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THE FJORDS

Once in a lifetime...

...you have to experience this

Kayaking on the Nærøyfjord .
Photo: Trigger / Visit Norway
Kayaking on the Nærøyfjord .
Photo: Trigger / Visit Norway

Impressing waterfalls. Grassing goats. Places where time moves in its own pace.

Sheep grazing by the Nærøyfjord .
Photo: Trigger / Visit Norway
Sheep grazing by the Nærøyfjord .
Photo: Trigger / Visit Norway

Giant glacier tongues shaped these undersea valleys, where salty arms of the sea embrace the mountains´ feets.

Preikestolen in Ryfylke .
Photo: Outdoorlife Norway
Preikestolen in Ryfylke .
Photo: Outdoorlife Norway

"Fjord" actually comes from the Norse word fjorðr, meaning to go, pass or to cross over.

It has has the same origin as the verb å fare, to travel.

Something that the many vikings that used to live in this area were particularly good at. 

...now you can also guess how the word farewell, comes from!

Myklebust viking ship in Nordfjord. .
Photo: Ruben Soltvedt / Fjord Norway
The Myklebust viking ship in Nordfjord. .
Photo: Ruben Soltvedt / Fjord Norway

Today, modern vikings cross the fjords in many other different ways.

Wooohaa! 

Zipline in Loen. .
Photo: Marius Beck Dahle / Loen Skylift
Zipline in Loen. .
Photo: Marius Beck Dahle / Loen Skylift

Or aaaah...

Join in on a super slient electrical day cruise in our UNESCO-rated heritage fjord.

The ship Vision of the Fjords .
Photo: Sverre Hjørnevik / Flåm AS
The ship Vision of the Fjords .
Photo: Sverre Hjørnevik / Flåm AS

Norway has thousands of fjords, but the most famous ones, you will find in Fjord Norway, in the western part of the country. 

This is a hiker´s paradise, and you can also cheat and catch a ride all the way to the top with a gondola!  

Loen Skylift in Nordfjord .
Photo: Loen Skylift
Loen Skylift in Nordfjord .
Photo: Loen Skylift

Stay for a while, and enjoy the silence in one of the many cute fjord villages.

Lærdalsøyri in Sogn, Fjord Norway .
Photo: Vegard Aasen
Lærdalsøyri in Sogn, Fjord Norway .
Photo: Vegard Aasen

But you will also find raw, dramatic fjordscapes in Northern Norway, like the famous Trollfjorden. 

If you take a round trip along The Coastal Route with Hurtigruten or Havila, you will be able to see all of the most famous fjords in one trip!

Trollfjorden .
Photo: Agurtxane Concellon / Hurtigruten
Trollfjorden .
Photo: Agurtxane Concellon / Hurtigruten

But Norway also have more urban fjords, like the Oslofjord, full of fascinating war history...

Oscarsborg Fortress .
Photo: NLE / Visit Greater Oslo
Oscarsborg Fortress .
Photo: NLE / Visit Greater Oslo

...and very tasteful fjords, like the apple- and ciderheaven of the Hardangerfjord. 

Edel Cider in Hardangerfjord. .
Photo: Gunn Gravdal Elton / Visit Hardangerfjord
Edel Cider in Hardangerfjord. .
Photo: Gunn Gravdal Elton / Visit Hardangerfjord

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 the Sognefjord, the Lysefjord, and the UNESCO-rated Nærøyfjord and Geirangerfjord – are located in Fjord Norway, in the western part of the country. 

But you can also fine dramatic fjordscapes in Northern Norway and smaller and more tranquil fjords in the South. 

Many fjords resemble still blue lakes, but consist of saltwater (sometimes mixed with fresh water from the rivers and glaciers, tough) – they are prolonged arms of the seas, often reaching deep inland with majestic cliffs towering above on both sides.

Even though the fjords are often intertwined and you can sail from one fjord to another or back into the sea, visiting the fjords can make you feel like you are in a secluded universe – especially when visiting the region in winter.

However, the key to understanding why the fjords are perhaps the most important symbol of Norway – and amongst the country’s 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. 

If you want to have the fjords for yourself, travel out of season! Then the fjords might give you a total different and magical experience!

Flåm in Fjord Norway .
Photo: Berge / Knoff / Natural Light / Visitnorway.com
Flåm in Fjord Norway .
Photo: Berge / Knoff / Natural Light / Visitnorway.com

Things to do by the fjords

The fjord landscape is ideal for combining activities, whether you just want to inhale the famous peace and quiet or get an adrenaline rush.

Start off with easy hiking and relaxing village and city walks, or take guided tours to viewing points and other vistas of fjords, mountains, and waterfalls.

More demanding hiking includes uphill walks with rewarding views at the top. You can also explore by kayak, SUP (Stand up paddling board), rafting, glacier hiking, rock climbing, and via ferrata climbing routes. There are guided fishing tours on the sea, the fjords, rivers and lakes.

Go skiing all year round whilst looking down on a fjord, for example in the Sunnmøre Alps. Summer skiing is a popular activity that may be combined with swimming in a fjord earlier or later on the same day.

History buffs will find many historical sites, remnants of old buildings, art and folklore museums, open air museum, and Viking vestiges. Unesco World Heritage sites include Bryggen in Bergen, Urnes Stave Church, the fjords of Nærøyfjord and Geirangerfjord, and the surrounding landscapes.

There are several national parks in the area with marked trails, self-service cabins, staffed lodges, wild animals, lakes, rivers, glaciers, and visitor centers.

A part of the World Heritage

The fjords of Fjord Norway, exemplified by the Geirangerfjord and the Nærøyfjord, were granted World Heritage status by UNESCO in 2005.

“Their exceptional natural beauty is derived from their narrow and steep-sided crystalline rock walls that rise up to 1,400 metres from the Norwegian Sea and extend 500 metres below sea level. The sheer walls of the fjords have numerous waterfalls while free-flowing rivers cross their deciduous and coniferous forests to glacial lakes, glaciers and rugged mountains”, UNESCO states.

Not sure which fjords to visit?

With the more than thousand fjords around the country, it’s not surprising that many travellers wonder where to go and which fjords to see. Learn how to differentiate the most famous ones, and narrow it down with our suggested trips.

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Stories from Fjord Norway

Take advantage of top offers

See our selection of companies that work hard to make you happy all through your trip.

Find more fjord activities

There is no need to wait until yo’re here to find out what you’d like to do. Filter your search and check out the offers below.

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