Out of the world’s 30 highest waterfalls, 10 are in Norway. And with more than 300 cascades, the country is a magnet for waterfall lovers, boasting some of the world’s most dramatic and scenic streams of gushing water.
Many of Norway’s waterfalls drop more than 800 metres, and people come here from across the world to kayak down them in summer, and ice climb up them in winter – or to simply gaze at their majesty and force of nature.
The best time to experience Norway’s waterfalls in full flow is in May and June, when the ice and snow from the mountains is melting and the water levels are at their highest.
Planning to canyon up a cataract or simply want to marvel at the epic power and thunderous noise? Here are some of the most jaw-droppingly beautiful falls that Norway has to offer.
Voted Norway’s most beautiful waterfall in a 2016 poll, Vettisfossen is located in the pristine surroundings of the Jotunheimen National Park. With an impressive 275-metre single drop, it’s Norway’s highest free-falling waterfall.
A 13km round-walk from the village of Øvre Årdal in the Jotunheimen National Park takes you to the base of the falls, up the beautiful Utladalen valley. The path leads right up to the foot of the falls so you get to appreciate its grandeur up close.
You can visit the falls yourself quite easily, but if you’d like to learn about the region, its history and nature, you can book a guided hike to the falls along the Utladalen valley from Hjelle, a 10-minute drive from Øvre Årdal.
Want to spend a night near the falls? There are cosy cabins at Utladalen Camping.
Norway’s fifth-highest waterfall, with a total descent of 612 metres, Langfoss gushes down the mountainside into the Åkrafjord.
Some 36km from Odda in Folgefonna National Park, it’s an easy waterfall to view as the E134 runs alongside the fjord at its base – and there are even picnic benches and a viewing platform so you can marvel at its force from close up.
If you don’t have your own transport, a good way to visit the falls is on a tour from Haugesund, which takes in some of Norway’s dramatic scenery en route. The tour also includes a tasty buffet lunch of local seafood and vegetables.
One of Norway’s best known and most photographed waterfalls, Steinsdalsfossen is located 2km from the village of Norheimsund. At 50 metres high, it’s not the tallest of Norway’s waterfalls but it is one of the most fun.
Its main appeal is that you can walk behind it and feel the energy of the wild and impressive cascade. Legend has it that Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany (1888–1918) was so impressed with Steinsdalsfossen that he visited it most summers.
A dramatic footpath has been built into the mountainside behind the falls, whose waters gush overhead along the Steinsdalselva river and ultimately into the stunning Hardangerfjord.
Be warned, though, you may get wet as the spray can swirl around, especially in windy weather.
The waterfall’s other main attraction is that it’s easily reached by car, without the need for a long hike. But if you’re short of time and want to see the falls on a wider tour of the area, you can view them as part of a day-trip from Bergen.
This private tour may be pricey, but it takes in all the sights in the area, and stops at two of the area’s best waterfalls.
Plunging down into the steep and narrow Måbødalen valley, the majestic Vøringsfossen waterfall lies some 17km from Eidfjord. At around 150 metres high, the falls cascade down from the national park at Hardangervidda, Europe’s largest mountain plateau.
You can see the falls from the bottom at the stopping point on Highway 7, but for the best views head up to the Art Nouveau Fossli Hotel.
This old-style hotel, dating from the 1890s, perches right on the cliff edge above the falls with spectacular views of its gushing torrents.
And if the falls aren’t dramatic enough, you can head down to Eidfjord Harbour and take a thrilling Rib ride on the fjord. Look out for seals in the water and goats on the mountainside.
The 218 metre-high Feigefossen sits on the southern shore of the Lustrafjord, some 17km south of the village of Skjolden.
You can drive down the narrow, winding route 331 from Skjolden then walk up to the falls.
Alternatively, you can get an excellent view of it from highway 55 on the northern side of the fjord. From here, you can also see a second waterfall called Haanafossen higher up above Feigefossen.
But perhaps the best way to get a sense of Feigefossen’s height and grandeur is to take a Rib ride on the fjord from Skjolden Brygge. You’ll get great views of the fjord and falls and may even encounter some seals and porpoises too.