If you’re a fan of hiking and nature, Norway should be on top of your list. Explore the wilderness of Europe by hiking Norway’s unspoiled nature and mountains. Norway is known for being one of Europe’s most expensive countries. But that doesn’t mean it should be expensive for you! Put on your hiking boots and start exploring the countryside, mountains, and valleys. It’ll become one of your best trips ever.
Besides the breathtaking fjords, Norway is well-known for being one of the best countries in the world to find peace again in its beautiful nature and one of the best places to do this and enjoy the mighty scenery is in the Hardangervidda National Park.
The Hardangervidda is a vast mountain plateau situated in the central southern part of Norway. It stretches over an area of about 6,500 km2, which makes it the largest of whole Europe. It consists of vast plains, streams and small lakes. The extensive network of trails, small differences in altitude and numerous mountain lodges make it the perfect place for multiple day hikes.
Keep your eyes open, because the Hardangervidda is the home of one of the largest reindeer herds in the whole world. It has a rich fauna & flora with hundreds of different kind of birds and other animals like the Arctic Fox and Snowy Owl.
WHEN TO GO
Because the Hardangervidda has an all year round polar climate, the plains are almost the whole year partly covered in snow. There’s even the Hardangerjøkulen glacier, which is the highest point of the vidda! The best time to go is between July and October when most of the snow has melted. The 52 serviced mountain lodges, maintained by DNT are open from June until Mid-September. We were just too late (end of September) and had to sleep in our tents because all the lodges were deserted.
Travel Tip: Start your hike fully prepared, make sure you have enough food if you go trekking for multiple days. We have begun the hike impulsively and had to go back after four days because we ran out of food on the plateau.
WHERE TO START YOUR HIKE
The area is accessible from every side of the National Park. Most of the hikes start or end in Finse or Geilo in the north, Haukeliseter or Rjukan in the south and Eidfjord, Odda or Kinsarvik in the west. We have begun our hike in Øvre Eidfjord which is a small village 6km south of Eidfjord.
We recommend everyone to visit the Hardangervidda Natursenter in Øvre Eidfjord. In this information center, you get interesting facts about the history of Norway and how people lived in the area. Learn about the climate, flora and fauna, and see a short 180° panorama movie of beautiful shots made in the national park.
From Øvre Eidfjord, the Hardangervidda is easily accessible by following a 10km long winding road uphill. You can also reach Vøringsfossen from here, one of Norway’s highest waterfalls.
WHERE TO SLEEP
There are plenty of trails on the plateau, all clearly marked with the red letter T painted on rocks, trees, signs, etc. By following these marked trails, you’ll come across multiple staffed and self-service cabins. The staffed lodges serve food, have showers and electricity, but are only open from June till Mid-September. Self-service cabins have all the supplies a trekker would need for cooking and sleeping, here you’ll just have to fill in a form and pay what you have used.
Travel Tip: Always bring a local map to know where to find the cabins!
To get the real experience and have more freedom, we suggest bringing a tent. This is also just in case if you don’t make it to the cabin before dark. Camping is legal in Norway. You can camp everywhere you like as long as you keep at least 150 meters distance from a house, don’t leave your trash and respect the nature.
OTHER ACTIVITIES TO DO IN THE HARDANGERVIDDA AREA
Besides hiking the plateau of the Hardangervidda, there are multiple other cool things to do in the area.
VØRINGSFOSSEN, THE HIGHEST WATERFALL OF NORWAYPhoto by Guttorm Flatabø CC BY 2.0
ENJOY A BREATHTAKING VIEW ON THE TROLLTUNGA
HIKE THE FOLGEFONNA GLACIERPhoto by Hogne Hundvebakke CC BY 2.0
TAKE A BOAT TRIP ON THE HARDANGERFJORDPhoto by Victor Velez CC BY 2.0
Featured image by Tristan Taussac