Hiking Vidden: Mount Ulriken to Mount Fløyen, Norway
If you have the pleasure of visiting Bergen, don’t miss the opportunity to hike Mt Fløyen! We did and realized why it’s consistently at the top of “best things to do in Bergen” lists.
We decided to do the long hike option, from Ulriken to Fløyen, which is about 8 miles. It took us about 7 hours to do the entire Ulriken-Fløyen trail from the time the bus dropped us off until we walked into town, including many stops along the way to take pictures and absorb the scenery. Note that there are other options to get great panoramic views of Bergen, including the Ulriken cable car or the Fløibanen funicular.
The concierge at our hotel was extremely helpful & told us how to catch the “#12” bus to Montana. It leaves every 10 minutes starting at 7:07 am from the stop near the lake; you can buy tickets at the kiosks near that train station. After you purchase the tickets (made easier with a chip & pin credit card), continue walking past the train station and your bus stop will be there, by the bus terminal.
We got on the bus at 8:30 and rode it for ~20 min to the last stop: Montana; from there, it wasn’t very clear where the trail started. If you’re planning on hiking the same trail we did, the following information is important. When you exit the bus onto the sidewalk at the Montana stop and you’re facing the houses (not the street), walk left to the first intersection. Take a left at that street; you’ll pass a store on your right. Keep walking – soon you’ll see a parking lot & big white-ish building on the left, which is the Montana Youth Hostel. Take a right at the street right before that parking lot; the street is on an upward incline. Walk up that street until you see the trail head.
We took the Ulriken opp trail, which is the most popular – it’s fairly steep, but it’s the quickest way to the top. The trail was moderately challenging and absolutely gorgeous; it reminded me a bit of New Zealand. The very first & last parts were our least favorites; they were fairly steep inclines made of rocks and/or gravel and by the end, our knees/legs/feet were pretty darn tired. The rest of the hike is fairly flat. Here are some pictures of the first parts of the hike:
After the initial ascent, there is a tourism station (honestly not sure what else to call it) that has a water fountain, bathroom, store & even a shower. Pete was already sweating bullets, so the water was extremely appreciated. Note: this is the only water station we found along the trail, so it’s definitely a good idea to re-hydrate and fill your water bottles there. I asked the lady working there how to hike across Vidden to get to Fløyen, since we weren’t exactly sure. She gave me a map & explained to follow the rock piles all the way. This was great advice, since the signs were’t very helpful.
The first couple hours of our hike were warm and sunny; we were actually grateful when the weather cooled off & started to drizzle. The only downside of the weather was a slight decline in photo quality, since we didn’t want to take out our cameras as often, and when we did, the lenses fogged. However, we were glad we packed our fleeces & rain coats.
We were also glad we hiked on Monday and not Sunday; we rarely ran into other hikers along the way. We were astounded, however, by the joggers constantly blowing past us while we were huffing and puffing up the hills!
A highlight was the view of the lakes that supply Bergen’s drinking water while hearing bells all around us.
Walking down the first hill, we heard a very loud bell; a sheep family of 5 peeked out of the bushes. We were excited to realize the echoing bell sounds surrounding us were coming from sheep who were wearing them!
After we walked between the lakes, we came across another photogenic sheep family. This one was very friendly and came up to say hello! It was great seeing the young sheep run/hop along the paths.
We may have gotten a little lost during the next part of our hike, although we’re still not sure, but we eventually found signs to Fløyen, which is where the cable car can take you back down to the city center. We opted to walk down the long way (dedicated adventurers? cheap backpackers who hate standing in lines? you decide), which really wasn’t that long and provided nice scenery.
don’t miss hiking Mount Vidden!
try to hike on a weekday to avoid the crowds
check the weather & bring a rain coat if there’s any chance of rain, but don’t let the rain stop you!
signage isn’t the best, especially towards the end, and the map you can get at the initial tourist station wasn’t very helpful, so make sure to follow the rock towers along the way
don’t forget your camera & water bottle; fill the bottle at the tourist station
We loved the hike – after all, what could be better than a free, healthy, outdoor activity that allows us to explore a city with a whole new perspective?!