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Guide to walking holidays in Norway

Norway's diverse landscapes offer wonderful walking opportunities, from majestic fjords and towering mountain ranges to picturesque coastal trails. With a rich blend of natural beauty, cultural heritage and outdoor adventures, walking in Norway offers something for everyone. So where and when to go? Learn more from our guide below.

Highlights of a walking holiday in Norway

Embark on a walking adventure through the pristine landscapes of Norway, where majestic fjords, towering mountains, serene forests and Norway's unspoiled natural beauty await. These are just a few of our highlights:

Stunning landscape

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Occupying the western part of the Scandinavian Peninsula, Norway is one of the most picturesque places on the planet defined by towering mountains, snow-capped peaks and deep fjords cutting through the land. Glaciers stand frozen in time, contrasting with the lush valleys below. Waterfalls cascade down cliffs, adding dynamic movement to the serene scenery. From rugged coastlines to vast wilderness, Norway's scenery is diverse and breathtaking, offering endless opportunities for walking.

Wonderful wildlife

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The wildlife in Norway is as diverse and captivating as its dramatic landscapes. The Norwegian Sea hosts the breathtaking islands of Svalbard which provide an excellent setting for polar cruises. From the water you will be surrounded by wildlife, from the iconic king of the Arctic, the polar bear, to the fascinating Arctic fox. The icy waters are home to seals, whales and seabirds whilst eagles and falcons will soar overhead. From the Arctic tundra to coastal cliffs, Norway's wildlife paints a vibrant picture of its natural richness.

History & culture

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Norway's rich history and vibrant culture are deeply intertwined, shaped by Viking heritage, mediaeval traditions and modern influences. The Norwegians embrace their heritage through traditional music such as the Hardanger fiddles, their distinct cuisine often featuring fish delicacies and their love for the outdoors. On a Norwegian walking holiday you can immerse yourself in this incredible culture as you stay in cosy mountain cabins and listen to local tales and folklore of the region.

Walking Regions of Norway

Jotunheimen National Park


Often referred to as the "land of the giants" and renowned as one of the most sought after destinations for walking holidays, Jotunheimen national park is a beautiful region renowned for its awe-inspiring peaks and rugged beauty. Boasting a collection of over 250 mountains nearly 2,000m high, it stands as a testament to Norway's stunning natural landscapes. Among its notable features are the towering Galdhøpiggen and Glittertind, the park's highest peaks. The area offers a range of trails, including the exhilarating Besseggen Ridge scramble which is a beloved route, renowned for its dramatic vistas and challenging terrain. To complement these adventures, cosy and well-equipped mountain huts provide a comforting retreat, allowing visitors to recharge amidst the awe-inspiring wilderness of Jotunheimen.

Sognefjord

 

Sognefjord, Norway's longest and deepest fjord, extending across an impressive 204km, is a region steeped in natural grandeur. Nestled within it is Mount Molden, offering panoramic views of the fjord's awe-inspiring beauty. The Sognefjord area not only boasts breathtaking landscapes but also holds a wealth of cultural heritage and historical significance. Among the gems waiting to be discovered is the picturesque village of Solvorn, nestled along the serene shores of Hafslo Lake, a tranquil spot that epitomises the region's serene and captivating allure. Sognefjord is also home to the enchanting Jostedalen National Park which provides opportunities to walk on the Nigardsbreen Glacier.

 

Lofoten Islands


The Lofoten Islands are an enchanting archipelago in Norway and captivate all who visit them with their dramatic and picturesque landscapes. Situated deep within the Arctic Circle, these islands offer a unique experience of walking in Norway. Visitors are spoiled with a diverse array of walking trails, from secluded coastal paths to challenging high peaks and breathtaking ridges. Hiking up Volandstinden (467m) and Nesfjellet (406m) offers breathtaking panoramic views of the islands' stunning beauty. During the summer months, visitors will experience the incredible 24/7 daylight.

 

Svalbard


Svalbard, a remote Norwegian archipelago nestled between mainland Norway and the North Pole, stands as one of the world's northernmost inhabited regions. Its allure lies in the untamed and rugged landscape—frozen tundra and vast glaciers—that provide a haven for remarkable Arctic wildlife, including polar bears, Svalbard reindeer and Arctic foxes. Walking and snowshoeing adventures in this Arctic wilderness offer an exceptional opportunity to immerse yourself in the awe-inspiring terrains, dotted with quaint towns and villages. For an extraordinary experience, a visit to the ice-capped island of Kvitøya, located at the eastern extreme of the Svalbard archipelago, provides a chance to witness the walrus colony that calls this isolated island home, offering an extraordinary encounter with the diverse and captivating wildlife of the Arctic.

 

What is the best time of year for a walking holiday in Norway?

While it's possible to walk in Norway all year, each month brings unique experiences and challenges. For the best conditions, it's recommended to wait until the majority of the snow has melted before embarking on your journey, unless you're up for a snowshoeing adventure, of course.

Summer

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Summer stands out as the prime season for a walking holiday in Norway thanks to its ideal tempertaures for walking and the mesmerising midnight sun, especially in June and July in the northern regions. This time of year is also an ideal time for encountering wildlife such as moose and brown bears. However, summer also sees increased prices, larger crowds and the presence of midges.

Autumn & Spring

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Spring and autumn are pleasant seasons with fewer crowds, making them ideal times to visit Norway. In early September, the landscape bursts into beautiful autumn colors, providing a picturesque backdrop for exploration. Late spring is perfect for birdwatching, as migratory birds return to their breeding grounds. However, the weather can be unpredictable, especially in the north.

Winter

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Winter in Norway is a long and harsh season with temperatures averaging between -6 to 7°C. For those lucky enough, this time is optimal for spotting the spectacle of the Northern Lights. Walking trails are typically covered in snow, however winter enthusiasts can enjoy ski traversing or snowshoeing during this season. It's essential to dress warmly with heavy sweaters and waterproof boots to navigate the snow-covered landscapes.

How Difficult are Walking Holidays in Norway?

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Norway has a vast range of paths and trails catering to walkers of all abilities - ranging from leisurely, well-trodden paths to tough,  mountainous off-road routes. Each of our adventures are graded on a scale of 1 to 12, which you will see when looking at our Norway adventures.

For a leisurely holiday in Norway, walkers can enjoy circumnavigating the Arctic Circle on a Polar ship, surrounded by an incredible array of Arctic wildlife, with easy-paced explorations on the land or embark on a self-guided holiday exploring Norway's  Sognefjord.

For those looking to push themselves on tricky trails with tough terrains, Jotunheimen national park has a fantastic number of trails that take on towering summits. These paths reward adventurers with breathtaking panoramic mountain views and a tremendous sense of accomplishment. This more challenging journey caters to those seeking a rigorous hiking experience, where the trail presents varying elevations and requires preparations for overnight stays at higher altitudes. 

Stay on Land and Sea

On a walking holiday in Norway, modern comforts await in Norwegian 3-star hotels and guest houses, where travellers can indulge in the renowned Norwegian hospitality, often complemented by hearty breakfast buffets and a welcoming atmosphere. However there are some highly unique and traditional accommodations available too.

Rorbu and Sjøhus

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Traditional accommodations like the Rorbu and Sjøhus offer an authentic experience, especially in the Lofoten Islands. Rorbu are typically red cabins standing on stilts in the sea and were originally shelters for fishermen. They are now furnished for visitors, equipped with kitchens, rooms accommodating between two to four beds and shared bathroom facilities. Sjøhus, historically for fishermen and factory workers, offer rooms with 2 to 6 beds and shared shower and toilet facilities. 

Ship

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An unconventional but captivating option involves staying aboard a sailing vessel. Cabins on these vessels come with en-suite facilities, ensuring comfort and privacy, while communal spaces like the onboard restaurant, bar and reading room foster a sense of community among fellow travellers.

Alternatives to Walking in Norway

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A walking adventure in Sweden boasts a host of remarkable experiences. Explore the enchanting beauty of Gothenburg and the Bohuslan Archipelago, where hiking along the coast presents awe-inspiring views of the surrounding islands. Trek through Swedish Lapland and climb its highest peak on one of Europe's most wild and remote hikes, the 'King's Trail,' or tread through the landscapes of Dynes Ravin on Dyron. Immerse yourself in Swedish life, savouring the delightful tradition of 'fika,' the art of enjoying a leisurely coffee break. A walking holiday through Sweden promises a blend of natural beauty and unforgettable discoveries at every step.

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From the vibrant modernity of Reykjavik to its volcanoes, glaciers and tortured lava formations, Iceland is a country of great contrast. The southern highlands offer an outstanding journey through the country's most extreme volcanic terrains. The renowned Laugavegur Trail guides adventurers through the breathtakingly dramatic Fjallabak volcanic region, recognized as one of the world's most spectacular walking destinations. The trail showcases steam-vents, ice caps and invites a rejuvenating soak in natural hot springs, providing an awe-inspiring and rejuvenating experience amidst Iceland's untamed beauty.

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Switch the walking boots for a pair of snowshoes and traverse across the frozen lakes and forested ridges of the Hossa National Park. Among the serene forests and frozen lakes, this park offers a picturesque setting for an immersive snowshoeing experience. Spend your nights in cosy cabins within the park, providing a comfortable base to acclimate and familiarise yourself with snowshoeing. Once you have mastered the technique, head out on a journey travelling off trail, through an abundance of soft, powdery snow. This is a chance to immerse yourself in the tranquillity of nature in this remote and pristine part of Finland.

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