Photo: Jarle Roessland/ Visit Svalbard
Fjord Tours Articles / 6 Jan 2021

Norway’s Top glacier hikes

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.

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Photo: 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 kilometres and is considered Europe’s largest ice cap by area and the second largest by volume. Austfonna has a thickness of up to 560 metres (235 meters average thickness), and is 200 km in circumference. The ice dome reaches an elevation of 783 meters above sea level.

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Photo: Terje Rakke / Nordic Life AS / www.fjordnorway.com

Jostedalsbreen

Situated in Vestland county in Fjord Norway, Jostedalsbreen is the largest glacier in continental Europe, covering 487 square kilometres with ice up to 600 metres thick. The glacier splits up into more than 50 glacier branches, such as the famous Briksdalsbreen and Nigardsbreen glaciers. The glacier is a part of the Jostedalsbreen national park and covers more than half of the park.

The national park is famous for its wide variety of natural environments all within a short distance of each other, ranging from valleys with lush vegetation to bare mountain and glacier landscapes.

The Jostedalsbreen National Park is easiest to access in Jostedalen (Luster), Fjærland (Sogndal) and Veitastrondi. 

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Photo: 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.

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Photo: Terje Rakke / Nordic Life AS / www.fjordnorway.com

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 september.

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Photo: © Desire Weststrate / Folgefonna Breførarlag

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.

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Photo: CH/ Helgeland Reiseliv

Svartisen

In reality, Svartisen in Northern Norway consists of two glaciers – Vestre Svartisen and Østre Svartisen. The glacier is part of Saltfjellet-Svartisen national park in Nordland county. The glaciers are located in the municipalities of Beiarn, Meløy, Rana, and Rødøy.

Svartisen is Norway’s second largest glacier and covers fully 370 square kilometres. Svartisen is easily accessed from Kystriksveien – rv17 – and can be experienced by taking the shuttle boat across Holandsf Fjord from a point just near the Meløy Tourist Information office in Holand

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Photo: 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.

Have you been inspired to join in on a glacier hike in Norway? Read our guide on how to prepare for a glacier hike and find list of the most poular glacier hikes in Norway here.