Outwardly, the fjords resemble calm blue lakes, but the water in them is salty. In fact, these are long, narrow sea bays that cut deep into the land. On both sides of the fjords are often framed by majestic rocks.
Small and large waterfalls that originate on high-altitude glaciers break down from almost vertical rocky shores.
Although one fjord is often an extension of another and you can sail from fjord to fjord and return to the open sea, on the fjords you will feel as if you were transported to another universe, especially if you came to this region in the winter.
To understand why fjords are one of the most revered symbols of Norway and at the same time one of its most visited attractions, you need to know what they mean for the Norwegians themselves.
More than anything else, the fjords and surrounding lands remind us of the past. About the times when most of the Norwegians lived in incredibly difficult conditions, in the unassailable mountains, cultivating poor stony soil (and today some still live like this). About the times when fruit tree harvests were plentiful, and sheep’s head was considered a real delicacy (here and now many people love this exotic dish).
Although the local landscape seems harsh, the fjord Region can easily be explored independently or with a guide. Small villages are scattered everywhere, and there are numerous Hiking trails in the mountains and glaciers.
WITH CARE FOR NATURE
Take home only photos and memories
The beauty of Norwegian nature is amazing. Both local residents and tourists should take care of the local nature and way of life.
According to Norwegian philosophy, it is everyone’s responsibility to take care of the environment.
Norwegians try to reduce their impact on nature as much as possible. No matter where you are, remember: when you leave a place, leave it as you would like to see it.
Take care of the quality of life – not only modern, but also the one that awaits future generations.
Eco-friendly travel in Norway
People on a guided hike on the glacier of Folgefonna in the Hardangerfjord region, Norway Fjord
What to do on the fjords
When you arrive at the fjords, you can combine active recreation with quiet pleasures.
Start with Hiking and leisurely walks through towns and villages, or go on a guided tour of observation decks and notable places near fjords, mountains and waterfalls.
More challenging Hiking routes include climbing to the peaks, which offer stunning views of the surrounding area. You can also go kayaking or standing paddle Board (SUP), rafting, glacier climbing, rock climbing, or climbing via ferrata. In addition, there are marine, river and lake fishing tours with a guide.
In some places, for example, in the Sunnmøre Alps, you have the opportunity to ski at any time of the year, while admiring the fjords. Summer skiing is a popular activity that can be combined with swimming in the fjords. At the same time, in one day you will have time to drive on skis, and plunge into the water of the fjord.
On the shores of the fjord you will find historical sites, ruins of ancient buildings, ethnographic museums, art museums, as well as the heritage of the Viking age. The UNESCO world heritage List includes the Hanseatic promenade of Bruggen in Bergen, the wooden Church of Urnes, Narei fjord and Geiranger fjord and their surroundings.
There are several national parks in this region with marked trails, self-service overnight lodges, and cottages. There is a rich flora and fauna, lakes, rivers, and glaciers. You can also use the tourist assistance service.
world heritage site
In 2005, the fjords of Western Norway, namely Geiranger fjord and Nørøy fjord, received UNESCO world heritage Site status.
“They owe their beauty to their steep slopes, composed of crystalline rocks. The shores of the fjords rise above the waters of the Norwegian sea to a height of 1,400 meters, and go to a depth of 500 meters. Numerous waterfalls fall from the steep banks of the fjords, and in their surroundings, covered with deciduous and coniferous forests, you can see glaciers, as well as glacial lakes, rivers and mountains, ” – this is how the Norwegian fjords are described by UNESCO.
In 2006, the national Geographic society’s Board of experts ranked the most popular world cultural heritage sites. Norwegian fjords won first place ahead of the Galapagos Islands, the Egyptian pyramids, the Grand Canyon, Angkor Wat and Machu Picchu.
“This confirms that, in comparison with other countries, Norwegians perfectly protect their property. It would be useful for managers in other areas to learn from them and adapt the Norwegian experience to their situation, ” says Jonathan B. Turtellot, Director Of the national Geographic Society’s center for sustainable development.
How to get there and how to get around the fjords and surrounding areas
If you go to the fjord Region by train, you will get an extremely scenic ride. This is often the fastest way to get to the fjords (with the exception of Northern Norway).
The traditional Hurtigruten comes in many port towns and villages of fjord Norway.
In most localities, short and longer excursions are organized, during which you will get to know the surrounding area better.
Electric ferries and regular ferries ply the fjords all year round.
Tunnels and bridges seem to stitch the fjord Region together, making it much easier to travel around the region by bus, motor home, and car.
In larger cities, there are airports that can be reached by domestic airlines.
Don’t know which fjord to choose?
There are more than a thousand fjords in Norway, so it is not surprising that many travelers find it difficult to choose. Find out which fjords are the most popular and use our tips when choosing where to go.