The mountains of Fjord Norway have a wild beauty in October, when a palette of red, green and purple blends with stark hues of grey and black. Even the most popular hikes have far fewer visitors in the fall, and a calm atmosphere rules the trails and moors. Breathe in the clear, crispy air and take in the wild aroma of moss and juniper. Hear the frozen heathers crackle underneath your boots and feel the faint warmth of the October sun on your face.

The coastal areas in Fjord Norway owe their relatively mild climate to the warm Gulf Stream, but even though these areas don't see a lot of snowfalls, fog and rapid weather changes come with the season. Being well equipped and prepared is all the more important in October, and not all hikes are suitable for an adventure on your own. With proper precautions and perhaps the help of a local guide, a fantastic nature experience awaits you.

Equipment and weather – how to prepare?

As the rest of the year, it is important to consult the weather forecast before setting out on a hike, but the season also demands that we take some extra precautions. Norway is located far to the north and the days grow shorter in October, with fewer daylight hours. Where you are in Fjord Norway and whether you are venturing out in the beginning or the end of the month can make a big difference. If you are unsure which trails are safe and suitable, contact the local Tourist Information or Norwegian Trekking Association (DNT) office. Fog, dark clouds and rain not only dampen the spirits, but can also be dangerous, and the trail may be hard to find if there is snow. Captivating views tempt us to take a tiny step toward the edge to get a perfect photograph, but the rocks may be slippery, and extra caution is required.

Luckily, local guide companies have long since discovered that the joy of hiking has no expiration date. Join a guide who knows the safe paths and best viewpoints, at the same time as you learn about the unique history and wildlife around you. Each tour is different and some offer transport, equipment when needed and certain items and clothing for rent. Tailor-made trips with a private guide can be arranged for a special occasion or an exclusive experience.

Our top picks for an October hike - where to go?

Bergen

Bergen is known amongst locals as “The city between seven mountains”. Needless to say, the city has an endless number of hiking trails fit for different levels. Mt. Fløyen has its foot in the center and is easily accessible from downtown via a narrow road. If you prefer a shortcut, popular Fløibanen funicular (currently closed for upgrades) takes you there in only seven minutes. Fløyen boasts one of the finest views in town, and a network of marked trails are waiting to be explored in the forest. The roughly 13 km long Vidden hike is another favorite among locals; a one-way hike from the top of Mt. Ulriken to Mt. Fløyen. The heather-clad plateau has beautiful views along the whole hike. Planning the Vidden hike on a clear day is important not only for the view, but also crucial for safety. Cairns show the way across the plateau, and these markers can become shrouded in mist or low-hanging clouds. With proper preparations, you will experience one of Bergen's most beautiful hikes, with a splendid view to the city on the ocean's edge, mountains and islands. 

Preikestolen

Preikestolen is well known among locals and visitors for its unique shape and views of the Lysefjord. The massive plateau looks like a carved piece of stone in the mountainside above the fjord, especially beautiful in the fall when fresh snow contrasts yellow and red hues of the moors. Attracting many hikers in the summer, Preikestolen can be done as a daytrip from Stavanger or with an overnight stay in Preikestolen Mountain Lodge. A guided trip is highly recommended: the guide takes you along lesser known paths and equipment such as ice spikes is included if needed. 

Loen

After Loen Skylift lifted its first passengers up to Mt. Hoven in 2017, a network of trails has been developed to offer both family-friendly and challenging routes. For a unique challenge, join Loen Active on the “iron road” - Via Ferrata - to the top of Hoven. The tour is not for the faint, as you will need to cross the 120-meter-long Gjølmunnebrua suspension bridge, the longest of its kind in Europe. After 5-6 hours of climbing to reach the top, rest up and enjoy the view of the Nordfjord, the village of Loen and the surrounding mountains. The tour includes a ticket for the skylift, allowing tired legs to rest on the way down. Treat yourself to a well-deserved massage or spa treatment at Hotel Alexandra, or simply enjoy the indoor- and outdoor pool area.

Flåm

The Flåm valley is filled with colors ranging from bright green fields to golden-hued forests, and you will soon discover why this dramatic valley is a popular destination for both hikers and bikers. Most common is to take the Flåm railway to Myrdal or Vatnahalsen at the top of the valley, an experience in itself. The railroad is a masterpiece in engineering, snaking up the steep mountain in a series of twists and turns. For a more leisurely hike, start from Blomheller or Berekvam, where a narrow asphalt road slopes gently down towards the village. Book a room with a fjord view at the historic Fretheim Hotel or stop by Ægir BrewPub for a cure for tired legs. The Viking plank at Ægir is a five-dish specialty with local flavors matched with five different types of beer. 

Balestrand

Balestrand has the perfect location on the banks of the Sognefjord, and you don't need to venture out on the toughest and steepest routes to reach the best views. The guides at Balestrand Adventure know the best paths to Orrabenken and Raudmelen, where a magnificent panorama awaits. The Heritage Walk is a leisurely-paced guided walk through the small village, where you will learn the history of the villa from Viking times, passing by romantic Swiss-style villas, the statue of King Bele and St. Olaf's church. Stately Kviknes Hotel is the perfect place to relax, and cider tasting at the family-run Cider House is available on request for smaller groups. Using traditional methods and local produce, the family-run makes ciders, juices and other delicious beverages.

Ålesund

Mt. Aksla has its foot in the city center of Ålesund, with 418 steps leading up to the viewpoint for a quick, but effective workout - and a fantastic view of the city centre and the surrounding area. A short bus ride from the city centre you find more hiking trips:

  • Sukkertoppen, or “Sugarloaf Mountain”, a local favorite 314 m.a.s.l.
  • Alnes, a picturesque fishing village at the foot of Mt. Godøyfjellet.

The Sunnmøre Alps are known for fantastic hiking experiences, and Uteguiden offers guided hikes to Mt. Saksa starting from Urke, a two-hour drive from Ålesund. Saksa is one of the more modest peaks in the region, but don't let that fool you into thinking it is an easy undertaking. The Sunnmøre Alps and the Hjørundfjord is one of the most dramatic landscapes in Fjord Norway, where jagged, snow-capped peaks surround narrow fjord valleys. 

Haugesund

Roughly one hour outside of Haugesund is where you find the hiking path to one of the best kept secrets in the region. Himakånå is known as the mini version of Trolltunga at a mere 357 meters above sea level. Despite its modest height, the overhang has beautiful views of Lysevatnet lake, the Nedstrandfjord, farmlands and lush forests, in addition to being more accessible. A well-marked trail leads you through forest and field, taking approximately one hour each way depending on your pace. Further inland lies Langfossen, ranked fifth among Norway's highest waterfalls with a 612-meter-high drop down into the Åkrafjord. The looming mountains that surround the fjord offer challenging - but rewarding - hiking and climbing routes. If weather conditions allow, Åkrafjorden Nature offers guided adventures to the top of Langfossen as well as one of Norway's most challenging Via Ferrata routes, where a stunning view awaits at Fjæratoppen.

Few things build up an appetite quite like a hike, and as a bonus October is the season for venison, lamb and reindeer, as well as ciders and juices. Many hotels and restaurants support local farmers and use ingredients from fjord and field in their menus.