Norway is a diverse country with plenty of stunning scenery, but if you ask anyone what they associate most with Norwegian nature, they will probably say it's the fjords. Bergen is located between the two longest and most famous fjords, Sognefjord and Hardangerfjord, and although you need to allow plenty of time to get around Western Norway, even the most secluded natural treasures are within easy reach of Western Norway's capital.

    Even if you only have one day to spare, you can still visit a real fjord landscape near Bergen. Nevertheless, the biggest experiences require at least a couple of days, because this is where the mountains are high, the valleys deep and the fjords long - and there's plenty to see and do.


    Nærøy fjord

    Picture-perfect fjord in Sogn

    Competition is fierce, but on a list of the most emblematic landscapes in Norway, the Nærøyfjord is close to the top. There are good reasons why it is on the UNESCO World Heritage List, because this is a fjord landscape at its most typical and impressive. The 17-km long fjord deep in the Sognefjord is only 250 wide at its narrowest, while the surrounding mountain peaks rise well over 1000 meters. Bakkanosi at 1398 masl is a popular hiking destination.

    Those who manage the 20-kilometre hike are rewarded with a view that defies words. Sightseeing by boat to Gudvangen in the innermost part of the fjord provides a different perspective, with steep mountains on both sides and views of waterfalls and snowdrifts far up in the mountainsides, even in summer.

    Location: Nærøy fjord, Aurland municipality, Norway


    Hardanger fjord

    Mountains and fruit settlements in Folgefonna

    The scenery along Norway's second longest fjord, Hardangerfjord, is not as wild and vertical as it is along its big brother Sognefjord in the north, but it has its own charm and its own landmarks. In large parts of western Norway, Folgefonna appears as a white vault over the mountains.

    This is Norway's third biggest glacier, and it's easy to access, including via the summer ski center. The fjord arm Sørfjorden on the east side of Folgefonna leads into the small industrial town of Odda, which in recent years has been much visited as a gateway to the rock formation and favorite photo opportunity Trolltunga. Thousands of fruit trees fill the sheltered and sunny slopes that lead to the banks of the fjord. When these flower in May-June, the brightly colored slopes under snow-topped mountain peaks is a sight to behold.

    Location: Hardangerfjord, Vestland fylke, Norway



    Norway's longest and prettiest fjord

    Allow yourself plenty of time to travel along the Sognefjord. Not only to take in the long stretches of narrow, winding roads, but also to take in the spectacular views: mountains and waterfalls, remote valleys and mighty glaciers, ancient stave churches and traditional wooden hotels.

    The heart of the fjord offers some fantastic hikes, such as Norway's highest unregulated waterfall Vettisfossen, and the alpine mountain range Hurrungane, which marks the start of the mighty Jotunheimen. On the north side of the fjord is the Jostedalsbreen glacier, Europe's largest mainland ice, with glacial arms and rivers of green glacial water that reach far down into the valleys. This sight is a stark contrast to the fruit plantations and villages at the bottom of the fjord, with their tempting world-class cherries, strawberries and tasty jellies.

    Location: Sognefjord, Vestland County, Norway



    Outdoor paradise in Nordfjord's innermost fjord arm

    The Innvikfjord is the innermost part of Nordfjord. It is named after the small town of Innvik in the middle of the fjord arm, but the innermost towns Olden, Loen and Stryn are just as well-known. Olden is known as the gateway to the Briksdalsbre glacier arm, while Loen has raised its profile with the newly constructed "sky lift" that takes you from the water's edge to an altitude of 1000 meters.

    Loen also offers adapted climbing routes, so-called 'via ferrata', of varying degrees of difficulty - an airy adventure in one of Western Norway's wildest mountain neighborhoods, which attracts many outdoor enthusiasts. With its own summer ski center, Stryn is a mecca for skiers, and the old road from Stryn across the mountains to Geiranger is an experience in itself.

    Location: Innvikfjord, Vestland county, Norway



    Around the inland island of Osterøy

    The Osterfjord is the northernmost of the three sub-fjords that surround the inland island of Osterøy, just northeast of Bergen. The western part is accessible by automobile while the Osterøy side is home to little towns such as Hosanger, with their food and culture experiences in the summer.

    If you take a fjord cruise to the inner parts of the Osterfjord, you get to experience the idyllic fjord landscape from the sea. This area is sparsely populated and stands out with its untouched nature with the occasional small farm surrounded by green meadows.

    Location: Osterfjord, Vestland County, Norway



    The tidal canal by Mofjorden

    Mostraumen is a narrow canal that links Romarheimsfjorden with Mofjorden inside. It is the result of a geological battle where sand and gravel from the glaciers dammed up the water and formed a lake inside. After the major flood in 1743, Mofjord became a fjord once more, and since being dredged in 1913, Mostraumen has been navigable with large boats.

    The tide creates strong currents in Mostraumen, and in winter ice settles on the fjord, so fjord cruises to the Mo in the innermost part of the Mofjord are something of an experience, summer or winter.

    Location: Mostraumen, Modalen Municipality, Norway



    The fjord with the Norwegian Book Town in the heart of the glacier landscape

    Fjærlandsfjorden is a fjord arm on the northern side of the Sognefjord, leading into the village of Fjærland. There is a ferry connection between the headlands at the far end of the fjord arm and a road connection to Fjærland, but otherwise most of it is untouched and inaccessible by automobile. In Fjærland itself lies the Norwegian Glacier Museum, designed by the renowned Norwegian architect Sverre Fehn.

    The museum exhibits information about glaciers and is worth a visit before heading onto the Jostedalsbreen glacier further up the valley. In the summer season, you can enter Fjærland by boat from the famous destination of Balestrand at the far end of the fjord. As the boat moves inwards in the Fjærlandsfjord, the water turns the characteristic green due to the melt water from the glacier.

    Location: Fjærlandsfjord, Sogndal Municipality, Norway



    Things do and see in the heart of the fjord kingdom

    Along with its neighbor Nærøyfjorden, the Aurlandsfjord is the typical narrow Norwegian fjord flanked by wild mountains and waterfalls. Every year, tourists flock to see these fjords as part of the "Norway in a nutshell" tour, where tourists change from boat to train in the small village of Flåm in the heart of Aurlandsfjord.

    From Flåm you can take an electric bus to the viewpoint Stegastein, a modern construction of steel and pine with panoramic views of the Aurlandsfjord and the surrounding mountains, which reach up to 1400 meters high. From Flåm, the well-known Flå- line also goes up to the Hardangervidden.

    Location: Nærøyfjord, Aurland Municipality, Norway



    The fjord at the far end of the sea mouth

    Fensfjord is a wide, relatively short fjord just south of the mouth of the Sognefjord. The Holmengrå lighthouse stands by the fjord mouth to the far west, and is rented out to vacationers. The inner area is affected by its proximity to the sea, and has a lot of ship traffic.

    It is not uncommon for large marine mammals to visit the shoals of fish from the sea here, and if you're lucky you might get to see humpback whales, dolphins and killer whales. The nature by the Fensfjord is far from as dramatic as further inland, but in return, it breaks up into a landscape of small islands and narrow canals that are exciting to explore by boat.

    Location: Fensfjord, Vestland County, Norway


    photo by Frokor (CC BY-SA 3.0) modified



    A world-famous fjord by UNESCO's World Heritage list

    Together with the Nærøyfjord further south, the Geirangerfjord is on the UNESCO World Heritage List, and the perfect example of the western Norwegian fjord landscape. This 15-kilometre long fjord arm has everything Norwegian nature is known for: waterfalls, high peaks, vertical cliffs and small farms that cling to the mountainside. The famous Seven Sisters and Friar waterfalls fall on each side of the fjord. The combination of high mountains and engineering has produced some of Norway's most famous stretches of road, such as Trollstigvegen with its eleven hairpin bends. Several roads in the area have beautifully arranged viewpoints and photo points.

    And if you've brought your hiking boots, you can really get up close to the spectacular scenery. Experience the fjord itself via a fjord cruise that departs from Geiranger, or by sea kayak for the more active among you.

    Location: Geirangerfjord, Møre and Romsdal County, Norway


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