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Baltic Travel Blog

Hiking and Kayaking Adventure in Norway

Posted on October 16th, 2019.

Hiking in Norway can sound like a wonderful experience, but before going to commit to any hiking trip, you must evaluate yourself, your abilities and expectations. Norwegians laugh – if you see the hiking trail description labelled as ‘Easy’, it doesn’t mean that it will always be the truth. It means this is ‘Norwegian’ Easy and it would probably be considered medium for regular travellers.  I would advise to get the best possible travel itinerary suitable to your fitness level and expectations. For me it was one of the most difficult trips I’ve ever done, and it was quite challenging. However, it was definitely worth it for all the views I managed to see in less than a week.

Besseggen, Jotunheimen National Park

DAY 1.

It is very convenient to travel to Oslo from most UK airports. Flights usually are at a good rate and the journey takes approx. 2 hours. Norwegian public transport is very well developed to reach the smallest villages and for those who are not able to drive a hired car, it is the best available opportunity to travel around the country.

Arriving in Oslo International airport, you can take an express train to Oslo city center or a direct bus to Beitostolen, where we were dropped right by Bygdin Mountain hotel for our two nights’ stay. The journey took around 4 hours, but it was very pleasant in a new, comfortable coach with scenic views around. After all day travelling, we settled in our cosy traditional rooms, at the hotel built in 1897, and had a delicious Norwegian dinner.

View from Bygdin Mountain Hotel

Dinner at the Bygdin Mountain Hotel

DAY 2.

This was the big day for our first hiking experience – Besseggen trail in Jotunheimen National Park. Besseggen is one of the most spectacular and popular hiking trails in Norway, where 60,000 people hike every year in a short season from June to September. Along the way you pass the dark blue and emerald green of Bessvatn and Gjende lakes. You reach an altitude of 1,743 meters, and usually it takes 7-9 hours from the start to the end. Besseggen ridge is on the halfway and it is quite narrow and steep. I would not recommend for those who are afraid of heights or are at the low fitness level. There is a part of the ridge, where you have to literally climb on the rocks. The trail level is stated as difficult and I would not recommend it for hiking beginners. There are several steep parts of the way and the end of the trail goes down for a few kilometers, so you have to save some energy for the last few hours especially!

Hiking on the Besseggen

Besseggen Ridge

DAY 3.

Snow welcomed us today and it was quite interesting to see snowing in the first week in September, even when I’m originally from the country with cold and snowy winters. It is hard to predict the weather in Norway. The weather changes often, and especially for the hiking days, and you have to take many different types of clothing. In the morning you might be wearing a winter jacket and by the afternoon you will be taking the layers off, keeping only a T-Shirt.

Snow in September

After yesterday’s demanding hike, I was absolutely exhausted, and I skipped the Glacier hike in Uranosbreen. After the rest of the group came back from today’s hiking, they said they couldn’t go on the glacier due to the windy and bad weather. It wasn’t safe enough to complete the hike. We had a shorter day outside also because we moved to another village for our one-night stay in Filefjellstuene Hotel, surrounded by mountains and waterfalls. The village is popular for hiking in the summer and skiing in the winter, as there is a skiing resort Tyin nearby.

Near Utladalen

View from Filefjellstuene Cabin

DAY 4.

Today we were supposed to go on a 4-hour hike at the King’s Road. We were very unfortunate as it was raining heavily all day. Our plans had to be amended and we drove to different locations for a few shorter walks. At first, we went to see the 800 year-old Viking church in Borgund. As being a church-fan, it was very interesting to hear the stories about the church life, built centuries ago!

Borgund Stave Church

We had an introduction with King’s Road (Kongavegen), and I found it especially interesting. It was a bit of a pity that we couldn’t hike longer, and we had a short walk just in one of the trail parts. The King’s Road is a historical hiking trail over Filefjell, the first road linking Western and Eastern Norway. Norwegian King Sverre used to travel this road with his army in XII century. Usually, experienced hikers do a multi-day hike, staying at the basecamp and those who wish just to experience a shorter hike, can combine it in a self-drive itinerary or by using public shuttle bus.

King’s Road

After a guided introduction at King’s Road we headed to the city called Laerdal, which is a small town, surrounded by fjords and mountains. After a packed lunch and some free time for shopping we took a boat from Aardal to Ovre Ardal. The MS Tya boat was used in 1950’s as a transportation between the nearest villages and as an emergency boat, to bring patients to the doctor. Thirteen children were born on this boat! The boat has been brought back to the Aardal this year and being used as a tourist attraction. I highly recommend the experience!

40 minutes on the boat and we reached the Indre Ofredal accommodation – very basic, very traditional and with a very warm welcome by hosts. Indre Ofredal was the first post office with only one phone line in the area back in the day. They also have an old windmill which is under reconstruction at the moment.

Laerdal

MS Tya Boat

Indre Ofredal

The Old Windmill at Indre Ofredal

DAY 5.

This beautiful day started with very informative and friendly Norwegian kayaking guide Touriin. She taught us how to put on the dry suits, how to use a life vest and how to adjust kayak for comfortable paddling. I would say this was the best day and the best experience in Norway so far. 7 km kayaking in a peaceful fjord with some drizzle and sunshine at the same time. It was a very pleasant experience, not difficult to learn paddling and it is suitable for beginners too.

Kayaking Experience

After a wonderful morning in a fjord, we had a transfer to the point where we had to hike 1 hour to our last night’s accommodation – Vetti Gard. It has been an important place for mountaineers since the early XIX century. The farm is open during the summer season and has 13 rooms and 30 beds in total. Be aware of shared facilities! Only 1 hour hiking further from Vetti Gard and you will reach an exquisite place with the tallest waterfall in Northern Europe called Vettifossen. It felt like a magical place with only the sound of water cascading down the cliff.

Vetti Gard

Vettifossen Waterfall

Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions about hiking in Norway.

 

Julija Leliunaite,

Baltic Travel Company ( all rights reserved )

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