Jostedalsbreen National Park, Fosnes, 6799 Oppstryn, Norway
GPS: 61.912228696994, 7.0518212156846
Founded by royal decree in 1991, Jostedalsbreen National Park is home to and named after the largest glacier in continental Europe. This nature reserve is in the Norwegian county of Sogn og Fjordane, comprising the towns of Stryn, Sogndal, Lyster and Jølster. Surrounded by high peaks, Jostedalsbreen National Park lies within the lake district of the Breheimen mountain range.
After an extension in 1998 in its northwestern section, the park now covers an area of 1,300 km², more than half of which is occupied by glaciers of various sizes. The Jostedal Glacier (or Jostedalsbreen) is over 60 kilometres long and its ice sheet can be over 500 metres thick in places. It is situated on top of a plateau and comprises several glacier arms, including Nigardsbreen, Austerdalsbreen and Briksdalsbreen. Its plateau extends over a large part of the park (about 480 km²) while fluctuating with 2,000 metres in altitude. The highest nunatak (mountain above the ice caps) in the park is Lodalskåpa. Its summit was first climbed by Gottfried Bohr in 1820, a former member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. At the end of the 19th century, Kristian Magdalon Bing, a pioneer climber in Nordfjord, succeeded in crossing the Briksdalsbreen Glacier, one of the most famous arms of Jostedalsbreen. The wide-open spaces of Jostedalsbreen National Park are fed by a multitude of glaciers and are dotted with lakes, streams, waterfalls and wild rivers. They lie above 800 metres and form unique habitats for the region’s flora and fauna. The variety of its natural environments can be discovered through scenic routes, outdoor activities and steep or gentle hikes that provide easy access to Jostedalsbreen’s main glacier branches and tongues.
The large ice cap of Jostedalsbreen National Park has the distinction of being between two of the longest fjords in the world (after Scoresby Sund in Greenland): Sognefjord (204 kilometres long) and Nordfjord (106 kilometres). Formed by ice, held together by heavy snowfalls, and shaped by water over thousands of years, the park’s landscapes continue to be in constant flux as the world’s climate changes.