Explore the top 10 mountain hiking areas of Norway from the wild and extreme to family-friendly fun. Best of all it’s cool all year round.
What a way to escape the heat and rushed city life than to explore breathtaking greenery, mountains, wild life, glaciers and fjords. You can even stay at a lodge.
The Norse word Jotunheimen means “The Home of the Giants” – and this is fitting because the area is highly mountainous of roughly 3,500 sqkm in Southern Norway and is part of the long Scandinavian Mountain range. The 29 highest mountains in Norway are all in Jotunheimen including the spectacular Galdhøpiggen, which is 2469 metres.
Within Jotunheimen is the Jotunheimen National Park which covers an area of 1151 sqkm. The mountain range Hurrungane is also within the national park with the sharpest peaks in Jotunheimen. Adjacent to the national park border is Utladalen Nature Reserve which covers the valley Utladalen and the mountain Falketind. Breathtaking views of verdant valleys and dramatic peaks are certainly highlights.
The famous Besseggen-trail is not to be missed in Jotunheimen and you can stay at the many mountain lodges maintained by the Norwegian Mountain Touring Association. What a wonderful way of escaping city life. Breathe in the fresh air, relax and enjoy the scenery while getting good exercise by walking lovely trails.
This area covers the mountain plateau in the Hardanger region of western Norway, and is the largest such plateau in Europe. It has a cold alpine climate all year round, and is home to one of Norway’s largest glaciers – Hardangerjøkulen. These are certainly geographic wonders to behold and explore. Much of the plateau is protected as part of Hardangervidda National Park and there are numerous well-marked routes for walking, hiking, cycling and cross-country skiing.
This is Norway’s oldest national park which was established in 1962. If you like mountains and challenging hiking trails try the 10 peaks above 2000m, with the highest being Rondeslottet at an altitude of 2178m. Some of the wildlife you may come across are reindeer.
Rondane National Park is smaller and not as wild as Jotunheimen National Park but still offers a good challenge for those who like the feeling of wilderness and roughness of high peaks combined with the possibility of exploring rounded and friendly moorland.
THE LYNGEN ALPS
These pristine alpine mountains lie on a peninsula giving you spectacular views of the blue fjords. Popular among experienced mountain climbers and extreme skiers there are mountain peaks rising above1000m directly from the fjord, blue glaciers, cascading rivers, gleaming mountain lakes and deep ravines. And in this region, over 300 kilometres inside the Arctic Circle, there are also incredible natural phenomena to experience depending on the time of the year you visit – northern lights to midnight sun.
Unlike the more southerly Alpine regions of Europe, snow conditions here are colder and often it is possible to start skiing from sea level, skiing all the way to a summit before an exhilarating and peaceful descent back to the sea.
The Dovrefjell mountain area is the home of the musk ox and the barrier between the southern and central regions of Norway. So enchanting and dramatic is the scenery that it inspired musician Edvard Grieg to compose Peer Gynt.
Although it is a harsh environment, Dovrefjell is an excellent area for spectacular hiking and cycling during the summer and cross-country skiing in the winter. The area is also good for fishing, canoeing, climbing and snowkiting. However, due to rather long distances between mostly unstaffed huts, great areas without huts and trails and unstable weather conditions, the area is recommended more for the experienced and well-equipped only.
The Lysefjord is located in Ryfylke, near Haugesund and Stavanger and is known for Preikestolen (the Pulpit Rock) and Kjerag.
Preikestolen towers an impressive 604 metres over the Lysefjord. This flat mountain plateau, approximately 600 sqm was most likely formed with the melting frost 10,000 years ago.
Preikestolen Fjellstue mountain lodge is located near the main RV13 road south of Jørpeland and can be reached by car or, in the summer, by bus from Tau. From here, there is a trail to the Pulpit Rock, climbing 350m through somewhat uneven terrain. Along the trail, there
are picnic areas and excellent
More challenging would be Kjerag. At 1084m above the fjord, Kjerag
towers above the other peaks along
Most people are happy just to enjoy the view of the Lysefjord from the plateau itself, but for some hikers, the ultimate climax of the excursion is to be photographed on the Kjeragbolten, a round rock wedged solidly in a mountain crevice. Kjerag has also become a popular attraction for mountain climbers and base jumpers.
For those who enjoy gentle mountain hikes, the national parks Rondane, Dovrefjell, Forollhogna and Gutulia are the ideal choice. If tranquil and beautiful forest walks are more to your liking, then Trysil, Femundsmarka National Park or Finnskogen are fantastic to explore.
A visit to Jutulhogget between Rendalen and Tylldalen is a unique nature experience. Allow a few hours to explore the canyon or the edge of the cliff. Experience the amazing feeling of standing on the edge of the abyss with butterflies in your stomach.
Hemsedal is a small town in Norway with about 2000 inhabitants. The town is surrounded by high mountains, similar to the Alps, and has a river, Hemsila, flowing through the valley. Hemsedal is best known for its large alpine skiing area, which is one of the best rated and the second largest in Norway. It is also wonder fulfor hiking, biking, fishing and horse back riding.
The spectacular snow-capped summits rise nearly 2000m from the blue fjords. From February to even June these mountains are perfect for off-piste skiing. You can also enjoy hiking, cross-country skiing, horseback riding and even dog sledging. If yo love fishing try the fjords, lakes and rivers which are teeming
The hike up Slogen (1564m) is rated among the top ten mountain walks in Norway, largely due to its beauty
Trollheimen (Home of the Trolls) is a mountain range in Møre og Romsdal and Sør-Trøndelag counties in central Norway, and is often considered the most varied and beautiful of all the mountain ranges in Norway. It is surrounded by the valleys Surnadal, Rindal, Sunndal and Orkladal and features summits of up to 1700m. A wealth of large and small lakes with the trout make fishing a popular activity.
Trollheimen is perfect for hiking, where the most famous route is the triangle between the three mountain lodges Gjevilvasshytta, Jøldalshytta and Trollheimshytta, each a fairly long hike of some seven to nine hours. It is possible to choose a route covering the three peaks of Trollhetta, a spectacular (but long) hike comparable to the more famous Besseggen route in Jotunheimen. The hike to the peak of Snota is often considered one of the most beautiful