We didn’t actually plan to spend a whole day in Odda. We’d planned to arrive one evening, complete the Trolltunga hike the next day, and then be on a bus back to Bergen the day after.
But such is the way with the weather around these parts: you cannot rely on having good conditions along the Trolltunga trail, even in the height of Summer. Strong winds and heavy rain were not conducive to an enjoyable (or safe) hike, so we reluctantly postponed it to the following day – when the forecast was looking significantly better.
The problem was that we then had an entire day in a post-industrial town whose only claim to fame – apart from being the gateway to the famous Trolltunga hike – is that it’s home to the Norwegian Museum for Hydroelectric Power and Industry. Incidentally, Stu would love that. In fact, he’d probably travel to Odda for the sole purpose of visiting. But it’s not really my cup of tea.
However, as it turns out, there are far worse places to find yourself with time to kill.
Seeing as though we didn’t arrive into Odda until gone midnight (turns out there are only two direct buses from Bergen: one at nine o’clock in the morning and one at the same time twelve hours later), it wasn’t until the following morning that we realised just how beautiful a setting this post-industrial town was located in.
And after a bit of internet research and a trip to the Tourist Information Office (located closed to where the photo above was taken), we discovered that there’s actually quite a bit to see and do in the area – especially if hiking is your thing (which I’m guessing it is, considering that most people don’t visit Odda unless they’re planning to complete the hike to Trolltunga).
So, if you (like us) find yourself in Odda with more time at your disposal than you’d originally planned, here are a few suggestions for sights and activities to keep you occupied.
1 | Visit Låtefossen – a unique double waterfall
This 165-metre tall waterfall is unique in that it consists of two separate streams gushing down from Lake Lotevatnet. These streams dramatically converge just before flowing under the old, stone, six-arched bridge into the river Grønsdalslona.
You’ll find Låtefossen two kilometres north of Skare on the Norwegian National Road 13. It can be reached by hopping on the Line 930 bus headed to Skardsmoen from Odda’s bus station. Alternatively, the Tourist Information Centre in Odda can arrange a shuttle service that gives you around 15-20 minutes at the waterfall and then brings you back into town. Låtefosse is best visited in early Summer, when the volume of water flowing down the waterfall is at its highest.
2 | Hike to Buerbreen Glacier
This four-hour hike starts from the parking lot in Buerbreen, around eight kilometres (or a 10-minute taxi ride) from Odda. It’s a challenging three-kilometre trail that ascends 650 metres – the last part of which is on steep terrain, so you’ll need suitable footwear.
Alternatively you can book a guided tour from the Tourist Information Office in Odda.
Photo credit: Dag Endre Opedal under the Flickr Creative Commons licence
3 | Take a cultural and heritage walk around Odda
Whilst I probably would’ve been up for hiking to Buerbreen glacier, Jayne sensibly reminded me that – as we had a grueling 27-kilometre hike ahead of us the following day – we should probably conserve our energy a little. So we opted instead for a two to three-hour cultural and heritage walk around Odda.
The lady at the Tourist Information Office marked the route on a map for us and we set off on our merry way to find the start of the trail. The route takes you in a loop from either Ragde or Vasstun and through Hjøllo farm and the hamlet of Mannsåker. Information boards along the trail provide you with details about the area and its history (complete with black and white photos depicting scenes from a bygone era) – although many are only in Norwegian.
The trail ascends by 200 metres in total, taking you high above the city and a million miles from the post-industrial landscapes that line much of the water’s edge on the opposite side of the fjord.
There are a number of other longer hiking trails available that start in or very close to the centre of Odda; ask at the Tourist Information Centre for details.
4 | Visit Odda Church
Built in 1870 on the foundations of an old church from the 13th century, Odda Church is what’s called a “longship” type church – divided into choir, ship and “weapon house” with a tower above it. It’s located close to Odda Bus Station, overlooking Hardangerfjord.
5 | Hike to Eidesnuten for views over the fjords of Sørfjorden and Sandvinsvatnet
To get to the start of the trail you’ll need to head to Rødna, two kilometres south of the Tourist Information Centre. From Rødna the trail runs through a wooded area towards a waterfall and then continues further along to Eidesnuten.
It’s a 4.7 kilometre route that ascends to 980 metres above sea level and takes between three and five hours.
6 | Take a fjord cruise
Trolltunga Active are (as their name suggests) primarily known for their guided tours to Trolltunga, but they also offer a variety of active adventures in and around Odda – one of which is a 1.5 hour fjord cruise on a RIB boat.
One of the things we were most gutted about not being able to squeeze into our six days in Norway was a cruise on one of its fjords, so if you can spare 890 NOK (that’s £81; yes, fjord cruises are expensive!) then make sure you tell me all about it afterwards 😉
Where to stay in Odda
Considering that Odda is the closest town to the Trolltunga trailhead (and therefore a lot of travellers stay here before and after their hike), accommodation options are rather limited. Booking only lists five properties – the best of which is probably Bakkegata (one, two or three-bedroom apartments located right in the centre, just steps from the Tourist Information Office and Bus Station).
Airbnb offers a lot more choice, and that’s where we ended up finding the property we stayed at. We paid just under £150 for a private room with shared bathroom and kitchen for the two of us for two nights. It was in a residential area about a kilometre uphill from Odda’s bus station. Whilst the house itself was cosy and spotlessly clean, it was the hosts that were the best thing about where we stayed. We were blown away by their kindness and hospitality, and they couldn’t have done more to help us and make us feel at home.
If you haven’t yet made a booking with Airbnb, register using this link to get £15 off your first stay.
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