The BEST fjords in Norway
Due to their incredible natural beauty, Norway's majestic fjords have inspired many artists. The fjords are undeniably a must-see attraction in Norway, but they are much more than that. They also have a significant cultural heritage as crucial factors in the development of early Scandinavian society, providing a food source and a vital trade link. There are fjords all over Norway, from the sunny southern coast to the Arctic north, but only a few stand out. Let us take you on a tour of the best fjords in Norway that you should not miss!
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The calm waters, historic mountain farms, and slender waterfalls are just a few reasons the Geirangerfjord is at the top of the list of must-see fjords in Norway. The 9.3-mile arm of the Storfjord carves through the mountains with highly steep drops on both sides and is part of the UNESCO World Heritage site 'West Norwegian Fjords.' The fjord is less than one mile across at its widest point, so any boat trip along arguably the country's most famous waterway will provide spectacular views in all directions.
Most Norwegians have only scratched the surface of the Sognefjord region, with its picturesque villages, idyllic farmsteads, fruit orchards, and hiking trails. The longest and deepest fjord in Norway divides the fjord region in two. For international visitors with limited time, the northern shore of the inner stretch is the best option. The charming villages of Balestrand and Fjaerland, located at the foot of the massive Jostedal glacier, are worth a visit. The stave churches Kaupanger and Urnes, located further inland, are among the many cultural highlights of the Sognefjord region.
Aurlandsfjord is a 29-kilometer branch of the larger Sognefjorden and is regarded as one of the most beautiful of the enormous fjord's offshoots. The Naeryfjord branches off about halfway down the fjord, which means that parts of Aurlandsfjord are included in that UNESCO World Heritage site. The fjord runs through the municipalities of Aurland, Lærdal, and Vik, with the teeny-tiny village of Flåm (population 350) at its narrowest point. Except for some small valleys and charming farmland, there isn't much population along the fjord's sides due to the rocky terrain and steep mountains. This is a must-see if you're already on your way to Sognefjorden. The dramatic landscape of tall sides meeting deep water is picture-perfect.
The Naeryfjord, on the UNESCO World Heritage list alongside the Geirangerfjord, offers a more intimate experience. The Nærøyfjord, which is only 820 feet wide at its narrowest point, is spectacular and imposing. The ferry above ride is undoubtedly the best way to experience the fjord. Keep an eye out for the historic farmstead Stigen, perched precariously on the mountainside near the fjord's entrance. Gudvangen isn't a lively place (aside from Viking Valley), so most passengers reboard the ferry for the return trip or take the shuttle bus back to Flåm. However, for the keen hiker willing to stick around, the area does offer some spectacular viewpoints.
The Hardangerfjord is a beast of a fjord, though not quite as epic as the mighty Sognefjord. It cuts through over 100 miles of rock to the southeast of Bergen. The Hardangerfjord is a popular option for road trippers traveling between Norway's two largest cities, Oslo and Bergen. Folgefonna, Norway's southernmost glacier, and several impressive waterfalls are among the attractions. Vringsfossen, perhaps the most famous of these, has the best infrastructure for visiting tourists.
The Lysefjord, a popular day trip from Stavanger, is well-known as the setting for two of the country's most intriguing hikes. The flat clifftop of Preikestolen, also known as the Pulpit Rock in English, is one of Norway's most famous sights. However, some tourists are frequently caught off guard, unaware that the hike there and back takes four hours. It's even more challenging to get to Kjeragbolten, the famous boulder perched more than 3,500 feet above the fjord. Despite this, approximately 80,000 people participate in the yearly physically demanding hike. Are you not interested in hiking? Regular boat trips from Stavanger are a much less strenuous way to see the fjord's highlights from sea level, such as the Vagabonds' cove, the Hengjane waterfall, and a family of mountain goats.
If you visit Trondheim, you will discover that it is one of Norway's most beautiful and historically significant cities. Indeed, new monarchs are still blessed in the country's former capital. Stay on the shores of Trondheim Fjord, and you'll be ideally situated to explore the surrounding area. The city's colorful buildings and picturesque waterways of the old quarter ("Bakklandet") are well-known. While you're here, visit the open-air Trndelag Folk Museum and Nidaros Cathedral, the world's northernmost gothic cathedral.
Although there is plenty to see and do in Trondheim, make sure to venture outside the city to see the fjord. During the summer, you can take one of the hourly boat rides to Munkholmen. The ruins of a monastery, prison, and fort can be found on this tiny island. Alternatively, you could take the ferry from Trondheim to Kristiansund, a picturesque coastal town popular with cruise ships (3 hours 30 minutes). Sit back and enjoy the magnificent fjord scenery as you make your way out to sea on the ferry.
The Lofoten Islands may have few must-see fjords, but this northern archipelago deserves to be mentioned. Not only does it have breathtaking coastal scenery, but it's also a must-see for other reasons. Alternatively, take a summer road trip and take advantage of opportunities for mountain walks, beach strolls, and even fjord kayaking. This time of year is also ideal for seeing local wildlife, such as sea eagles, European moose, and marine mammals like orcas.
We've reached the end of the best fjords in Norway. Let us know if you have visited any of this fjord before or which is your favorite! In the meantime, you can read other articles on our blog. How about Tromsø, Oslo, or Stockholm? Do not forget to follow us @thewalkingparrot to be continuously updated on the new releases. We will be back soon with a new article!