I genuinely believe that hiking in Norway is one of the best things a human being could possibly do on a long weekend. Walking through, wait for it, 50 shades of green for hours and hours, armed with a map, a bottle of water and a camera, and then finally arriving at the hut completely exhausted, you will feel like you’ve just discovered a whole new level of life.

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That exact thing happened to me during a week in the Norwegian mountains, north of Bergen, in a stunning area called Stølsheimen. Small details like being tremendously disorganised (we had a very rough map and we were completely unable to trace where we were) and therefore no real idea about how many hours we would actually need to make it to the house (15, including a night next to a lake), were forgotten after we knew that we wouldn’t die of starvation in the middle of nowhere and without phone signal.

As you can see, hiking in Norway is the ideal thing to do for when you want to release and nourish your adventurous side, for when you’re tired of sitting on office chairs and just want to see of how much crazy stuff your body really is capable of (a lot). At this point you’ll know whether this post is for you, if so I’ll happily talk you through some of the essentials – and to have you and me a bit more prepared for the next trip.

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Backpack Essentials

The most important thing is as always: Pack light. A backpack gets ridiculously heavy if you’re carrying it over 30 mountains or 12 hours. Check out this guide here for more info.

Here’s a list of useful things to pack: Looots of energy snacks, one bottle of water (you can refill it from the many lakes you’ll be passing by), a spare pair of socks, wollen clothes (even in July or August it does get pretty darn cold up there), a book for when you’re stuck in one hut and can’t carry on walking because it’s too foggy, any lotion that soothes irritated skin, some cash to pay for your bed and food at the hut.

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Preparations

Become a Turlag member. Membership is fairly cheap (about 310 NOK/37€ per year for both Norway and Sweden), you get a discount in all huts, and when paying for food and accomodation, you can just leave your member details and they will charge you once you’re back in civilized territory. (It’s also nice to feel part of the closely-knit Norwegian community.)

Visit the local Bergen Turlag office for maps and maybe even a GPS. If the hut you’re planning to stay in overnight is locked, arrange to get keys. A lot of them are always open though.

Avoid hiking on your own. This can and often has, ended badly. But whether you’re alone or in a group, let someone in the city know where you are and tell them your exact route just to be sure. If you still happen to catch some phone signal, send them a text with updates on your rough location.

And then… grab a last coffee in beautiful Bergen and catch a bus up north from its central station. And the fun begins!

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En route

Once hiking, follow the red T’s and don’t ever continue walking if you can’t find the T. It’s better to spend an hour searching for one (that only happened to me once though), than heading in the wrong direction and not finding the way back.

Don’t take too many breaks. Your body will probably get to a stage where it’s exhausted and wants to sit down and marvel at the countryside behind you every ten minutes but that’s not gonna help you get closer to your destination. I once spoke to a guy who said he usually hikes 12 hours straight without a break because once he stops, his body would get off the adrenaline high and then refuse to move again. That’s a bit hardcore for my taste, but calculating a short break for every two or three hours is more than enough!

And then… you’ll reach the first hut. Congratulations, that’s a big deal and it will make you feel like an invincible superhero! Food is normally there, as well as coffee and flour to make bread. Most are way more luxurious than you would imagine a place in the middle of nowhere to be. It also needs to be said that the guys at DNT do an excellent job at keeping the hundreds of huts tidy and welcoming.

And lastly, here’s some more Traveletty hiking rules from a Norwegian hiking expert.

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Have you ever been hiking in Norway before? Let us know your favourite route in the comments!

All photographs taken by Caroline Schmitt