Traverse of the Jotunheimen

Walking holiday in Norway`s Land of the Giants




From $1,860 Land only

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Holiday Overview


  • Climb Galdhopiggen, the highest peak in Norway
  • The finest mountain trek in Norway, including the Bessegen Ridge
  • Beginners glacier day on the fairy-tale blue ice of Svellnosbrean
  • Stay in well appointed mountain refuges with all meals included

An exciting and challenging walking holiday adventure trekking in the Jotunheimen region of Norway. Known in Norse mythology as the Land of the Giants, the Jotunheimen is the biggest and most impressive mountain region in Norway. With a network of good paths and excellent mountain huts, this is a simply superb area for trekking amongst dramatic peaks and glaciers. After transferring from Oslo, our first walking day is an acknowledged classic, trekking along the airy Besseggen Ridge which divides two lakes, one blue, the other green. This is probably the most famous and best mountain walking route in Norway. After a short boat ride we then walk through the Urdadalen Valley to reach Spiterstulen, our base for the next 3 nights. We then attempt the summit of Galdhopiggen (2469m) a contender for the title of the highest mountain in Norway before spending a day roped up trekking on the splendid Svellnosbrean Glacier. Trekking out towards the west, through some of the wildest Jotunheimen landscapes, we overnight in splendidly located refuges and old farmsteads, finally walking down to the roadhead via the magnificent valley of Utladalen with its 200 m waterfall. This is the finest mountain walking adventure holiday in Norway!

Is this holiday for you?

This is real mountain journey in Norway with significant amounts of ascent and descent on most days. The trails are predominantly good but there are sections of scree, bare rock, boulder fields and some easy scrambling, as well as patches of old snow and sections of glaciated terrain. The group will be roped-up whilst crossing glaciated ground, but there is nothing technically demanding about this holiday and previous experience of walking with crampons is not required. We will be walking for between 5 and 8 hours each day. This trekking holiday is suitable for regular hillwalkers, looking for an excellent week of mountain walking. Throughout the holiday, you will carry your personal equipment. In practice, since sleeping bags and camping mats are not needed, so you should be able to keep the weight of your rucksack down to 10kgs. On the glacier day your crampons and ice axes are provided by the mountain hut, so minimal carrying of this equipment is required. These are not required on other days. 

Brief Itinerary

View in full
  • Meet at Otta Railway Station. A single timed transfer to Gjendesheim (995m) is provided.
  • Trek the Besseggen Ridge Route, via Veslfjellet (1743m) to Memurubu (1008m).
  • Boat journey along Gjende Lake to Gjenebu. Trek to Spiterstulen, via the Urdadalen Valley.
  • Climb Galdhopiggen (2469m), the highest peak in Norway. Return to Spiterstulen.
  • A day exploring the Svellnosbrean Glacier / 'The Fairytale Ice'. Return to Spiterstulen.
  • Trek through The Valley of Visdalen to Leirvassbu (1400m). Optional climb of Kyrkja (2032m).
  • Trek downhill to Skogadasboen. Optional 2 hr walk to the old farmhouse of Vormeli.
  • Trek through the Avdalen Valley to Utadalen. Optional walk above the Avdal Waterfall.
  • Departure day. Walk to road head. Bus back to Oslo.
Sat 02 Jul - Sun 10 Jul Code NOR /01/16/ Adult$1,860 Status Available Book now
Sat 16 Jul - Sun 24 Jul Code NOR /02/16/ Adult$1,860 Status Guaranteed Book now
Sat 30 Jul - Sun 07 Aug Code NOR /03/16/ Adult$1,860 Status 2 more to guarantee Book now
Sat 13 Aug - Sun 21 Aug Code NOR /04/16/ Adult$1,860 Status Available Book now
The LAND ONLY dates and prices are for the itinerary joining in Oslo, Gardermoen Airport. For clients making their own flight arrangements, Oslo, Gardermoen Airport is the most convenient for transfers to the group hotel. Please refer to 'Joining Arrangements and Transfers' in the trip dossier for further details.

Flights SHOULD NOT be booked until you have received your booking confirmation and the trip is showing 'Guaranteed to Run' or 'Limited'.

BOOK WITH KE CONFIDENCE - No surcharge guarantee*

* Against Land Only services.

Map & Itinerary

The Route

  • point
  • peaks
  • trip direction
  • trek
  • transfer

Holiday Itinerary

  • Meet at Otta Railway Station. A single timed transfer to Gjendesheim (995m) is provided.

    You should plan to arrive into Oslo, Gardermoen Airport by midday on this day. On arrival you will need to head to the airport train station and take the afternoon train to Otta, where you will be met by your guide. KE Land Only package services begin with the transfer by minibus to Gjendesheim (995m) on the eastern edge of the Jotunheimen Mountains. We stay overnight at the Gjendesheim Hut.

    • Accommodation Mountain Hut / Refuge

    • Meals d

  • Trek the Besseggen Ridge Route, via Veslfjellet (1743m) to Memurubu (1008m).

    Today, we hike the Besseggen route, arguably Norway's most famous mountain walk, which follows a narrow ridge between the lakes of Bessvatn to the north and Gjende to the south. We can arrange to send our main luggage to Memurubu by boat to make the day's walk more enjoyable. During today's hike we will need to carry our waterproof clothing and a packed lunch. After breakfast at the hut, we start out in a northerly direction, climbing steeply on the path which leads to Glitterheim. After half an hour, however, we turn off towards Besseggen and begin a long climb to the broad, open top of Veslfjellet (1743m). Descending now, the ridge narrows and we walk alongside the blue water of Bessvatn to our right, whilst the green water (rich in glacial sediment) of Gjende lie some 400 metres below us to our left. There is some easy scrambling in places and the views are spectacular. We pass a small lake on a high plateau and then descend to our overnight stop at the lodge at Memurubu (1008m).

    • Accommodation Mountain Hut / Refuge

    • Ascent 700m

    • Meals bld

    • Descent 700m

    • Time 6 hrs trekking

  • Boat journey along Gjende Lake to Gjenebu. Trek to Spiterstulen, via the Urdadalen Valley.

    This morning we have a short 20mins boat ride along the beautiful Gjende Lake to Gjendebu. From here we trek to Spiterstulen via the Utladalen Valley. We start at approx 1000m and walk along the Storadalen valley along the side of the river to up a small tarn and then the Langvatnet lake at around 1400m. From here we fork off northwards and up to the pass at Urdadalsbandet at 1663m between the peaks and glaciers of Visbretinden, Semelholstinden, Hellstugutinden and Memurubrean. We have spectacular views from here to the Svellnosbrean and Galhopiggen area which we explore over the next few days. From the pass we descend to the Visdalen valley for some level walking to the Spiterstulen hut.

    • Accommodation Mountain Hut / Refuge

    • Ascent 600m

    • Meals bld

    • Descent 500m

    • Time 8 hrs trekking

  • Climb Galdhopiggen (2469m), the highest peak in Norway. Return to Spiterstulen.

    We will be spending 3 nights at the Spiterstulen Hut, which means that we can leave some items of our gear behind today, as we go off to climb Galdhopiggen (2469m) the highest peak in Norway. This peak rises up on the west side of the valley and after crossing a bridge across the Visa River, we begin to ascend on a good, way-marked trail. Up to about 1800 metres the trail is steep and then levels off as we come within sight of the subsidiary peak of Svellnosi. As we gain height, the views, especially to the south and south-west, become increasingly impressive. We pass the rocky tops of Svellnosi and then Keilhaus Topp (2355m) with large snow patches to cross in between. We have good views of the impressive Svellnos Glacier to the left and the Stygge Glacier to the right. At the summit, there is a stone-built hut where hot drinks and chocolate bars can be purchased. We return by the same route to our accommodation at Spiterstulen.

    • Accommodation Mountain Hut / Refuge

    • Ascent 1400m

    • Meals bld

    • Descent 1400m

    • Time 7 hrs trekking

  • A day exploring the Svellnosbrean Glacier / 'The Fairytale Ice'. Return to Spiterstulen.

    At the hut, we will pick up the items of mountaineering equipment (harness, crampons, ice-axe) that we need for our hike and our guide will assist with the fitting of crampons etc. From the hut we head southeast wards to the Svellnosbreen Glacier. This is said to be one of Jotunheimens most beautiful glaciers and has been names ‘The Fairytale Ice’ because of its wonderful shapes, beautiful tunnels, impressive towers and high ice walls. Here we trek through the blue ice with tall ice formations and deep crevasses. We rope up and explore this glacier for a full day, returning to the hut in the afternoon.

    • Accommodation Mountain Hut / Refuge

    • Ascent 800m

    • Meals bld

    • Descent 800m

    • Time 7 hrs trekking

  • Trek through The Valley of Visdalen to Leirvassbu (1400m). Optional climb of Kyrkja (2032m).

    After 2 long mountain days, today's easy hike through the spectacular valley of Visdalen will make a pleasant change. We climb very gradually to a high point at 1500m and enjoy great views of peaks and glaciers en route to our overnight stop at the lakeside mountain refuge at Leirvassbu (1400m). The days are long in this part of the world in summer and after lunch at the lodge, those who are still feeling fresh will have the option to climb the striking peak of Kyrkja (the Church) (2032m) which rises up above Leirvassbu. Around 5 hours walking, with an additional 4-hour round trip if you opt to climb Kyrkja.

    • Accommodation Mountain Hut / Refuge

    • Ascent 400m

    • Meals bld

    • Descent 100m

    • Time 5 - 9 hrs trekking

  • Trek downhill to Skogadasboen. Optional 2 hr walk to the old farmhouse of Vormeli.

    Today's walk is generally downhill all the way to Skogadalsboen, a very pleasant hut which is situated amongst the Jotunheimen's wildest peaks. The walk starts out beside a string of lakes and follows the refuge access road, before turning off on a marked trail through the Gravdalen Valley. Underfoot conditions will include dirt road, rocky trail and extensive snow patches. The last part of the 5 to 6 hour walk is through pretty birch woodland. As an optional 2-hour round trip from Skogadalsboen, you might choose to visit the old farmhouse of Vormeli which was used as a mountain base by the English mountaineer William Cecil Slingsby, who explored this part of Norway more than 100 years ago and who is known as 'the father of Norwegian mountaineering'.

    • Accommodation Mountain Hut / Refuge

    • Meals bld

    • Descent 600m

    • Time 6 - 8 hrs trekking

  • Trek through the Avdalen Valley to Utadalen. Optional walk above the Avdal Waterfall.

    Our final, beautiful day's trek takes us southwards from the hut, climbing to a high point at around 1200m below Mount Friken (1503m). On this first part of the walk, there are superb views of some of Norway's most spectacular peaks, including those of the Hurrungane Mountains. We then begin a gradual descent into the stunning valley of Utladalen, passing mountain farms and summer cabins, and we get to see Vettisfossen, Norway's highest waterfall, with a vertical drop of 275m. On reaching the valley floor, save some energy for the 30 min climb up to the Avdalen refuge, above the Avdal waterfall.

    • Accommodation Mountain Hut / Refuge

    • Ascent 600m

    • Meals bld

    • Descent 800m

    • Time 7 hrs trekking

  • Departure day. Walk to road head. Bus back to Oslo.

    We have an early breakfast at the refuge and then make the 1-hour walk (200m descent) out to the road, where we meet the bus which will take us back to the bus depo in Oslo. KE Land Only package services end here. From the bus depot in Oslo, we will need to take the express shuttle train out to Gardermoen Airport. The train operates every 10 minutes and the journey takes 20 minutes. You should arrive at Oslo Gardermoen Airport in the mid afternoon.

    • Meals b

Holiday Information

  • An experienced English speaking Norwegian Mountain Guide
  • Private transfer from Otta to Gjendesheim on arrival
  • Transfer to Oslo city bus depo on departure
  • 8 nights mountain refuge accommodation
  • Meals as per the Meal Plan
  • All specialist glacier equipment including ropes harnesses and crampons

  • Travel insurance
  • Train from Oslo airport to Otta on arrival
  • Train from Oslo city bus depo to Oslo airport on departure
  • Miscellaneous expenses - drinks and souvenirs etc.

For each holiday there is a minimum number of participants required to enable it to go ahead. Once the minimum number is reached, the trip status will change from 'Available' to 'Guaranteed to run'. You can check the trip status for each departure in ‘Dates and Prices’ table. Other than in exceptional circumstances, we will not cancel a trip once it has achieved this guaranteed to run status and so you are free to proceed with your international flight booking and other travel arrangements.

The Land Only package of this holiday starts with a private transfer from Otta railway station to Gjendesheim. To get to Otta from Oslo Gardermoen Airport you can take a train departing at 14.29 from the station in the airport (Oslo Lufthaven). Train tickets need to be bought in advance from the Norwegian railway website .You only need to buy a one-way ticket to Otta. Tickets cost between 300-500 NOK (approx £35) depending on when you book them. Train tickets go on sale at least 3 months prior to departure, please check the website (which is available in English). Once you have booked your train tickets you only need the booking code/confirmation number for when you board the train, no actual ticket is necessary. The train goes in the direction of Trondheim. Otta is about half way between Oslo Gardermoen Airport and Trondheim and the journey takes around 3hrs. You will be met off the train at Otta by your guide or a representative from KE. This rendezvous is timed to work for clients arriving on either the British Airways or SAS or Norweigan flights from London, which arrive in Oslo in the late morning/early afternoon

At the end of the trip, the group will catch the 0930 bus from Ovre Ardal to Oslo, which arrives in Oslo downtown at 1455. From here you will need to take the 20min express train to Oslo, Gardermoen Airport. The trains operate every 10 mins. There is also a bus to the airport which takes around 40mins to 1hr. The cost of the train is around 170 NOK and the bus 150 NOK. These tickets do not need to be booked in advance and can be purchased before boarding the train or on the bus. The easiest way to pay for these is with a visa or master card.

Contact details and an emergency number will be provided with your booking confirmation.

During this trip the group will spend 8 nights in mountain refuges. Some are operated by the Norwegian Tourist Board (DNT) and some are privately run. These are not basic establishments. They are fully staffed and serviced mountain lodges, providing dormitory accommodation, restaurant facilities, bar, lounge, drying rooms, metred showers and sometimes saunas. The dormitories are usually 4 in a room, however it is sometimes 2 or 6 people per room. They are normal separate female and male dormitories, however this cannot be guaranteed. The refuge at Spiterstulen even has a swimming pool. At some of the huts the showers are metered and are usually 10 or 20 NOK which gives you 5 or 10 mins hot shower water. Change is available for the showers at the huts, however you must have NOK currency. Sleeping bags are not required at the refuges, as bedding is supplied but you should also carry a cotton or silk sheet sleeping bag. Single accommodation is not available.

View the gallery below for images of the style of accommodation used

Breakfasts are buffet style. They have an array of different foods including eggs, bread, cheeses, meat selection, fruit etc. At breakfast you will make up your packed lunch from the buffet. Lunch bags etc are provided for the packed lunches. Evening meals are also provided at our accommodation. These are 3-course dinners. Usually starting with a soup and then a big health meal course followed by dessert. Beer and wine is available at each of the refuges - at considerable cost. Beer is typically £5 for a small bottle.

All meals are provided from dinner on day 1 to breakfast on day 9.

£100 (or equivalent in US dollars, Euros etc) should be sufficient to cover miscellaneous expenses, including bar bills and snack items, chocolate bars etc. This will also allow you to pay reasonable tips to the local guide. We recommend that you carry your travel money in the form of local currency - Norwegian Kroner - as there will not be any opportunity to change money once we leave Oslo Airport. If you are intending to buy expensive souvenirs, you should budget accordingly (credit cards can be useful in this respect).

The group will be led by a professionally qualified Norwegian Mountain Guide.

Tipping is the accepted way of saying ‘thank you’ to your leader and local team. Tipping is entirely voluntary and should be dependent on good service. We advise you to tip as a group.

Since you will be carrying all your personal equipment, you should make every effort to keep the weight of your gear to a minimum. We recommend that you have a trial walk with your pack. With careful planning (and considering that you will not have to carry a sleeping bag or a camping mattress) it should be possible to keep the weight of your equipment down to between 8 and 10 kgs. We suggest that you also take a small lightweight ‘day’ bag for use on the the Besseggen Ridge walk (Day 2), when the majority of your luggage will be sent to the Memurubu Refuge by boat, and for the two day walking from the Spiterstulen Hut when excess equipment can be left at the hut. Alternatively you could bring a suitable lightweight bag to put your things in on these days and carry a relatively empty pack. For this holiday, where you will be carrying all of your kit, the KE Trek Bag (see below) will not provide the best solution when packing for your trip.

All KE clients will receive a FREE KE trek bag.  These have been specially made to stand up to the rigours of adventure travel.  Your KE bag will be posted to you when your trip is guaranteed to run or on receipt of your booking if the trip is already guaranteed.  If you have travelled with us before and already have a KE trek bag you can select an alternative free gift in the booking process.

The altitudes on this holiday are not extreme and the maximum altitude attained is no more than the equivalent of a pressurised cabin on an international flight. You may ‘feel’ the altitude the first time you trek above 2000 metres but all that is required is a slower pace to compensate. You should pay particular attention to your hydration levels while trekking above 2000 metres.

A passport with 3 months remaining validity is required. Passport holders from the UK, USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, or any EU countries do not require a visa. Other nationalities should check with the respective consulate in their own country.

Whilst we keep our information up to date, you should be advised that visa requirements can change. It is recommended that you contact the relevant commission in case of recent amendments.

The following checklist should help you with your packing. As a general rule, you should always try to keep the weight of your equipment to a minimum. On this trip you will be carrying everything you need. Considering that you do not need to carry either a sleeping bag or a camping mattress, it should be possible to keep the weight of your pack below 10kg / 22 lbs.

You must bring the following items:

  • Rucksack/Backpack approx 40 - 50 litres capacity
  • Trekking or lightweight mountaineering boots (which are comfortable, waterproof, warm and sufficiently rigid to take crampons securely)
  • Gaiters
  • Trainers / sneakers to wear in the huts
  • Socks
  • Technical walking socks (2 or 3 pairs)
  • Spare laces
  • Trekking trousers / pants
  • Lightweight waterproof overtrousers / rain pants
  • Underwear
  • Long johns (thermal underwear)
  • Shorts
  • Thermal baselayer shirts (1 short sleeve, 1 long sleeve)
  • T-shirts and/or casual shirts
  • Fleece jacket or warm jumper
  • Lightweight waterproof jacket
  • Warm hat
  • Eyewear - Sunglasses

    Earplugs (Especially if you are not the one snoring)

  • Lightweight thermal gloves
  • Warmer over gloves or mittens
  • Washbag and toiletries
  • Basic First Aid Kit including:Antiseptic cream, throat lozenges, diarrhoea treatment (Imodium), painkillers, plasters and blister treatment, Insect repellent (DEET), and re-hydration salts (Dioralite). Glucose tablets and multi-vitamin tablets are also a good idea.
  • Water bottles 1 litre / quart (x2)
  • Antibacterial hand wash
  • Small towel
  • Sheet sleeping bag

The following items are optional:

  • Sun protection (including for lips)
  • Head torch / head lamp with spare batteries
  • Tupperware box (for packed lunches)
  • Trekking poles
  • Camera, media, spare batteries
  • Pocket-knife (must be packed in hold baggage during flights)
  • Small thermos flask (0.5 litre) – can be filled with hot drinks at the huts

Mountaineering Equipment (provided locally – see notes)

  • Mountaineering harness
  • Ice-axe
  • Crampons


  • Appropriate mountaineering equipment (harness, ice-axe and crampons) will be provided at the Spiterstulen Refuge to be used on Day 5 when on the Svellnosbrean Glacier.
  • Please note: As you will not be returning to the start point after the trek, you will need to be able to get all of the above items into your backpack.
  • Every hut has a drying room.

A passport with 6 months remaining validity at the end of your stay is generally required. The information that we provide is for UK passport holders. Please check the relevant embassy or consulate for other nationalities. It is your responsibility to ensure that you have the correct travel documents and visas for your holiday. Visa requirements and charges are subject to change without notice. If you are travelling outside the EU you should have at least 2 blank pages in your passport.

Visa Europe

UK and USA passport holders do not require a visa.

We recommend you check if you require an adaptor for your electrical items at:

The unit of currency in Norway is the Norwegian Krone.

You should contact your GP or travel clinic to check whether you require any specific vaccinations. UK residents should obtain a free European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). This entitles you to state provided medical treatment, but is not a substitute for medical travel insurance which is still vital when travelling overseas.

As a reputable tour operator, KE supports the British Foreign & Commonwealth Offices ‘Know before you go’ campaign to enable British citizens to prepare for their journeys overseas, and we recommend that all KE travellers take a look at the FCO Travel Advice for their chosen destination on the official FCO website: North Americans can also check out the U.S. Department of State website: for essential travel advice and tips.

KE treat the safety and security of all clients as the most important aspect of any trip we organise. We would not run any trip that we did not consider reasonably safe.  Should the FCO advise against travel for any reason, we will contact everyone booked to travel to discuss the situation.  We receive regular updates direct from the FCO and are in constant touch with our contacts on the ground.  If you have any questions about government travel advice, please call our office.

Despite its northerly location, the climate of central Norway is moderated by the Gulf Stream and is surprisingly mild. From June to early September, we can expect daytime temperatures of between 10°C / 50°F and 20°C / 68°F, depending on the altitude. At this season, night-time temperatures will fall to 5°C / 41°F at our highest overnight refuges. Sunny weather can be expected. However, the proximity of Norway's long Atlantic coastline means that the weather is unpredictable and you need to be prepared for some rain. Daylight hours are long, especially in July, when the summer sun is never far below the horizon.

Walking in Norway. Connie Roos. Cicerone Press: 20 walking and trekking routes in the main mountain areas. The book has detailed route descriptions, and fact panels provide information on level of difficulty, base, maps etc. Summary tables, maps and route profiles illustrate the routes. Norway. Lonely Planet.

Turkart Topographic Hiking Maps 1:50,000. Ugland IT Group (previously Statens Kartverk)

Maps at a good scale for walkers. Contours at 20m intervals. Shows footpaths, mountain huts etc. The maps have a UTM grid and margin ticks giving latitude and longitude. The map legend includes English. Additional tourist information is given on the reverse. To follow the route you will need two sheets: 2503 Jotunheimen Aust and 2505 Jotunheimen Vest

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