3 Insanely Beautiful Hikes You Must Do in Norway

03 May 2018

Some things are worth sweating for and seeing the rooftop of the world from one of Norway’s towering fjords is one of them.

Norway boasts unparalleled beauty in its dramatic landscapes that are best experienced by taking any one of its unforgettable hikes.

Located in Norway’s west coast are three of its most iconic and popular trails. Between Bergen and Stavanger are Trolltunga, Preikestolen and Kjeragbolten.

Trolltunga: Sitting on a Troll’s Tongue

Fancy sitting at the tip of a large rock formation with your feet dangling 700m above a crystal blue fjord? That’s Trolltunga!

Trolltunga, which means Troll’s Tongue in Norwegian, is by far the most challenging of the three hikes and best conquered at the start of your trip when you have the most energy.

The 23km round-trip hike starts by taking you up a rather steep hill before leading you up and over a mountain where you meet with the rim of an enclosed lake called Ringedalsvatnet. This magical spot here is just a taster of what’s to come later. It just gets better and better!

Following its edge around to the far end, your final destination is a massive rock formation hovering over above the fjord surrounded by snow-capped mountain. Be sure to allow a couple of hours here to enjoy the view over a packed lunch.

But don’t leave without this once-in-a-lifetime photo opportunity. Put on a brave face and head out to sit or even star jump on the tongue itself!

Depending on the time of year, the hike will vary in difficulty. In May, thick snow will still be on the ground making the hike much more challenging and slower. The upside, of course, is there are significantly fewer hikers around. But don’t worry, the trail is well marked; just look out for large red Ts painted on boulders along the way. For the best conditions, aim for late August-September.

The hike will take 9-11 hours depending on conditions and your fitness level so it’s advised you start the climb no later than 10am.

Kjeragbolten: A Boulder With a View

Next up, Kjeragbolten! Ah, the famous narrow boulder wedged between two cliffs suspended 984 metres (3,228 ft) above the fjord. Thrill-seekers from all over the world come to stand on this boulder with the best view.

Getting to Kjeragbolten is nothing but picturesque. Imagine driving alongside gushing streams, winding through mountain-tops without a car in sight.

Located on Lysefjorden, Kjeragbolten is a significantly shorter hike than Trolltunga. Allow 6-8 hours return trip; again this will depend on the weather conditions and how much snow is on the ground. Unfortunately, even on a hot day in May there can be a lot of cloud cover this high up, so be sure to choose your month right to avoid disappointment.

Hiking Kjeragbolten requires a little bit of upper body strength, but not too much. In some of the steeper parts you’ll need to pull yourself up using chains attached to the rock faces. Top tip: bring gloves to avoid blisters.

Once you make it to the top and turn around a corner you’ll see the boulder in all its glory. Take your time to enjoy this incredible view and tuck into some lunch before attempting to stand on the boulder. Top tip: Try not to look down, just focus on the beautiful waterfall directly in front of you and take your time. Don’t feel rushed.

Preikestolen: A commanding view over Lysefjorden

Last but not least: Preikestolen, aka Pulpit Rock. This hike is perfect for families and less experienced hikers. It also happens to share the same fjord as Kjeragbolten which is further up along the fjord.

What makes this hike so great is that it’s both less strenuous and shorter than they previous two hikes, but the view is just as epic. I would allow 4-5 hours return including some well deserved time spent at the top.

The hike starts off fairly easy on a boardwalk before it stops and you begin ascending up the mountain. From here you will be following dirt trails or navigate over large rocks.

Once you reach Pulpit Rock, take in the various viewpoints here before climbing up a little higher. Looking over Pulpit Rock itself, you’ll have a more peaceful experience from up here as there are fewer people around. Not to mention you’ll get a greater view of the fjord.

Getting to Trolltunga, Kjeragbolten and Preikestolen

To reach the start points, I strongly recommend using a hire car for both Kjeragbolten and Trolltunga. These hikes are the longest and you’ll be more like to feel stressed getting back in time to catch any public transportation back. With a hire car, you won’t have this worry. Just be sure to time your start right and be down before sunset.

For Trolltunga, I recommend basing yourself in Bergen where there are more accommodation options. Just make sure that you don’t miss the last car ferry after coming back from Trolltunga, otherwise you’ll have to sleep in your car until the next one at 6am! Like I did.

Reaching Preikestolen from Stavanger is easy. Catch the ferry from Stavanger to Tau, from here there are bus connections that will take you to the start of the hike. These buses run several times daily between April and September.

What to Wear and Bring

The obvious essential is wearing good hiking boots with ankle support. These hikes go across all sorts of rough terrain so you will need all the support you can get. There’s nothing worse than being in pain or uncomfortable.

Apart from the cafe at Trolltunga which opens late and closes early, there are no shops at these hikes. Make sure you bring lots of energy pack food, snacks, and lunch to keep you going and plenty of water. On the Trolltunga and Kjeragbolten hikes there are numerous streams to fill your bottle up at.

The weather changes quickly from boiling hot to windy and freezing cold, so be sure to bring wind-and waterproof outerwear, a cap, sunscreen, sunglasses, and mittens, and dress in layers. In a nutshell: be prepared for all every type of weather.

Pack an extra set of clothes to leave in the car (if you have one) to change into once the hike is done. This will help you feel more comfortable and cosy for the trip home. Top tip: bring an extra pair of socks to change into once you reach the top. You’ll thank me later.

For safety, take a map and compass. Even if there are lots of hikers around, it’s best to be prepared for the unknown. A first-aid kit is also recommended plus a fully charged mobile phone with an battery pack.

This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, so allow plenty of time to enjoy it. Happy Hiking!


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Michele Frolla

Michele from The Intrepid Guide is a travel and language blogger and author. Originally from Australia, Michele moved to Rome in pursuit of perfecting her Italian. Currently based in London, she lives by the motto “The more we travel, the more we learn.” With her blog, Michele shares her passion for bringing language and travel together through with her destination guides, language learning tools, travel phrase cheat sheets, and more! Follow her on social media as she shares fascinating and little-known linguistic and cultural facts.