I was extremely lucky this year to be able to spend a month living in wonderful Norway in its capital city of Oslo. Seriously, Norway has been the number one place in the whole world I’ve wanted to visit for years now and I’m over the moon to say I’ve been!
Situated on the southern tip of Norway at the head of Oslofjord, you’d think that there wasn’t much in the way of mountains around the area – and that’s where you’d be wrong! Around the city there are plenty of gorgeous hiking options with views down into the city and beyond.
I thought I’d put together a quick list of my top three hikes around the area that are all super easily accessible via the metro from the city centre.
Now my number one tip for hiking anywhere in Norway is to use the map feature on UT.no to plan out your routes, it’s jam packed with all the summer and winter trials across the country that unfortunately you can’t see on google (step up your game google) and makes planning out your hike so much easier!
I’ve roughly mapped out our trial for each option, sadly using google as it’s the only way I could embed it into the post, but if you’d like to follow along with my routes you can very easily do so on UT.no (or use the google maps I’ve provided, dont let me tell you what to do).
Ok anyway, on to the hikes!
First up we’re heading to Kolsåstoppen, which I think might just be my favourite of the three and consists of two peaks: Nordre Kolsås and Søndre Kolsås.
This hike probably took us around 4 hours to complete and was the most challenging in terms of height, but even so I wouldn’t say it was particularly difficult – the route can also be very flexible depending on how much or how little you want to do!
We opted for a slightly longer circular route so that we could cover both peaks, with the majority of the route being a gentle ascent, concluding with a steeper and much quicker descent back into the town after the sun set. You can also go straight up to Søndre Kolsås in around 30 minutes if you just wanted to go up for the views and avoid the longer hiking.
The first viewpoint at Nordre Kolsås was honestly breathtaking so I’d really recommend including it in your route if you have the time. With views of the forest peaking through the clouds as far as the eye could see it made for a perfect rest stop for a coffee and a Kvikk Lunsj, a Kit-Kat-esque Norweigan chocolate bar literally designed to be taken on hikes – it even has hiking safety tips printed on the inside of the package, not that I could read it!
From the first stop you’ll continue through the luscious evergreen forest and likely even forget that you’re high up in the clouds, that is until you reach the final stop: Søndre Kolsås.
Once you have arrived at the top you are rewarded with a breathtaking panoramic view over Oslo, Bærum and Oslo Fjord. The day we hiked, there was a magical layer of clouds across the horizon which glowed with the setting sun – truly an unforgettable experience!
I’d recommend trying to time your hike so that you can watch the sunset from here, as it’s then a pretty quick descent back to the metro.
You can easily take the metro from Oslo city centre (line number 3 to Kolsås) and be at the start of the hike in around 20 minutes, for the return journey it’s exactly the same just the opposite way around!
Nordmarka – Frognerseteren to Sognsvann
Next up we have Nordmarka (literally translating to North Forest) which is, not surprisingly, a forested region that makes up the northern part of Oslo.
There are many trials you can choose from that all interconnect in a giant web of hiking goodness – we picked a route starting from Frognerseteren and heading towards Sognsvann, with stops at Tryvannstua and Ullevålseter along the way.
The first section from Frognerseteren is a lovely and fairly flat route, though it was extremely wet and muddy when we went so probably took us about twice as long as it would’ve in normal conditions! When you reach Tryvannstua the first thing you’ll notice is the lake, keep it in mind that lakes are definitely a theme of Nordmarka, next to which is a cabin where you can purchase hot drinks and snacks. We’d actually brought our own snacks and a thermos of coffee but it still made for a nice rest stop before continuing the hike.
From there we headed towards our next stop of Ullevålseter, which in summary is another cabin selling hot drinks and snacks but with not-as-nice views – whether or not you choose to stop here is completely up to you, we actually found a nice bench next to another lake (shock) a few minutes walk away from the cabin.
It’s then a pretty direct route through the forest to Sognsvann, our final and by far the largest lake of todays accidentally very lake-themed tour.
All in all it was a pretty flat and easy-going route that took around 4 hours, including plenty of stops to take in the scenery!
You can also do this route either way you like, just take the T-bane from central Oslo to either Sognsvann (last stop of route 5) or Frognerseteren (last stop of route 1) and vice versa on the return journey.
Nordmarka – Sognsvann to Vetakollen and Frognerseteren
This last one brings us back to Nordmarka, because I wasn’t joking when I said there are many trials you can chose from.
While the start/end points were the same, the walk itself was completely different (I mean just look at the photos). Instead of walking up towards Ullevålseter we ventured down from Sognsvann towards Vetakollen and had a stop at the viewpoint.
Now usually this viewpoint would have some stunning views down into Oslo, however the weather had turned pretty wintry and all that could be seen for miles around was a blanked of white resting on evergreen trees – still pretty cool if you ask me.
Because we’re never quite ready to give up on warmer weather and all the fun that comes with it, we decided to take a disposible BBQ with us and grill up some sausages from the viewpoint (Ost-Pølse and Lefse, very traditional campfire food) while we took in the atmosphere and surrounding scenery.
Obviously the BBQ didnt last for a super long time in the cold, so we were soon back on our way and continued on to Frognerseteren.
It was absolutely mind-blowing just how much Nordmarka had changed in the two weeks that had passed between this hike and the hike above, you would think the photos were taken in completely different seasons! There was something very magical about the frosty forest.
Once we reached Frognerseteren we took the metro back to Oslo, in terms of which route to take it’s exactly the same as the hike above, so you can hop on the T-bane from the station towards Central Oslo.
Well there we have it for my top three hikes around Oslo, if you end up trying any of them out I’d love to hear about it!
The Chaos Diaries
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