A vacation in Åkrafjord, Norway
Norway! For many it’s a dream destination because of the fjords, the rugged landscapes and the arctic feeling. For years I have been a fan of Norway and rightly so: the fjords are really a scenic beauty that makes my heart beat faster over and over again. And so this summer we decided to head northbound for the second year in a row for a summer holiday in Scandinavia.
Before you continue reading, also make sure to check the short video that I made:
‘In between the drops it’s dry’
An important factor for a holiday in Norway is the weather. About Norway the following saying goes: “there are three types of weather in Norway: it rains, it has just rained or it is about to rain.” Last year we had not very good weather. David and I then traveled north with Rudolph the Volvo for no less than five weeks and after about two weeks in Swedish Lapland, we made the crossing to Norway via Kiruna. During the ten days we spent here it was dry for just a single day. Plain bad luck and nothing to do about it. Last May David made a motorcycle trip through Norway with a friend and they had beautiful weather. Reason enough to head to Norway again in the summer we figured. Two consecutive summers of almost non-stop rain would be really bad luck, right?
As I wrote in an earlier article, nowadays I prefer to travel by car than by plane somewhere. Call it shame, call it comfort. We have converted Rudolph into a sleeping car and can therefore sleep in nature, partly due to the Every Man’s Right in Scandinavia. This brought us to the most beautiful places last year and this year we again loaded Rudolph with food, camping gear and other luggage and we drove to Denmark on a Thursday afternoon. We were supposed to take the boat from Hirtshals to Kristiansand early on Friday morning, so we decided to stay a few hours from Hirtshals at the First Hotel in Kolding. From here it was a three-hour drive to Hirtshals the next morning.
Taking the boat to Norway
Last year we traveled to Scandinavia via the bridge between Copenhagen and Malmö and although this may seem cheaper, you end up paying a lot of toll money for the bridges between the Danish islands. This year we decided to go by boat. Fjordline offered me a crossing for two people between Hirtshals and Kristiansand with the HSC Fjord Cat, an ultra-fast catamaran that will sail you across the Skaggerak in just over two hours. At check-in we are asked if we want a pill against seasickness. We decide to accept it and we patiently join the waiting line of cars.
Not much later the loading starts and we drive onto the Fjord Cat. I immediately notice how small the ship is compared to the other ships I know and instead of large decks, the parking area looks more like a parking garage. After we have parked the car we look for a place in the lounge. Included in the crossing is a free seat on the lower deck or upper deck. All seats are comfortable and some are at a power outlet.
After we have left, the captain of the ship reports via the intercom. Due to the strong headwind, the crossing takes longer than planned (2:40 am) and as the waves are relatively high, we can expect ‘some movement on the ship’. Some movement turns out to be an understatement, because not much later we bounce back and forth. Many persons around me look yellow and greenish and with this I want to express my respect for the staff who were so kind to pick up the full bags.
I’m quite relieved when there is land in sight and we enter the port of Kristiansand. Luckily I get a message on Instagram from someone I know who also made a crossing over the Skaggerak a little later that day where the same thing happened. So it had nothing to do with Fjord Line.
I also want to mention that on the way back we had a quiet and therefore much better sailing. The water was almost smooth and I finally had time to read a book and relax on board. Because it is a compact ship you do not have much entertainment there (only for the kids) but that is actually not necessary at all. You can eat in the buffet restaurant or you can buy small refreshments at the kiosk. There is also the possibility of doing tax-free purchases. Times and fares for the Fjordline crossing can be found here.
Arrival in Norway
“Wind in my hair, I feel part of everywhere”. A favorite quote from Eddie Vedder from the film music of Into the Wild. When we enter the port of Kristiansand it is sunny and I’m instantly happy. We decide to look for a camping spot in nature about an hour outside the city. We find it on a side road just near the village of Evje. While I bake the burgers, David makes the car ready to spend the night. While enjoying a view of the Otrafjord, we cheer to the fact that we are back in our beloved Scandinavia.
Drive to the Åkrafjord
The next morning it it’s pouring cats and dogs. We try to break up as dry as possible and start the drive to Åkrafjord – our destination for the first week of our holiday. Here we have booked a house where we want to stay for a week to rest, occasionally work and hike. Our idea is to work in the morning and get outdoors in the afternoon. The drive to Åkrafjord is long but beautiful. Although it is raining, we really enjoy being back in Norway. After Odda we drive into an 11-kilometer tunnel and we soon after we arrive in the Åkrafjord. Our cottage is at the very end of the road, near the village of Åkra. You can’t go further from here and we love it!
A cabin in Åkrafjorden
The cottage we rented is rustic. The wifi that we requested is not strong enough to work and the hot tub appears to be a kind of beanbag rather than a pool. But since we haven’t paid much for it, we can’t complain. We are literally in the middle of nowhere (1 kilometer on a dirt road into the mountains) and it’s quiet. Deafening silence is all around us.
The first few days we do very little. We sleep, eat, drink beers and read a lot. And the rain still pours down on us. Occasionally I try to walk a short round near the cottage, but apart from a rainbow and five minutes of sunshine, the weather is gloomy.
Hike to Åkrastolen – the hike and bridge to nowhere
Not much is known about the Åkrafjord, but doing some research tells us that we can do a not too long hike from Åkra to Åkrastølen. It sounds good and according to yr.no (the weather online of Norway) it gets dry one afternoon later in the week. That afternoon we drive through the small Åkra village, over a mountainous dirt road towards the start of the hike.
In good spirits we start the simple hike and enjoy ourselves to the fullest. Occasionally a dark cloud floats over, but it is mostly dry. After about twenty minutes we are overwhelmed by a huge shower though … we hide under a small tree, but soon decide that it is useless. Because of the rain we walk further and we reach the end of the valley. Here we have to climb up the waterfall to finally reach the Åkrastølen. But first we’ll have to cross the river. But … the bridge is gone. At least, there are still two slippery beams from what once was a bridge. Balancing over it is not an option and the water is too deep and too wild to wade through on foot. So it’s back to the car, unfortunately.
On the way back we notice a wooden bunch of planks that float against a rock in the river. It turns out to be the rest of the bridge, which we suspect has recently been flushed away by all rainfall. Not much later we arrive at the car and drive back to our rustic cabin, to lose ourselves again in our books (I read three in five days!). And Arne Dahl on Netflix. The latter via the 4G, not the wifi.
A beautiful day in Blådalen
The next day it seems to be sunny, for the first time in five days. We decide to drive into Blådalen, about an hour’s drive from Åkra. We’ve read you should be able to see glaciers from the Folgefonna icecap here and of course the glacier freak in me wants nothing more than just that. Fair enough, the road is really beautiful. We are there at the end of the morning and just don’t see anyone else. Just sheep and a beautiful bald eagle. This valley is really a paradise and I’ll tell you more about it in a next article.
Hike naar Møsevassbreen in Folgefonna Nationaal Park
We drive over a number of dams and then suddenly go straight up, to the Møsevatnet. Here the road ends and there are several cars. And … there is a glacier. An immense one even, and what looks like just a few kilometers away from us. I immediately forget all the rain from the last few days and after we put on the hiking boots, we set off. Well, there is no trail really, but you can take a hike to Møsevassbreen – the glacier that we see on our left.
What’s next is anx adventurous search through alpine terrain and when we are at a huge abyss we know: this is where our walking tour ends. The view is nevertheless beautiful and we spend some time here for a picnic and watching the ice in the distance. The water is high so that the ice in the lake ends (this is apparently not always the case) and in the distance we see a kayaker. Because of the lack of other people, I feel at the end of the world!
The decision: heading back to Sweden
Once back in our house we view the weather forecasts for the next days and they don’t look good. In addition, the bathroom of our cottage has a leak, the bed is quite crappy and we think that our time in beautiful Åkrafjord has come to an end. The decision to leave for Sweden and head for the sun is therefore quickly made.
Norway: you are and will remain beautiful. Especially in places where there are few tourists, or even better no tourists at all. This year the weather gods were not favorable to us but we enjoyed you and your wild nature anyway. Until next time!
Looking for more unexplored places in Norway? Then make sure to visit Senja as well!
We were offered the sailing with Fjord Line in exchange for an honest review on our website, which we have given you here. All opinions only are entirely ours. In this article you will find affiliate links. If you make a purchase through such a link, we may receive a modest commission, without extra costs for you.