Norway is the jewel of Scandinavia. Here, one can explore incredible landscapes that range from dramatic fjords and coastlines to alpine peaks and vast wilderness areas.
With over 100,000 miles of well-marked hiking trails, the country offers beautiful scenery around every turn.
In this post, we’ll delve into the world of ultralight hiking and backpacking in Norway, providing tips to help you prepare for your upcoming outdoor adventure.
We’ll share the TOP 5 trails in Norway in two parts. The first is for day hikes under 30 miles, great for exploring in one day. The second is for longer multi-day trips.
Key Tips for Hiking and Backpacking in Norway
What to expect: Well-marked paths cross high-elevation plateaus, offering options for multi-day treks. While bare-bones mountain huts called turisthytter provide affordable overnight stays along routes, basic preparation for changeable weather, rugged terrain, and distances between villages is key to safely navigating Norway’s vast and scenic landscapes.
Essential gear: Wear layered clothes to stay warm and comfy in changing weather. Bring a waterproof jacket and pants for rain and wind. Remember to bring a topographical map and GPS or compass.
Wildlife: While rare, you should be aware of potential threats from brown bears, wolves, and adders. Bears inhabit forests in the south and east but avoid people unless with cubs. Wolves may be seen in remote eastern and northern areas and also avoid humans but could attack dogs. Adders, the only venomous snake, have a zig-zag pattern and are found coastally.
Wild camping is permitted in Norway thanks to the country’s allemansrätten or ‘right to roam’ laws. These laws allow people to camp anywhere in nature, even on private property, as long as you follow certain guidelines such as not camping too close to homes or for more than two days in one spot. However, there are some restrictions such as not being able to camp in cultivated lands or nature reserves without permission.
Best time to go is during the summer months of June through August. This allows you to take advantage of long days, warmer temperatures, and minimal precipitation. The mountainous regions are usually snow-free by mid-June, opening up trails and scenic vistas. However, be prepared for quickly changing weather even in summer. The shoulder seasons of May and September can also be good times to backpack Norway if you don’t mind cooler weather and some snow at higher elevations.
Top 5 Day Hikes (Under 30 Miles)
We’ve selected top day hiking trails where lightweight gear is especially handy:
Skjeggedal – Trolltunga (16 miles). See on AllTrails.
Trolltunga – Little Preikestolen (14.3 miles). See on AllTrails.
Vidden Hike from Ulriken to Fløyen (8.2 miles). See on AllTrails.
Flørli – Kjeragbolten – Månafossen (31.6 miles). See on AllTrails.
Annual Weather Averages
Norway has a varied climate, and the weather can change significantly depending on the region and the time of year:
Summer (June to August):
Temperature: Summer temperatures can range from 10 to 25 degrees Celsius (50 to 77 degrees Fahrenheit). Coastal areas tend to be milder, while inland areas may experience warmer temperatures.
Daylight: The days are long, and in the northern parts of Norway, you may experience the Midnight Sun, where the sun doesn’t set for an extended period.
Spring (April to May) and Autumn (September to October):
Temperature: Spring and autumn can be cooler, with temperatures ranging from 0 to 15 degrees Celsius (32 to 59 degrees Fahrenheit).
Weather: The weather can be more unpredictable, with occasional rain showers and cooler evenings.
Winter (November to March):
Temperature: Winters in Norway are cold, with temperatures often dropping below freezing, especially in the inland and northern areas. Coastal areas have milder winters.
Daylight: Winter days are short, and in the northern parts, you may experience the Polar Night, where the sun doesn’t rise for a period.
Before you grab your backpack and head outdoors, take a look at the weather statistics for Norway (Bergen):
Note: This table is approximate; weather can change with altitude. D* – Days of rain or snow.
Can I have a campfire while camping in Norway?
When camping in Norway’s wilderness areas, having a campfire requires consideration of fire safety regulations that vary depending on location and season. Fires are generally permitted year-round in designated fire grates at campgrounds but may be restricted on certain days in dry forests to prevent wildfires. Wild camping allows fires if a safe distance from vegetation and structures, using existing fire rings if available.
What are some safety tips for backpackers in Norway?
Backpackers exploring Norway’s vast wilderness areas should take some precautions to travel safely. They should ensure someone knows their route plans in case of emergencies in remote locales. Layers and extra warm clothing are critical given Scandinavia’s variable weather. A sleeping bag rated for cold temperatures allows comfortable rest during travels. Hikers should pack high-calorie foods to fuel multi-day treks through mountainous terrain. Basic skills like map navigation are important whether traveling or sleeping outdoors to avoid getting lost. Proper food storage removes attractants for potential wildlife encounters.
How to deal with wildlife encounters while hiking in Norway?
In the rare event of a brown bear sighting, do not run or climb trees, instead back away slowly and avoid direct eye contact. If charged, stand your ground and use bear spray. Wolves are typically afraid of people, so make noise on the trail and keep dogs leashed. To deter curious foxes and wolverines, brandish sticks and talk firmly. If you surprise an adder snake, keep a safe distance and go another way. Always report aggressive behavior to local authorities. By understanding basic wildlife behaviors and taking preventative measures, hikers can peacefully coexist with Norway’s diverse natural residents during outdoor exploration.