Exploring traditional roads and trails
Walk in royal footsteps on Vindhellavegen.
This road is a part of Kongevegen, or the King's Road, that passes through Filefjell, a mountain range that connects Eastern and Fjord Norway ...
... or follow in the footsteps of the Norwegian saboteurs that participated in the heavy water operation in Rjukan during the Second World War.
Norway is full of old roads that all have their own story to tell.
On Rallarveien, also called The Navvy Road, in Narvik, you can walk along the old construction roads that were used to build Ofotbanen railway line in the 1800s.
And between Oslo and Trondheim you can follow in the footsteps of the pilgrims along Gudbrandsleden, which was the main path to Nidaros in Trondheim during the Middle Ages.
Spend the night at traditional farms along the way.
Scroll down to read more about these and other historical hikes you can do with your family, friends – or on your own.
Mountain safety tips
Every year, Norwegian volunteer rescue crews go into the mountains to retrieve travelers who have lost their way, are tired or injured, or have encountered problems after dark. These travelers are often dressed in everyday clothes and lack suitable equipment.
Research the length, duration, and recommended physical conditioning for the hike you want to do.
Check the weather conditions and always listen to local mountain residents.
Buy or rent the right equipment for your trip.
Always bring enough food, drinks, and an extra change of clothes in your backpack.
Check out the possibility of joining a guided tour
Do not wear jeans, trainers, or other everyday clothing.
Do not start your trip too late in the day, as you might risk having to hike in the dark.
Never start your mountain hike without being in good enough physical shape.
Do not depend on a map on your mobile device, as there is not always coverage in the mountains.
Don’t leave anything, including trash, behind.
1. The saboteur's trail in Rjukan
One of the more well-known paths from the Second World War is the Saboteur's trail in Rjukan. Walk in the footsteps of the Norwegian war heroes, and the brave saboteurs, that crossed Hardangervidda to bomb the heavy water plant at Vemork. You will find information boards along the path, but with a guide you will hear the full dramatic story through the eight kilometers long road. The guide can also show you the house where they probably slept before the attack.
Season: All year
2. Rallarveien, the Navvy Road, in Narvik
Rallarveien is a cultural and a historical road in Narvik, that stretches all the way from the mountain and down to the fjord, through pristine nature. This was the most important construction road when building the Ofoten railway.
Take the train from Narvik to Katterat, or to Bjørnfjell station, and hike the navvy road to Rombaksbotn, a valley by the fjord. In the summer, you can book a RIB to Narvik from here.
The hike can also be done through "Hiking across Norway" with a guide. Here, you will start with a 42 kilometers long train ride to the national border, before hiking 15 kilometers back to Rombaksbotn, where you will be transported back to Narvik by boat and bus. This is a nice roundtrip that takes about 7.5 hours.
There is also a festival in Rombaksbotn every summer during the Svarta Bjørn march.
Season: All year as long as the weather is OK
Hiking along the old pilgrimages in Europe is becoming increasingly popular these days. There are old pilgrim roads all over Norway, and the nine most popular ones are the Pilgrimages on the Saint Olav's Ways, that leads to Nidaros Cathedral in Trondheim. These roads are 3000 kilometers in total, but most people choose to just hike parts of one route.
Gudbrandsleden between Oslo and Trondheim is the longest and most popular pilgrimage that we have. The 643 kilometers long route used to be the main path to the Nidaros Cathedral in the Middle Ages, so when walking here, you will walk in some of the oldest footsteps in the country. Along the road you will experience beautiful nature and a variation of cultural landscapes. You can also stay the night at cozy pilgrimage farms. Many choose to just hike parts of the road, and most people start in the Lillehammer region.
Season: June 1 - September 1 (depending on the weather)
4. The King's Road over Filefjell
Hike the road that connects the east and the west. You may not be the first to cross Filefjell, but you will walk on the first road where one could travel from Eastern Norway to Fjord Norway by horse and carriage. The 100 kilometer long path has been maintained through 200 years, and the King's Road is among the finest examples of cultural road heritage in Europe.
The King's Road over Filefjell starts in the small villages of Valdres, passes Filefjell, and ends in the dramatic landscapes in Sognefjord. Here, you will end up at the winding road of Vindhellavegen, right next to the Borgund Stave Church.
The hike takes 3-6 days and is about 110 kilometers long.
Season: May 1 - October 15
5. Skageflå in Geiranger
Skageflå is a vacated fjord farm located 250 metres above the Geirangerfjord. The steep path takes about 45 minutes, and some parts of it may be a bit challenging, but once you have made your way up to the farm and see the stunning view, it will be worth it. If you want to see more, you can hike all the way to Homlong. The whole trip takes roughly five hours.
Combine the trip to Geiranger with an adventure. Get on a boat to see the waterfalls and the fjord, or try out activities such as paddling, climbing or farm visits. And did you know that Geiranger is actually labelled a sustainable destination?
6. Stølsruta in Valdres
When hiking along Stølsruta in Valdres, you will experience a rich, varied and old cultural landscape. The road passes through small farms, mountains and woods. Along the way you will be able to stay the night in cozy mountain cabins. The hike is a total of 67 kilometers and it takes about five days to complete. The route starts in Tisleidalen and ends in Vang.
The route passes through an area full of traces of people and history, stretching back many centuries. This is a well-preserved area in Valdres where animals and humans thrive. Some of the small farms serve the Norwegian brown cheese and delicious farmer's cuisine.
7. The Tømmerrenna timber slide in Vennesla
Tømmerrenna timber slide Vennesla is actually a slide that was used for timber transportation on the river Otra. On this hike, you will find yourself surrounded by beautiful nature on all sides. On the way, you will also have to cross suspension bridges and navigate through tunnels. A fun trip for the whole family that takes about five hours.
And when in Vennesla, you should also visit the amazing Vennesla library and culture hall, which has gotten a lot of attention both nationally and internationally.
Season: All year if the weather is OK
8. The child wanderer path in Southern Norway
The child wanderer path in Southern Norway is a 136 kilometers long path that tells a story about poverty and hunger. A child emigration happened in the 1800s, when many families had to send their oldest children to the larger farms to work. The reason for the increasing poverty was presumably due to the population growth, and that fact that the farms became smaller, which resulted in fewer jobs.
The path starts in Kvinesdal and ends by Landvik in Grimstad, Southern Norway. You should estimate about seven days to complete the route, which is a route of medium difficulty. You can also choose to hike parts of it.
9. The Queen's Route in Vesterålen
By the ocean's edge in the Vesterålen islands, between the fishing villages Stø and Nyksund, you will find the Queen's Route. The old road was used by the midwife on her way to women giving birth in Nyksund. It got its name after the Norwegian Queen Sonja hiked it in 1994. It became one of her favorite hikes.
The hike can be completed in two ways. You can follow a five kilometer long hike along the coast, or you can try out a more challenging route in the mountain. If you choose to do both, the route will be a total of 15 kilometers and take 5-6 hours.
In Stø, you can join a whale and seal safari, while Nyksund is an exciting fishing village with several galleries, activities and nice restaurants.
Season: June - September
Other historical hikes
In 2015, the Directorate for Cultural Heritage and the Norwegian Trekking Association teamed up under the name Historiske vandreruter, meaning Historical hikes, to increase the knowledge about the Norwegian old roads. Here, they have chosen exciting cultural and historical routes across the country. What they all have in common is a living cultural heritage and beautiful nature, which makes it more fun to hike along them. Read more about them underneath.
Go on a historical hike
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