History, culture, and language are only a few of the best things about Scandinavia. This Northern European region is teeming with heritage sites and quaint villages that you should definitely visit. But perhaps one of the most popular ways to enjoy the Nordic region is by hiking through its breathtaking hiking trails and lush green forests.
Tourism numbers to Scandinavia have been steadily increasing over the years as more people seek out the countries. This has been represented through the explosion of literature and media explaining the benefits of Scandinavian lifestyle concepts such as hygge – the feeling on contentment and wellness, and friluftsliv – which means to embrace nature. This is even being reflected in the U.S. with Lohud listing the top hygge cities in the country. In fact, companies across different industries are embracing this curiosity in Scandinavia by creating products based around its culture and history. Online games provider Slingo has a variety of content based on Scandinavia’s history with titles based on the legend of Thor and his home Asgard. This does not only reflect the public’s great interest in the topic, but also the growing number of media channels that are taking inspiration from northern European countries.
The increased media coverage has also introduced more people to the natural beauty of the area, and made hiking in Scandinavia a bucket list destination for those who love outdoor adventures. Here are four of the most notable hikes you need to try:
Trolltunga Trail in Norway
Even though this hike requires a good level of fitness, it’s definitely worth the effort. It’s 1100 meters above sea level and is floating above the beautiful Lake Ringedalsvatnet. Trolltunga literally translates to “Troll’s Tongue” and is known for its myths, legends, and fairy-tales. It is recommended that you visit from late May until September, but be prepared to encounter all the elements. If the weather goes in your favor, make sure to take plenty of photos, as the very tip of the Troll’s Tongue offers magnificent views of the lake’s valley and mountains. Expert climbers say you should never hike Trolltunga in the winter, but there are guided trips that start in March.
Read my blog about Trolltunga here:
Laugavegur Trail in Iceland
This is one of Iceland’s most famous trails as it has many picturesque glaciers, bubbling hot springs, fields of lava, and multi-colored mountains. The National Geographic calls it one of the world’s best hiking destinations in Scandinavia because of its mesmerizing volcanic-rock covered trails. The original hiking route was closed when the Eyjafjallajökull volcano erupted in spring 2010, but the new trail proved to be better as it offers a superior view of the twin craters Magni and Móði—named after the sons of the Norse God, Thor.
The hike starts in Landmannalaugar, a geothermal paradise famous for its hot springs and rhyolite mountains. From there, you will go deeper into the highlands where you can see glacier rivers, black sands, and waterfalls. You can also spend the night in mountain huts in Álftavatn, Emstrur, or Hrafntinnusker.
Kungsleden in Sweden
Kungsleden or the King’s Trail is one of Western Europe’s largest remaining wilderness areas. It’s best to visit it in the summer, but you can also go cross-country skiing here during winter. The trail passes through the Swedish Lapland mountains and as you walk, you will see changes of scenery—from alpine terrains to low-lying mountains with birch forests. You will also see tarns and peaks, as well as mountain villages.
The trail will also take you through four national parks, which are Abisko, Stora Sjöfallet, Sarek, and Pieljekaise. Don’t worry about getting lost because the trail is well marked and bridges will take you over fast-flowing streams.
The National Park in Denmark
Culture Trip went on record saying that this is the best destination for beginner hikers because it has a wide selection of trails and paths that run through the entire park. If you like dune plantations, limestone slopes, and green forests, the trails at Thy National Park are perfect for you. You don’t need to worry about being physically fit before going hiking as the trail is quite easy to navigate. There are marked routes that you can visit, too, as well as deserted landscapes.
The Redningsvejen or the North Sea Trail is the often recommended by experienced hikers. The start is marked by a lifeboat, with the route starting from the ferry harbor in Agger Tange, going through the national park to Hanstholm and to Bulbjerg. There are lookout points where you can rest and take pictures, too.
All the nature-based activities are at your own risk, which means you need to make sure you have the correct gear and equipment. Bring sturdy hiking boots as you will walk through wet marshland, mud, and water. You will need plenty of warm clothing like a cap, a scarf, a pair of gloves, as well as rain gear since the weather can change very quickly. A good 30-liter backpack is ideal so you have plenty of room for essentials like a map, compass, and first aid kit.0