In Northern Norway, there is no darkness throughout the summer thanks to the the midnight sun. Stay up around the clock and enjoy fjords, mountains, high plateaus and myriads of islands in a new light – the region is a 1,000 kilometre long treasure trove of trails, providing an endless variety of hikes.
The coastline of Northern Norway is a challenging but safe and fun hiking area. Numerous marked trails lead you to the nearest mountain top where you can take in the view, whether it’s a 200 or 1,200 metre elevation. The seasoned mountaineer will go for the highest peaks, to be rewarded with far reaching vistas of fjords, islands, peaks and glaciers, after hours of strenuous ascent.
But there are also a multitude of easy and medium level tracks, so you can choose a level that suits you. This is an inhabited landscape with a rich history and an interesting cultural calendar. Different types of accommodation, ranging from rustic simplicity to pure luxury, can be found in the coastal villages and towns, along with tasty local food.
The Finnmark coast offers some of the easiest and at the same time the most rewarding trekking possibilities in the north. The terrain is soft and heather-clad, and the gently rolling hills are easily mastered – and still the view of faraway ships on the ocean, stretching all the way to the North Cape, is hard to beat. Well-marked trails lead to sailing points, remote settlements, abandoned villages and natural wonders, and there are reindeer grazing on summer pastures.
Sleep comfortably in the fishing villages, and enjoy wholesome meals in simple eateries. Make sure you visit small museums and galleries to learn about life at Europe’s outermost edge.
The spine of the Scandinavian Peninsula, the Keel Range, is a remote, uninhabited area of peaks over 1,000 metres, glaciers, valleys and systems of connected lakes. This terrain is only for experienced wilderness hikers: marking along trails is limited, mountain cabins are few and far between, and the weather is unpredictable.
A few favourites include the Nordland trail though the glacier-filled Okstindan range south of the Arctic Circle, and the Nordkalottruta trail that criss-crosses the border between Norway, Finland and Sweden.
Hiking offers in Northern Norway
Dronningruta (the Queen's Route) in Vesterålen is the glorious, 15 kilometre long path to the abandoned fishing village of Nyksund.
The route goes between the sea and the mountains and is considered quite challenging – but for anyone in good physical shape who are used to medium altitudes, the views are definitely worth the effort.
Slettnes lighthouse is the world’s northernmost mainland lighthouse, located at the Nordkyn peninsula in the far north.
This remote point on the map is the starting point of a 12 kilometre network of easy trails along the Arctic Ocean. The first part goes through previously inhabited areas, and the traces of houses, stone fences and even a Sami Iron Age labyrinth dot the landscape, all well marked. To the north, the infinity of the Arctic Ocean is only interrupted by the odd ship.
The return hike goes along lakes with a colony of waders. If done at night, you can see the midnight sun over the Arctic Ocean.
Cape Kinnarodden, the northernmost point on mainland Europe, is a solid challenge for the experienced hiker in good shape. Located at the Nordkyn peninsula, the terrain of the well-marked 46 kilometre return trail varies from relatively easy to rocky and tough.
It is necessary to spend one night in a tent. Please contact the tourist information at Mehamn or Kjøllefjord for advice and weather forecast.
Lyngsalpene is an area of outstanding natural beauty with steep mountains that rise straight from the fjord as well as glaciers, waterfalls, valleys, rivers and lakes.
Experience it all during a week at Lyngen Havfiske & Tursenter, where you sleep in an idyllic rorbu (fisherman’s cabin). The stay includes four guided hikes to different areas of Lyngsalpene. This could be hiking to the glacial lake Blåvatn (“the blue lake”), visiting a glacier or climbing a peak. Every evening you will be served a delicious local specialty, and you can also relax in the sauna or try out the hot tub.
As a bonus, you get to see the midnight sun or the northern lights, depending on when you choose to go. The tour is available 6-12 August 2017 (midnight sun tour) and 10-16 September 2017 (northern lights tour).
Check out the map below to see where the different hikes are located.
Driving is a scenic way of getting around in Northern Norway - but be aware that distances between the bigger cities can be larger than you think. It is possible to rent a car at all of the airports in Northern Norway.
Another option is to go with the shipping line Hurtigruten, which stops at 25 ports in Northern Norway, including Vesterålen, Tromsø, Hammerfest, Nordkyn and Kirkenes.
There are airports in Bodø, Harstad/Narvik, Tromsø, Alta, Kirkenes and Longyearbyen, plus 20 short runway airports. Travel time from Oslo to Tromsø is around one hour and 45 minutes.
Norway is an incredible place to explore, with untamed mythical landscapes, mountains, valleys, and fjords. Before you enter the outdoors, get familiar with the nine simple rules of the Norwegian mountain code to help you stay safe.