Unknown Hikes in Norway: The Priest Hike & Hovdungo

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Unknown Hikes in Norway: The Priest Hike & Hovdungo

I know, I know. I need to chill with the posts about hiking in Norway. That’s why I’ve decided to put together these two articles about two of the best hikes in Norway, in the hopes that it will make it a lot easier for you to make the right decision when choosing between all the breathtaking Norway hiking trails.

Summer in Norway is perfect for hiking, and since I don’t actually consider myself a hiker (i.e. someone naturally outdoorsy), I feel an urge to tell the world whenever I actually go on one. Especially when the hikes are just a short drive from my house by the fjords. These two Norway hiking trails are a little challenging, but not so hard that you need to be an incredibly experienced hiker to do them.

Side note: Hiking in the winter is also popular, but make sure to read up on some safety tips for winter hikes before you go. Also, don’t miss my Norway winter packing list!

As mentioned, the Priest Hike and the Hovdungo Hike are both close to where I grew up, and so if you are looking for hikes near Flam, you’ll be glad to read this post!

In other news, my massive (like, huge) Norway travel guide is live and yours for the reading! Head this way to read everything you need to know before your trip to Norway!

My Favourite Hikes in Norway: The Priest HikeUnknown Hikes in Norway: The Priest Hike & Hovdungo

In the middle of this picture you can see the Prest/Priest Mountain.

Also known as the Priest Mountain or simply Prest, Aurland

As mentioned, there are many popular hikes in Norway, such as hiking Trolltunga and Pulpit Rock. The Priest Hike is not as famous, but it’s well known amongst locals, and you’ll meet plenty of them along the hiking trail.

The view from Prest, Aurland is one of the best in the area, and I always recommend it to those visiting the fjords in the Summer and Spring.

Here’s my guide to visiting the fjords in the Winter!

Fun fact: The mountaintop is named Prest in Norwegian, which literally translates to ‘priest’ or ‘minister’ in English. You can imagine people’s confusion when I tell them they should ‘go to the Priest‘ during their visit to the fjords.

The top of Priest mountain is 1478 metres above sea level, giving you a panoramic view of the entire Aurlandsfjord and making it the perfect place to impress that guytake a selfie take in the breathtaking nature of the Norwegian fjords.

The route to get to the start of the trail is also great for cycling, and popular amongst those visiting Norway for a bicycle adventure. So if you are interested in cycling in Norway, you should definitely add it to your list!

It is worth noting that the stopping point for the Priest hike is actually not the ‘part’ of the mountain named Prest, but it is actually called Røyrgrind. But due to a common misconception about where the actual hiking trail ends, people accept that you have been to ‘Prest’ if you have taken your photo at Røyrgrind.

In addition to these great hikes, here are some other incredible experiences to have in Aurland!

Unknown Hikes in Norway: The Priest Hike & Hovdungo
This isn’t even the view from the top of the Priest mountain!

The view on your way up to the top just gets better and better as you go, and it is extremely hard not to stop every 50 metres to take more photos. The hike itself can be quite strenuous in certain areas, so it’s good to stop and rest when you feel the need.

And why not take advantage of those breaks and get your camera out?

The hike itself isn’t that long, all though it is steep, and you’ll be back by your car within 3 hours, including breaks. That’s not too bad, right? It’s not as hard (in my humble opinion) as the hike to Hovdungo which I’ll cover below, but there is definitely a little bit more climbing included in this one!

Prest is actually a higher mountaintop than Hovdungo, and in my opinion, has a way better view. But you’ll find plenty of locals who disagree with me!

If you are ever in the Aurland/Flåm area, the hike to Prest is definitely one I would recommend. I would call it one of the most rewarding hikes in Norway, mainly for the panoramic views of the fjord you get from the top.

The impressions and photos on their own are more than worth it, and in addition to that it does your mind and body great to be above the tree line! Or at least my mum tells me that’s why this particular hike feels so good..

How to get to the start of the Priest Hike

In order to access the path to Prest, you will drive approximately 10 kilometres of what is known as the Snow Road, or Aurlandsvegen in Norwegian. Aurlandsvegen is the road that connects Aurland to the neighbouring village Lærdal and is covered in snow most of the year, hence the nickname. It is part of Norway’s National Tourist Routes and has a lot of traffic in the very few months of the year it is open.

Along the road from Aurland, you will find the famous Aurland viewing platform; the Stegastein Viewpoint. This is a local tourist attraction, and a must if you are visiting Flåm or Aurland! It is also the reason for most of the traffic you’ll meet along the way, so please drive carefully.

Once you have passed the Stegastein Viewpoint you will drive around what feels like the ‘back’ of the mountain (meaning you can’t see the fjord anymore). This means you’re on the right track, and eventually you’ll find a small (and free) parking lot on the left side of the road.

Unknown Hikes in Norway: The Priest Hike & Hovdungo
Hiking in Norway is amazing!

My Favourite Hikes in Norway: The Hovdungo Hike

Here’s another gem on my list of unknown hikes in Norway; Hovdungo. Hovdungo is a ‘støl’, which can be explained a sort of ‘extra’ farm belonging to a main farm, usually higher up in the mountains. During summertime farmers would – and will – keep the animals there for the season.

Another thing that’s worth noting is that Hovdungo isn’t an uncommon name for one of these extra farms, and you’ll find that there are more than one of these hikes in Norway, even in the area! There is actually a Hovdungo støl you can hike to from Undredal, a nearby village.

This particular Hovdungo is located 780 metres above sea level, with one of the best fjord views in the area. The hike itself is approximately 4,3 kilometres (2,7 miles) if you start from down by the fjord. It is also common to drive up to Vikesland, which is as far as you can take your car and still be on a public road. This will shorten the hike by about 1 kilometre.

Let me just start by saying that the hike is incredibly steep in some areas. My first time on this particular hike I’ll admit I spent a lot of the time complaining, mostly because I wasn’t prepared for just how steep it was.

So now you are warned, and I’m sure you won’t complain at all..

In spite of the steep areas and the fact that you are hiking uphill for 2 hours straight, there is no way denying the beauty of the Norwegian fjords and mountains. 3,3 kilometres (if you hike from Vikesland) might not seem that far, but it sure takes its toll when you have to get to 780 metres above sea level in that distance.

After 1-2 hours of panting and complaining, you’ll finally start closing in on the top and feel 10 times lighter on your feet. This is such a beautiful hike, and the view from the top is worth every drop of sweat.

Once you get there you’ve forgotten all about your jelly legs (those will get worse on the way back down, trust me) and you can’t wait to get out to the edge and take in the view of the Sognefjord (and the beautiful village of Aurland of course). You’ll quickly see why this is one of my favourite hikes in Norway.

It is traditional to participate in a ‘we made it!‘ styled photo shoot once you hit the top. If you didn’t do it you weren’t at the top.

If you enjoy a good hike and are visiting the Sognefjord area this summer (or the next), pack your backpack and ask a local to point you in the direction of Hovdungo, you won’t be disappointed!


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Last Updated : Jan 15,2021
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