The Flatbreen hike in Norway is officially in the running for "Best Day Hike in the World," in my book. You'll gain 3,100 feet in elevation on the way up these stunning, glaciated valleys and mountain passes.
Depending on your pace and the weather, you're looking at a five- to six-hour experience, roundtrip. This is no walk in the park—it is truly an all-day challenge that leaves you breathless (and inspired). You can see in the photograph that even in July you could run into long stretches of snow, meaning sturdy, waterproof footwear and extra layers (rain jacket, etc.) are always a good idea.
A great place to start the day is in the small dairy farming community at the foot of Jostedalsbreen Glacier (the largest glacier on the European mainland). Here, you have the chance to hit the Norwegian Glacier Museum for a fascinating, hands-on look at glaciology and its impact on the topography of Norway. You can also warm up with some hot chocolate or soup in the museum cafe.
If you've rented a vehicle, double-check directions with the staff at the museum and make the 10-minute drive over to the parking lot where the hike begins. An extraordinary up-close look at the glacier awaits you at the top after all of that effort and I promise there will be moments that will leave you speechless.
Norway is rugged and stunning and the people are warm and beautiful. It'll have you wanting to marry into a Scandinavian family in no time!