A Nordic country on the western Scandinavian Peninsula, Norway may be one of the most naturally stunning countries in the world. From its ancient glacier-cut fjords to the surreal northern lights dancing in its Arctic skies, Norway is simply an awe-inspiring country, especially for nature lovers from all walks of life.
Speaking of walks of life, it's no surprise that Norway is a world-class destination for avid hikers. According to Forbes, Norway boasts 47 national parks and permissible laws that allow wild camping throughout most of the country. Norwegians also celebrate living an outdoor lifestyle, which is called "friluftsliv."
Combined, this outdoor Norwegian lifestyle and the country's natural splendor make hiking in the country a domestic national pastime and a wildly popular destination for international hikers. While hiking any time of year in Norway is possible, doing so in winter can quickly turn into a snowshoeing or cross-country skiing venture. To truly hike through Norway's vast and dramatic landscapes, the warmer months are ideal.
While the mild temperatures of summer are an obvious perk for hikers, there are a few other unique benefits of Norway's summers. According to Nordic Visitor, the months of June, July, and August feature the country's legendary midnight sun. During this time, the days are seemingly endless (until around midnight), giving hikers incredible flexibility in planning their routes and schedules.
During the summers, you'll also enjoy reliable access to the most northern areas of Norway, such as the Lofoten Islands above the Arctic Circle. The mountainous islands, although remarkably beautiful year-round, can be pretty inaccessible to hikers during the colder parts of the year.
While hikers can explore the western fjords of Norway during late summer into autumn, the northern wilderness of Norway will quickly begin experiencing snow and frigid temperatures. That said, intrepid hikers who don't mind snowshoeing or cross-country skiing through northern regions during Norway's autumn will probably be rewarded by the country's famed northern lights.
According to AllTrails, Norway boasts around 6,700 documented hiking trails. Some of these trails are managed and mapped with trailheads marked by a red "T" or a rock pyramid formation, while other unmarked routes simply weave through the country's wilderness. Regardless, unlike many countries, Norway offers hikers mostly free-reign to create camps along the trials. Also, hikers will find simple hiking cabins available throughout most of the country. These cabins should usually be reserved in advance when mapping your route. A list of these hiking cabins can be found through the Norwegian Trekking Association.
Although many of these hiking cabins provide gas or firewood stoves, Norway's mountainous regions can be cold, especially at night. And if you're camping under the stars with a basic camp setup, then the summer months will be the most comfortable. Even with a bit of night chill, however, the summer routes of Norway's trails can offer a heart- and soul-warming adventure for avid hikers.
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