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Hiking and walking suggestions

The Monk Steps

Built by English Cistercian monks in the 13th century, the Monk Steps are the only remaining sign of the monks of Opedal monastery, a branch of the Lysekloster monastery near Bergen. 616 huge steps of rock, laid by hand, lies from 650 meters above sea level and upwards. The monks needed to gain easy access to the Hardangervidda Mountain plateau, a key area for hunting and harvesting, and their only route to the eastern parts of the country. The Lutheran reformation of 1537 put an end to the monastery, and the last remains, a well, was destroyed in the 1930s. Nevertheless, since the English monks had taught the people of Hardanger how to grow fruit, evidence of their effort may still be seen today, in the 550.000 fruit trees of the area. The round trip by foot from Hotel Ullensvang to the Monk Steps takes about 4 to 5 hours. At the top, there is a magnficent view from the mountain peak “Nosi”. The walk can be extended to include the Hardangervidda mountain plateau. 20 minutes from “Nosi” there is a splendid view of the Bjødnabykse and Skrikjo waterfalls.

Hardanger Fruit Trail

The trail takes you on a journey through the heart of Norwegian fruit production. Ramble through local roads and fruit gardens, where in total 10 signs in 6 languages, containing information about fruit and local history, are situated along the trail. Blossoming especially makes Lofthus a fairytale village.