Hardangervidda is the largest high-mountain plateau in Europe and extends east of Hardangerfjord. Much of Hardangervidda is a national park. The area is about 1,100-1,200 meters high – i.e. above the tree line – and is well known for its wild beauty.
It’s no surprise that Hardangervidda National Park is a popular destination for people from all around the world. Year after year people returns to what is considered to be Europe’s largest wilderness area. The aim of the national park is to protect the unique flora and fauna in the area.
It’s easy to reach the entrance of Hardangervidda from Rjukan using Krossobanen cable car. Krossobanen was the first cable car in northern Europe – and it’s the quickest way of getting to Hardangervidda from south-eastern Norway. In just over four minutes, Krossobanen takes you from Rjukan to the upper station of Gvepseborg, 886 meters above sea level. From here you’re ideally placed to continue your trip to Hardangervidda.
The Solstien path will take you from Krossobanen’s upper station to Hardangervidda. Solstien is a simple 4.3-km family-friendly trail with views of Rjukan, Gaustatoppen, and Hardangervidda.
Hardangervidda is a popular destination with hiking enthusiasts. The barren mountain plateau is over 1,000 metres high and suitable for anyone wanting spectacular views but not too demanding terrain. Whether you’re a seasoned hiker, you’re on your first hike, or you want to discover nature with children, Hardangervidda National Park offers a magnificent experience.
On Hardangervidda there are hikes a couple of kilometres long so that the whole family, young and old, can enjoy the national park. And for those looking for a bigger challenge, there are hikes that take several days.
See hiking trails in the 3D map.
It’s important to pack right and light to make a success of your hike. Avoid carrying things in your hands during the hike. Instead, choose a comfortable bag that can hold everything you need to take. Choose appropriate shoes for the hike. If you prefer simpler day hikes, you’ll be fine wearing trainers. However, if you’re planning to go on longer mountain hikes, hiking shoes are highly recommended. Dress according to the challenges of the hike and don’t forget to take enough water.
Read more: Complete packing list for your hike
Make sure that you have carefully read the Norwegian mountain safety code before setting out. These nine simple rules will help you plan and be prepared for your hike. And don’t forget to download the Gausta app. The app makes it easy to share your coordinates, call the emergency services, or contact the ski patrol if needed.
Read more: The Norwegian mountain safety code
There are several popular cycle routes on Hardangervidda over varying terrains. There’s everything from routes that take one day to those that take several. The barren, flat landscape is ideal for a wonderful bike ride.
You can rent bikes at Gausta to ride on Hardangervidda. Choose from various bikes from Scott. Prices include helmet and gloves.
Read more: Renting a bike at Gausta
It’s not only the hiking and cycling that attract visitors to Hardangervidda every year. The national park has several experiences and activities to offer visitors big or small.
Hardangervidda National Park Centre is an exhibition center at the gateway to Hardangervidda. Here you can enjoy an award-winning interactive exhibition about the nature and wild reindeer on Hardangervidda. There’s also a cinema that screens films about Hardangervidda, and a café with panoramic views of the national park.
Read more: Hardangervidda National Park Centre
Hardangervidda is well-known for its unique flora and fauna, especially the wild reindeer. The reindeer are well-adapted to harsh winters when food is in short supply, and this makes Hardangervidda a particularly good habitat. The reindeer usually roam the national park in large herds – but don’t worry, visitors rarely encounter them during hikes. In the unlikely event that you come across the majestic animals, remember that you’re in their home so admire them from afar.
Hardangervidda high-mountain plateau is also home to the king of the forest: the elk. If you’d like to see elk close up, you can go on an elk safari at Hardangervidda with Rauland Turist. Tickets can be purchased from Rauland Høgfjellshotell.
Gausta is the ideal starting point for exploring Hardangervidda. There are a variety of hotels, cottages, and apartments to choose from – all close to nature. If you’d like to stay overnight on Hardangervidda, you can either camp or book a mountain cabin.
Camping in the countryside is a wonderful experience. You can camp virtually anywhere in the mountains, with the exception of cultivated land and rest areas. In the lowlands, you may camp in the same place for up to two nights in a row. In the highlands (i.e. the mountains), however, there’s no such restriction – but always respect the animals and nature. Make sure that you have the right equipment and be prepared for changes in the weather.
Read more The right to roam
Would you prefer to stay overnight in a nice and cosy cabin before continuing your hike? The Norwegian Trekking Association (DNT) has a total of 26 cabins on Hardangervidda which can be hired by hikers. There are both staffed and unstaffed cabins. Make sure you check what type of cabin you’ve booked before you set off.
Read more: Cabins on Hardangervidda
In the middle of Gausta you’ll find Gaustablikk Høyfjellshotell. The hotel has 91 cosy rooms in different sizes, as well as various activities and public areas you can use.
Read more: Gaustablikk Høyfjellshotell
You can also hire comfortable cabins in the Gausta area that are ideal for larger parties.
These cabins are slightly smaller and suitable for parties of two to nine people. Whether you want to spend most of the time outdoors in nature or snuggle in front of a fire, there’s a cabin for you.
Read more: Kvitåvatn Fjellhytter
Welcome to another era. At Hardangerviddahallen you’ll discover natural stone floors, high ceilings, and beautiful furnishings. Here you can sample traditional Norwegian food and steaming-hot coffee in the middle of the national park. The atmosphere here is always relaxed and welcoming for the whole family.