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Norway - Alpine Flowers of the Gol Plateau

Tour Code: NOR02

An 8-day holiday of botanical and natural history walks amongst the arctic-alpine flora of southern Norway.

8 days from £1795(inc flights) Land Only Price: £1595 SRS: £200

The Gol Plateau is one of Norway's hidden gems, a wonderfully scenic landscape of woodland, lakes, moorland and mountains rich in both flora and fauna. This botanical holiday is based at a delightful hotel in Kamben, from where we’ll walk each day to explore the surrounding countryside and enjoy a colourful diversity of alpine and northern flora. These botanical walks will be enriched by the profusion of butterflies at many localities and also an interesting birdlife. Although most of our exploration will be on foot, we also enjoy a memorable excursion on the famous 'Flam Railway' which traverses a complete range of Norwegian scenery from fjord to mountain.

  • Enjoy Norway’s rich Arctic-alpine flora
  • A wealth of birds and butterflies
  • Impressive scenery
  • A single-centre base in a delightful hotel
  • Wonderful walking
  • Travel on the 'Flam Railway'
  • Be guided by an expert Naturetrek botanistbr />


All included in the price.


A friendly, family-run hotel in Kamben, with private facilities.

Snow Gentian (unknown)

Snow Gentian (unknown)

Outline Itinerary Download

Day 1 Fly to Oslo and transfer to Kamben

Day 2/7 A daily programme of botanical and natural history walks from our base in Kamben

Day 8 Fly London

It is Norway’s majestic coastal fjords that so epitomise the country’s scenic splendour; yet, inland, lie some of the most attractive and varied landscapes in Scandinavia. Indeed, since agricultural use affects a meagre 4% of the country, Norway’s interior has a great deal to offer the naturalist; its wild, wide-open spaces harbouring a great variety of interesting Arctic-alpine plants and animals. By way of further attraction, the country’s high standard of living ensures excellent facilities. Thus, at the end of each day out in the wilderness we may enjoy a retreat to our base in Kamben for the week, a friendly and comfortable family-run hotel serving plenty of good traditional Norwegian food. Kamben, just four hours by road from Oslo, is ideally situated for botanical exploration, lying just below the tree-line at 790 metres, and just 15 kilometres north of the attractive and convenient town of Gol, in southern Norway’s Buskerud province. Spring, though, comes late to this high plateau of Golsfjellet and its surrounding peaks; there being a quick and intense blossoming of plants during the long days of mid-July. Then, abundant flowers attract numerous colourful butterflies and other insects, whilst breeding birds are highly active in their efforts to raise young during so short a season.

Our aim during this week-long holiday will be to explore and enjoy the region by means of day walks from our hotel. From it, we are able to employ a wide range of well-marked footpaths that give us access to the uninhabited and peaceful places where flowers and other wildlife abound. We will range over open moorlands and around tranquil lakes, wander amongst coniferous and birch woodlands, and ascend alongside icy rivers towards the higher peaks and their rewarding Arcticalpine meadows. In these magnificent wilderness regions we have the freedom to roam at will in our search for the area’s natural history. It is a place where lichens abound, advertising the clean air. Some of the interesting flowering plants that we will find do, of course, also occur in northern Britain. There, though, they are rare and difficult to find; here, on the Gol Plateau, they are abundant and grow amongst so many others which are found only at these more northerly latitudes. Saxifrages, in particular, are well represented whilst, in the more open habitats, a wide range of willows may be found, from the dwarf Salix herbacea and S. reticulata to the taller S. myrsinifolia, together with many representatives of the heather family. Bird species are not numerous here, but do include many northern species which are rare in Britain such as Rough-legged Buzzard, Gyr Falcon and a variety of game birds, whilst an appealing selection of woodpeckers breed alongside Fieldfares in the woodland and forest areas. On sunny days we will be able to enjoy the wide variety of butterflies that make the most of a short flying season to dance through the meadows and soak in the sun from sheltered hollows. Numerous amongst them are members of that most confusing but elegant of families, the fritillaries.

Close to our hotel, we will explore the mixed woodland and encumbant bogs, and ascend gently to Syningen, at about 915 metres, and Storefjell, from which farreaching views extend over many of our week’s target destinations. On another day we will walk through the pine woodland which shelters the Twinflower (Linnaea borealis), named after Linnaeus, whose favourite flower this was. Here we will also hope to see such bird species as Greyheaded Woodpecker and Siberian Jay, before the woods give way to open areas and we continue across streams filled with Marsh Cinquefoil, and down towards Gol to end the day. To the east of Kamben we ascend on pleasing paths, through woodland and open moorland, to the summit of Nystolsfjellet, which rises to over 1,220 metres. The wide-ranging views from the top allow us to scan for soaring birds of prey, or perhaps glimpse a Merlin dashing past. Cloudberry is abundant in the damper areas, and we should see a range of Alchemillas, and may even find the tiny Bog Orchid and Lesser Twayblade. To the north, beyond Tisleifjord, lies the province of Oppland, an attractive area of lakes set amongst rounded hills. Here we will search for Elk, Ptarmigan, Capercaillie, and both Willow and Black Grouse, and also stop en route to view one of Norway’s famous elaborate wooden churches. Also in Oppland is the mountain of Skogshorn (1,615 metres). This is well worth climbing on a clear day (from a start at 820 metres, not sea level!), being the highest peak in the region and therefore offering splendid views over the surrounding mountains and lakes, as well as a fabulous mountain flora.

Perhaps the most spectacular day of all, however (provided the weather is reasonable), will be our expedition to the famous Flam railway. This uses a range of transport — bus, mountain railway and fjordland boat — to travel through very varied mountain and fjordland scenery, including a visit to the spectacular waterfall at Flam, as well as Aurlandsfjord and Sognefjord. A remarkable day in which to combine both montane and coastal plants and birds (including such seabirds as gulls, terns and auks!).

Dactylorhiza incarnata subsp. pulchella (Paul Harmes)Coeloglossum viride - Frog Orchid (Paul Harmes)Bartsia alpina - Alpine Bartsia (Paul Harmes)Oset Stav Church (Paul Harmes)Wood Tiger Moth (Paul Harmes)Stav Church (Paul Harmes)Pedicularis sceptrum-carolinum - Moor King (Paul Harmes)Naturetrek group (Paul Harmes)Scarce Copper (Paul Harmes)Dactylorhiza fuchsii - Common Spotted Orchid (Paul Harmes)Gymnadenia conopsea agg - Fragrant Orchid (Paul Harmes)Flam to Gudvangen (Paul Harmes)Kjos Waterfall (Paul Harmes)Railway Locomotive (Paul Harmes)Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary (Paul Harmes)Rubus chamaemorus - Cloudberry (Paul Harmes)Arctostaphylos alpinus - Alpine Bearberry (Paul Harmes)Bee Beetle (Paul Harmes)Buskerud
Jessica was excellent as a leader, beautifully observant of both wildlife and her clients' needs, organising everything so smoothly without any regimentation, interesting, very knowledgeable and kind. For the first time I enjoyed butterflies. Good company from the group, lovely flowers, wonderful lichens. My best day was the Thursday from Gronlie to Bastolen, a fascinating new and beautiful landscape, especially the morning.
Jessica Turner is an outstanding leader in every way. The train/ferry excursion was a lovely way to experience more of the beautiful, wild Norwegian landscape.
New Zealand
I enjoyed what I came to see- the plants! As a bonus, I enjoyed the accommodation (Cranes, Siskins, House Martins from my window), the food and above all, the level of effort that our guides, Jessica and Paul, put into making sure that each and every one of us were included and saw what we were interested in. Your company also accommodates us coming from a different part of the world with different arrivals/departures.
Su and Paul were terrific - informative, organized and kind.
N. & S.L.
The walks were spectacular and well planned and took us through many varied and beautiful habitats.
Dr. & Mrs G.W.
We enjoyed the visit, and there was much to command, with good walks, very pleasant countryside and interesting flora. An enjoyable week.
I thoroughly enjoyed the holiday.
Overall a very enjoyable holiday in an area Id never been to before.
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Sat 29th June 2019 - Sat 6th July 2019



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Flights: Flights are included in the tour costMore info

Regional Departures: Regional Departures are available. Call 01962 733051 for detailsMore info

Land only cost: £1595 More info

Room sharing options: More info

Visiting: Norway

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Tour Reviews

Jessica was excellent as a leader, beautifully observant of both wildlife and her clients' needs, organising everything so smoothly without any regimentation, interesting, very knowledgeable and kind. For the first time I enjoyed butterflies. Good company from the group, lovely flowers, wonderful lichens. My best day was the Thursday from Gronlie to Bastolen, a fascinating new and beautiful landscape, especially the morning.
A.E., Lancaster