This epic journey loops around a key section of Norway hitting up some of the best hikes in the country. Equipped with a sturdy rental car, make your way to several peaks, fjords, waterfalls, and national parks, with stops in scenic villages, farms, and UNESCO-listed monuments. Start and end the trip in seaside Bergen with time to enjoy the city's vibrant culture—and, of course, hiking trails in the surrounding hills.

Highlights

  • Kick-off on a high note with a challenging hike to Trolltunga or "Troll's Tongue"
  • Stay in a range of charming hotels offering local food and hospitality 
  • Work your way to the top of Norway's tallest peak in Jostedalsbreen National Park
  • Accomplish a number of trails on the Lusterfjord with forests, rivers, and waterfalls
  • Finish on a trail near Bergen that has 900 steps built by sherpas from Nepal

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Bergen Bergen
Day 2 Pick-Up Rental Car - Drive to Odda Odda
Day 3 Trolltunga Hike - Return to Odda Odda
Day 4 Hiking in the Hardangerfjord - Drive to Haugastøl Haugastøl
Day 5 Hiking in Hardangervidda National Park Haugastøl
Day 6 Drive to Geilo - Afternoon Hike Geilo
Day 7 Hike to Geilohovda - Return to Geilo Geilo
Day 8 Drive to Garmo, via Lillehammer Garmo
Day 9 Hiking in Jotunheimen National Park - Return to Garmo Garmo
Day 10 Drive to Solvorn, via Loen & Ornes Solvorn
Days 11-13 Hiking in the Lusterfjord - Return to Solvorn Solvorn
Day 14 Drive to Bergen, via Flåm Bergen
Day 15 Hiking in Bergen - Return Rental Car Bergen
Day 16 Depart Bergen  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Bergen

Walk to Bergen's historic waterfront
Walk to Bergen's historic waterfront

Welcome to Bergen! Situated on Norway's west coast, this wharf city of about 300,000 residents (one of the oldest port cities in Europe) is surrounded by ocean, mountains, and fjords, including Sognefjord, the country’s longest and deepest. Rich in culture and seafaring history, Bergen boasts a vast selection of cultural and outdoorsy activities.

A few suggestions for your first day:

  • Be sure to take the Fløibanen funicular (or hike the trail on foot) to the top of Mount Fløyen—one of Bergen's seven peaks—for the best views of the city, and take a leisurely stroll back down the path while discovering hidden troll sculptures along the way.
  • Check out the Bryggen area of downtown to view old wooden houses dating back to the 1700s (a protected UNESCO World Heritage Site), along with Bergen's best historical sites and museums. For a rest, stop in one of the charming local cafés and bakeries.

The cobblestoned streets are compact and walkable, so get out and explore Bergen's lively restaurants and nightlife, thanks in part to a young student population.

Day 2: Pick-Up Rental Car - Drive to Odda

Fjord-side view of Odda
Fjord-side view of Odda

Today marks the first day of the road trip! After breakfast at your hotel in Bergen, you'll pick up your rental car and make the drive to Odda (3 hours).  Keep your camera close as you'll pass some beautiful scenery along the way. 

Upon arrival, check into your hotel and explore the surroundings. This pretty town on a mountain plateau is a popular base for outdoor adventurists who are hiking in the Hardanger region and taking advantage of the area's glaciers, waterfalls, and fjords in Folgefonna National Park. Odda offers great bars, urban coffee shops, and unique restaurants in and around town, like the Floating Bear, and nearby Tjødnadalen, where you can experience organic dining at a working farm.

Day 3: Trolltunga Hike - Return to Odda

Trolltunga or
Trolltunga or "Troll's Tongue"

After an early breakfast in Odda, you'll drive 10 miles (17 km) to Skeggedal to begin a monumental 8- to 10-hour hike to Trolltunga—one of the most popular hikes in Norway.

Following signs, work your way through various sections of this epic trail culminating with the ferrata himelstigen or ladder to heaven. Here, you will reach the famous Trolltunga, or troll's tongue—a smooth rock formation jutting out over Lake Ringedalsvatnet. The views both during the hike and from the top are spectacular and among the most photographed in the country. 

It is advised that you bring sturdy hiking boots, extra layers, and rainwear, as well as a map, compass, torch, first-aid kit, and plenty to eat and drink. Weather in these high mountains can change quickly—check the latest weather forecast before beginning the climb to Trolltunga. (Do not start the hike with strong wind, fog, or heavy rain, as it is always worse in the mountains than down by the fjord.)

Once you've completed this accomplishment, return to Odda and treat yourself with dinner and drinks in the town's restaurants and pubs.

Day 4: Hiking in the Hardangerfjord - Drive to Haugastøl

Waterfalls in the Husedalen valley area
Waterfalls in the Husedalen Valley

After a relaxing breakfast in Odda, it's time to explore the Hardangerfjord, which offers more scenic drives and plenty of hiking opportunities. 

For instance, the trail through the Husedalen Valley offers spectacular scenery with four gorgeous waterfalls in a row: Tveitafossen, Nykkjesøyfossen, Nyastølsfossen, and Søtefossen. From the first waterfall to the last and back, it takes 5-6 hours, but you can also take a shorter hike, starting in the center of Kinsarvik

In the afternoon, continue a relaxing journey towards Haugastøl (3 hours) where you will stay within close proximity to two national parks: Hallingskarvet and Hardangervidda. This is an area well-known for its hiking and mountain biking trails, as well as whitewater rafting, fishing, and horseback riding. 

This scenic route is a path that has been used for hundreds of years and crosses the biggest mountain plateau in Northern Europe. Here you will see the original cart tracks from centuries ago, dramatic mountains, lush valleys, fjords, and glaciers in the distance. The Hardangervidda also boasts one of the largest populations of wild reindeer in Europe, so keep your camera close. 

Along the drive, you can stop in the village of Eidfjord and visit the Vøringfossen waterfall. This is an easy 30-minute hike up to one of the most spectacular waterfalls in all of Norway, and well worth the trip, especially with its rare and beautiful flora. Once you’ve reached the high mountain plateau, you will experience a stunning panorama with the Hardangerjøkulen glacier in the background.

Day 5: Hiking in Hardangervidda National Park

A mountain road in the Hardangervidda National Park
A mountain road in the Hardangervidda National Park

Today, after breakfast, you'll have a free day to enjoy the Hardangervidda area. This is Norway's largest national park and you could walk for days amongst a network of marked trails. Keep in mind that the hiking season here starts at the end of June and lasts until the snow arrives. 

Suggested hikes in this area include:

  • Haugastøl to Bjørnabu (3 hours one way): The hike starts at the sharp bend on RV7, about 650 feet (200 m) east of the railway bridge on Haugastøl. Look for the sign marked with a DNT sign for Raggsteindalen and an info board and directional sign in the parking area. You can choose whether you would rather follow the mountain wall to the junction where you turn sharp left. This is where you'll meet the path that continues along Tjørngravtjørn north to a sign and board chart. The trail from here is marked with a direction sign, while the path further north is clear, marked with red "T" (DNT path). 
  • Haugastøl to Krækkja, via Trestiklan (5 hours one way): Follow the RV7 route past the accommodation Haugastøl, and further through a cottage field to a construction road. Then continue on the steep uphill T-path and continue further down to Trestiklan. The trail continues around the waters on the north side and south to the headland to Fagerheim and Tuva. From here you'll make your way further south-west to Krækkja. 

In the late afternoon, consider visiting more local towns in the area. Notable places that can easily be reached in your rental car include Dagali, Ustaoset, and Hol.

Day 6: Drive to Geilo - Afternoon Hike

Make some photo stops in and around Geilo

After a relaxing breakfast in Haugastøl, you can take your time and drive to Geilo (25 minutes) where you'll have the rest of the day to enjoy the surroundings.

A few hiking suggestions include:

  • Prestholt to Hallingskarvet: Once you reach the stone trailhead of Presthold, about 20 minutes from Geilo, you'll find a trail laid with stone up to the top of Prestholtskardet. From there, the path is cairn-marked up to Skarvsenden where there is a fantastic view. Then, continue downward toward Vesleskardet, where Sherpas built approximately 650 feet (200 m) of the trail in 2014, which makes it possible for everyone to get down the steep part without injury. The 4-mile (6.5 km) hike also passes an old hunting trap for wild reindeer. 
  • Geilo to Tuva (7 hours): Take the bus from Geilo to Tuva cabin and walk back to Geilo (15 miles/24 km). Tuva is one of Hardangervidda's oldest tourist cabins. After a coffee and filling meal of Norwegian waffles, you will start following the road towards Geilo with mountain views in every direction. 

Following your hike, return to Geilo and sample the town's restaurants and pubs.

Day 7: Hike to Geilohovda - Return to Geilo

View from the top of Geilohovda
View from the top of Geilohovda

Today, you'll accomplish another local hike with a nice round-trip route that starts from the center of Geilo.

This marked trail follows the pilgrimage up to the top of Geilohovda. You can see the signpost from the west side of the old Geilo cable car through a lovely birch forest. During this uphill climb, there are many benches along the way where you can stop to rest or enjoy a picnic. From the top of Geilohovda, you'll have stunning views all the way up to Hallingskarvet. Choose to turn around here, or continue and follow the ridge west over Gullsteinhovda to the end of Urundberget.

Following the hike, you can return to Geilo and enjoy the town any way you wish. Check out some great eateries in the mountains, some of which are open during summer months. 

Day 8: Drive to Garmo, via Lillehammer

Stop in Lillehammer for lunch, home of the 1994 Winter Olympics
Stop in Lillehammer for lunch, home of the 1994 Winter Olympics

After breakfast in Geilo, you'll make your way to the village of Garmo. A fun place to stop for lunch along the route is Lillehammer, a ski resort town in southern Norway and home to the 1994 Winter Olympics.  

Once you arrive in Garmo, enjoy the open and serene landscape as you come across endless vistas with excellent views towards the Jotunheimen National Park. The journey passes through summer farms in the mountain pastures where you will have the opportunity to stop and buy fresh produce, berries, and cheese varieties. Depending on the time of your arrival, you will also have the option to hike in Rondane National Park, and you can stop almost anywhere for a number of short hikes in these mountains. 

If you need a break from hiking, visit the Garmo Stave Church, located at the top of the hill near the entrance to the Open Air Museum. Constructed in the 11th century, this striking building has been extended several times, most recently in 1730 when it was given a characteristic cross shape. 

In the evening, explore dining options in the area, including the nearby town of Lom with its picturesque location along the Otta River.

Day 9: Hiking in Jotunheimen National Park - Return to Garmo

View from the top including Norway's tallest peak: Galhøpiggen
View from the top including Norway's tallest peak: Galhøpiggen

After breakfast in Garmo, head for the surrounding mountains and glaciers, of which there are enough trails to spend a week or more. Hiking in the area gives you the opportunity to choose between a range of different destinations; from easy and family-friendly to more extreme and advanced.

An obvious choice is Jotunheimen National Park, 'Home of the Giants', which is about an hour from Garmo. This is a largely undisturbed mountain area in Eastern Norway, covering an area of more than 2,100 miles. The mountain range is Norway’s most popular national park and includes the country’s two highest mountains Galdhøpiggen (more on this later) and Glittertind, as well as rivers, valleys, lakes, waterfalls, and more than 60 glaciers.

In fact, the area has the largest concentration of mountains (more than 275 summits) higher than 6,000 feet in Northern Europe and offers some of the most scenic hiking on the continent ranging from short strolls to difficult treks led by a private guide (optional). Please be careful and wear proper clothes, good hiking shoes and bring enough food and water.

A popular route is to ascend Galdhøpiggen (3 hours one way). This hike starts in a wooded area and leads you to the top of Norway's highest peak with wonderful variations in terrain and views. It is worth mentioning that the hike not only reaches one but three peaks, along with expansive views of Southern Norway on a clear day! At the top of the mountain, you will also find a stone cabin offering simple snacks and beverages during the high season.

There's also a challenging route that crosses the Juvassbren glacier with a guided rope team (reservations must be made in advance). Ice axes and crampons are not required, but the glacier is known for its snow bridges and concealed crevasses. It is, therefore, dangerous to cross the glacier without a rope team. 

Day 10: Drive to Solvorn, via Loen & Ornes

Ride the tramway in the village of Loen
Ride the tramway in the village of Loen

After breakfast in Garmo, it's time to make the drive to Solvorn located on the western shore of the Lustrafjord, the innermost part of the longest fjord in Norway (Sognefjord). Keep your camera close and try to get a window seat as this will be a beautiful drive through western Norway.

A recommended route is to drive through Loen where you can stop and have lunch. Depending on how much time you have, you can also ride the cable car, or skylift, in Loen with fantastic views of the surrounding mountains and fjords. 

As you reach Ornes, look for stands selling fresh raspberries (in season) and the UNESCO-listed Urnes Stave Church, dating back the 12th century, which is definitely worth a visit. From here you'll ride a short car ferry over to the historic village of Solvorn—your home-base for the next few nights. 

Days 11-13: Hiking in the Lusterfjord - Return to Solvorn

More trails near the Lusterfjord
Plenty of trails around the Lusterfjord

Over the next few days, you'll have the freedom to explore dozens of trails surrounding the Lusterfjord. This beautiful area is home to some of the most spectacular mountains in Norway, including Breheimen and Sognefjellet so there are plenty of options to choose from. 

A few suggested hikes include: 

  • Molden (4 hours): This trail focuses on a mountain called Molden, situated on a peninsula in the Lusterfjord. At the top of this well-marked trail, you will get a panoramic view to the fjord, Jostedal glacier and the mountain peaks of Jotunheimen.

  • Feigumfossen (4-5 hours): This scenic trail reaches one of the highest waterfalls in Norway with an impressive vertical drop.

  • Mørkrisdalen (5 hours): This trail heads through one of Southern Norway´s most spectacular, untouched valleys. You will walk along a big river with several scenic waterfalls for great photo ops.

Return to Solvorn each evening to relax after your day's adventures.

Day 14: Drive to Bergen, via Flåm

Stop at Stegastein Viewpoint and take in the views
Stop at Stegastein Viewpoint and take in the views

After breakfast in Solvorn, it's time to make the drive to Bergen (5 hours) along another beautiful arm of the Sognefjord called the Aurlandsfjord. Make sure to stop at the Stegastein Viewpoint for stunning photos—and, if energized, a short hike—and then continue to the fjord-side village of Flåm where you can stop and have lunch. 

From here, it's time to make your way back to Bergen where you'll have time to enjoy the urban dining scene!

Recommended restaurants include: 

  • Altona Vinbar & Kjøkken is Bergen's oldest known tavern.
  • Pingvinen is an intimate eater/bar in the heart of Bergen, featuring traditional Norwegian food.
  • Restaurant 1887 is a modern eatery in Bergen's old meat market.
  • Cornelius is one of Norway's best seafood restaurants.
  • BARE Vestland offers traditional western Norwegian food in a modern gastropub.
  • Skyskaperen is Bergen's highest restaurant, with spectacular views from the top of Mt. Ulriken.

Day 15: Hiking in Bergen - Return Rental Car

Bergen is famously surrounded by seven hills or mountains
Bergen is famously surrounded by seven hills or mountains

Today, you're free to enjoy Norway's second-largest city any way you'd like, with plenty of cultural opportunities and trails in the surrounding mountains. 

A popular activity is to hike Mt. Sandviken (2.5 hours), which includes a visit to Stoltzekliven—a local favorite consisting of 900 steps built by sherpas from Nepal. This trail is home to the steepest race in the world and features spectacular views from the top.

At some point, you'll return the rental car. From here, you can get around the city on foot or by purchasing a 24-Hour Bergen Card that will allow you free bus travel and free admittance to most museums (as well as other attractions). 

Day 16: Depart Bergen

A summer sunset in Bergen
A popular viewpoint in Bergen

It's time to say farewell to Norway! Enjoy your last moments in this beautiful city with a leisurely breakfast, neighborhood stroll, and/or souvenir shopping before you head to the airport for your return flight home.

Map

Map of Hiking in Southern Norway - 16 Days
Map of Hiking in Southern Norway - 16 Days