Hiking in Norway: The Ultimate Guide [2020]

by Thomas Sorheim | Last Updated: September 27, 2020

In this guide, we are going to do a deep dive into the hiking possibilities in Norway.

If you do not want to read the full guide, you can jump straight to your favorite from the list below:

  1. Preikestolen (The Pulpit Rock)
  2. Kjeragbolten
  3. Trolltunga (The tounge of the Troll)
  4. Himakånå (The home wife)
  5. Besseggen
  6. Galhøpiggen
  7. Kongevegen over Filefjell (The Kings Road)

This guide is dynamic and is constantly growing as we add more and more trail reviews and descriptions about different hikes in Norway. 

Fjord landscape with majestic mountains in Norway with reflecting sea and a white boat at shore.

About hiking in Norway

You can practically go hiking everywhere in Norway! The country is full of grand mountains and deep fjord landscapes.

You can easily find hikes for any experience level here.

Norway is, despite only 5.3 million inhabitants, a fairly large country – or rather a very long one.

From Lindesnes in the south, to Nordkapp up North, the flight distance is 1676 km / 1041 mi. The shortest distance by car is 2319 km / 1441 mi (which would actually be through Sweden).

If you drove non-stop, the shortest route would take you approximately 31 hours to drive.

It would be impossible to cover all the hiking routes in Norway!

There are simply too many…

But we will try to show you a wide selection, not forgetting the famous ones, and of course our own favorites.

At the end of the article, you will find more information on getting to Norway, accommodation possibilities, weather and seasons, and other practical travel information about Norway.

So, without further ado, let’s jump straight into it the nitty gritty of things. 

Hiking Preikestolen

Starting point:Stavanger (usually) 
Difficulty:Beginner/intermediate
Type:Day hike Hiking
Distance:3,9 km / 2.4 mi one way
Hiking time:2-2,5 hours up, and 1,5-2 hours down 
Season:All year round
Elevation gain :330 meters / 1083 feet 
The Pulpit Rock - Preikestolen - from above with people on the rock looking down to Lysefjorden

Preikestolen is one of two very famous hikes in and around the city of Stavanger (the other one is Kjerag).

Preikestolen is the most hiked and popular hike in Norway.

Over 200 000 visitors climb this mountain each year.

The combination of easy access, fairly easy hike, amazing views and world famous cliff worthy of any Instagram account, has made this hike a winning formula.

Despite the Instagram fame, and the crowds, this is our favorite hike and one we would recommend anyone to hike.

It is that amazing!

You can read the full article on hiking to Preikestolen here

Hiking Kjeragbolten

Starting point:Stavanger (usually)
Difficulty :Intermediate/experienced 
Type :Day hike 
Hiking distance:10,1 km / 6.3 mi 
Hiking time:About 7 hours in total 
Season:June – Sept/Oct.
Elevation gain:570 meters / 1870 feet
Girl standing on the kjeragbolten rock stuck between two mountains with the fjord below

Kjeragbolten is the second famous hike around the city Stavanger (the other is Preikestolen).

It is also one of the very noteworthy and most social media friendly hikes you can possibly do, if you want that bragging photo.

This is a hike for intermediate or experienced hikers.

It will require a full day of hiking and that you are in fairly good shape.

But if you have the required fitness level, this is one of the hikes you want to put on your bucket list!

To stand on the rock (the bolt) between the two mountains will give you thrills you will not forget anytime soon.

The Kjeragbolten is very close to Preikestolen by sea (Lysefjorden) and on a good day you may be able to see Preikestolen in the distance.

However, the starting points for the hikes are at very different places. As a visitor, it is possible (and popular) to do Kjeragbolten and Preikestolen over 2 days.

Read the full article on hiking Kjeragbolten here

Hiking Trolltunga

Starting point:Odda (usually) or Tyssedal 
Difficulty:Intermediate/Expert
Type:Day hike
Hiking distance:28 km / 17.4 mi 
Hiking time:10-12 hours
Season:1 June – 30 September
Winter season:1 Oct – 31 May (with guide only!)
Elevation gain800 meters / 2625 feet
A man standing on the tip of the Trolltunga mountain

Unless you been living under a rock for the last decade, you surely must have seen at least one picture of the unique Trolltunga in Norway.

Trolltunga is another hike along the South-Western part of Norway.

Although this mountain is not technically by a Fjord, it is close to the coast and in and around Fjord landscapes and the views are amazing (it is a lake in the background of the image).

Trolltunga is certainly not a hike for the beginner hiker. It is a 10-12 hour hike with a solid 800 meters / 2625 feet elevation gain.

In other words, there are steep mountains to climb.

But Trolltunga is yet another one of those bucketlist hikes.

This hike will require a bit more effort to get to, as it is not close by an airport, but rather a bit inland or away from major cities.

There are plenty of places to stay nearby the start of the hike, and we actually recommend that you do. Strictly speaking, we would recommend that you stay in Odda or nearby for the nights before and after the hike!

Do not drive back and forth from Bergen or other major cities to do this hike!

Hiking to Trolltunga is going to be a long and hard day, so better start the day after proper sleep and a hearty breakfast, as only drive back to the hotel to rest after 12+ hours up in the mountain!

Read the full article on hiking Trolltunga here

Hiking Himakånå

Starting point:Haugesund
Difficulty:Beginner 
Type:Day hike
Hiking distance:2,1 km / 1.3 mi one way
Hiking time:About 2 hours + breaks
Season:All year
Elevation gain:300 meters / 984 feet
Haugesund
– Picture is not Himakånå. This is Haugesund and Haraldsstøtta (Viking monument) –

Here is a beginner friendly, yet picturesque and amazing hike you have never heard about; Himakånå (The home wife).

This hike has not gotten any national or international coverage like Preikestolen or Kjeragbolten.

The only reason why it actually is in this guide, is because it is nearby the home of the mother of Thomas, the founder of LeisureHiking.com.

It is a nice half day hike you can do if you are in the area or driving by.

Haugesund is a nice little town on the coast of Norway, full of Viking history, old wooden houses and history.

If you are vacationing along the Norwegian west-coast, stopping by charming Haugesund is well worth your time.

And once you are there, taking half a day hike to Himakånå is a great idea.

There are actually a lot of nice little beginner hikes in and around Haugesund and I think we in the future will do a write up on Haugesund.

PICTURE RYVARDEN Should you find yourself in Haugesund and want to enjoy amazing landscapes, but don’t want to hike up a mountain, you could do do the Kyststien (link) or go to Ryvarden fyr (link).

Read the full description of hiking Himakånå here. 

Hiking Besseggen

Starting point:Bygdin or Beitostølen
Difficulty:Intermediate or Expert 
Type:Day hike
Hiking distance:14 km / 8.7 mi one way
Hiking time:6-9 hours
Season:1st June – 30th September
Elevation gain:950 meters / 3117 feet
Besseggen mountain ridge in Norway

The Besseggen ridge is one of the most popular and spectacular hikes in Norway.

During the short 4 months season, around 60,000 people will hike up or down this narrow and unique ridge in between two lakes.

This hike offers amazing panorama views of the Jotunheimen peaks.

I (Thomas from Leisurehiking) have hiked this hike twice and I can promise you, that if you hike this mountain ridge, you will remember it for a long time.

The Besseggen ridge is located in Jotunheimen and the starting point of this hike is not next to a major city, so you do need to stay in a mountain hotel or rent a cabin or similar.

There are two ways you can hike Besseggen.

Start hiking and finish off with a boat ride back to the parking/starting point. Or start by taking the boat and walk back.

Personally, I would recommend the second option; boat first, then walk back.

This is so you will hike up the huge ridge, vs hiking down it (and staring into the huge drop).

Besides, if you miss the boat back, you are basically stuck…

Do mind, there are lots of people trying to catch the boat, so I would recommend arriving early!

Read the full article of the Besseggen hike here.

Hiking Galdhøpiggen

Starting point:Spiterstulen (or Juvasshytta*)
Difficulty:Intermediate / expert 
Type:Day hike
Hiking distance:13 km / 8.1 mi
Hiking time:7-9 hours
Season:May – August
Elevation gain:1366 meters / 4482 feet

*The hike from Juvasshytta takes you over the glacier but requires a mountain guide and special hiking and safety equipment.

Galdhopiggen hike in Norway

Galdhøpiggen is the highest mountain in Norway, in Scandinavia and Northern Europe.

It sits 2469 meters or 8100 feet above sea level.

The hike to Galdhøpiggen is not super long in distance, but the elevation gain is considerable!

In a rather short distance, you are going to climb 3 peaks above 2000 meters / 6562 feet, until you reach the highest of them all.

Despite the hike not being the most technical one, it does require good physical condition. You will frequently meet kids from 6 years and up doing this climb (yes, Norwegians are a bit crazy).

The hike up will take you about 4h+ and the descent will be done in 2-3 hours.

Galdhøpiggen is part of the Jotunheimen national park and a treasure-trove of amazing mountains to climb and nature to hike.

Personally, I like to combine several days in the area when hiking in Jotunheimen to have other nature experiences the days before or after the hike.

One of my favourite is white river rafting in Sjoa.

It is super awesome, if you are up for the thrill… Check it out:

Read more about hiking Galdhøpiggen here.

Hiking Kongevegen

Starting point:Lærdal or Vang
Difficulty:Beginner and intermediate
Type:Day hikes + multiple day hikes
Hiking distance:From 2 km / 1.3 mi to 100 km / 62 mi
Hiking time:From 2 hours to 3-6 days
Season:June – September/October
Elevation gain:570 meters / 1870 feet (if you do the full multi day hike)
Hiking Kongevegen in Laerdal Norway

Hiking the Kings Road (Kongevegen) can be done in many ways.

You can do shorter day hikes suitable for beginners, or hiking the whole 100 km / 63 mi road with multiple nights in either a tent or guests houses along the way.

You can hike on your own, or you can hire a local guide for one of the standard hikes (2-6 hours).

We recommend staying in the heritage-listed small town of Lærdal when hiking in and around Kongevegen.

It is a cozy little town with many historical buildings and an interesting history.

Read the full description of hiking Kongevegen here.