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Norway’s glaciers and top glacier hikes

Where can you find glaciers in Norway? The short answer—everywhere. Since Norway has approximately 1600 glaciers located throughout its mainland, it is hard to go very far in any direction without seeing one. The sheer number of glaciers is what helps make glacier hiking one of the more popular things to do in Norway. For a unique and exciting activity, glacier hiking on one of Norway's glaciers is the perfect alternative! Glacier hiking is a thrilling, but somewhat challenging experience, so an experienced guide should be with you at all times.
Glacier hike - Svalbard, Norway
Jarle Roessland/ Visit Svalbard

Where can you find glaciers in Norway?


In order to take advantage of the unprecedented beauty of these towers of ice, you first need to know where the best ones to visit are. Not all glaciers are made equal, and when you have travelled all the way to Norway, you likely want to experience the best that the country has to offer. Here is where you can find the absolute best glaciers in Norway.
Glacier hike on Svalbard - Norway
Jarle Roessland/ Visit Svalbard

Svalbard

Longyearbyen, on Svalbard, is surrounded by majestic mountains and glacier fields. There are many guided hikes to choose between, from reaching summits to exploring valleys. Some are short and suitable for everyone, while others are more physically demanding. No matter which hiking trip you choose, you are assured of a fantastic experience with an experienced guide and wonderful views.
Located in the Svalbard archipelago the Austfonna glacier covers 8,412 square kilometers and is considered Europe’s largest ice cap by area and the second-largest by volume. Austfonna has a thickness of up to 560 meters (235 meters average thickness) and is 200 km in circumference. The ice dome reaches an elevation of 783 meters above sea level.
Svartisen glacier, Norway
Rocks'n Rivers

Svartisen

If you find yourself in the far north of Norway, then you need to make sure that you don’t miss the chance to behold Svartisen. As the second largest glacier in the entire country, it is a spectacular sight that draws thousands of visitors every year. In addition to its beautiful National Park surroundings, there is also a large lake that is filled with some of the clearest water you’ve ever seen. If you are able to handle the extreme cold, then you may even want to take a revitalizing dip in the water. However, if this doesn't appeal to you, then there are still plenty of other reasons to visit Svartisen.
If you happen to arrive during the summertime, you will get the benefit of remaining in daylight around the clock. Since it is located within the Arctic Circle, the sun never sets for several months straight during the summertime. So even if you want to go for a 2 a.m. hike, you can leave your headlamps at home.
In order to get to Svartisen, most people depart from the Nordland town of Bodø. Although it is a couple of hours of driving to the glacier, the drive will be sure to go by in a flash thanks to the gorgeous scenery that will help to make the journey anything but boring.
Other notable glaciers that are nearby to Svartisen in northern Norway include Okstindbreen, which is the eighth-largest glacier in the country, and Blåmannsisen, which is the fifth-largest glacier.
Glacier hike - Jostedalsbreen glacier, Norway
Terje Rakke / Nordic Life AS / www.fjordnorway.com

Hardangerjøkulen

The glacier is located in the Hardangerfjord region, on the Hardangervidda mountain plateau. It has several glacier branches, such as Blåisen and Midtdalsbreen, and the highest point is 1863 metres above sea level. Hardangerjøkulen is the sixth largest glacier in mainland Norway. It is located in the municipalities of Eidfjord and Ulvik in Vestland county.
The glacier has several glacier arms, where Blåisen is best known. A nice trip often goes from Finse towards Jøkulhytta. Jøkulhytta is located at the top of Hardangerjøkulen, and has a great view of, among other things, the Hardangervidda.
Jostedalsbreen glacier, Norway
Thomas_T._Kleiven/Visitnorway.com

Jostedalsbreen

If you are looking for the largest glacier not only in Norway, but the entirety of Mainland Europe, then you are going to want to visit Jostedalsbreen. this massive Glacier extends for approximately 490 square kilometres, which makes many of the other glaciers throughout Norway look like tiny patches of ice.
It is once again a glacier that is conveniently located within a national park, which means that its surrounding areas are filled with untouched natural beauty. If you are able to make it to the highest peak, which stands at over 2,000 meters high, then you will be treated with outstretching views of mountains that you are sure to never forget.
If you have made the trek to Jostedalsbreen, then you may want to head next door to the other incredibly impressive glacier in the area which is Myklebustbreen. As the seventh largest glacier in Norway, it is another great place to get some exercise from glacier hiking while also spending some time amongst pristine nature.
Folgefonna glacier, Norway
Pål Hermansen

Folgefonna

Folgefonna is more than just Norway's third-largest glacier, it also contains one of Europe's greatest summer ski resorts. So if you are a big fan of glacier hiking in Norway, then this is one of the best places for you to visit. Folgefonna has been a fan favorite for hundreds of years now and remains just as beautiful all year round thanks to consistent snowfall.
Another great benefit to this glacier is its ideal location. Located only a short drive from Bergen, the glacier allows many tourists to admire its beauty without having to make an excessively long journey from any of the major cities in Norway. If you are already journeying out that way, then you should also be sure to adventure out to Hardangerjøkulen, which is located across Sørfjorden and is the sixth-largest glacier in Norway.

Best glacier hikes in Norway

For a unique and exciting activity, glacier hiking on one of Norway's glaciers is the perfect alternative! Glacier hiking is a thrilling, but somewhat challenging experience, so an experienced guide should be with you at all times.
Nigardsbreen glacier - Jostedalen Breførarlag

Nigardsbreen

One of the most accessible branches of the Jostedalsbreen glacier, located in Luster municipality in Vestland county. Nigardsbreen is a glacier arm of the large Jostedalsbreen glacier. Nigardsbreen lies about 30 kilometres north of the village of Gaupne in the Jostedalen valley in Luster Municipality in Vestland county, Norway. It is located just west of the Jostedøla river.
The experienced glacier guides at Nigardsbreen offer a wide range of well-organised glacier hikes on the blue ice, both for children as young as 8 years old and for those who are looking for something more challenging. Daily tours from May to Deptember.

Folgefonna

Folgefonna is the collective term for three plateau glaciers, Nordre Folgefonna, Midtre Folgefonna, and Søndre Folgefonna, in the Hardanger region of Vestland county.
Situated on the southern shore of the beautiful Hardangerfjord in Hordaland County, Folgefonna is the third largest glacier on mainland Norway. This magnificent glacier has drawn tourists since 1833. Here are glacier tongues and icefalls, wild valleys, and raging rivers of rushing meltwater and scenic summer pastures.
Glacier hike at Buerbreen Glacier - Hardanger, Norway

Buarbreen

Buarbreen is one of the smaller glaciers in Norway, but what it lacks in size it compensates for in charm! On a glacier hike on the Buarbreen glacier , you get to experience a living glacier up close and you also get a great hike through a varied landscape before the actual glacier hiking starts.
Briksdalsbreen glacier - Briksdal, Nordfjord - Norway
Normann

Briksdalsbreen

The glacier is one of the Jostedalsbreen glacier branches and is sometimes referred to as the Olden glacier. It is located in the Briksdalen valley at the end of Oldedalen valley in Vestland county. Guests from all over the world come to visit this famous glacier arm set attractively between roaring waterfalls and high peaks. From 1200 meters the glacier plunges down into the beautiful Briksdalen Valley.
The most popular walk is the 3 km trail from the Mountain Lodge to Briksdal Glacier. Mt. Kattanakken and Oldeskaret are also legendary alpine hikes in the area. Due to the ice conditions at Briksdal Glacier, the guided glacier hikes are moved to Tystigbreen Glacier at Mt. Strynefjellet, guided by Briksdal Adventure.
© Desire W / Folgefonna Breførarlag

Staying Safe!

Unfortunately, at times we forget that nature is a living organism and that it can take us by surprise! The danger signs around glaciers are there for a reason, large sections of a glacier can break off at any time, and when this happens, you’ll want to be in the safe zone! And, sadly climate change has not made the glaciers any less volatile, so for your own safety, you should respect signs and barriers.
If precautions are taken and you book your glacier hike with professional guides, it'll be an unforgettable experience for all the right reasons!
Read our guide on how to prepare for a glacier hike and find list of the most popular glacier hikes in Norway here.

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