National Parks in Norway: All You Need to Know

Best National Parks in Norway

blog authorBy Johanna Hansen shield verificationVerified Expert

    The breathtaking natural landscapes of Norway are unlike anywhere else in the world; vast areas of dramatic beauty and untouched natural wonders cover Norway, from the north to the south. And there’s nowhere with more of this incredible natural beauty than in the spectacular national parks of Norway.

    Hikers, cyclists, photographers and wildlife lovers will find themselves in paradise when visiting Norway’s national parks! Rare plants, reindeers, birds and musk oxen can be found in these natural spaces, as well as incredible geological features, such as towering mountains, expansive glaciers and cascading waterfalls.

    Let’s learn more about Norway’s national parks, so you can plan an epic trip to these areas of pristine nature.

    How Many National Parks Are There in Norway?

    With 47 national parks spread across the country, Norway has a wide variety of national parks to visit. 7 of these national parks are located on the island of Svalbard. There are also more than 3,000 natural protected areas across the country.

    Each of these national parks is home to important ecosystems and, so, protecting them allows us to preserve different types of nature for future generations. As there are so many of these national parks spread across Norway, you can often find one close to where you’re staying – perfect!Are National Parks in Norway Free to Visit?

    Yes! It’s free to visit the amazing National Parks in Norway. Due to the ‘right to roam’ principle, which has been enshrined in Norwegian law since the late 1950s, everyone has the legal right to explore Norway’s natural spaces freely.

    You just need to follow a few simple rules when exploring Norway’s national parks, including respecting the natural environment and animals that live there by picking up any litter and leaving as small a footprint as possible. If you leave the park as you would wish to find it, you’re doing a good job!

    What is the Largest National Park in Norway?

    Located in the interior of Southern Norway, Hardangervidda National Park is Norway’s largest national park, covering an area of over 3,400 square kilometers. Hikers will love this park, which is also one of Europe's largest mountain plateaus.

    Lying just east of Bergen, Hardangervidda National Park is the perfect place for fishing, walking and skiing. With mountain lodges, campsites and cabins to stay in, you can definitely spend more than a day visiting Norway’s largest national park.

    A national Park in Norway

    What is the Most Beautiful Park in Norway?

    While this question is of course subjective, we’ll do our best to answer it! Every national park in Norway is incredibly beautiful, but some of our stand-outs include the 8 Norway national parks we’ve listed below. Have a read and see which one you’d most like to visit!

    Top 9 Best Norway National Parks to Visit

    So, what are some of the best national parks to visit while in Norway? Here are our top recommendations for 8 of the best Norway national parks to explore, including national parks from all areas of the country. Let’s go!

    Jostedalsbreen National Park

    Home to the largest glacier on the European mainland, Jostedalsbreen National Park is one of the largest wild areas in Southern Norway. Almost half of this park is covered by a glacier, which you can hike over, admiring the fabulous snowy views as you go.

    Walking through Jostedalsbreen National Park is like experiencing every season in one day, due to the contrast between the different landscapes that made up the park. From mountain valleys bursting with lush vegetation to towering, rocky mountains and expansive glaciers, Jostedalsbreen National Park truly has it all!

    Jostedalsbreen National Park

    Raet National Park

    Did you know that some Norwegian national parks are actually located in the sea and not on land? That’s the case with Raet National Park, which is located on Norway’s South Coast, around 60 kilometers from the city of Kristiansand. Around 98% of the park is located underwater, with the coastal flora, fauna and seabird breeding grounds being protected by the national park status.

    With long pebble beaches, islets and skerries, this marine national park actually contains evidence of the last Ice Age! Visiting this incredible natural area will allow you to see how the vast Scandinavian glacier carved through the landscape before receding between 11,000 to 12,000 years ago. Here, you can visit the gorgeous coastal woodlands, stroll along the beautiful shoreline and even take a peek underwater to see Raet’s incredible seascapes!

    Raet National Park

    Jotunheimen National Park

    Jotunheimen National Park is a large wilderness area in the western part of Norway. It is home to some of Norway's highest mountains, including Galdhøpiggen, the highest mountain in Northern Europe. The park is also home to a number of glaciers, lakes, and valleys. Jotunheimen is a popular destination for hiking, camping, fishing, and skiing.

    The name Jotunheimen means "home of the giants" in Old Norse. This name is fitting, as the park's dramatic scenery is reminiscent of a mythical land. Towering peaks, deep valleys, and sparkling lakes all contribute to the park's otherworldly atmosphere.

    Jotunheimen is home to a variety of wildlife, including reindeer, elk, and wolverines. The park is also home to a number of bird species, such as eagles, hawks, and owls.

    Jotunheimen is a popular destination for hikers of all levels. There are trails for everyone, from easy walks to challenging hikes. The park is also a popular destination for skiers and snowboarders in the winter.

    If you are looking for a place to experience the beauty of Norway, Jotunheimen National Park is a great option. The park's dramatic scenery and abundance of wildlife make it a truly unforgettable place.

    Jotunheimen National Park

    Lomsdal-Visten National Park

    Interested in visiting the incredible fjords of Norway? These picturesque, narrow strips of water are some of the most stunning landscapes in all of Norway. Lomsdal-Visten National Park definitely has its fair share of fjords connected by mountain peaks and plateaus, just like those at the famous Pulpit Rock and Trolltunga plateaus.

    When visiting this Norwegian national park, you’re truly in the middle of untouched and beautifully-preserved nature. It’s important to note that there are no marked trails at Lomsdal-Visten National Park, so excellent orienteering and hiking skills are required here. You’ll also spot some spectacular Norway waterfalls in this park, although be prepared that river crossings may be necessary in certain parts of the park due to these waterfalls.

    Lomsdal-Visten National Park

    Lofotodden National Park

    Sitting on the islands of Moskenesoya and Flakstadoya in the Lofoten archipelago, Lofotodden National Park is dominated by imposing mountains forming a striking wall against the sky. With deep valleys and narrow fjords, the coastal alpine landscape of this national park in Norway offers spectacular vistas all around. 

    Appointed national park status in 2018, Lofotodden is Norway’s youngest national park and is home to several species of endangered seabird species, as well as some marine mammals. There are also cave paintings and ancient settlement remains in Lofotodden, providing evidence of human activity in the area dating back many centuries.

    Lofotodden National Park

    Borgefjell National Park

    Escape the crowds at the magnificent Borgefjell National Park, which lies on the east of Norway around halfway up the country. This park is far away from typical tourist areas and has hardly any cabins, as well as no marked trails – perfect for a peaceful day in the tranquility of unspoilt nature!

    The mountain lakes and towering peaks of Borgefjell make this park a top-spot for nature lovers. If you plan to go hiking in Borgefjell, you’re in for a treat! Just make sure you visit Norway in summer to enjoy optimal weather conditions for your hike. You can also fish in the park’s rivers and explore the vast moors in this incredible Norwegian national park.

    Borgefjell National Park

    Rondane National Park

    Want to spot some wild reindeer? You can do just that at Rondane National Park in Norway’s interior. Located around 4 hours away from Oslo or Trondheim by car or train, Rondane was Norway’s first national park, having been protected since the early 1960s.

    Rondane National Park is easier to explore than some of the other Norway parks on this list, as it has waymarked trails and accommodation options in case you want to stay overnight. The delicate heather and other flora contrast beautifully against the impressive landscapes of Rondane National Park, making your visit here one incredible photography opportunity!

    Rondane National Park in Norway

    Sjunkhatten National Park

    Avid skiers will love Sjunkhatten National Park, located in Nordland county in Northern Norway. Nicknamed ‘the children’s park’ due to its accessibility, Sjunkhatten is the perfect national park in Norway to visit with kids. Make sure to bring your skiing equipment along to enjoy an epic winter wonderland adventure here! 

    This expansive, snowy, mountainous area is home to fjords, rivers and lakes with a diverse range of wildlife, including some rare animal species. With a visitor center containing interesting exhibitions about the geology and culture of the area, a trip to Sjunkatten makes a brilliant day out.

    Sjunkhatten National Park

    Folgefonna National Park

    The striking landscapes of Folgefonna National Park offer incredible panoramic views of glaciers, valleys, fjords and, of course, majestic mountains. You’ll also see a variety of pretty alpine flora and fauna in Folgefonna National Park – perfect for some detailed landscape photography.

    Whether you choose to go skiing, glacier hiking or fjord kayaking, you’ll find plenty of fantastic activities to get involved with at this Norwegian national park. If you’re just wanting to spend a day in a national park in Norway, you’ll find many single-day hiking routes in Folgefonna.

    Folgefonna National Park in Norway

    Top Tips For Visiting Norway’s National Parks

    Planning to visit Norway’s national parks during your vacation? It’s best to be prepared when visiting these vast natural areas, as they’re often in remote locations. Let’s go through some top travel tips for exploring the beautiful national parks in Norway, so you can get all clued up before you set off on your adventure.

    • Bring a paper map – In most of Norway’s national parks, you won’t have access to phone signal, which can be especially inconvenient if you’re not sure where to go. For this reason, we always recommend bringing along a paper map, so you can orientate yourself no matter what. A compass can also be very useful for your outdoor adventure in Norway’s national parks.
    • Check for weather and avalanche warnings – Before setting out, you’ll need to check the Norway weather forecast and avalanche, flood and landslide warnings for the area you plan to visit. If there are major weather warnings, you can either choose a different day or a different location without such risks.
    • Plan your route according to ability and time – Make sure to research the different routes you can take in your chosen Norwegian national park, in order to find the one that suits you and your party best. Certain routes will be more challenging and, therefore, require more expertise and skill, whereas others will be suitable for beginners.
    • Take regular breaks – It’s important to take breaks along your route to conserve your energy, and soak in the beautiful views of course! It makes sense to plan to take a break every hour to let yourself rest before you carry on with your hike.
    • Set out early – The earlier you set out, the more daylight hours you have to explore the beautiful parks of Norway! We recommend setting out as early as possible to avoid traveling in the dark. Being in the middle of a natural area, such as a national park, during darkness can be dangerous, especially as the terrain can often be uneven.
    • Travel in a group – If possible, it’s recommended to explore Norway’s parks in a group, or with at least one other person. That way, you always have someone with you if you need help or get lost.
    • Pack the essentials – While you don’t want to be carrying a heavy bag around Norway’s national parks, it’s important to pack any necessary hiking equipment you’ll need. Also, make sure to bring along enough water and food to keep you going throughout the day, plus a first aid kit just in case.

    Explore Norway’s Incredible National Parks For Yourself!

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