Coastal mountains — summit trips
The fantastic mountain, fjord and island landscapes along the coast of Nordland and Troms offer summit trips. Some summits are 200-300 m (656-984 ft) high and can be reached in one hour. Others are over 1000 m (3280 ft) and can take a full day. However, the pattern is the same; there is a steep ascent through the birch trees and up a bare mountain. When you finally reach the top, it is time to take a proper break for coffee, change your sweaty shirt and admire the view above the mountains, fjords and sea. There follows a steep descent, preferably back the same way. Summit trips are very popular among the locals, and there are numerous marked trails.
- Torghatten: The mountain with a hole through it
- De syv søstre (The Seven Sisters) mountain range: Seven summits. Do one or all seven
- Per Karlsatind: One of the peaks of the Børvasstindan mountain ridge in Bodø
- Hermannsdalstinden Mountain: The highest mountain in Western Lofoten (Vest-Lofoten).
- Stetind Mountain: The national mountain of Norway. Only for the toughest people!
- Møysalen Mountain: From here you can see a lot of the Cap of the North
- Aunfjellet Mountain: An easy walk with beautiful views of Harstad
- Segla Mountain: Extensive sea views of Senja
- Tromsdalstinden Mountain: See all the way to the Lyngen Alps (Lyngsalpene) across the water
The Finnmark coast — easier hiking with extensive views
You would think that the most northerly hikes in Norway were some of the most extreme. That is not the case at all. The landscape on the Finnmark coast is lower and more round with soft, springy heather underfoot, which means that the walks here are among the easier ones. Weather conditions are liable to change, however, so good-quality clothing is vital. You can follow marked trails to viewpoints and headlands, to abandoned fishing villages and natural formations. The sparse vegetation does not impede your view of the sea, and the wind keeps mosquitoes at bay.
- The Kjøttvikvarden navigation marker: 20 km (12 miles) of coastline with wonderful sea views
- The Knivskjellodden peninsula: Further north than the North Cape!
- Finnkirka cliff: A pleasant walk to a beautiful sea cliff
Nordkalottruta (The Arctic Trail) — only for the toughest people!
Nordkalottruta is an 800-km (500-mile) long hiking trail that leads through the mountains between Norway, Finland and Sweden. It starts in Kautokeino, goes through national parks such as Reisa, Øvre Dividal and Rohkunborri and ends in Sulitjelma. It crosses national borders ten times. The route is well marked, but there is no infrastructure along the trail, and the distance between huts is so great that you need to bring your own tent. This makes this trail only suitable for very experienced hikers.
Nordlandsruta and Oktindan trail — quiet and magnificent
Nordlandsruta is a 550-km (340-mile) long trail that goes from Bjørnfjell near Narvik to Børgefjell National Park and mainly follows the Swedish border south to the undisturbed wilderness. There is no infrastructure here either, but there are lots of huts. Okstindan is a particularly wild mountainous area just south of the Arctic Circle. There are lots of huts including the new Rabothytta that makes this wild natural area fairly accessible.
The Finnmark Plateau
The slightly hilly Finnmark Plateau is mainly unmarked and does not have any roads. Most people who come here do so for fishing. If you want to explore this area, you should be an experienced walker and be able to carry a tent and all the equipment you need.
The cultural trails are at the easy end of the scale. They take in archaeological sites, the remains of old settlements, war memorials, geology and botany. Most of them are easy to walk, and some of them have a universal design that makes them suitable for wheelchair users.
- Rallarveien: An easy walk on the construction road of the Ofotbanen railway
- The island of Engeløya: The Iron Age, the Viking Age and the Middle Ages in the cultural landscape
- Slettnes Lighthouse: Ancient cultural landscape on the Finnmark coast
Svalbard — hiking with rifles
This archipelago between the North Cape and the North Pole is polar bear country. If you venture outside the city of Longyearbyen, you risk ending up as dinner for one or more polar bears. Therefore you must be armed with a rifle when in this terrain. Rifles are only rented out to people who have documentation of their shooting skills. Overnight accommodation requires tripwire around the camp, a polar bear guard throughout the night and a number of other measures. Hiking on your own is only an option if you have had extensive experience in the Arctic. Fortunately, there are organised tours with armed guides.
The snow starts to melt from the Nordland coast in April. In June you can get to most places in Northern Norway, even if you have to walk through some snow. Many people avoid the forests and marshlands in July because of mosquitoes, but this is not such a problem in coastal areas. August and September are nice months for walking in Northern Norway.
- www.ut.no is a website with route planners
- Den Norske Turistforening (The Norwegian Trekking Association) (DNT) has lots of information. NB! This is a member organisation, and you must be a member in order to use their huts.