Eidfjord is an ideal base for exploring the fjords, mountains and waterfalls of the Hardanger region of western Norway.
A typical Norwegian fjord village, Eidfjord is home to several hundred people. It's located on a branch of the much bigger Hardangerfjord, the easternmost settlement along the waterway.
Because I live in Trondheim, the Hardangerfjord is one of the fjords I'm least familiar with. There are so many others between there and here! However, this summer I had the time to tick off many places from my fjord Norway bucket list.
Eidjord was the farthest south I travelled before turning back towards Trondheim. Let's start by putting it on a map.
Where is Eidfjord?
As one of Norway's biggest fjords, the Hardangerfjord is fairly easy to find on a map. Look for Bergen, and you should see the fjord splitting the land to the south-east. Aside from the Sognefjord, it's the easiest fjord to find thanks to its distinctive shape.
To find Eidfjord itself, simply trace the fjord as far as it goes inland. By car, Eidfjord is 311 km (193 mi) from Oslo and 156 km (97 mi) from Bergen.
There are no long-distance bus routes from Oslo or Bergen that call at Eidfjord, and no rail station. However, travelling by public transport is technically possible. There is a bus connection to Odda, from where a bus to Voss—located on the Oslo to Bergen railway—is available. Contact Skyss for information on both bus routes.
Watch a tour of Eidfjord
I have had some fun recently by recording walking tours of sites around Norway. Aside from a short intro, I don't talk on the videos, so you get the ambient sound as much as possible.
You can watch my tour of Eidfjord below, or check out the high quality version on YouTube if you prefer.
Now you've had a look around, you can read about some of what you saw–plus a lot more in the surrounding area.
Things to see and do in Eidfjord
Waterfront walk. Because of the location of my accommodation, the first thing I noticed about Eidfjord was the path that snakes around the waterfront. It's a lovely walk and a good way to get oriented.
One of the curious things you'll see along the way is the series of roadside trees with woollen trunk covers. Known as the knitted trees, this art project involved the whole community.
Eidfjord Old Church. The whitewashed stone church from 1309 seats around 100 people. However it’s only used now on special occasions. A new church built nearby in 1981 now assumes the role of local parish church.
Norwegian Nature Centre Hardanger. What was originally one of two visitor centres for the vast Hardangervidda National Park is now an experience centre for discovering more about Norwegian nature.
Kjeåsen mountain farms. Up until 1974 there were no roads up to Kjeåsen, but the rich soil and hunting opportunities meant farmers moved in anyway. Many locals still love to hike, with the spectacular fjord views the reward.
Today you can drive up to the farms along a one-way road including a long tunnel blasted through the mountain. Take care driving and pay attention to both the opening hours and the direction in use–it changes every half an hour.
Vøringsfossen. One of Norway’s most popular waterfalls, Vøringsfossen plunges down 182 metres in a beautiful gorge. Recent improvements mean there are several fantastic vantage points from visitors, although the newest bridge remains controversial.
Whatever the weather, the waterfall and surrounding area are well worth a visit. It's also possible to hike along the bottom of the gorge, but this requires more time. Park at Fossatromma and follow the old road down to the waymarked trail. This historic hiking path from 1872 leads to the waterfall.
Hardangerfjord Bridge. Opened in 2013, this impressive suspension bridge is Norway’s longest. It has slashed travel time between Oslo and Bergen. While it's not necessarily worth seeking out on its own, it's good to know if you'll be crossing it.
That's because with tunnels at both ends of the bridge, it's easy to not realise you're on the bridge until it's too late to appreciate it! You should also be aware of the high toll payment. A longer route is available for those wishing to skip the cost.
Day trips from Eidfjord
Eidfjord makes a good base for exploring the surrounding area. There are things to see in all directions.
Hardangervidda National Park. The largest of Norway's national parks, Hardangervidda is a vast mountain plateau with endless opportunities for hiking. Driving route 7–a national scenic route–is a must.
Sørfjord drive. The Sørfjord is a 38 km long fjord that is one of the innermost branches of the Hardangerfjord. It skirts the Folgefonna glacier and leads to Odda. You can drive all the way along the fjord's edge from Eidfjord to Odda.
Odda/Trolltunga. The industrial town Odda is best-known as the base for hikers looking to make the trip to Trolltunga. For those without their own transport, a shuttle bus is available between Odda and the Trolltunga trailhead. You can also catch a bus from Eidfjord to Odda.
Living in Eidfjord
If you're curious about what life is like in a tiny Norwegian fjord village, check out episode 55 of the Life in Norway Show.
In the podcast interview, Victoria explains what drew her from Berlin, Germany, to the fjord region. She also explains what it's like to live in Eidfjord.
The village of Eidfjord is the administrative centre of the municipality of the same name. Eidfjord's municipal offices are easy to find at the heart of the village, with several sculptures outside.
At the time of writing, Anders Vatle is the current mayor of Eidfjord. He represents the Centre party, which holds 7 of the 17 council seats.
Where to stay in Eidfjord
I stayed in the cozy Ingrid's Apartments. Choose one of the rooms with a balcony for a relaxing evening looking out at the fjord.
Elsewhere in the village, the Quality Hotel Vøringfoss is hard to miss. The spectacular building on the waterfront is a top choice for many international tourists.
Nearby, the Fossli Hotel is located at Vøringsfossen. It's an ideal place to stay if you want to appreciate the nature early in the morning or in the evening once the other tourists are long gone.