Norway’s stunning western fjord region draws plenty of attention. It’s a bucket list destination, a tangle of waterways from which tall mountains rise, cradling glaciers that melt in scores of waterfalls. But as tough as it may be to tear yourself away from the coast, it's worthwhile to explore Norway's rugged inland terrain. One not-to-miss spot is Jotunheimen National Park — named after one of the nine realms of Norse mythology, Jotun, and said to be inhabited by mythical giants. Even if you don't run into any fantasy creatures, there's plenty of adventures to be had to write your own legendary tale.
Have an Adventure
The high peaks, glaciers, rivers and lakes of Jotunheimen make for excellent exploration. Trails thread through the wilderness, leading up glaciers or around mountains, bringing hardy travelers to backcountry huts, some of which are staffed by the Norwegian Mountain Touring Association (DNT) and offer hot meals. In the summer, a “walk,” is how the locals affectionately refer to as backpacking and hiking. Among the popular routes is Besseggen Ridge, which traverses a high mountain saddle between emerald lakes. Ferries run along the lakes to carry your luggage and transport you back after the one-way journey, or you can knit together an itinerary that includes overnight hut visits. The DNT also provides guided tours should you wish to go with a professional. Other activities in the area include whitewater rafting, cycling, guided glacier trips, and skiing in the winter months.
Where to Stay
When you head into Norway’s wilderness, you can either bring your own tent and camp pretty much anywhere as long as you’re considerate and adhere to the "right of access" laws, or bunk up in one of the aforementioned huts, which number 500+ across Norway. The cabins serve local food, and often the meals are well done. Hotels like Turtagro and Fjellstue offer more high-end accommodations and are great places to hire a guide or learn about hikes nearby. Turtagro also offers a multi-course dinner and excellent breakfast spread.
How to Get There
In the center of the country, Jotunheimen isn’t near major cities, but don't let that deter you from renting a car and driving. There is also an express bus from Oslo 4x a day and daily buses from Bergen and Trondheim that operate year-round. In the summer, local buses run frequently and can be navigated with some advanced planning.