From Utne, the car ferry (every 1–2hr; 30min) bobs over the mouth of the Srfjord to KINSARVIK, a humdrum little town which was once an important Viking marketplace. The Vikings stored their boats in the loft of the town's sturdy stone church (May– Aug daily 10am–7pm; free), though the building was clumsily restored in the 1880s, leaving only hints of its previous appearance, most notably a series of faint chalk wall-paintings dating from the thirteenth century. Kinsarvik also lies at the mouth of the forested Husedalen valley, with its four crashing waterfalls. The valley makes an enjoyable hike in itself, though it's mostly used as an access route up to the Hardangervidda plateau. From Kinsarvik, it takes seven hours to reach the nearest DNT hut, the self-service Stavali, but be warned that the going is very steep and, in rainy conditions, intermittently very slippery. Hiking maps can be purchased at Kinsarvik tourist office, near the ferry jetty (late June to late Aug daily 9am–7pm; late Aug Mon– Fri 9am–5pm; Sept to late June Mon– Fri 9am–4pm; Tel:53 66 31 12, Web: www.ullensvang.herad.no ).
Nearby Lofthus is a lot more enticing, but Kinsarvik does have a couple of places to stay, with the obvious choice being the Best Western KinsarvikFjord Hotel (Tel:53 66 31 00, Web: www.kinsarvikfjordhotel.no ; 5/6), which occupies a large and reasonably attractive ivy-clad modern block by the ferry dock.