With all the stresses of daily life adding up, it’s no surprise that more and more people are looking to stay at a yoga retreat on their travels. Yoga retreats are not just about improving fitness and strength, but about calming your mind and connecting you to your spiritual self.
Guatemala is known as the Land of Eternal Spring, for its active volcanoes, rainforests, ancient Mayan sites, Spanish colonial towns, and the iconic Lake Atitlan which is surrounded by gorgeous nature spots. With all this nature, you’ll be nestled in a landscape that exhales calmness and tranquility.
Imagine a deep, cobalt lake surrounded by dozens of tiny villages and looming volcanoes. That is Lake Atitlan in Guatemala. Its shores have been attracting hippies and hedonistic travelers for decades.
It is no secret that Guatemala grows some of the best coffee in the world. If you know a little about coffee, then you know that the best coffee grows at higher elevations.
Antigua Guatemala is known as the best-preserved Spanish colonial city in Central America. Stroll the cobblestone streets, lounge with the locals in Central Park on sunny afternoons, or hike up one of the volcanoes overlooking the city for amazing views. Antigua used to be the capital of Guatemala until a damaging earthquake caused a switch to Guatemala City. As harrowing as the earthquake must have been at that time, some of the remains of Antigua’s stunning colonial buildings still stand today.
18. November, Saturday - Day 1: Transfer from the La Aurora International Airport (GUA) in Guatemala City to Antigua City. First night in Antigua.
19. November, Sunday - Day 2: Acatenango Vulcano overnight hike
We depart Antigua early in the morning in a private shuttle for a comfortable one-hour drive to the Mayan village of Soledad and the Acatenango trailhead. The drive from Antigua to the start of the Acatenango trek takes around 1 hour depending on traffic, police checkpoints and animals on the road, etc.
The 1525 m ascent winds its way up through four distinct ecosystems, starting with a tapestry of fertile agricultural fields where local farmers harvest corn, flowers, and snow peas. From there, the trail rises into an old-growth tropical cloud forest that harbors a diversity of flora and fauna, and also provides hikers shade and comfort as they push up the steep slope. Emerging from the cloud forest, we enter a sparse high-alpine forest that reveals views of six additional volcanoes, making it a great spot for a scenic trail lunch.
After lunch, we make the final push of the day and climb above the tree line into the fourth microclimate wind-swept and mystical volcanic terrain.
The campsite is already set up at 3600 m.a.s.l., we do not need to carry any of the camping gear. The tents are for 2-3 people. Each tent has a pillow, – 6°C sleeping bag, an extra blanket, and a 5″ or 12cm comfortable mattress, under the matt all over the tent is a waterproof carpet to isolate the cold from the bottom, also there is an extra tarp to isolate the cold from the top. They provide also a clean inner sleeping bag and the campsite got its own outhouse.
Now we can relax, stretch, and take in the sweeping views of the Antigua Valley and Volcan Fuego before being served a hot dinner followed by coffee, tea, and marshmallows over the campfire. The campsite looks directly over Volcan Fuego, and your evening is spent splitting time between gasping at volcanic eruptions and staring into a mesmerizing sky full of stars above. Fuego is one of the most active volcanoes in Central America and has erupted more than 60 times in the last 500 years.
20. November, Monday - Day 3: Wake up call at 04.00 am. We begin a 90-minute ascent up to Acatenango’s summit (3976 m) to watch the sunrise. It is a steep but rewarding climb through dwarf pine trees and gravel scree that leads to the top of the world. From the summit, we will find 360-degree views of Volcan Fuego, the Antigua Valley, and the distant Guatemalan highlands that stretch all the way to the border of Mexico.
Breakfast is at 8.00 at the base camp.
We are back in Antigua early afternoon (~1:00 pm) with plenty of time for a celebratory beer, cappuccino, or a siesta! Overnight in Antigua.
21. November - Day 4: Shuttle to our yoga retreat location near lake Atitlan, where we have an evening yoga class and dinner.
Lake Atitlán sits at an altitude of just over 1550 meters above sea level. The surrounding Lake Atitlan is world-renowned for its Cacao and Coffee plantations.
22. November - Day 5: Morning yoga class, breakfast, relaxing by the lake, paddleboarding or kayaking, lunch, evening yoga class, and Sacred Mayan Cacao Ceremony.
It was believed that the gods gifted cacao to the people directly. The scientific genus name for cacao is theobroma, which translates to “Food of the Gods,” and the Maya believed that cacao was a key ingredient in restoring balance and connection to the divine.
23. November - Day 6: Morning yoga class, breakfast, Tzununa permaculture farm tour, Love Probiotics, and a short hike to local waterfalls. Lunch at Tzununa. Evening yoga and dinner at the retreat center.
Love Probiotics produce healthy, live, locally sourced, fermented probiotic foods and beverages (various types of raw sauerkrauts, raw vinegar, organic black, green, and white tea kombuchas, ginger beer, sparkling water kefirs, jun tea, organic kefir yogurt, Lacto-fermented hot sauce, super-food bliss balls, sourdough bread and more!), and they also offer a variety of hands-on fermentation workshops.
24. November - Day 7: Morning yoga class, breakfast, visit Panajachel, evening yoga, and dinner at the retreat center.
Panajachel, known as Pana, is home to several restaurants featuring local and international cuisine, coffee shops, street food vendors, and more. The town's main street, Calle Santander, is where visitors can shop for textiles and artisanal pieces handmade by indigenous people from around the lake. Panajachel offers a spectacular view of the San Pedro, Tolimán, and Atitlán volcanoes.
25. November - Day 8: Indian Nose Sunrise hike with a local guide, brunch, dinner, relaxing, and evening yoga at the retreat center.
The Indian Nose is the mountain on the northwest shore of Lake Atitlan. Also called Rupalaj K’istalin, this 2550 meters tall mountain presents one of the most rewarding climbs of Lake Atitlan. In addition to viewing the sunrise over a chain of volcanoes and then onto the pristine waters, this climb provides great views over the San Juan and San Pedro la Laguana villages. The climb takes about 30 minutes. The peak of Indian Nose is at just over 2200 meters elevation.
26. November - Day 9: Morning yoga, breakfast, and transfer to El Paredon on the Pacific coast to watch the release of baby sea turtles. The drive is about 4 hrs, 180 km.
Pacific Coast beaches typically have black volcanic sand. El Paredon is a very laid-back village with a spectacular black sand beach and ocean waves that are perfect for surfers and skilled swimmers. From September to December, every morning at 5.45 am baby turtles is released into the wild from the Driftwood Conservation Project on Playa El Paredon. The number of turtles released depends on the number that hatch. And that depends on the weather – fewer turtles hatch when it’s rainy.
The Pacific coast is famous for its beautiful sunsets. We will have a meditation walk at the beach and time to admire the sunset. Dinner at the restaurant and overnight at the El Paredon Surfhouse.
27. November - Day 10: Shuttle to the La Aurora International Airport (GUA) in Guatemala City and say goodbye.
Very early bird (booking 6 months in advance) until May 18
Shared room 1200 USD
Private room 1700 USD
Shared room for 2 persons 2200 USD (1100 per person)
Early bird (booking 3 months in advance) until August 18
Shared room 1400 USD
Private room 1900 USD
Shared room for 2 persons 2600 USD (1300 per person)
Last-minute booking (less than 3 months in advance) from August 19
Shared room 1600 USD
Private room 2100 USD
Shared room for 2 persons 3000 USD (1500 per person)
We ask for a deposit of 350 USD per participant to reserve your spot in this yoga retreat.
50% of the remaining balance should be paid 60 days before the retreat starts (September 2023).
The remaining balance should be paid 30 days before the retreat starts (October 2023).
Cancellation less than 30 days before the start of the retreat: 100% cancellation fee (no refund)
Fees are completely non-refundable and non-transferable.
You can make your reservation and pay your deposit by clicking here.
This awesome yoga and hiking retreat between the fjords of Norway is a real adventure and mental detox, that will nourish your body, soul, and spirit.
The yoga retreat days will start with walking or driving to the local yoga studio for morning yoga and pranayama. The walk is around 7 minutes from Thon Hotel or 10-20 minutes from your accommodation. If your accommodation is not so close, you will be together with other people and have a car to drive to the yoga studio. Don't worry if you don't drive, you will be accommodated together with someone who does. We use rental cars that have insurance included. The rental car fee is included in the price.
Molde is a city and municipality in Møre and Romsdal county, Norway. It is a small town by the Moldefjord with a population of 26822. Molde is a very calm and relaxing city, famous for its amazing views. It is surrounded by fjords and is close to several remarkable hiking trails and viewpoints. Book your flight to Molde, Årø airport.
We will pick you up from the Molde airport on the day of arrival, but it is best to arrive on the 16.45 or 17.00 flight from Oslo. It is not a problem when you arrive earlier on that day or by bus. Transfer from the airport or bus station is included in the price only on that day. On the first day, we have a welcome dinner all together at 18.00.
Our yoga classes will be suitable for all levels, from beginners to advanced practitioners. We will practice vinyasa flow yoga in the morning to energize our body and mind, and yin yoga in the evening to relax and restore our muscles. We will also incorporate meditation and breathwork to enhance our awareness and connection with nature.
Our hiking trails will vary from easy to moderate, depending on your preference and fitness level. We will hike for about 3-6 hours a day, exploring different landscapes and viewpoints. We will see waterfalls, meadows, villages, and wildlife along the way.
Day 1, Friday
Arrival day. Pick up from the airport, settle into accommodation, introduce the program, meet other guests, dinner.
Energizing morning yoga session, breakfast, pack lunch.
Hiking Tusenårsvarden 523 m.a.s.l. or Varden viewpoint 407 m.a.s.l. 6-10 km.
After the hike, we return to the yoga studio for an afternoon yin yoga session and dinner.
Strengthening morning yoga session, followed by breakfast, packed lunch, and snacks.
Troll Church 484 m.a.s.l., consists of three exciting limestone and marble grottos with underground streams and a beautiful waterfall. On the surface, to the west of the uppermost cave, there is a lake with white marble "jetties". Braver hikers can swim in the mountain lake.
The mountain behind the Trolls' church is very distinctive, with jagged points and spires. Sometimes we hike only to the caves and lake, 8 km, but with real adventurers, we will hike further over the mountain ridge (832 m.a.s.l.) and make a loop back to the cave. Guests can choose how long of a hike they want this day. After the hike, we return for a restorative yoga session and a delicious meal.
Morning yoga, followed by breakfast and pack lunch.
Jendemsfjellet 633 m.a.s.l. is a mountain near Molde with a breathtaking 360-degree view over the fjords and mountains. We can choose between the shorter or longer trail, 4-6 km. Afternoon yoga session followed by a delicious meal in the accommodation.
Morning yoga, breakfast, and packed lunch followed by a ferry trip and driving to Trollstiegen.
Trollstiegen or the Troll ladder/road is a famous mountain road with narrow curves and sharp hairpin bends. The road has 11 hairpin curves and an elevation of 850 m. Every bend has its name. The road is narrow with a gradient of 9 % but passing pockets have been incorporated and traffic normally flows without a problem. An impressive bridge of natural stone carries it across the Stigfossen waterfall, one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Norway. Stigfossen is an unregulated and powerful waterfall with a total height of 240 m, from which 180 m is almost a single drop.
Guests can choose if they want to drive up or hike. Kløvstien hike - the path is preserved as a cultural heritage, and a lot of effort has been put into maintaining the path. Stone steps and chains are making challenging parts more accessible and safer.
After morning yoga, breakfast, and packed lunch, we take off on a road trip to the Atlantic Road.
The Atlantic Road has National Tourist Route status, and the entire stretch between Bud and Kristiansund is one continuous experience packed with coastal scenery, culture, and history. The road that crosses this “infamous stretch of the ocean” was hailed as the world’s best road trip by the British newspaper The Guardian. In 2006. The 8.3 km (5 miles) road, with 8 bridges of a total length of 891 meters, is built on several small islands and skerries and is spanned by eight bridges and several landfills.
Sjurvarden, 667 m.a.s.l. is the mountain that stretches out to the sea, giving a powerful view of Hustadvika, the Atlantic Ocean, and the coastal landscape from Sunnmøre in the west and Smøla on Nordmøre in the north.
We will enjoy a final morning yoga session and breakfast before guests depart.
All good things must come to an end but only till next time! We transfer you to the airport and say goodbye!
Depending on participants' comfort level and the weather, this itinerary is subject to change.
You can choose between a hotel room or a single or double bedroom in an apartment together with other retreat participants. The hotel is located in the city center and the comfortable but simple rooms include a private bathroom, shower, toiletries, and free wireless internet. You can choose between a single or a double room. The hotel's name is Thon Hotel Moldefjord, address is Storgata 40, Molde. If you want more privacy and time alone we strongly recommend you choose to stay at the hotel. If you prefer a more luxurious room, please let us know.
Accommodation in an apartment is a local home. You will share the bathroom with 2-4 other participants. Those accommodations are located in different parts of the city.
If you are looking for an eventful holiday with lots of yoga, fun, and mountain air, Norway is the place for you. Expect relaxed group dynamics and the opportunity to integrate more balance and health into your life.
A Youtube video about yoga and hiking Trolltindene is here.
Guided tours take you into the heart of world-renowned wilderness destinations like countless number of waterfalls, Troll Church, Atlantic Road, Romsdalseggen, or some smaller mountaintops with amazing views over the fjords. Sometimes we will have yoga, pranayama, and meditation outdoors, on the top of the mountain.
If you are ready to reconnect with nature and yourself on this amazing yoga and hiking retreat in Norway, don’t hesitate to book your spot now! Spaces are limited and filling up fast. For any questions or inquiries, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can also follow us on Instagram @yogaandhikingwithpillemitt to see more photos and stories from our past retreats.”
It is a perfect opportunity to take time for self-care in order to maintain a healthy mind, body, and soul.
Am I excited to visit South Africa in February 2023? Hell, yeah!
You definitely don't want to miss the yoga retreat in the world's most exotic countries with us on February 06-14, 2023.
And here is why:
Our yoga retreat starts at Cape Town International Airport in South Africa.
Cape Town is one of three capital cities in South Africa. This seaside city is beautiful and picturesque with a great backdrop of the famous Table Mountain National Park. South Africa’s top tourist destination has lots of beautiful coastlines and beaches nearby, many whales watching tours, amazing scenery, and it has a walkable waterfront area with tons of great restaurants and shopping, and more.
Cape Town, the “Mother City”, or the world’s most fabulous city, is the oldest city in South Africa and has a cultural heritage spanning more than 300 years.
There are few countries where you can go to the beach and expect to see penguins - South Africa is one of them. There is a colony of 3,000 penguins that live in and around Boulders Beach in Cape Town, South Africa. If you want to see more, you can visit a sea bird rehabilitation center SANCCOB where the majority of the residents are penguins.
South Africa is famous for its wines with the majority of the vineyards being located just outside of Cape Town. There are many vineyards and wineries that you can visit for lunch, enjoy tasting menus, take tours, and purchase some fabulous wines.
The Garden Route is a stretch of the southeastern coast of South Africa that extends from Witsand in the Western Cape to the border of Tsitsikamma Storms River in the Eastern Cape. The name comes from the verdant and ecologically diverse vegetation encountered here and the numerous estuaries and lakes dotted along the coast.
February 06 - Arriving day and transfer from the airport. First night in Cape Town.
February 07 - Day 1: Cape Town, Table Mountain, Botanical Garden, and wine tasting.
We will begin our South Africa adventure by hiking up to Table Mountain and having a magical first yoga session on top of Table Mountain.
This is followed by a visit to the first botanical garden in the world to be established (in 1913) to protect local flora, Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden in the UNESCO-listed Cape Floral Kingdom follows. Visiting Groot Constantia Wine farm, we taste their export quality wines and have dinner. Overnight at African Soul Surfer, the location for our studio-based class with sweeping views of Muizenberg and where surf lessons are offered.
February 08 - Day 2: African penguins, relaxing, and beach yoga
We journey along the False Bay coastline to Boulders Beach near Simon’s Town, home to one of the few land-based penguin colonies in the world. Boulders Beach in False Bay offers something extra special – a colony of African Penguins in all their smart dresses, waddling glory, right under your nose. In fact, it’s the only place in the world where you can get close to African Penguins. We will choose one of the popular restaurants in the area for dinner. Overnight at African Soul Surfer.
February 09 - Day 3: driving to Caledon 2-hour. Wine and chocolate tasting, spa, yoga
Visit Cape Point, part of the Table Mountain National Park and home to an abundance of flora and fauna. We hike a light downward trail to the stunning Dias beach to enjoy your morning yoga session next to the ocean. You also visit the viewpoint with the Flying Dutchman Funicular.
Driving in the direction of Stellenbosch, we go to the Spier Wine Farm for chocolate and wine tasting on the banks of the Spier dam. Overnight at The Caledon Hotel and Spa which has an impressive view of the Klein Swartberg Mountains and the continuing wheat fields.
The hotel is situated around an hour’s drive away from Cape Town and offers guests mineral-rich hot springs and a spa with three restaurants, a gym, and children’s activities offered to all guests. The wellness center is equipped with comfortable seating, natural hot springs, a lap pool, a steam room, a sauna, a frigidarium (The distinctive brown color of the water is due to the rich mineral content known as chalybeate.), a Swiss shower, elegant Victorian Bath House (erected 1897 and outdoor Jacuzzi, as well as a great Zen Garden. A full range of spa treatments including massages, body wraps, facials, and beauty therapies are on offer as an option. Click here to see the Caledon Spa menu. Book your treatment after 6 pm and at least 3 days in advance. We do not have a yoga class that evening.
February 10 - Day 4: Caledon to Knysna via the Cango Caves: 5-hour drive
Starting with the Garden Route, we move on to the town of Oudtshoorn with Route 62. This route delivers an unforgettable South African traveling experience, making life-long memories. After visiting the Cango Caves for a Heritage Tour, we head down the scenic Outeniqua Pass and onto the green forests and beaches of the Garden Route.
We go to Buffalo Bay for a rejuvenating beach walk. Buffalo Bay beach is a blue flag beach located in Goukamma Nature Reserve, between the coastal towns of Knysna and Sedgefield, along the Western Cape Garden Route. The beach is characterized by dune fields, coastal fynbos, and a forest that flanks the long white sands. Overnight is at the Peace of Eden Nature Lodge and Vegan Retreat. This is “rustic, eco and natural, our accommodation is earthy and creative, our shower water is golden brown, our drinking water is straight from the heavens, and know that here in the country, ‘things’ with 4 legs rule! We are here to chat with the monkeys, clap when the baboons come visiting, give you clean sheets, and generally ensure you have a peaceful carefree time with little bits of spice thrown in the mix with peace, and where guided forest walks, massages, vegetarian cooking classes, yoga, and meditation outdoors.
February 11 - Day 5: Knysna return: 3-hour drive
Breakfast follows a drive through Knysna and to the town of Plettenberg Bay, where you can take a boat ride for a “Dolphin Encounters” excursion of 1,5 to 2 hours at Ocean Blue Adventures. (highly weather-dependable) You can go to the world’s highest bungee jump at Bloukrans Bridge. Standing 709 feet (216 meters) above the Bloukrans River, the arch bridge is ideal for bungee jumping. This is an optional activity (own expense), and you are free to watch the bungee jumpers take the plunge.
Alternative to the “Dolphin Encounters” boat ride you can make one of the activities at Stormsriver Adventures: a Tsitsikamma Woodcutters Journey or a Tsitsikamma Canopy Tour. Overnight is at the Peace of Eden Nature Lodge and Vegan Retreat.
February 12 - Day 6: Knysna to Cape Town: 6-hour drive
After you did some activities of your choice at the Peace of Eden Nature Lodge we head back to Cape Town and visit some of the amusing farm stalls on the way. Overnight is at the Zebra Crossing Backpacker. It is a 2,5 km walking distance from the beach. Evening and morning yoga is on the beach.
February 13 - Day 7: The Big 5 Safari in the Aquila Private Game Reserve: 2-hour drive
The “Big Five” is a term that is used to refer to the 5 African animals that early big game hunters considered the most difficult and dangerous animals to hunt on foot in Africa. These animals include the African elephant, lion, leopard, Cape buffalo, and rhinoceros.
February 14 - Day 8: Transfer to the airport
Accommodation during the retreat is described in the program section. You can choose a private room or a shared room.
South African currency is the rand (ZAR).
There are 52 nationalities who can enter for up to 90 days visa-free. Read more by clicking here.
Remember to bring:
The itinerary is subjected to slight changes according to weather conditions and unforeseen circumstances.
Yoga retreats are temporary breaks from the daily routine that typically last from the weekend to a week or more. The purpose of a retreat is to allow yogis to deepen their practice without the distractions of life. A yoga retreat is an amazing opportunity to meet others who are passionate about yoga.
Yoga and hiking retreat is a combination of yoga and physical activity outdoors. A retreat starts and ends on a certain date, which means that you will be with the same group of people every day. You go to the same classes, have meals together, and spend a day outdoors hiking together. This gives you the opportunity to actually get to know them and develop a friendship. Yoga and hiking retreat is not just another vacation, it is a powerful experience.
A yoga retreat will help you:
If you are a beginner or not so passionate about yoga, a yoga and hiking retreat will offer you the opportunity to start with regular practice and find out how yoga can help you find balance in your everyday life.
"Going back to nature is going back to the origin of life, to the origins of ourselves." This is what the philosopher Henry David Thoreau said about connecting to your inner self. There is plenty of time for self-reflection during the long hours of walking. We will encounter quite some obstacles, being far away from home and out of our comfort zone. But we might also realize what truly matters to us in our lives and what the purpose of our lives may be.
The question "Who am I?" is the ultimate question in yoga philosophy. This is exactly why connecting with nature and practicing yoga simultaneously form a perfect combination. Both will help you learn about your true self. The yoga and hiking retreat is a simple way to reconnect with your inner self and understand yourself better.
Read more about our yoga and hiking retreats in Norway and Alaska.
Walking the Camino de Santiago has been and still is on a bucket list for many people. Yoga and hiking retreat is like walking the Camino but it is a softer version of the Camino way. You know where you are going to sleep every night and you always have wi-fi when you need it. You will also prepare your body for a long day outdoors with morning yoga sessions, stretch and relax your tired muscles every evening and eat healthy and nutritious food during the journey.
However, yoga and hiking will give you many of the Camino walk benefits. Additionally, spending days in the fresh air will prevent you from becoming infected with viruses and will strengthen your immune system.
Camino de Santiago, known in English as the way of St. James, is a network of pilgrims' ways or pilgrimages leading to the shrine of the apostle Saint James the Great in the cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia in Spain.
Many pilgrims walk to connect and discover the deeper meaning of life, to spiritually connect with nature or themselves, or walk to find answers to deep questions.
Disconnect to reconnect
In a world of busyness with too many obligations and long workdays, many of us have become disconnected and disillusioned. We all say we would like to disconnect a bit but typical vacations are anything but answering e-mails at the pool and watching or reading the news after dinner, we seem never to have the opportunity to truly "get away from it all". At first, it may seem strange to not constantly think about what is going on in your country or not check your phone every 15 minutes but soon you find peace and silence in the journey. It takes a few days to adjust but the reward is clarity and a feeling of peace.
Exercise and well-being
The majority of people have little to no experience in walking long distances over many days. A popular saying is "your Camino begins when you sign up". You begin to research what shoes to bring, how to train and prepare your body, and what you should pack. Many people start training, to become healthier and more fit for the trip.
"There is no bad weather, only bad clothing" - Swedish and Norwegian proverb
Here I will share some tips on how to choose good hiking clothes to keep you warm, dry, and happy during your adventures in Norway or Alaska. I will not recommend any specific brands because in different regions you can find similar products from different manufacturers.
Check out our yoga and hiking retreats in Norway, Nepal, and Alaska.
When I moved to Norway in 2013, I started hiking in my jeans, aerobic leggings and top, running shoes, and a light jacket. Although Norwegians thought it was strange (jeans are especially despised), I was not disturbed by it. My hikes were usually short and close to home. With time my hikes became longer and more complicated and I started to buy special hiking equipment. I discovered that the little improvements really made a difference! For example, my backpacks got bigger but lighter and I replaced all my pants and jackets with ones that have ventilation zippers.
You start to notice the importance of clothing when you hike for several days in a row, your hike lasts for the whole day, or the weather changes suddenly. When you hike uphill you always get hot and sweaty. The contrast becomes clear when you reach the top of the mountain which is usually windy and cool. If you want to sit down to eat, relax and enjoy the view, you instantly feel the cold creeping in. On the way down your legs are already tired so you must take extra care not to stumble and fall. That means hiking at a slow pace with sweaty clothes and rubbing shoes. Suddenly you may find that hiking is not so enjoyable anymore. Fortunately, all this is avoidable when you take advice from experienced hikers.
The most important thing about hiking clothes is layering. This tried-and-true strategy helps you to regulate temperature by slipping layers on and off as your activity level or the weather changes. You may not want to wear a lot of layers at the start of your hike but it’s a good idea to take them with you on every outing - you can peel off layers when you get hot but you can’t put on layers that you didn’t bring along.
I am not going to talk about underwear which should be comfortable every day, not only when hiking. But I want to talk about T-shirts. Wool is very popular in Norway: summer wool, merino wool, smart wool, old fashion wool, etc. If I'm honest, I don't go along with fashion trends easily, but buying myself a light, summer merino wool T-shirt was a very good idea.
When hiking with a backpack, your shirt must have sleeves. It is very uncomfortable to feel the backpack strap under a sweaty armpit on a warm summer day. A cotton T-shirt is not the best choice because it dries slowly. I recommend light wool or synthetic T-shirt for warm weather or a long-sleeved shirt for cooler weather. Choose materials that insulate, wick moisture, and dry quickly.
The same goes for socks. A hiking sock is crucial to prevent blisters. A hiking sock, unlike a cotton sock, provides significant protection against rubbing that your boot might cause. Low-cut socks are not a good choice for hiking, choose crew socks instead.
Of course, it all depends on the weather but you should always have a long-sleeved sweater or a fleece in your bag. I love fleece hoodies because I always forget my hat at home and they help to keep my head warm. I prefer light hoodies that breathe well. Pullover hoodies might be difficult to put on, so I prefer ones that have zippers.
Down-insulated jackets are my favorites because they are highly compressible and easy to pack in your bag, also down offers more warmth for its weight than any other insulating material.
The outer layer (or shell layer) protects you from wind, rain, and snow. Shells range from pricey mountaineering jackets to simple wind-resistant jackets. Most allow at least some perspiration to escape; virtually all are treated with a durable water repellent finish to make water bead up and roll off the fabric.
Your outer shell is an important piece in stormy weather because if wind and water are allowed to penetrate to inner layers, you can get really cold. Pit zips under the armpit are again important. The ideal would be lightweight, wind, and waterproof material but usually, if you want significant protection against the rain and wind then you might need to make a trade-off on weight.
I think I would love hiking pants that can be turned into shorts by unzipping the long pant legs. Unfortunately, I do not have them yet. But I have several breathable, windproof hiking pants with ventilation zippers and I really love them. It is important for me that they also have pockets with zippers - the more the better. Otherwise, my keys, phone, and other things would disappear fast. The material of hiking pants is also crucial. Your pants should be lightweight, soft, stretchy, and windproof. I also have a pair for heavy rain. It is important that you do not have to take your boots off when you pull on your rain pants. That means a zipper on the side of the pants.
One of the most important things you wear on the trail is shoes. Low-cut models with flexible midsoles are excellent for hiking on a warm summer day. I prefer lightweight, flexible, mid or high-cut hiking boots with a good grip. My boots are not 100% waterproof but they are water-resistant. Always wear your new shoes at home or on short hikes before going out on longer hikes. After hiking remove the insoles of the shoes and clean them properly. Remember to also reapply for a DWR treatment every once in a while.
Will you be fully vaccinated soon? Or have you taken your COVID-19 vaccination and are looking to travel sometime in the near future?
As vaccines are being rolled out across the world, it brings the promise of a return to our pre-pandemic life, or, at the very least, something close to it.
That said, it’s important to keep in mind that while these shots do come with some protection against the virus, some regulations, such as lifting the mandated use of masks, may not be happening as soon as we’d hoped.
Should you choose to travel sometimes in the near future, it’s highly advisable to continue to take health & safety precautions, such as wearing a mask, washing your hands often, and maintaining the practice of physical distancing.
While it’s not mandatory, you should also consider getting tested 3 to 5 days after arrival and self-isolate for 7 days, even though you are fully vaccinated. We are still unsure as to how much protection the vaccines offer against the new variants of the virus (and the strains continue to emerge), so, it’s always better to be safe.
In short, being fully vaccinated does give you more ‘freedom’ and peace of mind when it comes to travel but it’s in you & your fellow travelers’ best interest to maintain precautions when traveling.
Not only is it crucial for us to ‘adhere’ to local rules but also to keep personal consideration and precaution for the sake of your and others’ health and safety.
Even if you are fully vaccinated, these days, the type of travel you choose to take matters more than ever.
Domestic travel has been returning slowly but steadily starting last summer. With the rollout of vaccines, countries that are likely to reach herd immunity faster, maybe a ‘safer’ choice for locals and non-locals alike.
Many travelers are now choosing destinations that are off-the-beaten paths, those that are away from condensed cities, and often, these places are immersed in nature.
A yoga retreat in nature is a great choice for any traveler. Some retreats are easy-going while others go above and beyond to offer a wealth of activities. But no matter where you choose to go, it is easy to combine other outdoor activities such as hiking, walking, cycling, or running with your yoga sessions.
To get to your travel destination, road trips are recommended as non-public transportation is safer than using public transportation. In fact, according to the CDC, fully vaccinated travelers who go on a road trip and are moderately careful at the destination, would have a relatively ‘safe trip’.
Another way to lower risk is to choose to visit a country that is waiving restrictions for fully vaccinated travelers. At the time this article was written, only a handful of countries have gone this route, but, as summer approaches and the vaccine passports are likely to become a reality, more and more countries would consider this option to open for travel.
Lastly, should you choose to travel internationally, it’s better to focus on visiting one country, rather than opting for a multi-country itinerary. Now is the perfect time to focus on slowing down, taking longer to explore a country, immerse in its culture and traditions, and discover local gems.
It’s also important to keep in mind that while the entry requirements into a certain country might not include showing a negative test, the airline might require one to board the plane. Do your due diligence and check the requirements ahead of time so that you can plan accordingly.
Nothing supports our mind and soul to open up like a natural setting. The usual distractions are far away, and your attention and focus are directed towards what’s in front of you, quieting the mind and simplifying your thoughts.
Being in nature awakens your senses – touch, scent, sight – and you cannot help but become more aware of what’s around you and start to appreciate the little things you might usually take for granted.
The smell of morning dew and flowers, a simple bird song, a gentle breeze in your hair, touching the grass or sand, provide stimulation and make you more present. You become more in tune with yourself and the world around you.
On most retreats held in nature, you’ll have the opportunity to do some forest bathing. Also known as Shinrin-yoku, this is the practice of making contact with and taking in the forest atmosphere to receive mental and physical healing.
Read more about our yoga and hiking retreats in Norway, Alaska, and Estonia.
Where have we been:
Day 1 - Atlantic Road Trip & hiking to Sjurvarden 667 m.a.s.l. The top of the mountain was inside the cloud. Due to the bad weather, strong wind and fog, we only came on the half way up to the "stein hytta" or stone cabin, where we were eating our lunch. On the way down the Sun came out again and trip went on by driving to Atlantic Road and visiting the sharming old fishing village Bud. The fishing village has a rich history, and in the 16th century Bud was one of the largest trading venues between Bergen and Trondheim.
Day 2 - hiking to "Ski hytta" 150 m.a.s.l. close to Molde city center and walkin in the forest.
Day 3 - Troll Church 484 m.a.s.l. Marble Cave hiking and swimming in the mountain lake.
The Troll church consists of three exciting limestone grottos with underground streams and waterfalls. The two lower grottos have beautiful waterfalls that cascade 14 metres down into a white marble pool. The uppermost one consists of long underground passages. On the surface to the west of the uppermost grotto there is a fishing lake with white marble "jetties". The mountain behind the Trolls' church is very distinctive, with jagged points and spires.
Day 4 - Drive to Troll Road and hiking up Kløvstien 858 m.a.s.l.
Trollstigen – The Troll’s road – is an impressive piece of road building where the road snakes and climbs its way up and up along steep mountainsides. Every bend has its own name, most of them named for one of the foremen that led the construction gangs that built the road. The bends and curves bear witness to the skill of the constructors, built up on the base rock of the steep mountainsides, or hewn by hand into the mountain itself.
The road is narrow with a gradient of 9 %, but passing pockets have been incorporated and traffic normally flows without problem. The longest permitted length of vehicles is 13.1 metres.
Trollstigen, with its characteristic waterfall, Stigfossen, is encircled by mighty mountains, reaching an impressive 1600 masl.
Kløvstien is an old path connecting Romsdalen and Sunnmøre, used by traders for centuries. This path has been an important fairway for the settlers on the other side of the mountian, who travelled to the market place in Romsdalen.
Day 5 - Romsdalseggen hike 1200 m.a.s.l. 11 km
From the ridge, you can see the majestic Trollveggen cliff, surrounded by a number of well-known mountains. Romsdalseggen ridge is one of the most spectacular backdrops in the world, not far from the mountaineering capital Åndalsnes.
The stone cabin Ottarbu is situated on Nesaksla, where you can seek shelter if necessary. The last section down the Romsdalstrappa rock steps back to Åndalsnes starts here. This section is relatively steep. Rampestreken viewpoint is a must for photo opportunities.
Romsdalseggen ridge is one of the world’s most scenic hikes (Lonely Planet 2011). This hike through the dramatic landscape features many highlights. From the ridge, you can see the majestic Trollveggen cliff, surrounded by a number of well-known mountains. Romsdalseggen ridge is one of the most spectacular backdrops in the world, not far from the mountaineering capital Åndalsnes.
The ascent is hard-going and steep, but the view that awaits you at the top is well worth the effort! From the ridge, you look directly at the legendary Trollveggen cliff, Europe’s highest perpendicular rock face – crowned by rugged mountains. To the southeast, you can see the Dalsida landscape protection area, which extends all the way to the Dovrefjell and Sunndalsfjella mountains, with the highest peak Snøhetta.
The mountains Romsdalshorn and Store Venjetind tower-like spires into the sky. It is not hard to understand why this sea of jagged peaks, ridges, and wild precipices has drawn mountaineers to the area for centuries. To the southwest, you can see Reinheimen National Park and the well-known mountains Bispen, Kongen and Dronninga. From Romsdalseggen ridge, you also get a view of Romsdalen valley, with the Rauma river winding its way through the lush landscape out to the fjord and Åndalsnes.
Romsdalseggen ridge hike is not circular. It starts in Venjesdalsetra and finishes in Åndalsnes. You can take a special bus from Åndalsnes or you need two cars. The bus runs daily in the summertime, from June until September. You can book your ticket here. It is easy to find the bus stop, it is in front of the Climbing Museum or Norsk Tindesenter/Tourist Information/train station.
The trail is easy to follow, marked, and signposted with red dots. Besides the red trail marks, there are additional posts showing the progress of your hike.
If you are not particularly fond of airy ridges, you can take an easier path that bypasses the steepest and airiest sections. It also starts at Venjedalssetra and only forks from the main trail at 2,5th kilometer, at the plateau, and is signposted to Høgnosa. It joins back the main trail on the 7th kilometer. Taking this trail will add 2 extra kilometers to the hike. but to tell the truth, all descents and ascents which could be challenging, are secured with chains which are very helpful.
At the end of the ridge, Nesaksla has located an old, cute stone hut, a brand-new Eggen restaurant, and Romsdalens Gondola. From here it is a steep and hard descent from over 700 meters down to Åndalsnes. Despite the Sherpa steps (steep stony steps built in 2013 by Nepalese Sherpas), it can be a struggle to walk down, painful and hard on the knees.
In May 2021 opened Norway's longest skylift - The Romsdalens Gondola. Romsdalsgandolen is the longest cable car in Norway, the idea of this cable car appeared in 1964 and the ride takes about 5 minutes. The maximum speed is 10 m/s, and the climb reaches 73 percent. The cabins are able to carry 45 passengers and depart every half an hour, but it is promised to run it continuously if awaiting passengers will appear. The gondola departs from the town center of Åndalsnes (next to the Tindesenter museum) and goes to the top of Nesaksla mountain. Once at the top, you can enjoy a 360-degree view of your surroundings, including the famous peaks Romsdalshorn, Store Vengetind, and Kirketaket. Indulge not only your sense of sight but your sense of taste as well and visit Eggen Restaurant at the top of Nesaksla. The restaurant offers traditional, seasonal, and local cuisine with unobstructed views over Romsdalen. Walk along the nature paths before heading back down to Åndalsnes. You can choose to ride the gondola back down or hike down the mountain which allows you to visit the famous Rampestreken viewpoint on the way. The gondola runs year-round and is suitable for people with disabilities.
Would you like to join us in the Romsdalseggen hike? You can see a selection of our guided day hikes here.