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Running in Norway is connecting with nature - Photo: Terje Rakke/Nordic Life AS/Fjord Norway
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Running in Norway is connecting with nature Photo: Terje Rakke/Nordic Life AS/Fjord Norway

Top 10 running locations in Norway

The magazine Norway.com recommends the following 10 running locations in Norway.

Furulunden in Mandal

Here you will find an area of pine forests and rocky headlands with several beautiful little beaches and a network of paths which are perfect for running. The beach Lillebanken on the west is particularly good for a post-jog dip. Furulunden is an award-winning recreation area, a quick five minute walk from the town centre of Mandal, on the south coast of Norway.

Bygdøy in Oslo

The scenic Bygdøy peninsula in Oslo is home to the Viking Ship Museum, the Fram Museum and the large outdoor Museum of Cultural History, but Bygdøy also gives you the very rare opportunity to run through Royal forests.

At Bygdøy, several miles of gravel paths go alongside the Oslofjord and some of Oslo's most beautiful beaches, but also through lush forests that are part of Kongsgården (The Royal Farm) which is the Norwegian Royal Family's summer residence. Bygdøy is a quick commute from the city centre of Oslo either by bus or by ferry.

Nordmarka and Lake Sognsvann in Oslo

One of the things that set Oslo apart from most other capitals is how you are always close to nature and outdoor activities. From the city centre of Oslo, a quick tube ride takes you right into the unspoilt forests of Nordmarka, with endless gravel tracks perfect for running. A favorite of Oslo's runners is Lake Sognsvann at the entrance of Nordmarka. One lap around the lake is approximately 2 miles, followed, perhaps, by a refreshing swim in the lake.

Oslo Marathon

The jewel in the crown of Norwegian running is perhaps the Glitnir Glitnir Oslo Marathon, held every year at the end of September. Starting in front of the City Hall, thousands of runners from almost 40 countries speed through a fast, flat course ideal for that elusive personal best. Running through the colourful leaves and crisp air past the cheering crowds in the city centre of Oslo is an unforgettable experience.

The course winds its way along the Oslofjord, pass the brand new opera house and the Akershus Fortress, through the harbour area, passing Stortinget (the parliament building) and the National Theatre, zipping through the fashionable Frogner neighborhood before turning back towards the finish line at the City Hall.

There are also shorter options: A half marathon and a 2 miles race follow parts of the same route, in addition to a fun race for children, where proceeds go to charity.

For a unique city break for the whole family, the marathon brings out great crowds of spectators, with bands and entertainment along the course and is, in short, a completely unique way to experience the sights, culture and people of Oslo.

Tromsø

Tromsø, the northernmost city in Norway, is fast becoming a centre of running in Northern Norway. Tromsø hosts the Polar Night Half Marathon during the winter, as well as a race from sea level up the mountain Tromsdalstinden, an elevation of 4,000 feet, during the summer. Both these races use the scenic and well-kept gravel paths that circle the Tromsø Island.

The highlight of Tromsø's running season, however, is the Midnight Sun Marathon.  With the race starting at 8:30 pm, you can run through the night in broad "daylight", with the beautiful arctic coastal nature of Tromsø surrounding you, making it an unforgettable experience. Marathon day even features a mini-marathon for children, and several other shorter races, including a half marathon.

Rallarvegen (the Navvies' Road)

Rallarvegen is a scenic mountain road from the vast mountain plateau of Hardangervidda right down to Flåm and the Aurlandsfjord, or Voss. It is mostly known as one of Norway's most popular cycling routes, but increasingly it is being used by runners and joggers.

The season for experiencing Rallarvegen is mid-July to September (subject to snow-free road conditions).

You usually start at Haugastøl or Finse (alternatively you can start from Hallingskeid), and finish in Flåm or Voss. The distance between Haugastøl and Flåm is 49 miles, between Finse and Flåm it is 35 miles, and between Haugastøl and Voss it is 67 miles.

The journey from Hallingskeid to Vatnhalsen can be described as the most spectacular and impressive with its sharp downward slope and thundering waterfalls. The Klevagjelet Gorge and Kleven Bridge are unforgettable.

As the name suggests the name Rallarvegen dates from the time the navvies used it as a road during the construction of the Bergen Railway. The Bergen Railway was opened in 1909.

There are places selling refreshments along the route. If you wish to stay overnight whilst running Rallarvegen, you should book in advance. If you want to stay in contact with the nature, bring your tent along and sleep outside.

Rallarvegen even has its own running race – Rallarvegsløpet. The first leg, on Saturday, is 34 miles long and starts at sea level in Flåm with finish 4,000 feet above sea level at Finse. The second leg is both shorter and easier. It starts at Finse and finishes at Haugastøl 3,274 feet above sea level. You can also participate in just one of the two days.

The lakes of Stavanger

Stavanger is home to one of the most beautiful cathedrals in Norway, but also offers plenty of opportunities for visiting runners. In the middle of the city centre, you will find Lake Breiavatnet, called Stavanger's blinking eye, with a broad gravel path for runners.

A few miles from Stavanger city centre, you have Lake Mosvannet, a park area known for its wide variety of birds. Finally, the two Stokkavannet lakes – one large, and one smaller – make up one of Norway's most diverse park areas, with a topography varying from fields and rocks to swamps and forests, with a great view as well.

The coastal path from Stavern to Barkevik

Norway's rugged coastline is dotted with little paths and tracks that are well-kept secrets used by the locals for hiking and recreation, with spectacular views and fresh ocean breezes to match. One of the most picturesque ones is the coastal path between Stavern and Barkevik, two small towns in southeastern coast of Norway. This 18-mile stretch goes through the beautiful coastal landscape, with plenty of opportunities for a swim along the way.

Fredrikstadmarka in Fredrikstad

Fredrikstad, with its beautiful Old Town dating back to the 1500s, is right on the mouth of Glomma, Norway's longest river. 

Being close to the Swedish border, Fredrikstadmarka, the forests surrounding the town, were in olden days the scene of bloody battles between the Norwegians and the Swedes.

Today, however, hostility between Sweden and Norway has long since disappeared, and the forests are instead home to some of the best running paths in the country, with miles of scenic paths passing through lush forests, rolling hills and quiet, peaceful meadows, without ever being very far from the cobblestone streets of Fredrikstad.

Stoltzekleiven and Fjellveien in Bergen

Bergen, Norway's second largest city, is a must-see for visitors to Norway, with its dramatic positioning between steep mountains and colourful history as a Hanseatic League trading centre.

However, Bergen is also a must-see for runners: Bergen is home to Stoltzekleiven, an 800-step stair climb with a 1035 feet elevation. The legendary course is a popular training spot for runners, and is also home to the yearly Stoltzekleiven Opp running race – the world's steepest running race - which gathers more than 2,000 runners. The time to beat is 8 minutes and 30 seconds, and in the weeks before the race, you can record your own time in a booklet on the top if you are in a bragging mood.

Another essential trip for any runner who visits Bergen is Fjellveien (The Mountain Road). This 2,878 miles long road winds through the hillsides surrounding Bergen, and is much used by the locals for running or simply for a relaxed stroll to look at the magnificent view. Bergen also has its own marathon, held every March.

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Last updated:  2014-05-26
Nordmarka, Oslo - Photo: Nancy Bundt
Nordmarka, Oslo
The Opera House in Oslo, Norway - Photo: Nancy Bundt
The Opera House in Oslo, Norway

Interest:  Sports, Top ten lists

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Running in Norway is connecting with nature - Photo: Terje Rakke/Nordic Life AS/Fjord Norway

Top 10 running locations in Norway

The magazine Norway.com recommends the following 10 running locations in Norway.

Top 10 running locations in Norway

Source: Visitnorway

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