Jotunheimen is a mountain area in Eastern Norway, covering an area of roughly 1,351 square miles, including Norway's highest mountain Galdhøpiggen, waterfalls, rivers, lakes, glaciers and luxuriant valleys.
Some of Europe's most spectacular hiking is here, with everything from short strolls to multi day hut to hut epics.
Jotunheimen, which is Norway's most popular national park, is also ideally suited for cross-country and alpine skiers, cyclists and climbers who enjoy the experience of basically undisturbed nature and fresh air. Other popular activities in Jotunheimen include glacier walking, rafting, caving, canyoning and riding.
Most popular hiking route
The high point (metaphorically, if not literally) is the path from Memurubu to Gjendesheim, along the narrow Besseggen ridge. The views south over an emerald coloured Lake Gjende (3228 feet above sea level) and north over Lake Bessvatnet (4,504 feet above sea level) are as good as trekking gets.
The tour takes six to eight hours, depending on the chosen pace. You can also start the hike at Gjendesheim.
Flora and fauna
Jotunheimen holds the altitude record for a large number of Norway's mountain flora. The beautiful glacier crowfoot is the highest growing flowering plant, thriving at 7,775 feet on Glittertind, only 328 feet below the summit. Purple saxifrage and rose-root also grow as high as 7,545 feet above sea level. In many parts of the national park the rocks are calciferous, supporting a rich variety of lime-loving plants, such as the sweet little mountain avens.
Most of Jotunheimen lies above the timber line, but mountain birch grows freely around Lake Gjende and there are trees at 3,937 feet above sea level. In the beautiful Utladalen you can find mountain pine, black alder, mountain birch, elm and hazel.
Jotunheimen is also home to different animals: Reindeer, elk, deer, roe, fox, marten, mink, wolverines and lynx. Most lakes and rivers hold trout. Grouse, golden eagle and gerfalcon are the most special of all the birds that live here.
You can stay in town/village centers or up in the mountains. The Norwegian Trekking Association (DNT) maintains a number of mountain cabins/lodges in Jotunheimen. Jotunheimen also has a youth hostel.
For a special place to stay, try Fossheim Turisthotell in Lom. Solid timber houses in keeping with traditional building techniques, together with art and antiques, help to create an interesting atmosphere you will most certainly enjoy. Fossheim is a member of the Historic Hotels and Restaurants. There are other hotels in Jotunheimen offering the same style and comfort - try for example .
Several farms in Jotunheimen offer a place to stay. Here you will find a quiet atmosphere, peace and tranquility and you will have the opportunity to be a part of everyday life in the region.
Most places that offer accommodation also serve food.
If you plan to sleep in a tent, caravan or mobile home you may do so anywhere, except in cultivated fields and lay-bys. You can stay for as long as you wish, as long as your tent, caravan or mobile home is no closer than 492 feet to the nearest house or cabin.
Detailed maps of the area can be bought at the Norwegian Trekking Association (DNT), local bookshops or local tourist information offices.
Local tourist information offices
Getting to Jotunheimen
Jotunheimen lies approximately 150 miles northwest of Oslo.
- By car:
The drive from Oslo takes approximately three and a half hours. Follow the E 18 from Oslo to Sandvika, then follow the E 16 to Hønefoss and further onwards to Fagernes. From Fagernes you follow fv. 51 to Bygdin in Jotunheimen.
- By train:
You can take the train from Oslo to Otta (approximately three and a half hours). For timetables and booking, please contact the Norwegian State Railways (NSB). From Otta there are local buses to most places in Jotunheimen.
- By bus:
From Oslo there is a bus that takes you to various places in Jotunheimen (approximately five hours). For timetables and booking, please contact Nor-Way Bussekspress.
Jotunheimen lies approximately 160 miles northeast of Bergen.
- By car:
The drive from Bergen takes approximately four hours. From Bergen you follow the E 16 to Lærdal via Voss and Gudvangen, and then follow fv. 53 to Øvre Årdal where you can start exploring Jotunheimen via the Utladalen Valley. During the summer you can drive Tindevegen from Årdal to Turtagrø, and from Turtagrø you can follow the Sognefjell Road (fv. 55).
- By bus:
From Bergen there is a bus that takes you to various places in Jotunheimen (approximately six hours). For timetables and booking, please contact Nor-Way Bussekspress.
Jotunheimen lies approximately 270 miles northeast of Stavanger.
- By car:
The drive from Stavanger to Jotunheimen takes approximately seven hours. Follow the E 39 north from Stavanger to Bergen. From Bergen you follow the E 16 to Lærdal via Voss and Gudvangen, and then follow fv. 53 to Øvre Årdal where you can start exploring Jotunheimen via the Utladalen Valley. During the summer you can drive Tindevegen from Årdal to Turtagrø, and from Turtagrø you can follow the Sognefjell Road (fv. 55).
Jotunheimen lies approximately 190 miles south of Trondheim.
- By car:
The drive form Trondheim takes approximately four hours. Follow the E 6 from Trondheim to Otta, and then follow fv. 15 from Otta to Lom.
- By train:
You can take the train from Trondheim to Otta (approximately three and a half hours). For timetables and booking, please contact the Norwegian State Railways (NSB). From Otta there are local buses to most places in Jotunheimen.
- By bus:
From Trondheim there is a bus that takes you to Lom (approximately five and a half hours). For timetables and booking, please contact Nor-Way Bussekspress.
Once in Jotunheimen, the best way of getting around is walking, skiing, cycling and riding.
There are also a great number of roads where you can drive. Drive for example the scenic Sognefjell Road (fv. 55), which is the highest mountain pass in Northern Europe and one of Norway's national tourist routes.
You can also travel around Jotunheimen by bus. For an extra fee you can bring your bike on the bus.
A nice and relaxing way of getting to the heart of Jotunheimen is by boat. M/B Bitihorn is a passenger boat that takes you over Lake Bygdin to Bygdin, Torfinnsbu and Eidsbugarden – all excellent starting points for your mountain adventure. Between Memurubu, Gjendebu and Gjendesheim you can take one of the Gjende Boats. For an extra fee you can bring your bike on board.