The former general secretary of the Norwegian Trekking Association (DNT), Kristin Krohn Devold, has picked her 10 favourite iconic hikes in Norway.
Preikestolen (Pulpit Rock), the Lysefjord
Preikestolen is a mountain formed like a huge pulpit towering over the Lysefjord in Rogaland, Fjord Norway. There is a well prepared track from Preikestolen Mountain Lodge to the top of the 604-metre-high mountain plateau. Expect to spend four-five hours hiking from the lodge to the top of the Preikestolen and back down, and allow an hour or two to spend on the plateau.
Besseggen is located in Oppland in Eastern Norway. This is perhaps the most popular of all mountain hikes amongst Norwegians, and was mentioned by National Geographic in 2014 as one of the world's best hikes and thrilling trails. Steep paths and airy surroundings, with views of the Jotunheimen National Park, give you a feeling of mastering the mountains. Looking down, you have a blue lake on one side and a green one on the other. The walk takes approximately seven to eight hours.
On a clear day, you can see one sixth of Norway from the top of Gaustatoppen. Located in the county of Telemark in Southern Norway, Gaustatoppen is easily accessible. From the parking lot at Stavro, between Rjukan and Tuddal, you will spend about three hours to get to the top, and two to walk back down again - a five hour hike in total. Just before your reach the summit, there is a lodge where you can have a meal or spend the night. It is necessary to book in advance. The altitude difference is 700 metres, and the hike is fairly easy. Hiking boots are recommended.
Galdhøpiggen is Norway's highest mountain, 2,469 metres above sea level. The view of the Jotunheimen National Park does not get better than from this summit. The mountain is easily accessible from the Spiterstulen and Juvasshytta mountain lodges. Starting from Juvasshytta is the easiest route, suitable also for children who are used to hiking. Galdhøpiggen is located in the county of Oppland.
The Aurlandsdalen Valley, Fjord Norway
The inland mountains meet Fjord Norway in the Aurlandsdalen Valley. The terrain is varied, from rocky peaks to lush valleys. You will pass rumbling waterfalls and abandoned mountain farms. The hike crosses, for example, the yard of the Sinjarheim Farm, dating back to medieval times. The hike starts at the Geiteryggshytta Mountain Lodge (or at Østerbø Mountain Lodge for a shorter hike), and ends in Vassbygdi.
Slogen, Fjord Norway
Slogen is perhaps the most scenic and dramatic hike in the Sunnmøre Alps in the northern part of Fjord Norway. The surrounding summits really do resemble the Alps. The hike to the top is steep, and the last part requires some easy climbing. The hike goes 1,500 metres straight up from the Hjørundfjord to the summit, and takes about five hours. Back down is a little less. There is a shorter version where you start from the Patchellhytta Mountain Lodge. This takes about half the time. Hotel Union Øye is located by the fjord. This is an old and classic wooden hotel from the 1800s. Accommodation must be booked in advance.
The Triangle Route, Rondane
The classic triangle hike in the Rondane National Park takes four to five days. The hike, which is a good choice for beginners, will take you around the largest mountains in Rondane. The glaciers left a lot of rocks, so good mountain boots are highly recommended. Start the hike at Rondvassbu, Bjørnhollia or Dørålseter mountain lodges. Rondane is a mountain area in Eastern Norway.
Romsdalseggen, Fjord Norway
Romsdalseggen is located near Molde, in the northern parts of Fjord Norway. The hike takes you over mountains, overlooking fjords, summits and waterfalls. The hike starts in the Vengedalen Valley, and you can choose among three routes, with different levels of difficulty. The most extreme route requires climbing equipment. The hike takes between six and nine hours, depending on the route you choose. You will get a view of the Romsdalsfjord and the ocean, and the mountains of Trolltindene and Romsdalshorn.
Dronningruta, the Vesterålen Islands
North of the Lofoten Islands lie the lesser known Vesterålen Islands. One of the most popular hikes here is the Dronningruta, named after the current Norwegian Queen, Queen Sonja, who expressed her delight and enthusiasm when doing the hike in 1994. The route includes the best Vesterålen has to offer: stunning coastline, beautiful beaches, cosy villages and dramatic mountain peaks with panoramic views. The hike starts in Stø on Langøya Island, and follows the coast towards Nyksund. From Nyksund the route takes you up into the mountains, and then back to Stø. The walk takes about eight hours.
The Reisadalen Valley, Finnmark
The Reisadalen Valley stretches from Kautokeino in Finnmark to Saraelv in Troms, in Northern Norway. The Finnmarksvidda Mountain Plateau is mostly flat, but this part is a lush canyon-like landscape with steep mountain sides in parts of the valley. From the town of Kautokeino, it will take you a whole day to reach Lake Reisjavri. Accommodation is available at both places, and must be booked in advance. A shorter version of the hike is to take a taxi from Kautokeino to Biedjovaggi, and hike the four kilometres from there to Reisjavri.
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