Travel Tip: Vøringsfossen

Vøringsfossen is Norway’s most popular waterfall, and one of the most visited natural tourist attractions close to Bergen. One of the great things about this waterfall is that you will drive by it if you are travelling between Oslo and Bergen, making it an ideal place to stop and enjoy the nature while also getting a rest from the many hours of driving.

Vøringsfossen. Photo published with permission.

Vøringsfossen is incredibly easy to access, being only a kilometre away from the main highway across the Hardangervidda plateau. It has viewing points with fences that makes it completely safe to visit, and you are almost guaranteed to get a spectacular view of the waterfall at any point during the spring, summer or autumn.

The waterfall starts from rivers that run down the Hardangervidda plateau before dropping down into the Måbødalen below. Many people consider this one of the best attractions on the main route between Oslo and Bergen, and both children and adults will be taken aback by it’s sheer beauty and raw nature.

What makes Vøringsfossen worth a visit

Vøringsfossen is worth a visit simply due to its natural beauty! There are hundreds of spectacular sights to see on the western part of Norway, and this is one of them. The waterfall has a 182 meter drop, which is a unique sight in itself.

The viewing decks and proximity to the main road makes it very accessible, and you can easily get there by a car, or from a tour bus from Bergen or the surrounding areas. A newly constructed bridge allows you to cross the valley while getting a unique view at the waterfall, and it’s guaranteed to be nothing like anything you’ve ever seen before.

Some people just stop by Vøringsfossen when driving Rv7 to have a short break while looking at the waterfall, while others make more of their visit by spending a few hours in the area.

There are several hiking trails close to the waterfall, including one that takes you down to the basin below the drop. This is a popular hiking trail, but keep in mind that it is pretty difficult to hike back up, so make sure you bring good shoes and a bottle of water.

If you decide to go hiking, make sure to not stray away from the trail. As you can imagine, there are steep drops and slippery rocks just a few meters from the main trail, and everyone is urged to stay on the trails at all times when hiking close to the waterfall.

Vøringsfossen at the foot of the waterfall. Photo published with permission.

It is worth noting that visiting Vøringsfossen is completely free, and you can use the viewing platforms, the bridge and the hiking trails without paying a single NOK. Parking your car at the main area will cost you a few NOK, but there are also usually some available free parking spots along the road.

Guided tours to Vøringsfossen

It’s possible to book a guided tour from Bergen to Vøringsfossen, and this is a great option if you don’t want to rent a car or start the hassle of finding public transportation to get you to the waterfall.

Below are some options for anyone looking to go on a guided tour to Vøringsfossen:

Is it safe to visit Vøringsfossen?

Vøringsfossen has unfortunately lead to a few deaths over the year, mostly from tourists who have climbed over the fences to get a better look at the waterfall or a better shot for their camera lens. What many people might not realize is that the rocks are super slippery due to the humidity from the waterfall, and often has a slippery layer of algae or moss that removes the normal traction.

This has lead to a few tourists pretty much falling down the 150 meter drop, which obviously didn’t end well.

That said, it is completely safe to visit Vøringsfossen if you stay behind the bars and fences. It it pretty well-fenced, so I would say that it is safe to visit even with children, as long as you don’t allow them to climb on the fence or anything like that.

You can clearly see the fence in the photo below. You really have to go out of your way to enter any kind of danger, but as mentioned above, the rocks you see there is more treacherous than it looks.

Vøringsfossen viewpoints
The viewpoints at Vøringsfossen with Fossli Hotel in the background. Photo by Svein-Magne Tunli – / CC BY-SA 4.0.

Getting to Vøringsfossen

Vøringsfossen is located just one kilometre away from Rv7, and it’s about a 20 minute drive from the town called Eidfjord. Follow the signs towards Geilo from Eidfjord, and you will clearly see signs to the waterfall when you get close.

Most people who visit Vøringsfossen does so by driving a car, but there are also your buses who stop by. There are plenty of your buses that depart from Bergen and the surrounding area, and most tour buses who crosses Hardangervidda by Rv7 will stop by Vøringsfossen for a stop. Note that there are usually few or no buses that go on guided tours to Vøringsfossen alone, but have it as part of a tour package.

Travel time from Bergen to Vøringsfossen is about 2 hours and 35 minutes by car or bus. Total travel time from Oslo is 4 hours and 30 minutes.

Staying the night at Vøringsfossen

Vøringsfossen has a hotel called Fossli Hotel just a short walk from the waterfall, and this is the best place to stay if you can’t get enough of the waterfall. This unique hotel was build in 1891, and has an incredible view down towards the waterfall and the valley below.

The hotel has 21 rooms, so it will be pretty full during the summer months. So if you want to stay, you should probably book in advance to make sure there are vacant rooms.

The hotel has a restaurant, café and a bar, and you can stop by these even if you don’t intend to book a room. There’s even a small shop that sells souvenirs.

Fossli Hotel
Fossli Hotel. Photo by יעקב / CC BY-SA 4.0.

There are also several different hotels and inns in Eidfjord, the town closest to Vøringsfossen, and if you got a rental car you can easily drive from Eidfjord to Vøringsfossen yourself. Eidfjord is a small town where the fjord meets the mountains leading up to Hardangervidda, and it’s a cozy place to stay for a few nights.

When to go see Vøringsfossen

You can see Vøringsfossen all year round, but the best time to visit it during summer. The waterfall itself is part of a hydroelectric power plant, meaning that the power plant can choose to limit how much water that falls down, but the government limitations has put a minimum of 12 m³ water flow every second during the summer season.

This means that you are guaranteed to see the waterfall in all its glory all summer, but you might not be that lucky if you decide to visit during winter.

Keep in mind that it can be pretty chilly at Vøringsfossen even during summer, since it is pretty high up in the mountains, and the wind can be pretty strong at times.

The toilet facilities, parking and souvenir shop is open from April 1st to October 31st. It is generally not advised to visit the waterfall during winter, both because of the low water current, as well as because of the huge amounts of snow that tends to build up in the area.

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