The UNESCO-protected fjords are symbols of the beauty of traditional Norway. Places where time moves in its own pace.
There are more than a thousand fjords in Norway, all along the coast. But most of the iconic ones – those you may have seen on the postcards, like the Nærøyfjord, the Sognefjord, the Lysefjord the Geirangerfjord – are located on the west coast.
The fjords resemble still blue lakes, but consist of saltwater - they are prolonged arms of the seas, often reaching deep inland with majestic cliffs towering above on both sides. Dancing down the almost vertical mountainsides are beautiful, sometimes massive waterfalls from the glaciers high above you.
Even though the fjords are often intertwined and you can sail from one fjord on to another or back into the sea, visiting the fjords can make you feel like you are in a secluded universe.
However, the key to understanding why the fjords are perhaps the most important symbol of Norway – and among its most popular attractions – lies in what they represent.
More than anything the fjords and the surrounding areas evoke images of a Norway of the past: A time when people lived as farmers in impossibly steep and rocky surroundings (in certain places they still do). A time when you could harvest from the blossoming fruit trees, and a sheep’s head was considered a delicacy (it still is).
If the landscapes may seem untamed and wild, the fjord areas are nevertheless easy to explore both on your own and through guided tours. There are small villages spread throughout, and trails for both glacier walks and mountain hikes are plentiful.