Already at the beginning of the 1870s demands were made that there had to be a railway connection between Bergen and East Norway. The first section between Bergen and Voss was finished in 1883. The route alternatives further on were many: Lærdal-Valdres, Aurland-Geiteryggen, Raundalen-Finse and Ulvik-Finse. Following a long dispute, an agreement was finally reached that the middle route alternative, Raundalen- Myrdal- Finse, was the best alternative. In 1894 the government passed a resolution that the Bergen railway should be built, but only the section Voss-Taugevatn. This was a political gamble in order to make the rest of the country participate in the plans. In 1898 it was approved that the railway be continued eastwards from Taugevatn to Oslo. This high mountain project was one of the most challenging railway projects in Europe. The Bergen railway was to be built across a mountain plateau without roads.
Opponents of the Bergen Railway used the snow argument for all it was worth. During the debate in Parliament before the decision about the route was reached in 1894, fears of snowfalls of over 20 metres were presented.
The Bondhus area in Maruanger has been a magnet for tourists ever since the stream of tourists to Norway's west coast began in the middle of the 1800s. The magnificent landscape with the "ice trail" up to Bondhusvatnet Lake, the ice falls from Bondhusbreen glacier and Keisarstigen trail up to Folgefonna are still popular tourist attractions.
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 old hostelry centres were strategically placed with good harbours and anchoring conditions where people travelled. GODØYSUND, or Gøysundet, as it was called, was in the middle of Tysnes Parish, with easy access from the sea, also for the local population. Gøysundet is amongst the oldest hostelries in Sunnhordland.
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.