Norway is a country full of contrasts, and a hiking tour on one of the stunning glaciers will provide a once in a lifetime experience.
Glacier hiking is for experienced travelers, and always remember to have professional guides and the right equipment. Make sure to inform friends or family where you are heading and when you expect to return.
Here are six glacier tours around Norway:
1) Fannaråken Glacier (Luster in Sogn og Fjordane County, 6,785 feet / 2,068 meters)
Fannaråkbreen is covered by snow, but below the surface, the ice masses are moving and therefore it is necessary to use a rope and a guide.
The rout is quite steep, and ends up at the Fannaråkhytta cabin. In good weather, the view is spectacular.
During the summer season, there are daily tours on the Fannaråk glacier. Pre-booking required, either in Fannaråkhytta, Krossbu or Sognefjellhytta.
2) Folgefonna National Park (Hardanger in Hordaland County, 210 square miles / 545 square kilometers)
The over 100-year-old Keiserstien (English: Emperor Trail) from Sunndal is the most exciting road to Folgefonna, from Bondhus Valley and up to the mountains and the glacier.
In the summer, there are daily trips from Fonnabu (pre-booking required). The tour over the glacier takes about three hours. It is a lifetime experience with great views of the surrounding landscape of Sørfjorden and Hardangervidda mountain plateau.
3) Jostedalsbreen Glacier (Sogn og Fjordane County, 188 square miles / 487 square kilometers)
Jostedalsbreen is the largest glacier in continental Europe with a total height of 6,834 feet (2,083 meters).
From Tungestølen lodge, you walk five kilometers on the long trail onto the glacier. On the way into the glacier plateau, you can study the many interesting formations of blue ice.
Ice falls Loke, Odin and Thor have been called “the finest ice scenery in Europe”. From Thor you can hear bouldering ice avalanches constantly, while Loke and Odin is quieter. Only recommended for experienced glacier travelers.
4) Gjegnalundsbreen Glacier (Sogn og Fjordane County, 0.5 square miles / 13 square kilometers)
Gjegnalundsbreen is an unknown treasure. The tour starts from Hope, with a solid uphill up to Gjegnabu cabin, a wonderful lodge shaped like a polygonal pyramid tent.
The distinctive shelf formations in the area makes the trip exciting and relatively challenging.
From Gjegnen mountain, you can see the Norwegian Sea and neighboring glacier Ålfotbreen in the west and Jostedalsbreen in the east. From there, the route goes over the Gjegnalund Glacier and down into the lush Skjerdalen valley – a secluded area with ancient pine trees, sheer mountains, beautiful lakes and steep waterfalls.
5) Fresvikbreen Glacier (Sogn og Fjordane County, 5.8 square miles / 15 square kilometers)
Fresvikbreen is located on the south side of Sognefjorden and is part of Nærøyfjorden protected area, which has World Heritage status. The highest point is 5,407 feet (1,648 meters) above sea level.
The summer provides unique experiences along the hiking routs, and one must have the necessary equipment and knowledge when walking in these challenging areas.
One can start walking from the lovely village of Fresvik, located on the southern shore of Sognefjorden, just west of where Aurlandsfjorden joins Sognefjorden.
6) Svartisen (Nordland County, 142 square miles / 396 square kilometers)
Svartisen is a collective term for two glaciers located in northern Norway: Western (85 square miles /221 square kilometers) and Eastern (57 square miles / 148 square kilometers) glacier.
On the western Svartisen, the Norwegian Trekking Association’s cabin Tåkeheimen is located – aka “Institute for inappropriate weather”. If you are lucky, you can experience the glacier in good weather with a formidable view.
Take the boat from Holand to Engen. From here, you can either walk four kilometers to the foot of Engabreen, or rent a bicycle on the boat.
The walk takes about four hours from the boat to the cabin. A trip to Helgelandsbukken is recommended. The blue ice of Engabreen is also an amazing experience with daily guided tours.
Text by: Anette Broteng Christiansen, ThorNews