A vertigo tour of Norway

View of trolltunga in Hardanger, Norway.

View of trolltunga in Hardanger, Norway.

Five hikes throughout the country that will take your breath away.

Are you heading to Norway this fall? Do what the Norwegians do, and make time for a hike. September in Norway is beautiful and mild, making it a perfect month for outdoor lovers to gather at the summit.  These hikes highlight some of Norway’s most spectacular scenery, and will give you an exciting feeling of vertigo; however, they aren’t so demanding that you need any fancy climbing gear. Here is a list of five summits that are worth visiting.

Kjeragbolten

Kjeragbolten is a large stone that has stuck fast between two steep mountains on the plateau Kjerag. This hike draws thousands of tourists annually from around the world, and for good reason: the view takes your breath away. At the top you can see 3,300 feet straight down into the fjord. This spectacular natural attraction is not for people who are afraid of heights.

The hike begins from the Lysefjorden Tourist Cabin, which is easily accessible by a tourist ferry from Stavanger, Lauvvik or Forsand. Hiking trails begin from the parking lots, and the trip takes about three hours.

Preikestolen (Pulpit Rock)

Preikestolen is one of the country’s most popular mountain hikes, and every year 100,000 Norwegians head out to the plateau, which boasts a 1,200 foot drop straight into Lysefjorden. It takes just under two hours to reach the top, and the climb is suitable for children. From Stavanger, it is easily accessible: take the ferry across the fjord to Tau, and busses are then available to Pulpit Rock Mountain Lodge, where hiking trails begin.

On the tongue of the mountain troll

Trolltunga (Troll’s Tongue) is a rock formation resembling a large tongue which hangs 1,150 feet above Ringedal Lake in the Hardanger district of Norway, located near the city of Bergen.

Both the spectacular views and the feeling of going out on a “precipice” cause the heart to skip a beat. Be careful; you do not want to fall down here!

From Skjeggedal, you can take the Mågelibanen (a funicular train) or follow the path along the track up to Mågeli summit. From here one should expect four or so hours of hiking to reach the Troll’s Tongue.

The trip can also be combined with an overnight at Reinaskorsbu. This is a small cabin a few hours from the Troll’s Tongue that sleeps six people. It is also a good starting point for further hiking trips in beautiful Hardanger.

Jotunheimen

Jotunheimen

On the peaks in Romsdal

Trolldinane (the Troll-Peaks) in Rauma, located in the county of Møre and Romsdal, consist of a series of summits, peaks and towers that stretch for miles out towards the edge of Romsdal Valley.

One thing all the hikes in this area have in common is that one gets a real “magasug” (A Norwegian word for vertigo) when one arrives at the edge of the Romsdal Valley. The best easy hikes—which are still somewhat heavy and demanding as far as ‘easy’ goes—go to Bruraskaret, Bretind and Mannen, three peaks in the area.

Mannen is a mountain of 3,900 feet, and it takes about 2.5 hours to reach it from the edge of the valley. The easiest way to access Mannen is to hike along the relatively gentle terrain in Alnes Valley, along the north side of Alnes Lake. The trip can be combined with a hike through Breitind, where one can also add a sidetrip to Børa, another mountain that sits about 3,300 feet above the valley.

On top of Besseggen

One of Norway’s most popular hikes is the trip to Besseggen in Oppland county.  About 30,000 people walk this trip each year! The stunning views of Jotunheimen and the steep passages give one a sense of mastery, though the hike it not too challenging. The terrain is varied enough to be interesting, but also relatively easy. The last hill before the summit is quite steep, but it can be easily completed without climbing equipment. The hike gives a wide-open, airy feel with the green Lake Gjende 1,300 feet down on the one hand, and the deep blue Bess Lake on the other.

The Besseggen runs between two tourist lodges, Gjendesheim and Memurubu. Besseggen is 10 miles long and the highest point lies at 5,700 feet above sea level. Allow about eight hours for the entire hike.

Source: Kelsey Larson for The Norwegian American Weekly

This article originally appeared in the Sept. 27, 2011 issue of the Norwegian American Weekly. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (800) 305-0271.

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