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Trolltunga - Norway

Trolltunga, or the Trolls Tongue got it's name as it appears to be a troll that turned to stone with it's tongue sticking out. This is one of my, if not my favorite adventure I've had so far on my travels.

Be warned the Trolltunga trek is not for the casual hiker. The route is marked out by following the red "T's" you'll find painted onto rocks, so keep an eye out for these. People have got lost, and people regularly need to be rescued from here, sometimes by helicopter. There are also several rescue cabins dotted around in case you get into trouble and need to find shelter while waiting to be rescued.

This is a tough trek, which I had been warned about before I set out, but I don't think anything can prepare you for the first kilometer, it's tougher than I ever imagined! The majority of the first kilometer is vertical, you're constantly climbing up stone stairs and rocks for the length of the kilometer. It's tough, very tough! At one time the first kilometer could be climbed via wooden stairs which had been built. These were closed when I trekked it in 2017 as I think they were unsafe. I recently have heard that it's now possible to skip the first one of two kilometers by driving to a newly built car park further up. If I was to do the trek again, I'd rather not do this as I feel it takes away the toughest part of the challenge.

As you progress along the trek which is a 22km round trip you'll encounter both ups and downs when it comes to terrain and your mental state. The weather can change dramatically and there's no telling what the conditions will be like up there. One minute I was sweating buckets with the sun blazing down on me, the next I'm walking through snow and cold winds. I began the trek at around 4am in the morning just as it was getting light. It was a great time to go as I only encountered a few other hikers on my way up. Once at the Trolls Tongue, I only has to wait a few minutes for my turn on the ledge. There were some beautiful views from here of the fjord below.

Although going up was fairly quiet, on the way back down there were hundreds of fellow hikers, many who had camped the night before. Trolltunga is now a major tourist hotspot, I guess the popularity of Instagram has encouraged this. It took me about 10 hours up and down. It's said to take between 8-12 hours for reasonably healthy people. So I am quite happy with my time. Why do I consider this to be one of the highlights from all my travels so far? I really can't say. I think the fact I was able to hike much of this avoiding the crowds and climbing up rocks, passing through snow, drinking from waterfalls. It felt like a real challenge and a real adventure.

Would I suggest camping? Camping is usually advised, especially if you don't want to trek for a long period. You'll notice several tents if you're starting your trek early or late. However bare in mind that hiking with your camping gear will make it tougher. But I image it must be quite an experience waking up to some of the views up there.

I think it I were to hike Trolltunga again, it won't be as special as the first time, so I'd probably camp to have a slightly different experience.

So, how do you get to Trolltunga? If you're driving then it's simply a case of driving to "Trolltunga Active", this is easily found on google maps. If you're using public transport, then it's quite a bit more complicated. Here's how i did it. From Bergen I took the ferry from Strandkaiterminalen båtkai to Rosendal båtkai which took about 2 hours. The plus about taking the ferry is that you get to take in some beautiful views whilst sailing through the fjords. From Rosendal kai I then took the bus to Odda, which took 45 minutes. I stayed overnight in Odda, and then at the crack of dawn I walked over to the taxi company and got a taxi up to Trolltunga Active. For my return journey I blagged a lift from some fellow hikers back to Odda and then simply took a direct bus back to Bergen which took around 3 hours.

Be sure to check out my guides on Oslo and Bergen.

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