At home anywhere
Follow the pioneers
People have been crossing the mountains at Hardanger for thousands of years. Countless Stone Age settlements have been found on the plateau as well as ancient trails, which are still used to link the west of Norway with the east. At the beginning of the last century, a number of roads were built based on the original paths nomads would have followed hundreds of years ago to guide them through the treacherous mountains. And it’s these same roads that will guide you and your Volvo as you venture towards Hardangervidda.
The Hardanger mountain plateau in western Norway is the largest plateau of its kind in Northern Europe. The alpine climate has created a barren, treeless landscape that sometimes more closely resembles the desolate plains of the Arctic tundra than the plunging valleys and lush woodland Norway is known for. The presence of one of Norway’s largest glaciers only adds to the alien, Arctic feel. But first impressions can be misleading. And although Hardangervidda may seem a little devoid of life at first, the truth is, this is an area ripe for adventure. And if it’s all-weather, all-terrain adventure you’re after, you won’t have to travel very far to find it.
The Beauty in contrast
One minute you are driving across wide open plains and the next you can find yourself staring in wonder as a glacier comes into view. This breathtaking journey takes you past vast plateaus, high mountains and deep valleys. And as the you travel further, the more you are rewarded as waterfalls and breathtaking, azure-blue fjords await. But the real beauty and appeal of Hardangervidda can be found in its many contrasts. The west side of the plateau is characterised by rocky outcrops and a damp climate, whereas the flatter east side is drier and more heavily vegetated.
But what unites both east and west are the rivers, freshwater lakes and the majestic rolling fells, which are all that remain from the mountains worn down by glaciers during the Ice Age. Another striking contrast is the presence of arctic animals and plants in an area that would, in normal circumstances, be deemed too far south for them to survive. These unexpected arctic migrants have been drawn to Hardangervidda because of its cold alpine climate. In fact, Hardangervidda is home to some of the largest wild reindeer herds in the world, so don’t be surprised if you spot them on your travels as they migrate across the plateau from east to west.
An adventure for all seasons
In winter, the weather at Hardangervidda changes by the hour and can be less than welcoming. Thankfully, snow ploughs work tirelessly to keep the way clear for drivers wishing to experience the plateau at its most extreme. In the summer, though, exploring Hardangervidda and the surrounding district of Hardanger itself is like visiting a completely different world. Instead of snow and empty plains, you will find fruit trees in bloom, fisherman casting their lines in the breathtaking Hardangerfjord and hikers gazing in awe at the many spectacular waterfalls that surround the district.
During the summer, Hardangervidda is a popular tourist destination and ideal for lots of different outdoor activities. So, if you want a change of pace, you can always swap four wheels for two hiking boots and take advantage of the many trails, which are protected by the Hardangervidda National Park. Hardangervidda National Park is the largest national park in Norway – it covers a vast area of 3,422 square kilometres and features a comprehensive network of huts across the plateau, which are open to all hikers and maintained by the Norwegian Mountain Touring Association.
The National Tourist Route at Hardangervidda runs from Eidfjord to Haugastøl, a total distance of 67 km (Road 7).
Equipped for adventure
If you and your Volvo are setting off in search of adventure, we have a wide range of Volvo Cars accessories exclusively designed to help you explore the road less travelled.
Taking your Volvo off-road can add an exciting new dimension to your driving. But you should still prepare for the unexpected – especially on bumpy country roads. This gas-sprung steel grille provides protection when braking sharply by ensuring your belongings stay securely in place.