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Nowhere in the world does coast and mountain collide so astonishingly, so incredibly, as in Norway. Walks in Norway rank amongst the elite. This is a hiker’s playground of such excellence that makes most nations green with envy.
Snaking fjords carve their way past dreamy mountain walls, with waterfalls gushing from their ramparts and eagles circling above. Jagged islands that look like they’ve been photoshopped by an overly imaginative child, tower into the sky straight out of the Norwegian Sea. At night, the Aurora Borealis dance in the heavens, that is, of course, if night falls at all. This is the land of the midnight sun after all.You get the picture. Hikes in Norway are the stuff of your wildest hiking dreams. Whether you’re roaming within the Arctic Circle, hopping your way between spectacular islands or troll hunting above magnificent fjords, Norway will not disappoint. And at the end of a long day, you can put your feet up for that classic sense of Scandinavian cosiness.
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World famous for the breathtaking beauty of its many fjords, one glance at the numbers hints at an almost endless possibility for walks in Norway. It has Europe’s longest coastline at 15,626 miles (25,148 km); in Hornindalsvatnet it boasts Europe’s deepest lake at 1,686 feet (514 m) and Sognefjord, the ‘King of Fjords’ is the world’s longest, stretching 127 miles (205 km) inland. As if to underline its supreme landscapes, there are no fewer than 46 national parks dotted throughout the country.
As impressive as these numbers are, it’s the scenery on offer here that has the heart soaring. Many of the best hikes in Norway are found in the south west, where some of the most astonishing fjords and unforgettable sights are found. Iconic places and awesome situations abound, such as picture-postcard Trolltunga, a platform of rock suspended 2,297 feet (700 m) above Ringedalsvatnet Lake.
Some of the most surreal hikes in Norway take place with the low midnight sun casting ethereal rays across the landscape. Rising monstrously from the Norwegian Sea, the Lofoten Islands offer unbelievably dramatic scenery, especially during these bewitched hours.
Seven of Norway’s many national parks are found on the rugged and remote island of Svalbard, far north in the Arctic Circle. This wondrous land of glaciers, tundra and bristling mountain ranges is one of the last strongholds of the polar bear.
Spring sees the start of the hiking season, as melting snow spawns crashing waterfalls and flowers bloom. On the high trails, there are plenty of cabins and lodges for affordable and convenient accommodation. Some offer merely the bare necessities, whilst others boast modern Scandi architecture and lavish surroundings.
Always be prepared for bad weather, even if the forecast promises wall-to-wall sunshine. Fronts coming in off the Atlantic and the changeability that goes hand in hand with mountain environments mean that blue skies can vanish remarkably quickly. Winter is the best time to see the northern lights, whilst the sight of snow-capped peaks towering above the fjords is magical. However, the high trails become the realm of mountaineers with appropriate skills and equipment.
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