Enjoy Queen Sonja's panoramic hike Dronningstien 2,5 hours from Bergen. One of Norway’s most beautiful mountain walks for experienced hikers.
The hike is named after HM Queen Sonja of Norway and it is truly worthy for a queen. The hike is spectacular, and it is easy to understand why this is one of the Queen's favourite hikes in Hardanger.
Dronningstien hike can be done on a day trip from Bergen if you start early in the morning. However, we recommend visiting the Hardanger region for a few days or a weekend. The region is beautiful and if seeing the Norwegian fjords is on your agenda, then the Hardangerfjord is right on your doorstep.
This is a one way hike and you can start either in the village of Kinsarvik or Lofthus. The most common is to start in Kinsarvik, so our description will guide you in this direction. In Kinsarvik there is an Esso petrol station. Turn off by the petrol station and follow the signs to Dronningstien and parking. (about 5-10 minutes drive up the mountain side).
The hike starts with a long steep climb no matter which direction you choose. The best parking is in Kinsarvik, so this tends to be the more popular starting point. When completing the hike in Lofthus the last section is between rows and rows of apple trees and makes a perfect end to the hike.
The parking lot in Kinsarvik is quite large, but even so, it tends to fill up quickly during the summer. And especially in July and August when most Norwegians are on their summer vacation. Please follow the payment instructions on the sign at the entrance to the parking lot. Payment is via Vipps (Norwegian payment mobile app), or into a bank account. The daily fee is around NOK 100
As this is a one way hike there is a shuttle bus between Lofthus and Kinsarvik during the summer. The drive is not long, but it is too far to walk. And the hike is too long to walk back and forth in one day. The bus runs continuously from early morning to late in the evening and costs around NOK 165 per person. (payment by Vipps). If there is a long queue for the bus, we recommend that one of you take the shuttle bus to pick up your car and return to pick up the rest of the group.
• Alternative 1: Train and bus to Kinsarvik via Voss: Take the train to Voss (The trains named Voss, Myrdal or Oslo will all stop in Voss) and change to corresponding bus number 990 (towards Odda). Get off the bus at Kinsarvik quay. Travel time from Bergen to Kinsarvik is about 2.5 hours.
• Alternative 2: Bus to Kinsarvik via Granvin: You can also take bus number 925 from Bergen bus station to Granvin terminal, and then change to bus 990 (towards Odda) to Kinsarvik quay. This route takes just over 3.5 hours.
There are two ways to calculate the length of this hike. The Dronningstien hike itself starts up on the top of the mountain and ends on the top of the mountain. This part takes about 4 hours. However, to get there you have to walk from the parking lot for about 1,5 hours. And at the end of Dronningstien the walk back down from the mountain takes another 1,5 hours. Which makes it 7 hours in total.
Note that this can vary from 6-8 hours depending on your level of fitness and how many breaks you allow yourself along the way. (And you would want to take a lot of breaks to take photos!) The total hike is approximately 16 kilometres.
If you measure by your shaky legs after the hike, then this hike definitely qualifies as demanding! The hike consists of steep climbing which can be challenging if you are not used to hiking in the mountains. However, you are rewarded with fantastic views along the route which gives you a lot of energy!
Most likely you will not meet any children under the age of 10 years old on this trip. However, if the child is used to mountain hiking and has done hiking of this length previously, then there is nothing stopping you from bringing the whole family along.
From the parking lot in Kinsarvik the hike starts on a gravel road steep uphill for about 1 hours. At some websites, this part is described as taking 2 hours. The reason being that it is pretty steep and your level of fitness will determine how long this section will take. The road leads up to about 890 meter above sea level. At the top you will see the starting point of Dronningstien. Continue on this track for about 4 hours.
The red T’s which you might have seen when hiking in Norway, has been replaced by a blue D. The trail is well marked, and the surface varies from mountain rocks to very wet soil.
The view of Sørfjorden and the villages along the fjord is breathtaking and can quickly add a few extra hours to your hike! On a clear day you can also see Folgefonna Glacier and Hardangerbroen (Hardanger Bridge).
If you haven’t hiked Trolltunga (Trolls tongue), this is a perfect warm up or even replacement. The view is phenomenal and the view is of a fjord and not of a lake like from Trolltunga! (Extra brownie points for Dronningstien!) At one point of the hike there is a rock formation just like at Trolltunga, just a bit smaller. It is a popular spot for photos, but the hike is a bit narrow at this point, so be extra careful. Mid season there are often queues at this section.
The highest point of the hike is about 1100 meters above sea level and a lot of the trail is at this height.
When starting on the descent, the Dronningstien hike is finished and instead of the blue D’s you will now see the red T’s along the trail. You will pass a place called Nosi and start on the famous Munketreppene going downhill. This section will take you about 1 hours minimum and can be unexpectedly challenging for your knees and feet. If you have brought a change of shoes, now is a good time to change those hiking boots for some comfy sneakers.
These stairs made of rocks were made by British munks between 1210 and 1537. The 616 steps will take you quite a distance down from the mountain.
By the end of the stairs the hike continues along a more narrow path and eventually a gravel road. If you stay in Ullensvang hotel there is a short cut signposted. If you are taking the shuttle bus, then just follow the road downhill. When you see the beautiful orchards of apple trees you are close to the end.
The hike is recommended between June and September, but can be possible even in May and October, depending on the weather. Check with the locals about updated tour conditions prior to your hike.
Even in July you will most likely see snow on the top and it is at times difficult to avoid walking across these sections. The hike can also be quite wet and muddy, so proper waterproof hiking boots are recommended. However, sneakers are fine for the climb and the descent. Bring different layers of clothing as the temperature can change quickly in the mountains.
Useful tip: Bring two pairs of shoes! It is definitely worth it.
If you like to do a challenging hike, but not as long as the 10 - 12 hour hike to Trolltunga, then the Queens Trail is perfect. However, bear in mind that if you do the hike in mid season and start at 10 am, then you are likely to be joined by a lot of other hikers. This hike had an increase in visitors of 162% in 2020!
If you are driving from Hardanger to Bergen, then stop at Voss on your way home to Bergen. Bring a swimming costume and enjoy a refreshing dip in the lake in Voss city center. You will definitely feel refreshed and ready for the 1,5 hour drive to Bergen. Read more about things to do in Voss.
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