There are few places in the world that are as magnificent in scale and captivating in scope as the fjords of Norway.
Numerous as the fjords are (about 1,200 by some estimates), I want to detail a day trip I had a couple years ago, when I had the opportunity to tour a couple of them.
To begin with, Norway, like many northern European countries, can be very expensive. Prices for the fjord cruise can vary, depending on your starting and ending points. My roundtrip from Bergen, for example, cost 1045 NOK or about $175 USD. If you plan on doing many activities, a Fjord Pass or Eurail Pass may be for you as it offers worthwhile discounts on restaurants and train tickets. Also, you should book ahead of time, as accommodations can be expensive if you wait last minute, which I learned firsthand (one night in Bergen, at a bed and breakfast, cost me about $100 USD).
Starting from Bergen, the journey begins with a two-hour train ride on the Bergen railway, traversing some of northern Europe’s most lush and scenic landscapes. Next, arriving promptly at the Myrdal station (an altitude of 866 meters or 2,841 feet above sea level), you will transfer and board another train heading towards the town of Flåm (altitude 2 meters or 6 feet). It is on your way to Flåm that you get your first glimpse of the Kjosfossen waterfall. This 93-meter (305 feet) high roaring waterfall, moves with such incredible force that a short video, perhaps, would be best to describe it.
Once in Flåm, take advantage of your short time here by having a good, warm meal at the Marina and Appartement Café. Although the food here may be expensive (this meal cost me about 240 NOK or about $40 USD), I can say with complete confidence that this is the best damn apple pie I’ve ever had! Trust me, it’s worth every krone.
Now that you’ve had your fill of apple pie, you’re ready to begin the voyage. From Flåm, the cruise ship sails through the Nærøyfjord and Aurlandsfjord, on its way to Gudvangen. It’s important to note that weather in this region can be difficult to predict. In Bergen, for instance, rain is common about 250 days a year, so plan on dressing very warm. I was very fortunate to have pleasant conditions (only the slightest of drizzles at the worst) on my tour, but I’ve met other travelers who were not as lucky.
As the cruise ship glides slowly along the Aurlandsfjord, leaving faint ripples of jet-black waves in its wake, a village—as unexpected as it is picturesque—comes into full view. This is Udredal, home to Scandinavia’s smallest stave church, and alongside it, Stegen, a mountain farmland founded 300 meters (984 feet) above sea level.
Passing through Nærøyfjord—a smaller section of the larger Sognefjord—provides an even more impressive sight. A litany of waterfalls—each hundreds of feet high—line the mountainside, as rushing water cascades down between verdant crevices of rock face. It is an amazing display of natural force, perfectly reflected by the imperceptibly smooth surface of the Nordic sea.
After two hours, however, your fjord cruise will come to an end, but the journey is not yet over. A bus from Gudvangen to Voss awaits you. Meandering through the Nærøydalen valley, this bus trip will take you on several steep twists and turns down the Stalheimskleiva road, where the Stalheimsfossen and Sivlefossen waterfalls are sure to grab your attention.
Finally, from the Voss train station you can catch your train ride home. Plan for an all day excursion, starting from early morning to late evening. Other tours available can last from several hours to several days. But, whichever tour you decide to take, a trip to the Norway’s fjords is sure to leave you with a sober and humble appreciation for the unforgettable beauty and grandeur of these natural wonders.
For more information about this tour (“Norway in a Nutshell”) and others, please visit their website or call them at +47 815 68 222