Strondsfossen was the fourth waterfall we encountered while driving through Oddadalen north towards Odda.
With so many huge waterfalls here, any wonder why they call the Odda Valley the “Valley of Waterfalls”?
This attractive waterfall stood out to us because its twisting flow was situated right across the beautiful lake Sandvinvatn on its western shore.
By the way, that lake can also be called Sandvinvatnet [“SAHND-vin-vaht-nuh”] if you include the definite article. I’ve also seen it spelled Sandvevatnet.
Anyways, since it was tumbling down the western wall of Oddadal Valley, its waters were sourced by several lakes and tarns.
Like other waterfalls in the valley’s western wall, the lakes and tarns themselves were sourced by a combination of precipitation and the meltwaters of the Folgefonna Glacier.
On our first visit in late June 2005, there were some wildflowers blooming on the shores of the lake.
That added a bit of color to the landscape contrasting from the gray and overcast day of that visit.
In addition to our June 2005 visit, we were easily able to experience this waterfall from the roadside (see directions below).
We noticed there were some houses or buildings dwarfed by the allegedly 500m tall waterfall so that helped to provide that bit of perspective on our photos.
That said, on our second visit to this Strondsfossen in June 2019, we were surprised to see that most of the pullouts we thought would be there were blockaded off!
So that left maybe a pullout or two a bit further south or north from the falls itself.
There no longer seemed to be sanctioned lake access nor a direct look at Strondsfossen like before.
Not A Place To Hurry
After being done with one of the roadside views, as soon as I turned around and headed back to the car, I was surprised to see another waterfall way up on the east side of the valley!
That other waterfall happened to be Tjørnadalsfossen.
Given how only noticed it after getting out of the car and looking around, I’d imagine that most motorists completely pass by this falls without even noticing it!
I have a separate write-up to experience that waterfall so I won’t get into it here.
A Little More About Nomenclature
Finally, I also noticed in Norgesglasset back in 2005 that this waterfall might also be referred to as Strandsfossen (The Shore Waterfall?).
Indeed, it seemed like many of the waterfalls in Norway had different spellings or multiple names.
I suspect that it could be due to changes in the names, slight differences between local Norwegian pronunciations, or simply a disconnect between the state mapping service versus how the locals would refer to it.
In fact, when I last checked Norgeskart (by Statens Kartverk) in 2019, it looked like they now simply refer to this waterfall as just “fossen”.
Why Fewer Pullouts?
It surprised me to see that there were more barricades erected along this stretch of the Rv13 through Oddadalen.
These barricades tended to cover up old pullouts and openings, and this made experiencing waterfalls like Strondsfossen more difficult.
I didn’t understand why this happened until I spoke with a local during a hike on a different excursion.
She told me that over the years, tourists have been using their yards as toilets, which they found to be very disrespectful.
So they had to take matters into their own hands to manage the problem, and this was how they did it.
While WCs can be fairly infrequent through rural stretches like this, the respectful thing to do would be to use gas station and restaurant stops as opportunities to use the facilities.
Some reserves may have WCs as well, but nature calls are definitely frowned upon in Norway as their attitudes towards their land definitely differ from what most tourists may think.
Like many of the other waterfalls in the Odda Valley (Oddadalen), Strondsfossen was visible from the Rv13 and quite easy to spot.
We could see the falls from various angles across the lake as we passed by.
However, trying to find a suitable place to pull over for a more relaxing look outside of the car was trickier.
So for the nearest two pullouts that remain (there seemed to be more opportunities to stop on our first visit in June 2005) as of this writing in 2019, here’s what we did.
To get to the more southerly of the two pullouts we did, according to my GPS logs, that pullout was about 3.2km north of the informal barricaded pullout by the bridge near Hildal which was described on the Vidfossen page.
This pullout was on the right (east) side of the Rv13.
The next pullout, which was probably more sanctioned (because it also acted as a trailhead for Tjørnadalsfossen) was another kilometer to the north on the right side.
Another kilometer to the south was the more awkward (if you’re heading south) pullout on the left.
For some geographical context, Odda is 17km (under 30 minutes drive) north of Skare, 42km (about 45 minutes drive) north of Røldal, 72km (about 1 hour drive) northeast of Etne, 134km (about 3 hours drive with a ferry crossing) east of Bergen, 179km (over 3 hours drive with some ferry crossings) north of Stavanger, and 323km (about 5 hours drive) west of Oslo.
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