What to see in Norway
Tourist attractions Norwegian Fjords
Known as the ‘Land of the Fjords’, Norway is famous for its glistening waterways. The word ‘fjord’ is of ancient Viking origin, used to describe the watery inlets that stud the coastline of Norway. So what is a fjord? These mythical bodies of water are created by retreating glaciers that, after carving out a groove into the coastal cliffs, melt away leaving behind huge channels to be inundated with seawater.
The thing that makes Norway’s fjords so impressive are their sheer length, number and complexity; some of them even have branches that continue to carry the seawater in different directions along tributaries. You can think of the fjords as natural canal systems. One thing is for sure is their incredible beauty and appeal; they are surely the biggest attraction of a trip to Norway. Norwegian fjords cruises are increasingly popular with travellers who desire a tranquil getaway amidst the heavenly landscapes of Norway’s fjord region. Glistening, glacial waters surrounded by dramatic cliffs; sounds like a perfect picture!
On a Norwegian fjord holiday, it can be challenging to know which fjords to focus on. The ‘King of the Fjords’ is a good place to start! Sognefjord is the deepest and longest of the Norwegian fjords, at 1308 metres deep in places and weaving its way into the mainland for a staggering 200 kilometres! It is a natural giant and one of the most widely enjoyed fjords by visitors as its depth allows for large cruise ships to navigate on the waters.
For the wow-factor, head to the Geirangerfjord and Naeroyfjord, two of the most spectacular in the country and both inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage list. Bordered by free-flowing waterfalls which cascade into the fjord and traditional farm dwellings dotted along the hillsides, these fjords are sure to make you feel as if you have stepped into a fairytale.
A Norwegian fjords cruise is incomplete without navigating the Hardangerfjord, which begins just south of the city of Bergen, on the Atlantic Ocean, and ends all the way in the Hardangervidda mountains. This mighty fjord is famed for its summertime apple trees, which blossom all along the lengths of its banks.
How to experience the Fjords
A fjord cruise is perhaps the best way to get a good view of the different landscapes of Norway’s fjord systems and to be close to the action. Whether it is on a large scale cruise ship as part of a fjords tour or simply a day trip cruise, you can feel the truly tranquil atmosphere and sense the shadows that the towering cliffs cast upon the still waters from the deck of a cruiser.
Another option to experience the fjords in Norway is from the sky. A birds-eye view of the fjord region is an amazing way to capture the sheer scale and complexity of the inlets. If you are landing at Bergen airport, you’re likely to enjoy an amazing view. Alternatively, take the funicular from Bergen to the top of Mount Floyen for a brilliant panorama of the different Norwegian fjords.
Prefer something a little more luxurious? Jump aboard the prestigious Flam Railway, which runs from the end of the Aurlandsfjord, a tributary of the Sognefjord, to the hill station of Myrdal. The hour-long journey covers breathtaking landscapes ranging from tiny villages to waterfalls and farms, with the backdrop of the glistening fjord. More adventurous travellers on the hunt for Norway’s fjords might prefer to take a kayak excursion out onto the waters. There’s no better way to connect with the fjords than with the freedom of a kayak.