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Sunrise over Vrådal in Telemark. Photo: Text: Hans Kristian Krogh-Hanssen
Sunrise over Vrådal in Telemark. Photo: Text: Hans Kristian Krogh-Hanssen

Lifestyle

Take a hike as Norwegians do

Norwegians love hiking in their mountains more than anything else in the world. There are several very good reasons why.

Eight out of ten Norwegians go hiking in the country’s forests and mountains regularly, according to a survey by Statistisk Sentralbyrå (Statistics Norway). Hiking, and especially hiking in the mountains, in fact, seems to have been embedded in the Norwegian soul forever.

Norway is an El Dorado for people who love nature,” says Gunhild Aaslie Soldal, editor of the Norwegian outdoor living magazine UTE. “Mountains are within easy reach of all parts of the country, and there are vast stretches of wilderness that look different in each season. We also have over 83,000km of coastline, islands, rivers, lakes and deep forests. Thanks to the legal right to roam, we also have the constitutional right to spend time in nature, something that is unique in a world context. Unlike many other countries, you don’t need special permission to go hiking in the countryside in Norway.”

Galdhøpiggen Photo: GettyImages

Aaslie Soldal says that there are many ways to enjoy hiking in Norway.

 “If you are a mountain hiking beginner, it might be worth joining an organized tour with local tourist offices or with mountain guides. I also recommend taking advantage of the Norwegian Trekking Association’s (DNT) excellent cabin and trail network.”

This network consists of over 500 cabins and around 20,000 marked summer trails. The cabins are available to everyone. 

“Many foreign tourists are amazed at how the system operates,” Mette Øinæs Habberstad, Director of Communications at DNT, says. “There is no one there to take the money at the numerous unstaffed cabins; the door is open to everyone. You can expect good but simple accommodation in the cabin network and you will feel at one with nature. If you avoid the most popular locations, it’s easy to find tranquility and experience the calm of the mountains.” 

Text: Hans Kristian Krogh-Hanssen 

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