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Photo: MON

Self-guided Hiking in the Jotunheimen Mountains (Norway)

Spectacular hiking between cabins with luggage transferred and optional Besseggen and glacier summit tours

  • Self-guided
  • Medium-Hard(+)
  • From £884/person
  • Jun-Aug, 6 or 8 days
  • Adults (min age 16), Groups

Book now to save 5% on published GBP and EUR* prices! (*except Euro prices for tours in Finland)

Highlights:

  • Self-guided point-to-point hiking with luggage transferred by boat
  • 6-day and 8-day itineraries at 3 challenge levels
  • Options include Besseggen Ridge and Uranostind Glacier
  • Atmospheric and characterful mountain accommodation
  • Flexible dates throughout the hiking season
  • Return bus tickets from Oslo included

Description »

Dramatic hiking in the Norwegian mountains with three itinerary options

Are you an experienced hiker seeking challenge and adventure in unparalleled mountain scenery? Look no further!

This tour is the self-guided version of Hiking Besseggen and Jotunheimen National Park and offers great flexibility in stunning mountain landscapes, with the freedom to hike at your own pace, choose your own tour dates, and vary the level of challenge.

Self-guided Hiking in the Jotunheimen Mountains is suitable for adults (min. age 16) with previous experience of hiking who would like to explore world-class mountain scenery with the freedom of a self-guided itinerary.

Hiking in Jotunheimen

From sweeping valleys to dramatic peaks, the landscape of the Jotunheimen region is captivating. Photo: MON.

The 8-day tours are suitable for more experienced hikers looking for an additional challenge and include guided components for the most demanding peak ascents.

Bus tickets for the 4-hour ride from Oslo are included in connection with the start/end of the hiking tour, making this a very convenient way to explore this beautiful region.

All meals are included, with three-course dinner served at your accommodation each night. Your main luggage will be transferred between overnight locations by boat, meaning you need to hike only with a daypack.

A combination of cabin to cabin hiking and peak tours including Norway's most beautiful day hike

You will hike between mountain cabins, with full map and description provided, beginning with a night at a charming mountain hotel and staying at a number of traditional mountain lodges along the route.

All tours option include hikes through the Svartdalen and Veslådalen valleys amid glorious mountain scenery and some peak tours.

The longer itineraries feature extra challenges, including Besseggen Ridge, deservedly called "Norway's most beautiful day hike", and an ascent of the Uranostind Glacier.

Hiking Besseggen Ridge in Jotunheimen

The Besseggen Ridge deserves its reputation as Norway's most beautiful day hike. Photo: MON.

Option 1 (6 days/5 nights, medium): Bygdin to Fondsbu

Scenic and varied hiking covering 40-50km with total height gain 2230m-2470m depending on options chosen.

  • Day 1: Arrive Bygdin by bus from Oslo (included).
  • Day 2: Hike to Bitihorn (10km, 5-8 hours, height gain 600m).
  • Day 3: Boat to Torfinnsbu, hike through Svartdalen to Gjendebu (14km, 6-8 hours, height gain 610m).
  • Day 4: Day at Gjendebu, options for hike to Gjendetunga (5.5km, 3-4 hours, height gain 520m) or harder hike to Bukkalagret (10km, 6-8 hours, height gain 760m, boat fare not included).
  • Day 5: Hike from Gjendebu to Fondsbu (15.8km, 5-7 hours, 500m).
  • Day 6: Boat to Bydgin for bus to Oslo (included).
Hiking the Svartdalen valley in Jotunheimen

Svartdalen offers a glorious trail through a glacial valley to contrast with the surrounding peaks. Photo: MON.

Option 2 (8 days/7 nights, hard): Bygdin to Fondsbu including Besseggen Ridge and Uranostind Glacier

A challenging week covering 70-80km with total height gain 4420m-4660m depending on options chosen.

  • Days 1-4: As Option 1.
  • Day 5: Boat from Gjendebu to Memurubu. Hike back along Besseggen Ridge (13.1km, 7-9 hours, height gain 1140m).
  • Day 6: Hike from Gjendebu to Fondsbu (15.8km, 5-7 hours, height gain 500m).
  • Day 7: Uranostind Glacier hike (guided, 17km, 10-11 hours, height gain 1050m).
  • Day 8: Boat to Bydgin for bus to Oslo (included).
Uranostind Glacier Hike

The Uranostind Glacier hike on the 8-day itineraries offers a rewarding conclusion your week in the Jotunheimen mountains. Photo: MON.

Option 3 (8 days/7 nights, hard+): Bygdin to Fondsbu including Østre Torfinnstind, Besseggen Ridge, Bukklaegret and Uranostind Glacier

The most demanding of the three itineraries covering around 77km with a total height gain of 5120m.

  • Day 1: Arrive Bygdin by bus from Oslo (included).
  • Day 2: Boat to Torfinnsbu, hike Østre Torfinnstind (guided, 6km, 5-6 hours, height gain 1060m), return by boat to Bygdin.
  • Day 3: Boat to Torfinnsbu, hike through Svartdalen to Gjendebu (14km, 6-8 hours, height gain 610m).
  • Day 4: Bukklaegret hike (10km, 6-8 hours, height gain 760m) to Memurubu.
  • Day 5: Hike Besseggen Ridge (13.1km, 7-9 hours, height gain 1140m) to Gjendesheim.
  • Day 6: Boat to Gjendebu, hike to Fondsbu (15.8km, 5-7 hours, height gain 500m).
  • Day 7: Uranostind Glacier hike (guided, 17km, 10-11 hours, height gain 1050m).
  • Day 8: Boat to Bydgin for bus to Oslo (included).

Itinerary »

Each morning, pack your lunch from the breakfast buffet at your accommodation for the day's hike.

Option 1 (6 days/5 nights, medium): Bygdin to Fondsbu

Day 1: Arrival at Bygdin

Bus (ticket included - an e-ticket will be sent out approx. one month before departure) from Oslo to Bygdin* is an atmospheric, traditional mountain hotel which has been welcoming hikers to the Jotunheimen area for more than a century. The hotel is located on the lakseshore a few kilometres outside the local resort of Beitostølen.

Here you will receive an information pack and map for the tour ahead.

A 3-course dinner is served in the hotel dining hall before retiring for your first night in the Norwegian mountains.

Times TBC shortly for 2020: There are typically approx. 6 daily from Oslo to bus station to Bygdin, travel time approx. 4.5 hours. There are also a limited number of direct bus services between Oslo Gardermoen (OSL) airport and Bygdin. If such a service is available in connection with your travel times, ticket for this journey is included as an alternative to travel from central Oslo.

Day 2: Day hike to Bitihorn from Bygdin

To prepare for the point-to-point hikes ahead, today is a "warm-up" day with the beautiful local peak tour to Bitihorn.

A 3-course dinner awaits back at the hotel.

Distance: 10km; Time: 5-8 hours; Ascent: 600m; Accommodation: Bydgin.

Day 3: Boat from Bygdin to Torfinnsbu and hike to Gjendebu

You pack the luggage you will not need during the day, attach the tag you will be given, and deliver you bag to the boat, which will transfer your luggage to the end point at Gjendebu.

The boat takes you along the lake to the charming cabins at Torfinnsbu, where you begin your hike through the sweeping glacial valley Svartdalen. A long, shallow uphill walk brings you up to the valley floor. Hiking through the valley ends with a lovely view down over the cabins at Gjendebu, with the last part a steep descent towards the lake.

Accommodation this night is at the cabins at Gjendebu, steeped in history and beautifully located surrounded by mountains. A 3-course dinner is served at the cabins.

Distance: 14km; Time: 6-8 hours; Ascent: 610m; Accommodation: Gjendebu.

Day 4: Rest day or day hikes from Gjendebu

Today you can choose to be as active (or not!) as you wish. There are a number of options for self-guided walks from the cabins. A popular option is to hike to the viewpoint at Gjendetunga, a tour of approx. 3-4 hours.

If you're feeling like a full day of hiking and would like to increase the challenge level of your tour, you can take the boat from Gjendebu at 08.35 arriving Memurubu 08.55 (additional cost payable locally, around 200 NOK/person) and hike back along the dramatic Bukkelaegret Ridge with views of the rich glacial waters of Lake Gjende, which takes 6-8 hours. NB: This is a challenging walk with some extremely steep parts (chains are fixed to the hillside on one section to assist you), suitable only for experienced hikers and in good weather conditions.

There is also a programme of guided hikes from the cabins which you may join if you wish (at additional cost payable locally).

A 3-course dinner is served back at the cabins in the evening.

Gjendetunga: Distance: 5.5km; Time: 3-4 hours; Ascent: 520m. Bukkalagret: Distance: 10km; Time: 6-8 hours; Ascent: 760m. Accommodation: Gjendebu.

Day 5: Gjendebu to Fondsbu

Take your luggage to the boat jetty (a 5-minute walk from the cabins) and you then hike through the birch forest and along the Veslådalen valley to reach the settlement of Eidsbugarden and your accommodation for the night at Fondsbu.

Distance: 15.8km; Time: 5-7 hours; Ascent: 500m; Accommodation: Fondsbu

Day 6: Departure

After breakfast, connections (ticket included) depart for Oslo. You will reach Oslo in the evening and so will need to overnight in Oslo after your tour.

*Boat departs Eidsbugarden 11.30 arriving Bygdin 13.15 to connect with bus from Bygdin departing at 15.50 arriving 20.15 or (Sundays only) departing 14.20 arriving 18.50.

*Times based on 2019 timetables. Times for 2020 TBC shortly.

Option 2 (8 days/7 nights, hard): Bygdin to Fondsbu including Besseggen Ridge and Uranostind Glacier

Days 1-4

As Option 1 above.

Day 5: Besseggen Ridge

This is a demanding day's hike, with uneven, rocky ground and at times steep drops on both sides. While accessible to most hikers with general good level of fitness, this walk is not suitable for persons afraid of heights.

Hiking the Besseggen Ridge is often described as "Norway's most beautiful day hike", and the title is well-deserved. With dramatic views on both sides during the day, Besseggen is a spectacular walk.

You begin by taking the boat from Gjendebu to the cabins at Memurubu. From Memurubu, you walk back along the Besseggen Ridge to Gjendesheim.

Distance: 13.1km; Time: 7-9 hours; Ascent: 1140m; Accommodation: Gjendesheim.

Day 6

Boat from Gjendeshim to Gjendebu (time for 2020 TBC shortly). The continue as Day 5 Option 1 above.

Day 7: Guided ascent of Uranostind Glacier

A very demanding day's hike, which is suitable only for experienced hikers with very good level of fitness - but one which, in good weather, will reward you with truly magnificent views!

From Fondsbu, you will leave at 08.00 for a short transfer to the day's hike. Crampons and other necessary equipment are provided.

You walk part Urdadalsvannet towards the valley of Koldedalen and the glacier. Here you change equipment for the ascent to Uranostind.

A 3-course dinner is served back at Fondsbu for your last night in the mountains.

Distance: 17km; Time: 10-11 hours; Ascent: 1050m; Accommodation: Fondsbu.

Day 8

As Day 6 for Option 1 above.

Option 3 (8 days/7 nights, hard+): Bygdin to Fondsbu including Østre Torfinnstind, Besseggen Ridge, Bukklaegret and Uranostind Glacier

Day 1

As Option 1 above.

Day 2: Boat from Bygdin to Torfinnsbu, Østre Torfinnstind ascent (guided), return by boat to Bygdin

This is a demanding hike, with uneven, rocky ground with steep sections. Helmets are provided and the guide will carry ropes to assist with steep sections if necessary, but climbing experience is not required. The hike is not suitable for persons afraid of heights.

Take the boat departing 09.05 from Bygdin arriving Torfinnsbu 09.50.

From here, you have a guided ascent of Eastern Torfinnstind, the highest of the three Torfinnstind peaks at 2119m and visible from most of the southern Jotunheimen mountains.

The view from the top is spectactular - in clear weather it's almost possible to see Oslo!

Once down, you return with the boat at 16.30 arriving Bygdin 17.15 for dinner and overnight.

Distance: 6km; Time: 5-6 hours; Ascent: 1060m; Accommodation: Bygdin.

Day 3

As Option 1 above.

Day 4: Hike Bukkalagret from Gjendebu to Memumurbu

The first part of the hike, climbing and then traversing the hill to reach the ridge, is extremely steep. At certain points, chains are set into the hillside to assist you. This section can be very challenging, especially if wet/slippery, and is a steep and tiring climb.

You then hike along a beautiful ridge offering dramatic views, including a lovely lake which makes a good lunch stop. From the ridge, you can look down along Memurudalen, which is a stunning valley landscape.

You drop down to end your day's hike at Memurubu.

Distance: 10km; Time: 6-8 hours; Ascent: 760m; Accommodation: Bygdin.

Days 5-6

As Option 2 above.

Day 6

Day 7:

As Option 2 above.

Day 8

As Day 6 for Option 1 above.

Dates»

Dates 2020

  • Option 1: Flexible start days by arrangement between earliest start 1st June and latest start* 31st August.
  • Option 2 and Option 3: Saturday-Saturday only between earliest start 4th July and latest start* 29th August.

*Latest start date may vary depending on availability of boat services in early September.

Prices»

Prices 2020

Prices are in British Pounds and Euros. If you wish, you are also welcome to make your payment in Norwegian Kronor (NOK) - please contact us for details.

Standard Prices  
Option 1 (per person)GBP 884EUR 984
Option 2 (per person)GBP 1,414EUR 1,572
Option 3 (per person)GBP 1,515EUR 1,685

*Tickets for bus between Oslo city and the start/end points of the tour are included. On start days where bus connections between Oslo Gardermoen (OSL) airport the start points of the tour are offered (see itinerary), this is also included. This extra ticket is therefore only applicable if travelling when airport connections are not available. You are of course also welcome to make own arrangements for travel between Oslo airport and the city.

What's Included »

Included

Accommodation:

During the tour you will stay in some of all of the following mountain hotel and mountain lodge accommodation as per itinerary chosen, normally based on 2-person rooms. For larger or odd-numbered groups, guests may have multi-person rooms depending on availability or possibly odd-numbered guest in group may share with another same gender hiker staying at the cabins.

  • Bygdin mountain hotel, Gjendebu, Memurubu, Gjendesheim, Fondsbu.
  • Shared WC/shower facilities at all accommodation.
  • Bed linen and towel is provided at all accommodation.
Gjendebu cabins

The cabins at Gjendebu. Photo: MON

Meals:

All meals from dinner on arrival to breakfast on departure. Meals at the cabins are served and taken communally with other guests at the cabins in the dining areas. Guests should prepare packed lunch for each day from the breakfast buffet at the accommodation.

You may wish to bring additional snacks such as chocolate/energy bars for between meals when hiking. Snacks are available to purchase at the overnight accommodation locations.

Please provide information on any dietary requirements (e.g. vegetarian) in advance.

Transfers:

  • Bus transfer by public bus from Oslo to/from the start/end points of the tour.
  • Transfer of luggage (one bag per person) between overnight locations during the hike.
  • 8-day tours only: Local transfers required for glacier summit hike.

Guide:

8-day tours only: Experienced and knowledgeable guide for Uranostind Glacier (Options 2 and 3) and Østre Torfinnstind (Option 3) hikes. Guests will join other participants doing these hikes.

Not Included

  • Travel: We do not arrange flights or domestic travel, but are happy to advise on suitable connections and assist you with any aspect of planning your journey. See under "Getting There" for general travel information.
  • Alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks (available to purchase at the overnight accommodation locations).

Good To Know »

Required

Health requirements/experience:

Minimum 2 persons required for safety reasons. You should have some previous experience of walking in a mountain landscape on uneven terrain and be in good physical condition. Minimum recommended age 16 years.

Transfer of main luggage between accommodation is included, but you will need to carry a daypack with lunch, water and extra clothes. You should be comfortable with the distances and height gain/loss as per itinerary information.

  • Option 1 has a medium level of challenge.
  • Option 2 has a hard level of challenge.
  • Option 3 has a hard+ level of challenge.

Options 2 and 3 require a higher level of fitness and are suitable for experienced hikers only. The Besseggen Ridge has some very steep and narrow sections and is not suitable for persons afraid of heights. The Uranostind Glacier and Østre Torfinnstind hikes are very challenging tours requiring high level of fitness and require use of crampons/ropes (no climbing experience required).

What makes this "Medium" (Option 1), "Hard" (Option 2) or "Hard+" (Option 3)?

The tour features simple hotel standard accommodation and simple but comfortable accommodation in the mountain cabins, as well as luggage transfers between overnight locations. There is an optional rest day built in to the itinerary and it can be possible to take a boat between overnight locations on one day and therefore "skip" that day's hike.

However, the distances covered and height gained/lost on the tour can be challenging. The terrain is steep, paths can be uneven and some parts can be especially challenging in wet or slippery conditions.

Choosing Options 2 or 3 will considerably increase the level of challenge, while choosing certain options for the 6-day tour (such as Bukkelagret Ridge hike from Gjendebu) will also increase the overall difficulty of the tour.

NB: Perception of difficulty is very subjective. What is hard to one person may be easy for another and vice versa, depending on factors including level of fitness, age and previous experience. Weather conditions/temperatures can also dramatically affect the actual level of challenge encountered.

Equipment/clothes needed:

For information on any equipment and/or clothing included as standard for this experience, please see under "What's Included".

A detailed recommended packing list for personal items to bring will be sent with your booking documentation.

NB: We advise you not to buy equipment or clothes for your trip or to incur other non-refundable expenses such as flights until you have received confirmation of your booking from us in writing. Note of course that the most appropriate clothing to use as well as the level of challenge experienced during any outdoor activity may vary significantly depending on factors such as the time of year and the particular weather/temperature conditions during your trip.

Preparing for your trip:

For further reading, we also have a number of general information articles to get you ready for your trip, covering a wide variety of topics from what to do on a city break before/after your tour, advice on packing, eyewear for winter and considerations for female travellers.

Minimum number:

Minimum 2 persons required.

Groups

This experience is ideal for groups. If choosing the 8-day tour, the guided components can also be offered on other days on request for min. 4 persons and so groups may have a greater degree of flexibility for tour dates for this option. Please contact us to discuss your requirements.

Eco Info

This provider has a detailed environmental policy. The tour makes use of public transport connections both by bus and boat and supports sustainable tourism in the area through the use of local accommodation and food.

Getting There »

Detailed information on travel options to this experience will be provided in response to your enquiry. We are happy to advise on suitable connections and assist you with any aspect of planning your journey.

Please ensure that you make a booking with us first and wait for confirmation that your spaces are reserved before making any travel arrangements.

By Air:

Fly to Oslo for bus (approx. 4 hours, included) to Bygdin (arrival) and boat + bus back from Eidsbugarden (departure, also included).

Gallery & Reviews »

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