The cider boat’s itinerary
This is a fjord cruise with opportunities for exploration and cider tasting along the way. Every morning during the season, the boat departs from Eidfjord at 9.30 am. On its way towards the town of Odda, the Aurora of The Fjords stops off at Ulvik, Lofthus, Aga, Nå and Tyssedal. All of these charming fjordside places have their own story to tell. The entire journey to Odda takes 3 hours and 15 minutes.
The cider boat also has two departures from Lofthus later every day: one is a fjord cruise that ends at the picturesque hamlet of Nå, and the other goes all the way in to Odda.
From Odda, the Aurora of The Fjords has two daily departures sailing down the fjord, with the last departure going all the way to Eidfjord.
You can choose to take this amazing fjord cruise in Hardanger as a purely sightseeing excursion, with a cider tasting session on board, as a transport leg on your way to another destination, or as a hop-on hop-off combination of cider tasting and visits to the cider producers along the way. Find out more about departure times and possible excursions here.
Places to visit along the way
The cider boat departs from the fjordside village of Eidfjord, which acts as a hub for exploring some of Norway’s most beautiful natural features: the Hardanger plateau, the Hardangerjøkulen glacier, the precipitous Måbødalen valley, the Vøringsfossen waterfall, the River Eio and Hardangerfjord itself. The cider boat’s first stop is Ulvik, the jewel that lies at the very head of the eponymous fjord arm Ulvikafjord. Tourists have been coming here for more than 150 years in search of spectacular landscapes and cultural experiences. Ulvik is home to Norway’s only fruit and cider trail, as well as a wealth of other things to see and do.
The cruise continues towards the Hardanger region’s key fruit-growing area, the village of Lofthus. Along the way, the Aurora of The Fjords passes beneath the Hardanger Bridge. It is a fabulous sight. At almost 1,400 m in length, the longest in Norway, its main span is 30 m longer than San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge.
Idyllic Loftshus has been the centre of Norway’s fruit growing for hundreds of years – in fact, ever since a group of Cistercian monks settled in the area in the 13th century. It is therefore the perfect place to get to know the world-famous Hardanger cider.
We head towards Odda
As our fjord sightseeing cruise continues in the direction of Odda, we pass through the characteristic Hardanger landscape, with lush slopes rising from the mighty fjord. The cider boat cruises past Oksen, a mountain peak and landmark, where hikers can experience panoramic views of Hardangerfjord and its many side arms. This countryside is some of the most beautiful the west of Norway has to offer.
The boat now passes straight between Utnefjord, Sørfjord and Eidfjord, which all branch off Norway’s second longest fjord, Hardangerfjord. Stretching for a total of 179 km, Hardangerfjord starts as a ragged fringe of inlets and islands in a wide band from Haugesund to Bergen on the Atlantic coast, then gradually narrows as it carves its way towards Norway’s mountainous interior. The natural and cultural heritage you encounter here has enchanted visitors since the dawn of time, and the beautiful fjords are considered by many to be the very essence of Norway – the world’s foremost fjord landscape.
Aga and Nå on the left-hand side
The next stops on our gorgeous fjord sightseeing cruise in Hardanger are the hamlets of Aga and Nå. Both are famed for their orchards and cider production. In spring, they are encircled by row upon row of pink and white blossoming fruit trees. Add in the snow-clad mountain tops and the romantic picture is complete. As autumn approaches, you can taste the fruits of the summer. At Aga, you can also visit Agatun, the only surviving example of a traditional west Norwegian farmstead cluster, whose oldest building dates back to the early 1200s.
The Aurora of the Fjords continues on towards Tyssedal
Tyssedal is the next port of call for this Hardangerfjord cruise. The village is most well-known for its spectacular hydropower plant. Situated right on the water’s edge and looking more like a Venetian palazzo than an industrial building, the power plant was opened in 1908. In 2009, it was included in Norway’s tentative list of candidates for inclusion in UNESCO’s World Heritage List, along with the Odda smelting works and the Rjukan-Notodden industrial heritage site. The Tyssedal Power Plant is now a museum and well worth a visit.