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Hikes in Norway: rules for mountain tours and the official levels of difficulty of the tours

Friluftsliv - A real lifestyle in Norway

For us, hiking in Norway is just as much a part of a journey through the fascinating kingdom in the north as it is for its inhabitants. A country with such a spectacular landscape and such a unique nature is a paradise for all outdoor freaks, athletes, nature lovers and dropouts. The Norwegians themselves have been “tur” from childhood and like no other people in Europe as often as possible - on foot, by bike, by kayak and by boat. The “friluftsliv” in Norway is celebrated well into old age at “oppholdsvær” (the official term for a weather condition that allows you to stay outdoors).

So it is not surprising when you meet “norms” from toddlers to sprightly senior citizens in the most remote hut - everyone is in a good mood and deeply relaxed, as you are on tour. A widespread saying in Norway: “Ut på tur, aldri sur” describes it appropriately: “You are never mad when you are out on tour”. The recognition and acceptance by the locals increases accordingly to the extent to which you can list your own tours and summits….

So it is not surprising that the Norwegian hiking club DNT is one of the largest organizations in Norway with over 245,000 members and around 490 managed huts. The right of everyone, enshrined in Norwegian law, helps to move freely and in harmony with nature. So pack your backpack and off you go: “God tur”

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In the fell - hiking in Norway and its mountains

Before setting off for the “fjell” (mountains in Norwegian), one or the other must be observed in Norway as well: The sometimes rugged landscape and the changeable weather require good preparation for each tour. In addition, in Norway there is a strong reliance on the responsibility of each individual for himself. Therefore, not every dangerous place is marked as such and a board with recommendations for behavior is not set up at every explosive stretch of the road.

The nature is extremely extensive and often very original. This means that in case of doubt, you are left on your own for a long time and in areas without any mobile phone reception. We also had to cancel tours because a snowstorm or fog suddenly set in, making it impossible to orientate ourselves. In other cases we were very happy that we started with extensive equipment and, above all, warm things in our rucksacks, even when the weather was nice.

It is therefore advisable to really observe the following rules of conduct for the Norwegian mountains and to consider the peculiarities of Scandinavian nature.

The rules of conduct for the Norwegian Fjell (mountains)


The “Fjellvettreglene” are a classic in the eyes of many Norwegians. The Red Cross in Norway and the Norwegian Tourist Association have been publishing them for decades. Read a translation of this set of rules here:

1. Don't go on long tours without prior training

You should be well trained when you set out on a long mountain tour. Before doing this, train with your rucksack outside of the cross-country ski trail and carry out exercise tours even in bad weather and icy roads. Maybe that's where you can gain experience that you will need for excursions in the mountains. The length of the tour should be adapted to your physical and mental condition, your experience and the equipment you have brought with you.

2. Let me know where you are going

Many tourist accommodations, hotels and guest houses have special boxes in which you can put a written note about your destination. This is helpful for rescue teams in an emergency. But the most important thing is to plan the tour so that you don't have to be rescued by others.

3. Take the weather and the weather reports seriously

An old rule of thumb is that you should always respect a bad weather forecast, but not necessarily rely on a good weather forecast. Regardless of the weather forecast, you should always be prepared for every possible weather. Be aware that even a light breeze, combined with sleet or cold, can cause frostbite.

The weather forecast does not give detailed warnings about all local weather variations in the mountains. Therefore, also take the adjacent areas into account and follow the developments of the weather extremely carefully.

4. Be prepared for bad weather and cold even on short tours

Always take a backpack and the necessary equipment with you. If you see a storm approaching, or if it is getting cold, you should put on clothing immediately for your own protection (at least one more comfortable windbreaker, long windproof pants, windproof mittens and warm headgear.) It is important that you do this in good time do! Stand with your back against the wind and also help the others to put on their clothes. An emergency windsack * can be of great help.

5. Listen to experienced people

Experienced mountain people can often give you information about places at risk of avalanches, inform you about wind and snow conditions, and make suggestions for tours.

6. Use a map and compass

Always have a map and a compass with you and learn to use them well in advance. If you study the hiking map and mark your route in color, you have already created the basis for a safe implementation of your tour. Follow the tour on the map, even when the weather is good and the view is clear, so you know where you are at all times.

Read the card ahead of time and make note of points that you might recognize. Trust your compass. Use a card holder that is tied around your neck or waist. A loose card can easily be blown away in the wind. Choose the direction through details in the landscape that can guide you to the goal. But be careful not to lose the direction you took from a known point.

7. Don't go alone

If you are traveling alone, no one can spontaneously help you or report to the rescue team that you are in trouble. This does not mean that you can easily feel safe when you are in company. You should avoid large groups, especially if the requirements of the participants are very different. A group is never stronger than the weakest link.

8. Turn back in time, there is no shame in going back

If you are not sure whether you will reach your destination due to bad weather or snow conditions, turn and go back. Never try to brave the weather, others could risk their lives trying to save yours. If you change the tour, remember to let the cabin know where they will be waiting for you. If you set out on a tour in lively and changeable weather, it is best to move against the wind. This way the way back is easier.

9. Save your strength and dig yourself in if necessary

Strong winds are very exhausting. Set your pace at that of the weakest member of the group and avoid breaking a sweat. If you go straight to each other, you should always make sure that the others are coming with you. When there is a storm, it is difficult to hear someone calling. Eat and drink often. The body needs a lot of fluids during exertion.

You can easily manage a few hours in a snow cave. But don't wait to dig yourself into the snow until you're exhausted. Instead, try to dig in when you have excess strength. A bivouac sack can also be good emergency protection.

(Source: Homepage German Embassy Oslo / Norwegian Red Cross and DNT Oslo)

The Norwegian Trekking Association DNT

In addition to all practical considerations, we are also members of the DNT out of conviction, because for us it is more than just a hiking club. The DNT stands for a functioning community, Scandinavian mentality and a special attitude towards life.

Everyone, including all foreigners, is free to become a member there and thus enjoy a multitude of advantages on their hikes in Norway: Among other things, you save on overnight stays in a large number of huts and mountain hotels, and you will save on the allocation of sleeping places in DNT prefers huts and can get a key with which one can open and use the “self-serviced” huts, among other things, in return for a kind of deposit.

The 490 huts of the DNT are divided into non-serviced (a kind of emergency hut), self-serviced and serviced / managed huts, which are spread over the whole country. In the self-service huts you can warm up, spend the night, prepare something to eat and stock up on provisions for your rucksack. To do this, you deposit an amount or a direct debit authorization in a steel box before you move on.

We often ask ourselves whether a comparable system south of Norway would have a chance….

A good overview of the huts, the official paths marked by the DNT and various tour suggestions can be found on the great homepage: If you are interested, you can become a member of the DNT directly on the DNT Oslo homepage.

På tur - hiking in Norway

When it comes to hiking in Norway, you are spoiled for choice: a day trip to one of the peaks with a breathtaking panoramic view? Multi-day hut tour through the mountains? The plateaus or along the coast? Round tour in a region, along one of the countless pilgrimage routes and historical royal routes? On foot, by bike or on the water ...?

Each variant has its own special charm and a general recommendation is difficult.For those who count themselves in the Outdoor Champions League, we recommend the still exclusive and extremely attractive tour “Norge på lang”: Cross Norway from the South Cape to the North Cape on foot (or much easier by bike) ... Acceptance into the official circle beckons of those who made it: We'd like to be on this list at some point.

In general, it is advisable to go on tour in August and September, as meltwater hardly complicates the tour at this time. When late summer conjures up its first colors in the fell and the clear air allows for spectacular views, it is actually the best time for extended tours.

A large part of our hikes, perfect tours with all the facts and details and much more can be found in our category “Norway Hikes”.

Official Norwegian classifications for the difficulty levels of hiking in Norway

For a better assessment of the route, it is advisable to pay attention to the signs that are often given. From our experience, however, the Norwegians are apparently more experienced and generally a bit optimistic: We often needed more time on our tours and mentally made the classification as a level more difficult for us. But that is certainly in the eye of the beholder ...

Here are the official classifications for the levels of difficulty of the individual routes and paths:

ENKEL (GREEN) = Easy route, suitable for beginners, older people and families without special equipment. Mostly solid and well marked paths without any particular obstacles. Often flat terrain in the forest or on the coast. Maximum length 5 kilometers and maximum height difference 300 meters.
MIDDELS (BLUE) = medium-load route for people with some experience in off-road terrain and moderate training. The paths are sometimes rocky and wet, hiking equipment is required, possibly steep and high-altitude pathways. The maximum length is 10 kilometers and height differences of a maximum of 600 meters are possible. However, no further aids or special equipment are required
KREVENDE (RED) = Demanding tours that require experience in the field, training and knowledge of orientation (map and compass). Good equipment including mountain boots is also necessary. Some of the paths can only be mastered with technical aids. The routes are up to 20 kilometers long and overcome height differences of up to 1000 meters
EKSPERT (SCHWARZ) = As the name suggests: Practice, experience and perfect equipment are absolute prerequisites. The paths are not limited in terms of length and altitude to be overcome. Mostly steep summit tours - also over glaciers - which often require appropriate aids and physical condition, as well as a head for heights

Can and should I really just move around freely anywhere in Norway and just camp like that? For this purpose, we have published this separate and detailed article on everyone's right (Allemannsretten) in Norway. This set of rules also applies in a similar form to the rest of the Scandinavian countries, with the exception of Denmark.

We wish you a good tour anytime and anytime !! Maybe you will see each other - also on one of the hikes we recommend here in the blog….

Recommended literature *

Norway is the paradise for outdoor fans. The hiking guide presents many easy hikes on which families with small children can enjoy the fantastic mountain nature of Norway without exertion. Most of the routes, however, are moderately difficult to demanding: the paths lead naturally "over hill and dale", through moors and streams. Many multi-day trekking tours open up the unspoilt nature and grandeur of the Norwegian mountains.

You might also like the following hiking guides:

Central Norway: From Geiranger to Trondheim and to Børgefjell - 50 tours

Norway South: The most beautiful fjord and mountain hikes - 53 tours


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