Adventurous Norway - A guide to hiking Norway
Norway offers a varied scenery; just by crossing a mountain pass you can go from high mountains to majestic fjords in just an hour. When in the mountains, you can choose from hundreds of kilometers of marked trails for all difficulty levels, and the Norwegian right to roam ensures you right to the countryside– as long as you’ll show respect for our mountains, wilderness and waters.
Norwegians use the mountains as a stress reliever; and some of us are lucky enough to live in the mountains full time. After a long day in the office, we will strap on our hiking boots and use the mountains as a remedy for the stresses of along day in front of the computer.
We will always encourage you to stay safe! Before you embark on an biking or trekking adventure in the mountains of Norway, make sure to take a moment to think about the practicalities. There are several excellent websites that will give you advice on what to bring, and what to keep in mind when you’re visiting us. For example The Norwegian Trekking Association’s packing list and "need to know."
When to visit: The best time to visit the mountains of Norway, I would say, is during the shoulder seasons. In spring (May-June) and fall (September-October)when the weather is superb and there aren’t that many tourists, you’ll mostly meet us locals in the mountains. The high-season for visiting Norway is between mid-June and August, and is also an absolutely lovely time come – but naturally more crowded in some parts even though our mountains are spacious.
We would recommend staying at least one week – preferably 10 to 14 days to get the most of our area. As we all know, the weather in Norway can change quickly and it’s good to plan with a day or two extra just in case the weather turns completely on you.
Getting around in Norway is fairly easy, regardless if you choose (rental) car or public transportation. Driving is generally easy, since the traffic is calm and most Norwegians are fairly disciplined drivers. Our main roads have an E prefix: like E18,E16, and the other significant roads are named Riksveg (RV). In addition; we have about twenty Scenic Routes that are well worth a drive; and they all have visitor centers and viewpoints.
When it comes to public transportation:
Our trains are comfortable, usually on time and will take you through (and to) some of Norway’s most amazing landscapes. Two of the domestic routes will take you to our mountain region: Oslo-Bergen and Oslo-Trondheim. For information and tickets, use the website entur.no. Several hotels and lodges offer shuttle service to and from the train station; make sure to notify them when you’re booking.
The buses are usually on time, offer free wi-fi and can take you to much more remote places than the trains can. For example: the Valdresekspressen-bus will during summer time drive you all the way from the airport directly to some of our fabulous mountain lodges and cabins in the Jotunheimen area. You can book bus tickets online in advance (will usually give you an«online-discount») or buy on board.
5 bucket list mountain adventures (Day Trips)
1. Besseggen Ridge
A must do in our region, is the Besseggen Ridge. The iconic view is characterized by the colorful Gjende and Bessvatnet lakes. Gjende is a stunning emerald color and very long and narrow. Bessvatnet is a deep blue and among Norway’s clearest lakes. This hike is categorized as a demanding hike, and we would recommend hiring a guide if you are not experienced.
Season: Jun - Sep
Elevation gain: 1080 m
Distance/time: 14 km/7-9 hrs
Difficulty level: Demanding
2. Formokampen (Rondane national park)
Formokampen is a popular mountain peak providing amazing views of the mountains in all directions, including Norway’s highest mountains, Galdhøpiggen and Glittertinden. On the top, you’ll get a 360 degree view of more than 40 peaks. The hike is of medium difficulty, and the hike is actually suitable for all ages which is quite unique for all the incredible view it offers at the top.
Season: Jun - Oct
Elevation gain: 470 m
Distance/time: 9 km/ 3-4 hrs
Difficulty level: Medium
3. Vindhellavegen (Part of the King’s Road)
Vindhellavegen, the most spectacular stretch of Kongevegen over Filefjell, begins next to the stunning Borgund Stave Church. The road goes through the Vindhella and swings you back and forth down the steep road to Husum. The road is good depiction of what types of roads were possible to build before the time of the dynamite. Built in 1842-43, the road was only suitable for horse and cart. This is a fairly short hike; perfect as a break when you’re driving from west to east.
Season: Apr - Nov
Elevation gain: 280 m
Distance/time: 4 km/ 1-2.5 hrs
Difficulty level: Easy
4. Gjendebu to Torfinnsbu through Svartdalen (Jotunheimen)
The hike from Gjendebu to Torfinnsbu in Jotunheimen, takes you through the stunning Svartdalen (Black Valley). Hiking through this Svartdalen, you are surrounded by towering peaks such as Knutsholstinden (2341 m.a.s.l).
To get to the starting point at Gjendebu, you’ll need to take the Gjendebåt across lake Gjende. On your return trip from Torfinnsbu, you’ll take the charming boat M/B Bitihorn across lake Bygdin. If you are lucky with the weather and get a sunny, quiet day on the lake, you can sit on the boat deck and soak in the amazing views after a long hike.
Season: Jun - Sep
Elevation gain: 610 m
Distance/time: 14 km/6-8 hrs
Difficulty level: Demanding
5. Glacier hike on Uranostind
Experience an out-of-this-world view from one of the most characteristic summits in Jotunheimen. It dominates the view from the Tyin lake to the south where its sharply pointed peak rises above everything. With varied and exciting climbs including glacier crossings, this is a tour only recommended to do with an experienced guide.
Season: Jun - Oct
Elevation gain: 1020 m
Distance/time: 19 km/8-10 hrs
Difficulty level: Demanding
5 bucket list mountain adventures (Longer Trips)
1. Historical Route Jotunheimen – A mountaineers paradise
Hike your way through the magical Jotunheimen National Park along this historical route, and learn about some of the pioneers in Norwegian mountaineering history. Enjoy the flexibility of a boat-ride if your feet get sore, or stay a few extra days at the different cabins to explore more of what this mountain area has to offer. Hike from cabin to cabin while the luggage is transported for you, so the only thing you need to worry about is finding the best lunch spot. From breathtaking views to remote locations, this tour offers some of the best hiking in Norway.
About the area: Jotunheimen is a largely undisturbed mountain area in Eastern Norway, covering an area of roughly 3,500 square kilometres. The mountain range is Norway’s most popular national park and includes the country’s two highest mountains Galdhøpiggen (2,469 metres above sea level) and Glittertind (2,464 metres above sea level), as well as waterfalls, rivers, lakes, glaciers, and valleys.
Accommodations: While hiking the Historical Route Jotunheimeimen, you’ll be staying in traditional Norwegian tourist cabins, including some of Norway’s most renowned DNT (The Norwegian Trekking Association) cabins. All cabins/lodges have shared facilities, but a good level of comfort and kitchens famous for their local cuisine. Let our team take care of the planning.
Highlights: A mountaineers paradise, Cozy accommodations, easy and challenging day tours from the different cabins, Use historical ferries if your feet get sore.
2. Tour de Dovre - Comfortable cycling in majestic nature
Collect your bike and experience the Tour de Dovre that slopes 125 km into the pristine landscape of iconic mountains and idyllic old pastures. The cycling route over Dovrefjell makes it possible to visit three national parks by bike if you take the whole route; Rondane, Dovre and Dovrefjell. Have your luggage transported and cycle from lodge to lodge, or choose to hike between some of them.
Highlights: Animal Safaris, Horseback riding, Fishing, Visit three national parks, Hop on and off train
3. Explore Rondane – Hassle-free hiking in friendly terrain
Explore Rondane is the perfect multi-day trek for those looking for friendly terrain and well-marked trails, surrounded by grand landscapes and dramatic mountains. With a total distance of 32 km, this is also a great hike for the whole family. You are likely to be joined by native birds for much of the hike – listen for the call of grouse and wild animals such as reindeer, moose and fox.
The stages vary between 6-12 km in easy terrain, and you can forget about the hassle of carrying heavy backpacks, as the lodges will transport the luggage for you. They will even serve you traditional dinner and welcome you to warm, comfortable beds at the end of the day.
Highlights: There are several fantastic doorstep adventures from each lodge, Well-prepared and marked trails, All-year adventure
4. The King’s Road over Filefjell - Historical hiking on trails from 1793
The King's Road over Filefjell is a historical hiking trail. On foot, travel between historic markets, stunning fjords and inland valleys, just as Norway’s historic ancestors did. After a few days, you’ll venture into new landscape with its own aromas, sounds and topography, heading from lush fauna in the Lærdal valley to the high mountain flora on the Filefjell plateau.
Highlights: Well-prepared hiking trails, A millenium of history, All-year adventure
5. National park scenic route – the most scenic route on two wheels
This trip combines two of Norway’s most popular cycling routes – Tour de Dovre and Mjølkevegen. You’ll go on a journey between some of our most famous national parks, including giants like Dovre (famous for the musk ox), Rondane (famous for the wild reindeer) and finally Jotunheimen - home to Norway's highest mountain. No other cycling route in Norway can offer a variety of nature, terrain and history comparable to this one. You will mainly travel on gravel roads, with occasional short legs along the main roads and face both steep, strenuous ascents and exhilarating descents. This trip also includes a boat trip across the magnificent Bygdin Lake with M/B Bitihorn.
Highlights: The most scenic route on two wheels, Five National Parks, combine this cycling trip with hiking, fishing or other activities.