The cider boat and exploring Norwegian nature
Odda, where the fjord cruise starts and ends, is the perfect launch pad for hiking in the mountains. Pictures of the spectacular rock formation Trolltunga (the troll’s tongue) have made Odda a popular destination for hikers from around the world who want to explore Norway. There are numerous peaks in the area, such as Rossnos and Reinanuten, that can be reached on foot. In the early days of international tourism, wealthy visitors flocked to experience the Buerdalen valley and the Buerbreen glacier. They came by ship to Odda, were conveyed part of the way by horse and boat, and then continued on foot up the Buerdalen valley. In the 1850s, tourism in Odda was just as lively as the New York Stock Exchange. Today, Bjørn Buer and his family are following in the footsteps of his grandparents, who started serving food and beverages around 1970. They have built up a gourmet restaurant at the foot of the Buerbreen glacier, which food critics have praised to the skies. It is truly worth a visit.
From Odda, the Aurora of the Fjords takes you to Lofthus. Here, we propose a stay at the historic Hotel Ullensvang, a magnificent hotel set in beautiful grounds. This is the perfect place to rest after walking the Queen’s Path from Kinsarvik to Lofthus. The Queen’s Path is named after Norway’s Queen Sonja and is one of her favourite hiking trails.
Alternatively, you can hike the beautiful valleys around Lofthus and visit one or more of the farms that produce their own cider. Hear the apple grower explain how this unique Norwegian cider is produced and end your visit by sampling the latest vintage.
After Lofthus, you can kick back and relax as the Aurora of The Fjords takes you on the last leg of this Hardangerfjord cruise, before docking in Eidfjord after a mini-break that will be remembered for a long time.
Cider tasting in Hardanger – a world-class experience
Sampling farm-produced Norwegian cider after a tour of the orchards where the fruit was grown has become one of the most popular things to do in Hardanger. Visiting the farm and hearing the farmer explain the artisanal cider production process is truly something to put on your to-do list.
If you start your fjord cruise in Odda, we suggest that you hop off at Aga. Here, between high mountain peaks and in the centre of the Hardanger fruit basket, lies the idyllically situated Aga Sideri.
Joar Aga, a seventh-generation farmer, started the cidery at this fruit farm in 2018. The farm lies close to both the mountains and the waters of Sørfjord, which offers a perfect climate for fruit growing. On steep slopes, Joar grows a handful of different apple varieties, which are carefully harvested and turned into both apple juice and cider.
After stopping at Aga, rejoin the Aurora of The Fjords and continue your cruise to Lofthus. This is a short leg with the cider boat, but gives plenty of time to rest your legs and have a bite to eat. Make sure to try some of the local delicacies available on board.
End your cider tasting in Hardanger with a night at the venerable Brakanes Hotel. This historic hotel is an experience in itself, offering a great ambience and excellent food. The Aurora of The Fjords docks within walking distance of the hotel. After a delicious breakfast, the next day starts where you left off the day before. The cider boat departs from Lofthus in the direction of Odda at 3.45 pm, so we suggest you spend some time sampling the cider at the Lofthus Ekspedisjon. Cider tasting starts at 2.30 pm, with a variety of different cider types for you to sample.
Your cider tasting in Hardanger adventure ends aboard the Aurora of The Fjords, from which you can enjoy magnificent views of the fjord and mountains on the return trip to Odda.
We recommend that you book your cider sampling in advance. At Taste Hardanger you can book your preferred cider experience.