Hiking Trolltunga in Norway
Trolltunga, or “troll’s tongue”, has become one of the world’s most popular new hikes to complete. In many ways, this is due to its stunning scenery and the incredible photo-taking opportunity this hike offers. Including the famous ‘sit on the edge of the rock’ shot. You know the one..
I would be lying if I said we went to Trolltunga without the goal of getting at least a few awesome pics. What we were not prepared for was that the hike was tough. We were really well prepared to hike Trolltunga, but there were plenty of people who were not prepared.
It’s so easy to get Trolltunga wrong and it is by no means a walk in the park, so read on to find out everything you could need to know about this epic hike in Norway!
What is Trolltunga and where is it?
Trolltunga is a huge protruding rock that juts out over a huge lake called Ringedalsvatnet in Eastern Norway It’s arguably one of the most stunning areas in Europe and one of the most spectacular scenic cliffs in Norway, for sure.
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 to Trolltunga starts in a place called Skjeggedal, near to the towns of Tyssedel and Odda.
When is the best time to go to Trolltunga?
Hikers can only access the Trolltunga hike route from late-May or 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 the start of Trolltunga?
The nearest main airport is Bergen, a town around a 3 hour drive away from Trolltunga. I would 100% highly encourage renting a car, for both ease, comfort, speed and time efficiency.
Public buses do run from Bergen but the timings were not convenient, nor did it seem viable with all of our camping gear.
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!
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.
Can I camp on the Trolltunga route?
Norway allows people to freely camp on the Trolltunga 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 Trolltunga hike?
Assuming you arrive before or around 6am, you should be able to access the car park which is located higher up.
As 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 park, so definitely arrive early enough so you don’t have to add this on too.
You have to pay for a day pass for the car park at the entrance (although this was out of use when we went so unsure of latest prices).
Also, you’ll find toilets here and these will be the last proper ones on the route!
What should I bring with me on the Trolltunga hike?
- The most absolutely essential things to take for hiking Trolttunga 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. I can’t even count the number of times I stripped layers off, before putting them back on again!
- Gloves are useful too!
- Proper hiking boots are so important. We were shocked to see some people stumbling along in flip flops across the rough and jagged terrain.
- Take 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. At the timing of writing, there is only one emergency shelter to use in case you get into real trouble.
How do I find the Trolltunga route and where to go?
The Trolltunga route starts at the car park, and is very clearly marked. The route is clearly marked the whole way, although sometimes just with red spray paint arrows on the rocks.
Should I pay for a guide to hike in Trolltunga?
We seriously considered this, but we did find the route to be clearly marked. The majority of people doing the hike are not with guided tours however, if you were interested in joining a small group tour, GetYourGuide has some excellent options below.
These include more adventurous options you couldn’t do alone, such as climbing and zip-lining.
My Top 10 Tips to Hiking Trolltunga:
This is probably the most valuable thing I can share in this guide to Trolltunga.
There are many signs on the route that say things like “if you haven’t passed this point by 1pm, PLEASE TURN BACK”.
Yet so many people ignore these signs, continue on, get stuck out on the mountains in pitch black darkness. These are the people that then have to be 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 Trolltunga hike
Whether they’re at home or your campsite/hotel – just let someone know.
Leave contingency days
Do not attempt the Trolltunga hike if the weather forecast is poor. 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 photos 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 queue to take your photo at the actual Trolltunga rock
Prepare to spend a good hour (or longer) at the top waiting to take your photos. Yep, really. There’s a long line to take photos, plus we saw two proposals in the time we were there too!
Bring plastic 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!
It might not be a really long hike, but some sections of the Trolltunga route 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!!
My Guide to Hiking Trolltunga in Norway
I hope this guide has been useful for anyone considering hiking Trolltunga this year!
Feel free to drop me a line if you would like any advice or further recommendations!
If you’re looking for other interesting destinations to go hiking, have you considered Morocco? Read all about hiking in the Rif Mountains in Morocco
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Disclaimer: This visit to the Norway and Trolltunga was entirely paid for by myself and there was no involvement from the tourism board or a hotel. This is an independent guide.