Norway has the highest concentration of fjords in the world. National Geographic Magazine has named the fjords “the best unspoiled travel destinations in the world”. And the respected American newspaper Chicago Tribune has included Norway’s fjords on its list Seven Wonders of Nature
THE LYSEFJORD: A GEM IN SOUTHERN NORWAY
The Lysefjord in Ryfylke is the southernmost of the most famous fjords in Western Norway. Here, you’ll find many popular destinations and activities, including hikes to the spectacular viewing points of Kjerag and Preikestolen. Several different day trips are available. There are no roads along this fjord, but a car ferry can take you to Lysebotn in the inner part.
The ferry stops in the small community of Flørli, where you can sleep, eat and hike more than 4,000 steps up the world’s longest wooden staircase.
THE HARDANGERFJORD: FRUIT HEAVEN
The second-longest fjord in Norway stretches 179 km from the Atlantic Ocean just south of Bergen and all the way to the Hardangervidda mountain plateau in the middle of the country. The Hardangerfjord is a national icon, partly due to the incredible springtime apple tree blossom on its steep hillsides. This is also the epicentre of Norwegian cider and fruit juice production.
Its longest side arms are the Sørfjord, where you’ll find the popular Trolltunga hike, and the Eidfjord, close to the famous Vøringsfossen waterfall.
THE SOGNEFJORD: THE KING OF THE FJORDS
The Sognefjord is called “the king of the fjords” for many reasons. Located right in the middle of Fjord Norway, it is the longest of the Norwegian fjords. The iconic fjord stretches more than 200 kilometres into the country, just north of Bergen, and measures 1,308 metres at its deepest point. The Sognefjord is also among the widest fjords, but it has numerous far narrower side arms.
You will find many small, cosy villages along the fjord and its side branches, including Balestrand, Lærdal, Flåm, Solvorn, Sogndalsfjøra and the book town of Fjærland. You can visit glaciers, Viking villages and farms, hike, or go kayaking or biking. There are also many day cruises available.
NÆRØYFJORD: THE UNESCO BRANCH
Next to The Aurlandsfjord lies the 18-kilometre-long Nærøyfjord, listed as a world heritage area by UNESCO. It is considered to be the most beautiful and wildest arm of the Sognefjord, and has a passage that is much narrower than the other fjords in the area. The surrounding landscape is breathtaking with steep mountainsides up to 1,800 metres high and cascading waterfalls. In the middle of this dramatic scenery you can see small, traditional farms and other dwellings dotting the hillside along the fjord. The fjord is best experienced on a day cruise, RIB boat or by kayak.
GEIRANGERFJORD: WORLD HERITAGE WATERFALLS
The 15-kilometre-long Geirangerfjord, also on the UNESCO World Heritage list, is often said to be the most dazzling of the fjords. Visitors experience jaw-dropping, almost vertical mountainsides with numerous waterfalls, topped by snow-capped mountain peaks that look like gigantic ice cream cones all year round. Three waterfalls are particularly well known: De syv søstrene (The Seven Sisters), Friaren (The Suitor) and Brudesløret (The Bridal Veil).
THE HJØRUNDFJORD: QUIET TRANQUILLITY
Like the other fjords, Hjørundfjord has much of the same dramatic scenery, but with far fewer tourists and more pristine nature. Quaint and charming villages line the fjord, including Sæbø, Urke and Øye.
Here, you will find some of the best hiking terrain in the country, with tough hikes like Urkegga, Skåla, and Saksa. Relax in a sauna afterwards, or enjoy an extraordinary stay at Hotel Union Øye, a historical hotel that is one of the most exclusive in the country.
THE TROLLFJORD: THE FILM LOCATION
Although this steep, 3-kilometre-long Trollfjord between Lofoten and Vesterålen only measures about 100 metres at its most narrow point, it is still frequented daily by cruise ships like Hurtigruten in the summer. Some years ago, the Trollfjord got a lot of attention abroad when the American movie Downsizing, starring Matt Damon, was filmed here. You can also visit the fjord on a day cruise from the small town of Svolvær in Lofoten. It’s common to spot eagles on your journey!