Is this the most epic hike in Europe?

Everything you need to know about doing the Trolltunga hike in Norway – including how to get there, what to take, and other firsthand tips.

Written by Michael Turtle

Michael Turtle is the founder of Time Travel Turtle. A journalist for more than 20 years, he's been travelling the world since 2011.

Michael Turtle is the founder of Time Travel Turtle and has been travelling full time for a decade.


Trolltunga hike in Norway

It’s one of the most iconic views in Norway – Trolltunga, the Troll’s tongue. Here’s my guide on the best way to plan for a Trolltunga hike, leaving from Bergen, and what to expect along the way.

JUMP DOWN: See the practical advice for getting to Trolltunga and hiking for the day

As far as walks go, this is one of the most epic I’ve ever done. The Trolltunga hike is an all day round trip – up muddy hills, across rocky slopes, through snowfields and along cliff edges.

And at the end of the route is the ultimate payoff. The Troll’s Tongue!

This is the Trolltunga hike in southwestern Norway, a few hours drive from Bergen. It is difficult, it is long, and it is spectacular.

It’s one of the best ways to experience the stunning landscapes of this country.

Trolltunga hike, how to get to trolltunga, norway

In a moment, I’ll go through some of the practical details of this hike, because it can be a bit tricky. (You may prefer to do it as a tour instead – and this is a great guided tour, if you’re in a group.)

One of the lovely things about it is that it’s not too busy. You’ll definitely see lots of people along the track, but it’s not a tourist attraction, as such.

That means there’s not as much information available as you might like and it can be a little tricky to work out some details in advance. So I would love to share with you what I learned from my Trolltunga hike.

But first I would like to set the scene.

Trolltunga hike, how to get to trolltunga, norway

The destination for the hike is a rock called Trolltunga, which is Norwegian for Troll’s Tongue.

The name is fairly obvious when you see the rock for yourself – it looks like a long pointy tongue, jutting out from a cliff face into the air.

Beneath this rock is nothing – just emptiness – for about 700 metres until the ground. And on the ground is a large and dramatic fjord.

The electric blue water winds its way through the valley with the dramatic steep cliffs rising up from it. The cliffs are cold grey rock with just small traces of movement – an occasional waterfall, for instance.

At the top of these cliffs, though, a layer of green foliage appears. On top of that, a layer of white snow.

Trolltunga hike, how to get to trolltunga, norway

Standing on the tip of the Troll’s Tongue, I can feel the breeze around me in every direction. Not surprisingly, it’s scary to be out on this small piece of rock with a 700 metre drop beneath me.

One step in the wrong direction or one slip and… well, let’s not think about it. But the rock feels very sturdy and it’s much wider than it looks from afar.

From this vantage point on the rock I stop for a moment, breathe in, and look around me. Distant snowy mountains line the horizon, that striking fjord water beams at me, and everything seems so fresh and vibrant.

Trolltunga hike, how to get to trolltunga, norway

It was a long journey to arrive here, though. Trolltunga, the rock, may be the destination and the highlight of this trek, but the journey to get here should be as much of a drawcard as the final view.

It takes me and my friends about four hours to walk from the start of the trek to the rock at a fast pace. The path takes us through different environments and climatic conditions.

So much can change on the Trolltunga trek in an hour.

It’s relatively sunny when we start the first leg, which is a steep climb up a muddy hill track. Then there’s a flat stretch with little creeks to jump over, before another steep scramble up rocks to the first white slope.

This is where the snow starts and, even though it’s still summer, there’s a solid layer stretching out in front.

Trolltunga hike, how to get to trolltunga, norway

So the journey from here continues through snow banks, across slippery rocky paths, along a narrow cliff edge, up some more muddy inclines and then, eventually to the final destination.

There are moments along the way where I get quite out of breath as I power up a hill. There are other moments where the views take my breath away.

The views across the mountains are beautiful – but there are also amazing sights in the details along the way.

Trolltunga hike, how to get to trolltunga, norway

That it is hard to get to the start of the trek adds to the experience.

That is is difficult to climb up some of those hills and trudge through the snow makes the challenge even more rewarding.

That the views are stunning makes the journey worthwhile.

That you can stand out on the Troll’s Tongue and look down to the fjord is one of the most incredible travel experiences you can have.

The logistics of planning a trip to Trolltunga can actually be quite tricky and it’s important to have the right gear. That’s why you may prefer to do the hike with a guide in a small group tour.

I would recommend this guided tour if you are in a group already (it makes it quite good value).

Or there are some other great options here:

I loved this hike and I want to make sure you have the opportunity to experience it as well, even if you want to arrange it yourself.

So let me know share with you some of the practical information that could help you plan your own trip there.

Trolltunga hike, how to get to trolltunga, norway

How to get to the start of the Trolltunga hike

Getting to the start of the hike is not easy and I actually found this to be harder than the walk itself!

The easiest way is simply to drive. You need to get to a small town called Skjeggedal which is about 17 kilometres outside of Odda and about 190 kilometres from Bergen.

The last 7 kilometres to Skjeggedal from the closest town, Tyssedal, is on a steep and narrow mountain road where you may need to pull over to let other cars pass. (It’s a good idea to stay in Odda and I would recommend the Hardanger Hotel.)

Trolltunga hike, how to get to trolltunga, norway

Public transport is limited and tricky. So, if possible, I highly recommend hiring a car from either Bergen or Voss and driving to Skjeggedal. If you want to get there by public transport, however, you need to get to the town of Odda first.

From there, you can take bus number 995 to Tyssedal. The tricky bit is getting the last stretch to Skjeggedal.

Although you may hear some reports that the 995 keeps going, I couldn’t confirm this and the official timetable doesn’t include it as a stop.

You can check for yourself for the dates you want on the bus website here. Otherwise you may need to hitchhike or get a taxi the last bit.

Trolltunga hike, how to get to trolltunga, norway

The Trolltunga hike route

The Trolltunga hike starts at the main carpark in Skjeggedal and the beginning of the track is clearly marked.

Although there used to be a funicular up the hill here (and you can still see it), it’s not in operation any more and it’s not safe to climb up the old wooden construction.

You’ll need to take the steep muddy path which can be very slippery if there’s been recent rain. There are ropes to help you with the climb. Don’t worry, though, it gets a bit easier after this.

The total round trip is 22 kilometres – so, 11 kilometres each way. The track going to Trolltunga is uphill and will take longer than coming back. I did the walk in 8 hours total: 4 hours to get there, 1 hour at the rock, and 3 hours back.

This is probably the fastest you could do the trek, though. My friends and I walked quickly, barely stopped, and we overtook a lot of people. If you prefer to walk at a moderate pace, it could take 10 hours or more.

Trolltunga hike, how to get to trolltunga, norway

The route is well marked along the way. There are signposts that point you in the right direction and give you the distance you have walked.

In some of the areas where the path is not completely obvious, there are small piles of rocks that you should walk between to stay on the correct route.

In all likelihood, there will be other people trekking the same time as you and you can just follow them.

For your own planning purposes, here is the route that you will walk.

What to take on the Trolltunga hike

The walk itself is difficult but not the most strenuous hike you will ever do. However, you do need to be aware of safety.

This is because the weather conditions can change very quickly and once you’re on the path, the only way out is to turn around and walk back. There is hardly any mobile phone reception either.

For these reasons, you should take enough clothes to handle hot, cold and wet conditions.

Trolltunga hike, how to get to trolltunga, norway

This may sound obvious (but you never know), but there are no shops or toilets along the way. It is a long walk so take plenty of food to get you through the day.

You don’t need to worry about water, though. The water that flows through the little creeks along the way is perfectly drinkable so just bring a bottle that you can fill up and you will be ok.

To be prepared, you should also bring a few safety things that you would take on any long hike like this – so a torch, a first aid kit, a map, a compass, something to keep you warm, and some extra food.

These are just precautionary, though. Hopefully you won’t need to use any of those things.

Safety while hiking Trolltunga

Generally, this is quite a safe hike but there is no real infrastructure along the way so you do need to be sensible.

You can only really do the trek easily between June and September because there is too much snow the rest of the time, so be very wary of doing it outside of those months.

The biggest safety issue is the weather conditions, which I’ve already discussed. It can suddenly become very cold and wet so be prepared.

Trolltunga hike, how to get to trolltunga, norway

There are quite a few parts where the track is rough and along the edge of mountains so you also need to be careful where you’re walking. It would be a good idea to have good shoes and a walking stick for those parts.

There is the possibility of slipping and breaking a leg, for instance (it does happen) and in that case you would have to wait until someone can get a message to the authorities to come and help.

It’s one of the good reasons for going with a guided tour, rather than doing it yourself, especially if you’re along and haven’t done a lot of hiking.

There are some really fun options here:

At the actual Trolltunga rock, there is also a safety issue. From the photos, it looks quite dangerous but the rock is wide and stable so it’s not as bad as you might think.

But a hiker sadly fell to her death when she slipped while waiting to go out onto the rock. It is the first known death at the site but it will hopefully serve as a warning for people that it can be dangerous and you need to take precautions.

Trolltunga hike, how to get to trolltunga, norway

Overall, though, if you are prepared for the hike you should have no problems. It’s one of the most epic hiking experiences you can have in Europe.

The track along the way takes you through some incredible landscapes and the views at the end are breathtaking. If you are heading out there yourself, just remember two things – have a good time and don’t forget your camera!

If you want accommodation near Trolltunga, I suggest Hardanger Hotel in Odda.

21 thoughts on “Is this the most epic hike in Europe?”

    • Oh yeah – you’ve gotta do it sometime! I didn’t use a map or a guidebook. Once you get to the starting point then the path is pretty obvious and you can use my directions in the post to find the beginning of it.

    • If you could drive up to the rock, it wouldn’t be the same. Apart from the fact it would be crowded, you wouldn’t have that sense of achievement. You look forward to it the whole walk so it’s a great feeling to get there!

  1. …most epic… ?? Really disagree with you on that one ! Out of seven hikes last summer Trolltunga was the only one to disapoint. Not that I regret going, but i am not doing it again.
    Trolltunga itself makes for some nice images and also the view from around the 8 km mark is great . Other than that it is no more exciting than your standard norwegian hike.
    Try Lofoten instead. More trails than you can cover in a lifetime, and probably all of them with more stunning views than trolltunga.
    ..or why not Jotunheimen and Besseggen? ..or Knivskjelodden by Northcape ..or Kebnekaise in Sweden? ..or……

    Just my 2 cents.

    Best regards,

    • Thanks for all those suggestions, Daniel. I’m going to have to give some of them a try next time I’m back in that part of the world. I agree with you that there are plenty of amazing places for views in Norway and Sweden.
      Having said that, Trolltunga is pretty epic. I don’t think it’s just about having scenery the whole way – there’s a real adventure along the track, with a variety of landscapes, and the final destination is incredible. I have never spoken to anyone who has been disappointed about doing it – and the photos of standing on the rock are often people’s coolest travel souvenirs! 🙂

    • Well, as long as it didn’t snow too much then hopefully that added to the atmosphere! 🙂
      Thanks for the info about how long it took you. As I mentioned, it took me about 8 hours and I tend to walk quite fast. So it gives people an idea of the general range they may be look at.

    • You’ll have a great time! It’s a strenuous hike but nothing to worry about. As I said, I think the biggest concern is a sudden change in weather – so just be prepared for that and you’ll be fine!

  2. Thanks for this detailed write-up. Late for this year but I’m gonna follow this advice when I go to Norway next year. Guided tours is a great idea which I was completely unaware of. Cheers

  3. Hello, weather seems to suggest drizzle and occasional rain showers. Is it completely a bad idea to go up there? I am worried that first few kilometers (last few on return ) are pretty steep rocks to travel through and chance of slipping? Thanks. Awesome details you have provided on post!!


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