Norway with a child and a van - Hardangerfjord, Hardangervidda, Hallingskarvet

Posted on August 19, 2022 • 17 min read • 3,588 words
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Norway with a child and a van - Hardangerfjord, Hardangervidda, Hallingskarvet


You may have noticed it in our travel vlogs. We decided to skip Bergen. Not because we couldn’t make it, but rather because it seems extraordinarily unattractive for motorhomes. Parking spaces are rare and expensive and an overnight stay is almost impossible. We’ll probably come back again by train. It’s not that difficult from Copenhagen after all.

Instead, we explored the Hardangerfjord. You must have noticed in the last article that we really liked the designated Norwegian tourist routes. At the Hardangerfjord there is another such road and it reveals a completely different Norway to us.

Numerous types of fruit grow in plantations along the slopes of the Hardangerfjord and there are apple, plum and cherry booths in each of the small towns along the way.

Steinstø Kakebu

In this area, a stop at one of these outlets is definitely a must. At the Steinstø cake house we found what we were looking for during the bright sunshine. Sitting here in the warm sun by the water and eating cake and burgers, you might think we were somewhere in Italy. The climate feels so warm and Mediterranean to us after the last rather cold days.


After a short ferry crossing we drive back via Jondal on the opposite side of the Hardangerfjord. Here, the spectacle continues and along the entire road the slopes are full of orchards.

In the evening we can still admire the view of the Hardangerfjord from a simple parking lot on the side of the road.

Eidfjord Norsk Natursenter Hardanger

The next morning we go straight back to a ferry and back to our originally planned route. On the way to Hardangervidda, we stop in Eidfjord at Norsk Natursenter Hardanger. It’s time for us to enjoy some typical Norwegian food here. Rømmegraut is a porridge made from flour and sour cream, served with cinnamon, sugar and smoked sausage. This is said to be a tradition at peasant weddings in particular. But I can’t say how you want to ensure that the guests don’t run away. For our taste, this is very intense and a very strange mixture of sour, sweet and tart smoked sausage.


A little later we stop at Vøringfossen, a large waterfall that has fallen victim to mass tourism due to its impressive stairs and viewing platforms.

We meet several tour groups from different cruise ships here at the same time. This time we’re particularly fond of the Americans — or rather, they’re fond of our carrying frame. We even have to pose as models so that those who stay at home can admire what great things the Europeans have for their children. It was really almost comparable to as it was in China more than 10 years ago. Is that actually still the case today?

In any case, you have wonderful views from the platforms and the stairs over the waterfall and can explore the area in the best possible way and without much effort.

Before we continue to our next place to stay, we stop briefly at the only supermarket right here at the national park. Entry is only possible with a credit card, you have to pay yourself at the cash desk, and you can only get out with the same credit card. This means that the supermarket can do without any staff at all. Really ideal for a remote area like this. Oh yes, I may not forget one thing: Tesla charging stations are of course also available directly at the supermarket.


For the night we chose a small parking lot at a reservoir. A small dead end takes you to a slightly higher terrace and from up here you have a fantastic view of the tourist route through the Hardangervidda.

Directly on the slope in front of our car we discover numerous blueberry bushes and what could not be more obvious than to go pick a round. Unfortunately the weather isn’t playing along tonight and it’s raining. But that’s not a problem for us. Today’s schedule is already done.

Dyranut Fjellstova

The next morning, after a leisurely breakfast, we do just a short drive to Dyranut Fjellstova, one of the many hiker’s cabins in the Norwegian national parks. We have only planned a short round of about 5km. The path starts directly at the hut and first leads over a wide path to a small lake and then further down a hill. Here we leave the wide path and turn on a circuit around this hill to arrive back at the hut at the end — at least that was the plan. Immediately after leaving the wide driveway, the path through the bushes also leaves us. So while we are more or less annoyed looking for a way through the impassable bushes, our little one cannot really sleep. Only after the 6th round of Baby Shark sounds from our carrying frame she calmes down and sleep through the rest of our search. How lonely and quiet it is here. Optimal conditions for further testing of the sound quality of our mobile phones with Baby Shark.

Along the way, there are again a lot of small blueberry bushes. Really pleasant to be spoiled like this on a hike.

We soon come back to a recognizable path and from here it is a leisurely hike back to the hut where we started.

Here there is finally something to eat and, above all, usable internet! So we’re quickly back to uploading and distributing the latest videos to YouTube for you. However, even in Norway, the internet in a hiker’s cabin is only suitable for large uploads to a limited extent. In the end none of our videos have finished uploading and we have to pause the daily video update for today. Bad luck!

Trondsbu Turisthytte

After our first short exploration tour through the Hardangervidda, we want to get a little further off the main road and have chosen a large gravel parking lot for the night. Here we can then start tomorrow directly for a hike deeper into the nature reserve.

At sunset I try to get some reception for my cell phone one last time to finish the upload to Youtube. Actually, some internet reception would also be helpful for planning the hike for tomorrow. I have offline maps with me, but unfortunately it is not possible to plan a route with the correct route lengths and elevation profile without the internet.

However, on two walks with the magnificent light of the sunset it is not possible to get even one bar of reception. We really must have arrived in the wasteland.

According to the information boards, there are wild reindeer and even arctic foxes in this area. So we can look forward to the hike tomorrow!

So, in the evening we drank our tea and roughly planned the hike for tomorrow. From the window we saw two women getting ready in the dark to set off on a hike. Well. It’s late and dark, but the Norwegians will know what they’re doing — or so we thought. A little later we notice how one of the two hikers with their dog slipped in the bushes less than 20 meters in front of our car and apparently didn’t get up again. Her partner has already moved on and doesn’t seem to be coming back either. So we help her back on her feet. Her backpack was probably too heavy to get up alone. It is her first trip with so much luggage, but she has her experienced friend with her. We don’t understand why she doesn’t keep an eye on her obviously inexperienced colleague, why she sets out at night without a headlamp and 50m away instead of on the path. And we always thought we would start our tours spontaneously and with insufficient preparation…

Hardangervidda - Sandhaug

The next morning, as we get ready to set out on our trek, we can see the two women from last night still busy dismantling their tents. What they absolutely had to do in the dark yesterday and then pitch their tents only 100m away will probably remain a secret forever.

So we start our hike into Hardangervidda National Park. This is the largest plateau in Europe and, with its approx. 8000km², lies at an average altitude of around 1200 to 1400 metres. Here is also Norway’s largest herd of wild reindeer with around 15,000 animals. However, given the size of the area, sightings are far from guaranteed.

As is often the case, our hike begins with a somewhat high-spirited dwarf who really wants to walk herself. So we need almost 20 minutes for the first 200 meters. Only then does the little one want to switch to the carrying frame. This is where our hike really begins. After overcoming a small hill (didn’t that say plateau?!), we find some more hikers’ cabins from the Norwegian Hiking Association. Some of these can also be booked as accommodation on multi-day tours. Some even have food on site to make eating on the go easier.

All in all, however, it is as empty as you can expect on our hiking trail towards Sandhaug. In the 2:30 hours to our turning point, we only meet a handful of other people. For example, some anglers who go to the many lakes in the area with their tent and fishing gear. Just around Langvatnet you will find some tents and the associated fishing friends.

So while some are after fish, others are more likely to try larger game. Two hunters who came towards us with their rifles were more likely to be hunting reindeer. Somehow an unusual sight when you meet people with big guns.

After about 2:30 hours we decide that we’ve had enough and take a longer break with a snack before heading back.

It would have been a good 12km from our starting point to the next hut. Including the way back, that would have been 25km for us in one day. This is very sporty with the carrying frame and too much for us. Instead we enjoy bread and sausage with a wonderful view over the open expanse in the bright sun. Then it’s the same way back. Here we meet an older lady in the late afternoon who obviously still wants to go to that hut. We suspect we wouldn’t be able to get there from here before 6 or 7 p.m. She doesn’t look particularly sporty and her small luggage doesn’t seem to be enough for an overnight stay. Another Norwegian with strange ideas. Maybe that’s the norm around here? It’s not far for us and behind the next hilltop we can already see the big lake, at the end of which our Dumbo is parked.


Since we don’t want to stay another night in the wilderness — we have to upload and publish another video, after all, we drive back to the main road through the Hardangervidda and look for a great parking lot with sunshine and a completely unobstructed view over the north half of the plateau.

The next morning we visit the Samegammene sale across the street. A sale of locally sourced reindeer and sheepskins run by a Sami people. He escaped from Swedish Lapland at the time of persecution and set up a shop here. Until a few years ago, he was still in charge of sales himself, but the business has now been handed over to another company. We still get two nice sheepskins for our camping chairs and the back seat in Dumbo. With the temperatures here, that’s a good idea.


The next morning, unfortunately, the weather is rather bad and our legs are still tired from the long hike yesterday. Accordingly, we skip the actually planned bike tour on the other half of Rallervegen and instead go to Geilo for shopping.

Here we do what we always do when arriving back in civilization: we go to a café and use the available internet to upload the next videos. Of course there is also coffee and cake.

In the outdoor outlet next door we are on a shopping spree. Here everything is reduced by a good half. So at least all things for children. So there is a new jacket for the winter and great hiking shoes for the small one. Of course, I didn’t find the new sunglasses I was actually looking for. So you have to live with the old ones on the photos… What we still don’t really know is where we’re supposed to go this afternoon. We don’t want to go straight back to Oslo yet, it’s still too early for that. But with the only moderate weather with gray low-hanging clouds and repeated showers, nothing really makes sense outside. On the way back to the car we discover an information board that shows the place schematically and above all shows the way to cross-country ski runs and ski lifts. That’s not exactly our plan right now, but we also discover a small alpine pasture located on a mountain above Geilo. From there you could still have a good view of the town and maybe even the Hardangervidda National Park again.

So we make our way there without further ado. Of course, Park4Night also has a parking space here.

Alternatively, we had considered staying nearby and taking the train tomorrow for our planned bike tour. After all, the bike path is laid out on an old supply route that was created during the construction of the railway line. Accordingly, the same places can also be reached by train in almost the same way — just like we did in Flåm.


The way to the Prestholtseter — the alpine pasture that we identified — once again leads over a toll road. With the equivalent of 8€, this is quite cheap. The Prestholtseter is an old hut where goats have been raised for over 100 years. There is also a café here, which invites you to take a break in the summer. Unfortunately we are too late, the hut has already closed for this season in mid-August. So we bake our own cake in the car and enjoy the peace and silence. Apart from us (and tons of goats and sheep) there is nobody here.

The next morning we start our hike. The tour starts just a few meters from our car with the first challenge. Somehow we have to cross the poo of what feels like a thousand goats and sheep, preferably without completely soiling our shoes. Our little one was allowed to walk by herself up to this point, but then she has to go into the carrying frame. We don’t want to clean her shoes as well and who knows how interesting all those dark stones on the floor are…

The path first leads up the slope. From here you already have a great view of the valley. Admittedly, the weather is not really playing along today and the higher we get, the more the view disappears in fog and clouds. Over time, the ascent becomes steeper and steeper as it leads us further up through a notch.

Yesterday we learned from an information board that the stone steps that lead us up our ascent haven’t existed that long. It was built to protect nature and to prevent hikers from destroying the mostly muddy meadow completely. We have already seen and experienced such paths on the Faroe Islands. These stairs are definitely a relief. For the steepest sections of the stairs, Sherpas were flown in from Nepal, who are experts in building steep stone stairs. Completely insane, what effort is made here.

The higher we get, the more we get into the fog and clouds. When we reach the top of the tour, the view is gone. The descent goes over a fairly steep and barren scree field.

At the end it goes down the slope over a lush meadow. Soon we will meet the sheep again.

Torpo stave church

After the hike around Prestholt, we slowly but surely head back to Oslo. On the way we make a short stop in Torpo. There is also a great stave church to admire here. But since we already know the church from Lom, we save ourselves the entrance fee and continue to Nebsyen.


Nesbyen serves us today only as an overnight stop. The route directly to Oslo is too far for us and there aren’t really any great campsites here either. Instead we park behind an abandoned gas station below the church. So this time no breathtaking view, but the supermarket right across the street. Rema 1000 — just like at home. The best thing about this parking space: the supermarket also has customer WiFi. So it is time to upload the next videos.

After almost an hour, my first video still hasn’t uploaded, I give up, more or less desperately, pretending to walk around the supermarket looking for it just to buy time to upload the video. So I walked on and found another supermarket — Kiwi. Here the WiFi extends to the parking lot and is probably three times as fast. After another half hour, the videos are finally online.

Only back at the car I realize that I forgot the next video in the series. Instead, I uploaded the one after that and the one after that. Pretty stupid. So back again and wait another 20 minutes for the upload. This time the mosquitoes keep me company.

Oh, if you park behind the gas station in Nesbyen, an important reminder: Watch where you park. Our neighbors told us about their suffering. They had to move several times. The high church tower on the hill obscures the view of the satellites for television…


The next day we only drive to Oslo to secure a parking space near the ferry terminal. From here we explore the harbor district, enjoy coffee and orange juice in the sun and of course also look at the castle. From outside, from afar. After our many days in wild nature and seclusion, there is definitely too much hustle and bustle for us here. The castle doesn’t seem particularly interesting to us either. So there’s just one more thing to do here. Off to dinner at the port.

In the Kongen Marina Beachclub we really celebrate our holiday again, our little one may try out all the chairs (and there are quite a few), gets a delicious pizza and flirts with the waiters. The spectacle gets particularly funny when a group of Americans try to dock their catamaran. They need an eternity for this and as our research has shown, their tank holds around 2000 liters of diesel. Have fun with the bill! In any case, we can recommend the Kongen Marina as a party venue and as particularly child-friendly.


The next morning we first walk to the ferry terminal. We had read that it is advisable for small children to board on foot to avoid long waits in the car. On site, however, we learn that we are probably misinformed and that pedestrians are definitely only allowed on board after the cars. So that doesn’t help us either.

So we all get back in the car and stand in line. We then wait almost 2 hours in the parking lot until we can finally drive to the ferry. Of course, all the very tall vehicles come first, then all the small ones and finally the medium-high ones, including us. With our 2.58m height, we really only fit a hair’s breadth into the 2.60m high vehicle deck.

Next very important point: Get a cot at the reception. Although they are available on the Colorline ferry, you cannot reserve or book them in advance. It is therefore first come, first sleep. Afterwards we have enough time to explore the shopping mile. Somewhere between the Irish pub with live music and the jewelry store, we realize this is more of a one-day cruise than a simple ferry crossing like the Scandlines we’re familiar with. But that definitely fits as a vacation end. Our little one jumps and dances to the live music and we enjoy coffee on the panorama deck in the Observation Lounge. From up here you have a great view of the Oslofjord and how the ship slowly makes its way through it.

During our foray through the shopping mile, we noticed that most of the restaurants here do not allow table reservations. So we show up at our desired pizzeria already at half past five and place our order just in time before the crowds queue up and wait for free tables.

After our little one finally fell asleep, we make ourselves comfortable again in the Observation Lounge. Now there is live music from the last 30 years of music history. The only really irritating thing is the guitarist. Someone must have stapled that grin. At least the corner of his mouth hasn’t twitched once in two hours. Really crazy.

The next morning there is breakfast in the large hall, which has a huge panoramic window at the back. In between we can still see the lighthouse of Langeland, a Danish island in the Great Belt.

So it is clear that we will soon be in Kiel and the journey is over. From here we now drive directly across Germany to visit our relatives on the occasion.

Und hier noch einmal die gesamte Strecke:

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