In a country with 47 national parks, northern Europe’s tallest mountains, thousands of miles of coastline, laws permitting wild camping and the world’s most famous fjords, it’s no surprise that hiking is an integral part of Norwegian lifestyle.

Norwegians adopt “friluftsliv”—an outdoors lifestyle—year-round and in the summer and fall this means hiking. Marked trails criss-cross the country while wooden cabins provide shelter and basic overnight accommodation for longer tours.

Whether you want to spot wild reindeer and diverse birdlife or simply enjoy the spectacular scenery, Norway has a hiking trail for you. Here are seven of the most famous hiking routes in Norway.

Preikestolen (Pulpit Rock)

Despite the fame enjoyed by the fjords farther north, the Lysefjord has long been called the most beautiful of Norway’s fjords by poets, writers, and painters.

Perhaps the stunning fjord view from Preikestolen has something to do with that. The flat clifftop shot to global fame after its appearance in Mission: Impossible – Fallout but visitor numbers were already at record highs.

In a typical pre-pandemic tourist season, more than 300,000 visitors made the four-hour return hike to the clifftop, which includes an ascent of more than 1,600 feet.

Don’t be fooled by its popularity—this hike has a moderate level of difficulty and requires proper clothing and footwear.

Kjeragbolten

Also overlooking the Lysefjord, the Kjeragbolten hike is also known for its end point—a glacial boulder caught in a mountain crevasse with a 3,200 feet drop below. The view—and photo opportunity—draws a surprising number of international visitors.

Be prepared though, because the strenuous 7-mile roundtrip hike with an elevation gain of more than 1,800 feet takes up to 8 hours. This is not a good choice for inexperienced hikers.

Trolltunga (The Troll’s Tongue)

Yet another destination hike made famous through images shared on social media, Trolltunga also suffers from long queues of hikers wanting to replicate the iconic photograph of a lone hiker jumping on the unique rock formation almost 2,300 feet above lake Ringedalsvatnet.

This is despite the challenging nature of the hike, which is a 17-mile roundtrip (10-12 hours) or 12.5-miles (7-9 hours) if you’re able to snag a space on the shuttle bus to the alternative trailhead. Tourist authorities recommend starting the hike before 8am.

Besseggen

Jotunheimen National Park is home to Norway’s tallest mountains and hiking trails galore. The most famous—Besseggen—is best known for its unique lake view. The blue Bessvatnet lake lies on one side of the ridge, while the Gjene lake on the other side takes on a distinctive green hue.

Its fame stretches well beyond Norway. National Geographic rated it one of the top 20 most exciting hikes in the entire world.

In a typical year, tens of thousands experienced hikers take on the ridge, which takes 6-8 hours roundtrip. The easiest starting point is from Memurubu, which can be reached by the lake Gjende ferry. Advance booking for the ferry—accessible just off the Valdresflye tourist route—is highly recommended as it often reaches capacity in high season.

Romsdalseggen

Åndalsnes is known as Norway’s mountaineering capital. It’s not hard to see why, as it’s surrounded by the dramatic peaks of the Romsdal valley, most notably the imposing Trollveggen—the Troll’s Wall.

For its memorable view of both Åndalsnes and Trollveggen, the Romsdalseggen hike is a must-do. The ascent is hard-going and it will take even experienced hikers around 8 hours. A shuttle bus runs from the Norwegian Mountaineering Centre in Åndalsnes to the trailhead throughout the season.

Galdhøpiggen

Given the number of challenging mountain hikes in Norway, it comes as a surprise to many people that the country’s tallest mountain is relatively straightforward. That’s because the two main trailheads both start from mountain lodges at altitude that are accessible by road.

That being said, neither route is for beginners. The shortest—about three hours up and two hours down—starts from 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. While there is no glacier crossing to complete, the ascent is challenging and the latter half of the trail is rocky and can get very wet and slippery.

Reinebringen

Northern Norway’s Lofoten islands are known for their dramatic mountains. Hiking trails throughout the islands give everyone from casual walkers to experienced mountain climbers memories for a lifetime.

While Reinebringen is far from the highest peak on Lofoten, the truly spectacular summit view more than makes up for the relative lack of altitude. Since 2019, the hike has become much easier and safer thanks to a sherpa-built stone staircase.

The new accessibility means the route will now be more popular than ever. Parking will be an issue, as will be crowds on the trail. For the best experience, stay locally in Reine and take the hike early or late in the day, especially during the summer when the midnight sun will light the way.



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