Galdhøpiggen – Climbing The Highest Mountain In Norway, Scandinavia & Northern Europe

Galdhøpiggen, the highest mountain in Norway, Scandinavia, and Northern Europe is on many travelers’ bucket list. Finally, I managed to get there too! In this post, I share with you the details about the Galdhøpiggen hike, crossing the Galdhøpiggen glacier, and the best routes to get to Norway’s highest mountain.

Norway highest mountain – Galdhøpiggen height

Measuring 2469 meters, Galdhøpiggen (from Norwegian: “galdhø-peak”) is not only the highest peak in Norway but also the highest mountain in Scandinavia and the whole of Northern Europe. That makes Galdhopiggen a desirable mountain for many eager hikers. Additionally, it’s not even that difficult to summit if you approach it correctly. 

Galdhopiggen location 

Galdhøpiggen is located in Jotunheimen National Park (“park of giants” in Norwegian), in Lom municipality in Innlandet county in southern Norway. It’s one of the most popular Norway mountains, and one of the top hikes in Norway, just next to Trolltunga, Kjeragbolten, Romsdalseggen or Preikestolen. 

Jotunheimen National park as seen from Galdhopiggen
Jotunheimen National park as seen from Galdhopiggen

Read more: Trolltunga via ferrata


Galdhøpiggen difficulty

Despite the fact that Galdhøpiggen is the highest mountain in Norway, it’s not that difficult to hike to the summit. There are two main routes. One, easier and shorter crossing the glacier, and another one, longer, but not technically difficult, that doesn’t involve glacier crossing. Both are doable for generally physically fit people. More about the Galdhøpiggen hiking trails below.

Hiking Galdhøpiggen trails 

Getting to the top of Galdhøpiggen, for it being the highest point in Norway, is not especially hard. There are two main hiking trails to Galdhøpiggen.

Galdhøpiggen, the highest mountain in Norway
Galdhøpiggen, the highest mountain in Norway

#1 Hiking Galdhøpiggen from Juvasshytta and the map

Start and endpoint: Juvasshytta

Total distance: 12km

Total time: 7 hours with a guided tour (including longer breaks), shorter if you’re going alone

Highest point: 2469 m Galdhøpiggen top

Lowest point:  1850 m Juvasshytta 

Elevation gain:  619 m

Path: Marked path

Difficulty: Moderate to Challenging

Season: Guided tours are daily from 1st June till September

Cost of a guided tour (as for 2021): 350 NOK per person 

Toll road to Juvashytta: 125 nok for passenger car

Google Maps

The easiest access to the peak is from Juvasshytta – a cabin in the mountains located at an elevation of 1850 meters. This route involves crossing the Styggebreen glacier, and hence requires a guide if you don’t have experience with glacier walking. This is also the route we took. More about our experience with it later in the post.

Crossing Styggebreen glacier on the way to Galdhopiggen
Crossing Styggebreen glacier on the way to Galdhopiggen

#2 Hiking Galdhøpiggen from Spiterstulen 

Another option is to hike Galdhøpiggen from Spiterstulen cabin in Visdalen. The popular hiking route from Spiterstulen to Galdhøpiggen is technically not demanding but it’s much longer and steeper, with a vertical elevation difference of 1,300 meters. This route doesn’t cross the glacier so a guide is not needed. There are two other, more difficult routes from Spiterstulen, too. The routes include a few other 2000-meters peaks in one trip as well.


Read more: Romsdalseggen – the most beautiful hike in Norway


Summiting the highest mountain in Norway – my experience 

After almost 4 years spent in Norway and countless hikes, I finally decided to scale up the highest mountain in Scandinavia. After sharing the idea with some friends, we gathered a group of 8 and decided to hike together. Since none of us had experience with glacier crossing and some of us didn’t hike much before, we decided to go for a guided tour.

The trip started at 10 am from Juvasshytta, preceded by the safety briefing by the guides, together with the distribution of harnesses for glacier crossing. There was also English translation for non-Norwegian speakers. The weather was great, and we were all eager to start the climb!

A girl on top of Galdhøpiggen, highest mountain in Norway
On top of Galdhøpiggen, the highest mountain in Norway

Galdhøpiggen hike from Juvasshytta – three stages

Stage 1 – walk to the glacier edge (less than 1 h)

The hike starts with a relatively flat walk through the stones and snow (at the beginning of June) to the edge of the glacier. This first stage is around 2km, and it should take less than an hour. After reaching the glacier, we took a break so the guides could prepare the ropes for everyone.

Jotunheimen National Park
Jotunheimen National Park

Stage 2 – glacier crossing (around 45 min)

Glacier on the hike to Galdhoppigen is called Styggebreen, which in Norwegian means “ugly glacier”. The problem with glaciers is that there are often cracks and crevasses opening in them, which in June can still be covered with snow. It can be very dangerous if you fall into one of the cracks. That’s why glacier crossing is done with everyone connected by ropes and guides leading the way. 

After everyone clipped to the ropes, we went off to cross the glacier. 

The crossing was mainly flat at the beginning, and then it gently rose until we reached a rocky area where we unclipped from the ropes.

Styggebreen glacier crossing on the way to Galdhopiggen
Styggebreen glacier crossing on the way to Galdhopiggen

Galdhøpiggen glacier

Crossing Styggebreen glacier, hiking to Galdhøpiggen
Crossing Styggebreen glacier, hiking to Galdhøpiggen
Glacier cracks
Glacier cracks

Stage 3 – the last leg to the top of the tallest mountain in Norway (around 45 min – 1 h)

The last stage of the Galdhøpiggen hike is the steepest one. This section also involves some scrambling and it is more exposed as you walk on big rocks along the cliff edge. 

Hike to the top of Galdhopiggen
Hike to the top of Galdhopiggen
Galdhøpiggen hike
Galdhøpiggen hike

Read more: Kjeragbolten without crowds


Galdhøpiggen – the highest mountain in Norway

Once you reach the top of Galdhøpiggen, a breathtaking view of the whole Jotunheimen National Park opens in front of you. The sea of 2000-meters-high peaks is below you, and you really feel like you are standing on top of Norway.

On the top, there’s a board with names of peaks around, and also a modern-looking cafe. It truly feels like Norway when on top of the highest mountain in the country, you can buy hot coffee and waffles while paying for it by card or Vipps (local mobile payment app).

The route down follows the same trail.

Top of Galdhøpiggen
Top of Galdhøpiggen
Galdhøpiggen cafe
Galdhøpiggen cafe
Cafe on top of Galdhøpiggen
Cafe on top of Galdhøpiggen
On top of Galdhøpiggen, highest mountain in Norway
On top of Galdhøpiggen, the highest mountain in Norway

What to take for Galdhøpiggen hike 

 

Some essentials to take to Galdhøpiggen hike include:

Sunglasses

Sunscreen

– Hat (warm hat and sun cap)

– Thin gloves

– At least 2 l of water

– Energy snacks and food for the day

Hiking shoes

– Hiking clothes –  top merino wool baselayer and the bottom merino wool base layer, mid-layer and waterproof jacket and waterproof pants 

– Backpack

At the beginning and end of the season (like for example in June) add:

Gaiters – to prevent snow from falling into your shoes

Harness and crampons (if needed) are provided by the guides. 

Glacier dog, he walked with us to the top of Galdhøpiggen
Glacier dog. He walked with us to the top of Galdhøpiggen

Where to stay when hiking Galdhøpiggen

The clostest town to Galdhøpiggen hike is Lom. Here, you will find a variety of accommodation, shops, and restaurants. Here are some suggestions:

Both cabins where the hiking routes start from, also offer basic accommodation – Juvasshytta and Spiterstulen.

Juvasshytta
Juvasshytta

Galdhøpiggen facts 

  • The highest mountain in Norway
  • Height of 2469 meters
  • The highest mountain in Scandinavia
  • First ascent 1850
  • The highest mountain in Northern Europe
  • Accessible to the average hiker
  • Located around 5 hours drive from Oslo, 6 hours drive from Bergen
The view from Galdhøpiggen
The view from Galdhøpiggen

Read more about Norway:

Tips on how to travel Norway on a budget

Kjerag hike without the crowds – Kjeragbolten

Best Norwegian gifts and souvenirs to bring back from your trip

Trolltunga via ferrata


Would you like to hike Galdhopiggen and conquer the tallest mountain in Norway? Or maybe you already did? Let me know in the comments!


 

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