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Hiking at Gaustatoppen.
Photo: Håkon Nordby
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Varied family hiking in Southern Norway

In Southern Norway, both Telemark and Setesdal have a varied landscape with hiking options for the whole family. Drive from coastal walks to summit hikes in only a couple of hours. See sun-soaked rocks by the open sea and charming mountain villages in one and the same trip.

Hiking in Telemark

The varied terrain of Telemark consists of coastal paths, gentle valleys, forests, mountains and plateaus.

The highest peak is the Gaustatoppen Mountain at 1,883 metres above sea level. On a clear day, you can see one sixth of Norway from this summit – no wonder that it is one of the most photographed views in Norway. The hike to the top is hilly but family-friendly and takes around two and a half hours each way. There is also a funicular railway, Gaustabanen, that goes to the top inside the mountain.

Check out the Top 5 hiking trails in Telemark.

The most popular hikes in Telemark are Gaustatoppen mountain, Lårdalstigen, Falkeriset, Solstien, Mount Venelifjell and Mount Hægefjell in Vrådal, Rui in Dalen, Lifjell mountain plateau, Gygrestolen in Bø and the coastal trail in Southern Telemark. The Seljord and Morgedal areas also offer great trails.

Hiking trip at Hovden
Photo: Anders Martinsen

Hiking in Setesdal

Setesdal is a sparsely populated area with vast areas for recreation, from gentle lowlands in the south to high mountain terrain in the north. There are marked hiking paths throughout the area, many of which are ideal for family day excursions.

Free hiking brochures and maps can be picked up at the tourist offices and in hotels and other accommodation facilities.

The region includes Setesdalheiene, the second largest protected area in Norway, where you can spot wild reindeer.

Thanks to a large network of hiking cabins run by the Norwegian Trekking Association (DNT), it is possible to wander in the wilderness for days on end. Two recommended bases for hiking holidays are Hovden and Valle/Rysstad. Just make sure you bring suitable equipment.

Find your way

Refer to the map below to locate the hike you've set your eyes on and start planning your next adventure.

Hiking offers in Telemark
The varied terrain of Telemark consists of coastal paths, gentle valleys, forests, mountains and plateaus.
Gaustatoppen towers majestically above the town of Rjukan at an altitude of 1,883 metres. The top is easy to reach and offers at great view of about… Read more
The Saboteurs' trail is the world-famous route the Norwegian Resistance used during the Second World War. Read more
The Saboteur's trail
The Lifjell mountain plateau in the Mid-Telemark region is a vast hiking area of about 200 km2, with more than 20 summits over 1000 meters above sea… Read more
Lifjell mountain plateau
The Bamble coastal path starts at the library in Stathelle and finishes at Fossing in Krageø, covering a stretch of approx, 62 km. Read more
The Coastal Path - Bamble
This is a great, family-friendly summit trip! Mount Venelifjellet – literally "the beautiful mountain" – carries its name well and is a… Read more
Venelifjell Hiking Area in Vrådal
Lådalstigen is a fantastic hike between Lårdal and Dalen. A large part of the walk follows the mountain ridge 800 metres above the Telemark Canal. Read more
Hiking offers in Setesdal
Setesdal is a sparsely populated area with vast areas for recreation, from gentle lowlands in the south to high mountain terrain in the north.
Gloppefoss is one of the highest waterfalls in the Setesdal Valley, with a great flow of water through the whole summer season. Read more
Daytrip to Gloppefoss waterfall in Valle
A taste of the high mountains - also accessible for children. With central Hovden as a starting point, the summit is reached within one hour. Read more
Hartevassnuten - round trip 4 or 7 km
The hike over the Homfjellet mountain to the village Homme takes you through magnificent scenery with breathtaking views. Read more
Homfjellet - round trip 8,5 km
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    Statens Kartverk, Geovekst og kommuner - Geodata AS

    Getting here and around

    • Setesdal/Telemark boat

      By boat

      There are good ferry links from the continent to Kristiansand and Larvik (Fjord Line and Color Line) and to Langesund (Fjord Line).

    • Setesdal/Telemark car

      By car

      Southern Norway is easily reached by car. The highway between Kristiansand and Bergen, RV9, runs through all of Setesdal, while E134 is the most important road in Telemark.

    • Setesdal/Telemark train

      By train

      The Norwegian State Railway (NSB) stops at several stations in Telemark. Check out NSB’s webpage for prices and timetables.

    • Setesdal/Telemark bus

      By bus

      Telemark and Setesdal are covered by express buses provided by NOR-WAY Bussekspress, with connections from Oslo, Bergen, Stavanger, and other Norwegian towns.

    • Setesdal/Telemark plane

      By plane

      Southern Norway has an international airport in Kristiansand, with regular flights to most European capitals.

      Another airport with international flight connections is Torp Sandefjord Airport.

    Safety in the mountains

    Return to hike another day

    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.

    1. Plan your trip and inform others about the route you have selected.
    2. Adapt the planned routes according to ability and conditions.
    3. Pay attention to the weather and the avalanche warnings.
    4. Be prepared for bad weather and frost, even on short trips.
    5. Bring the necessary equipment so you can help yourself and others.
    6. Choose safe routes. Recognize avalanche terrain and unsafe ice.
    7. Use a map and a compass. Always know where you are.
    8. Don’t be ashamed to turn around.
    9. Conserve your energy and seek shelter if necessary.

    Read the mountain code with supplementary comments.

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