An El Dorado for nature lovers and fjord fanciers, Lofthus, along with Ulvik, is one of the best centers for taking in the glories of Hardangerfjord. Your hotel can arrange boat trips, or you can go to the tourist office and see what excursions might be available at the time of your visit.

Flowing in a northeasterly direction, the fjord stretches out for 179km (111 miles). Along the western coast of Norway, the fjord is broad and open, but when its "fingers" dig inland into several branches, it often becomes very narrow. The banks of the fjord are a delight in spring. You'll view not only wildflowers but also lots of blossoming fruit trees along its sloping banks.

The waterfalls along both banks are stunning and are reason enough to explore the fjord. When the snows melt in the early spring, the waterfalls that rush down the mountains are at their most powerful.

Motorists can drive along the fjord, taking in its vast panorama. From Skånevik, a small ferry port at the head of Skånevikfjord (a branch of the Hardangerfjord), routes 48, 11, 13, and 7 run for 193km (120 miles) all the way to Northelmsund, the main center of the north side of Hardangerfjord. This road also bypasses Lofthus, as well as Odda, the principal settlement along Hardangerfjord.

You will also be able to take in views of Folgefonna, Norway's third-largest glacier. It stretches for 37km (23 miles). At its widest point, it measures 16km (10 miles).

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.