Destinations,  Flåm,  Outdoor Activities,  Things to do

Hikes in Flam You Cannot Miss [Flåm, Norway]

One of the most popular things to do when visiting Flåm and the fjords is to go hiking. I grew up hiking in the area, and so I thought I would share the best hikes in Flam, Norway with you all. These hiking trails are suitable for a variety of fitness levels, and so I know you will find your perfect Flåm hike for your trip. Lastly, I cover some popular hikes near Flåm, as I know a lot of people stay with their base in Flåm, but want to travel out of the village for some of their trip.

Hiking in Flam is a popular activity for tourists and visitors, but especially for locals. Therefore, I always advise that you speak to someone local if you are unsure of the conditions of the hike, the weather forecast or suitability of your gear. This doesn’t have to be a huge deal, simply ask your server at Ægir during your dinner or the receptionist at Fretheim Hotel if you are staying there (or check at the Visitor Center in Flåm).

Of course, there are some great hiking opportunities in the fjord region and area around Flam, so I know you will find the perfect trail for you. Below, I list some of the most popular hikes in Flåm, from the Flåm Valley (Myrdal to Flam) and Brekkefossen, to Rjoandefossen (another popular waterfall) and the Fretheim Cultural Park (an easy hike for all ages).

fjord in norway with blue sky and clouds

The best hikes in Flam, Norway

I have done my best to include all the hikes in the Flåm area I could think of, from my favourites, to less commonly known ones. If you want to go hiking by the fjords, this post has you covered! For each trail I have tried to indicate the time it takes, and the difficulty level of the hike, but please remember to always make your own judgment. It is important to be critical of your own fitness level, and remember that there is no shame in turning around.

The latter saying is actually one of the 10 “laws of the mountains” in Norway. These are basically advice and rules taught to us as children, so that we know to always stay safe when hiking in the mountains. In Norwegian, they are called “Fjellvettregler”, which roughly translates to “Mountain common sense rules”. So, remember to turn around if you are starting to get unsure or feel unsafe.

With that being said, I give you the best hikes in Flåm, in no particular order!

Myrdal to Flam Hike: The Flåm Valley

  • Difficulty level: Easy to Medium
  • Length: 20 kilometres
  • Time: 4-5 hours
  • Season: late May – early October

I couldn’t write this list without mentioning the Flåmsdalen hike from Myrdal to Flam. This hike is one of the most popular things to do in Flåm, and whether you prefer to walk or cycle down the valley, it is a great experience.

In order to start the hike from Myrdal to Flåm you need to make your way to Myrdal, which is a train station at the top of the Flåm Valley, at 867 metres above sea level. You can either book a one way trip on the Flåm Railway from Flåm, or book the Bergen-Oslo line “Bergensbana” from Bergen or Oslo (or any of the stops in between).

From Myrdal to Flåm, you have a relatively easy downhill hike ahead of you. There are some uphill parts of the hike, but for the majority of it, it takes you down to the fjord at a slow pace. In Kårdal, along the way, you can stop and grab a bite, and if you’d rather skip the first part of the hike, you can jump on Flåm Zipline from Vatnahalsen to Kårdal.

flam valley with blue skies, norway
The hike down the Flåm Valley is a popular hike in Flåm!

Brekkefossen Waterfall

  • Difficulty level: Medium
  • Length: 578 steps
  • Time: 20-30 minutes
  • Season: all-year

Brekkefossen is a waterfall located near the center of Flåm, and the hike there is a family-friendly hike that I always recommend to visitors. From the center of the village, the trip is around 2,5 kilometres (one way), but the hike itself doesn’t start until the last 0,5 kilometres (my estimate).

Once you get there, you will hike the 578 beautifully laid stone steps to a viewpoint near the waterfall called “Raokjen”. The 20-30 minute time estimate I have put below, is the estimated time it takes to hike up the steps to this spot. The elevation is around 200 metres.

To get to the trailhead of the hike, simply follow the river (on the right side) from Flåm center and up the valley. After about 20 minutes, you will see the waterfall on your right, and once you have walked past it you will get to the trailhead. There is a sign that marks it, and as you climb you will see several red T’s (the Norwegian trail marker).

At the top there is a table and benches to rest on, and a lot of people bring food and snacks to enjoy the view here. The view from the top of this hike is of the village center and the Aurlandsfjord behind it – it is quite lovely! Just remember to bring any rubbish with you as you leave.

Below is a video I made on my last hike to Brekkefossen in Flåm!

Video of my last hike to the Brekkefossen waterfall in Flåm, Norway

Rabnanosi / Ramnanosi (+ Gudmedalen option)

  • Difficulty level: Hard
  • Length: 9 km (return)
  • Time: 3-4 hours (return)
  • Season: late June – early September

If you want an even more spectacular view of the Flåm Valley than the Brekkefossen hike, this one should be on the list. Rabnanosi (some spell it Ramnanosi) is a mountain top at 1421 metres above sea level. Don’t worry though, if you have a car, you can start the hike at around 650 metres above sea level. If you don’t, you’ll have to hike the whole way, which will add to the estimated time this hike takes.

The starting point of the hike is at Ryo (approximate Google Maps link here). You can drive up there, but note that there is no parking spot for for this hike. So leave your car somewhere it won’t block traffic. If you walk to Ryo from the center of Flåm, you can follow the train tracks until Håreina, and cross them there as you start climbing the zig-zag road up the mountain side.

The Ramnanosi hike is quite popular, but not too many travellers opt to hike it, as it is quite strenuous and will leave you needing to do some relaxing activities for the rest of the day. But, if you are an avid hiker and hope to do some epic hikes whilst in Flåm, this should be on your list!

Want to make this hike shorter? It is completely possible to turn around at 800 metres above sea level, when you have reached Gudmedalen. This is where the forest ends and the mountain plateau opens up ahead of you. If you are walking from the village, this might be a good option, as climbing 800 height metres (in addition to the walk along the river to the trail head) is still going to take you 3-4 hours one way.

Want to make this hike even shorter? Take the Flåm Railway to Håreina, instead of walking along the main road from the village center. This will save you around 4 kilometres each way. From the Håreina train stop to Gudmedalen, the hike will then take around 4-5 hours return.

Fretheim Cultural Park

  • Difficulty level: (Very) Easy
  • Length: 1,6 kilometres (the full lap)
  • Time: 15-60 minutes (completely up to you)
  • Season: All year

After the Rabnanosi hike, I thought I would list a very easy one. The Fretheim Cultural Park is a web of trails behind Fretheim Hotel in the center of Flåm, with some sculptures and art pieces (as well as benches) scattered around. This is more of a park walk than a hike, but as the pathways are placed in the hill behind the hotel, I still wanted to include it on the list.

You can spend as much or as little time as you want in the cultural park. At the start of the trail there is a playground for children, and you can stop at any of the small viewpoints and take in the view of the village below. I’d say this is a great walk for the entire family.

Rjoandefossen

  • Difficulty level: Easy
  • Length: 10 kilometres (return)
  • Time: 2-3 hours
  • Season: All year

Rjoandefossen (the Rjoande waterfall, all though most people call it the Rjoandefossen waterfall in English) is a beautiful waterfall around 5 kilometres from the center of Flåm. You can see it from the Flåm Railway, and it is a popular attraction along the route. The waterfall is around 300 metres tall in total, and at one point the water falls 147 metres off the mountain side! This is quite a spectacular sight, and one that will have most travellers in awe.

Hiking to Rjoandefossen is more of a walk than a hike, in my opinion. This is because you are simply walking up along the Flåm river, for about 5 kilometres before you get to the waterfall. You can cross the river in the Flåm Valley to get a little closer to it, and enjoy the view of this dramatic Norwegian waterfall. When you see the waterfall on your right, walk just a little further along the valley. Take a right, and you will get to a new, wooden bridge to take you across the Flåm river.

Top tip: in my opinion, the best view of the waterfall is from the bridge itself. So if you are looking for a photo-op, this is it.

Otternes Farm – a walk along the fjord

  • Difficulty level: Easy
  • Length: 8 kilometres (return)
  • Time: 1-2 hours
  • Season: All year

This is a lovely walk for anyone who wants to get a little closer to the fjord, whilst also getting some movement in. For about 4 kilometres from Flåm, you can walk along the fjord on what was supposed to be a bicycle path going all the way to Aurland. Unfortunately, the path is yet to be completed, but you can walk as far as Bøen, which is just below Otternes Farm.

Otternes is a cluster of farm buildings dating back to the 1700s, and a great destination for your hike from Flam. You can opt to visit Otternes, and walk amongst the houses to get a feel of what it was like to live there 300 years ago. A trip to Otternes is also worth it for the great view of Flåm you get when looking back!

This is quite an easy hike, and I think that even calling it a hike is a stretch. For 4 kilometres, you walk on a paved road along the fjord, as it slopes slightly up and down in waves towards Bøen. For the last 200 metres, you have to cross the main road (E16 – please be careful when doing this) to reach Otternes. Otternes is perched up on a grassy plateau, so the last 200 meters of the hike is quite steep.

If you want, you can simply turn around when you reach Bøen to keep this hike very easy. If you are up for the short (but steep) walk up the hills to Otternes, the view and the charming houses there will be worth it!

Hikes near Flam worth mentioning

Of course, Flåm is not the only village in the area with some great hiking opportunities. All along the fjord, whether you are staying in Aurland, Undredal, Gudvangen or further away, you will find some great hikes. If you are planning a trip to the area, but haven’t made a decision on where to stay yet, make sure to check out my complete Aurlandsfjord guide here.

Below are some of my favourite hikes near Flam, Norway. If you are staying in Flåm, and have some extra time on your hands, why not add some of these to your list?

Aurlandsdalen Valley

  • Where: Aurland
  • Difficulty level: Moderate to Hard
  • Length: 20 kilometres (one way)
  • Time: 6-8 hours
  • Season: Late May – October

Aurlandsdalen is one of the most popular hikes in the Aurland and Flåm area, and with good reason. It has been named Norway’s Grand Canyon by some, and the hike takes you through the beautiful Aurlandsdalen Valley from Østerbø to Vassbygdi. Most people set aside a full day for this hike, and stop along the way to enjoy a packed lunch (for example at Sinjarheim farm). The peak hiking season for this hike is August and September, and lots of Norwegians visit the area during these months to hike down the valley.

Read my complete guide to hiking Aurlandsdalen here.

sinjarheim farm, aurlandsdalen farm
Sinjarheim, along the Aurlandsdalen Valley Hike

Joasete

  • Where: Aurland
  • Difficulty level: Hard
  • Length: 5 kilometres (return)
  • Time: 2 hours (return)
  • Season: May-October

About a 10 minute drive from Flåm, and a 5 minute drive from Aurland, you will find a place called Vikesland (Google Maps link). This is a starting point for several great hikes in the area, such as Hovdungo in Aurland (mentioned below, not to be confused with Hovdungo in Undredal). This is also the best starting point for the hike to Joasete.

Joasete is a summer farm (in Norwegian it is known as a Støl), located at 920 metres above sea level. The first 20 or so minutes of the hike are the steepest, as you quickly make the climb above Vikesland. Joasete is a great place to enjoy your lunch in the sun, and look down towards Flåm and the beautiful fjord below.

Hovdungo in Aurland

  • Where: Aurland
  • Difficulty level: Hard
  • Length: 3,2 kilometres (return)
  • Time: 3 hours (return)
  • Season: May-November

As mentioned, the hike to Hovdungo in Aurland also starts at Vikesland. This is one of the more popular hikes in Aurland, offering spectacular views of the village and fjord below. The hike starts by walking along the gravel tractor road from Vikesland for about 1,3 kilometers, before you head out onto the steep trail through the forest.

Make sure to follow the signs towards Hovdungo, as it is easy to follow the tractor road a little too far. The whole trail is well marked with signs at the bottom and top, and red T’s along the way.

Hovdungo in Aurland is located around 780 metres above sea level, and I love it mainly for the view of my hometown that I love so much. Make sure you bring your camera for this one!

Hovdungo in Undredal

  • Where: Undredal
  • Difficulty level: Hard
  • Length: 8,2 kilometres (one way)
  • Time: 1,5-2 hours
  • Season: June-October

Why they have named two mountain tops in the municipality the same, I will never know. I am sure it has to do with the facts that the villages were all quite secluded up until we got roads (Undredal, for example, was only reachable by boat up until 1988!), but I still find it odd.

Hovdungo is one of the things I recommend you do when visiting Undredal, and it is a popular hike amongst locals. The climb is 700 height metres, so it is safe to say this is a rather strenuous hike. The view from the top makes it all worth it, though. The hike starts right in the center of Undredal Village, which is about a 15 minute drive from Flåm.

view of norwegian fjords from mountain top

Rimstigen in Gudvangen

  • Where: Gudvangen
  • Difficulty level: Medium to Hard
  • Length: 1,5 kilometres (one way)
  • Time: 1,5-2 hours
  • Season: April-October

The final hike I want to mention here is located in Gudvangen, around 20 minutes from Flåm. This is a steep hike with a quick payoff: the view of the Nærøyfjord just gets better and better as you climb. This is actually my favourite type of hike, where you can literally see reap the rewards of your struggle as you go, as opposed to hiking in dull terrain only for a spectacular view at the end.

The hike to Rimstigen is short in kilometres, but still takes up to 2 hours each way as it is very steep the whole trail. You start all the way down by the fjord, and the goal is to climb a little over 700 height metres to the top.

Fun fact: it is popular to run up these short, but steep mountains in Norway, in events called “Motbakkeløp” (“Uphill races”). Every year there is a Motbakkeløp arranged at Rimstigen, and people actually run up in less than 30 minutes! I believe the current record is 24:43 minutes..

Flam Hiking Tips

Now that you have all the inside knowledge about hiking in Flåm, you should be good to go. But, I still want to leave you with some of my best tips before you head out on any of these hikes in or near Flam. If you think something is missing, or you have heard of another hike in the area that I haven’t mentioned (I mean, I did grow up here, but I still might forget things), please leave a comment below!

  • Always check the weather forecast before heading out on a hike.
  • Remember the most important of the Norwegian “Fjellvettreglene”: turning around is no shame.
  • Dress well, and wear proper hiking shoes (this is very important, as blisters and twisted ankles can ruin any trip). Have a look at some great options below!
  • I have mentioned this above, but will repeat it: speak to locals if you can. Ask for tips, recommendations, and always check if someone has done the hike you are embarking on recently. They will be able to tell you about the current conditions, if it’s muddy or slippery etc. This is especially important for the harder hikes.
  • Take your time! The whole point of the hike is to enjoy it (and enjoy the view), so don’t worry too much about the amount of hours you want to get it done in, and simply take in the Norwegian surroundings.

Read next: 8 reasons to visit Flåm this year

14 Comments

  • Francesca

    Love this post, thanks Lisa! I was wondering, is there any way to get to Vikesland from Flam without the use of a car? E.g. by bus, foot or bike? The only option I can see is to get the shuttle to the centre of Aurland and then walk (3m/5km each way).

    • Lisa

      Hi Francesca! You can walk to Vikesland from Flåm, it’s a nice walk along the fjord, and then up past Otternes farm. Alternatively, take a taxi from Flåm or Aurland. Last option (and not always possible), is to take the shuttle, but ask them to drop you off at Bøen, which is along the main road at the bottom of the road that goes up to Vikesland. I hope this was helpful! 🙂

  • Aleksandr

    Hi Lisa! I am travelling to Bergen in summer and I would like to thank you for this guide on hikes in the Flam area, from where I took the inspiration for doing the Flåmsdalen hike from Myrdal to Flåm. I would however like to clarify with you whether you could recommend, as you mentioned in the article about the Flåm zipline, any reliable guided tours for this hike, which would enable us to arrive there from Bergen and back without having to worry about anything. I also have an idea of coming back to Bergen by boat from Flåm on the same day (at 15.30), do you think that this could be too risky for anyone discovering the area for the first time? Many thanks in advance for your advice!

    • Lisa

      Hi Aleksandr! Glad you are finding my blog helpful! I also have a bunch of Bergen articles over on my main site (www.fjordsandbeaches.com) in case you haven’t seen!
      I don’t think there are any guided tours that include this hike. There are private tours that take you to the fjords and back in a day, but not with the hike.
      I think the 15:30 boat could be fine if you take the first train out of Bergen in the morning, and make it to the zipline by the opening time (10:00 I think it is this summer). You’ll have time to do the hike, but not a whole lot of time to explore Flåm (but it is a small village, so you might be fine with this). Of course, the choice is completely yours. You can always opt to hike the majority of the way down, and then take the train from Håreina or Lunden (two of the bottom stations). Hope this helps! 🙂

      • Aleksandr

        Dear Lisa, thank you so much for your kind advice, much appreciated! I am indeed now exploring your main site as well, this is extremely helpful! 🙂

        As for the Flåm Valley hike, zipline is unfortunately not an option for me, it is scary to me and I doubt that it is even possible for me healthwise. Instead, covering only part of the hike does sound like a perfect option! Do you think that we could also hop on or off the train to Flåm at Blomheller or Berekvam? I am asking since I do not really know where exactly the hiking trail goes and whether it crosses with these train stations or not. This way, we could do around a half of the hike, which is already relateively long 🙂

        Many thanks again for your recommendations, you make my travel planning so much easier!

        • Lisa

          Hi again!
          Noted 🙂 The trail follows the railway pretty closely, and there are several stops you can get on and off on. The first half of the hike is more dramatic, so I recommend starting from either Myrdal or Vatnahalsen, and then perhaps taking the train from Blomheller or even Håreina if you walk that far.
          Have a great trip!

  • Ms Sarah Adams

    Thank you so much for the comprehensive information, I will be visiting in June 2024 and am hoping to do both the Brekkefossen Falls and Otternes Farm hike – should I have insufficient time to do both which would you recommend I prioritise? So hard to decide as they both look beautiful!

    • Lisa

      That’s a tough choice, as they are so different. The Brekkefossen hike is more strenuous, and Otternes I consider more of a walk along the fjord. So it depends on how sweaty you are willing to get 🙂

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