The best hikes in Norway could be a very long list. The land of mountains and fjords provides a perfect setting for summer hiking. Never mind winter hiking in the snow. This article focuses on routes that are usually hiked in the Norwegian summer, but some could be hiked in the winter.
Hiking is second nature to Norwegians and with the vast and varied landscapes on their doorstep, it’s easy to see why… From the white-sand beaches of the north to the dramatic mountains of the south, and the spectacular fjords in between, there’s something to suit hikers of all abilities and tastes.
Best Hikes in Norway
If you want to do the best hikes in Norway, you’d better arrive at the best time of year! The hiking season kicks off in spring and lasts until around October. Peak season (from mid-June to the end of July) draws a crowd. If you want a chance of the trails to yourself in peak season, it’s best to hit the trails during weekdays instead of weekends. By autumn, you’ll find the paths pleasantly empty, as the leaves start to turn red and gold. Out of season, there is snow and lots of it.
From mountains and coasts to forests and fjords, there are countless walks to choose from in Norway. Hikes range from hardcore days out to softer trekking options. Here are five of our favourites that will have you lacing up your walking boots in no time.
1. Trolltunga, Hordaland, Western Fjord area
Jutting out 700 metres above lake Ringedal, this dramatic cliff is located deep in the fjord heartland, 170km east of Bergen. In English, the name translates as ‘Troll Tongue’. Legend has it that a cheeky troll didn’t believe he would turn to stone when he stuck his tongue out to make fun of the rising sun… As the sun came up he turned to stone. This rock is also known as the Devil’s Tongue, although as anyone who’s studied mythical creatures knows: devils and trolls are not the same thing.
The popularity of the hike to this ancient cliff has skyrocketed in recent years (thanks Instagram). The waymarked, 27km round-trip from Skjeggedal is now one of Norway’s most popular hiking trails. But be warned: this is not a mere walk in the park. On average, the route takes between 10 and 12 hours, with 1,000 metres of ascent. You’ll get good views of Trolltunga along the way. It’s best to visit from mid-June until mid-September, when the snow has melted in the surrounding mountains. If you’re looking to avoid the crowds, hiking to Trolltunga in the middle of winter is a great option.
2. The Queen’s Route, Vesterålen, Northern Norway
In summer, Northern Norway benefits from the midnight sun. There is no darkness and longer days mean more time to enjoy this spectacular scenery by foot. The 15km-long Queen’s Route is physically taxing, but is worth every effort. It offers magnificent sea and mountain views. The path was named after Queen Sonja, who first hiked this route in 1994.
The Queen’s Route runs between the historic fishing villages of Nyksund and Stø. The path picks its way along the coastline, passing the white sands of Skipssanden and climbing up the rocky ridge to Finngamheia. This is the highest point on the trail at 448 metres, with panoramic vistas of the Atlantic Ocean. It takes most people between five and eight hours to complete the hike and offers a great variety of terrain, from marshland to shoreline.
3. Best Hikes in Norway: Gaustatoppen, Telemark, Southern Norway
Climbing the highest mountain in Southern Norway is a fun challenge. At 1,883 metres above sea level, the summit of Gaustatoppen is not easy to reach. But the trek is only around 8km (4km each way) and can be done by both adults and children with decent fitness. The route starts at Stavsro, 16km south-east of the town of Rjukan. Follow the red Ts that mark the trail, which takes an average of four to five hours to complete.
Children will love looking out for ancient stones etched with wave patterns, from when the mountain was at the bottom of an ocean. At the peak, usually reached in a couple of hours, there’s a cafe located in a 100-year-old stone cabin. You can get your own stone stamped as proof that you’ve conquered the mountain.
You might also like: The 15 Most Accessible Fjords to Hike in Norway
4. Pulpit Rock, Ryfylke, Western Fjord area
Vistas don’t get much more dramatic than this. Towering a dizzying 604 metres over the Lysefjord, Preikestolen (that’s Pulpit Rock in English) is an ancient mountain plateau. The plateau was formed by the expansion of ice thousands of years ago. Tourists first ventured here at the beginning of the 20th century and since then it has become one of Norway’s most famous landmarks, thanks to its sheer beauty and scale.
Hiking to the vertigo-inducing, 25 by 25-metre ledge requires enough stamina to walk around 4km each way (8km total) from Preikestolen Mountain Lodge. It takes most people around three or four hours to complete the trail. The undulating path ascends 350 metres and has some wild swimming spots along the way – great if you need to cool off. Once you reach the top, you’ll see for yourself why this spot frequently features on lists of the world’s most spectacular viewing points. That’s got to be one of the best hikes in Norway.
5. Kleivstua loop, Krokskogen forest, Oslo area
For a woodland walk that’s easily accessible from Oslo, head to the Krokskogen forest. The forest is 300 square kilometres, stretching through Bærum, Sollihøgda and Jevnaker. Here you’ll find plenty of easy hikes, such as a 19km loop that can be split into three, manageable days, staying at different cabins along the way.
Starting at Kleivstua, the circular walk takes you to the cabins Myrseter, Presthytta, and back to Kleivstua. The short legs are ideal for families or those not looking for a more leisurely paced hike. It’ll give you heaps of time to relax and explore the area, which is laced with hiking trails and bridleways. Look out for the highest points in the forest – Oppkuven, which stands at 704 metres, and Ringkollen, which is 702 metres tall. You can hike parts of the old road through Krokskogen, which opened in 1805, and was part of the King’s Road connecting Oslo to Bergen.