• View of the Lustrafjord from Svarthiller farm, Sogn og Fjordane, Norway
  • The waterfall known as Skrikjo (Shriek) plunges over the Hardangervidda near Lofthus, Norway
  • Tundra plants on the Hardangervidda
  • Looking up the Lustrafjord from the summit of Molden, Norway
  • The quiet beauty of the Fjaerlandsfjord, Norway
  • Sinjarheim farm perched on a shelf above the Aurlandsdalen.

Hiking in Norway

Trails of the Fjord Country

Printable version of trip itinerary

Norway Slide Show

National Geographic Traveler Magazine’s sixth annual “Places Rated” Destination Stewardship survey in 2009 gave top honors to the fjord Norway region with a score of 85 points. The survey rates the world’s most celebrated travel destinations based on how well they have weathered the pressures of mass tourism and other threats. Fjord Norway also ranked first in the magazine’s first “Places Rated” survey in 2004. Come experience for yourself a place that some have called the most beautiful place on earth.

Enjoy a close encounter with western Norway’s convoluted coastline, a landscape that has been called the most beautiful on Earth. Here towering granite cliffs plunge into deep, twisting fjords that wind their way for as much as a hundred miles into Norway’s rocky core. Picturesque villages and farms huddle where the topography permits. Stroll to ancient stave churches, and hike to the blue face of glaciers to see how the hand of ice is still at work shaping the Scandinavian landscape. Enjoy thrilling walks and hikes to glorious vantage points and isolated summer farms perched high above the fjords. Gain a better appreciation for the resiliency of the Norwegians who have over the centuries come to terms with and thrived in this rugged, harsh, and magnificent environment.

The village of Lofthus on the Hardangerfjord is surrounded by cherry orchards.

Day 1
Overnight in Lofthus i Hardanger
Dinner included
Velkomen til Norge! Depart Bergen and visit Troldhaugen, home of Norwegian composer Edvard Grieg. Travel to Lofthus, a fjord village in the Hardanger region known for its fruit orchards. Enjoy the ambiance of one of Fjord Norway’s most renowned hotels, your base for two nights. Stretch your legs on an afternoon walk to the waterfalls that plunge over the edge of the great Hardangervidda plateau into the Opo Valley. The waterfall named Skrikjo (“shriek”) plunges down the face of the escarpment at the head of the valley in a thin stream while the Bjørnabyksefoss tumbles down the valley’s north wall in a series of powerful, roaring cascades. A cabin that Edvard Grieg used while staying in the Hardanger region can be found on the hotel grounds.

A waterfall plunges off the Hardangervidda into Opo River gorge.

Day 2
Overnight in Lofthus i Hardanger
Breakfast, lunch and dinner included
Follow the route of the Munketrappene (“Monk’s Steps”) which leads to the fabulous vantage point called Nosi (“the nose”) at the edge of the windswept Hardangervidda. Marvel at the cataracts that plunge in a foaming spectacle through narrow canyon of the Opojuvet. For a longer hike, continue into the austere, tundra environment of the Hardangervidda where rushing streams link a myriad of high country lakes. Be on the lookout for cloudberries (Rubus chamæorus)—highly prized by Scandinavians. They can sometimes can be found in the Hardangervidda’s high windswept meadows. Return to your hotel nestled in the luxuriant green landscapes of fjord country.

Hiking on the Hardangervidda above Lofthus.

On the trail in the Flamsdalen near Kardal.

Day 3
Overnight in Flam
Breakfast included
Travel to the town of Voss and catch a train to the mountain settlement of Myrdal. Myrdal is the mountain terminus of the Flam rail line (or Flamsbana) which makes its way down the lovely Flam Valley (Flamsdalen) to its sea-level terminus at Flam. Today’s hike will lead you down the peaceful yet dramatic Flamsdalen filled with waterfalls and tumbling streams. You can hike all the way to fjord-side settlement of Flam thus completing a journey from fra fjell til fjord (“from mountain to sea”). Alternatively, you can shorten the journey by hiking part way down the Flamsdalen to Berekvam from where you can travel the rest of the way to Flam by vehicle or train. The hiking route down the Flam Valley is along the Rallarveg, a narrow, well-graded gravel road that was built originally between 1885 and 1898 to serve as a construction road for the Flam railway. Shortly after departing Myrdal, the route descends quickly via a series of short switchbacks alongside a rushing stream. The trail levels out as it approaches the hamlet of Kardal. Here, rocky buttresses constrict the flow of the Flamselvi (Flam River) resulting in a powerful, foaming cataract. The route continues to descend at a gentle grade to the station at Berekvam, approximately midway between Myrdal and Flam. Continuing on, pass the Høge Bro (bridge) where you can watch the Flam River emerging from a man-made tunnel into which the river was diverted during the railroad’s construction. Before reaching Flam and its wooden church, pass the lovely waterfall called Rjoande, streaming gracefully down the Flamsdal’s western wall.

The Flamselvi is the rushing stream that drains the Flamsdalen.

Hikers on the Aurlandsdalen Trail at Storemuren.

Day 4
Overnight in Flam
Breakfast included
Enjoy hikes in the Aurlandsdalen (“Aurland Valley”). The hike through the lower portion of the Aurlandsdalen is a Norwegian mountain hiking classic! From the mountain hamlet of Østerbø a path leads down an untrammeled section of the Aurlandsdalen to Vassbygdi. This route was used for centuries to drive cattle from western Norway across the mountains to be sold in markets in the east. Portions of the path have been recently restored and improved for hikers. The route leads over bridges, and past abandoned mountain farms such as the now-restored farm at Sinjarheim (abandoned in the early 1920s) and the small but dramatically-situated Almen farm tucked beneath a rock overhang.

We especially enjoyed being in small towns with ‘real’ Norwegians. We found the food to be ‘home cooking’ good, and we actually started to look forward to herring at breakfast! We enjoyed every bite!

–PEGGY AND JIM HILTON

View from Prestevarden looking toward Flam.

Day 5
Overnight in Flam
Breakfast and dinner included
After breakfast, a twenty minute drive along the Snøveg (“Snow Road”) brings you to the Bjørgo mountain farm. Ascend the open ridge leading to the summit of Prestevarden (“Priest’s Cairn”) high above the town of Aurland. Enjoy bird’s eye views over the majestic sweep of the Aurlandsfjord and the tundra-like landscapes of the high vidda which stretches away to the east. In the late afternoon, pay a visit to the Otternes bygdetun or “cluster farm.” Twenty-seven farm houses and associated buildings dating from the 1600s are protected here.

The Aurlandsfjord as seen from Prestevarden.

The grassy Vindhellaveg leads from Husum to the Borgund Stave church.

Day 6
Overnight in Balestrand
Breakfast included
After breakfast, travel by vehicle to the Laerdal, a valley well-known for its salmon fishery. Walk the historic route known as the Vindhellaveg (“way of the winding incline”) to the beautiful 12th-century Borgund Stave Church, one of Norway’s best preserved stave churches, richly ornamented with carvings. There were at one time about one thousand stave churches in Norway; about twenty-eight are left today. The Vindhellaveg was first built in 1793 and rebuilt in the mid-19th century. Today, the old road is closed to traffic, its grassy tread maintained for the delight of walkers. You can return to the trailhead via the Sverrestig (“sword path”), a lovely trail meandering through quiet woodlands. The Sverrestig is part of the old main road between eastern and western Norway, and it’s at least a thousand years old. Continue by vehicle to the fjord-side town of Balestrand, a mecca for fjord visitors since the mid-nineteenth century.

Balestrand.

Hiker in the Mundalsdalen.

Day 7
Overnight in the Sognefjord region
Breakfast and dinner included
Today’s hikes being in a small village up one of the many arms of the Sognefjord. A moderate hiking option leads into the green and quiet Mundalsdalen. At the head of the valley, a large glacial cirque whose walls wear a waterfall filigree awaits you! Wild huckleberries and raspberries grow in profusion along the trail to Mundalsdalen and the open floor of the cirque invites wandering. A more challenging hike ascends the Hamradalen, a short, steep glacial “hanging” valley. The initial portion of this hike climbs quickly through woods along the Hatlestadelvi (stream) and at one point passes a beautiful waterfall spilling into a “textbook” plunge pool. The grade of the valley eases as you enter the meadows surrounding the old summer farm of Hamravollen. The trail makes final push to reach the rounded ridgetop at Nesehaugen. From this vantage point, the vistas over the Fjærlandsfjord are expansive. To the north, the view of the confluence of the Supphelle and Boya Valleys is particularly impressive. After the hikes, travel to your hotel in a fjord-side village and settle in for a two-night stay. After dinner, you might choose to take an evening walk on your own to enjoy a serene fjordscape of glacier-clad mountains rising from the sea.

The view from Nesehaugen.

Sweeping view of the Lustrafjord from Molden.

Day 8
Overnight in the Sognefjord region
Breakfast and dinner included
Continue your exploration of the countryside and mountains that define the Sognefjord region. A wealth of trails leads you through an “open air laboratory” of glacially-sculpted landforms. A moderate hiking option leads to the summit of Molden from whose barren, rounded summit you can enjoy a sweeping view along the length of the emerald-green Lustrafjord. A more challenging walk leads up to the Flatbre hut (Flatbrehytte) in the Jostedalsbre National Park (Jostedalsbreen Nasjonalpark)—three thousand feet above waters of the Fjærlandsfjord—from where you’ll enjoy bird’s eye views over the fjord country. Enjoy “front row” vistas of the deeply crevassed Flatbre (glacier) as it descends from the main Jostedal ice cap and plunges over a cliff edge in the magnificent Supphellebre ice fall.

Bird’s eye view over the Fjaerlandsfjord from the Flatbre Hut.

Your choices of activities were excellent. In talking to other Norway visitors, our group seemed to be seeing more of the country and having a greater variety of experiences.

–ROSALIE GITTINGS

The icefall of the Supphelle Glacier.

Day 9
Overnight in Bergen
Breakfast included
Depart Fjaerland to return to Bergen. Upon arrival in Bergen check into your hotel before enjoying a funicular ride to the top of Fløien mountain for magnificent views over the city. A network of forest paths descend the slopes of Fløien to bring you back to your hotel via the old quarter of Bergen. Your lodging tonight and breakfast tomorrow morning are included.

Bryggen in Bergen, a World Heritage Site.

Seeing Bergen

We suggest you allow yourself one or two days in Bergen prior to the start of the trip so you can experience on your own the joys of Norway’s “Fjord Capital.” Bergen’s main shopping street, the Torgalmenning provides temptations for your pocketbook, and the lively torget (fish market) at the head of Bergen harbor offers fresh steamed shrimp (reker), sizable strawberries (jordbær) from the island of Askøy, and the typical Norwegian open-faced sandwich called smørbrød in all its variations! For a bit of history and a taste of Bergen’s Hanseatic past, wander through the old waterfront warehouses at Bryggen, a World Heritage Site. And the picturesque, cobblestone streets of Gamle Bergen (“Old Bergen”) invite wandering!

Boathouse on the Fjaerlandsfjord.

Other Resources

Exploring nature may be Norway’s unofficial national pastime. More than 200,000 Norwegians are members of the national hiking club (Den Norske Turistforening). Read more about the Norwegian passion for hiking.
Make a virtual visit to the Edvard Grieg Museum at Troldhaugen. An English version of the site is available.
If you’re one of the 4 million Americans who claim Norwegian ancestry, pay a visit to the Norwegian Emigration and Genealogy Center in Stavanger, Norway. The Emigration Center holds the largest collection of Norwegian and U.S. genealogical resources in Norway. In 1998, staff at the Center helped us find the farm from which Amy’s great-grandmother left Norway for the United States in 1886.
The Norway Online Information Service in the United States provides a good way to keep up to date on what’s happening in Norway and in the Norwegian American community. There’s also a section that provides useful travel information.

I’m feeling a bit nostalgic these days, thinking over my wonderful Norwegian adventure…I hold “my” trip very special.

–PATTY DYKE

A hike along the Hardangerfjord.

Printable version of trip itinerary

Norway Slide Show

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Photos on this page are by John Osaki except as otherwise credited.

Trip Dates
Summer 2018 (Specific dates TBA)

Price
$5,295 (group of 4-5); $4,895 (group of 6 or more). Note that these are only estimated prices for 2018.

Single supplement
$650 Note that this is only an estimated price for 2018.

Meeting Point
Bergen, Norway (airport code BGO)

Departure Point
Bergen, Norway (airport code BGO)

Accommodations
Nine nights in hotels/inns with private bath. Nine breakfasts, one lunch and five dinners are included.

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