Visiting the largest glacier in continental Europe, Norway’s mighty Jostedal Glacier, makes for an epic trip during your Norway vacation. Covering almost half of Norway’s expansive Jostedalsbreen National Park, this incredible glacier is well worth a visit for spectacular views and an amazing day of exploring!
Let’s dive in and learn all you need to know about visiting Jostedal Glacier, including how to get to this stunning glacier, what exciting activities you can do there and interesting facts about this epic Norwegian glacier.
Where is Jostedal Glacier?
So, first of all, where exactly is Jostedal Glacier? Located in Vestland county in West Norway, Jostedal Glacier (or Jostedalsbreen in Norwegian), is situated within Jostedalsbreen National Park, which is one of the largest wilderness areas in the south of the Norwegian mainland.
Jostedal Glacier is close to the heart of Fjord Norway, located among breathtaking landscapes, incredible panoramas and majestic mountains.
How to Get to Jostedal Glacier
Around 5.5 hours by car from Bergen and 6.5 hours by car from Trondheim, Jostedal Glacier is best reached by driving to either the Jostedalen river valley in Luster municipality, Veitastrond village (also in Luster municipality), or Fjærland village in Sogndal municipality.
If you’re also planning to explore some of the amazing Norwegian fjords during your trip, you’ll be pleased to know that Jostedal Glacier is close to one of the most spectacular fjords in Norway: Geirangerfjord. The picturesque village of Geiragner is also a must-visit when in this incredible area of Norway.
Facts About Jostedal Glacier (Jostedalsbreen)
Learn more about the fascinating Jostedal Glacier with these interesting facts!
- Jostedalsbreen National Park, of which the massive Jostedal Glacier covers almost half, was established to protect this glacier area and the varied flora and fauna surrounding it.
- Jostedal Glacier is 60 kilometers (37 miles) long.
- The depth or thickness of the glacier is almost 600 meters.
- The volume of Jostedal Glacier is 73 cubic kilometers, which is equivalent to around 300 thousand million bathtubs of water!
- Jostedal Glacier is the biggest glacier in Norway.
- While Iceland’s Vatnajokull Glacier takes the title of Europe’s largest glacier, Jostedal Glacier is the largest glacier in continental Europe.
- The elevation of Jostedal Glacier ranges from around 60 to 1960 meters above sea level.
- Two of the largest fjords in the world, Sognefjord and Nordfjord, are separated by Jostedal Glacier.
- Rather than cold temperatures, high snowfall rates in this region of Norway maintain Jostedal Glacier.
Things to Do at Jostedalsbreen Glacier
So, what can you do at Jostedal Glacier? Here are our top picks for fun activities to enjoy while exploring mainland Europe’s largest glacier!
Take a Guided Jostedal Glacier Hike
By far the best way of discovering Jostedal Glacier is joining a guided hiking tour that takes you onto the ice itself. Glacier hiking allows you to experience the magic of Jostedal up close, while learning more about your epic surroundings from a knowledgeable and trusted guide. Sounds like fun, right?!
Visit the Fascinating Norwegian Glacier Museum
An award-winning, interactive museum all about glaciers and climate, the Norwegian Glacier Museum is an amazing place to visit to expand your knowledge all about glaciology and Earth’s climate history. You’ll even have the opportunity to perform your own scientific experiments on 1000-year-old glacier ice!
Ski on Jostedal Glacier
From November to May each year, it’s possible to ski on Jostedal Glacier. You can join a skiing tour to experience an epic day in the snow, skating down mountains and glaciers, soaking in the incredible, icy views. For avid skiers and daring adventurers, there’s a three-day ski tour you can take that travels the entire length of Jostedal Glacier – wow!
Explore the Beautiful Village of Fjærland Next to Jostedal Glacier
With several quaint second-hand bookshops and absolutely incredible fjord and mountain views, Fjærland is well-worth a visit to experience an authentic taste of Norwegian life next to the largest glacier in Europe. Here, you can take a wonderful fjord cruise, hike in the surrounding mountains or simply gaze at the stunning views and explore this charming village.
Branches of Jostedalsbreen Glacier
Jostedal Glacier has around 50 branches or arms, with Briksdalsbreen and Nigardsbreen being two of the most famous and popular glacier arms to visit.
Flowing 1200 meters down into the narrow Briksdal valley, Briksdalsbreen is an incredibly beautiful arm of Jostedal Glacier. Surrounded by lush greenery, majestic mountains and cascading waterfalls, Briksdalsbreen is a very popular location for hiking in Norway. The most popular of these hiking routes is the 3-kilometer trail from the car park to the glacier itself, offering jaw-dropping views of the surrounding landscape.
One of the most accessible of Norway’s glacier arms, Nigardsbreen is also one of the most famous due to being featured in the paintings of renowned Norwegian landscape painter, Johan Christian Dahl. You can either take a guided glacier hike with an experienced tour guide or relax on a boat ride to discover the beauty of Nigardsbreen for yourself.
Discover Jostedal Glacier During Your Very Own Norway Adventure!
Excited to explore the ancient ice giant that is Jostedal Glacier for yourself? Let’s make it happen by planning the perfect Norway vacation for you to enjoy!
While in Norway, you’ll need an efficient and easy way of getting around, so you can soak in the incredible views all around the country. We recommend renting a campervan in Norway as the best way to explore this beautiful country on your own terms, traveling wherever you want whenever you want.
Got any questions? Don’t hesitate to contact our friendly team and we’ll be sure to help you out. We look forward to welcoming you to our beautiful country soon!