Hedmark is a landlocked inland county in East Norway. This is an area with big rivers, long valleys, wide lakes, fertile flatlands and deep forests. The landscape is generally mellow and unlike Norway's the wild western edge. There big mountains and high plateaus in the north. Hedmark is Norway's most important agricultural and forestry district.
- 1 Hamar - the regional centre
- 2 Elverum
- 3 Trysil - Norway's largest ski resort and closest to Sweden
- 4 Brumunddal
- 5 Kongsvinger - small town around 17th century fortress
- 6 Tynset
- 1 Lake Femunden - Norway's second biggest lake, about 60 kilometers long and up to 9 km wide, 600 meters above sea level, the main outflow is to Sweden and ends up in Gothenburg. A passenger boats operates on the lake in summer. Femundsmarka, the uninhabited area between the lake and Sweden, is protected as a national park.
- 2 Østerdalen valley - the big valley that makes up most of Hedmark, home to Glomma, Norway's biggest river.
Hedmark together with Oppland are landlocked counties and makes up the great interior between Oslo and Trondheim. As of 2020 Oppland and Hedmark are governed as one entity called Innlandet (literally "the Interior"). Hedmark stretches some 400 km south to north. High mountains and plateaus separate Hedmark and Oppland from Trøndelag and Western Norway, the border with Sweden is less distinct as it mostly runs through forest and mellow landscape. Østerdalen, the main north-south valley of Hedmark, is separated from Oppland and Gudbrandsdalen by wide forests, bogs, uplands and mountains (including Rondane) with only a few roads connecting main valleys east-west. On the lowlands south of Hamar there are fewer natural transport obstacles.
There are no big cities, only the smallish regional capital of Hamar. The area is relatively sparsely populated, population density in Germany or the Netherlands is 50 or 100 times higher. Half of Hedmark is covered by forest, and one third is barren upland/mountains. Several notable lakes and rivers cover some 5 % of the area.
Hedmark is dominated by the river Glomma and its valley Østerdalen. Østerdalen simply means "eastern valley(s)" and includes the main valley of Glomma as well as adjacent valleys with tributary rivers. The middle part of the valley is called Stor-Elvdal which simply means Big Rivervalley, whereas the upper area around Alvdal was previously called Small Rivervalley.
Glomma is Norway's largest river and unlike many other rivers in Norway flows slowly down the big valley partly creating wide meanders. In the west lake Mjøsa is shared with Oppland county and the outflow of Mjøsa joins Glomma on the flatlands North-East of Oslo. Mjøsa is Norway's widest lake and at 450 meters also one of the deepest in Europe. Mjøsa stretches like a fjord for 120 kilometers between Lillehammer and Eidsvoll. Most of the water in the lake is below sea level. Despite the great inflow of water, Mjøsa's great volume means that the water needs 5 years to flow through lake.
The second major river of Hedmark is Trysil river that flows into Sweden, the only major river that Norway shares with neighbors. There are several other lakes in the area, notably Femunden (the second widest in Norway) and Storsjøen.
Hedmark stretches from the shores of lake Mjøsa to the border with Sweden. The southern section are some of Norway's rare flatlands and an important agricultural district with stately ancient old farms. Hedmark has some notable uplands and mountains in the north such as Rondane and high plateaus separating Østerdalen and Gudbrandsdalen valleys. Hedmark largely consists of mellow land covered by wide forests. The landscape is dominated by the big rivers flowing north to south. Most transport runs along these river valleys and transport in the east-west direction is hampered by mountains, high plateaus, bogs and wide forests. Hedmark and Oppland combined has 40 % of Norway's lumber production.
The Hedmark forests are home to Norway's largest population of elk ("elg"), so drivers should be extra aware at twilight. The european elk (known as "moose" in North America) is the biggest wild animal in Norway and the bull can be well over 500 kg. The bull has long legs and a crash can cause serious harm on a small vehicle.
Hedmark has a largely continental climate and the northern areas like Tynset have some of Norway's lowest temperatures in winter. Temperatures can in winter drop below -40°C. During winter months temperatures are around -7°C on average in the south and -11°C in the north. Hedmark has a relatively dry climate and the northern corner is one of the driest places in Europe. While climate is dry in terms of modest precipitation, the long cold or cool season (usually with snow cover) the land is still fertile and green. Summers are pleasently mild in the lowlands (average 16°C) and in the valleys.
The north-eastern corner of Hedmark around Femunden is within the traditional Southern Sami area around the border with Sweden. The Southern Sami language is almost extinct and a distinct language as compared for instance to Northern Sami. There is some traditional reindeer keepers in the uplands along the border.
Around the border east of Flisa and Kongsvinger there is a wide forest area known as Finnskogen, the "Forest of the Finns". Migrants from southern Finland settled in this area in the 16th and 17th centuries and brought their way of life and language with them. These "forest Finns" had a distinct type of agriculture (dominated by slash-and-burn) and particular type of houses. They were gradually assimilated into the Norwegian population and the language disappeared in the early 20th century, but many place-names and small farms is a reminder of the Finnish influence in this area. Forest Finns are regarded as a national minority in Norway. A smaller number of Finns migrated further west and settled in the forests near Drammen, north of Oslo and west of Gjøvik.
The south-west corner of Hedmark, along Mjøsa lake, is well connected to all main transport options. Hamar sits on Norway's main transport corridor south-north. The E6, Norway's main road, is a motorway between Hamar, Oslo airport, central Oslo and Sweden (Gothenburg). The main railway line from Oslo at Hamar connects to Dovrebanen (Dovre line, the main line north) and to Rørosbanen (Røros line).
There is no airport with scheduled flights in Hedmark.
- The closest for most of the county is Oslo Airport, Gardermoen, a major international airport with flights from the USA, Asia and major European cities. The airport sits just south of county line on the main road (E6) and main railway line north-south, road E16 towards Kongsvinger also pass through the airport. Direct trains to Hamar, and with a change to Kongsvinger.
- Røros just north of the county line has a small airport operated by Widerøe.
- Trondheim airport is the closest international airport for the northern part of the county.
- NSB's regional trains run 1-2 times per hour between Oslo and Lillehammer. They stop at the Oslo airport and in Hedmark they stop at Tangen, Stange, Hamar and Brumunddal.
- NSB intercity trains go between Oslo and Trondheim, 3-4 times per day. They stop in Hamar.
- NSB regional trains go between Hamar and Røros, 3-4 times per day. They stop at several places, like Elverum and Tynset.
- NSB regional trains go between Oslo and Kongsvinger, stopping at several places.
- SJ intercity trains go Oslo-Stockholm, stopping in Kongsvinger.
The long-distance coach operator Nor-Way Bussekspress operates extensively throughout the county, serving Østerdalen valley, Trysil and other destinations. From Oslo, Timeekspressen operates to Elverum.
- Road 3 (Østerdalen road) runs through all of Hedmark nort-south and connects to E6 south of Trondheim. This is the main alternative to E6 between Oslo and Trondheim.
- Road 25 connects to road 66 from Västerås in Sweden, border crossing at Støa
- Road E16 is the east-west european route Bergen-Oslo Airport, Gardermoen-Kongsvinger-Gävle. Border crossing east of Kongsvinger. E16 connects Hedmark to Oslo Airport, Gardermoen.
- Road 27 (Venabu/Rondane road) from Gudbrandsdalen at Ringebu is mountain pass through the high plateau, named national tourist route.
- Innlandstrafikk is the local bus operator (website in Norwegian only). Route info also on en-tur.no (available in English).
- Røros railway line: NSB trains Hamar-Røros with stops in Elverum, Tynset and over a dozen more places inside Hedmark.
- Femunden—A lake surrounded by a national park near the border with Sweden.
- 1 Norsk skogbruksmuseum (Norwegian Forestry Museum), Elverum. A national museum for forests and wilderness in Norway.
- 2 Vang kirke i Ridabu (Vang church at Hamar). This monumental church is nicknamed Hedmark cathedral. With some 1000 seats it is one of the largest churches built in the countryside (now within the town of Hamar) and still one of the biggest in Norway. Because of the octagonal style and wide span without supporting columns the church has a great volume inside. The ceiling is about 500 square meters. The octagonal style was popular in Norway at that time (1810).
- 3 Sollia kirke (Sollia church). Small log-built church in baroque style (1738) at isolated Sollia village. Decorated interior.
- 4 Stor-Elvdal kirke (Stor-Elvdal church). Wooden church in neoclassical style (1821) in Stor-Elvdal district. Known as Østerdal Cathedral because of its size and monumental style.
- 5 Vikingskipet (Hamar Olympic Speed Skating Rink), Hamar. Vikingskipet ("The Viking Ship") looks like an upside down viking ship hence the name. It is an indoor multi-use sport and event venue in Hamar, Norway. It was built as the speed skating rink for the 1994 Winter Olympics, and has since hosted events and tournaments in ice speedway, rally, association football, bandy, ice sledge speed racing, flying disc and track cycling. Fine location at the water front in Hamar. Clearly visible from the motorway. Now Hamar's main landmark.
- 6 Jutulhogget (Jutulhogget canyon), Road 3 (Car park some 400 meters from road 3). Jutulhogget is a 2.4 kilometres long and 200 meters deep canyon that cuts through a mountain ridge between two parallel valleys. The canyon created by the rupture of the dam of a proglacial lake about 10.000 years ago. The canyon is an unusual habitat and is protected as a nature reserve. Jutulhogget is one of the biggest canyons in Northern Europe. The name means something like "the giant's cut with an ax".
- 7 Spark. The one sight in Tynset is the world's largest spark, The big kicksled. A spark or kicksled is a thing people in Norway use to get around during the winter. It's like a sledge that you push around on the snow.
- Trysil, near the border, has one the largest alpine skiing resorts in Norway. Most of the visitors there are from Sweden and Denmark.
- Femundsmarka national park and surroundings is a gently rolling partly forested landscape. The wide Femunden lake, several other lakes and gentle rivers make this area popular for canoe paddling. The national park itself is only available hiking. There are handful of lodges within the area. Hiking into Sweden also possible.
- Skibladner (the world's oldest paddle steamer), ☏ . Late June to mid-August. The steamer is in operation during the summer months on the Mjøsa lake just south of Lillehammer. Voyage between Lillehammer, Moelv, Gjøvik, Hamar and Eidsvoll. From 180kr adult; children free.
- 1 Road 27. County road 27 from Ringebu to Folldal along Rondane. Free.
- 8 Tron (Tron summit and Baral's grave). Tron (or Tronfjellet) is a prominent summit in Alvdal/Tynset. There is a toll road to the summit open in the summer built while installing a broadcasting antenna in the 1960s, this Norway's second highest road. There is a fine panorama from the summit. The indian philosopher, poet and guru Swami Sri Ananda Acharya ("Baral") spent the last 30 years of his life in Alvdal, at the slopes of Tron mountain. He died there in 1945 and is buried near the summit. Locally Baral is known as the wise man of Tron.
Norway is generally a very safe place to visit. Hedmark is peaceful countryside and quiet small towns, and at least as safe as anywhere else in Norway. Be careful around waterfalls (slippery rocks and cliffs). Uplands such as Rondane can occasionally be cool (down to 0°C) even in summer, bring a rucksack with warm clothes if you go hiking for more than 1 hour. Hedmark is the coldest area in South Norway during winter, temperatures can drop to -40°C.
- Sweden (Kongsvinger is one of the natural crossing points): Dalarna with Sälen ski resort and Falun.
- Trøndelag: Røros, Oppdal and Trondheim
- Oppland: Gudbrandsdalen and Lillehammer
- Oslo region: The city of Oslo and surroundings