Briksdalsbreen in Jostedalsbreen National Park
A highlight from our Norway road trip was visiting Briksdalsbreen in Jostedalsbreen National Park. Briksdalsbreen (Briksdal Glacier in English) is an arm of the great Jostedalsbreen (Jostedal Glacier in English), the largest glacier in continental Europe.
Jostedalsbreen National Park is huge. It covers and area of 1315 square kilometres. So, if you want to visit a section of Jostedal glacier, you first need to choose where you will see the glacier (there are several options).
Our plan was to visit Geiranger as the next stop on our Norway road trip (see the full itinerary here). Because of this, it made sense to visit the northwest side of Jostedal glacier. If you choose this route, Briksdalsbreen is the most accessible place to view the glacier up close.
The glacier is impressive, but smaller than we expected.
I was expecting to see this image – notice the tiny people on the bottom left of the glacier. They are likely on a Briksdal glacier tour.
Now, we did visit in mid-August, so the winter snow had long disappeared.
I did not see anyone climbing the glacier during our visit, likely because the glacier is too high up the rocky mountain. Spring or early summer is likely the best time to visit Briksdalsbreen and do the Briksdal glacier walk.
Check out this drone footage of Briksdalsbreen glacier.
Briksdal Glacier Hike
Briksdalsbreen is one of the most popular hikes in Jostedalsbreen National Park. Here’s a list of Jostedalsbreen National Park hiking trails.
The hike to Briksdal glacier is about 3 kilometers (about 5.5 km round trip) if you start at Briksdalsbreen Mountain Lodge. Some sections are on a wide gravel path (see above photo). There are also a few paved sections where hikers share the path with the troll cars (more on that below).
The hike is mostly a gradual uphill walk to reach the glacier. It’s not a difficult hike, but it does burn some calories. We noticed hikers of all abilities on the trail. If you prefer to go with a guide, there are tours you can take like this Olden Shore Excursion.
There are also hiking trails to visit Melkevoll Glacier and Brenndal Glacier. Other challenging trails are the Mt. Kattanakken hike and Mt. Strynefjellet hike.
It rained heavily on the hike up to the glacier. We got wet. Fortunately, the rained stopped shortly after reaching the glacier. The walk down was mostly dry.
The good news is that when it rains, the waterfalls look amazing.
Visit Briksdals glacier by troll car
For those short on time or with mobility challenges, you can take view Briksdal glacier by troll car. The short trip starts at the souvenir shop in Briksdal and takes you to a stand that’s about 700 meters from the glacier. You will need to walk the rest of the way to reach the lake and glacier.
These troll cars were introduced in 2004. Prior to that, tourists were transported by horse and carriage.
A round-trip with Troll car takes about 1.5 hours. More info on price and timetable here.
There is a cruise ship port in the nearby town Olden. If you’re planning to visit the glacier while on a Norway cruise, you can take a Briksdal glacier tour from the Olden cruise port. Most of the Briksdalbreen tours include a shuttle bus and troll car.
This powerful waterfall is Kleivafossen. During our visit, the spray from the waterfall was so strong that when we crossed the bridge we got showered. It didn’t matter though, because it was raining.
Another view of Kleivafossen waterfall. Notice the glacier in the distance (top of the above photo).
How to get to Briksdalsbreen glacier
If you have a vehicle, it’s an easy drive to the Briksdalsbre parking area. There’s only one road from Olden to the parking lot. It’s a 30 minute drive each way.
Pay parking is required. I don’t recall the exact price, but it was approx. 50 NOK.
Note – there are two parking areas. We parked in the Melkevoll Bretun campground parking lot. There is a steep road up to the Briksdal tourist parking area, where we should have parked. It’s a slippery steep walk that can be avoided if you continue driving up towards the mountain lodge and tourist center.
There is a Briksdal glacier shuttle bus from Olden to Briksdal in the summer months. More info here. This is the best option to visit Briksdal glacier from cruise ship port in Olden.
There’s also a glacier shuttle bus service from Stryn Bus Terminal to Briksdal. The bus is parked beside Briksdalsbre Mountain Lodge (Fjellstove). More info here.
Note – the Jostedalsbreen National Park Center is located the village of Oppstryn. It’s located about 1 hour drive from Briksdalsbre (30 minutes east of Olden).
Related post – Tips for driving in Norway as a tourist
First view of Jostedalsbreen Glacier towering over Oldevatnet lake. This is actually NOT Briksdalsbreen glacier. It’s located on the left side of the above photo (you can’t see it from this viewpoint).
Look at the colour of that water! This is Oldevatnet, an emerald green glacier fed lake near Briksdalsbreen. You will drive beside this beautiful lake on the way to the park. Check out car rental options for Norway here.
We noticed a few campgrounds on the drive up to the Briksdalsbreen parking area. Some of them offer private cabins with spectacular waterfront views of Oldevatnet lake.
Melkevoll Bretun Camping is located beside the Briksdal Mountain Lodge. It’s surrounded by waterfalls, glaciers and steep mountains. This is clearly the most convenient place to stay.
We stayed at Førde Gjestehus og Camping, located in the town of Forde. It’s about a 2.5 hour drive from Forde to Briksdalsbreen. After our hike to Briksdal Glacier, we drove to Olden for lunch before driving to Geiranger. This is an additional 2.5 hours of driving. It’s a very long day, especially with kids.
If we could do it over, we would stay at one of the campgrounds in Oldedalen.
It looks like a fun place to spend the evening after a day of hiking to the glacier. Some campgrounds to consider are Olden Camping, Oldevatn Camping, Gryta Camping (pictured above) and/or Løken camping.
Read more Norway blog posts:
- Should you rent a car in Norway? Tips for driving in Norway
- The Perfect 12-day Norway Road Trip Itinerary
- The remarkable Borgund Stave Church in Norway
- Should you rent a car in Norway? Tips for driving in Norway
Planning to visit Briksdalsbreen in Jostedalsbreen National Park?
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