Norway’s fjords are well established among the top travel destinations on the planet. They are long, narrow inlets cutting into the coastal mountains, with steep sides or cliffs. The longest, at some 175 miles, is Sognefjord which reaches a depth of over 4,000 ft. It is a unique fact that land is always within sight when cruising the Norwegian fjords.
Each of the country’s fjords has its own particular charm. For example, the Romsdalsfjord is graced by snowy mountain tops and also features intriguing islands and reefs.
Geirangerfjord is exceedingly beautiful and is named on the UNESCO World Heritage List. It is over 60 miles long, stretching between Ålesund and Geiranger. The Geirangerfjord offers plenty of variety with the village of Sula on its northern bank, while the southern side boasts renowned centres of furniture manufacture, Sykkylven and Ekornes. One of the towns on the Geirangerfjord is Stranda, traditionally associated with sausages but, interestingly, now diversifying into pizza production.
A cruise into the Geirangerfjord will also reveal two beautiful and impressive waterfalls facing each other on opposite banks – the Seven Sisters and the Suitor. At the furthest inland point is the agricultural village of Geiranger, hailed as ‘idyllic’ and a good spot for voyagers to disembark, stretch their legs and admire the surroundings. The village is also the home base of one of Norway’s cruise operators.
Another interesting cruise is on the Lysefjord. It starts at Stavenager and passengers are able to view some unique tourist attractions such as the Pulpit Rock, which towers some 1,800 ft above the fjord. The view from the Pulpit Rock plateau is magnificent, allowing visitors to gaze across the Lysefjord to the impressive Lysefjordheiene mountains.
One of the smallest of Norway’s fjords is the Trollfjord, in the region of Narvik. It is only just over a mile long, but the peaks on both sides reach to over 3,000 ft, dwarfing any cruise ship but producing a truly memorable experience for passengers. To the Trollfjord’s west and sitting some 500 ft above sea level is the Trollfjordvatnet, a lake with ice floating in it even during the summer.
Throw in the majesty of the Nærøyfjord, Aurlandsfjord and Hardangerfjord, and it is easy to understand why Norway’s fjords are regarded as superb places to visit, particularly on a cruise.
The best time to cruise the fjords is during July or August when the weather is mildest. Many cruise lines also offer children’s school holiday programs during these months. There are a great many cruise operators conducting Norwegian fjords itineraries, from well-known companies with large luxury vessels to small ‘boutique’ operators who might focus on specific fjords.
Cruises to the fjords of Norway can start from UK ports such as Dover. This is extremely convenient for Britons wishing to embark on one of the world’s most unforgettable travel experiences.