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GLACIERS

A blast from the past

Some glaciers are thousands of years old.

They give us a historical record of events on Earth.

Experience the mysteries of the ice on a glacier safari in the Arctic Svalbard archipelago.

Or visit another one of Norway's 2,534 glaciers.

Jostedalsbreen in Fjord Norway is the largest glacier in continental Europe, and a popular destination for summer skiing, hiking, snow shoeing, and ice climbing.

Doesn't it look peaceful?

Jostedalsbreen has many branches, including Nigardsbreen, known as the most easily accessible branch in Norway.

Hike, ride on the boat, or, better yet paddle across the emerald green glacier water in a kayak.

Allow yourself to be mesmerized by the powerful, blue ice walls!

Don't feel like going for a challenging hike?

Many magnificent glaciers are visible at a distance, including Svartisen in Northern Norway.

Enjoying the view from a hammock is also an outdoor activity!

Put on your skis – in the middle of summer!

Norway's summer ski centres are all located on glaciers. The Fonna Glacier Ski Resort in Hardanger is shown here.

Never venture out on the ice alone, as glaciers can be extremely dangerous.

Always explore the ice on a guided tour with proper safety equipment, for example here ....

...on the Tystig Glacier in Stryn.

Go skiing at Stryn Summer Ski Centre afterwards!

Snowshoeing is another fun and challenging way to explore snow-covered landscapes.

Enjoy lunch with a view, but be sure to do so at a safe distance.

Big chunks of ice can fall from the glacier front without warning.

Learn more!

The Norwegian Glacier Museum in Fjærland is one of several museums where you can discover more about the glaciers that have shaped the Norwegian landscape.

Mighty mother nature

Always exercise caution when exploring a glacier or one of its branches up close.

Due to the glacier's deep crevasses, avalanches, and the constant and unpredictable movement of ice blocks, you must never go out on a glacier on your own. With professional guides and equipment to ensure your safety, hiking on a glacier in Norway is an unforgettable experience – a true adventure.

Even when it's hundreds of meters deep, glacier ice is always on the move and is strong enough to literally shape the Earth. It was the Ice Age glaciers that carved out Norway’s characteristic fjords, valleys, and steep mountainsides. Remnants of those prehistoric glaciers remain in place today.

Some glaciers, like Tystigbreen and Folgefonna, are home to summer ski resorts with prepared slopes where you can ski and snowboard while getting a tan in a t-shirt. The meltwater produces lush valleys below, with rivers and fjords that have a distinct greenish glow.

Receding glaciers

In Norway, as in the rest of the world, temperatures are rising due to climate change, and the glaciers are slowly melting. The total area covered by glaciers has decreased by 11 per cent in the last 30 years, according to the Center for International Climate Research (CICERO). Since the mid-1980s, as many as 326 square kilometres have disappeared. The ice is retreating most rapidly in the northern parts of the country.

You can reduce your carbon footprint by becoming a sustainable traveller. Stay longer and explore more when visiting an area. Buy locally-sourced food and goods and make informed and sustainable choices.

Norway’s most popular glaciers

Jostedalsbreen

Situated in Vestland county in Fjord Norway, Jostedalsbreen is the largest glacier in continental Europe, covering 487 square kilometres with ice up to 600 metres thick.

The glacier is split up into more than 50 glacier branches, such as the famous Briksdalsbreen and Nigardsbreen glaciers. The glacier is in Jostedalsbreen National Park and covers more than half of the park.

Briksdalsbreen

The glacier is a branch of the Jostedalsbreen glacier and is sometimes referred to as the Olden glacier. It is located in Briksdalen valley at the end of Oldedalen valley in Vestland county.

Nigardsbreen

One of the most easily accessible branches of the Jostedalsbreen glacier, located in Luster municipality in Vestland county.

Folgefonna

Home to the Fonna Glacier Ski Resort and part of Folgefonna National Park, Folgefonna is a collective term for three glaciers – Nordre Folgefonna, Midtre Folgefonna, and Søndre Folgefonna, all in the Hardanger region of Vestland county.

Svartisen

Svartisen in Northern Norway actually consists of two glaciers – Vestre Svartisen and Østre Svartisen. The glacier is part of Saltfjellet-Svartisen National Park in Nordland county.

Hardangerjøkulen

The glacier is located in the Hardangerfjord region, on the northernmost part of the Hardangervidda mountain plateau. It has several glacier branches, including Blåisen and Midtdalsbreen, and its highest point is 1,863 metres above sea level.

Austfonna, Olav V, and Vestfonna

Located in the Svalbard archipelago, the Austfonna glacier covers 8,412 square kilometres and is Europe’s largest ice cap by area and the second-largest by volume. The ice extends to an elevation of 783 metres above sea level.

Olav V Land is a peninsula in eastern Svalbard. It is covered by the Olav V Ice field, which measures approx. 4,150 square kilometres. Vestfonna is an ice cap located on the western part of the Svalbard archipelago and covers an area of approx. 2,500 square kilometres.

Norwegian glacier centres

Find your glacier adventure

Glacier tours and activities

No need to wait until you’re here to find out what you’d like to do. Glaciers in Norway are a true adventure. Filter your search and check out the offers below.

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