Dronningstien Hiking Trail
Follow Queen Sonja’s Panoramic Hiking Trail from Kinsarvik to Lofthus
- Destination: Hardangerfjord
- Season: May-October
- Difficulty: Demanding
- Distance: 14.6 kilometers (point‑to‑point)
- Elevation Gain: 890 meters
- Duration: 5-7 hours
Dronningstien, “the Queen’s route”, runs between the two villages of Kinsarvik and Lofthus in Hardanger. The trail climbs up to 1,100 meters, with the Sørfjord (an inner branch of the Hardangerfjord) on one side, and Hardangervidda National Park on the other. The Folgefonna Glacier glimmers in the distance.
The hike is varied, leading through forest, high mountain terrain, and fruit orchards. There are fantastic panoramas along the trail and a number of spectacular viewpoints.
The trail is known as the Queen’s route because it is one of the Norwegian Queen Sonja’s favourite hikes in Hardanger.
The trailhead is located at Røte, 4.5 kilometers from Kinsarvik or a 10 minute drive from Lofthus.
If you’re in a group, leave a car in Lofthus before starting. Otherwise, the easiest option is to park or stay in Lofthus and get a taxi to the trailhead.
You can take a taxi to the trailhead from Kinsarvik (200 NOK, up to four people) or Lofthus (400 NOK). In addition there is a road toll for 25 NOK per person. Book with Ullensvang Taxi (in Norwegian) on +47 954 74 575 or with Shuttlebus Hardanger. It is recommended to book in advance since there are few taxis.
Heading south out of Kinsarvik on road 13, turn left immediately after the Esso petrol station and then right into Røtevegen. Follow this road for four kilometers until you reach the parking lot.
The trail starts with a long uphill section. From the parking lot walk up along the gravel road to the end. There are some steep shortcuts along the way, to cut the hairpin corners. From here the trail begins, well-marked with blue “D” letters (D for Dronning which is Queen in English).
The trail continues to climb and after passing the treeline you will start to get rewarded for your efforts. You’ll find breathtaking views of the Sørfjord, Odda, the Folgefonna Glacier, Hardanger Bridge and Eidfjord. You can also see all the way over to Kvanndal and Utne, and along the fjord to Kinsarvik.
You’ll pass the highest part of the trail with a marked cairn at 1,107 meters above sea level. As you descend the trail will start to have red “T” markings and loop back under itself before meeting the “Monk Steps”. There are 616 stone steps made by local monks who started building them in 1210 and finished in 1537. The descent is step and if you have bad knees, walking sticks will be helpful.
The last part of the hike is across gravel and forest trails, finally leading you through the famous Hardanger fruit orchards and into Lofthus.
- Take enough water for the whole trip as there are not a lot of good sources along the trail.
- High above the fjord the weather can change quickly, so have warm and waterproof layers available.
- Hiking boots/shoes are highly recommended.
- Walking sticks are recommended for the descent into Lofthus, particularly for those with bad knees.
- Parking at the trailhead for 200 NOK for the day, payable by cash or Vipps.
Where to stay
Hotel Ullensvang is the perfect place to stay at the end of the trail in Lofthus. If you are a guest they can help to organise transport to the trailhead.
Questions or comments? Let us know.