Exactly one week after our challenging Trolltunga hike, we had another day planned where we didn’t have to drive anywhere. Time to strap on the hiking boots again and find some magnificent trails to follow.
The most notorious hike in the area of Andalsnes is of course Romsdalseggen, a 10,3 kilometer one-way hike where you first go up to the top of one of the mountains, and then along the ridge to the other side, with a continuous 360 degree overlook over the Romsdal.
I was instantly intrigued when I heard that description. The only question that remained was: ‘Are we up for it?’. Not only is this a physically very demanding hike as you cover 960 meters of elevation, but it’s also not a hike for those with a fear of heights. Once you’re up the top, you’re following the edge of a cliff the entire time. Often you only have a small path with drops at both sides. Pretty scary! Fortunately a couple of years ago they’ve secured the most dangerous parts with some chains for extra grip.
The day before D-Day, I changed my mind about a hundred times about whether or not I would accept the challenge. While I hadn’t been bothered a lot by my mono the last couple of days, it was still in the back of my mind that I had to take that into account as well. The final decision was made on the fact that I would probably regret it if I didn’t at least attempt it. And we had a full day to tackle it, so we went for it.
The hike is 10,3km one way, so if you want to get back to your car in the lot, you do have to hike all the way back. That would have been way too much for us, and probably for anyone who isn’t a very experienced hiker. Fortunately you can park your car at the end of the hike in the center of Andalsness and take a bus from the visitor center to the start of the hike. While that leaves you with no other option than to complete the hike, it does make it a lot easier. I don’t think I need to tell you that we took that easier option. Do take into account that this bus only runs from June 15 until September 30, as long as the weather permits.
We booked our bus online the evening before. The 8:30am departure option had already been taken, but we could still leave at 9:30am. I would have preferred to leave earlier as that gave us more time to get home before dark, but beggars can’t be choosers. The price for the bus was 250NOK per person but it’s definitely worth the time – and effort – you save on not having to hike all the way back.
A little before 10am we were at the start of our hike, at the foot of the mountain. But we were completely equipped with our good hiking boots, warm and comfortable clothes, plenty of water, food and snacks. For a hike like this preparation is key. The first two hours are pretty strenuous as you are continuously climbing up. The first hour you’re following a stream which gives you the opportunity to fill up your water bottle. After that there are no more option to do so, but it’s well indicated along the way where you get your last chance to fill up. After that the terrain gets rockier and the climb gets steeper and more technical. I felt like a mountain goat climbing to the top, but it was so. much. fun. And the view behind you is absolutely stunning.
But then when you see the view from the top of the ridge, it’s truly magical. We got to the top right at noon and couldn’t have had a better place to enjoy our lunch. We were reluctant to move forward as we couldn’t tear our eyes away from the view, but we were getting a bit cold so we really had to get moving again. Now we would be following the ridge of the mountain to the other side. Almost instantly it became clear that this would be a very technical bit. But that made it so much more interesting to do. And we didn’t need to be sad about having to leave our view for lunch, as you are continuously surrounded by this magnificent view of the Romsdal. Often I felt like pinching myself because I couldn’t believe the beauty that I was lucky enough to be surrounded with. It was magical.
We moved slowly, both distracted by the view and because we sort of didn’t want to fall from that cliff. But I was in no way in a rush. I was enjoying this hike so much that I never wanted it to end. For me this was the perfect amount of technically and physically challenging. And while there were some really narrow parts, I never felt really scared. It’s all about taking your time to consider your next step and you’ll be absolutely fine. But still, if you have a fear of heights, this hike probably isn’t the best idea.
Once you’ve made it to the other side of the ridge, you still have to descent 960 meters back to the city of Andalsnes. As you get lower, the view slips away behind the mountain tops, which made me quite sad. You get used to the beauty quite easily apparently.
Fortunately, about halfway down the descent, you are rewarded with another viewpoint; Rampestreken. Many people take the hike from Andalsnes to that viewpoint as a alternative for Romsdaleggen.
But the view you get from that viewpoint compares in no way to the views you get along the hike. And you also have to be quite fit to make it to that point. Those last meters down – so up if you’re coming from Andalsnes to Rampestreken – are a total bitch. You are in the woods, which no more views, and you have to make your way down along slippery roots. And it’s pretty steep down as well. I guess we were also just getting tired, but at that point, we were so done with the whole thing. But then, when you reach the end, the feeling of finally completing this hike was all worth it again.
It took us exactly eight hours to hike the 10,3 kilometers and I honestly had the time of my life – except maybe the last hour. This was without a doubt the best hike I’ve done so far in my life and I’d do it again in a heartbeat. Yes, it is that great a hike. So if your physique is good enough and you don’t shiver at the idea of some heights, you cannot skip this hike. I am really glad that I decided to go for it in the end because I would have regretted it for sure. The absolute – unexpected – highlight of our entire Norway trip for sure!