Better be prepared
Norway is famous for its outdoor activities in untouched nature. A hiking trip can be one of the best experiences of your life, but it can be dangerous too. Vegard Petersen from the Norwegian Trekking Association DNT tells us what to consider before going on a hike.
“I can't guarantee that international students don't get lost in the woods but we do our best”, says Vegard in DNT's trekking shop, located in Storgata in the city centre of Oslo. The Norwegian Trekking Association is the biggest outdoor activities organisation in the country. It offer tours, rents out cabins, marks tracks in Norwegian forests and produces maps.
Vegard points at one map and says: “If you go on a hike, you should always take it with you.” DNT gives maps out for free to help hikers follow footpaths and find cabins.
DNT members can rent a staffed or self-service cabin or hytte for an affordable price. “Make sure that the cabin you want to reach is open”, recommends Vegard and gives an introduction in how to book a cabin online. “By the beginning of July all our cabins should be maintained, that's when the main hiking season in Norway starts”, says Vegard. But at many places hiking starts earlier, especially if you carry a tent with you. Camping is legal almost everywhere in Norway. “With a tent, you are not dependent on reaching the next cabin, although the maximum walking distance to all our cabins in Nordmarka and Østmarka (the area around Oslo) is about three hours”, says Vegard.
Hiking in the area around Oslo
Nordmarka is the mostly forested region which makes up the northern part of Oslo. Several lakes are located in Nordmarka like Maridalsvannet, used as a supply for drinking water, and Sognsvann which is a good starting point for hikes. All you have to do is to take metro 5 and get off at the final stop. During the period from December to March, you will come across people carrying their cross-country skis with them, as well as on the way up to Holmenkollen, the famous ski jump. But also in Østmarka, the forested area to Oslo's east, you can find a couple of hiking spots which are reachable by bus, tram or metro.
And beyond the big city…
Apart from Oslo, famous hiking destinations are accessible by public transport too. “Trolltunga is a very popular hiking spot for international students. In summer there is a shuttle bus which takes you to the starting point”, says Vegard and mentions that DNT has one cabin which is close to the Trolltunga rock. “It takes approximately 8 hours to walk back and forth”, says Vegard. While the hike to Trolltunga and Kjeragbolten, destinations we know from numerous Facebook pictures, can be quite challenging, Preikestolen is something for people who don't want to climb up mountains for an entire day.
Tips for your trip
No matter where and when you decide to experience Norway's mountains, there are some things you should keep in mind before you start to head for the peaks. Vegard from DNT Oslo helps with some tips: “It's quite common that people want to start hiking too early in the season. Check the regional weather forecast. Our list is helpful if you want to make sure that you carry the right equipment with you. One last but very important thing: If an accident happens, call 1-1-3.”