Kvinnafossen (I’ve also seen it spelled Kvinnefossen) was a roadside waterfall that faced the vast Sognefjord (Sognefjorden; said to be the longest fjord in the world) that Julie and I visited immediately after wrapping up our tour of the sights alongside the Luster Fjord (Lustrafjorden – the easternmost arm of Sognefjorden). We were blessed with great weather during our visit so we got to see the vivid sky-blue colors in the waters of the fjord while the bright white of the falls contrasted with the deep blues of the sky (as you can see from the photo at the top of this page). This was a gorgeous 120m waterfall that seemed to be associated with a few myths and stories largely because the word kvinne was Norwegian for “lady”.
The first such story that we encountered in our research was that when the flow of the falls was “just right”, a rock formation around Kvinnafossen would cause the falls to resemble the shape of a woman. Apparently, fjord cruises on Sognefjorden used to pull up close to the falls to try to view this phenomenon. By the way, our neck-cranking roadside views from the northern shores of Sognefjorden was directly in front of the falls, but I wondered if the cruise ships would get a better view of it simply because the context of the falls would be better seen from within the fjord itself.
The next story we came across in our research said that a woman plunged to her death at this waterfall (though we’re not sure why it happened). Thus, the falls was named after her. This event might have also fueled the next story, which some believed that the falls can make a screaming sound reminiscent of some woman either screaming in distress or screaming in a state of joy. Well, we couldn’t corroborate these claims based on our experience at the falls, but we have seen photos from the literature showing Kvinnefossen in its highest flow (probably during the melting snow season of Spring) shrouding the road across it with mist (giving passing cars a car wash). It wasn’t the case when we were here, but I’d imagine it would be quite a sight (especially for cruises that would be fortunate to see such a phenomenon in context)!
As for our roadside view of the falls, Julie and I actually had to walk a few paces towards the bridge right in front of the falls. We had to be careful about passing traffic alongside the road, especially since the Rv55 road supported pretty fast traffic flow. Meanwhile, the official views below the guardrails closer to the pullouts seemed to be on the disappointing side as the views were more partial and obstructed by the road infrastructure. That was why we felt compelled to walk along the road for a more direct view.
Julie and I drove to this waterfall along the Rv55 heading south some 33km from the Rv5/Rv55 junction at Sogndalsfjøra. About 7km south of Sogndalsfjøra along this route, we spotted another waterfall by the road that looked regulated. In any case, the falls was between the townships of Leikanger and Hella. It was about 3km east of the ferry at Hella and about 10km west of the Fjord Hotel at Leikanger. A road bridge on the Rv55 crossed over the Kvinna Stream, and the roadside pullouts were on both sides of the road to the west of the bridge. There was probably enough room for three or four cars during our visit in late June 2005.
Something that Julie and I didn’t do, but wished we could was to view Kvinnafossen from the fjord on a cruise. Since we didn’t look into the logistics of it, we can’t say more about its cost, schedule, or starting points.
For context, Skjolden (at the head of the Luster Fjord or Lustrafjorden) was about 55km (or 1 hour drive) north of Sogndalsfjøra. Sogndalsfjøra was about 219km (nearly 4 hours drive with ferry crossings) northeast of Bergen and about 315km (about 5 hours drive) northwest of Oslo.
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