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.
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.
Read more: Trolltunga via ferrata
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.
#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
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.
#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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
What to take for Galdhøpiggen hike
Some essentials to take to Galdhøpiggen hike include:
– Hat (warm hat and sun cap)
– Thin gloves
– At least 2 l of water
– Energy snacks and food for the day
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.
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:
- Røisheim Hotel & Skysstasjon – top recommendation for accommodation near Galdhøpiggen. This former farm has charming individually designed rooms with private bathrooms in a historic building dating back to 1700. It’s very popular and often fully booked, so book in advance. Check prices and availability here.
- Fossheim Hotel Lom – historic hotel with a traditional and ambient feel. The building dates back to 1897 and offers private rooms with bathrooms. Check prices and availability here.
Both cabins where the hiking routes start from, also offer basic accommodation – Juvasshytta and Spiterstulen.
- 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
Read more about Norway:
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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