Once in a lifetime...
...you have to experience this.
Impressive waterfalls. Grazing goats. Places where time moves at its own pace.
Giant glaciers shaped these underwater valleys, where salty arms of the sea embrace the feet of the majestic mountains.
The word "Fjord" comes from the Norse fjorðr, meaning to go, pass or cross over.
It has the same origin as the verb å fare, to travel.
Something the many Vikings that once resided in this area were particularly good at.
...you can probably also guess where the word farvel (farewell) originates!
Today, modern Vikings cross the fjords in lots of different ways.
Enjoy a super-silent electrical day cruise on a UNESCO-listed fjord.
Fjord Norway is also a hiking paradise (but don't worry, you can also cheat and catch a ride to the top in a gondola on some mountains!).
Stay for a while and experience the quiet tranquillity of one of the many quaint fjord villages.
Norway also has urban fjords, like the Oslofjord, full of fascinating WWII history...
...and very tasty fjords, like the renowned apple and cider heaven, the Hardangerfjord.
Take only photos, keep only memories
Norway is a country of outstanding natural beauty. Preserving this landscape, and its communities, and way of life, is essential for all of us.
Conservation is everyone’s responsibility. Not only for today, but for future generations as well.
Please strive to leave as small a footprint as possible. "Leave it as you found it" is a rule of thumb, regardless of where you are.
Bring your rubbish with you, and use the toilets available.
There are more than a thousand fjords in Norway, all along the coast. But most of the iconic fjords– those you may have seen on the postcards, like the Sognefjord, the Lysefjord, and the UNESCO-listed Nærøyfjord and Geirangerfjord – are located in Fjord Norway, in the western part of the country.
But you can also find dramatic fjordscapes in Northern Norway and smaller and more tranquil fjords in the South.
Many fjords resemble still blue lakes yet consist of saltwater (sometimes mixed with fresh water from the rivers and glaciers, though) – they are prolonged arms of the sea, often reaching deep inland with majestic mountains towering above them on both sides.
Even though the fjords are often intertwined, and you can sail from one fjord to another or back out to sea, visiting them is like stepping into a secluded universe – especially when visiting the region in winter.
From past to present
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 fjord landscapes evoke images of Norway in 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 bountiful fruit trees, and a sheep’s head was considered a delicacy (it still is).
Although 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.
Book a tailor-made Norway in a nutshell tour to the fjords with Fjord Tours.
If you want to have the fjords for yourself, travel outside of summer! The fjords will give you a unique and magical experience in every season!
Getting to and around the fjords
Arriving in Fjord Norway by train is a very scenic experience and is often an easy way to access the fjords (except in Northern Norway).
The traditional coastal express Hurtigruten calls at ports all along the coast of Fjord Norway.
Guided tours are offered in many places, and are an effective and rewarding way to explore the landscape. A winter journey from Bergen to Flåm is strongly recommended.
Electric ferries and other ferry services operate all year round.
Tunnels and bridges tie Fjord Norway together and make travelling by road easy.
Many cities have domestic and international flights connections nearby.
Fjord Tours also have tailor-made Norway in a nutshell round trips to many of the fjords.
Five facts about the fjords
2. The fjords are often described as “nature’s own work of art”, formed when the glaciers retreated and seawater flooded the U-shaped valleys.
3. Gudvangen and Geiranger, the two innermost villages of the Nærøyfjord and the Geirangerfjord, are among the most popular cruise ship ports in Scandinavia.
4. Thanks to the warm waters of the Gulf Stream and air currents caused by the Coriolis effect, Norwegian fjords enjoy a relatively mild climate and remain virtually ice-free.
5. The fjords are often very deep. The Sognefjord is the deepest as it drops 1,308 metres below sea level.
Things to do by the fjords
Whether you want to experience the famous peace and quiet or get an adrenaline rush, the fjords are the ideal destination.
Start off with a fjord cruise, an easy hike or relaxing walk by the fjord, or take a guided tour to viewing points of the fjords, mountains, and waterfalls.
More challenging trips include steep hikes up to rewarding views at the top. You can also explore by kayak, or go SUP boarding, rafting, glacier hiking, rock climbing, and climbing on a via ferrata route. There are guided fishing tours in many places.
Go skiing all year round high above the fjord in the Hardangerfjord region, among other places. Summer skiing is a popular activity that may be combined with swimming in a fjord earlier or later on the same day.
There are many fascinating historical sites for history buffs, ruins of ancient buildings, art and folklore museums, open-air museums, and Viking Era sites. 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 Fjord Norway with marked trails, where you can experience everything from wildlife, lakes, rivers and glaciers to mountain cabins and visitor centres.
Stunning World Heritage landscapes
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,” writes UNESCO.
Not sure which fjords to visit?
With more than a 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 recommended trips below.
5 trips around Fjord Norway
You can also discover the most famous fjords by train, bus or boat! With these trips you will get plenty of fjord views, fabulous hikes and tasty treats.
Explore the fjords
See Norway’s longest, deepest and most famous fjords.
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