You don’t have to be a mountaineer to enjoy the Norwegian mountains. There are numerous family-friendly walking excursions that are suitable for beginners.
Norwegians like to think of themselves as highly-adept hikers. This makes Norway a paradise for all who love to take nature walks.
“There are walking excursions for everyone here, both short and long routes – everything from 3 to 18 kilometres. The trails are easily accessible, but you still feel like you’re in the mountains. Although we’re not at a very high altitude, the view is magnificent. In addition, it is lush and nice here”, says Unni Stokstad.
She manages DNT’s Liomseter tourist lodge in Langsua national park together with her husband Kai Nilsen. Liomseter is one of the association’s staffed lodges that is closest to the capital.
Based on its location a mere 3.5-hour drive from Oslo, the lodge is close enough for many travellers who want to enjoy a weekend in the mountains, as it is an excellent starting point for day-trips as well as lodge to lodge walking excursions.
“Whither you go amongst the hills and mountains” is sung by Norwegians every 17 May, in the National Romantism-era song of praise “Norway in red, white, and blue”. Truth be told, you can be sure that you’ll never be far away from a trail or a magnificent viewpoint in Norway.
This is true regardless of whether you’re in a city or far off the beaten track. And the best part is that the hiking routes need not be particularly difficult. In Oslo, for example, you are only a metro ride away from the outdoor recreation areas of Nordmarka and Østmarka, which boast vast networks of trails that are ideal for day-trips.
In other words, you don’t need to be a mountain climber even if you choose to go on holiday in mountainous Norway. But keep in mind that even for short outings it is important to bring a map, a compass, and a backpack with clothing based on the weather conditions. There is also no shame in turning back if you feel that the walk is just too challenging.
Below, the Norwegian Trekking Association has nine tips for easy hikes in Norway.
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.
Duration: Day-trip, however you can book your own cabin for an overnight stay. Notice that you must arrive before seven in the evening or risk losing the cabin.
The tourist lodge Skåpet serves as the gateway to a trail network in Frafjordheiene on the south side of Lysefjorden. The walk to the lodge is suitable for everyone, and it takes about 1.5 hours to walk from the parking area in Vinddalen.
Be aware that this lodge has become very popular, and that you must book well in advance if you want to spend the night in one of the small cabins there.
Duration: 3 days. Lavlia – Sandfløten – Snippkoia – Lavlia
The Hedmarksvidda plateau has short legs and is a nice area for families who want to have a go at their first cabin to cabin hike.
Duration: 3 days. Ivarsbu – Sørmyrseter around Styggemann – Ivarsbu
A weekend at Skrim lets you enjoy short distances and pleasant cabins. If the weather is permitting, you might even want to include a walk up Mount Styggemann.
Duration: Round trip, 4.7 kilometres
Småvannsbu is the name of the Asker Trekking Association’s gem in Kjekstadmarka outdoor recreation area. The trail network offers varied terrain with everything from open and airy pine forest to exciting ravines.
The area is a paradise for nature walks with its numerous natural play areas and many cultural heritage elements.
Duration: 3 days. Tinnhølen - Sandhaug – Tinnhølen
If you’d like a taste of the Hardangervidda mountain plateau combined with short day-walks and absolute relaxation, the hike to Sandhaug is recommended. Bring a fishing rod if you want to try your fishing luck.
Duration: 4 days. Elgå – Svukuriset – Røvollen – Synnervika – Røros
Femundsmarka outdoor recreation area is perhaps one of Norway’s most most exciting areas for hiking. It’s a place where you get to walk through fairy tale primeval forest with an infinite number of trees and boulders to climb. You are likely to catch some fish here as well.
Wind- and waterproof jacket and trousers
Wool underwear and wool sweater
An extra set of clothes and socks
Cap, scarf and gloves or mittens
Enough food and drink for the whole trip
A fully charged mobile phone in a plastic bag to avoid water damage
A small headlamp and extra batteries
Sunglasses and sunscreen
First-aid kit and extra blister plasters
Map and compass
Duration: 3 days. Storhøliseter – Storkvelvbu – Skriurusten – Storhøliseter
Langsua has lots of nice weather and not much rain. The terrain is easy to walk in, and the legs are short if you start your hike from the north.
Duration: 3 days. Trollstua – Gullsteinvollen – Imarbu
The Fjord route goes around Vinjefjord in Nordmøre and includes a total of 13 tourist lodges. The area is easy to navigate, not least because all the lodges are easily accessible from the road.
Duration: It takes three hours to walk to Gullhorgabu from Bergsdalen. The cabin is selv-service and serves as a junction for several trail routes.
Use the self-service Gullhorgabu cabin, especially designed to accommodate families with children, as a starting point for nice hikes in Bergsdalen. The trail to the cabin will take you along the cultural heritage route Militærvegen. It was built as a supply road between Voss and Samnanger at the end of the 1920s and is a splendid hike for both young and old.
An extensive network of hiking cabins allows you to discover more of Norway on your holiday. Hike from cabin to cabin along the coast, in the forests and in the mountains.
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