Hiking Trolltunga: Everything You Need to Know to Have the Best Experience

Julie Norway 96 Comments

Trolltunga is one of Norway’s most popular hikes for good reason. It is an incredibly scenic hike, ending at the Troll’s tongue, a thin sliver of rock perfect for creative photographs. This is definitely a hike to add to your bucket list.

For us, the hike to Trolltunga was our third of four hikes in Norway. Kjeragbolten was our favorite, but this hike was not far behind. The scenery along the hike is phenomenal with views out over lakes and snow capped mountains, and posing on Trolltunga for photos is a blast.

Facts About the Hike

  • Distance: 28 km (17.4 miles) out and back
  • Elevation Gain: 900 meters (2,950 feet)
  • Difficulty: Strenuous
  • Length of time: 10 – 12 hours
  • When to go: June 15 to September 15 (without a guide). At all other times of the year you must hike with a guide. For more information, visit the Visit Norway website.

Important Update:  There is a new car park that shaves off the first big climb of the hike. If you park here, the hike will be shorter with less elevation gain than is listed above. I don’t have the exact numbers, but parking in this new lot does save you a lot of time (about 3 hours). However, there are only 30 spots so you need to get here very early in the morning. Read more below.

Hiking to Trolltunga

The First Big Climb

The trailhead for Trolltunga is at the Skjeggedal carpark.

The first ascent of the hike is the most strenuous. It is 1 km of constant, steep climbing on stone steps and gravel trails before the terrain levels out.

There were once old funicular tracks here that you could climb instead of the rocky trail. This is what we did in 2013 (so we have photos of the funicular tracks but not the first part of the trail.)

A Series of Several Shorter Climbs

Once you conquer the first 1 km climb, things get easier. The trail levels out, for just a little bit, and then you will have several smaller climbs. However, these are nothing like what you just did.

Trolltunga with Kids

Happy to be hiking

Just before the start of the another climb.

 

Trail Marker Trolltunga

Follow the red T’s to get to Trolltunga.

 

Nice View

Looking out over the valley and what we just hiked. If you look closely, you can see the faint line of the hiking trail.

 

Another Climb

One more climb. After this, the trail levels out for awhile.

 

Granite face climb of Trolltunga

Standing on the granite face of the trail.

 

Hiking to Trolltunga

This is the view from the top of that last climb.

One of the tricks to having a good experience is to take breaks along the way. From this altitude, you have amazing panoramic views of Norway. Sure, getting to Trolltunga is the goal but enjoy this whole journey…it’s awesome!

Tyler and Kara

We continued our trek, dodging mud puddles, climbing over boulders, and crossing numerous streams and creeks. Once you climb that granite face, the hike levels out, for the most part. There are several small climbs but nothing too difficult. Here are more photos of the trail until you get to Trolltunga.

On the Trolltunga Trail
Earth Trekkers

Trolltunga Cabin

Posing

View of the Lake

Hiking

Kara

Trail to Trolltunga

Stepping out onto Trolltunga

It took us three and a half hours to hike from the carpark to Trolltunga.

The views over Trolltunga and out over the lake were awesome. There were tons of people here, some waiting in line to step out onto the ledge and others were waiting to take their photos. Tyler and Kara were two of the three kids we saw during the entire hike. Go kiddos!

Trolltunga

Kara and I went first onto the tongue (after 45 minutes of waiting in line). After stepping out onto Kjeragbolten this did not seem scary at all. Kara and I did a few poses, then I took her back to sit on a rock and wait for me. I went back out to the tip of the tongue to sit with my feet hanging over the side.

Julie and Kara

Next it was Tim and Tyler’s turn. By now we were all getting quite cold. Temperatures were in the high 40’s (8 – 9°C) and it was early August.

Fortunately, the line was a little shorter for Tim and Tyler. Here they are, posing for the camera.

Tim and Tyler

Tim

It took an hour and a half for all of us to have our photos taken.  By now we were very chilly and already somewhat tired. All four of us were hoping the walk back to the car would be quicker than the walk out.

The Return Hike

The walk back was slightly faster. We did not need to stop for sunscreen, photos, or much food now. The signs counting down the kilometers kept us going, and we snacked on lots of cookies. It took us three hours to hike back to a car, shaving off about a half hour from the hike to get to Trolltunga.

About Our Experience

We did this hike in August 2013 when the funicular tracks were still open. At the time we did this hike, Tyler was 10 and Kara was 8 years old.

We are very fast hikers, even with kids. The four of us hiked to Trolltunga in 8 hours (3.5 hours to get to Trolltunga, 1.5 hours for photos, and 3 hours to hike back to the car). We were constantly overtaking other people and we had perfect weather conditions. If you take your time or encounter marshy, snowy terrain, this hike can take as long as 10 to 12 hours.

How Do You Get to Trolltunga?

Trolltunga is located in southern Norway near Hardangerfjord. Most people stay in Odda or Tyssedal to hike Trolltunga.

Distances to Trolltunga:

  • From Bergen: 3 hours
  • From Oslo: 5 to 6 hours
  • From Stavanger: 3.5 hours

Lately, we have been getting a lot of questions from people who want to day trip from Bergen, hike Trolltunga, and then drive back to Bergen the same day. That is possible to do, but it will be a very long, tiring day, and I don’t recommend it. The hike to Trolltunga can take 12 hours (although if you take the shuttle to and from the upper parking lot you can save about 3 hours). Add in 6 hours of driving for the day and that’s a very long day. Plus, you will have to drive all of the way back to Bergen after hiking 28 km. It will be a much more enjoyable (and safer) experience if you stay near Trolltunga, at least for one night.

The best way to get around this region of Norway is by car. Having a rental car gives you the freedom to take your time, stop and enjoy the views (this part of Norway is gorgeous!), and visit small towns and off-the-beaten-path destinations.

However, if you are relying on public transportation, you can get to Odda by bus and by train.

Getting to Odda By Bus

Getting to Odda By Train

The Bergensbanen connects Bergen and Odda.

Where to Park

Main Lot

From Tyssedal, drive 7 km on Skjeggedalsvegen to the car park at the start of the hike. This is where the trailhead is located.  There is a small parking lot here with toilets. Parking costs NOK500 (180 spaces).

MAP

Map of the drive from Tyssedal to the parking lot in Skjeggedal.

 

Skjeggedal

The road from Tyssedal to the car park (looking back towards Tyssedal and Sorfjord).

Trolltunga Road Lot

There is a second, much smaller parking lot (called Mågelitopp or P3) that holds 30 cars (NOK 600). This road is very steep, you need to have good driving skills and be able to drive tight, hairpin turns. Driving to this parking lot eliminates the first climb and final descent of the hike, shaving off a whopping 3 hours of hiking time. The gates open at 6 am.

Purchase your ticket in advance for Magelitopp (P3). Click here to learn more and to make your reservation.

Sue, one of our awesome readers, wrote in with more information about the new car park. She states that the road is now paved and although it is steep, you no longer need a 4×4. You can read her full report in the comment section below. Thanks Sue! 🙂

You can park in Skjeggedal (the lower lot) and take a shuttle bus up to Mågelitopp, the upper lot. Taking the shuttle one way saves you roughly 1.5 hours of hiking time. Prices start at NOK 130. Click here to learn more.

Best Places to Stay Near Trolltunga

There are people who hike Trolltunga on a day trip from Bergen but we don’t recommend it. You are setting yourself up for a very long, exhausting day. For the best experience, plan on staying in one of the small towns near Trolltunga: Tyssedal, Odda, Kinsarvik, or Eidfjord.

How to Have the Best Experience

Start early! This is a long day and you want to give yourself as much time as possible. Try to hit the trail no later than 8 am.

Don’t underestimate this hike. It’s a long, tiring hike. And yes, it really can take 12 hours. Over the course of the day, you will essentially be hiking a half marathon with lots of elevation gain. You wouldn’t just plan on rolling out of bed one day to go run a half marathon, right? 🙂 You need to be in good shape to do this.

There is no fee to hike Trolltunga. However, if you have a car, you will have to pay for parking.

Use the bathroom in the car park before starting the hike. This is your only chance to use a toilet until you get back to the parking lot.

Between June 15 and September 15 you do not need a guide to do this hike. There are enough people on the trail, and the trail is marked well enough, that you should have no issues finding your way to Trolltunga. Once you are at Trolltunga, you can have another hiker take your photograph (if you are hiking solo).

If you are hiking from September 16 to June 14, Visit Norway recommends hiring a guide. Every year there are numerous rescues for people who got in over their heads. Don’t be one of these statistics.

You Should Bring

  • Waterproof hiking shoes
  • Plenty of food and water
  • Sunscreen
  • First Aid Kit
  • Rain jacket and warm clothing (the weather can change rapidly!)
  • Camera

Hiking to Trolltunga with Kids

At the time we did this hike, Tyler was 10 and Kara was 8 years old. They both did awesome. They were happy and having a good time for almost the entire time (Kara struggled a little with the walk down the funicular line).

We only saw one other child (about 10 years old) on the trail. A very adventurous child, eight years or older with lots of long distance hiking experience, should be able to handle this hike.

Hiking Trolltunga with Kids

Alternative Route to Trolltunga

If you do not like the idea of the hike, there is a combination cycle trip and Via Ferrata climb to get you to Trolltunga. The Via Ferrata was not option when we did the hike so we do not have much information about it. For more information on the Via Ferrata click here.

About the Trolltunga Funicular

It’s unfortunate that the funicular is closed, it was one of the most unique parts of the hike. But it was dangerous. One false step and you could be rolling down the hill like a bowling ball, taking out other hikers!

At first it was a shallow incline so it was pretty easy. But it didn’t take long until the tracks made a sharp turn upward and real climbing began. Basically, we were ascending a ladder while holding onto a metal wire with our right hands. Along the way we would stop and take breaks and look down at what we had accomplished and then look up at the work we still had to do.

Photos from the Funicular

Tyler Rivenbark

Funicular

View from Funicular


Help Keep this post updated

Have you hiked Trolltunga? Is there something we missed? Let us know in the comments below so we can keep this post updated. Thanks!! And happy hiking. 🙂

More Information for Your Trip to Norway:

Are you planning a trip to the Norway? Read all of our articles about Norway in our Norway Travel Guide.

You Might Also Like:

 

Trolltunga Norway Hike

Trolltunga Guide for Hiking and Traveling with Kids

Comments 96

  1. Hello traveling family. I will start with saying this is a very lovely blog and super nicely written.
    And moving straight to Trolltunga experience, I fully support booking the P3 parking. I’ve been there with my girlfriend in 8th of August 2019 and the distance between P2 and P3 seemed so nice to do it by car and it saved us a lot of energy. And if you have decent driving skills and an OK car, you can make it. I drive a 2008 Mazda 2 and had no problems to get to the top.

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  2. My boyfriend, Ben, and I did this hike on the 5th of July, 2019. We were extremely lucky with the weather (could not have asked for a better weather), but there were reports of rain just a day before and after this date. Pre-reservation of the upper parking lot was open by that time, but we opted to park at the Skjeggedal and took the (pre-reserved) earliest shuttle up to the start of the trail at 6:30am. As we were being driven up on the bus, Ben said he was very relieved that he didn’t have to drive on this road as the turns were extremely sharp and the road narrow. If you are not a confident/competent driver, you will struggle getting up to the upper car park safely and take this factor into consideration before booking the upper car park. Also, because the earliest shuttle spots can book out quickly, make sure you reserve them at least a day before – we saw many people queuing up to get a shuttle spot, when we arrived at Skjeggedal at 6:25am to take our 6:30 bus.

    Ben and I feel like a bit of Norway ambassador after our hikes over there (we are Australians) because we have been telling everyone that they need to go — Trolltunga was truly mind-blowing, and we were very grateful to witness the very definition of sublimity. But we also had an inkling that the experience of this hike would very much depend upon the weather conditions. We could easily guess that hiking Trolltunga in rain or snow (without a guide) would be very disastrous; as we descended the mountain with our wobbly knees, we simply could not imagine trying to climb down the rocky terrains in rain. Please try not to be a part of rescue statistics by being sensible and using common sense.

    Julie, your blog has given me many inspirations for our past and future trips — thank you so much and we look forward to reading more about your family adventures.

    Victoria

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      Hello Victoria. Thanks for writing in and your trip report! I’m glad you had a great experience hiking Trolltunga. Happy travels, Julie

  3. We hiked to Trolltunga last Sunday 4. 8. 2019 We paid for P3 as well (600 NOK is really good deal). Our 5 and half year old daughter was going with us. She was able to complete this hike. At the end it was around 20 km (from P3 to Trolltunga and back), but she was really brave. Weather conditions were just perfect, sun was shining, almost no wind, no clouds, no rain. Temperatures were around 16 C. However I would not recommend to you to go with such small kid. We were prepared that we will carry her on the way back, but she doesn’t let us 🙂
    It was really awesome trip and we enjoyed it! Thank you very much for tip 🙂

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      You’re very welcome and thanks for your trip report! I’m glad you had good weather and were able to do this hike with your daughter. Thanks again for sharing! Cheers, Julie

  4. We hiked Trolltunga last Thursday, July 18, 2019. The online advance reservations for Mågelitopp parking is now open. We made reservations to park there (2 days in advance) for 600 NOK. This is a great deal, given then 500 NOK cost to park at Skjeggedal (the lower lot) and take the shuttle. We are experienced hikers, but felt we didn’t miss much by skipping out on the mostly paved trek from the lower to the upper lot.

    The parking reservation system was surprisingly easy – we signed up for the designated time of 7:00-8:00 a.m., and upon arriving at 7:00, showed an attendant the online reservation on our cell phone. She checked our name off a list she had, and opened the gate for us to drive up to P3. Link: https://www.trolltunganorway.com/en_GB/activity/267450/trolltunga-parking-p3-at-maagelitopp-upper-starting-point

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      Hello Liz and Dan. Thank you so much for this update! I really appreciate it (as will our readers). 🙂 Cheers, Julie

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  5. I am so happy to have found this. We are going to Norway next week and were looking for hikes to do with our girls. Like yours, they are experienced hikers and even did an overnight in the Pyrennes last year in a refuge. Even still we are always cautious to look at hikes that are still within their age level. Your experience has been such a help. We are staying in Stavenger and will do Pulpit Rock and Kjerag with them.

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  6. Hi, my husband and I are thinking of doing Trolltunga at the end of June with our German Shepherd, camping overnight. Are there any spots that are too difficult to do with a dog? What is use now instead of the funicular?
    Any advise would be very much appreciated.

    Great article and pictures!

    Zaskia

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      I don’t know much about hiking with a dog. You might want to check the Visit Norway website to see if they have more information (and to confirm that dogs are allowed on the trail). You now either hike up a steep trail or can take a shuttle to a brand new upper parking lot (instead of the funicular). That first climb is the hardest part of the hike. It’s a huge elevation gain in a short period of time. Maybe consider taking the shuttle. There is a link in this post to learn about the shuttle. You might want to contact them ahead of time to confirm that a dog is allowed in the shuttle. Cheers, Julie

  7. I’m an overweight dude who had issues at the beginning, those first meters were intense. Perhaps even cruel; specially now that the funicular is closed so we had to climb thorough the woods. From there on, it becomes beautiful, but those first meters *almost* made me turn back.

    I learned the hard way about the physical conditions. I absolutely stand by the preparation part.

    We were lucky because the day was cloudy with some shiny sunrays every few minutes [late August 2014], so the photos are as breath taking as yours. But unless you’re an experienced hiker or mountain climber, I wouldn’t advice this on a rainy day. And unless you’re from Alaska or Russia, do not attempt on winter.

    Great reading, I forgot that my mind managed to grab my body through those insane 28 km which I didn’t notice since the hike was just too beautiful to handle.

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