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Once upon a time, according to Norse mythology, Jotunheimen was the place where the jotner – the trolls – lived.
Prepare yourself to become spellbound, as you set your feet into this massive mountain area in Eastern Norway, packed with waterfalls, rivers, lakes, glaciers, and valleys – and some of Northern Europe’s highest mountains.
But where do you start exploring an area covering roughly 3,500 square kilometres?
Undoubtedly the most beautiful way to enter Jotunheimen is via the Norwegian Scenic Routes Sognefjellet and Valdresflye (pictured).
Valdresflye passes the emerald green Lake Gjende.
If you want to try out one of Norway’s most popular hikes over the Besseggen ridge, this is where you should start.
Most people take the Gjende ferry from Gjendesheim to Memurubu, a scenic twenty-minute ride, and start their hike from there.
The hike takes up to eight hours and is recommended for experienced hikers only.
The ridge itself is both narrow and steep, so you really shouldn’t be afraid of heights.
Besseggen (1,743 m a.s.l.), Galdhøpiggen (2,469 m a.s.l.) and Glittertind (2,464 m a.s.l.) are Jotunheimen’s top three most iconic hikes – the latter two being Norway’s highest mountains.
However, Jotunheimen is not all about the giants.
With more than 50 marked routes within the national park and about 70 more in the surrounding areas, you can choose between everything from short strolls to multi-day epics.
Norwegians love their cabin to cabin hikes in the mountains, and The Norwegian Trekking Association (DNT) runs several cabins in Jotunheimen where you’ll get a bed for the night.
There are some really charming hotels here too, elegantly blending in with the surroundings, like Billingen seterpensjonat (pictured) and Gammel-Kleppe Heritage Hotel …
… as well as cosy farms where you can spend the night, like the Strind Farm and Valbjør Gard (pictured).
But you don’t want to sleep the day away when you are in Jotunheimen.
Go rafting in the river Sjoa, considered Norway’s best rafting river, …
… go climbing, cycling or horseback riding …
... or enjoy superb opportunities for cross-country and alpine skiing in the winter.
Snow-capped mountains. Powder descents. And hundreds of kilometres of groomed ski trails.
Few things can beat the sight of Jotunheimen in its winter coat.
The Haute Route – Høgruta in Norwegian – is a real treat for hardcore ski touring enthusiasts. Five days, eight glaciers, and seven 2000-meter summits!
Winter, spring, summer, fall. Nothing tastes better than a homemade meal after an active day in the wild.
Jotunheimen has a long culinary tradition, and you will find local delicacies like reindeer meat, sausages, cured meat, cheese, and jam.
Many of the low-key mountain cabins and hotels in the area serve high-quality food based on seasonal ingredients.
When your stomach is full, your hunger for culture can be satisfied in Lom national park village.
Here you find famous attractions like the Lom Stave Church from the 1100s, Lom open-air museum, and the Norwegian Mountain Center.
Lom and its surrounding areas are also a natural hub for restless families.
Enjoy the feeling of complete freedom by ziplining down the Bøvre river, reach new heights in Galdhøpiggen climbing park, join a guided glacier walk, or go caving in the marble caves of the Dumma valley (Dumdalen).
Or enjoy the magic of winter – in the summer – at Galdhøpiggen Summer Ski Center!
Just make sure you don’t leave Lom before you have visited the one and only …
... Lom Bakery. There isn’t a single person in Norway who haven’t heard about their fluffy cinnamon buns. So, taste them yourself and find out what the rumours are all about.
New tastes also await in Brimiland between Vågå and Lom.
The region got its nickname after one of Norway’s most famous chefs, Arne Brimi, and consists of several providers offering unique experiences – from food and activities to the accommodations themselves.
So, what exactly is it about this wild, wild place?
How come some of Norway’s most famous artist throughout time, including Henrik Ibsen, Edvard Grieg, and Edvard Munch, all got inspired by Jotunheimen?
The ones who have been here know.
So feel free to come and explore, but don’t expect to leave unaffected.
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