Norwegian Scenic Route Hardangervidda runs from Eidfjord to Haugastøl, a total distance of 67 km (Road 7). This route is open for traffic throughout the year.
On a personal note, Hardangervidda is one of my favorites. Probably because I’m born in Bergen and grew up in Oslo. I’ve been driving this stretch countless times, summer, winter, autumn, spring. By car and with motorcycle. It’s not the only connection between east and west, but definitely one of my favorites.
From East to West
Hardangervidda is equally great no matter which way you drive it. If you drive from the East, you will have a long, slow climb through the beautiful valley Hallingdal. Barely noticing that you are actually climbing towards Europe’s highest mountain plateau, except from the changing environment. Hardangervidda is not only the highest, but also the largest mountain plateau in northern Europa — 8000 km2. From the valley with pine wood and smaller agricultural areas, you pass the tree line, and before you know it, you are on the plateau following a lazy road with long curves across the wide plains. A truly great experience on two wheels.
The Hardangervidda plateau boasts one of the biggest populations of wild reindeer in Europe and if you are very patient and very lucky you can marvel at these amazing animals in their proper element.
Before you pass the watershed (vannskille), the terrain is relatively flat, but on the west side of the watershed, it’s rougher. Mountain ranges appear, and suddenly you dive into the untamed Måbødalen. Now the scenery has changed completely, and you are suddenly in Eidfjord, a little village innermost in the Hardangerfjord.
People have probably crossed the mountains for more than 1,000 years, but it was only at the beginning of the last century that roads were established. Many of these follow the original paths and cart tracks, so even though much has changed, it’s gratifying to think that we are often following in the footsteps of those who roamed the mountains many centuries ago.
Vøringsfossen is Norway’s best-known waterfall, and it’s easy to understand why it makes such an impact on people. The water thundering down the mountainside in a free fall of 182 meters is an impressive sight. The valley of Måbødalen is a spectacular part of the route and can be admired from the car window, although you should perhaps make a stop to discover the few parts of the old road still visible in some places.