Beautiful Norway alert! Check out these must-see Norwegian waterfalls.
The national tourist authorities like to say Norway is ‘powered by nature'. It's one of the few marketing slogans that I really like!
There are few better examples of this slogan than the country's many waterfalls, ranging from raging torrents of water to slender streams tumbling down a fjordside from hundreds of meters high.
I know I'm not the only person to feel that few things in nature are as fascinating as a waterfall. From the thunderous roar to the remarkable lighting effects, waterfalls alone are worth travelling for.
Here are some of my favourites:
The Seven Sisters
Norway's most famous fjord is also home to arguably its most famous waterfall. Or more accurately, waterfalls. As its name implies, the Seven Sisters (De syv søstrene) is actually seven separate streams of water tumbling down the steep side of the Geirangerfjord.
Most of Norway's waterfalls look different depending on season, none more so than the Seven Sisters. For one thing, there can be more or less than seven waterfalls depending on the time of year and recent weather!
The water falls from a height of 410 meters and includes a free-fall of up to 250 meters on its way down to the fjord. The sight is most often seen on the Geirangerfjord ferry that shuttles camera-wielding tourists between the fjordside villages Geiranger and Hellesylt.
The location is also well known for the abandoned farmsteads visible from the water: Knivsflå and Skageflå were abandoned more than 100 years ago due to the increasing risk of avalanche and falling rocks. Skageflå achieved fame in 1993 when Norway’s King Harald and Queen Sonja celebrated their silver wedding anniversary at its secluded setting.
One of the highlights of the world-famous Flåm railway is the stop at this magnificent waterfall. Although its ‘only' 225 metres high, the waterfall is broad and powerful for much of the year. Such is its power, a small hydropower station at Kjosfossen helps to run the Flåm railway.
As the train is primarily a tourist route, it stops for long enough for passengers to disembark and get a photo. In high season, visitors are also treated to a performance from a Huldra!
The Huldra is a seductive forest creature from Norse mythology, said to use the power of song to tempt men to their fate. Keep a hold of your husbands and boyfriends! I could tell you that these Huldra are simply students from the Norwegian ballet school, but that would spoil the fun…
A national symbol that has drawn tourists to the area since the late 19th century, Vøringsfossen is a 182 metre high waterfall near Eidfjord.
Despite its remote looking location, the sight is less than one mile on foot from the parking lot at the side of the road. That said, due to snowfall the walking season is relatively short here and runs from around mid-May to mid-October.
The hike is a fun one, as you have to cross a suspension bridge that can hold just one person at a time. Care should be taken all along the route as it can get very slippery from the spray.
A visit here can be combined with a stay in Eidfjord and the Hardangerfjord, Hardangervidda National Park, or simply incorporated into an Oslo to Bergen road trip.
One of the least visited falls on the list by international travellers given its location, Langfossen is nevertheless one of the country's best, so much so that CNN once named it as one of the world's ten most beautiful waterfalls.
The closest town is Haugesund and it's close to both the Folgefonna glacier and Hardangervidda National Park. With a drop of 612 metres, Langfossen is Norway's fifth tallest waterfall.
Yet it isn't the height that makes Langfossen memorable. Rather than plunge straight down like many of its siblings on this page, Langfossen tumbles over a rocky cliff on its way into the Åkrafjord, creating a totally different look.
If you're visiting Vøringsfossen, Hardangervidda, Haugesund, or even Bergen and Stavanger, it's worth trying to squeeze a trip here into your itinerary.
The most notable thing about Steinsdalsfossen is that visitors can walk up to and right behind the falling water. This means that although the waterfall is just 46 metres high, it's one of Norway's most popular attractions.
It has fame outside of Norway too. The Emperor Wilhelm II of Germany was said to visit Steinsdalsfossen almost every summer between 1889 and 1914.
The best time to visit is the late Spring and early summer, when the flow of water is at its strongest.
It's also fairly easy to visit with a car as its right by the Hardangerfjord in the village of Norheimsund between Bergen and Vøringsfossen, another famous waterfall on this list.
The Seven Sisters isn't the only waterfall of note in the Geirangerfjord area.
Even if you’re just passing through on the Geiranger-Hellesylt car ferry, make time to see Hellesyltfossen, which literally splits the village in two.
At just 20 metres high it's the shortest drop of all the waterfalls on this list, but Hellesyltfossen more than makes up for that with sheer power.
In contrast to the slender beauty of the fjordside waterfalls, Hellesylt’s version thunders over the granite rocks and is at its most impressive between April and early June thanks to the melting snow. A steep path on the northern side of the water leads you up to a stone bridge for the best vantage point.
You shouldn't need another reason to visit the Trollstigen mountain pass, part of Route 63 between Åndalsnes and Geiranger. But just in case the incline of 10 percent and 11 hairpin bends aren't enough, there's also Stigfossen.
Around halfway up the pass, an old stone bridge crosses the Stigfossen waterfall, which tumbles down into the valley below from a height of more than 300 meters.
Time your drive early in the morning or late in the evening to avoid the oversized motorhomes and tourist buses. They struggle with the hairpin bends and can turn an otherwise incredible driving experience into a frustrating one.
What's more, when it's quiet you can also do as we did above and pull over into the passing spot for a closer look! And yes, that is someone on a bicycle, and yes, they are cycling up Trollstigen. Rather them than me!
A few miles north of Voss is the 110-metre high Tvindefossen, where the water of the Kroelvi river falls over a cliff and cascades down the rocks forming one of Norway's most beautiful waterfalls.
It's a popular hiking destination for visitors to Voss as despite its apparent size, it's fairly straightforward to walk up to the top for a totally different perspective. Plus you get the bonus of a second waterfall along the way!
Around 25 miles away from Trollstigen along the E136 toward Dombås is Vermafossen. This powerful waterfall plunges down 380 meters and provides a terrific photo opportunity.
Another well-known landmark is the stone arch Kylling Bridge, which carries the Rauma line railway across the valley, 60 meters above the river.
The waterfall and bridge are visible and signed from the road, and there's a parking spot and a small kiosk for refreshments. Care should be taken in the vicinity, as the rocks can become slippery from the waterfall’s spray.
So there you have it. While far from an exhaustive list of Norway's best waterfalls, these are my personal favourites. What about you?
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