Norway is a hiker’s paradise. There are hundreds of hiking trails all over the country. Whenever you see a red “T” etched on a rock or a tree, or stacks of stones and rocks, that’s queue for Walk This Way! (Aerosmith was here). You can hike alongside fjords, magnificent summit mountains, hike on accessible trails right from a city center, and even go on a guided hike on a glacier.
You don’t have to be an athlete to go hiking in Norway’s trails. There are many places where you can find short and natural paths, like the Aksla hill in Alesund, that’s well suited for families and small children. But there are also tricky trails that might challenge even the most seasoned adventurers.
When to go hiking in Norway?
The ideal time to go hiking is from May to September when the weather is mild and warm. You can also trek and explore in the winter when the surface is covered in snow, making the landscapes surreal. Although, it requires heavier winter gear. For all seasons, you should always carry layers of clothing and proper hiking boots. The weather can change drastically in the wilderness, and you don’t want to get caught unprepared miles away from the closest shelter.
Where to stay when hiking in Norway?
As far as shelter goes, there are many hiking cabins available for public use in Norway. The cabins are found nearly everywhere there are hiking trails, especially in the mountains. Some might require a small fee for using the cabin (maintenance cost). Some cabins have a kitchen where you can cook and even a section for storage. You can book these cabins in advance at Hiking Club of Norway.
If you can’t find shelter, you can invoke the Freedom to Roam. It allows the public to have the right to use certain public and even privately owned land for recreation and exercise. That means you can pitch your tent nearly everywhere, including somebody’s backyard. Imagine waking up to a sunrise over an endless expanse of mountain peaks and clouds. Catching a sunset and not having to worry about racing back to a hotel.
What to bring and wear hiking in Norway?
Norway’s terrain doesn’t give you altitude sickness, but it has steep mountains and cliffs that can induce vertigo. So bring your common sense. The weather is relatively moderate in the summer, but it can change quickly so bring layers of clothing and a poncho for the rain. Good hiking boots are a must and if you have room, bring hiking poles. Water is relatively abundant along the trails, and most are clean enough to drink without filtration, but there’s less of it on the peaks of Hermannsdalstinden and Reinebringen.
Where to go hiking in Norway?
With so many amazing hiking trails it’s hard to pick which ones to tackle. You can spend months and years hiking in Norway’s wilderness. But I’ve listed Five of the Most Breathtaking Hikes in Norway below.
1 – Munkebu Hut to Hermannsdalstinden Summit
The Lofoten archipelago has some of the best hikes in Norway. The trails are sometimes steep and sometimes mellow but never short on breathtaking scenery. In the remote glaciated island of Moskenesøy, you can hike along the seascape route of little fishing villages with colorful red houses.
Here, the mountain peak of Hermannsdalstinden rises to 1,029 meters (3,375 ft.) and offers the most breathtaking scenic backdrop in all the Lofoten. It is by far one of the most stunning multi-day hikes in Norway. While it may not impress in the sheer vertical drop of its peak, it does so with endless sprawling views of the Lofoten – this is a must do on your Norway itinerary.
Reinebringen offers one of the most breathtaking views of the fishing village of Reine and the Lofoten archipelago. Although, a relatively modest peak (448 meters) and very short hike (4 kilometers); the technical terrain the trail meanders through, borders on being a mountain climbing route.
Check your abilities before you tackle this hike, it’s not suitable for everyone. There are sections of the trail that aren’t well maintained, and some are downright dangerous. If you can muster the courage to overcome your fear of heights, the Reinbringen will reward you with spectacular views.
3 – Geiranger to Skagefla Farm
A must do hike Norway! Situated in the UNESCO heritage site of Geirangerfjord. It provides stunning views of the fantastic Seven Sister waterfall as it plunges deep into the Geirangerfjord below. Combined this with the remote medieval farms on mountain ledges and makes this hike one of the most memorable experiences of your Norway adventures.
You can hike directly from Geiranger to the farm, or you can take the water taxi and climb the dizzying steps to Skagefla. The iconic view of the Seven Sisters Waterfall and sky-high farms awaits.
4 – Trolltunga
Like the Preiskestolen, Trolltunga has one of the most breathtaking scenic cliffs in Norway. Trolltunga (Troll’s Tongue), hovers at around 700 meters above the lake Ringedalsvatnet. The trail is challenging and is sometimes confounded by snow and the elements. It starts in Skjeggedal and meanders through the high mountains for a 23-kilometer round trip.
5 -Preikestolen (Pulpit Rock)
Just outside the city of Tau, across Stavanger, is one of the most popular hiking trails in Norway. The scenic fjord country with soaring mountains serves as a backdrop to one of the most breathtaking hikes in the world (well, at least according to Lonely Planet). The Pulpit Rock is a rock face that has been shaped by glaciation thousands of years ago.
The face eventually cracked through frost and formed a cliff with a vertical drop of 609m (1,998 ft.) over the Lysefjord. Due to its easy access and relatively short (2 miles) distance, it’s a very popular hike and can get very crowded.
Aksla Viewpoint in Ålesund & Sunnmøre
While not technically a hike, the viewpoint on top of Aksla hill In Ålesund provides a stunning panoramic view of the archipelago. The beautiful town center of Ålesund is visible as well as the breathtaking Sunnmøre Alps. It’s an easy 418 steps up from the town park that’s children and family friendly.
Kjeåsen Mountain Farm
Kjeasen is a beautiful mountain farm perched on top of a mountain ledge above the Simadalsfjord. There’s a very steep tourist mountain trail you can hike up and down – 3 hours round trip. There’s a narrow road that leads up to the farm, and you can drive up every half hour, and then you can drive down every half hour. It’s a very short hike that offers one of the most breathtaking views in Norway.
KNOW BEFORE YOU GO
Here are some helpful tips before you tackle any of these Norway hikes. Water is available nearly everywhere. Norway’s water is so clean you won’t need a water filter like the
Water is available almost everywhere. Norway’s water is so clean you won’t need a water filter like the MSR Sweetwater and can drink it right out of river or pond. But for places where it’s not abundant, I recommend a bladder you can quickly pack in your backpack like the RIQUIK military grade hydration pack that you can pack in a regular bag like the Osprey Atmos or a tactical hydration pack for running or hiking.
The weather is unpredictable. It can rain at any time, or the temperature could drop. Bring layers of clothing and make sure you carry a lightweight down jacket like the Mountain Hardware Dynotherm. A good pair of hiking waterproof or water resistant boots like the Vasque Goretex is also essential.
If you’re making an overnight trip, be sure to book the huts in advance. If they’re not available no worries, you can camp nearly everywhere. A tent like the Eureka Amari should be good enough to keep you comfy with a simple mummy style sleeping bag like the Outdoor Vitals.
Bring your booze and food. Norway is not the cheapest place to get a drink or eat. If you can get it from a neighboring country like Finland or Sweden the better. I have an assortment of freeze-dried food like the Mountain House Assortment pack that I cook with an MSR Pocket Rocke stove when I go backpacking.