permission.

How to get to the beginning of the Buarbreen trail

When going to Buarbreen, you want to head towards Odda. You can get there by bus or car, and there are several different bus companies that stop by Odda when travelling from Oslo to Bergen.

From Odda, drive on Rv13 towards Buer (south), until you can see Trolltunga Hotel and the river. Take a right just before you cross the river so you get to Jordalsvegen. This will have a sign that says Buer. Follow this road (which will gradually turn into a dirt road) until you come to the parking spots in Buardalen.

The trip from Odda is only about 15 minutes with a car, and about 1 hour and 30 minutes if you for some reason want to travel by foot.

You drive by Sandvinvatnet when travelling to Buarbreen. Photo published with permission.

When to visit Buarbreen

The season for visiting Buarbreen is from May to September. You will not want to hike up to the glacier after snowfall, because this will make the trail slippery and difficult. The absolute best time to visit is during the summer months of June and July.

When it comes to the time of day, any time is fine as long as you reach the parking lot again before dark. You will not want to have to descent after the sun has set, so it’s best to start the hike early in the day. It’s a fairly short hike, so you can make it even if you start the hike in the middle of the day as long as you make sure to be prepared to getting down in time before the dark.

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