Hiking in Norway: Exploring Scandinavia on Foot
The unique combination of fjords and mountains found in Norway make the country a spectacular destination for hikers. Tourists often flock to the three famous hikes known as Preikestolen (The Pulpit Rock), Kjeragbolten, and Trolltunga (The Troll’s Tongue) which are known to be some of the best hikes in Norway. For those of you who want to steer clear of the tourist crowds, especially during the peak season, there are several lesser known trails as well. Fortunately, Norway hiking trails offer breathtaking scenery no matter where in the country you go. Trails range from easy to difficult, offering options for hikers of all experience levels, but always check the weather forecast and trail conditions before hiking in Norway. Trails that are marked as easy can quickly become challenging and dangerous due to sudden changes in weather, especially at higher altitudes. The following trails are recommended for active travelers embarking on a Norwegian or Scandinavia vacation.
Preikestolen, The Pulpit Rock (Easy)
The shortest and least challenging of Norway’s famous hikes is the Pulpit Rock, a 6 kilometer hike with an ascent of 350 meters. It will take approximately 2 hours to reach the flat mountain plateau that sits 604 meters above the Lysefjord and the views are absolutely amazing. Unless you want to share the viewing platform with hundreds of tourists, try to avoid June and July as these are the peak months for tourists.
The mountain range Kjerag is best known for its rock that is wedged between two cliffs. This hike is located in Lysefjorden and is a slightly more challenging hike than Preikestolen at 10 kilometers roundtrip and an ascent of 570 meters. There are some steep climbs along the hike but chains have been put into place for you to hold on to. Allow approximately 3 hours to reach the rock.
Trolltunga, The Troll’s Tongue (Difficult)
Number three on the list of best hikes in Norway is the Troll’s Tongue, a 27.5 kilometer roundtrip journey that will require a full 10 to 12 hour day to complete. As one of the more demanding hikes in Norway, it is important to have the proper clothing and equipment, along with plenty of food and water. There are several options for guided tours as well if you feel more comfortable embarking on the hike with an experienced guide. The hike to Trolltunga has a rise of 900 meters and is one of the most scenic cliffs in all of Norway, hovering 700 meters above Lake Ringedalsvatnet and situated 1,100 meters above sea level.
Romsdalseggen Ridge (Moderate)
Located in the heart of Romsdalen, hiking the Romsdalseggen Ridge will deliver gorgeous views of the Romsdalsfjellene mountains and take you through some of the most beautiful landscapes in Norway. This 10 kilometer long hike will take approximately 7 hours and from the top of the ridge, you can see as far as the Norwegian Sea. There are two alternative routes, the more popular and scenic option is Normalruta, while the path that goes via Høgnosa is a good option for those who are afraid of heights.
If reaching the summit of Norway’s highest peak is on your bucket list, then the hike to Galdhøpiggen is a must. At a height of 2,469 meters above sea level, this is not only the highest peak in Norway but also the tallest mountain in all of Northern Europe. Galdhøpiggen is located in Jotunheimen National Park and the hike is approximately 7 hours to the top, involving a glacier crossing of the Styggebreen glacier.
The hike to Gaustatoppen is found in Norway’s Telemark region, more specifically in Rjukan, and is known for its views over one-sixth of Norway on a clear day. The 8.6 kilometer long roundtrip journey will take approximately 4 hours and is even doable as a day trip from Oslo at about a 2.5 hour drive each way. If you want to see the views without doing the hike, there is an option to take the funicular railway called Gaustabanen which drops you very close to the top.
Besseggen Ridge (Difficult)
For the most popular one-day hike in all of Norway, look no further than the Besseggen Ridge located in the eastern part of Jotunheimen National Park. Upwards of 30,000 people complete this hike every season and the surrounding nature is absolutely spectacular. The trail is quite steep and narrow near its highest peak which reaches a height of 1,743 meters, but otherwise the trail climbs quite steadily and the markings along the way make it easy to follow. Hiking between Gjendesheim and Memurubu will take approximately 6 hours but the good news is you only have to hike it in one direction since a ferry runs between the two ends of the hike.
From spectacular viewing platforms that tower over the most beautiful fjords to famous peaks that reside in the country’s magnificent national parks, hiking in Norway is an experience that is sought after by many. Thousands of Norway hiking trails are just waiting to be discovered so lace up your hiking boots and set out on a mountain adventure. Enjoy the Norwegian wilderness and take in the breathtaking views, it’s up to you to decide which are the best hikes in Norway.