Bucket Reserve List: Norway

Norwegian Fjords and Lofoten Island

View of the village
Panoramic of Reine, in the Lofoten Islands  By Ximonic (Simo Räsänen) – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=25359514

Region: Scandinavia

Logistical Difficulty:  Moderately HIGH

Hiking Difficulty: HIGH

Degree of Risk: Moderate

Estimated time required (including travel and logistics): Two weeks

Scandinavia has moved well up the list of eco-touring destinations lately, with Iceland getting a lot of attention. However the rugged coast of Norway should not be ignored either. Sognefjord, Preikestolen, Kjeragbolten, Trolltunga and of course Lofoten Islands have become instantly recognizable to millions who could not hope to pronounce them. The hiking is hard, the weather often wretched, but the tourist infrastructure is great.

*Note that the main reason Norway appears here and not Iceland is that Minister of Expedition Planning Brian has been unable to convince Sylvia that it’s worth visiting. She reports that it “looks muddy” and there’s “too many clouds.” He’s working on it.*

Preikestolen. By Aconcagua – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1020884

Why Hike Here?

  • Some of the most dramatic coastal scenery on Earth
  • Towering cliffs, gushing waterfalls
  • Iconic, instantly recognizable rock formations
  • Weird lighting conditions makes for great photos
  • Instagramable photo ops in profusion
  • Surprisingly mild climate for this far north
  • Long Arctic circle days in summer
  • Aurora Borealis (if you are lucky)
  • Picturesque Lofoten Islands
  • Great tourist infrastructure
  • Good transportation options

But First Consider…

  • Difficult and sometimes dangerous hiking
  • Steep, eroded, muddy trails
  • Dangerous cliffs and stream crossings
  • Rain and fog are far more common than sunny days
  • You could spend a week here and see nothing but clouds
  • Most of the people we have spoken to who went for the Northern Light show were disappointed (the lights don’t operate on demand)
  • Europe is expensive
  • Trails will be crowded in  peak season
  • The more famous photo ops will be jammed with selfie-taking rubes
  • Go off season to avoid crowds but be prepared for brutal weather and very short days
  • More Americans speak Klingon than Norwegian


Brian has yet to pass Iceland through committee, but Noway is a go!

Hikes That We Want to Do Here:

  • Hikes Around Odda, Forsland and Lofoten Islands (basically all that stuff you see on Instagram)