8 things Voss is famous for
What do you know about Voss? The small village between Sognefjord and Hardangerfjord, in the heart of Fjord Norway, has been touted as “Norway’s adrenaline capital” — but there’s much more to this destination!
We’re not just talking about how beautiful Voss is. (Although, with its majestic mountains, pure waters and lush valleys, the destination is a breathtakingly beautiful one indeed.) No, this little village has some pretty big impact globally when it comes to history, culture and sports.
Below you’ll find 8 things Voss is famous for.
Its namesake water
You’ve probably heard of the Norwegian-based, artesian bottled water brand called Voss. It’s a favourite amongst athletes and wellness enthusiasts — and particularly popular in the US.
A little-known fact is that this water is not actually bottled in Voss but about 400 kilometres away, in the village of Vatnestrøm in Iveland municipality. Yet, the company picked the name “Voss” to signify the purity of their water. As you’ll see, that’s something the Voss area is also famous for.
Its magical waterfall
Tvindefossen (sometimes also called Tvinnefossen or Trollafossen) is really a sight to behold. Formed by a small Kroelvi stream and falling from a height of 116-metre, Tvindefossen is falling in cascading strands over the cliff, looking like something out of a fantasy world.
And there is indeed a fantastical element about it: in the old days, there was a rumor that the water from this waterfall could rejuvenate a person and make them more passionate! Not everyone who visits Tvindefossen today believes that of course… but maybe it wouldn’t hurt to try for yourself?
Its rafting rivers
Rafting enthusiasts flock to Voss every year for their adrenaline kick — and for good reason! The area’s 3 rivers, Stranda, Raundal and Vosso, are legendary when it comes to whitewater rafting due to their rapids, waterfalls and abrupt turns.
Raundal especially, is considered quite the challenging river for rafting and features among the best in Europe.
Credit: Wild Voss
Its Extreme Sports Week
But it’s not just rafting Voss excels at.
Taking place every year during the last week of June, Ekstremsportveko is an institution among extreme sports enthusiasts globally.
Touted as “ the world's premier extreme sports festival”, Ekstremsportveko takes place in different spots around Voss: from the local airstrip which features one of the largest dropzones in Norway, to the area’s rivers for rafting and kayaking, to kite surfing and para-bungeeing over at the lake. Voss is definitely the perfect playground for sports enthusiasts!
Credit: Ekstremsportveko | Carl van den Boom
Its jazz festival
For a small village, Voss certainly has a huge impact — in sports, yes, but also in culture. Vossajazz, one of the oldest and most acclaimed jazz festivals in the country, has been taking place in Voss every Easter since 1973.
If you’re around during that time next year, you’ll be treated to three days of jazz, folk and world music that you’ll remember for a long time.
Credit: Maiken Larsen Solholmvik | Vossa Jazz
Its heroic history during WWII
Speaking of a small village with a huge impact: during WWII, Voss played a big part in the Norwegian resistance against the Germans. The village was actually the main point of mobilisation for the Norwegian Army in the west, after the city of Bergen fell.
Eventually Voss was bombed by the Nazi forces and had to be rebuilt after the war, but the time it bought the Norwegian resistance was crucial to the war effort. And to this day, Voss’ heroic history during WWII remains a point of pride for the locals.
Former Olympic freestyle skier Kari Traa first rose to global fame when she won the bronze medal at the 1998 Olympic games in Nagano, Japan. She followed that with a gold medal at the 2002 Olympic games in Salt Lake City, Utah, and with a silver medal at the 2006 Olympic games in Turin, Italy.
The Olympian, who’s also four times world champion and has amassed an impressive total of 37 World Cup victories throughout her career, is now a famous businesswoman with one of the fastest growing sports brands in Europe. She’s also from Voss. In fact, she’s very actively involved in organizing Ekstremsportveko in her hometown.
Credit: Marianne Cecilie Huseby, Kari Traa SOME Specialist
Its Olympians in general
We weren’t kidding about Voss’ legacy, especially when it comes to sports. Apart from Kari Traa, there’s also a wealth of Voss-born athletes that are keeping the tradition of skiing and extreme sports alive and thriving. In fact ever since 1948, there’s always been an athlete from Voss representing Norway in every winter Olympic games!
The list is big, as to this day Voss remains the place with the most medals per capita in the world, but some other great Olympians from Voss include Jon Istad (1966), Eirik Kvalfoss (1984), Kristen Skjeldal (1992 and 2002), Egil Gjelland (2002) and Lars Bystøl (2006). We told you Voss is a famous place!
Credit: Sverre Hjørnevik | Fjord Norway