Hardangerfjorden kløyver Hordaland i to. Den etter måten rettlinja fjorden skjer seg liksom på skeive inn i landet. Ikkje som Sognefjorden og Nordfjord – dei krokar og buktar seg innover meir eller mindre vinkelrett på kysten. Hardangerfjordens utforming har røter 400 millionar år tilbake i tida, då den veike sona i fjellet, der isen seinare tok grådig for seg, vart danna. Denne sona stig på land ved Lussand.
They rest there, all as one, the silent witnesses of Western Norway's saga of creation: Precambrian basement, phyllite and thrust sheet. In the end came the glaciers and sculptured the vast landscape. Along the ground or on the horizon, from bicycle or on foot - the landscape tells its story - and it tells it clearer on Rallarvegen than many other places.
Buarbreen glacier was one of the first destinations during the period of increasing tourism in Odda in the 1800s. Foreigners came by the thousands, mostly Englishmen and Germans, to the magnificent landscape in front of the glacier. Back at the hotel in Odda they could enjoy drinks containing ice from the glacier.
The pioneering tourists in the 1830s-40s brought a momentum in the tourist traffic to the fjord and mountain country Norway. At the time Odda was a hidden Shangri-La at the bottom of Sørfjorden; the farm and the church on the green headland at the fjord. But when the steamship traffic opened the fjord landscape for tourism, in a few years Odda parish in Søndre Bergenhus County became the focal point for travellers in West Norway.
In Ålvik quartz has long been used to produce ferro-silicon. The quartz was collected from the other side of the fjord, from the mountainside above Kvalvikane.
When sergeant Peder Larsen Børsem from Strandebarm was “demobilised” in 1721, following the large Nordic War, he married the Bergen lady Elisabeth Schrøder and settled as innkeeper at Utne with a letter of privilege from the county governor dated 29 October 1722.