As a very mountainous country, you can’t visit Norway and not do at least one hike! When I visited, we managed a trek to Blåvatnet (also called Blåisvatnet), a surreally blue lake with some of the best views I’ve seen in this country.
This lake is such a brilliant shade of turquoise, you kind of can’t believe it’s real. It gets it color from the nearby melting glacier which mean it always stays pretty icy year round.
In terms of getting there, it definitely isn’t the most pleasant hike, even if the view is worth it in the end. It’s relatively flat, but you’re essentially hiking over a rocky riverbed for most of the trail. I was constantly looking down at my feed to make sure I didn’t step on a loose rock and trip. Because of this, I thought I’d do a quick little guide so anyone planning to explore knows what they’re getting into!
Northern Norway Tips
- The Geography: As the name suggest, Northern Norway takes up the northern third of the country. It begins at the border between the counties of Nordland and Trøndelag. If you look at a map, it extends over Sweden and Finland, sharing a little border with Russia. Most of it also lies in the Arctic Circle.
- Getting in: There are a number of airports depending on where you go. Most will have a layover in Oslo, and I know all my flights to Tromsø have had one in Helsinki.
- Getting Around: While Norway has cruise options, a train line, and some cities have bus transportation; this is definitely a country you’re going to want to rent a car in especially up north which sees a lot less tourism.
- Major Areas to Visit: the Helgeland Coast for the islands; the picturesque Lofoten Islands; Tromsø for the Northern Lights and access to the fjord, and mountains super far north.
- Must-Brings: Cramp-ons and Heattech undershirts in the winter. Norwegians can walk on ice in tennis shoes, but chances are you were not rasied in Scandinavia. In the summer, bring a solid sleep mask to combat Midnight Sun and actually supportive hiking shoes for the hikes. Learn from me!
Hiking to Blåvatnet
Getting to the trailhead: Blåvatnet parkering
First things first, getting to the trailhead! On Google Maps, you’ll want to plug in Blåvatnet Parkering to find the spot. While the hike itself is free, you have to pay to park. The only option is to download the Easy Park app and pick the 1-day option. It cost us about 173 NOK (~$17 USD) when we went.
From there the trailhead is pretty much right there, past the tipi structure.
Easy part – wood bridges, mulch
So the first bit of the path looks like this. It’s full of mulch and relatively flat and easy. I’d say this goes on for maybe a mile or less. Tricks you into thinking things will be breezy!
Difficult part – rocks
After a mile or so, it quickly devolves into this giant rock path that just feels like a long, giant field of rocks. I guess this was once a river? Those mountains in the distance are what you’re aiming for and they will haunt you as you try to move with any sort of speed across this giant plain of pain.
I thought I’d be okay with my hiking shoes but they were definitely not supportive enough. If I do this again I want ankle hiking boots with the most support and security imaginable. At the very least it’s pretty flat, but the rocks are pretty loosey goosey and make for a slow crawl.
I say all this and someone lapped me while trail running, so, you know, never not being humbled when trying to be active lol.
Hardest part – steeper rocks
The hardest part comes right at the end as you have to climb over this steep rock section to get to the blue lake. As you can see, I have no photos from this bit as I was too busy staying alive and not breaking my ankle. It was at this point, when Silvia and Sher went from being little dots in the horizon to just totally disappearing. Luckily it shouldn’t be more than a 15-20 minute struggle before you have the most incredible view:
Pretty part – the lake
Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous! Ok, I’ll admit I was super grumpy when I first got here as I had blisters forming on my heels and I hate rocky terrain, but after I ate some chocolate, I felt much better. The lake really is stunning, and if you go towards July, it might just be warm enough to swim. I’m not saying it’ll ever feel like a beach in the south of Spain, but you can dive in and swim around until your fingers go blue and have enough sun to dry off and not walk back with a soggy bottom.
When it comes to leaving, you’ll have to repeat the journey you just took to get there, which kind of sucks. But I do promise it feels slightly easier than on the way there.
What Else to Do in Lyngen
The real key to Lyngen is to just enjoy being in nature and taking in the incredible views.
I don’t think we even ate out during our two night stay here, instead picking up groceries at the nearest SPAR and taking turns making meals in our kitchen. Silvia even made us her reindeer stew, which Sher recorded here.
And if you want to get in another outdoor adventure, there’s a 6km trail to Lyngstuva, the outermost point of the peninsula and home to a very cute lighthouse.
Practical Information for Blåvatnet
- Other Names: Blue Lake
- Length: 8.9km
- Map: Alltrails link
- Costs: Parking is around 173 NOK (~$17 USD) for the day.
- Cell: Cell reception the whole way (get a SIM card at a 7-11 in Tromsø)
- How to Follow the Trail: Red Spots
Getting to Lyngen
The closest airport to Lyngen is Tromsø and from there it’s about a 2 to 2.5-hour drive!
What to Wear & Bring for Hiking Blåvatnet
I promise if you back the following, the hike will be better for it:
- GOOD Hiking Boots – I mean at least for me. Sher wore sneakers and was just fine, but my old hiking shoes gave me the nastiest blisters and I was really feeling their lack of ankle support. It was so bad I chucked them and immediately ordered these boots from Danner.
- Even better socks – Wool socks are my go-to.
- A durable backpack – To keep everything in. You don’t need anything big, any daypack will do. I like the Gonex one for something foldable but I mostly use my Troubadour Goods one for everything.
- More than enough water – There’s quite literally nowhere to fill up on water and the trail isn’t remotely shaded, so bring more what than you think you’ll need.
- Snacks and food – You don’t necessarily have to bring a whole meal, but make sure you have some decent snacks and sweets to munch on as you go.
- Music and headphones – That rocky bit will feel extremely long if you’re by yourself with no one to talk to and nothing to listen to.
- A good camera – I mean it’d kinda be a shame to go all the way and come away with the shittiest quality photos imaginable!
- Swimsuit – that is if you want to swim in the lake! If you do, also make sure you have a wet bag or plastic bag to put it in when you want to change out of it.
- Good sunglasses – Like I said – there’s no shade the whole trail, so if it’s sunny, you’re going to want some shades.
- Sunscreen – That said – don’t skimp on your sunscreen either.
Where to Stay in Lyngen
We stayed at this very cute vacation home called Aurora View Cabin. It’s about 50 minutes from the trailhead and has three bedrooms with a fully stocked kitchen, living room, and bathroom. Perfect for some cooking! Another similar home in the area is this 3-bed house.
If you want to be even closer, Svensby is about a 15-20 minute drive away. I don’t know the area but it does look like there are some cute vacation homes available like this 2-bedroom house, this 3-bedroom house, or this 4-bedroom house.
Wifi and cell service wasn’t the best at ours, so bring some pre-downloaded or physical books and enjoy some time off the grid.
And there you have it! All you need to know for hiking Blåvatnet in Norway’s stunning Lyngen Alps. Let me know if you have any questions below!
For more Norwegian travel, read these posts next:
- A Little Trondheim Travel Guide for Winter
- Lovund, Norway: A Charming Island Escape
- Visiting Vega, Norway
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