It is no secret that Norway has a multitude of fjords, each one with its own unique characteristics. A fjord is a long, narrow, deep inlet of sea wedged between high cliffs, formed by a submerged glacial valley and are found mainly in Norway, Greenland, Canada, Chile, and New Zealand. You could spend weeks just exploring Norway’s vast array of fjords! Read below for a guide to Norway’s famous fjords!
The district of Hardanger boasts spellbinding scenery, including breathtaking fjords, mountains, waterfalls, orchards, and glaciers. Yet, despite its many scenic gems, the area is perhaps most famous for the Hardangerfjord, which is often fondly referred to as the Queen of Western Norway. Located in the county of Hordaland in the Western part of the country, the Hardangerfjord is the second longest fjord in Norwayt 179km long. The fjord is also incredibly deep, boasting a maximum depth of more than 800 meters!
The Hardanger offers visitors the very best that Norway has to offer. From fascinating museums like the Hardanger Maritime Museum and the Folk Museum, to tremendous hiking experiences, such as those in Trolltunga and Ulvik, Hardanger has it all! The gorgeous fjord also offers incredible zip lining tours, as well as kayaking expeditions, white water rafting in Eidfjord, and glacier kayaking.
Norway’s longest fjord is located in the heart of Norwegian fjord country and extends more than 200km inland. This is the “king of fjords,” with a maximum depth of 1,308 meters and towering mountains surrounding the water (that often reach heights of 2,000 meters!). The biggest glacier in continental Europe sits at the inner end of the Sognefjord. This region where the Sognefjord meets the glaciers is one of the world’s most beautiful travel destinations—imagine glaciers nestled on top of mountains that give way to green farmlands and deep fjords. Does it get any more magical?
The Naeroyfjord is an arm of the Sognefjord and is part of the Unesco’s World Heritage List. You can take any of the bus tours around Sognefjord and Naeroyfjord, a kayak trip in Balestrand, or a hike to Feigefossen waterfall via a boat tour on Lustrafjord. In addition, the Norwegian Glacier museum, and the Utsikten Viewpoint are also some ways to spend time on this fjord.
This is the narrowest and best known of the many arms of the Sognefjord. It has steep mountainsides, hanging valleys, snowfields, waterfalls, and small hamlets, all of which make it one (if not the) most stunning attraction in Norway. It’s 20 km longhand 250 meters across at its narrowest point and a mere 12 meters at its shallowest. The Naeroyfjord and the Geirangerfjord are included in the Unesco World Heritage list, and the fjords have the distinction of winning first place in the prestigious list of the National Geographic Traveller magazine. A cruise on the Naeroyfjord will give you stunning views of small traditional farms on the mountainsides, goats grazing right beside the water, and seals basking on rocks along the majestic fjord.
The Aurlandsfjord, along with the Naeroyfjord, is one of the most picturesque fjords in Norway. Located in Aurland in Sogn og Fjordane, the fjord begins at Flam and ends at the mountain Beitelen, which separates the Aurlandsfjord from the Naeroyfjord. The quaint, tiny villages of Flam, Aurland, and Undredal are nestled cozily along the coast of the fjord, which is part of the World Heritage area around the Naeroyfjord. It is surrounded by high mountains and considered to be one of the most magical fjords in the world. You can partake in a snowshoe hike to Stegastein from Flam (including a Viking dinner) or do a winter fjord safari in Flam. There’s even ziplining and biking in Flam, and, if you want a look at Viking history, there is a viking village nearby in Gudvangen!
The Geiranger Fjord is located in the Sunnmore region of More og Romsdal county and is a 15km long branch off the Sunnylvsfjorden. It is one of Norway’s most visited tourist sites and is on the Unesco World Heritage list, as well. This fjord is surrounded by steep mountains and several waterfalls that you can see cascading along the sides of the fjord. Some of the activities here include the Spa at Hotel Union in Geiranger, the Norwegian Fjord Centre, Kayaking, white water rafting in Valldal, and Canyoning.
This is the sixth longest fjord in Norway and is situated between the largest mainland glacier in Europe and Norway’s wildest coast at the western cape. The Nordfjord is famed for its rolling farmland and dramatic coast line. The Jostedalsbreen is one of Norway’s National Parks, and in Stryn you can visit the most famous of the glacier arms – the Briksdal Glacier. In Leon you’ll find the steepest cable cars in the world – the Leon Skylift which offers a lovely view of the fjord landscape. This region also includes Lake Hornindalsvatnet, Europe’s deepest lake at 514m below sea level. The Styrn area is key for year-around alpine skiing, and there are numerous villages that date back to pre-Viking times.
The Hjorundfjord is a 35 km long fjord arm of the larger Storfjorden that stretches south from Alesund. The Hjorundfjorden is surrounded by the Sunnmorsalpene mountain range with peaks that reach 1,700m. Both sides of this fjord are lined with forests due to the extensive rainfall in this area. Don’t miss the villages of Bjorke, Leira, Viddal and Urke along this fjord!
The Lysefjord is the southernmost of the biggest fjords in Norway. The two most well-known sights in the Lysefjord are the Pulpit Rock and Mount Kjerag. The Pulpit Rock is located in Forsand municipality and towers almost 604m on the northern side of the Lysefjord. Mount Kjerag is located on the southern side of the Lysefjord in Rogaland. On the western part of this plateau lies a boulder, wedged in a crevice 1,000m above the fjord.
Written by Preethi Chandrasekhar, follow her for more travel stories.