Discovery Route is the historic tourist route through Fjord Norway, from Stavanger to Bergen. The route was established in the 1880s when wealthy Englishmen came by horse and carriage to experience the spectacular landscape. The untamed mountains, glaciers, crystal clear rivers, roaring waterfalls, and pristine fjords still hold their beauty, and are today the perfect spot for an active holiday. Activities change with the season, and our suggestion for a summer holiday includes rafting, climbing, hiking and biking, as well as some exotic experiences such as salmon safari. If you prefer a more relaxing pace, natural and cultural highlights are never far apart along the Norwegian Scenic Routes Ryfylke and Hardanger. The tourist route is available all year however, the main season for this variant is May to September.
Stavanger – Preikestolen, 39 km, 40 min
Your Discovery Route adventure starts in Stavanger, and you will soon discover that this charming harbour city has plenty to keep your sense of adventure entertained and your stomach happy, boasting two Michelin-guide restaurants, a charming old town and a bustling centre filled with street art. In fact, you can almost walk straight from your lunch table and onto a RIB-boat from Fjord Events. On a fjordsafari to the Lysefjord you will swish past old farmsteads, waterfalls and the dramatic Preikestolen plateau, your next hiking destination. From your VIP seat in the middle of the fjord, just imagine the view awaiting you at the top of the plateau, 600 metres above sea level.
After exploring Stavanger it’s time to check in and relax before the next day’s adventures. Whether you choose Sola Strand Hotel, with rolling sand dunes at your doorstep, or the traditional Swiss-style Kronen Gaard Hotel, you are guaranteed a good rest in beautiful surroundings.
As you strap on your hiking boots the next morning, or perhaps even that same night, one of our most beautiful hiking destination awaits. Travelers looking for an unforgettable experience can opt for a guided Sunrise Hike with Outdoorlife Norway, reaching the Preikestolen plateau just before the dawn breaks. A few hours of lost sleep are easily recompensed at the sight of the landscape waking up to a new day, as the first ray of sun hits the fjord.
There are several accommodation options along the Discovery Route in beautiful natural surroundings. After the walk, you can check in and enjoy a tasty meal and a comfortable bed and maybe explore the microbrewery at Lilland Bryggerihotell.
You could also go for a unique experience at Haukali 33/3. This is an authentic cotter’s farm from the 1850s that has been restored to show you what life was like during the period, while also meeting current accommodation standards. You can choose to make your own meals or be served by your hosts.
Preikestolen – Sand, 101 km, 1 ferry, 2 h 15 min
The road then goes on to Hjelmeland. A walk up to Fjellgården Hagali is a great experience. With a view of the Jøsenfjord, you will find Galleri Hagali, which hosts art exhibitions and a café. Here you’ll be served the very best of food, culture and art. It is also the starting point for the walk to Skomakernibba, a local gem.
Further along the National Scenic Route Ryfylke lies the village of Sand at the mouth of the Suldalslågen salmon river. A stroll through the village’s surroundings takes you from its early beginnings as a farming community at the old farmsteads at Ryfylke museum, to the top modern, award-winning Høse bridge. Sand is situated beside the mouth of the well-known salmon river Suldalslågen. Mo Laksegard is a riverside farm that rents out well-equipped cabins and serves meals in a cosy restaurant. There are many experiences to be had here, including family rafting, and between 15 April and 1 December, you can also get up close to nature on a guided salmon safari. In a wetsuit, mask and snorkel, you will float along with the river current alongside the shimmering silver salmon. As soon as the fishing season starts on the 20th July and until the 1st October, experienced fishing instructors can show you the best hidden spots and the proper fly fishing technique to catch the coveted wild salmon. There are big salmon to be caught with an average weight of 6.5 kilos.
Sand – Røldal, 100 km, 2 h
As you reach the north end of the Suldalsvatnet lake, we recommend a stop at Energihotellet in Nesflaten. The family-run hotel was drawn by architect Geir Grung in the 1960’s, and is known for it’s clean, unique design, panoramic view of the lake, and local food based on seasonal produce. Next on the route, the village of Røldal has more to offer than crisp mountain air and beautiful views. The richly decorated Røldal stave church is one of Norway’s oldest, dating back to the 13th century, and legend has it that the crucifix has healing powers. Stay the night in Hordatun Hotel before heading to Åkrafjorden or straight to the iconic Trolltunga hike.
Røldal – Trolltunga, 81 km, 1 h 45 min
Before you embark on the hike to Trolltunga, a small detour to Åkrafjorden brings you to the stunning Langfossen waterfall, proudly mentioned by CNN to be one of the world’s most beautiful. Åkrafjorden Oppleving has fjordcruises departing each wednesday in July and August, or you can climb to the top of the waterfall via the old farm road.
The twin falls Låtefossen lie ahead as you drive through the Odda valley, and if you opt for waterfall bike safari with Trolltunga Active you will discover many more, from well-known photo spots to hidden falls along old mountain roads. Visitors come from all over the world to the small town of Odda and the unique rock formation Trolltunga. From Skjeggedal, the hike to the famous plateau and back takes 10-12 hrs, and an early start and proper hiking equipment is needed, as well as food and water for the duration of the hike. Once you reach the plateau, where the “troll’s tongue” hangs above lake Ringedalsvatnet against the stunning backdrop of wild mountains, it is more than worth the long hike. The experienced guide team at Trolltunga Active have guided hikes for all seasons, and even more adventures in store. Spend the night at the plateau on an overnight sunset/sunrise tour, or get your adrenaline going on a zipline or by scaling the steep Via Ferrata.
Trolltunga - Ullensvang - Voss, 95 km, 2 h
The majestic Hotel Ullensvang is the perfect place to rest after the tough hike to Trolltunga. Before enjoying a buffet dinner, we recommend a refreshing swim in the indoor – and outdoor pool with fjord views, or perhaps you prefer a dip in the fjord itself? Soon after crossing the impressive Hardangerfjord bridge, adventure awaits in the mountain town of Voss. This lively town is widely known being a hotspot for activities, and with Voss Active you will find the whole range from family-friendly to adrenaline-filled adventures. The river Vosso is perfect for white water rafting, riverboarding and waterfall rappelling to mention a few. If you prefer to stay on dry land, the mountains trails lead to gorgeous views and serene lakes, or you can test your skills in the high rope park. Fleischer’s Hotel in the town centre provides comfort and style in beautiful surroundings by the Vangsvatnet lake.
Voss – Bergen, 107km, 1h 45 min
The city nestled between seven mountains is best seen from a bird’s eye view, and a favourite among locals and nature-loving travelers is the Vidden hike. Traversing the plateau between Mt. Ulriken and Mt. Fløyen can be done as a self-guided hike with equipment from Bergen Base Camp, and the views along the 15 km hike are stunning. Reward yourself with a coffee or an ice cream at the viewing platform at Mt. Fløyen, before descending to the city centre by foot or the Fløibanen funicular. The city centre is best explored by foot, starting at the colorful houses at the UNESCO World Heritage Site Bryggen, and moving on to the Fish Market, offering local specialties of fish soup, shrimp and fresh fruits in the summer.
The local tourist offices can give you good and useful information.