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Kårdalsfossen Waterfall in the Flåmsdalen Valley, Norway - Photo: Terje Rakke/Nordic Life/Fjord Norway
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Kårdalsfossen Waterfall in the Flåmsdalen Valley, Norway Photo: Terje Rakke/Nordic Life/Fjord Norway

Key facts about the Fjell & Fjord region

A truly Norwegian summer – explore the deep fjords, mountain plateaus, high waterfalls and vast glaciers, combined with a rich cultural tradition.

Landscape

15,000 square kilometres of this dramatic landscape were formed during the Ice Age. The terrain rises evenly from the beautiful fjords to almost 2,000 metres above sea level - from coniferous to deciduous forest and through the Hallingdal Valley with Hemsedal and Geilo.

The region is flat in the southwest and hilly in the north before it plunges into narrow valleys and fjords at sea level. To the west there is the Hardangerfjord. To the north the Flåm Valley, the Undredal Valley, the Nærøydalen Valley, the Aurlandsdalen Valley and Lærdal descend into the Sognefjord – the longest fjord in Norway. Three quarters of the region is 900 to 1,900 metres above sea level and there are several glaciers and waterfalls here. Hardangervidda is one of the largest high mountain plateaus in Europe with a treeless, arctic climate. Hardangerjøkelen, Hallingskarvet and Reineskarvet are tilted thrust nappes.  

Mountains
Hallingdal has a wild, untouched landscape with beautiful mountains and plateaus. Despite the wilderness, the nature is well adapted with working high mountain farms and excellent conditions for hiking, cycling and fishing. The Bear Park and the EKT Langedrag Nature Park are great for exploring the Norwegian fauna. Norefjell, one of Norway’s most easily accessible mountain areas, only an hour from Oslo, offers beautiful lakes, historic mines and a mountain area with broad panorama views over large parts of Eastern Norway. 

Fjords
See the remarkable Nærøyfjord, inscribed in the UNESCO world Heritage List, in Sognefjord. Enjoy the day on a fjord cruise, or try your luck fishing from a rowing boat. You can also take a spectacular trip on the world-famous Flåm Railway.

The Hardanger region, close to Bergen, is one of Norway's most beautiful fjord areas. Here nature is at her most magnificent, with fantastic opportunities for trips and activities, hotels rich in tradition and regional fruit and culinary specialities. See Norway's most visited natural attraction: Vøringsfoss, a waterfall in Eidfjord with a free fall 145 metres. 

Historical perspective

Nature formed the basis for fishing, agriculture, hydropower and tourism. During the Stone Age, people lived of reindeer, ptarmigan and trout in the mountains. Farmers found pastures and bog ore there as well. The forests provided timber for stave churches and solid dwellings.

At markets, mountains and fjords, people exchanged goods and established bonds of trade and love. They had the Hardanger fiddle in common – dances, dress and food were different. Traditions continued while new industrial towns emerged. Hydropower development began around 1900.

The first tourists arrived in the area around 1850. They were interested in hunting, fishing and wandering in the mountains. Fjord cruises began more than 100 years ago and ski tourism took off shortly thereafter.

Today tourists share the facilities with some 50,000 permanent residents who work in tourism, transportation and communication, the service industries, agriculture, fishing and aquaculture, food processing, crafts, industry, wood product production and hydropower.

Important fishing rivers: Lærdalselva, Hallingdalselva and Hemsila.

Municipalities and inhabitants

In Norefjell (in the county of Buskerud):

  • Krødsherad (2,125)

In the Hallingdal Valley (in the county of Buskerud):

In Hardanger (in the county of Hordaland):

  • Eidfjord (900)
  • Ullensvang (3,500)
  • Odda (7,500)
  • Kvam (8,400)
  • Jondal (1,100)
  • Ulvik (1,200)
  • Granvin (1,020)

In the southern part of Inner Sogn (in the county of Sogn og Fjordane):

Infrastructure

The mountain roads of Norefjell, Hallingdal, Hardanger, Sogn are on the main highway between Oslo and BergenTunnels, ferries and bridges have shortened the distances. Thanks to trains, buses and boats, it is possible to get by without a car.

Distances

From             To                                  Kilometres
Oslo Norefjell 105
Oslo Flå 137
Oslo Nes 172
Oslo Gol 192
Oslo Ål 218
Oslo Hemsedal 223
Oslo Geilo 242
Oslo Eidfjord in Hardanger 330
Oslo Flåm, Sogn 330
Bergen Eidfjord 149
Bergen Flåm 160
Bergen Geilo 237
Bergen Hemsedal 278
Bergen Ål 262
Bergen Gol 287
Bergen Nes 307
Bergen Flå 342
Oslo Bergen 479
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Last updated:  28 March 2013
View over the Hardangerfjord, Norway - Photo: Terje Rakke/Nordic Life/Destination Hardanger Fjord
View over the Hardangerfjord, Norway
Riding in the mountains of Ål, Norway - Photo: Ármann Hólm
Riding in the mountains of Ål, Norway
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Kårdalsfossen Waterfall in the Flåmsdalen Valley, Norway - Photo: Terje Rakke/Nordic Life/Fjord Norway

Key facts about the Fjell & Fjord region

A truly Norwegian summer – explore the deep fjords, mountain plateaus, high waterfalls and vast glaciers, combined with a rich cultural tradition.

Key facts about the Fjell & Fjord region

Source: Visitnorway

About the Fjell & Fjord region

Gol in Hallingdal

Spend some days in the small town of Gol, and enjoy activities such as hiking and fishing during the summer, and skiing during the winter.

Ål in Hallingdal

In Ål you can enjoy outdoor activities and a number of cultural events.

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