Fjord Norway

Fjords of Norway

Norway

Crashing waterfalls and majestic fjords towering into the sky create the dramatic and spectacular scenery along the coast of Norway. With historic towns and medieval villages, there are some wonderful places to visit that could take in the main fjords of southern Norway. You could even take a cruise to Europe’s northernmost point at North Cape. It is also possible to drive 1333km along Norway’s Fjord Coast Route, which takes around 8-14 days and uses 13 ferries.

Bergen is a major arrivals and departures point for cruises to the fjords. This is a town steeped in history and was once one of the great Hanseatic outposts and a famous trading port. Bergen has an impressive collection of old timbered warehouses and the Hanseatic Museum. Just a few miles away, the composer Edward Grieg created some of the most beautiful pieces of music to come from Scandinavia, inspired by the magical countryside around him. The Hall of the Mountain Kings is just one famous piece composed in the area and inspired by Norway’s beauty. Bergen is surrounded by seven mountains, making it the gateway to the fjords, and is located in a dramatic and iconic setting. There is a funicular railway to the top of the tallest mountain, Floyen, where spectacular views of the fjordland can be seen. Most boats set sail through the Hjeltefjord, which is where many Vikings departed on raids to the Shetland Islands.

A water journey by fjord can involve a tour of one or several of these glacial formations. A cruise from Bergen to the coast of Fjords and the Sognefjord is one of the most spectacular. Flanked by snow capped mountains, the Sognefjord is one of the most beautiful places in Norway. It takes five hours to traverse before entering the Aurlandsfjord, and boats usually connect with the Flam Railway, a feat of engineering. Clinging to the mountainside, the train traverses 20 tunnels, past canyons and waterfalls, in the 866 metre ascent to Myrdal. The Sognefjord is the second deepest and longest fjord in the world and lies in an area where agriculture is popular, as can be seen on the shores. An arm of the Sognefjord is the Naeroyfjord, which is the narrowest one in the world, and in places is just 250 metres wide with 1700 metres of mountain towering above.

South of Bergen, the Hardangerfjord is another beautiful water journey along the second longest fjord in Norway. Translated as the Garden Fjord, this is best visited in spring when the fruit trees along the shore are in blossom with a stunning display of pink and white apple and cherry blossoms. The Bergen Railway from Oslo to Bergen links across the mountainous Hardangervidda to the Hardanger Fjord as a round journey.

Known as the Jewel of the Norwegian fjords, Geirangerfjord is one of the most beautiful places to visit on a coastal journey. There are mountains and abandoned farmhouses, crashing waterfalls, and tiny inlets. Some of the most famous of the nine cascades here are the Bridal Veil and the Seven Sisters. Nearby, the art nouveau town of Alesund is a delight to explore and there is a connecting bus to Hellesylt, where the boats go to the village of Geiranger. By climbing the Ornevegen or Eagle’s Road, the steep route leaving Geiranger, there are wonderful views across the fjords. The Jostedalsbreen Glacier just above the Nordfjord is another dramatic scene in this area, and is a popular place for skiing and other sporting activities.

Most cruises have several places to stop on an itinerary of the fjords and there are many opportunities to walk and cycle to viewpoints across the fjordland, as well as to visit some of the well known attractions. It is even possible to scuba dive in some of the fjords, which have a wide range of wildlife to observe, and to go kayaking. The best times to visit are in spring, for the blossoms, or during midsummer, to experience the midnight sun, which is an occasion celebrated throughout Scandinavia. There are some wonderful restaurants in most towns visited by the boats and fish is a specialty. Many shops sell locally made crafts. Norway is a country with a lace work type coastline and a journey in the fjords is a classic trip to make to see nature at its best. This is a timeless way to travel with scenes unchanged for years and some of the finest vistas in Europe just waiting to be shared and enjoyed.

(Image by Flickr user : gumuz)

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