On the far western part of Norway, on the rarely visited Bremanger islands in the Vestland Country (previously the Sogn og Fjordane county), is where the most beautiful beach in Norway is located.
The untamed, wild, beautiful, and magical Vetvika Beach.
Best of all, Vetvika is a real off the beaten path destination in Norway, so you will most likely get the whole beach to yourself.
If Vetvika had been located in Southern Europe, you would have had to fight to get a spot on the beach, but here you will get the whole beach for yourself.
Tip: If you want another off-the-beaten-path adventure, make sure to check out the abandoned Russian mining town of Pyramiden.
About Vetvika, Norway
Be aware to reach Vetvika, you will either have to do a tough 15.9 km (10 miles) hike across the Steinfjellet (easily translated to rock mountain) or arrive by boat.
The hike to reach Vetvika might be the steepest of all treks in Norway, so it’s not suitable for everyone. However, the hike here is a great day trip.
It’s also possible to put up your tent for free anywhere along the beach here. If you stay till the evening, you will be able to watch one of the most beautiful sunsets in Norway.
Until recently, Vetvika and Bremanger were unknown to most people in Norway as well, but it has now become one of the most famous and must-visit places in the whole country. But it is still rarely visited by foreign tourists.
The small bay of Vetvika was once home to three farms, a small graveyard (with nine graves), and at most 40 locals.
But the last locals moved away in 1951 due to the place being almost impossible to leave during the three long winter months.
There is such heavy snowfall on the mountains and heavy storms on the ocean, making the journey here very unsafe. Once the area was isolated for 16 weeks, that’s four months of total isolation.
The old farms and graveyard are now protected and looked after and kept in good condition, with a couple of the old farms now being private cabins. There’s also a new outdoor toilet put up in the bay.
Once the last locals left Vetvika, the place almost became forgotten, with only the locals on Bremanger knowing about this hidden gem in Norway.
But then social media happened, and now Vetvika is one of the most photogenic and Instagrammable places in all of Norway.
The Hike to Vetvika Beach
The trip to Vetvika starts from a small parking lot at Svarstad a couple of km before the small settlement of Grotle (also home to a fantastic beach) on the Bremanger island on the far western part of Norway.
From the parking lot, the trip is around a 15.9km (10 miles) return which usually takes 8-10 hours, so it’s a long and tiring day.
The highest point is 574 meters (1,883 feet). While that’s not much, remember that you start at sea level. And that you will have to ascend/descend 544m in just 1km.
I did this hike in Mid-May, and there were still some parts with snow, with some being very wet and knee-deep.
The first 3km of the trail from the parking lot goes along a gravel road that leads to a TV tower.
However, you won’t be walking all the way to the TV tower; you will be turning left once you reach the top.
No worries, once you are done with the gravel road, the hiking trail towards Vetvika is very well marked.
There’s a road barrier at the beginning of the road, which is only open for the workers at the local TV tower.
There are no other options other than for you to walk along the dusty gravel road, which is also very steep in some parts. So take it slow.
While following the dirt road is pretty boring and steep without much shade to have a rest in, the locals in Bremanger are currently working on a new trail that will go directly from Grotle.
It will pass over the mountain and meet up with the trail down towards the beach after where the dirt road finishes.
While the new trail will not be shorter than the current one, it will definitely be a more pleasant trail.
Follow the trail past the cabin for about 1km. The trail is easy and comfortable to walk along, but some parts can be very wet, especially if there’s still snow melting on the tops around here.
Tip: It’s a good idea to refill your water bottle from one of the streams here.
After 1km, you will reach a small intersection. It might not look like one, but you will have to choose if you will have to take the short and extremely steep way via Vollen – which is a 3.6km (2.3 miles) hike to the beach – or you can take the 5.7km (3.5 miles) path towards Solheim.
The Solheim path is also steep and still as crazy as the shorter way through Vollen.
However, most people walk via Vollen on their way to Vetvika, and the way to Solheim on their way back home – since the longer way is supposedly more effortless. But bear in mind, during my visit here in mid-May, there was still a lot of wet snow along the Solheim path. This made it much more tiring than the shorter but steeper way along Vollen.
In hindsight, I should have walked back through Vollen. That would have saved me a lot of time, soaking shoes, and a damaged knee.
If you do decide to take the short route to Vetvika along Vollen, then you start with a small hill climb which is not too difficult. From here, you will get some great views back towards where you parked your car and started your hike.
The trail here is easy to follow but also very wet in parts, so be careful with your steps, and don’t forget to enjoy the view.
Once you reach the top, there are a few flat sections before you reach a part that is often covered in snow until mid-June.
In mid-May, the section was extremely wet, and I often fell through the snow up to my knees.
Once you are done with the snowy path, then you will soon get your first view of Vetvika beach and realize how steep the crazy descent to the beach is.
From here, the 544m (1,784 feet) descent in just 1 km starts. Be sure to be careful with your knees.
Probably the best view of Vetvika is here, from the top before you start your descent. It is well worth it to have a rest on top here and enjoy the million-dollar view.
Once you have had your break, just follow the markings. But be careful and watch your steps. Some of the rocks are very loose.
There are not many places to sit down and have a break during this part of the hike. But luckily, you are almost down at the beach, where you can have a well-deserved rest.
Once you reach the bottom, there are a few more very wet sections before you reach the first old farm, so don’t make the mistake of getting wet shoes at this point.
The first and best place to have a rest is at the stairs at the first farm you reach. After that, go for a stroll on the beach and just relax in the sun. You can also go for a swim if you like cold water swimming.
Once you are done with your rest, go for a walk along the beach or find your camp spot for the night. You are allowed to camp anywhere you want in Vetvika, but you might be surprised that not everywhere is suitable for pitching your tent.
Some parts are wet, while other parts have very soft sand, so your tent might blow over if you experience some strong winds.
Or just walk around and discover the remains, which are living proof that Vetvika once was a small village full of life. The old cemetery is still here, together with the old man-made breakwater.
There was also a new clean outdoor toilet put up here, so visitors no longer have to do their private things along the beach.
A lot of plastic and garbage washes up on the shores of the beach here in Vetvika. So if you want some good Karma, bring an extra bag with you and go around the beach to collect some of the trash.
Bring the collected garbage back across the mountain to your car, and you will definitely have good Karma for a while.
And you’re making the beach better than when you arrived, a great way to treat any destination.
If you are just doing a day trip to Vetvika, be sure to start heading back to your car early enough. The walk back towards the parking lot is no walk in the park, especially if there’s still snow along the trail, as I experienced.
But since I decided to camp in Vetvika, I did get to see one of the most beautiful sunsets in all of Norway.
I also got an amazing sunrise with some amazing light. It was the perfect morning for a hot coffee and the last rest before the hike back to the parking lot.
I decided to do the longer hike past Solheim back to the car, which is supposed to be easier than the steep path through Vollen.
But as already mentioned, the “easiest” way turned out to be the hardest. However, the way through Solheim does start off flat and easy on the left side of a small lake; but due to snow melting, this was the wettest part of the entire hike.
Unfortunately, there are not too many easy parts on this trail either. At least not at the beginning of the hike back home.
Some of the easier parts along the trail back home, you will also have to hike up through the steep part in the middle here.
There’s not too much clean running water to gather along this section of the trail, so always refill your water bottle when you have the opportunity. I, on the other hand, did run out of water.
This section is flatter, but there are a few wide streams you will have to cross. There are also a couple of private cabins along this section.
Once you meet up with the old trail (where you turned left on the previous day to do the short way past Vollen), just follow the gravel road. You will soon be back at the parking lot where you parked your car.
Now the best thing to do is to head into Grotle and have lunch at Grotlesanden, another amazing beach in Norway.
How to get to Vetvika / Bremanger in Norway
Unfortunately, public transport in Norway is horribly bad outside the main cities, and Bremanger is no exception.
So having your own car is essential to see the best of Bremanger and this part of Norway. However, it is theoretically still possible to visit Vetvika by public transport, which is going to be a hassle.
There are a couple of ferries between Smørhamn kai/Kålvåg and Florø, the most western city in Norway. Then from Smørhavn, there are four busses (nr 663) to Grotle a day.
Tip: You can view the timetable here.
Florø Airport has a daily flight to both Bergen and Oslo.
Best Season to Visit Vetvika
The season to visit Vetvika is from early May to the end of September, but everything depends on how much snow there’s been on Bremanger during the winter.
As mentioned in this post already, I experienced wet knee-deep snow on some parts of the trail.
Where to stay in Bremanger
While wild camping is the only option in Vetvika, you can camp anywhere you want there. In Grotle, the closest small village, there are a couple of accommodation options.
Grotle is also home to a supermarket, post office, a Thai Restaurant, and a couple of small coffee shops.
Grotle is also home to another amazing beach and another off the beaten path destination in Norway – Grotlesanden.
It’s well worth buying some food in the supermarket and enjoying it on Grotlesanden.
The closest accommodation option to Vetvika is Havly Bed & Breakfast. It is located around 10 minutes east of Grotle and 5 minutes away from the parking lot where you start your hike to Vetvika beach.
Where to go next?
This part of Norway is home to many amazing places. Bremanger island is also home to Mt. Hornelsen, the highest seacliff in all of Europe.
The hike to the top of the 860-meter sea cliff offers a breathtaking drop straight down into the fjord from the top of Hornelen.
The hike to the top of Hornelen is 15.6km (9.6 miles) and normally takes 5 hours on a return journey.
About 100km (62 miles) and 2.5 hours further north (which includes a ferry ride), you will reach Hoddevika.
This is home to the best surfing spot in all of Norway and is visited by surfers from all over the world.
If surfing is not your thing, instead, drive 144km (90 miles) and 3.5 hours along the FV61 to Runde – home to the rare Atlantic Puffin bird.
Visit the Most Beautiful Beach in Norway
Now you should know everything you need to experience this breathtakingly beautiful beach. As long as you are aware of the hike, there are no other difficulties that await you.
Relax, enjoy the sunset, and enjoy one of Norway’s hidden gems.