The Complete Guide to Hiking Trolltunga, Norway

trolltunga

Trolltunga, or “troll’s tongue”, has become one of the world’s ultimate new places to visit, and perhaps more importantly, to get the ultimate Instagram pic..!

I would be lying if I said we went without the goal of getting awesome pics, but it must be said that the hike is TOUGH – and not enough people go prepared.

The number of news articles going out each month detailing more rescues and more ‘idiotic tourist trends’ are on the rise. See here, here and here. It’s easy to get Trolltunga wrong and it is by no means a walk in the park, so read on to know everything you could need to know about this epic hike!

trolltunga

What is Trolltunga and where is it?

Trolltunga is a huge protruding rock that juts out over a huge lake called Ringedalsvatnet. It’s arguably one of the most stunning areas in Europe and one of the most spectacular scenic cliffs in Norway, for sure.

trolltunga

Trolltunga is situated about 700 metres above the lake, and the distance from the starting point to Trolltunga and back is 23km with an ascent of about 1000 metres. Now while 23km doesn’t sound shockingly far, it takes most hikers, on average 10-12 hours to complete this return trip. The terrain is tough, and this is a long and demanding hike!

The main hike route starts in a place called Skjeggedal, near to the towns of Tyssedel and Odda.

trolltunga

trolltunga

When is the best time to go?

Hikers can only access the hike from late-May/early-June to mid-September. Any earlier or later than this and you’d face snow and adverse weather conditions. However, you can snowshoe hike with a local company from about March time (if that appeals).

How to get to Trolltunga?

The nearest main airport is Bergen, a town around a 3 hour drive away. I would 100% highly encourage renting a car, for both ease, comfort, speed and time efficiency. Public buses do run from Bergen but it all seems like a lot of hassle.

The roads are really safe and driving in Norway is really straight forward – plus you can stop wherever en route to capture the beautiful scenery!

trolltunga

trolltunga

Where to stay before and after Trolltunga?

Undoubtedly Bergen makes for a beautiful stay but I would strongly recommend staying a lot closer to the start of the hike. You absolutely need to start the hike around 6am, and travelling from Bergen would make for a very long day!

There are numerous AirBnb options around the towns, but we had a very pleasant stay camping at Odda Camping. We camped (in our own tent) the night before the hike, but the night after, we treated ourselves to one of their onsite cabins. A soft bed and some warmth was much appreciated!

It’s worth noting you have to pay for hot water showers on site.

This website here offers a great selection of other accommodation options in the area, which I’m sure is being increased by the month.

trolltunga

Can I camp on the route?

Norway allows people to freely camp on the route (I believe it is part of their law to allow people to camp anywhere!) We saw many people with camping gear on their back and I must say, what a location to pitch a tent! You would need to be fully self sufficient and aware that there are no facilities of any type around.

Where can I park if I drive to the start of the hike?

Assuming you arrive before or around 6am, you should be able to access the higher up car park. When you approach Skjeggedal, you’ll see the main car park, but do try and follow the lane further up the mountain. It goes for a few more miles and the car park is directly at the start of the hike. Otherwise, you have to take a shuttle bus from the lower car so definitely arrive early enough!

You have to pay for a day pass at the start (although this was broken when we went so unsure of latest prices). Also, you’ll find toilets here and these will be the last ones on the route!

trolltunga

What should I bring with me on the hike?

The most absolutely essential things would be some solid hiking boots and lots of layers. The weather is incredibly changeable, not just throughout the day but also just as you turn round each cliff face. Gloves are useful too!

Proper hiking boots are so important –  we were shocked to see some people stumbling along in flip flops (honestly…!).

trolltunga

Lots of snacks. One of the most important things I can share in this blog post is that there are NO vendors, shops, toilets, stalls, stands or anything on this route. Now this may change in the future, but you have to come equipped with anything and everything you could need for a full long day of hiking in the Norwegian fjords.

Torch – just in case!

There is also limited phone signal – but there are emergency phones en route – and at the timing of writing, only one emergency shelter for if you get into real trouble.

How do I know the route and where to go?

The route starts at the car park, and is very clearly marked. There route is clearly marked the whole way, although sometimes just with red spray paint arrows.

Should I pay for a guide?

We seriously considered this, but actually the route is so clearly marked. The majority of people doing the hike are not with guided tours.

trolltunga

My top 10 tips for hiking Trolltunga:

Start early.

This is probably the most valuable thing I can pass. There are many signs on the route that say things like “if you haven’t passed this point by 1pm, PLEASE TURN BACK”. So many people ignore these signs, continue on, get stuck out on the mountains in pitch black darkness and have to come and get rescued by helicopter. It’s dangerous and it’s putting a huge strain on the local emergency services.

Let someone know you’re doing the hike. 

Whether they’re at home or your campsite/hotel – just let someone know.

Leave contingency days. 

Do not attempt this hike if the weather forecast is outright bad. Leave spare days in your travel plan to give you a number to pick from.

Don’t take numerous full bottles of water. 

You can fill up with fresh cold safe drinking water from the springs along the way. So don’t waste precious energy and space carrying full water bottles.

Take fresh socks. 

It’s really nice to put some fresh, soft, clean hiking socks on at the halfway point.

Charge camera and phone – and bring a charging brick. 

You’ll be gutted if you miss the opportunity to take pics up there. But, in case it wasn’t obvious, there’s no definitely no charging points on the way

Bring toilet roll.

There are no toilets en route.

Prepare to spend a good hour (or longer) at the top to queue to take your photo. 

Yep, really. There’s a long line to take photos, plus we saw two proposals in the time we were there too!

Bring plastics bags for your litter.

There are no bins en route and no team monitoring the litter (literally no-one manages the hike, as such) so try to take all your rubbish away with you – it’s so unsightly to leave it!

Fitness levels. 

It might not be a really long hike, but some sections are incredibly steep. Especially the first km, which is almost a sheer wall mud side with ropes to pull yourself up. You really need to feel confident that you can do this hike – it’s tough but totally worth it!!

trolltunga

trolltunga

trolltunga

trolltunga

 

 

 

 

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16 Comments

  1. Jenny
    July 20, 2017 / 9:43 am

    I found this guide really informative ! Thanks!

  2. August 7, 2017 / 2:22 pm

    I’ve seen pictures of Troltunga thousands of times, but it always looked so complicated to get there. Thanks for the useful information!

  3. August 7, 2017 / 3:35 pm

    This is great information, and I especially appreciate the honesty about the challenge of the hike and the need to be prepared. And you are right, those are some awesome pictures and views!

  4. August 7, 2017 / 10:38 pm

    Wow, what beautiful, unspoiled nature! I’m not sure I could handle a hike that long/far but for a view like that it sure is tempting!

  5. August 8, 2017 / 4:19 am

    We spent a year slow traveling through Europe in an RV and staying mainly at campsites. We’re planning to return but this time focus on Northern Europe, and we’re now adding Trolltunga to our list, so thank you!

  6. August 8, 2017 / 3:16 pm

    Super informative post! Thank you. I am not sure when I will get to Norway next but this is on my list for then 🙂

  7. August 8, 2017 / 4:23 pm

    Leaving contingency days couldn’t be more true. Wow, great read.

  8. August 15, 2017 / 12:11 pm

    Wow this is just an amazing blog post! I love it! I have always wanted to go to Norway, I don’t know if I could do all the hiking you did, but I sure would enjoy these views!

  9. August 15, 2017 / 11:04 pm

    What amazing photos! And thank you for the information too. I thought that the maps were especially helpful for those of us who haven’t been to Norway yet 🙂

  10. August 15, 2017 / 11:44 pm

    I’ve been dying to go to Norway for so long! Trolltunga is just one of those places that keeps popping up everywhere and I definitely wanna do the hike when I get there one day. Bit scared of the snow though as I tend to be super unlucky with weather and I often end up to places where there shouldn’t be snow blocking my way. Love your pictures btw!

  11. August 16, 2017 / 9:36 am

    The view from Trolltunga is simply incredible! The hike might be tough, but I think it’s worth it. 🙂 Great useful post! 😀

  12. August 16, 2017 / 9:45 am

    Trolltunga is such a dream ! I would love to visit one day! Your photos are so beautiful!! They want me to pack my bags now! 🙂

  13. August 16, 2017 / 9:46 am

    Amazing article, my friend is doing Erasmus in Norway next year and I’m hoping to go out an visit her. Definitely putting this on the hit list!

  14. August 16, 2017 / 1:32 pm

    such stunning views!!! I haven’t been to Norway for years – it is just so beautiful.

  15. August 16, 2017 / 9:12 pm

    i need to visit norway! might be an awesom country, perfect to take “artistic” pics ahah

  16. August 17, 2017 / 5:15 am

    I have seen so many images of this rock… your pics are wonderful. It certainly does not seem like a walk in the park to get there… 🙂 but the pay off with the views must be amazing! Great tips, yes… most people would not think of toilet paper. Very much needed!

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