Galdhøpiggen is the highest mountain in Norway — and if you need more bragging points after you’ve reached the summit, it’s also the highest mountain in Scandinavia and Northern Europe — not bad!
Towering 8,100 ft above sea level, this giant is situated in Lom in Oppland county, inside the Jotunheimen national park (not too far from Gaustatoppen). There has been a bit of a debate between Galdhøpiggen and Glittertind about which is actually the highest mountain. But something that everyone can agree on is that Norway hiking is unlike anywhere else in the world.
Glittertind is covered by a ticker ice cap, and when this was included in the measurements, this was the highest mountain. However, that ice cap has shrunk in the recent years, so now it’s settled: Galdhøpiggen is the highest mountain in Norway!
Hiking to the summit isn’t that challenging today (compared to earlier days). From Juvaashytta (a tourist cabin with accommodation and lodging) at 6100 ft above the sea, reaching the summit will only take you about three hours. The hike is popular, and on a good summer day, several hundred people will reach the top.
The hike from Juvaashytta is only 5 km, but the reason why it takes three hours is because you will need about 45 minutes to prepare for crossing the Styggebreen glacier. In order to do this, you will need a guide — but these are easy to arrange and available every morning throughout the summer.
If you want to do the trip on your own, you will have to do the hike from the Spitersstulen lodge in Visdalen. From here, you won’t have to cross the glacier, and hence there is no guide required. The hike is steeper, but still not that challenging, and you will need about 4 hours to reach the summit. If you’re up for it, you’ll find its definitely worth the effort as this is one of the best hikes in Norway.
At Juvaashytta, there is also a ski center (Galdhøpiggen ski center) with the highest reaching ski lifts in Scandinavia, built on top of the glacier. The center is open from June and all summer, until the road closes for the winter.
At the summit you’ll find a small cabin, selling soft drinks, post cards and other nicknacks. Earlier you would also find a post office here — the highest in Northern Europe — but it has since been closed down.
(Opening photo: Wikimedia, CC)