Top 4 National Parks in Norway You Should Absolutely Visit

Despite the beauty and marvelous historical sights of Norwegian cities (such as Oslo or Tromsø), it is the Norwegian nature that allures millions of tourists to this Scandinavian country every year. And national parks in Norway are among the best places for tourists to enjoy the nature of Norway! In this article, we will uncover the best national parks in Norway and how to get to these national parks from the country’s largest cities.

Jotunheimen National Park

Jotunheimen National Park in Norway

Bessegen ridge in Jotunheimen

Jotunheimen, which in translation means the “Home of the Giants,” is definitely one of the best national parks in Norway for tourists to visit. In fact, it is the country’s most popular and busiest park, with spectacular nature and startling wildlife. Hundreds of hiking trails in the park’s scenic valleys make it a wonderful location for trekkers – no wonder, though, that we added some of these routes to this list of the best hiking trails in Norway.

This national park was established back in 1980, and it covers an area of over one thousand square kilometers. Jotunheimen can boast to shelter hundreds of snow-capped peaks and over 60 glaciers, while majestic waterfalls are scattered throughout the area of this captivating park. But above all, this park is known thanks to the beautiful, snow-capped peak of Galdhøpiggen, the highest mountain of the entire Scandinavia.

How to get there:

  • From Oslo: there are 6 daily departures from Oslo by bus from Valdresekspressen, Fjordekspressen and Øst-VestXpressen, as well as 2 daily departures from Gardenmoen, the city’s main airport. You can take a train from Oslo to Otta and, thereafter, take a local bus to Jotunheimen.
  • From Bergen: Øst-VestXpressen offers daily bus departures from Bergen to Jotunheimen (in both directions).
  • From Trondheim: you can take a train from Trondheim to Otta and, after that, take a local bus to Jotunheimen.

Best things to see:

  • Galdhøpiggen. Hiking Scandinavia’s highest mountain is one of the main reasons why tourists usually come to Jotunheimen.
  • Bessegen ridge. Oftentimes considered as one of the most scenic hiking trails in Norway, you should surely hike this ridge and enjoy the captivating views of the mountains and fjords. The highest point of this ridge is 1,743 meters, and your hike is likely to take from 8 to 9 hours.
  • Bøverbreen. Norway’s largest glacier is a great place to try glacier hiking with professional guides.
  • Norwegian mountain center. Even though this center is located slightly from the Jotunheimen National Park (on the crossroads to the Reinheimen, Breheimen, and Jotunheimen national parks), this is a place you should absolutely visit. This center provides all necessary information about hikes and offers guided tours, as well as it holds some permanent and temporary exhibitions.
  • Sognefjellet (viewpoint). On your way to the Jotunheimen national park, don’t hesitate to stop at this scenic viewpoint and enjoy the views of the Jotunheimen’s gorgeous mountains.
  • Scenic roads: Sognefjellsvegen and Valdresflye. It is likely that on your way to the park, you will have to pass one of these roads. Don’t miss the captivating views and fantastic scenery.

Hardangervidda National Park

Hardangervidda National Park in Norway

Huts in Hardangervidda

The Hardangervidda National Park, or Hardangervidda Plateau, appears to be Norway’s largest national park and one of the most marvelous open spaces in Europe. In the area of over 10,000 square kilometers, visitors can find the richest variety of Arctic flora and fauna in the world. At the same time, a thought-out system of huts and good road connection make it really a very convenient location for hikers and skiers.

While the spaces never stop to impress, it is located completely above the tree line. Mountains, glaciers, boulders, rivers and lakes will accompany you in your adventure through this startling plateau. This national park is actually the place where you can find the southernmost Arctic flora and fauna in Norway.

While the terrain doesn’t make hiking in the park particularly easy, it does not tend to be especially difficult either. Dozens of well-trotted trails, plenty of wildlife and gorgeous mountains make this national park stand out even in Norway.

How to get there:

  • From Oslo: you can take a bus to either Geilo or Rjukan, good starting points for acquainting yourself with Hardangervidda. Alternatively, take Haukeliekspressen from Oslo to Haukeli. You may also take a train from Oslo to Bø (Telemark) and then catch the Haukelieksepressen to Rauland. Otherwise, you may take a train from Oslo to one of the following locations: Myrdal, Geilo, Ustaoset, Haugastøl or Finse.
  • From Bergen: you may take a bus from Bergen to Voss and then change to another bus from Voss to Eidfjord. Travelling by train, there are two options: 1) take a train to Voss and, thereafter, take a bus to Eidfjord; 2) take a train to one of the following towns: Myrdal, Geilo, Ustaoset, Haugastøl or Finse.

Best things to see:

  • Vøringsfossen. If you entry point to Hardangervidda is Eidfjord, you will surely drive through this majestic and, perhaps, Norway’s best-known waterfall. You will get especially spectacular views from the platforms next to Fossli Hotel, next to the 7 Norwegian Scenic Route Hardangervidda.
  • Hardangervidda National Park Center. Located just between Rjukan and Rauland (on the 37th road), this center provides extensive information about the wildlife of this plateau. Its interactive exhibitions are available in 10 languages, and a café with panoramic views is a place where you should definitely sip a coffee.
  • Gaustatoppen. One of the country’s most imposing and impressive mountains, this mount is located just some 15 kilometers away from Rjukan. On a sunny day, you can see 1/6 of the country from the top of this mountain. So, that’s not extraordinary that we added this mountain to our list of the top 10 peaks and hikes in Norway.

Folgefonna National Park

Folgefonna National Park in Norway

Buerbreen is within an easy reach from Odda

The Folgefonna national park is located not far from Hardangervidda and is particularly known for its Buer glacier (read how to hike to the Buer glacier). The park is located up high in the mountains and features three main glaciers: Nordre Folgefonna, Midtre Folgefonna and Søndre Folgefonna, which tend to be among the largest glaciers in the country.

While the flora and fauna do not generally thrive in such highlands, this park is an ideal location for hiking and trekking. As an example, you and your family may surely enjoy a hike to the Buer glacier – the entire route is equipped with ropes and wooden bridges, making the experience particularly rewarding.

There are many entry points to the park, some of which include Odda, Rosendal, Jondal, Agatunet and Åkrafjordtunet. Reportedly, you can get the best access to the park from Jondal.

How to get there:

  • To Odda: you may take a bus no. 180 from Oslo to Seljestad and, then, transfer to the bus no. 862 or no. 930 to Odda. Alternatively, you may take a train from Oslo to Voss (4 times per day) and, then, take a bus no. 990 from Voss to Odda. There is also a bus no. 930 from Bergen to Odda.
  • To Rosendal: you can take a bus no. 760 from Odda to Rosendal. Alternatively, you may take a direct ferry from Bergen to Rosendal (there are two daily departures). Likewise, you may take a bus no. 740 from Bergen to Årsnes and then make a transfer to the bus no. 760 from Årsnes to Bergen.
  • To Jondal: you may take a bus no. 180 from Oslo to Seljestad and, after that, take a bus no. 930 from Seljestad to Jondal. Bus no. 930 will take you from Bergen to Jondal within a few hours, and it operates three times per day. From Odda, you can take a bus no. 930 to Jondal.

Best things to see:

  • Buerbreen. Buer glacier is a marvelous natural attraction, easily reachable from Odda, Hordaland. The trail is well-trotted and features ropes and wooden bridges, making it an ideal place for an enjoyable trek.
  • Visitor Centre Folgefonna National Park. The newly opened center is located in Rosendal and offers an interactive exhibition on this national park and its flora and fauna, as well as on aquatic life of the Hardangerfjord area.
  • Melderskin Mount. Hailed as the “Queen of Mountains,” this gorgeous rock formation offers captivating views on the park. You will especially enjoy the views of this snow-covered mountain in the winter.
  • Juklavatnet Lake. Up high next to the mountains, this difficult-to-reach lake allures thousands of visitors every year.

Jostedalsbreen National Park

Jostedalsbreen National Park in Norway

Briksdalsbreen, one of Norway’s most famous and scenic waterfalls

Nestled between Sognefjord and Nordfjord, two of the world’s longest fjords, this national park offers the visitors to access some of the most astonishing glaciers in the country! In fact, almost a half of the park’s territory is covered by the Jostedalsbreen, the largest glacier in Europe.

This park is definitely among the best national parks in Norway and tends to be a place where you can enjoy the authentic, untouched nature of Norway. There are glaciers and lots of ice, indeed, but the park also abounds with charmingly green valleys and remote villages. Unfortunately, such natural beauty comes with inconvenience: it is pretty challenging to reach this national park without a private car.

How to get there:

  • From Bergen: you can take a bus no. 431 or 430 from Bergen to Skei (operates daily). Alternatively, you can reach the town of Byrkjelo on this bus, too.
  • From Oslo: you can take a train to Otta and, then, take a night bus no. 146 from Otta to Skåre. There is also a night bus no. 170 from Oslo to Fjærland kryss.

Best things to see:

  • Nigardsbreen. This easily accessible glacier is best known thanks to Johan Christian Dahl, a Norwegian painter. The arm of this glacier is best accessible from Jostedal – besides, there is a visitor center in that village (you can all necessary information for your visit there).
  • Briksdalsbreen. Take a hike from the Briksdals valley to one of the country’s most famous glaciers – you can be sure that you will be left impressed.
  • Fjærland. A serene village at the foot of the national park ideally blends in the environment. A beautiful lake and imposing mountains right beside the village make a visit here a good idea, definitely.

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