15 Best Day Hikes in Western and Southern Norway

Welcome to Norway, a true haven for hikers! If you love exploring nature, then you’re in for a treat. With its stunning landscapes, Norway offers an incredible playground for outdoor enthusiasts.

We might be a bit biased here, but let us tell you why. Ivar, being Norwegian, and myself, having lived in this beautiful country for over 11 years, genuinely believe that Norway offers some of the best hiking trails in the world.

In this article, we’re excited to take you on an adventure through southern and western Norway as we reveal the 15 absolute best day hikes you can experience. So, grab your gear, put on your hiking boots, and join us on this exciting journey through the best hikes in southern and western Norway. 

Table of Contents

#1 Hike Preikestolen and enjoy the views of Lysefjorden

The hike to Preikestolen, also known as Pulpit Rock, is one of Norway’s most popular day hikes. Preikestolen itself is a flat plateau, roughly 25 meters by 25 meters in size, that towers 604 meters (1981 feet) above the stunning turquoise waters of Lysefjorden.

Compared to other Norwegian hikes, the hike to Preikestolen is relatively easy. Following a well-marked trail, it takes approximately 5 hours round trip. This makes it a fantastic choice for families with children or older individuals. (In fact, I went to Preikestolen with my 70-year-old father!) From the plateau, you’ll be treated to mesmerizing views, and on a clear day, you can even spot Lysebotn, located at the fjord’s far end.

It’s important to note, however, that during the summer season, the trail attracts a large number of tourists. As a result, it may be challenging to capture that perfect photo of standing alone on the edge of the rock. Nevertheless, the breathtaking scenery is well worth sharing with fellow explorers.

If you’d prefer not to hike Preikestolen independently, particularly outside of the summer season, there’s always the option of joining a guided tour that includes a delightful two-hour cruise into the Lysefjord. This way, you can still experience the fjord’s beauty while enjoying the magnificent views from Preikestolen.

 

Best hikes in southern and western Norway: Preikestolen alias Pulpit rock

Preikestolen or Pulpit rock is one of the best and most visitied hikes in southern Norway. The closest city to Preikestolen is Stavanger.

 

 

#2 Kjeragbolten hike: Stand on a rock 1000 meters above Lysefjorden

Kjeragbolten is probably the most famous boulder in the whole of Norway. It is wedged in between two rock faces, 1000 meters above the Lysefjorden. Would you dare to stand on it?

The hike to Kjeragbolten is more demanding than the neighboring Preikestolen hike.

The six-kilometer hike to the top takes 6 to 8 hours and involves some steep inclines with an elevation change of around 600 meters.

If you do not feel like attempting the hike to Kjeragbolten alone, you can always join a guided tour that is combined with a speed ferry ride over Lysefjorden. You will have a chance to see the famous Preikestolen from below!

 

Together with Preikestolen, Kjeragbolten is another popular hike in the Stavanger Area.

 

 

#3 Trollpikken Hike: Take a Picture of a Troll Penis

I bet that you have heard about many places in Norway named after trolls: Trolltunga (The Troll’s tongue), Trollstigen (The Troll road), or Trollveggen (Troll Wall). But did you know that there is a place called Troll penis?

This funny-shaped 12-tonne rock located south of Stavanger made the international headlines in 2017 when some vandals chopped it off. It was, however, re-erected after a successful crowdfunding campaign, and you can now admire it in all its glory!

The hike to Trollpikken is very easy. So, if you are new to hiking or you have small kids, it can be a great first hike in Norway.

 

Trollpikken is a family friendly hike in southern Norway close to Egersund

Trollpikken is a family friendly hike in southern Norway close to the town called Egersund.

 

 

#4 Gaustatoppen Hike: Admire A View of one-sixth of Norway

Many claims that Gaustatoppen is the most beautiful mountain in Norway. With the height of 1.883 m, it towers majestically over the town Rjukan, which is famous for its role in WWII. If you are lucky with the weather you might be able to see one-sixth of the whole of Norway from the top!

The hike to the top is very popular and fairly easy in Norwegian standards. If you do not feel like hiking though, you can use the Gaustabanen. It is a combined railway with a funicular that goes up to 1800 meters!

 

 

 

#5 Bondhusvatnet: An Easy Hike to a Magical Glacier Lake

The beauty of the emerald-colored Bondhusvatnet lake has drawn tourists since the mid-1800s. Back then the glacier was much bigger but even though it retreated quite a lot, the lake and its surroundings still offer beautiful views.

An easy hike leads to the lakeshore and continues to moraine fields under the Bondhusbreen Glacier. The original purpose of the path was to transport glacier ice to be used in refrigerators in the towns and villages along the coast.

 

Bondhusvatnet is one of the easiest and best hikes in western Norway close to Odda

Bondhusvatnet is a family friendly hike in the Hardanger region that can be a great alternative to more demanding Trolltunga hike

Are you at the planning stage of your trip to the Lofoten Islands?

#6 Trolltunga Hike: Take a Picture of Trolls Tongue

Jutting into space 700 meters above lake Ringedalsvatnet, this dramatic cliff is located 3 hours drive east of Bergen. Largely unknown before 2010 its popularity skyrocketed in recent years.

It is one of Norway’s most popular hikes for a good reason though. The view from the cliff is simply breathtaking. Despite the number of people who attempt to hike to Trolltunga it is by no means an easy hike and you should be well prepared for it. Do not attempt it outside of season or in bad weather and make sure that you have the proper equipment and enough food with you!

 

Trolltunga is one of the best and most popular hikes in western Norway

Trolltunga is undoubtely one of the most popular hikes in western Norway. You will find it in the Hardanger region, close to the town called Odda.

 

 

#7 Presten: A Hike with a godly view over Aurlandsfjorden

Aurlandsfjorden is one of those picture-perfect places of Western Norway. With steep mountain walls plunging over a thousand meters straight down into the deep fjord it comes as no surprise that it is crowded with tourists most of the summer.

The mountains in the area are not, however. And Presten mountain is one of those places where you get that million-dollar view possibly all to yourself. With plenty of viewpoints to mesmerize you as you go higher and higher, it’s not until you stand at the top that your breath is taken away, and not just because of the climb.

You can also enjoy the waterfalls and steep mountainsides along Aurlandsfjord and Nærøyfjord from a board of a RIB boat. If luck should have it, you might even encounter otters, seals, eagles and the fjord porpoise.

 

 

#8 Skåla: The Hike with the biggest elevation in Norway

Skåla is a spectacular mountain towering 1.848 m over the emerald green waters of lake Lovatnet. The hike is extremely demanding as you have to ascend more than 1800 meters from the sea level to the top, but you will be rewarded by breathtaking views of the surrounding glaciers, fjords, and mountains. 

You can spend a night on the top in Skålatårnet – round cabin with a more than meter-thick walls that was built in 1891 and became a symbol of Skåla. The cabin belongs to the Norwegian trekking association (DNT) and is open all year round. It is, however, an unmanned cabin, so you have to bring your sleeping bag and pay for your stay via the DNT Hyttebetaling app. 

 

 

 

#9 Skageflå hike: Seemingly inaccessible mountain farm above geirangerfjord

The Skageflå farm is situated on 250 meters (820 ft) tall cliff above the beautiful Geirangerfjord, which is surrounded by steep mountains rising in rugged strata straight out of the water.

The place is so stunning that even the Norwegian King and Queen decided to celebrate their silver wedding anniversary there.

You can either hike to Skageflå from Geiranger village or jump aboard one of the boats that cruise the fjord and stop at the foot of the cliff below Skageflå.

 

 

 

#10 Galdhøpiggen: Climb the highest mountain in scandinavia

Galdhøpiggen, with its 2.469 m, is the tallest mountain in Norway and the whole northern Europe. It is situated in Jotunheimen national park, which translates to the home of giants.

There are two ways to reach the top of Galdhøpiggen. The more popular and easier one starts at the mountain cabin Juvashytta and takes about three hours up. You have to, however, cross the Styggebreen glacier and it is therefore strongly recommended to join a guided tour.

The other option is to hike from the Spiterstulen hotel. The hike is technically easy since it does not cross any glacier, but it is physically demanding because you have to gain almost 1.400 m of elevation.

 

 

 

#11 Besseggen: Walk the Ridge between two lakes with different colors

Situated in the heart of Jotunheimen national park, Besseggen is one of the most famous hikes and mountain ridges in Norway. The main attraction, and an excellent photo opportunity, is the view to the dark blue waters of the Bessvatn lake on one side of the ridge, and the emerald green waters of Gjende lake on the other side.

During the summer season, there is a boat that goes regularly over lake Gjende stopping at the trailhead in Memurubu. Even though it is possible to walk the Besseggen ridge in both directions, most people choose to start from the trailhead at Memurubu.

The Besseggen hike gets very popular during the summer, so don’t forget to book your boat ticket in advance. 

 

 

 

 

#12 Trollveggen: Europes only vertical mile

Impossible to miss when driving down the Romsdalen Valley and bone-chilling to look down from when standing on top of it! The Troll Wall certainly demands respect, no matter how you see it.

Going up there might not be quite as hard as you think, though. The trail starts from the Trollstigen parking lot and is a full-day hike on muddy paths, rocky terrain, and steep snow slopes. In other words, not for a novice hiker.

At the Troll wall, there are several places where you can have a peek over the edge, but Bruraskaret might be the most famous one. It’s here where the BASE-jumpers usually started.

If you are not feeling confident on steep slopes, you can take a shorter trip to Stabbeskaret and look down the neighboring mountain wall. Some say it’s even nicer than Bruraskaret.

 

Are you planning to sleep in Lofoten in your car or a tent?

#13 Romsdalseggen: The most scenic hike in norway?

Lonely Planet says that Romsdalseggen is one of the world’s most scenic hikes, and we agree. The point-to-point hike along the narrow ridge offers spectacular views of many impressive mountain peaks, including the Troll Wall’s toothy grin – Europe’s tallest vertical rock face.

The best way how to reach the starting point is to take a tourist bus that runs every day from July to the end of September. The hike itself is quite demanding and airy in some places. If you, therefore, do not feel like hiking the ridge but still want to enjoy the breathtaking views, you should hike at least up to Rampestreken’s viewpoint.

 

Romsdalsggen was voted one of the best hikes in Norway

If you do not fancy a long hike there is a newly built gondola that takes you up the Nesaksla mountain from where it is just a short walk to this georgous view.

 

 

#14 Snøhetta: An easy 2000-meter peak mong ancient wildlife

When driving the E6 from Oslo to Trondheim it is hard to miss Snøhetta on a clear day. With its 2286 meters it stands out from its surroundings. Don’t worry though: It’s one of the easiest mountain over 2000 meters in Norway that you can climb.

To reach the starting point in Snøheim you have to take a bus from Hjerkinn. The hike up to Snøhetta is a perfect trip for families with kids. It gets rocky up there, but the view from the top speaks for itself! And if you are lucky you might even see some wild reindeers or even an elusive musk ox.

 

 

The viewpoint Snøhetta with Snøhetta mountain in the background

The viewpoint Snøhetta with Snøhetta mountain in the background

 

 

#15 Bakkanosi hike: the best view of nærøyfjord

The UNESCO-protected Nærøyfjord is a popular stop on the Norway in nutshell route. Many people take a train from Oslo to Flåm, then continue with a fjord cruise on the magnificent Aurlandsfjord and dramatic and narrow Nærøyfjord before continuing westwards to Bergen.

The steady stream of tourists makes the villages of Flåm and Gudvangen rather crowdy places during the high season. If you want to escape the crowds and experience extraordinary views on the narrow Nærøyfjord, then you should definitely put the hike to Bakkanosi on your bucket list. 

Located in the heart of Western Norway, Bakkanosi presents a challenging yet rewarding trail that leads to a panoramic view that stretches as far as the eye can see, showcasing the majestic fjords, rugged peaks, and serene valleys.

You can see the gentle swings of the 18 km long and sometimes only 250 m wide Nærøyfjord under you. The high mountains with steep cliffs surrounding the fjord aren´t any less spectacular. On days with good visibility, you can even see the peaks of Jotunheimen – Norway´s highest mountain range.

 

Best hikes in western Norway: Bakkanosi

Bakkanosi offers one of the most breathtaking views in western Norway

FAQ ABOUT HIKING IN NORWAY

The main hiking season in Norway lasts from the beginning of June to the end of August. It is possible to attempt some of the hiking trails even in May or September and October, but depending on the area there might be a lot of snow.

You can hike to Preikestolen all year round assuming that the weather is good. The hiking season to Trolltunga is from 1st June to 31.August. You can still hike up there in May or September and October, but it is highly recommended to join a guided tour. Some point-to-point hikes, like Romsdalseggen or Besseggen, are nearly impossible to do outside of the main season, because you are dependant on public transport. 

You will find hiking trails and mountain cabins all over Norway. The best hikes with the most stunning views are however situated mainly in northern and western (Fjord) Norway.

There are almost no dangerous animals in Norway. (The polar bears live only on Svalbard archipelago.) Hiking in Norway can however be dangerous if you underestimate the terrain, weather or your stamina and equipment. 

You can minimize the risks by following this set of rules:

  • Not hiking alone
  • Planning your hike carefully and informing someone about your itinerary
  • Planning the trip according to your abilities
  • Paying attention to weather forecast
  • Bringing proper hiking equipment and knowing how to use it
  • Using a map and compass
  • Turning around or calling for help if it is needed

As we mentioned above you will find the best hiking trails in western and northern Norway.

Our favorite hub for hiking in western Norway is the town Åndalsness, which lies very close to Romsdalseggen or Trollveggen hikes. You can do a lots of amazing hikes also in the surroundings of Stavanger (Preikestolen, Kjeragbolten, Trollpikken) or Otta (hiking in Jotunheimen and Rondane national parks).

In northen Norway we really love hiking possibilities in Lofoten, Vesterålen and Senja. 

Weather in Norway can change fast, especially in the mountains. You should therefore always bring clothes for bad weather, even if the weather looks or is forecasted good at the start of the day.

Wear layers! Choose a woolen material on your skin followed by a second layer of a warm sweater. The third layer should be a weather-proof jacket (like hard-shell). During the day you will be taking on and off the different layers as you see fit. It’s generally a good rule of thumb to be a bit cold when you start hiking. You can have a break after about 20 minutes to see if you need to change your layers.

Often it might look like running shoes will be a good idea at the start of a trail. But you never know how the conditions are 500, 1000 or even 1800 meters above you. The mountain paths in Norway can often be wet, snowy or both, even in the summer months.

Trolltunga is a good example of this. Every year some people start this trek with footwear only meant for a summer day in the city. Later they are surprised when they have to walk on snow for most of the trip, even in late June. Therefore it is a great investment to purchase a pair of solid mountain boots. They will provide good support for your ankles as well as keep your feet dry and warm.

As mentioned above, Trolltunga can surprise a lot of people. Mainly because the hike is quite long – 20 km out and back. It includes a fair bit of incline and walking on narrow mountain paths, NOT gravel roads.

On the top, you often have to wait in a long line for the picture of you standing on the cliff. This will easily eat a couple of hours of your day. We recommend you to start early if you don’t plan on finishing the hike in the dark. In any case, bring a headlamp!

Do not forget a warm sweater and a weather-proof jacket as well as sturdy boots and pack enough food for the whole day trip. If you are in-season, you can leave your snowshoes at home. You won’t be able to walk long stretches with it.

Norway, with its open laws regarding camping and hiking, has a reputation of being a paradise for hikers. There are no national park fees, you can pitch your tent almost wherever you want and you can park your car for free in many places. 

This is sadly looking like it is about to change. Tourism has boomed in Norway, as it has in many other countries, the last decade or two. This has resulted in a lot of stress on small communities with few inhabitants and small budgets. They often struggle with overflowing public toilets and trash cans, crowded free parking lots and big RVs blocking the road. 

This is new to people in Norway and every summer there are new and stricter regulations being pushed through to try to combat this problem. It is therefore important that the tourists that travel here know how to behave so everybody can enjoy Norway to the fullest.

Trash seems to be a problem everywhere we travel. I’m sure you can agree. Norway is no exception. We, therefore, encourage people to read about the Leave-no-trace principle. To take this a step further we have started to pick up trash we find laying around in beautiful places. This activity is highly addictive and we only encourage you to try it too.

We have created a list of 5 “house rules” for everybody who wants to be a responsible tourist traveling in Norway:

 

  1. Leave no trace. Pick up trash that you find.
  2. If the trash container is full, bring your trash with you.
  3. Do not park in “rasteplasser” for more than one night. If there is a sign forbidding it, please respect it!
  4. There is plenty of public toilets along the roads in Norway. If you, however, need to relieve yourself in nature, then don’t leave toilet paper above ground. Either bring a shovel and dig it down along with your other business or bring it back with you. If unclear, read #1 again.
  5. Be creative in your hiking. 90% of tourists do the “top 10 best hikes”. There are many more equally beautiful, if not more beautiful hikes out there. You can read about them here. It’s also more fun to not have to stand in line for a picture. 
Picture of Ivar & Radka

Ivar & Radka

Hi! We are Ivar & Radka, an international couple who runs the Guide to Lofoten. We met in Trondheim and lived together in western Norway, Narvik and Tromsø. At the moment we call western Lofoten our home. We hope our page will make it easier for you to explore the beautiful places that made us chose Norway for our home.

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Ivar and Radka Guide to Lofoten

Hi! We are Ivar & Radka, an international couple who runs the Guide to Lofoten.

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