Bondhusvatnet Hike: The Secret of Hardanger (incl. video)

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Tucked away from the usual tourist trails, the Bondhusvatnet Hike offers a memorable experience with minimal effort. Unlike many of Norway’s beautiful hikes, this one gives up all her rewards without too much of a fight.

Having reached the town of Odda, a stop during our Stavanger to Bergen road trip, the serene, mirror-like surface of Sørfjord, a branch of the majestic Hardangerfjord, captivated us with its reflective beauty.

Having lived in Norway over the years with our base in Skudeneshavn, it was a fantastic location from which to springboard our adventures. We’ve really enjoyed Norway to its fullest through its different seasons, soaking up its history at Avaldsnes, admiring the stave churches, walking the pretty streets of Stavanger and the unforgettable dances of the Northern Lights.

In this article, we share our experience hiking Bondhusvatnet and further, departing from the carpark up to the moraine with photos of the scenery, terrain and a video compilation.

⛰️ Bondhusvatnet Hike in a Nutshell

  • 🥾 Hiking Level: 🟩 Easy
  • ⛰️ Elevation Gain: 150m
  • 📏 Distance: Route 1 is the Bondhusvatnet Hike, which is a 4.6 km return from the carpark to Bondhusvatnet. To extend this for a longer trek, Route 2 passes around the lake to the moraine, totalling 8.6km return.
  • ⏰ Time: 2 hours for route 1; Total 4 hours for route 2.
  • 👣 Route Type: Out and Back (Route 1 is wheelchair and stroller-friendly)
  • 📍Location: Folgefonna National Park, Hardangerfjord, Mauranger, Hordaland County
  • 😎 Season: Year round
  • 🚗 Parking Fee: NOK 100 per day for the Bondhusdalen parking area
  • 🚶🏽‍♂️‍➡️Essentials to Bring: Sturdy hiking boots and versatile, layered clothing suitable for variable weather conditions.
  • 🚻 Facilities: Toilets at the carpark
  • ↪️ Drive: From Jondal ferry terminal, Årsnes ferry terminal or road Fv551 near Odda.
  • ? Reason to Visit: To enjoy the stunning landscapes.
  • Rules: Bondhusvatnet is a source of drinking water. Camping must be a minimum distance of 50 meters from the water; bathing in the water is prohibited. Dogs are to be kept on a leash at all times due to grazing animals.
View of Bondhusvatnet from the moraine ©Lifejourney4two
bondhusvatnet map

Map: Bondhusvatnet Hike Details

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Video: Bondhusvatnet Hike

Bondhusvatnet Hike: The Secret of Hardanger | Stunning Norwegian Landscapes

History of the Bondhusvatnet Trail

In the late 19th century, ice from Bondhusbreen was rowed across Bondhusvatnet and transported by horse and cart using the walking trail to a wharf in Sundal. From here, it was shipped to local destinations and was used to keep food chilled.

The trouble was that much of the ice would melt. Without any effective means to prevent this, the operation was abandoned.

HM Queen Sonja of Norway opened Folgefonna National Park on 14 May 2005.

Clear trail signage at Bondhusvatnet, easy hike on gravel road ©Lifejourney4two

Our Experience of Hiking Bondhusvatnet

Bondhusdalen Parking to Bondhusvatnet

Arriving at the large Bondhusdalen parking area, we paid the parking fee and began the walk past the toilet area on a slightly inclining gravel path. The path ran beside the bubbling Bondhuselva River where the trees fought for space near the rocky shores.

Bondhuselva river
Bondhuselva River ©Lifejourney4two

The welcoming pine scent was heavy in the air. The picturesque surroundings of Bondhusdalen Valley already showed signs of great things to come.

Within the hour, we had reached the closest point of Bondhusvatnet. The view from the shoreline was magnificent with the smooth aqualine waters interrupted with jagged rocks that sat close to the shoreline.

Views of the distant glacier, Bondhusbreen ©Lifejourney4two

This route coincides with Route 1 marked on the map.

From here, look across Bondhusvatnet and follow the line of the canyon between the mountains to catch the merest view of the receding Bondhusbreen glacier. This is the best spot for glacier views unless you choose to hike up the moraine to the glacier’s edge however, that does not feature in this hike.

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Hike to Bondhusvatnet Shoreline

With our hearts set on reaching the white beach on the far shoreline, we followed a trail that hugged the shoreline. As shown on route 2 on the map.

Bondhuselva-more views-of-glacier-
Lake views across to the Bondhusbreen, an offshoot of the Folgefonna glacier ©Lifejourney4two

We passed a few rock picnic tables offering great scenic spots for a picnic. The trail is clear and easy going with great views of the mountains and lake between the trees.

Bondhusvatnet Lake with its ‘beach’ ©Lifejourney4two

A few hundred metres from the white beach, we get our first proper views of it. The trail becomes a little tricky, requiring careful footwork to pick your way over the wet stones.

Railings on the path ©Lifejourney4two

Wooden railings provide extra support to help you over the rocky path. We cross a wooden bridge over the lively Bondhusvatnet waterfall and stop to grab photos.

Bridge over the Bondhusvatnet waterfall ©Lifejourney4two
Shelley pausing to enjoy the view after crossing the bridge ©Lifejourney4two

Beach and Moraine: Turn-Around Point of the Lake Bondusvatnet Hike

On the other side of the bridge, again, more careful negotiation over rocks and tree roots before we can walk down onto the white-pebbly beach.

Roots over the trail are a bit of an obstacle ©Lifejourney4two

From here, you enjoy the views then retrace your steps back to the carpark. Otherwise, you might want to boulder hop up the moraine for more scenic views.

I climbed the moraine partway for better views ©Lifejourney4two
Shelley-looking-small on beach
Shelley seen from partway up the moraine ©Lifejourney4two

The day wasn’t without mishap though.

My better half, Shelley, was distracted and slipped on the beach rocks, coming down hard on her hand.

She immediately put the cold glacial lake waters to good use, soaking the sprain. It worked. It put the smile back on the dial with no lingering after effects.

Shelley soaking her sore hand in the cold fjord waters ©Lifejourney4two
Shelley and I at Bondhusvatnet with the lake in the background.
Shelley and I; the hike to Lake Bondhusvatnet was terrific ©Lifejourney4two

Bondhusvatnet Hike … That’s a Wrap

I hope our Bondhusvatnet hike shows why this trek is a hidden treasure in Hardanger. We loved every minute of our time spent here.

Easy to access and suitable for all skill levels, it’s perfect for anyone looking to unplug from the fast-paced world and enjoy some serenity amidst beautiful scenery. We wholeheartedly recommend this hike for kids, families and people of all ages.

Remember when you visit, to enjoy the natural beauty responsibly and help preserve it for future adventurers.

Enjoy this wonderful hike.

Do you plan to visit this beautiful glacier lake? Have you hiked Bondhusvatnet before? We’d love to hear about any of your hiking experiences. Leave us a comment below.

🇳🇴 More Information for Your Trip to Norway

NORWEGIAN FJORDS AND HIKES: Begin your adventure with our comprehensive guides to Norway’s best hikes. Discover the breathtaking views from Ryten in Lofoten, the thrill of Kjeragbolten, or the iconic Pulpit Rock. Each guide offers essential tips and stunning locations to explore.

LOFOTEN ISLANDS: Plan an unforgettable road trip through the Lofoten Islands with our Lofoten Road Trip Guide. Learn about each must-visit spot and how to make the most of your journey in this picturesque region.

CULTURAL EXPERIENCES: Dive into the rich history and vibrant culture of Norway. Whether it’s exploring ancient stave churches in our Stave Churches Guide or celebrating with the locals during the 17th of May National Day, there’s something for every traveller.

CITY EXPLORATIONS: Discover the urban charms of Norway by visiting its beautiful cities. Whether you’re strolling through Trondheim or exploring Bergen, start with our guides to Trondheim to Bodø and the vibrant city life in Stavanger.

EXTENSIVE ITINERARIES: If you are beginning to plan your journey, take a look at our Two-Week Norway Itinerary for diverse ways to experience the country, from the fjords to the northern lights.

To fully explore what Norway has to offer, visit our comprehensive Norway Travel Guide.

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Lars, grew up in the Australian countryside and discovered his love for nature early on. Leaving Australia at 20, he began a life of travel and exploration. As a co-owner of Lifejourney4two with Shelley, Lars captures their journeys through his photography. Join him here and see the world through his lens.

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