Hardangervidda National Park route – a string of adventures
If you’re planning a holiday in one of the welcoming towns of Telemark, such as Hovden, Rauland or Gausta – a drive along the Hardangervidda National Park route – also known as the Telemark Mountain Road – is a must. The route goes from Heddal Stave Church in the east to Haukelifjell in the west and is 235 kilometres in total. The trip is dotted with attractions, viewpoints, charming villages and impressive natural surroundings, so most people enjoy the journey in shorter sections, so you have time to make stops along the way and enjoy the many sights on offer.
Top 5 natural attractions en route
Telemark offers a wealth of idyllic hikes for the whole family, but the most iconic hike in the area is without doubt the climb to Gaustatoppen. Fortunately, it’s quite easy to get to the top, even if you’re not an experienced hiker – in fact you can get almost to the top using “Gaustabanen”.
- Hardangervidda mountain plateau
Hardangervidda is Europe’s largest mountain plateau and the centre of the plateau constitutes Scandinavia’s largest national park. The Hardangervidda National Park route has many different points where you can climb up to the mountain plateau to hike, cycle or just take in the view of the fascinating natural scenery.
- Mountain plateau cruise on Møsvatn
Enjoy one of Norway’s most beautiful mountain plateau cruises at Hardangervidda. Take MB Fjellvåken and experience Møsvatn mountain lake with lunch and a walk included from Mogen Tourist Centre.
- Hikes along the Saboteur’s Trail at Rjukan
On this exciting and beautiful hike, you’ll follow the path that a group of Norwegian saboteurs took on their way to blowing up the heavy water plant at Vemork – a dramatic act that prevented Adolf Hitler from developing an atomic bomb during the Second World War.
The Krossobanen cable car was built in 1928 to give Rjukan’s inhabitants the chance to get up to the sunlight in the dark winter months. From the top of Krossobanen (886 metres above sea level) you can enjoy the family-friendly Sun Trail. The beautiful hike is around 4.3 km long and goes along the perimeter of Hardangervidda National Park.
Top 5 attractions along the trail
- Heddal Stave Church
Heddal Stave Church – the starting point of the Hardangervidda National Park route – lies about one hour’s drive east of Gaustablikk. With its impressive wood-clad exterior, three towers and ornate gables with crosses and dragon heads, the beautiful church serves as a spectacular reminder of both Norwegian history and Norwegian craftsmanship of the very highest calibre.
- Telemarkstunet in Rauland
Take an enjoyable trip back in time at Telemarkstunet, a collection of replicas of old houses from Rauland. Here you’ll be able to take a tour of the fascinating historic buildings and experience how the locals lived and worked in Rauland for hundreds of years.
- Hardangervidda National Park Centre
At the National Park Centre, you can visit a number of exciting, interactive exhibitions on the surrounding nature and in particular about the large herds of wild reindeer that live on the plateau.
- The Vidsyn sculpture
Right by Rauland Mountain Plateau Hotel you’ll find a short and family-friendly hike to a very special destination: The Vidsyn sculpture, which looks out over Rauland from the top of Vierlinuten.
- The Norwegian Industrial Workers Museum Vemork
At the Norwegian Industrial Workers Museum, you’ll be able to experience Rjukan and Vemork’s exciting history, including the world’s largest power plant, the discovery of mineral fertilisers – and one of World War Two’s most important and dramatic acts of sabotage.
Top 5 viewpoints along the route
Rjukanfossen was one of Norway’s first tourist attractions. With its 104-metre drop, the waterfall is an impressive sight – even today, although the waterfall is less forceful because the water is used for electricity production at Vemork power plant.
At Hardangervidda National Park Centre at Skinnarbu, you’ll encounter an amazing view over Møsvatn and the surrounding mountains and valleys.
At Vågslid, you’ll find spectacular viewpoints across mountains, lakes and valleys.
Falkeriset is often called the “children’s favourite" due to its good path, exciting history and great views. The trip to the viewpoint is about a 3 km return trip following a stone path laid down by Nepalese sherpas, and many children love jumping from stone to stone on their way to the top.
- Elvelangs at Haukelifjell (1.3 round trip on foot)
Stop by the Arbuvollen Mountain Shop, follow the gravel path and you’ll soon come to an idyllic lookout point by the river – a perfect place to take a break from your drive and enjoy your packed lunch.