Norway is a stunning country to visit; the landscapes are national-park-quality no matter where you go. And there are many ways to take it all in. We picked up a rental car and drove throughout most of our trip, but we also stopped a few times to hit the trails. Some of these were planned, but most were merely a case of “oh look, a trail! I wonder where that goes!”
So of all the areas we visited, which topped our list? Read on to find out!
Different hike types
The full-day, epic journeys
Oh man.. there were so many phenomenal places in Norway, so how does one choose a favorite? Now, to preface, our group didn’t have the time or stamina to tackle any of the truly arduous hikes, so famous hikes like Trolltunga weren’t even a consideration (well… in all honesty, we debated it for a long time, but we ultimately decided we didn’t want to go that far out of our way and dedicate that much of our trip to doing it.. next time!).
Unfortunately, most of the hikes in Norway are scaling the steep walls of a fjord, so it was difficult to find quick ones we could knock out in an afternoon – and get on to see more of the country’s beauty!
The spontaneous brief wanderings
On the opposite side of the spectrum, we had all the tiny spontaneous forays. For example, while visiting the famous Trollstigen viewpoint, I noticed a trailhead leading away from the main concrete path. Half an hour later, Aaron and I were taking in a stunning view with next to nobody around, our friends were undoubtedly wondering where we were, and we had to tragically turn our backs on the remainder of what could have been farther down the trail. But it was worth the wet foot through the ice!
I also quite enjoyed a quiet area in a wooded glen along Fossestien. A picturesque modern footbridge led us over yet another fairy-tale waterfall and down a meandering boardwalk. I felt inexplicably at home amidst the dappled sunlight.
The Goldilocks trails
And then, right in the middle, we had a few actual dedicated hikes. We scaled the steep path up to the beautiful Brekkefossen, and we hiked out to see the magnificent Kjenndalen glacier. We even starved ourselves in our effort to track down the elusive Leir glacier near Krossbu. We are adventurers, and we certainly acquired some new experiences!
Our favorite hike
Now, it would be easy for us to just say that the trek out to Nigardsbreen was our absolute favorite. After all, the experience of standing in front of that massive wall of ice was both humbling and empowering; I’ll never forget the giddy high we all felt that evening.
But to be honest, the hike, itself, was just alright. Up and down giant rocks, sometimes scrambling, sometimes aided by wooden steps bolted to the boulders. It was a long haul, up and down, and it took a while to really feel like we were even making progress. Don’t get me wrong – the end was more than worth it, a thousand times over. But factoring in all aspects of the excursion, another hike rose to the top.
Grand prize winner
This quiet trail was almost completely unpopulated, unless you count the many goats. This is probably mostly attributed to the fact that the trail is actually on private land. But thanks to Norway’s “right to roam” laws, anyone can enjoy the landscape’s beauty.
Most pulling into the small makeshift parking lot are there for a quick jaunt out and back. They typically opt for the shorter Vesterasfjellet, especially since that sign points downhill while Losta leads up. Beyond this fork, the trail was entirely ours.
But this hike didn’t top our list due to its seclusion and whimsical hircine population. What really made it memorable was its views. Losta zigzags its way up the fjord wall, hiding its passengers in trees until they’ve ascended to the appropriate height, and then – BOOM.
“Wow,” was all we could say, spellbound by the rich blue band of Geiranger Fjord stretching out toward the sea. Furthermore, if we poked our heads out a bit more around the curve of rock, we could see the distant switchbacks of road making their way down toward the water.
But the trail continued, and so did I (inspiring the others to soon follow). The summit was about ten minutes farther and completely worth the additional elevation. The view was similar, though better, with far less obstruction.
What a day.
Norway has more to offer than any single person could experience in an entire lifetime, and we already can’t wait to explore more!
What elements make for your ideal hike?
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