About Fossen Bratte
Fossen Bratte (pronounced “BRAH-tuh” meaning “steep”) was a pretty waterfall that we targeted on a visit to Steinsdalsfossen and the charming city of Bergen (since it sat in between them).
I tend to think of this roughly 80m waterfall as the “love and war” waterfall.
That was because we found two memorials at Fossen Bratte – a war memorial as well as a French lover’s memorial.
Both of them spoke of tragedies that occurred here (albeit under completely different circumstances).
In any case, we had to go on two separate paths for Fossen Bratte to visit both of the memorials, which we’re going to get into right now.
The Bottom of Fossen Bratte and the French Lovers’ Memorial
The most obvious way to experience Fossen Bratte from the long pullout (see directions below) was from a path descending towards its base.
We could see the waterfall pretty much the entire way from the pullout all the way down its walk, which further made this way the obvious choice.
That lower path started its descent from behind a WC building near the Fossenbrattetunnelen.
Barely a few minutes into the descent, we reached some kind of pillar with a plaque on it.
The plaque was in French, and it talked about a honeymooning couple in 1951 that managed to drive their car off the top of this waterfall.
Apparently, I’ve noticed in the literature that sometimes this waterfall would also go by the name of the Bridal Veil (or Brudesløret), which was another acknowledgement of the honeymooners who died here.
During our 2019 visit, it seemed like the sign was severely faded so it was hard to make out what else it was saying.
In any case, a few more minutes further down the trail, we then reached a jumble of boulders wet from the spray of Fossen Bratte.
This was our turnaround point as the road appeared to continue past a bridge fronting the waterfall and towards some farms in this valley.
The time it would take to get down and back up again would probably be on the order of 15-30 minutes, I’d say.
The Top of Fossen Bratte and the War Memorial
From the WC by the Fossenbrattetunnelen, there was another path that seemed to lead along an older road that bypassed the tunnel.
It was probably the main route before the completion of the tunnel.
In any case, this slightly uphill path allowed me to get unusual top down views of Fossen Bratte.
While I viewed the falls in profile, I could test just how “steep” the falls was, which turned out to not be all that vertical as you can see in the picture above.
Eventually, the road led me to the very top of the waterfall, where there was a cannon as well as a memorial as well as some interpretive signage.
The memorial commemorated the Norwegians who lost their lives here in an attempt to halt the German advance during their invasion of Norway back in April 1940.
The idea of the operation was that the Norwegian fighters would try to hold off the Germans as help would arrive from Allied Forces.
Even though the Norwegian fighters positioned themselves strategically at the top of Fossen Bratte, the Norwegian fighters were composed of a combination of volunteers and soldiers.
When help didn’t materialize, the Norwegian fighters at Fossen Bratte were overwhelmed by the German forces.
After having my fill of the views and reflecting on what happened here during World War II, I returned to the WC to conclude this part of the out-and-back excursion.
It took me about 30 minutes to fully experience Fossen Bratte in this manner.
Other Waterfalls near Fossen Bratte
It turned that we spotted an attractive roadside cascade about 3km to the west of Fossen Bratte on the Motorvei (Mv) 7.
Unfortunately, we don’t know what that waterfall was called.
From looking at the maps, it quite possibly could be on the Mørkhølen Stream.
Around that waterfall, during our first visit to the area in 2005, we spotted an area to pull over and get a good view of it, which you can see in the photo above.
However, when we returned in 2019, we didn’t quite find this waterfall again, and we quite possibly zoomed past it.
From Bergen, we’d drive north on the E39 for about 12km towards its junction with the E16.
Then, we’d turn right and follow the E16 for another 20km before leaving the E16 for the Mv7 at Trangereid.
Once on the Mv7, we then continued for another 21km before reaching the Fossenbratte Tunnel.
There was a long pullout on the right side of the road heading east, which was where we parked the car.
Overall, this drive would take on the order of an hour or more depending on the traffic on both the E39 and E16 roads as they tended to get heavy use.
From Norheimsund, we’d drive west on the Mv7 for roughly about 20km.
The long pullout for Fossen Bratte would be on the left side in this direction right after leaving the Fossenbrattetunnelen.
For geographical context, Norheimsund was about 50km (about an hour drive) southwest of Granvin, about 76km (about 90 minutes drive) south of Voss” target=”_blank”>Voss, 78km (about 90 minutes drive) west of Eidfjord, and 77km (under 90 minutes drive, typically) east of Bergen.
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