Runde is an island off the west coast of Norway with just over 100 residents. It is famous for bird viewing on its dramatic seaside cliffs throughout the summer (June-early August). Although we visited Runde outside of bird watching season, we found it to be very neat to see the cliffs even without the birds. The island itself is very quaint and cute with being so small. There was a small town charm to it when you talk to locals. Hiking to/around the seaside cliffs was a highlight of our time in Norway. Here is our guide on hiking in Runde, Norway.
FYI: This post is written based on a hike taken in early September. See our 2 Week Norway Road Trip guide for all the details on this trip. We took this trip with our 12 month old daughter. For all our baby travels tips and tricks see our Top 10 Baby Travel Tips, 5 Top Baby & Toddler Flying Tips and our How to Hike with a Baby post.
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Hike the seaside cliffs in Runde
Runde is a relatively small island. The map above, in Norwegian (given to us by a local), shows the whole island and hiking trails are marked with dashed lines. We recommend starting on the Goksoyr side, where you can access the trail from the road, and then making a loop around the cliffs in a clockwise fashion as highlighted on the map. This hike is in total about 4 miles and just under 1000 feet of elevation gain. You can add on some mileage and elevation by hiking down to the lighthouse as well. However, the best cliff views are from the higher elevations of the hike on the east and west side of the island.
Trailhead on Runde located between two houses
To access the hike, park at the public lot right off the main road, just slightly south of the start of the trailhead. There were public toilets at the parking lot as well to access. From here, walk up the road to the trailhead where you will start your steep climb. The trailhead can be a bit tricky to find, as it is located between two houses but if you are looking for it, you shouldn’t miss it.
First part of the hike on Runde is the steepest
The first part of this hike, if you complete this hike in a counterclockwise fashion as we suggest, is the steepest. Once you get to the highest point on the north tip of the island, your hike will be mostly downhill (unless you hike down to the lighthouse too, then you have to climb back up to the main trail).
Hike through farmland, then along cliffs
You will first hike through some farmland, previously used for peat moss harvesting, before reaching the dramatic sea cliffs. The best views of the cliffs, in our opinion, are on the east side of the trail heading up it to the west. Here, you can see down to the lighthouse where the cliffs slowly taper off in height.
We hiked all the way up to the highest point along the cliffs on the northside. Stopping here is a nice spot to have a picnic and gaze off into the Atlantic ocean. Then we started our descent down on the west side of the island where we did actually see many krykkjer birds nesting along the cliffs (despite being outside of bird viewing season). However, we did not see any puffins.
Tip: If you want the best chance to see nesting birds, especially Puffins, be sure to visit in June-early August.
Beware though that with the bird viewing season comes crowds. Although we did not see many birds on our hike, we also did not see many people. We enjoyed a very peaceful hike, where we only encountered 6 other people the whole time, while visiting during the off-season.
Downhill second half of the hike
From the highest point on this hike, you can cut back across the farmland to make the loop or you can hike down the west side of the island more. Note though that once you start heading down the west side of the trail, after the crossover path to make the loop, the trail becomes more rocky with more scrambling. Be careful! We did not venture too far on this trail due to the more difficult terrain. Instead we headed back across the farmland on the main trail.
As noted above, this hike is 4 miles in total. We found the first climb to be of moderate difficulty but the second half of the hike was a downhill/flat breeze. The first part of this hike is the steepest, if you complete cthis hike in a counterclockwise fashion. Once you get to the highest point on the north tip of the island, your hike will be mostly downhill (unless you hike down to the lighthouse, then you have to climb back up)
Where to stay when hiking in Runde?
We stayed about an hour away from Runde, in Folkestad. We LOVED this Folkestad Airbnb. The views of the farm and fjord from this Airbnb truly are unmatched. This cozy place was the perfect spot to take a day trip to Runde as well as hike Galten ***. 10 out of 10 recommend this spot and town.
You may also consider staying on the small quaint island. Our friend, who lives in Norway and has visited Runde, recommends staying at the Christianborg hotel (nice restaurant on site) or camping near the lighthouse (must hike to) if you are staying on the island.
Tip: Check the ferry schedule from Folkestad to Volda to avoid wait time
If you are staying in Folkestad, check the times of the ferry to Volda. We took the ferry on a Saturday and it was only running every 40 minutes unlike on weekdays where it runs more frequently. We arrived 1 minute after the ferry left so we had to wait 39 minutes for the next one… Had we known the ferry schedule, we likely would have stayed at our Airbnb longer or gotten out the door faster. Capitalizing on some down time, our daughter enjoyed walking around the dock here and we wouldn’t have gotten to do that had we not had to wait.
Hiking in Runde was one of the highlights of our 2 Week Norway Road Trip. See this guide for all the details on planning an epic fjord road trip of your own.
We hope this guide helps you plan your visit to Runde and hiking along the seaside cliffs. Anything you’d add to our guide? We’d love to hear your feedback and questions. Please leave us a comment!
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