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Jotunheimen Mountains and Besseggen Ridge

Jotunheimen Mountains and Besseggen Ridge Trek

Overview

Norway is truly a superb country for trekking and the Jotunheim is a real gem among the nation’s national parks. Known in Norse mythology as the Land of the Giants, Jotunheimen is probably the finest of Norway’s mountain regions and certainly the best for walking with its imposing peaks, beautiful glaciers, dense forests and deep valleys full of streams, rivers and waterfalls. This self guided tour takes you to hikes that have inspired mountaineers for centuries and delivers the best mountain walking in Norway, including a guided glacier trek to Uranostind Peak.

Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive Bygdin

Take the express bus from Oslo City Bus Terminal or Oslo Airport (included), which will take you directly to Bygdin (4 h). You will stay at a historical lakeshore hotel dating back to 1912, and offering a variety of room types and great cuisine.

Day 2: Mt. Bitihorn or Synshorn Via Ferrata

The Bitihorn viewpoint offers a great 360-degree view of the Valdres valley and the mountains in Jotunheimen. Hike from the doorstep at Bygdin. Optional activity: Synshorn Via Ferrata (4 hours, +NOK 990 pp, not included, payable on-site, min. 14 years).

  • Walking for the day: 5-8 hours, 10 km ↑600 m, Elevation at peak: 1607 m
  • Accommodation: Bygdin Høyfjellshotell or similar

Day 3: Svartdalen (The Black Valley)

Cruise on the lake Bygdin with M/B Bitihorn between Bygdin and Torfinnsbu (boat leaves at 9:05 am).

The popular hiking route from Torfinnsbu to Gjendebu takes you through Svartdalen, meaning “The Black Valley”, which is often referred to as the most beautiful valley in Jotunheimen. As you wander through this lush valley, you’ll be surrounded by majestic towering peaks, several of which are over 2000 meters high. The Svartdalen track is located in the eastern parts of Jotunheimen and takes you through the municipalities of Vågå in Gudbrandsdalen, and Vang in Valdres. The route is 14 kilometres long (point-to-point), with an elevation of 610 meters. You will spend the night at the oldest of the huts belonging to the Norwegian Mountaineering Association (Den Norske Turistforening – DNT), established in 1871, located at a picturesque spot on the west shore of Lake Gjende. Please note that there’s no cell phone coverage at Gjendebu.

Day 4: Gjendetunga Viewpoint

Gjendetunga is the perfect hike for those who want to indulge in a nice, relaxing and shorter trek, but who doesn’t want to go without a panoramic view experience. Towering over Gjendebu, Gjendetunga lies at 1516 m a.s.l. and is “a not to miss” hike if you’re in this area. On clear days you can enjoy your lunch at the top of the mountain overlooking Gjende and its surrounding mountains in the East and the mountains ranges in the West. This is a road less travelled, but the Gjendetunga hike has earned its rightful place as one of the best ways to experience Gjende.

Day 5: Besseggen

In the morning, take the boat from Gjendesheim to Gjendebu (07:45 – 08:30) to start the trek from there. The popular Besseggen ridge is a route of about 6-8 hours (breaks included). The Besseggen hike takes you over the spectacular, steep, and some places very narrow trails which plunge four hundred meters straight down into the lake below. You will overnight at Gjendesheim dating back to 1878. The cabin is run by DNT and located in the heart of the Norwegian mountains, with Besseggen as its neighbour.

  • Walking for the day: 7-9 hours, 13 km ↑1300 m
  • Accommodation: Gjendesheim DNT or similar

Day 6: Gjendebu to Eidsbugarden

The hiking route between the Gjendebu and Eidsbugard takes you from Lake Gjende to Lake Bygdin through Jotunheimen National Park. Starting off from the birch forest by Gjendebu you follow the Veslådalen valley before heading down to Lake Bygdin and Eidsbugard. The hike is long but moderate with no steep ascents. Most of the trail is on soft soil and along the way are views of many of Jotunheimen’s highest peaks. Eisbugarden and Fondsbu Lodge have welcomed royalty, celebrities, and hikers from all over the world. This region is the most-visited mountain area north of the Alps.

  • Walking for the day: 5-7 hours, 16 km ↑516 m
  • Accommodation: Fondsbu Lodge or similar

Day 7: Guided Glacier Trek to Uranostind Peak

The iconic Uranostind lies at 2157 m.a.s.l. This demanding 10-12 hour hike is great for experienced hikers and will take you past Urdadalsvannet on the way to Koldedalen. Once you reach the Glacier there will be a short change of equipment before the hike continues to Uraknatten and the climb to Uranostind. The trek takes you over crevasses, and you will do some easy climbing and then crawl out on the top ridge and admire the spectacular view from the summit. The weather at high altitudes in Norway can change quickly, and snowstorms can happen every month of the summer. The hike is long, but the spectacular view at the summit is well worth the trip.

  • Walking for the day: 9-12 hours, 17 km ↑1050 m 1050 m, Elevation at peak: 2157 m
  • Accommodation: Fondsbu Lodge or similar

Day 8: Departure

Boat Eidsbugarden → Bygdin: 11:30 → 13:15. Departure (bus ticket Bygdin to Oslo 17:53 → 22:07, included). Another option would be to depart from Eidsbugarden to Bergen. In this case, you will leave by a taxi to Tyinkrysset (11.25 → 11:55) and from there by bus to Bergen (13.45 → 18.00, included).

Hotels

You’ll be staying in private double/twin rooms in historical hotels and traditional Norwegian tourist lodges, including some of Norway’s most renowned DNT cabins. Some of the accommodations have shared facilities, but a good level of comfort and kitchens famous for their local cuisine.

*Hotels are subject to availability. In case a particular hotel is fully booked for your desired dates, we will replace it with a hotel of equal or higher value and quality level. We will provide exact accommodation details to you upon booking confirmation.

Meals

Breakfast is included on all days. You can prepare a self-made lunch pack from the breakfast buffet incl. thermos refill (no extra charge). Dinners (buffet or three-course meal) are also included. There is a small shop located at Høvringen, close to Øigardseter. All lodges sell snacks, drinks and simple meals in the time between the main meals.

Travel

The closest international airport is Oslo (OSL).

Please note that flight information can change rapidly, and not all flights run daily, so do check directly with the airlines’ websites or Skyscanner before finalising any booking with us. Do not book your flights before we have confirmed your booking.

Transfers to/from Airports

Oslo city or airport return bus tickets are included in your package.

Luggage Transfers

Your main luggage will be transported between the lodges. Please deliver your bag at the reception before 09:00 on the transfer days. Make sure that the bag is properly marked with your name and phone number.

Travel Insurance

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A comprehensive and reputable travel insurance policy is essential to your enjoyment and peace of mind while on an active holiday. It is highly recommended when booking with us that all group members have valid travel insurance which includes cover for all activities included in your trip. We have teamed up with World Nomads to offer you adequate cover at a great value from a reputable insurer, and it takes only a few minutes to buy online.

Buy travel insurance online

Country Info

Up-to-date travel advice on Norway is available here.

Trip Info

Difficulty Grade: Moderate to Strenuous

This is an exciting but rather challenging walking holiday, intended for experienced hikers in good physical condition. You’ll be accompanied by accomplished local guides for the two most strenuous hikes, but sure-footedness is required to enjoy it. This will be a rewarding experience that’ll allow you to tick some classic Norwegian summits off your bucket list (read more about difficulty grades).

Route Navigation

The trail follows well-maintained footpaths and the trails are waymarked. Comprehensive route notes are supplied for the self guided walks. You will be accompanied by an experienced local guide on Day 7. The staff at all lodges will assist with advice and tips if you have any questions about the hikes. You can also call our 24/7 local assistance phone number anytime.

When to Go

This trip is available to start from late June till late August on Sundays only due to the guided walks schedule. For groups of 4 or more, you can start on any date within the booking season but we need to first confirm availability with the local guides.

What to Bring

We recommend that you travel as light as possible – airlines might charge you an extra fee, and during ground transfers, the place might be limited. Ideally, you should bring one piece of luggage weighing no more than 20 kg (to be checked in) and a daily pack (15–20 l rucksack) for your everyday essentials (snacks, drinking water, camera, etc.). Below is a non-exclusive list of what you should bring to this trip. More detailed info will be included in your holiday information pack.

  • Good hiking boots
  • Hiking socks
  • Several T-shirts (preferably breathable/fast drying)
  • Packable waterproof and windproof jacket with hood
  • Synthetic mid layer or warm fleece
  • Trainers and/or sandals – to relax and wear inside the accommodation
  • Sunglasses, sunscreen and lip salve
  • Hat/Baseball cap
  • Personal First Aid kit (wet wipes, flu remedies, stomach remedies)

Included

  • 7 nights in comfortable mountain lodges (private en-suite rooms) as listed in the itinerary
  • Towels, linen and end of stay-cleaning included at all accommodations
  • 7 breakfasts
  • 7 packed lunches (self-prepared from the breakfast buffet)
  • 7 dinners (3-course or buffet)
  • Experienced local guide for the trek on Day 7
  • Safety equipment for the climb on Day 7
  • Detailed journey documentation and practical information: personalised trip notes and maps (emailed before departure and a map provided at first hotel; one set per room)
  • Luggage transfers (up to 20 kg per person) when changing hotels
  • 24/7 phone assistance by our local office/representative

Single Room & Solo Traveller Supplements

  • Supplement applies to members of a group who require a single room (subject to availability)
  • This trip is not available to solo walkers as it would be cost-prohibitive

Other Trip-Related Costs

  • Entrance fees for attractions and museums

Excluded

  • Flights and airport transfers
  • Travel insurance
  • Personal expenses such as snacks, drinks, phone calls, extra transfers, tips, etc.
  • Any items not specifically mentioned as ‘included’ in the programme

Extensions and Optional Extras

  • Extra nights in Oslo or along the trail are bookable upon request

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