Top 5 fjord hikes in Norway
Welcome to fjord Norway, one of the most impressive places in the world to hike. Norway is a big country, full of beauty and some hidden gems. If you are going to be visiting Norway for four days, or up to two weeks, we want you to focus on the best fjord hikes that are within close reach. Our goal with this post is for you to spend most of your time on the trail or in the Norwegian villmark, and less time in the rental car. These top five hikes are our personal favourite tours off the beaten track. These tours below have arguably the most powerful pristine nature on the west coast of Norway.
The hike to Kiellandbu is accessible, moderate in terms of difficulty, sees limited traffic, and has varied mountain scenery and immensely beautiful views. This makes Kiellandbu the perfect introduction to Fjord hiking. During this trip we pass lovely rivers, mountain farms, colourful mountain flowers accompany us along the way, and sheep graze peacefully in the meadows. At the top, you will have a breathtaking view of the Hardangerfjord and the Folgefonna glacier. Kiellandbu – read the full description here
The charming cabin called Kiellandbu is a real gem, too. Spectacularly positioned on the edge of a steep hillside, it offers both a cosy shelter and a unique view of the wild and pristine fjord nature. It is possible to sleep inside. It is managed by the touring club of Bergen, Bergen Utferdslag, but in the high season, it will require pre-booking. A good English source for booking is hard to find. Here is the touring club’s email address
Kiellandbu – trip details Total distance: Around 12 km. Estimated time: Around 6h car to car. Total elevation gain: 350 meters. Difficulty: Medium (Blue). Family-friendly: Yes, for kids over eight years old.
Find the ut.no/kart hiking map to the cabin here.
Standing tall and proud, the mountain named Oksen (1241) provides the best view of the whole Hardanger region. From its peak, we get an exceptional birds-eye perspective of four surrounding fjords, two glaciers, the impressive Hardanger bridge and the Hardanger villages. Oksen – read the full description here.
Oksen is situated at the intersection of the four fjords called Sørfjorden, Granvinsfjorden, Eidfjorden and the main Hardangerfjord. Only a few other viewpoints can match the magnificent view of the fjords nature on top of Oksen. Getting to the starting point of this hike is a rewarding experience in itself. Spread out along the winding road, peaceful fruit farms and small settlements dot the beautiful landscape. The hike to Oksen is steep and strenuous, but you don’t need to go all the way to the top to enjoy the views.
Oksen trip details in short. Estimated total distance: 10-12 km (depending on route alternative). Estimated duration: 6 hours car to car, including breaks. Total ascent: 1000 – 1200 meters, depending on route alternative. Trip grading: Moderately strenuous (Red). Some steep sections in rough terrain. Patches of snow. Family-friendly: To the mountain farm at Vindhovden: Yes. Complete trip: No.
Find the ut.no/kart map here for the hike to Oksen.
Nærøyfjorden (The Narrow Fjord) is one of the most spectacular fjords in western Norway. Snowy mountains loom high above this narrow strip of greenish-blue water, shedding meltwater in cascades down the sheer cliffs. The unique natural scenery and cultural landscape have granted this region a well-deserved spot on the UNESCO list of World Heritage sites. The hike on the historical Rimstigen trail brings you to the heart of the fjord, far above the main touristic boat lines, into a unique natural environment. Rimstigen – read the full description here.
Rimstigen is an ancient trail used by the farmers of the fjords to reach their mountain pastures in the summer. It is steep and short and brings you from wonders to wonders. We start at the very bottom of the fjord, at sea level, and climb up a steep forested mountain side, up to a Garden-of-Eden-like hanging valley: Rimstigbotnen, at more than 700m over sea level. The hike is short in kilometres but intense. There is a reasonably good path all the way to the top, but do not get fooled, the path gets airy and strenuous at parts, especially when wet. Do you want a more challenging and spectacular version of Rimstigen? Read the Breiskrednosi description below. Find the ut.no/kart map here for this hike.
Rimstigen basic trip details Estimated total distance: 7 km. Estimated total duration: 5 hours car to car, including breaks. Total ascent: 750 meters. Trip grading: Challenging (Red). Family-friendly: Yes, suitable for kids aged 9 and above.
The Breiskrednosi hike is the most technical, strenuous and spectacular hike on this list. The viewpoint at the top of Breiskrednosi trek is probably the most spectacular viewpoint above the fjords in Norway. It starts with Rimstigen, see description above, but continues all the way to the steepest and wildest mountain top over the Nærøyfjoden 1189 meters above the fjord. At WildVoss, we guide all the mountains in this list both as summer hikes and as ski trips. Several of the mountains on this list can be achieved on your own by experienced hikers that are used to Norwegian conditions; however, when it comes to Breiskrednosi, we cannot emphasize enough that you will need a competent mountain guide by your side. Breiskrednosi – read the full description here
Once we hike beyond Rimstigen, the path disappears and nature gets wild and full of contrasts. From the lush green grass near the fjord to the barren mountain plateau partly covered under patches of snow. Fiercely steep, rocky sections followed by gentler slopes with grooves of mountain birches. Splashing creeks, waterfalls and rivers are all around us. Breiskrednosi hike will be the highlight of your visit to Norway. Here you will understand what Norwegian nature means to us.
Breiskrednosi trip details Total distance: About 18 kilometres. Estimated total duration: 9-10 hours. Elevation gain: 1450 meters. Trip grading: Expert – black. Steep paths, rough terrain, river crossings, snow fields. A couple of exposed sections. Exposed during bad weather. Suitable for families: No.
Bonus hike: Sverrestigen
Sverrestigen is a bonus hike, and in a way, it should not really belong to this list, because, well, you will not see any fjord from its top. However, it is extremely close to Voss, very accessible by the train and offers something different. The trail itself is very fun. It has a section that is steep and playful. You will scramble along a fixed rope and cross some exposed slabby sections in the first part of the hike. Any experienced hiker can manage this trek, but you will definitely get an airy feeling at a couple of places. You will not see any fjords, but it is a beautiful way of discovering the valley of Raundalen and the steep gorge over the Raundals river. Sverrestigen – Full description
Raundalselvi is considered the most spectacular river in Norway, not only by hardcore kayakers on YouTube, but its special geology creates exceptional turquoise waters and plenty of potholes suitable for swimming given the right conditions. Some places are so clear that you can see the trouts swimming several meters under you. You may have come to Voss for the Fjords, but the valley of Raundalen and its river system have some serious wow potential. The hike to Sverrestigen can be managed in half a day, which leaves you the afternoon free to enjoy the river.
If this was not enough, Sverrestigen has an exciting backstory that goes all the way back to the Viking times, that is also why we named this hike the Viking trail. Sverrestigen reaches the top of a mountain with a lower elevation than the rest of the hikes, which makes it more appropriate, early and late in the season, when the other peaks are still covered in snow.
Looking to avoid the tourist trap:
When you saw this list perhaps you thought: Where is Trolltunga? what about Preikestolen? Well, those are probably the two most visited hikes in Norway for tourists, the most promoted and the most hyped on Instagram. For this reason, we have decided to leave them out of the list. If you have come so far researching about hiking in Norway, you have most likely already read about those treks. They tick a lot of boxes, perhaps too many, and that is why they can get horrendously crowded. Perhaps for some tourists that are used to going to big sites with a lot of people, or are used to being in queues, this is not a big deal. But for us, being a small local guiding company, we believe that is just the opposite of what we believe it means to spend time in nature. We do not want to recommend the same hike that cruise tourists do. So in our selection of top 5 fjord hikes, you can expect to be out of the mass tourism circuit, and you can even have a good chance of having the hike just for yourself.
Where to start your trip:
The perfect starting point for your trip is Voss. Why? Well, Voss is in between the two most spectacular fjords of Norway; Hardanger and Sognefjord, as is very well communicated by train to Bergen and Oslo, the two main airports of Norway. The train is reliable, fast, comfortable and is often considered among the most spectacular train rides in the world. From Voss and using the train, you have access to world-class hiking without needing a car. Voss is a mountain town and the extreme sports capital of Norway. Here is the land of the superlatives with its impressive waterfalls, river systems, dramatic cliffs over the fjords, the farming landscape, accessible glaciers…Well, a very distilled version of what makes Norway, Norway. This means that you won’t only access some of the best Norwegian fjord hikes, but you’ll have access to world-class kayaking, rafting, rock climbing, mountain biking and paragliding. Some of those activities work well for the rest days or can be great family plans.
We hope that you have enjoyed this list and that you got the chance to manage some of its hikes. We have made a similar content page concerning the best fjord hikes around Voss. Let us know in the comments which was your favourite tour and why!
Takk for turen.
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