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Maybe we are a bit biased since Ivar is a Norwegian and I have been living in Norway for more than 8 years, but we honestly think that Norway is one of the best countries when it comes to hiking

Norway has an incredible network of hiking trails and mountain huts that allows you to explore the mountainous landscape. Not to mention very benevolent rules for hiking and camping in the wild. 

When we started to put together this article, we wrote down all the famous hikes in the whole of Norway and we ended with a number close to 40! Therefore we divided the article into two parts and introduce you to the best hikes in southern Norway first. (We have decided to consider anything south of Trondheim as southern Norway for our purposes.) 

The tips for the best hikes in northern Norway will follow soon.

  • Distance: 7,6 km (out and back)
  • Duration: 4 hours (out and back)
  • Elevation gain: 440 meters
  • Starting point: Preikestolen Fjellstue
  • Season: All year
  • Difficulty: Easy

The hike to Preikestolen (also known as Pulpit rock) is one of the most popular day hikes in Norway. Preikestolen is a flat plateau that measures approximately 25 X 25 meters and rises 604 meters (1981 feet) above the turquoise waters of Lysefjorden. 

In the Norwegian standards, the hike to Preikestolen is relatively easy. It takes about 5 hours out and back on a well-marked trail. Therefore it might be a great option for hiking with kids or the elderly. (I hiked to Preikestolen with my 70 years old father). The views from the plateau are mesmerizing and on a good day, you can see to Lysebotn, which lies at the end of the fjord. 

Be aware though that during the summer season the trail is extremely popular with tourists and you won’t probably get a picture standing alone on the edge. 

If you do not feel like hiking Preikestolen on your own, especially outside of the summer season, you can always join a guided tour that is combined with a two-hour cruise into the Lysefjord.

Best hikes in Norway: Preikestolen (Pulpit rock)
When you hike to Preikestolen out of the summer season, you might get lucky enough and have it for yourself.

Kjeragbolten: Stand on a rock 1000 meters above the Lysefjord

  • Distance: 9 km (out and back)
  • Duration: 6-8 hours (out and back)
  • Elevation gain: 540 m
  • Starting point: Øygardstøl Parking Lot
  • Season: June to October
  • Difficulty: Demanding

Kjeragbolten is probably the most famous boulder in the whole of Norway. It is wedged in between two rock faces, 1000 meters above the Lysefjorden. Would you dare to stand on it? 

The hike to Kjeragbolten is much more demanding than the neighboring Preikestolen hike.

The six-kilometer hike to the top takes 6 to 8 hours and involves some steep inclines with an elevation change of around 600 meters.

If you do not feel like attempting the hike to Kjeragbolten alone, you can always join a guided tour that is combined with a speed ferry ride over Lysefjorden. You will have a chance to see the famous Preikestolen from below!

Best hikes in southern Norway - Kjeragbolten
The most famous boulder in Norway. Photo by: Terje Rakke - VisitNorway.com

Trollpikken: Take a picture of a Troll penis

  • Distance: 5 km (out and back)
  • Duration: 2 hours (out and back)
  • Elevation gain: 206 meters
  • Starting point: Trollpikken parkering
  • Season: All year
  • Difficulty: Easy

I bet that you heard about many places in Norway named after trolls: Trolltunga (The Troll’s tongue), Trollstigen (The Troll road) or Trollveggen (Troll Wall). But did you know that there is a place called Troll penis? 

This funny-shaped 12-tonne rock located south of Stavanger made the international headlines in 2017 when some vandals chopped it off. It was however re-erected after a successful crowdfunding campaign and you can now admire it in all its glory!

The hike to Trollpikken is very easy. So, if you are new to hiking or you have small kids, it can be a great first hike in Norway.

Gaustatoppen: Admire a view to one-sixth of Norway

  • Distance: 9 km (out and back)
  • Duration: 4 – 6 hours (out and back)
  • Elevation gain: 660 meters
  • Starting point: Parking Stavsro
  • Season: May – October
  • Difficulty: Moderate

Many claims that Gaustatoppen is the most beautiful mountain in Norway. With the height of 1.883 m, it towers majestically over the town Rjukan, which is famous for its role in WWII. If you are lucky with the weather you might be able to see one-sixth of the whole of Norway from the top!

The hike to the top is very popular and fairly easy in Norwegian standards. If you do not feel like hiking though, you can use the Gaustabanen. It is a combined railway with a funicular that goes up to 1800 meters!

Bondhusvatnet: Easy hike to a magical glacier lake

  • Distance: 8 km (out and back)
  • Duration: 2 – 3 hours
  • Elevation gain: 280 meters
  • Starting point: Parking Sunndal
  • Season: May – October
  • Difficulty: Easy

The beauty of the emerald-colored Bondhusvatnet lake has drawn tourists since the mid-1800s. Back then the glacier was much bigger but even though it retreated quite a lot, the lake and its surroundings still offer beautiful views.

An easy hike leads to the lakeshore and continues to moraine fields under the Bondhusbreen Glacier. The original purpose of the path was to transport glacier ice to be used in refrigerators in the towns and villages along the coast. 

Best hikes in southern Norway - Bondhusvatnet lake
Bondhusvatnet can look mysterious in the late hours when the surrounding mountains are covered by fog.

Trolltunga: Take a picture on a cliff 700 meters above a lake

  • Distance: 21 km (out and back)
  • Duration: 8 – 12 hours
  • Elevation gain: 1000 meters
  • Starting point: Skjeggedal/Mågelitoppen
  • Season: June – September
  • Difficulty: Demanding

Jutting into space 700 meters above lake Ringedalsvatnet, this dramatic cliff is located 3 hours drive east of Bergen. Largely unknown before 2010 its popularity skyrocketed in recent years. 

It is one of Norway’s most popular hikes for a good reason though. The view from the cliff is simply breathtaking. Despite the number of people who attempt to hike to Trolltunga it is by no means an easy hike and you should be well prepared for it. Do not attempt it outside of season or in bad weather and make sure that you have the proper equipment and enough food with you!

Hiking to Trolltunga Norway
Beware that during the summer season there might be more than 1 hour long waiting time to get on the Troll's tongue.

Presten: A steep hike with a godly view over aurlandsfjorden!

  • Distance: 5 km (out and back)
  • Duration: 3 hours
  • Elevation gain: 550 m

Aurlandsfjorden is one of those picture-perfect places of Western Norway. With steep mountain walls plunging over a thousand meters straight down into the deep fjord it comes as no surprise that it is crowded with tourists most of the summer. 

The mountains in the area are not, however. And Presten mountain is one of those places where you get that million-dollar view possibly all to yourself. With plenty of viewpoints to mesmerize you as you go higher and higher, it’s not until you stand at the top that your breath is taken away, and not just because of the climb.

You can also enjoy the waterfalls and steep mountainsides along Aurlandsfjord and Nærøyfjord from a board of a RIB boat. If luck should have it, you might even encounter otters, seals, eagles and the fjord porpoise.

Best hikes in western Norway Presten
If you look close enough you will see Radka sitting on the edge and enjoying the view to Aurlandsfjorden

Skåla: The hike with the biggest elevation in Norway

  • Distance: 14 km ( out and back)
  • Duration: 6 – 8 hours (out and back)
  • Elevation gain: 1,800 meters
  • Starting point: Park Mount Skala
  • Season: June – September
  • Difficulty: Very demanding

Skåla is a spectacular mountain towering 1.848 m over the emerald green waters of lake Lovatnet. The hike is extremely demanding as you have to ascend more than 1800 meters from the sea level to the top, but you will be rewarded by breathtaking views of the surrounding glaciers, fjords, and mountains. 

You can spend a night on the top in Skålatårnet – round cabin with a more than meter-thick walls that was built in 1891 and became a symbol of Skåla. The cabin belongs to the Norwegian trekking association (DNT) and is open all year round. It is, however, an unmanned cabin, so you have to bring your sleeping bag and pay for your stay via the DNT Hyttebetaling app. 

Skageflå: Seemingly inaccessible mountain farm above Geirangerfjord

  • Distance: 10 km ( out and back)
  • Duration: 4 – 6 hours (out and back)
  • Elevation gain: 550 meters
  • Starting point: Homlong
  • Season: April – October
  • Difficulty: Moderate

The Skageflå farm is situated on 250 meters (820 ft) tall cliff above the beautiful Geirangerfjord, which is surrounded by steep mountains rising in rugged strata straight out of the water. 

The place is so stunning that even the Norwegian King and Queen decided to celebrate their silver wedding anniversary there.

You can either hike to Skageflå from Geiranger village or jump aboard one of the boats that cruise the fjord and stop at the foot of the cliff below Skageflå. 

Read more: Skageflå mountain farm – the most beautiful hike in Geirangerfjord

Skageflå mountain farm hiking

Glittertind: Enjoy the views over Jotunheimen national park

  • Distance: 12 km (out and back)
  • Duration: 6 – 8 hours (out and back)
  • Elevation gain: 1,070 meters

Counting the glacier on the top, Glittertind had earlier been a challenger for the title as the highest mountain in Norway. While people were debating whether or not the size of the glacier should count, the glacier melted. And as of today, Glittertind is with its 2.457 m the second highest mountain in Norway. 

Glittertind can be hiked either from Glitterheim tourist lodge or from Spiterstulen hotel. Both hikes are quite long and demanding with more than 1.000 m elevation gain. 

While the neighboring Galdhøpiggen can be very crowded on sunny days, you will encounter much fewer people on Glittertind while still being able to enjoy gorgeous views over the Jotunheimen mountain range.

Galdhøpiggen: Climb the highest mountain in Scandinavia

  • Distance: 12 km (out and back)
  • Duration: 6 – 9  hours (out and back)
  • Elevation gain: 1,400 meters

Galdhøpiggen, with its 2.469 m, is the tallest mountain in Norway and the whole northern Europe. It is situated in Jotunheimen national park, which translates to the home of giants. 

There are two ways to reach the top of Galdhøpiggen. The more popular and easier one starts at the mountain cabin Juvashytta and takes about three hours up. You have to, however, cross the Styggebreen glacier and it is therefore strongly recommended to join a guided tour

The other option is to hike from the Spiterstulen hotel. The hike is technically easy since it does not cross any glacier, but it is physically demanding because you have to gain almost 1.400 m of elevation.

Best hikes in southern Norway: The top of Galdhøpiggen - the highest mountain in Norway
The view from the of Galdhøpiggen. Photo by Johan Wildhagen - VisitNorway.com

Besseggen: Walk the ridge between the two lakes with different colors

  • Distance: 14 km (point to point)
  • Duration: 7 – 10 hours
  • Elevation gain: 1,080 meters
  • Starting point: Gjendesjeim Turisthytte
  • Season: June – Septemberr
  • Difficulty: Demanding

Situated in the heart of Jotunheimen national park, Besseggen is one of the most famous hikes and mountain ridges in Norway. The main attraction, and an excellent photo opportunity, is the view to the dark blue waters of the Bessvatn lake on one side of the ridge, and the emerald green waters of Gjende lake on the other side.

During the summer season, there is a boat that goes regularly over lake Gjende stopping at the trailhead in Memurubu. Even though it is possible to walk the Besseggen ridge in both directions, most people choose to start from the trailhead at Memurubu.

The Besseggen hike gets very popular during the summer, so don’t forget to book your boat ticket in advance!

Bessegen is one of the most popular hikes in Norway
There is no boat transport early in the season and the Bessvatnet lake can still be frozen.

Trollveggen: Europe’s only vertical mile

  • Distance: 12 km (out and back)
  • Duration: 4 – 6 hours
  • Elevation gain: 900 meters
  • Starting point: Trollstigen Parking
  • Season: July – September
  • Difficulty: Very demanding

Impossible to miss when driving down the Romsdalen valley and bone-chilling to look down from when standing on top of it! The Troll Wall certainly demands respect no matter how you see it. 

Going up there might not be quite as hard as you think though. The trail starts from the Trollstigen parking lot and is a full day hike on muddy paths, rocky terrain, and steep snow slopes. In other words, not for a novice hiker. 

At the Troll wall, there are several places where you can have a peek over the edge, but Bruraskaret might be the most famous one. It’s here, where the BASE-jumpers usually started from. 

If you are not feeling confident on steep slopes you can go for a shorter trip to Stabbeskaret and look down the neighboring mountain wall. Some say it’s even nicer than Bruraskaret. 

Best hikes in southern Norway - Troll wall
On the top of Bruraskaret.
Best hikes in southern Norway: Trollveggen (Bruraskaret)
There is still a lot of snow in this part of Norway in May!

Romsdalseggen: the most scenic hike in Norway

  • Distance: 10 km (point to point)
  • Duration: 7 – 10 hours
  • Elevation gain: 1,000 meters
  • Starting point: Vengedalen valley
  • Season: July – October
  • Difficulty: Demanding

Lonely Planet says that Romsdalseggen is one of the world’s most scenic hikes and we agree. The point-to-point hike along the narrow ridge offers spectacular views to many impressive mountain peaks including the toothy grin of the Troll Wall – the tallest vertical rock face in Europe. 

The best way how to reach the starting point is to take a tourist bus that runs every day from July to the end of September. The hike itself is quite demanding and airy at some places. If you therefore do not feel like hiking the ridge, but still want to enjoy the breathtaking views, you should hike at least up to Rampestreken viewpoint.

Best hikes in Southern Norway - Romsdalseggen ridge
The spectacular views to Romsdalen valley from Romsdalseggen. Photo by: Mattias Fredriksson - VisitNorway.com

Snøhetta: An easy 2000-meter peak among ancient wildlife

  • Distance: 12 km (out and back)
  • Duration: 4 – 5 hours
  • Elevation gain: 820 meters

When driving the E6 from Oslo to Trondheim it is hard to miss Snøhetta on a clear day. With its 2286 meters it stands out from its surroundings. Don’t worry though: It’s one of the easiest mountain over 2000 meters in Norway that you can climb.

To reach the starting point in Snøheim you have to take a bus from Hjerkinn. The hike up to Snøhetta is a perfect trip for families with kids. It gets rocky up there, but the view from the top speaks for itself! And if you are lucky you might even see some wild reindeers or even an elusive musk ox.

MAP OF THE BEST HIKES IN SOUTHERN NORWAY 

 

FAQ ABOUT HIKING IN NORWAY

The main hiking season in Norway lasts from the beginning of June to the end of August. It is possible to attempt some of the hiking trails even in May or September and October, but depending on the area there might be a lot of snow. 

You can hike to Preikestolen all year round assuming that the weather is good. The hiking season to Trolltunga is from 1st June to 31.August. You can still hike up there in May or September and October, but it is highly recommended to join a guided tour. Some point-to-point hikes, like Romsdalseggen or Besseggen, are nearly impossible to do outside of the main season, because you are dependant on public transport. 

You will find hiking trails and mountain cabins all over Norway. The best hikes with the most stunning views are however situated mainly in northern and western (Fjord) Norway. Check the map in this article!

There are almost no dangerous animals in Norway. (The polar bears live only on Svalbard archipelago.) Hiking in Norway can however be dangerous if you underestimate the terrain, weather or your stamina and equipment. 

You can minimize the risks by following this set of rules:

  • Not hiking alone
  • Planning your hike carefully and informing someone about your itinerary
  • Planning the trip according to your abilities 
  • Paying attention to weather forecast
  • Bringing proper hiking equipment and knowing how to use it
  • Using a map and compass
  • Turning around or calling for help if it is needed

 

As we mentioned above you will find the best hiking trails in western and northern Norway. 

Our favorite hub for hiking in western Norway is the town Åndalsness, which lies very close to Romsdalseggen or Trollveggen hikes. You can do a lots of amazing hikes also in the surroundings of Stavanger (Preikestolen, Kjeragbolten, Trollpikken) or Otta (hiking in Jotunheimen and Rondane national parks). 

In northen Norway we really love hiking possibilities in Lofoten, Vesterålen and Senja. 

Weather in Norway can change fast, especially in the mountains. You should therefore always bring clothes for bad weather, even if the weather looks or is forecasted good at the start of the day.

Wear layers! Choose a woolen material on your skin followed by a second layer of a warm sweater. The third layer should be a weather-proof jacket (like hard-shell). During the day you will be taking on and off the different layers as you see fit. It’s generally a good rule of thumb to be a bit cold when you start hiking. You can have a break after about 20 minutes to see if you need to change your layers.

Often it might look like running shoes will be a good idea at the start of a trail. But you never know how the conditions are 500, 1000 or even 1800 meters above you. The mountain paths in Norway can often be wet, snowy or both, even in the summer months.

Trolltunga is a good example of this. Every year some people start this trek with footwear only meant for a summer day in the city. Later they are surprised when they have to walk on snow for most of the trip, even in late June. Therefore it is a great investment to purchase a pair of solid mountain boots. They will provide good support for your ankles as well as keep your feet dry and warm.

As mentioned above, Trolltunga can surprise a lot of people. Mainly because the hike is quite long – 20 km out and back. It includes a fair bit of incline and walking on narrow mountain paths, NOT gravel roads.

On the top, you often have to wait in a long line for the picture of you standing on the cliff. This will easily eat a couple of hours of your day. We recommend you to start early if you don’t plan on finishing the hike in the dark. In any case, bring a headlamp!

Do not forget a warm sweater and a weather-proof jacket as well as sturdy boots and pack enough food for the whole day trip. If you are in-season, you can leave your snowshoes at home. You won’t be able to walk long stretches with it.

Norway, with its open laws regarding camping and hiking, has a reputation of being a paradise for hikers. There are no national park fees, you can pitch your tent almost wherever you want and you can park your car for free in many places. 

This is sadly looking like it is about to change. Tourism has boomed in Norway, as it has in many other countries, the last decade or two. This has resulted in a lot of stress on small communities with few inhabitants and small budgets. They often struggle with overflowing public toilets and trash cans, crowded free parking lots and big RVs blocking the road. 

This is new to people in Norway and every summer there are new and stricter regulations being pushed through to try to combat this problem. It is therefore important that the tourists that travel here know how to behave so everybody can enjoy Norway to the fullest.

Trash seems to be a problem everywhere we travel. I’m sure you can agree. Norway is no exception. We, therefore, encourage people to read about the Leave-no-trace principle. To take this a step further we have started to pick up trash we find laying around in beautiful places. This activity is highly addictive and we only encourage you to try it too.

We have created a list of 5 “house rules” for everybody who wants to be a responsible tourist traveling in Norway:

 

  1. Leave no trace. Pick up trash that you find.
  2. If the trash container is full, bring your trash with you.
  3. Do not park in “rasteplasser” for more than one night. If there is a sign forbidding it, please respect it!
  4. There is plenty of public toilets along the roads in Norway. If you, however, need to relieve yourself in nature, then don’t leave toilet paper above ground. Either bring a shovel and dig it down along with your other business or bring it back with you. If unclear, read #1 again.
  5. Be creative in your hiking. 90% of tourists do the “top 10 best hikes”. There are many more equally beautiful, if not more beautiful hikes out there. You can read about them here. It’s also more fun to not have to stand in line for a picture. 

Are you planning a trip to Norway? Check our Norway Travel Guide!

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