In a country with 47 national parks, the highest mountains in Northern Europe, thousands of kilometers of coastline, laws allowing wild camping, and the world’s most famous fjords, it’s no surprise that hiking is integral part of the Norwegian way of life.
Norwegians embrace ‘friluftsliv’ – an outdoor lifestyle – all year round and in summer and fall it means hiking. Marked trails crisscross the country while wooden cabins provide shelter and basic accommodation for longer tours.
Whether you want to spot wild reindeer and diverse birds or just enjoy the spectacular scenery, Norway has a hiking trail for you. Here are seven of Norway’s most famous hiking routes.
Preikestolen (Pulpit Rock)
Despite the fame enjoyed by the fjords further north, the Lysefjord has long been called Norway’s most beautiful fjords by poets, writers and painters.
Perhaps the breathtaking view of the fjord from Preikestolen has something to do with it. The flat cliff became world famous after its appearance in Mission: Impossible – Fallout but the number of visitors was already at record levels.
In a typical pre-pandemic tourist season, more than 300,000 visitors took the four-hour round-trip hike to the top of the cliff, which includes an ascent of over 1,600 feet.
Don’t be fooled by its popularity – this hike has a moderate level of difficulty and requires appropriate clothing and footwear.
Also overlooking the Lysefjord, the Kjeragbolten hike is also known for its end point – a glacial boulder caught in a mountain crevice with a drop of 3,200 feet below. The sight and the possibility to take pictures attract a surprising number of international visitors.
Be prepared though, as the arduous 7 mile round trip hike with elevation gain of over 1,800 feet takes up to 8 hours. It is not a good choice for inexperienced hikers.
Trolltunga (the tongue of the troll)
Yet another hiking destination made famous through images shared on social media, Trolltunga also suffers from long queues of hikers keen to replicate the iconic photograph of a lone hiker leaping over the unique rock formation at nearly 2 300 feet above Ringedalsvatnet Lake.
This despite the difficult nature of the hike, which is a 17 mile (10-12 hour) round trip or 12.5 mile (7-9 hour) round trip if you manage to find a seat on the shuttle to the start. of the alternative path. . Tourism authorities recommend starting the hike before 8 a.m.
Jotunheimen National Park is home to Norway’s highest mountains and many hiking trails. The most famous, Besseggen, is best known for its unique view of the lake. Blue Bessvatnet Lake sits on one side of the ridge, while Gjene Lake on the other side takes on a distinctive green hue.
Its fame extends far beyond Norway. National geography ranked it as one of the 20 most thrilling hikes in the world.
In a typical year, tens of thousands of experienced hikers use the ridge, which takes 6 to 8 hours round trip. The easiest starting point is from Memurubu, which can be reached by ferry from Lake Gjende. Advance reservations are strongly recommended for the ferry, which can be reached just off the Valdresflye tourist route, as it often reaches capacity in high season.
Åndalsnes is known as the mountaineering capital of Norway. It’s not hard to see why, as it’s surrounded by the spectacular peaks of the Romsdal Valley, including the towering Trollveggen, the Trolls Wall.
For its memorable view over Åndalsnes and Trollveggen, the Romsdalseggen hike is a must. The ascent is difficult and it will take around 8 hours for experienced hikers. A shuttle leaves from Norwegian Mountaineering Center in Åndalsnes to the start of the trail throughout the season.
Considering the number of difficult mountain hikes in Norway, many people are surprised that the highest mountain in the country is relatively straightforward. Indeed, the two main trailheads both start from mountain huts at altitude accessible by road.
That being said, no route is for beginners. The shortest – around three hours of ascent and two hours of descent – starts at Juvasshytta and includes a glacier crossing that requires a guide.
An alternative route from Spiterstulen takes around six hours in total and can be done without a guide. Although there is no glacier crossing to complete the ascent is difficult and the second half of the trail is rocky and can get very wet and slippery.
The Lofoten Islands in northern Norway are known for their spectacular mountains. Hiking trails across the islands give everyone from casual walkers to experienced climbers, unforgettable memories.
While Reinebringen is far from the highest peak in Lofoten, the truly spectacular view from the summit more than makes up for the relative lack of elevation. Since 2019, the hike has become much easier and safer thanks to a sherpa stone staircase.
The new accessibility means that the route will now be more popular than ever. Parking will be a problem, as will the crowds on the trail. For the best experience, stay put in Reine and do the hike early or late in the day, especially during the summer when the midnight sun will light up the path.