A Guide to Norway’s Phenomenal Fjords
When you consider landscapes with the most remarkable scenery in the world, the fjords of Norway must rank near the very top of the list. The best of the best, Geirangerfjord and NÃ¦rÃ¸yfjord, form one of the most popular points of interest in Nordic Europe: the West Norwegian Fjords UNESCO World Heritage Site.
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Bergen, a former European Capital of Culture and fabulous city of 260,000 people, is the best gateway to cruise the fjords. The “second city” of Norway behind capital Oslo has museums, cultural landmarks and monuments galore, and a terrific UNESCO World Heritage Site in the old Bryggen wharf.Â Without question, hotels in Bergen provide exquisite respite prior to a fjord cruise.
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Sognefjord is 70 km north of Bergen and is second only to Greenland’s Scoresby Sund in overall fjord size. Naeroyfjord is one notable, spectacular branch of Sognefjord which draws numerous tourists. A trek inland on the main arm of the fjord will take you to Fjaerland, a popular postcard-perfect village with brilliant bookstores and the cool Norwegian Glacier Museum.
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Lysefjorden is one of the most dramatic fjords. The closest city to the south-west Norway gem is Stavanger. Home to 125,000 people, Stavanger was European Capital of Culture in 2008.
Lysefjorden is 40 km long and as narrow as 13 m near Oanes and Forsand. The most popular landmark in the area is the “Pulpit Rock”. You may have to hike to get to the summit but the subsequent view is well worth the effort. Once you reach the plateau, the 360 degree panorama over the fjord-scape will take your breath away.
Do not miss Kjerag mountain in Ryfylke, Rogaland. The mountain’s north-side drop over Lysefjorden features a massive boulder stuck in a crevasse some 1,000 m above the water. The peak is immensely popular with hikers and BASE jumpers alike and is only two hours from Stavanger.
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Geirangerfjord may be the most beautiful in Norway. A branch of the giant Storfjord in bucolic MÃ¸re og Romsdal, Western Norway, Geirangerfjord is a six hour drive from Bergen. The journey however, offers access to relatively remote and memorable scenery. The handsome city and seaport of Ã…lesund, home to some 45,000 people, is a convenient (and lively) point of entry to the region.
Geirangerfjord’s UNESCO World Heritage inscription in 2005 was a veritable no-brainer. Home to fairy tale-like hamlets and three superlative waterfalls in the Seven Sisters, Suitor and Bridal Veil, Geirangerfjord is a great escape from city life.
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For a first-class road trip, the Fjord Coast Route on the west coast of Norway is supreme. The route begins in Kristiansand and follows the coast all the way north to Trondheim, 1417 km away. The route takes visitors past the legendary 8.3 km-long Atlanterhavsveien road, in addition to Bergen and Stavanger.
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