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The Top 3 Mountains for Hiking & Climbing in Scandinavia

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If you are enthralled by how beautiful Scandinavian cities are, then this country’s mountains are certain to blow your mind. Famously visited for their ski slopes, unending vistas of the aurora borealis and the unfaltering midnight sun, these mainly desolate mountains aren’t as high as the Alps or even the Himalayas, yet, they make the experience of Scandinavia complete.

In this blog will we show you the 3 three mountains we regard more than worth the visit:

Galdhøpiggen

The Roof of Norway
Photo credit By Håvard Berland

Photo credit By Håvard Berland

Location: Oppland, Norway
Age: Approximately 400 million years ago
Norway’s 2,469 m tall mountain, Galdhøpiggen, is its highest, and even so in Northern Europe, which has made it a very popular hiking and skiing destination. This beloved mountain is hiked by locals and foreigners alike, and provide one of the best experiences of both Norway and Scandinavia.

Located in the Jotunheimen Mountain Range, the mountain is also surrounded by a national park of the same name, which promises fun Norwegian hiking trails and activities for visitors to enjoy. If you are lucky, you may be able to spot the occasional elk, reindeer, wolverine or lynx.
Mountain Fact File
Continent: Europe
Country: Norway
Province/State: N/A
Location: Lom, Oppland, Norway
Height: 2,469 meters (8,100 ft)
Range: Jotunheimen
Coordinates: 61°38′12″N 8°18′54″E
Prominence: Highest mountain in Norway and Northern Europe.
The Best Time to Visit Galdhøpiggen: May to August
Geology and Formation of Galdhøpiggen

Like most of Norway’s mountains, Galdhøpiggen is part of the Caledonian folding. The stone making up the mountains is called gabbro, which is a coarse-grained type rock, and black in color with white specs.


Geologists believe that the Jothunheimen Mountain Range started forming around 400 million years ago. In the process the Caledonian was thrust upwards. Yet, the process of formation continued till the last Ice Age.


The first effort to climb this grand mountain took place in the 19th century, (and 1850), after many unsuccessful attempts by various avid mountaineers before them. Three men from Lom eventually managed to climb to the Galdhøpiggen summit.

Most Interesting Fact
There is a species of Lichen found only on the summit of Galdhøpiggen and nowhere else on the planet, not even on the surrounding mountains! The Lecidea altissima was first discovered by Swedish botanist and lichenologist, Gunnar Degelius, in 1947, on top of this very summit.
Most Important Travel Tip
It is very important to clothe yourself in warm clothes, sunglasses, good shoes and a spare change of clothes, since the weather at the summit of Mount Galdhøpiggen can change in a heartbeat, dropping in the minus scale.
Most Important Hiking Tip to Hike Galdhøpiggen
There is a little stone hut shop right at the Galdhøpiggen summit where visitors can purchase items such as hotdogs, coffee and souvenirs. It is although advisable to carry your own water on the hike since the water from the glacier is not safe to drink.
List of Hiking Routes / Treks Available at Galdhøpiggen
1. Juvaashytaa to Galdhøpiggen Summit
Level: Intermediate to Advanced
This route is a guided one for those who want to traverse right up to the summit.
Starting Point: It starts from Juvasshytta Mountain Lodge at 6,100 feet, with the upward hike being only a little more than five kilometers (5 km) in length. Yet, it takes three hours to complete the route, since most climbers usually  spend up to 45 minutes in preparation to cross the Styggebrean Glacier. (This section of the journey is guided and accompanied by a guide, with rope being used. If you are afraid of heights, this route is not the one for you.)  

Important: It is not advisable to take this route if you have children under the age of seven (7).

Hikers wishing to join the route need to ensure they are at the lodge at least 30 minutes before the commencement of the hike.

No prior reservations are needed. Sign up at the lodge when you get there.
2. Spiterstulen to Galdhøpiggen Summit
Level: Beginners to Intermediate
The Spiterstulen-Galdhøpiggen route is great for those who like to hike unguided. The stretch from Spiterstulen, located at 1100 meters, is 5.3 kilometers.

There are no glaciers to be crossed on this route, with the path being well marked.

Starting Point: Hikers will start their hike from a forested area, crossing both rocky and snowy terrain as the route progresses. The advantage of this route is the ability to see some of the highest peaks located within the Jotunheimen Mountain Range.

Guide For Hire Service: Hikers who prefer the services of a guide, can hire one.

Alternative Option: Do you prefer a more challenging route?  Another alternative is to take on a more challenging hike that starts from Spiterstulen, then goes via Eventyrisen
, giving hikers the option of crossing a glacier called, Svellnosbrean. (Hikers on this route need to wear warm clothing, gloves and head gear in case of sudden weather changes.)
Most Fascinating Secret, Legend / Myth
Jotunheimen, the mountain range that Galdhøpiggen is located in, takes its name from the Norse mythological term, Jötunheimr, meaning, ‘World of Giants.’In Norse mythology,
Jötunheimr was one of the Nine Worlds; the most famous being Asgard of the Gods, and
Midgard of humanity.
The Top 5 Reasons to Visit
  • Although Galdhøpiggen is not a tourist hotspot, it is well worth visiting. (One of this hidden secret tourist spots few know about.) Plus, only a few can say they have climbed the highest mountain in Norway.
  • The Jotunheimen National Park is one of the best Norway has to offer, with a range of activities for all age groups. Visitors may also be able to see many exquisite species like reindeer, elk and the wolverine.
  • Galdhøpiggen is surrounded by other prominent peaks such as Glittertind, which is easily accessible. Furthermore, are there many hidden lakes such as the Gjende and Bessvatn. (Great to visit if you are a nature lover.)
  • For those who love skiing, Galdhøpiggen is the place to be, especially since its one of the few places in the summer which has snow.
  • Galdhøpiggen is a great place to trek consider hikers will encounter all kinds of terrain during one route – snowy and rocky with a hint of glacier. Plus, the treks don’t take up that much time.  
The Top 3 Activities Available at Galdhøpiggen
  • Skiing: Located at 1,850m on Norway’s highest mountain is the Galdhøpiggen Summer Ski Centre, which offers tourists skiing all through summer - almost till Christmas season (June to November). The road it lies on will also take you to the highest point reachable by road within Norway.
  • Horseback Riding:  For those who’d rather be on a horse, the Jotunheimen National Park offers visitors the option of horseback riding on many guided tours, ranging from 1 to 8 hours on a given day, with meals included.
  • River Rafting: Although this activity is not found on the Galdhøpiggen mountain, visitors can enjoy it at the Jotunheimen National Park. Get an adrenaline rush as you raft down the Sjoa River- fed by snow, rain and ice. A must do for adventure lovers, the levels of rafting range from one to five, and are headed by capable rafting guides.
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Ylläs

A Gorgeous Fell in Finland
Photo Credit By OfO

Photo Credit By OfO

Location:  Lapland, Finland  
Age:  2,900 -1,940 million years approx.
Located around 960 kilometers from Finland’s capital, Helsinki, is a gorgeous mountain area (known as a fell), called Ylläs. (This is perhaps the Scandinavian country’s highest skiable fell.)

The scenery is straight out of a fairytale book. Expect to be gawking at a snowy mountain, the two villages of Äkäslompolo and Ylläsjärvi carved on its slopes, and a beautiful lake glistering at night as the mysteries of mother moon floats above.

The fell further features one of the longest downhill ski slopes in Finland.
Mountain Fact File
Continent: EuropeCountry: Finland
Province/State: Lapland
Location:  Kalori Municipality
Height: 718 meters (2,356 ft)
Range:  Ylläs Fell
Coordinates:  67°33′52″N 24°13′28″E 
Prominence:  Highest skiing fell in Finland.

The Best Time to Visit Ylläs: November to May(Ski season) and June to August (midnight sun)
Geology and Formation of Ylläs
Like the rest of the Lapland granulite area, Ylläs is made up of magmatized greywacke (a dark colored, coarse-grained sandstone that contains more than 15 % clay),
and argillite rocks. The metamorphic rocks have been placed between 2,900–1,940 million years old.
Most Interesting Fact
Ylläs was host to the 13th Deaflympics in 1995. 18 nations participated with over 200 athletes. The mascot was of course a cute reindeer with ski’s, since Lapland is famous for Santa and his reindeer.
Most Important Travel Tips
Winter: Ylläs is best visited in the winter since the most spectacular views of the northern lights (or aurora borealis) can then be seen. Although beware, temperatures dip way into the minus scale.

Summer: If it’s the midnight sun you wish to see; summer is the time. (Just keep in mind it is not ski season then.)
Most Important Hiking Tip to Hike Ylläs
Be well equipped with insect repellent and sunscreen since the sun can get very strong in the summer months, and there happen to be a lot of insects on the trails. For visits during the winter, carry face masks and hand and foot warmers for your days out on the slopes.
List of Hiking Routes / Treks Available at Ylläs
1. Ylläslompolo Nature Trail

Level: Beginner
This trail is only 2.5 km long and starts at the bird watching tower of Ylläslompolo, in the village of Ylläsjärvi. The beautiful trail runs through a forest, meadows and past a pond. (The trail is well marked.)
2. Tähtipolku Trail

Level: Intermediate
This trail starts at Lake Kesänkijärvi  at the village of Äkäslompolo. Roughly translating “star trail,” in Finnish, this 8 km long trail will take you on a celestial journey from
Lake Kesänkijärvi, to Pirunkuru Ravine and further to the Tahkokuru Ravine. Please be advised that the Pirunkuru Ravine is challenging as it is more difficult to climb up than the other ravines on the route.
Most Fascinating Secret, Legend / Myth
Ylläs has a slogan called “Ylläs on ykkönen,” which translates to, "Ylläs is number one," in Finnish since they pride themselves for providing the best of lappish delights in all of Lapland.
The Top 5 Reasons to Visit
  • Ylläs is located 150 km from the Arctic and will get you quite close to the end of the earth without actually venturing out into the freezing Arctic Sea.
  • Its proximity to the Arctic means that the famed Aurora Borealis and the Midnight Sun are not a rare commodity for visitors.
  • Skiers and snowboarders will love Ylläs because of its long downward slope. Outdoor enthusiasts will enjoy ample hiking, cross country and mountain biking facilities.
  • Visitors can live in traditional Finnish villages of Äkäslompolo and Ylläsjärvi, while getting five-star amenities.
  • Avid mountaineers and nature lovers can visit one of the best Finish national parks, the Pallas–Yllästunturi National Park, in the vicinity.   
The Top 3 Attractions at Ylläs
  • Visit the Yllästunturi Visitor Centre located at the foot of the fell. This center is fully equipped with an exhibition center, a cafe, maps, and some hiking supplies.
  • Eat at the exclusive Saaga Hotel, Ylläs' best. Try Lapland specialties such as arctic char, buckwheat blini and some delicious blueberry crème brûlée with ice cream.
  • Ride the Gondola, a ski-lift that takes visitors right up to the 718 meter fell.
The Top 3 Activities Available at Ylläs
Skiing: Take your pick from the fell’s 63 slopes and 29 lifts for skiing, and even snowboarding in Finland’s top ski areas.

Snowmobiles:  Have a ball going downhill on a snowmobile as many companies offer snowmobile tours.

Stay indoors: Treat yourself to some traditional Finnish spa time at one of the many resorts here, such as Lapland Hotel Saaga, and Lapland Hotel Äkäshotelli.    

Kebnekaise

Swedish Pride
Photo Credit By Alexandar Vujadinovic

Photo Credit By Alexandar Vujadinovic

Location:  Norbotten, Sweden
Age:  420 – 405 million years ago
Sweden seems to have it all – from Stockholm’s archipelago to the grand mountain, Kebnekaise. Located around 593 miles from Stockholm, and 25 miles from the Norwegian border, it is the highest mountain in the country and the complete hotspot for adventure lovers. In Scandinavia, only Norway has higher peaks that compare to this one in Sweden.
Mountain Fact File
Continent: Europe
Country: Sweden
Province/State: Län (county) of Norrbotten
Location:   -
Height: 2117m
Range:  Kebnekaise
Coordinates:  67°54′00″N 18°31′00″E 
Prominence:  Sweden’s tallest mountain
The Best Time to Visit Mountain Name Here: June to September
Geology and Formation of Kebnekaise
Kebnekaise, meaning ‘kettle top’ in Sami, contains two peaks called Sydtoppen (2,117 m) and Nordtoppen (2,097m), covering an area of approximately 200 square miles. This uninhabited glaciated area is made up of  sheeted dolerite complexes along with meta-sediments, considered to undergo the least amount of erosion. It also contains a tract of birch forest also desolate. Part of the Caledonian peaks, this one might date back to 420 -405 million years.
Most Interesting Fact
In 2017 it was reported that Sweden’s highest mountain
rose by more than a meter instead of shrinking due to climate change.
Most Important Travel Tip
Carry lots of water with you. Although there are streams, you may not know when you will come across one while going to the mountain. Keep lots of bottles with you too.
Most Important Hiking Tip to Hike this Mountain
While hiking, keep to the right once you leave base camp, and follow the red dots or else you can get lost. Look out for the sign saying, Västra Leden.
List of Hiking Routes / Treks Available at Kebnekaise
1. Østra leden (eastern route)
Level: Difficult
This route is guided and measures about 20 km from the starting point at Kebnekaise Fjellstation, to the summit and back. It takes about 3-5 hours to hike. The hike requires quite a bit of climbing and is not recommended for those scared of heights. The trail goes through the Kitteldalen valley after which you will have to cross a stream and a ridge from where hikers continue to the Bjørlings Glacier and up to the summit. Climbers will be required to use some climbing equipment.
 
2. Vastra Leden (western route)
Level: Beginner to Intermediate
This route also starts at Kebnekaise Fjellstation, and measures roughly 25 km from start to the summit and back. Taking about 6 hours to complete. It follows the same route as the eastern route till the stream, after which the route continues up the Kitteldalen valley. Be careful along the river, since the trail is cut a little. Hikers will be required to cross rivers along the way, after which they will ascend to Vierramvare, and finally the summit.
Most Fascinating Secret, Legend / Myth
On March 15, 2012 , a Norwegian Lockheed C-130J Hercules military aircraft crashed into the Kebnekaise Mountain, killing all five Norwegian officers on board. Investigation into the cause of the crash found that the aircraft systems failed to warn the crew about the terrain. Furthermore, the plane was outside Swedish ATC coverage.
The Top 5 Reasons to Visit
  • On a clear day, visitors can see numerous large glaciers from the summit, including Björlings, Isfalls, Stor, Rabots and Kebnepakte.
  • The summit always has snow come summer or winter, and provides snow climbing enthusiasts some great opportunities.
  • It is a good area to witness the endless Midnight Sun during the summer.
  • It lies on the famous 400 km Kungsleden Trail (King’s Trail) that extends from Abisko in the north to Hemavan in the south of Sweden.
  • The base camp at Nikkaluokta, is a quaint little place that will provide visitors with a serious, cozy vibe.
The Top 3 Activities Available at Kebnekaise
  • Satosjohka Sami Camp: Located in the village of Kiruna near the summit, is an adorable Sami camp where visitors will be able to spend a night amongst local culture and reindeer.
  • Nikaluokta Base Camp: Since there is practically no attraction on the summit itself, most of the area’s civilization can be found here including accommodation, cafes and a bus stop.  
  • Skiing: Apart from climbers and hikers, ski enthusiasts, though a small number, come to this challenging summit.
RECOMMENDED TRAVEL APPS
To make the most of your trip to Mountains, install the below two apps to conveniently take photo routes and measure the height for peaks in the surrounding area.
Peakvisor
Routes.Tips App

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