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There are many areas suitable for running in Norway that are easily accessible from the cities - Photo: Terje Rakke/Nordic Life AS/Fjord Norway
There are many areas suitable for running in Norway that are easily accessible from the cities 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 severalbeautiful 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 center 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 center 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 center of Oslo, a quick ride by metro, bus or tram takes you right into the unspoilt forests of Nordmarka, a publicly accessible area of wilderness just north of Oslo city center, with endless gravel tracks perfect for running.

A favorite of Oslo's runners is Sognsvann lake at the entrance of the Nordmarka area. One lap around the lake is approximately three and a half kilometers, followed, perhaps, by a refreshing swim in the lake.

Akerselva and Maridalsvannet lake in Oslo

To the east of Sognsvann lake and easily reachable by bus, lies the much larger Maridalsvannet lake. This lake provides much of Oslo's drinking water and biking around it is a popular way for the locals to spend a sunny Sunday. Running around it is an option for those interested in a longer route than Sognsvann lake.

From Maridalsvannet lake you can follow the Akerselva river that runs through the center of Oslo. It goes underground at Grønland not far from Oslo S (Oslo Central Station) but between there and Maridalsvannet lake it offers over 8 kilometers of prime running path as close to the city as you can get. Follow the river from Grønland to the lake for an uphill and more strenous workout.

Oslo Marathon

The jewel in the crown of Norwegian running is perhaps the Danske Bank 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 center of Oslo is an unforgettable experience.

The course winds its way along the Oslofjord, past the 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 three-kilometer 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, the northernmost city in Norway, is fast becoming a center 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 80 kilometers, between Finse and Flåm it is 57 kilometers, and between Haugastøl and Voss it is 108 kilometers. These places are all easy to get to, as the Bergen Railway between Oslo and Bergen stops at all of them except Flåm, which is accessible via the famous Flåm Railway.

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 nature, bring your tent along and sleep outside, keeping the right of access in mind.

Rallarvegen even has its own running race – Rallarvegsløpet. The first leg, on Saturday, is 54 kilometers long and starts at sea level in Flåm with the finish line 1,222 metres above sea level at Finse. The second leg is both shorter and easier. It starts at Finse and finishes at Haugastøl 998 metres 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 offersplenty of opportunities for visiting runners. In the middle of the city center, you will find Lake Breiavatnet, called Stavanger's blinking eye, with a broad gravel path for runners.

A few kilometers from Stavanger city center lies Mosvannet Lake, 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 30-kilometer stretch goes through the 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 kilometers 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 center.

However, Bergen is also a must-see for runners: Bergen is home to Stoltzekleiven, an 908-step stair climb with a 315,5-meter 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. Stoltzekleiven starts in Sandviken, not far from the city center, and can be easily reached on foot or by bus.

Another essential trip for any runner who visits Bergen is Fjellveien (The Mountain Road). This 4,632-meter 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. It is easily reached and lies just a short walk up the hill from the city center. Bergen also has its own marathon, held every March.

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Last updated:  2014-10-08
Nordmarka in Oslo has many paths for running - Photo: Nancy Bundt
Nordmarka in Oslo has many paths for running
The Opera House is a landmark and destination in Oslo for many runners - Photo: Nancy Bundt
The Opera House is a landmark and destination in Oslo for many runners
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There are many areas suitable for running in Norway that are easily accessible from the cities - 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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