Tourists and Norwegians alike face not only a demanding hike after parking at the closest lot to Trolltunga’s trailhead this summer. They also face a steep hike in the parking fee itself. The price now seems nearly as high as Trolltunga’s unique rock formation, but local officials claim it was necessary to cover costs related to all the hordes of people descending on the daunting tourist attraction.
“The foreign tourists get mad at us,” young parking attendant Sebastian Vestrheim told state broadcaster NRK. “They think it’s too expensive.”
The local municipality of Odda took over responsibility for the parking lot at Skjeggedal and raised fees by 67 percent, to NOK 500 (USD 62) for 24 hours. Anyone parked longer than that is also charged NOK 200 for each additional 24-hour period.
There are few alternatives. There’s another parking lot at Tyssedal, where buses and trailers have to park because the narrow road to Skjeggedal is restricted to cars. Tyssedal’s parking fee is NOK 300, but adds seven kilometers to the already strenuous hike to Trolltunga. A shuttle bus from the Tyssedal lot also costs NOK 100 each way.
An estimated 100,000 people hiked to Trolltunga last year. Odda Mayor Roald Aga Haug of the Labour Party defended the fee hike, claiming all the revenues from parking fees are used to clear trails, construct bridges along the trail and attend to the security of all the visitors. He noted that accidents and cases of exhausted or poorly equipped tourists have declined since officials improved facilities and information at the site.