Want to play a round of golf? Go horse-riding? Skiing? Swimming? Cycling? Well you can do all that, and much more, in Fjord Norway. From popular activities like hiking and kayaking to more unexpected sports like surfing or paragliding, the choice is yours. Take a trip on the Flåm Railway, join a cruise to magnificent Geirangerfjord, try sky diving in Voss, or make Stranda your next skiing destination. Hike to the top of Slogen, one of Norway's most spectacular mountains; to Preikestolen (the famous Pulpit Rock); or opt for a more leisurely stroll along the Aurlandsalen Valley. Whatever your budget, and however long you spend in the region, you can try something new every day in Fjord Norway.
- Fjord cruise
- Riding a Fjord horse
- Fjord skiing
- Cycling Rallarvegen
- Wellness and spa
A cruise is a must when travelling in Fjord Norway, as there is no better way to see the fjords than from the water. Whether it's a full day excursion from Ålesund to Geirangerfjord with Hurtigruten, or on a shorter fjord cruise on the Hardanger or Sognefjord, the options are many.
Innerdalen, Romsdalen, Sunnmøre, Hurrugane (Western Jotunheimen), Bergen, Hardanger and Stavanger are all areas of Fjord Norway well suited for climbing. Trollveggen ("the Troll Wall"), rises 1,000 metres high in Romsdalen, and is Norway's most famous big wall. Ice climbing has recently become possible in the Geirangerfjord and Gudvangen. Please note that Norway has its own grading system – from grade 1-10, partly similar to the UIAA system.
There are great surfing beaches in Stad, Alnes and Jæren in Rogaland. Here you will find good surfing conditions year round, but autumn and winter are often considered the best time for experienced surfers. With good wetsuits, surfing in Fjord Norway is not as cold as one might think.
Kayaking has become a popular way to explore the Norwegian fjords. Gliding silently on the sheltered waters, surrounded by pristine nature on all sides, you will truly appreciate what makes this part of Norway so special. Most campsites rent out kayaks for a day or for a few hours, and a number of operators, including Fjord Tours and Njord, even arrange guided tours.
Riding a fjord horse
The Norwegian fjord horse is a relatively small but very strong and agile horse breed. One of the world's oldest, it has been used for hundreds of years as a farm horse in Norway, and in modern times is popular for its good temperament. To ride one, try Tjøstheim Ridesenter (+47 91 51 22 02, firstname.lastname@example.org) in Tau near Stavanger – they have riding trips and classes.
Fjord Norway offers small and family-friendly ski resorts as well as great possibilities for ski touring with fantastic fjord views. The "ski and sail" formula, where visitors stay on a boat and use it as a base to explore local mountains, allows access to more remote, otherwise unaccessible places. Voss is a mecca for extreme sports, while Standa is the up-and- coming resort, great for off-piste skiing. And it's not just in winter you can ski in Fjord Norway – summer skiing is popular too, with Stryn and Folgefonna the main two summer ski centres in the region.
The Norwegian fjords offer splendid hiking territory. The hike to Preikestolen or Pulpit Rock is among Norway's most popular, but there are plenty of others work seeking out. The Sunnmøre Alps and Hardangervidda are well established hiking areas. Or why not try a glacier walk?
Golfing in Fjord Norway is great fun and the region offers numerous golf clubs and golf courses, many in great locations. The golfing season typically lasts from early May until late autumn, with summer's long light evenings making golfing here a unique experience.
Rallarvegen, also known as the Navvies' Road, is the old works road running alongside part of the Bergen Railway and the Flåm Railway between Haugastøl and Flåm. Rallarvegen is Norway's most popular cycling route, stretching 80 kilometres through spectacular scenery from the mountains down to the fjord.
Wellness and spa
If all of the above sound a bit too energetic, fret not. Relaxation and pristine scenery go together well, and the beautiful fjord landscape makes the perfect backdrop for a spa holiday too. Good places to get pampered in Fjord Norway include Soltrand Hotel, right by the Bjørnefjord, 30 kilometres south of Bergen; Hotel Union Geiranger in Geiranger; or Alexandra Spa in Loen, Stryn.
Did you know?
The first BASE jumping record ever listed in the Guinness World Records (previously The Guinness Book of Records) was Carl Boenish's 1984 leap from Trollveggen in Norway. It was described as the highest BASE jump. The jump was made two days before Boenish's death at the same site.
Over 150,000 people took the 3.8 kilometre (2.4 mile) hike to Preikestolen in 2012, making it one of the most visited natural tourist attractions in Norway. In 2011 Preikestolen was also listed as one of the world's most spectacular views and natural attractions by Lonely Planet and CNN GO travel magazine.
Runde, just off the coast of Ålesund, is famous for its huge bird colonies. Between 500,000 and 700,000 sea birds are said to inhabit the island, making it one of Norway's best bird-watching destinations. Puffins, kittiwakes, guillemots, fulmars, razorbills, gannets, shags, great skuas and white-tailed eagles can all be observed here.
2011 was a record year for the Flåm Railway, with over 600,000 passengers taking the trip between Flåm and Myrdal.
There were 229,220 cruise passengers in the Geirangerfjord in 2011 (up from 210,105 in 2010, and only 136,364 in 2007). Brits and Germans were by far making up the largest group of passengers (75,456 and 54,751 respectively).
Voss is the extreme sports capital of Norway, and offers a wide range of adrenaline inducing sports, from sky diving to white water rafting, BMX, Alpine skiing, paragliding... the list goes on. The small fjord town also hosts the Ekstemsportveko Festival (Extreme Sports Week) each year in late June early July.
Many famous Norwegians have hiked the top of Slogen, most notably Queen Sonja of Norway. Although with its 1,564-metre (5,131 feet) Slogen is not among the highest mountains in Norway, it is rated among the top 10 mountain walks in the country, because of its beauty, and the challenging ascent to the summit. In 1870 the famous British climber and alpine explorer William Cecil Slingsby took the hike to Slogen, and later wrote about the view from the summit as "one of the proudest in Europe".