Hiking In Norway: The Ultimate Guide
A quick look at Norway’s diverse landscape and you’ll be sold on the fact that it is one of the most breathtaking countries in the region. With this knowledge, you cannot afford not to bask in its beauty and experience it first-hand. Speaking of which, the best way you can appreciate Norway’s beauty is by hiking through it.
The hiking in Norway will take you to the mountain tops, waterfalls, cliffs, beaches and valleys. You’ll fall in love with everything the country has to offer. But wait, with so much to see and enjoy, it can be overwhelming. For this reason, we’ve taken the liberty of listing down some of the must-visit hiking trails. These trails come highly recommended by both locals and tourists. Hiking in Norway explained, made easy
Additionally, we’ve tailored the review to help you determine if a trail is great for a beginner or expert hiker. After all, we wouldn’t want you to get stuck on a hiking trail you wish you never went on in the first place, we are here for ya, did all the leg work for you. It’s all about enjoying yourself, and this information will help you do just that.
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Here are the top 15 trails that you can consider trying out when hiking in Norway, but first, some tips to help you get the best on these hiking trails.
- Plan your hiking trip well in advance and inform your loved ones about the hiking trail and route you’ve selected. This is important as it makes it easier for them to find you if you stay out too long.
- Pick hiking trails and routes that match your hiking abilities and conditions. Yes, you shouldn’t try to bite off more than you can chew – it might not end well. Remember, picking an expert trail as a beginner will cause you more pain and hurt than the joy it will bring.
- Pay attention to the weather in the hiking region and any warnings of avalanches.
- Always be prepared for bad weather – even when you are going for short day trips.
- Carry all the necessary hiking equipment for your sake and that of your hike mates.
- Only pick hiking trails and routes that are safe. Luckily, many of the hiking trails in Norway are cleared for safety. They don’t have avalanche terrain or unsafe icy ground.
- Carry a map and a compass. These tools will help you navigate through the trail. Sure, the trail may be marked, or you might even know it off the head. However, things at times never go as planned. You need to be prepared for times when you get lost.
- Never be ashamed to turn around. Never shy away from saying enough is enough and turn back when things get very hard for you on the trail – live to fight another day.
- Always conserve your energy and set up shelter if you feel there’s a need for it.
- Plan carefully. During the planning, familiarize yourself with the local cultural code
- Don’t take anything. Resist the strong urge to collect plants, shells, rocks or anything else from the trails. Leave them for the next hikers to enjoy.
- Never mess with wildlife. Do not feed them or frighten them. Feeding wildlife makes them heavily reliant on humans and may lead to attacks in the future.
- Carry a garbage bag
- Always light fires responsibly – unless you are at a designated camping site, lighting fires on the trail is not recommended.
- Carry eco-friendly bug spray and sunscreen.
- Spread the message and share Norway hiking rules and tips with other hikers.
Top 15 Hiking Trails In Norway
Preikestolen (Pulpit Rock)
Distance: 8 km
Time: 5 hours
This hike is a must have in your bucket list. We kid you not – the view from the Pulpit Rock will blow your mind. The jagged rock measures 25 m x 25 m and protrudes 600m above the water below. This gives it one of the best views in Norway. On this rock, you will feel as though you are standing on top of the world!
The platform is found in South-west Norway, only two hours from Stavanger, the 4th largest city in Norway. The hiking trail has places that require you to scale rocks and others that are flat and a little less steep enough to allow you some time to catch your breath from the steep portions.
Though the hike only takes 5 hours to complete, you should factor in some additional time to take insight at the rock. You should also do this early in the morning to avoid getting engulfed by darkness while still on the trail.
The Aurlandsdalen Valley
Distance: 20 km
Time: 6 hours
This is yet another excellent hiking destination. The beauty of this trail is the waterfalls, glaciers and blue lakes that adorn it. This valley has many hiking trails to choose from. However, you can only choose one trail at a time. So which is the best? Well, they all are great, but the trail running from Osterbo to Vassbygdi comes highly recommended. The path is 20 km long and takes about 6 hours to complete.
This trail will lead you through and past gorgeous sceneries – the kind you can only find in Norway. While on the trail, we recommend you stop at Duehuset Pub and have a cold beer and try their burgers. You can get to this valley by train from Bergen.
Top Tip: Take the Flåmsbana train. This railway is privately owned and although its more expensive the views are truly sensational. Click here to learn more.
Distance: 11 km
Time: 8.5 hours
This is one of the most loved point-to-point hikes along the Romsdalseggen ridge. The ridge is narrow but offers quite the view of the valley and the Atlantic ocean (on bright days). From the top, you enjoy a sweeping view of the Romsdal Mountains as well.
But be warned, getting to the peak is an uphill task. So once you get there, be sure to take your time and take it all in. You can even make yourself comfortable and have a picnic. Nothing will beat this picnic view.
Distance: 28 km
Time: 10 – 12 hours
Before we even get to the perks of this hike, we should point out that it’s a hard hike. Yes, it’s one for the experts. If you are a beginner, you might need to put off a trip to this mighty troll tongue for a while.
With that said, Trolltunga has a lot to offer once you manage to scale it to the top. The view from the ‘troll’s tongue’ by far is the most breathtaking thing you’ve seen. The view overlooks the snowy mountainsides, the valley, and the lakes.
In the recent past, the popularity of this hiking destination has shot through the roof. Today, it is one of the busiest trails in Norway. If you are after a smooth, tranquil and quiet experience, this is not the trail for you. But on the flip side, if you are looking for a fulfilling hike, full of incredible views, then it is just perfect.
While here, you can stay at the Trolltunga Hotel which will add to your experience. You also have the option of Tyssedal Hotel and several others with great rooms and views.
Distance: 16 km
Time: 8 hours
It is said that to get to the peak/top in life, you need to be prepared to go scale some heights. The same is true for Skala. To enjoy the view at the top, you’ll need to climb all 1848 m of the mountain. Mount Skala is in Jostedalsbreen National Park. It has beautiful views of surrounding mountains, fjords, and glaciers. At the top, there is one of the best hiking cabins known as the Kloumannstarnet. This cabin was built in 1891 and is without a doubt a great tourist attraction.
Hiking on this mountain is done during the summer (June to September), and it starts at Tjugen. It is perfect for medium and advanced hikers. However, you don’t need any special equipment to hike on Mount Skala.
Last but not least, many people love this hiking destination because it also doubles as a skiing destination. If you are into skiing, you can kill two birds with one stone.
Distance: 10.9 km
Time: 3-4 hours
Hornelen is a well-known destination in Norway. It has a spectacular cliff which rises steeply over the fjord. Experts say it is the tallest sea cliff in all of Europe. It is also said to have been a significant landmark for ships navigating the sea. Hornelen is a mountain with loads of hiking trails for hikers to enjoy. Hornskor and Berle are the most popular.
How do you get there? Since it is close to Maloy, you can travel to it from there. From Maloy, you take a ferry to Oldeide. From Oldeide, you can drive to Hornskar.
The trail paths are marked by red T’s. You’ll start off in a southeast direction, but after about 600 m change direction to the west. You will need to cross several streams, a plateau and descend into a valley that’s between Svartevassegga and Hornelen.
The perfect season for hiking is between May and October. Also, it’s important to note that this is a hike for expert hikers and will take about 4 hours (though you can challenge yourself to finish it in less. But even then, you should take some time to take in the view at the summit.
Distance: 12 km
Time: 6-8 hours
This hike is in the Southern part of Norway. It is close to Lysebotn town (it’s only 15 minutes away by car). The trek starts from Oygardstol. We should probably point out that the hike is best done during the summer (between June and September). This is because the roads are closed during winter due to snow, which also makes the hike dangerous.
Over the years, this hike has gained a large following. But what’s the big deal? Well, for starters, it has a beautiful view. And when you manage to get to the top, you get to stand on a rock stuck between two cliffs. How cool is that?
If you are afraid of heights, you might not want to do it. But trust us, it’s fulfilling to try and get over the fear and try it out. Last but not least, though it is labelled as a strenuous hike, beginners and kids can try it too (in sections). However, you should get into it knowing that you have some work cut out for you.
Distance: 3 km
Length of time: 3 hours
Reinebringen has a spectacular view of the fishing villages of Hamnoy, Sakrisoy, and Reine. It is among the most loved hikes located in the Lofoten Islands. Though it’s short, you shouldn’t underestimate it. It is steep, hard and super challenging to hike. It’s laden with rocky and muddy trails. Given its difficulty, you need to be physically fit to scale it.
Now, the mountain is 448 m high. So it’s not the highest point on the island. However, the view at the top of the Lofoten wall and the villages below more than makes up for what it lacks in height.
Before you head out for this hike, check on the weather. Make sure it’s not rainy. The rain makes the trails slippery and quite dangerous.
Distance: 4.5 km
Time: 2-3 hours
When you think of the beach, the first thing that comes to mind is the white sands that adorn the edges of the waters. Just the thought of the beach floods you with feelings of calmness and tranquillity. You think of Hawaii, Mombasa, the Blue Lagoon in Turkey, Bai Sao in Vietnam and Railay in Thailand. Nowhere does Norway feature in the list, right?
Well, after reading this, you’ll have one on your list. The Horseid beach is one of the best beaches in the Arctic Circle. It is located on the Lofoten Islands. It is wedged between two mountain walls, which form part of its beautiful serene.
If you are a beginner, or you’d like to bring your family along for the hike, this beach is the perfect hike destination for you. Though it doesn’t have an aerial view, the view from the mountains is just as fulfilling.
You can get to this beach by taking a ferry at Reine village. The ferry point is easy to locate as the road is full of signs directing you to it.
The Besseggen Ridge
Distance: 13.3 km
Time: 6-8 hours
Besseggen is a mountain classic in Norway. Some people claim that it’s a must do for both locals and tourists. Research shows that approximately 60,000 people hike the Besseggen ridge every year. The hike has beautiful scenery created by the Gjende lake, which is cradled between steep mountains in the Jotunheimen National Park. The clearest lake, Lake Bessvatnet is found right opposite the Besseggen ridge. You can see up to 30m below the water surface of the lake.
You can hike the Besseggen Ridge from both directions. Meaning you can start in Gjendeosen or Memurubu. The hike takes between 6 and 8 hours to finish. It is one of the longest in Norway. Some parts are quite steep and rise up to 1,000m. Also, it’s important to point out that some sections will need some scrambling. However, this shouldn’t be a problem for expert hikers.
What’s the best time to hike? Like most hiking trails in Norway, the best time is during summer (June – October) when the snow has melted away and the days are longer.
Note that if you find out you have a fear of heights during the hike, you can always turn back and hike to the starting point on a trail along Lake Bessvatnet.
Distance: 20 km
Time: 9 hours
The Hermannsdalstinden stands tall above every other point in the western part of the Lofoten Islands. It stands 1029 meters above sea level. The challenging hike is rewarded by a breathtaking view of the mountain peaks in the island and the valleys below.
This hike is considered to be one of the most challenging in the region. Why? Well, some parts of the trail are steep and in those that it’s flat, it gets quite muddy and slippery. The entire hike takes about 9 hours to complete. As such, you are required to start hiking from 5:30 am. With such a long trail, you should hike at your pace and enjoy the view at the summit. If you are not in a hurry, you can rest at the Munkebu hut, which has a beautiful view as well.
Distance: 5 km
Time: 3-4 hour
This is a short hike. However, it’s one of the toughest there is in Norway. But my, oh my! The view from the top is more than rewarding. So much so that during the peak season (summer), there is usually a line at the summit to descend. At the summit, there is a cliff that drops 640 m into the sea below.
Hiking Segla will take you about 4 hours to complete while hiking at a moderate and slow pace. For an expert, this is a relatively easy hike. However, if you are just starting out, you will definitely feel the burn (a good burn). The trail begins at Fjordgard, which is a tiny fishing village in the northern part of Senja. You can get to this hiking trail from Finnsnes to Fjordgard. It is approximately 1 hour by road.
Distance: Varies depending on the route you take
Difficulty: Easy to Advanced
Galdhoppigen is the tallest mountain in Norway and in the Northern part of Europe. To get to the summit, there are several hiking trails you can choose to take. They all vary in their levels of difficulty ranging from easy to strenuous. Some of the trails will have you crossing glaciers, and others have to be done with a guide by your side. But all in all, this is one of the best hiking trails you can be on.
Given the fact that the mountain is the highest in the region, you are guaranteed of some of the impressive views in the area. There is literally no other peak that beats the views that Galdhoppigen offers.
The trails are marked by red T’s, so it’s almost impossible to get lost. You can take the bus from Oslo or hire a car. When you decide to hire a car, make sure you have your directions right. Here is a quick guide to give you an idea:
From Lom, head south on route 55 and turn into Visdalvegen. Drive for a kilometre and then turn right into Brekkvegen and drive for 16 km until you get to Spiterstulen.
Distance: Varies depending on the route you take
Time: 1 day
This is one of the narrow valleys in all of Norway. It is rich in cultural memories and has spectacular views. The valley has the scars of battle that it won against the forces of nature. The valley oozes of scree at lakeJelskred. And at Stavbergsaetra, the houses were constructed in the ground to act as protection against the landslides that were pretty rampant a few decades back.
Lake Lygnstoylvatnet came to be through a rock fall in 1908. On the floor of the lake, you can see the remains of an old road, foundations of farmhouses, as well as gateways that once were.
Yes, the trail is full of history dating back from the 18th century. So while you will enjoy great views, you’ll learn something about Norway’s history.
Distance: Varies depending on the route you take
Time: 9 hours
When you find yourself in Geiranger and feel like you are up for some strenuous hiking but still want the breathtaking views (like those offered by other hiking trails in Norway), then Keipane is the hike destination for you. The views from this place are unique and to die for.
The hike lasts for about 9 – 10 hours and starts from Homlong. The best bit is that you don’t need to complete the entire trail to enjoy the breathtaking views. The views kick in before the 5-hour hike stretch hits. Also, you can turn back at any point you feel like you are super tired – there’s no shame in doing so (this goes for the beginners in the house).
There is no doubt that Geirangerfjord and Geiranger are some of the most beautiful places Norway has to offer. They make this particular hike truly one of the best there is.
Top Tip: Another little top tip just for you, our pals! Head to the Norwegian Trekking Association website to get all the insider info. They will help you plan your treks/hikes, where the best cabins are, weather forecasts, the best paths plus the most accurate and up to date maps. An excellent source of info. Click here to learn more.
These are just 15 of the many incredible hiking trails Norway has to offer. There are still plenty more to explore with a lot of magnificent scenery. Be sure to try these out and look through others to find what fits you.
Remember, before you head out, it’s vital that you plan out your hike. Know the route and pack everything you’ll need– especially if it is a long one.
If you intend to go hiking in Norway with your family (kids included), you should be very careful not to choose an advanced trail (it will be really strenuous and in some instances even dangerous for them. This is because some of the trails labelled Advanced require some scrambling. If your kids aren’t familiar with this, you see how it could end in disaster, right?
Last but not least, if you have suggestions of some great hiking trails in Norway or would like to share your experience of the same, feel free to leave a comment below!