Norway, the well-known Scandinavian country, is one of the most beautiful places on earth. With a population of more than 5 million people, this Nordic country holds hundreds of natural treasures that you cannot miss. Norway is not big at all, compared to other European countries. And it is quite impressive to know that such a small country has so much to offer. From the most dramatic and enchanting fjords to countless rivers and lakes that will take your breath away, you will hardly forget your visit to our Viking land.
Norway National Parks
So, what’s a better way to get to know a country than visiting its national parks? There is a total of 47 parks in Norway, and today we will cover 5 of the top national parks of this marvelous country. And before we get started, one good piece of advice, is to do it by renting a motorhome. Which in my opinion, is the most comfortable ways to do it, as you will have the freedom to go at your own pace, without the need of going back to an accommodation, as you will have it right with you!
Rondane National Park
We’ll start to cross this list off with the oldest national park in Norway. This highland park is quite diverse and was established in 1962, it has valleys, lakes, dead stone valleys, and ten huge peaks, all above 2,000 meters (6,560 feet), the tallest one being 2,178 meters high (7,146 feet).
The total area is 963 km2 (372 square miles) of wild and beautiful lands.
What to do
There are plenty of activities you can do in such a large territory, two of the favorite ones are hiking all year round and skiing during winter.
That’s not all though; the park offers many family-friendly activities, like horse riding, biking, fishing and some extreme ones such as rafting and bridge swing.
Unlike other national parks, you can spend the night here, or a few nights, so you get to enjoy a large part of it at your peace. There are campsites, cabins, hotels, and lodges, for every type of traveler.
One of the most important points when it comes to traveling, in my opinion, is the food! And guess what? This park has places where you can eat. Do not miss the restaurant or the cafés in a cold evening, where you can calm all of your cravings!
Hardangervidda National Park
Hardangervidda is, in fact, the largest National Park in Norway, at 3,422 square kilometers (1,321 square miles) but what is even more incredible, is it is home to the largest mountain plateau in Europe! 6,500 square kilometers (2,500 square meters) and the highest point of the plateau is at the top of the Hardangerjøkulen glacier.
This southern-central Norway park is about two hours and a half from Bergen; you will get to enjoy this huge park, with very rich wildlife. There are several arctic animals such as the Arctic Fox. This place is the southernmost refuge for them, where the population has increased through reintroductions programs.
What to do
Well, just like the previous national parks we mentioned, there is a lot to do here, but the best thing about this park is the hiking paths. There are many trail networks where you can start your excursion throughout the plateau; whether you are cycling or hiking, the views will take your breath away.
Bird watching is also a popular activity here as I mentioned, flora and fauna of this place are quite rich.
There are also guided tours and fishing excursions since this place has many pools and lakes.
During winter, the best activity is without a doubt skiing, so if you visit us during winter, make sure to put this humongous National Park in your bucket list!
Folgefonna National Park
Next up, my personal favorite National Park, this stunning part of Norway, is home to the third-largest glacier in mainland Norway. It consists of 3 mains glaciers: Midtfonna, Sørfonna, and Nordfonna. There are also many little glaciers or pieces of it. All of them being at the center of the park, covering an area of 207 square kilometers (129 square miles).
The park is one of the most visited in the Nordic country and was established in 2005. Flora and fauna of this place are simply unbeatable, from countless fjords to lakes, rivers, stunning valleys and icefalls, you will not want to leave this place ever!
What to do
As you can guess by what I previously said, there are many activities that you can do at the park.
There’s a historic route guided that will give you a glance of what this place holds.
You cannot miss hiking in the Folgefonna glacier, where you’ll get to delight your eyes with its hues, forms and blocks of ice fall!
If you visit us during summer, I would definitely recommend doing a glacier Kayak tour, trust me, it will be one of the most wonderful activities you’ll ever get to experience!
Sunndalsfjella National Park
In 2002 this park got an expansion and now it shares limits with the Dovrefjell National Park, so now it is currently called Dovrefjell–Sunndalsfjella National Park. With 1,693 square kilometers (654 square miles) this beautiful land covers three counties: Møre og Romsda Oppland and Trøndelag. And it is all about the mountains! Here you can find the most dramatic mountain areas of the entire country.
This park was re-established to protect the wildlife and to preserve an unblemished ecosystem.
As you must be aware, many species have been disappearing throughout the years, and sadly, but proudly, this is the home of the last wild reindeers in Europe, where they are being protected and monitored. This imposing animal came to Norway once the last Ice Age ended, hence why the importance of preserving this beautiful mammal.
What to do
Mostly hiking is what people do here, there are very good routes and hiking trails, and you can stop anytime for a break, or even put up a tent when it gets cold. Yes, you can spend the night here! Isn’t that cool? Please make sure to leave no traces though, be careful with the wood for campfires which by the way, is strictly forbidden from April 15th until September 15th. And lastly, take the trash with you, it is very easy to be a friendly visitor, let’s not ruin our precious nature!
After a good rest, you can hop on your bike and go cycling! Note that you can only do this in marked areas, which you will get to see in the tour maps as they are shown within the park itself.
You can also pick berries and mushrooms, but please do it responsibly and for personal use. Avoid doing it during the breeding season; we can all take care of flora and fauna.
Jostedalsbreen National Park
Last but not least! This marvelous National Park holds the largest glacier in mainland Europe! (Jostedalsbreen glacier). Which covers half of the park. As it was enlarged to the northwest in 1998, the park now covers an area of 1,310 square meters (510 square miles).
As you can see, the park is not as large as the other parks we have reviewed, so the best thing about it is that you can cover different areas within a short distance, enjoying different environments and landscapes. In a short hike, you’ll contemplate the glacier, mountains, and beautiful valleys which makes the perfect activity if you are short on time.
What to do
Visit the glacier tongues, there are a few of them, and all of them are simply astonishing.
Next, Fjærland, the glacier Museum, a must-see if you come here! Its structure is quite odd, yet impressing. Oh, and there are two mammoths right outside, do not leave this place without a selfie with them!
And finally, to finish a perfect visit, grab a cup of coffee or your favorite dish at the Brævasshytta restaurant. So why a restaurant should be on your to-do list when you visit this park? Please just go inside, the view you will get of the glacier is unbeatable.
Top 5 National Parks in Norway you Should not Miss
No traveler should miss this country and certainly cannot miss these National Parks. Like I previously mentioned, there are 47 national parks throughout the country, and I would love to share at least two more with you, that truly deserves to be mentioned!
Jotunheimen National Park and Femundsmarka National Park.
Jutunheimen, which proudly has the biggest peak of all Scandinavia, with 2469 meters, Galdhøpiggen is a mountain that you must visit, whether it is to go hike, climb or bike, this destination should be in any adventurer’s travel bucket list.
Lastly, Femundsmarka National Park, this peculiar park is actually all about wetland and lakes, and it is in fact neighbor of the second largest lake in Norway, Lake Femunden. Due to it’s natural conditions, where it is mostly water, the best activities here are fishing and canoeing. But hey! Worry not, this is one of the best destinations to go hiking as well.
Are you ready to visit these National Parks? Then pack correctly, bring the right gear despite the time of the year, come prepared and start an incredible adventure through our beloved parks, respecting at all times our wild nature.