Odda, Norway: The Gateway to Trolltunga

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Odda is known by tourists worldwide for its proximity to the Trolltunga hike. Here’s some fun facts about this small Norwegian fjord town.

It’s one of the most famous hiking trails in Norway, perhaps even Europe. If you’ve planned a trip to the Troll’s Tongue, chances are you will have come across a mention of Odda.

View of Odda Norway from the Sørfjord.

Odda is quite the contradiction. It’s an industrial town with a spectacular setting.

Where is Odda, Norway?

Odda lies at the end of the lesser-known Sørfjord, a narrow 38 km (24 miles) long branch fjord of the Hardangerfjord.

The road along the Sørfjord to Odda is part of the Hardanger national scenic route. Fruit farms and orchards dot the fjord road, from where apples and cherries can be purchased.

Odda is sandwiched between Hardangervidda and Folgefonna national parks, so the town is surrounded by mountains. With the fjord and mountain setting, it’s a popular destination for outdoors enthusiasts.

The Trolltunga hike

Hovering 700 metres above Ringedalsvatnet lake, the famous rock formation draws tourists from all over the world. That’s in part due to the sheer number of photos from the site shared on social media.

The long Trolltunga hike features on the bucket list of many outdoor enthusiasts in Norway and around the globe. In 2021, Trolltunga was certified as one of Norway’s first national hiking routes.

Odda is home to Trolltunga’s official visitor information centre. The town also is the starting point for shuttle buses to and from the trailhead during high season.

The famous Trolltunga hike.
The famous Trolltunga.

For this reason, many international travellers choose to book overnight accommodation in the town.

Fun facts about Odda Norway

While Odda is known among international tourists for its hiking, there’s more interesting facts to know about the town and its surroundings.

1. Ragnarok was filmed in Odda

No, not the Marvel movies! Ragnarok is also the name of a Norwegian fantasy drama series that mixes Norse mythology with environmental campaigning in the heart of the Norwegian fjords. Check it out on Netflix!

The show was based in the fictional town of Edda. But much of the filming actually took place in Odda. That includes most outdoor shots, the high school, supermarket and even the grill.

The cast of Ragnarok on Netflix.
The cast of Ragnarok.

But fans of the show may be disappointed to hear that the iconic home of the Jutul family is mostly CGI.

Its lofty location is instead home to the Vikinghaug apartments. While impressive in its own right, the building doesn’t have that ‘end of days’ feel of the Jutul family home!

2. The English and Germans pioneered tourism in Odda

The social media inspired boom in tourism has certainly put Odda on the modern tourism map, but the town has been a hot tourist destination for almost 200 years.

English pioneers began to visit Odda regularly sometime around 1830, while German emperor Kaiser Wilhelm II took an annual trip every year between 1891 and 1914.

Drawn by the nearby glaciers, mountains and Hardangervidda plateau, this international tourism led to the building of several hotels long before the computer was invented, let alone the internet!

3. Odda was built on heavy industry

Despite the tourism interest, the economy of Odda has always been based on heavy industry.

A former power plant in Odda Norway
Industry used to dominate Odda.

The Odda of today is a modern town which grew up around smelters built at the head of the Sørfjord in the mid-20th century. This industry expanded the town, drawing migrants from different parts of Norway.

After a hydropower plant was built in Tyssedal to provide electricity, Odda began production of carbide and cyanamide at the start of the 20th-century.

The plant was one of the world's largest and the Norwegian government has tried to gain international recognition for its industrial heritage.

4. Odda’s valley is home to two famous waterfalls

From Odda, a short drive takes you into the Odda valley (Oddadalen), home to some of the country’s famous waterfalls.

Låtefossen. Photo: Hege Lysholm / Statens vegvesen.

Låtefossen falls a total of 165 metres (541 ft) in two separate streams that join in the middle, just before going under the road. Driving across the old arched bridges is often a wet experience!

In contrast, Tjørnadalsfossen twists and turns as it takes its tumble tumbling down the valley wall. This one also requires a short hike from the road to gain the best vantage point.

Have you ever been to Odda? What was your favourite thing about the area?

About David Nikel

Originally from the UK, David now lives in Trondheim and was the original founder of Life in Norway back in 2011. He now works as a professional writer on all things Scandinavia.

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