Photo: Øyvind Heen
Fjord Tours Articles / 2 Nov 2021

Fjords: Showcasing Norway’s natural heritage sites

Have you ever seen a Norwegian fjord? If you haven’t, you’ll definitely want to add visiting one to your bucket list! The stunning natural beauty of the fjords create the perfect backdrop for creating unforgettable and breathtaking memories in one of the many wonders that makes Norway an amazing tourist destination. Here, we’ll tell you all you need to know about Norwegian fjords!

What are fjords?

"Fjord" is a Norse term that means "where you journey over". A fjord is a small entrance of the sea that was produced during the glacial process. Basically, fjords are narrow watercourses that are lined by mountainous cliffs. Fjords are quite striking visually, and you can sail from one fjord toward the next or out to sea.

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Photo: Sverre Hjørnevik / Fjord Norge

How are fjords formed?

Glaciers formed fjords out of valleys many years ago. When a glacier gives way after creating its U-shaped valley, the sea fills the valley base, creating a beautiful fjord. Although a fjord may seem to be similar to a lake, it’s mainly composed of saltwater and might even be thought of as the arms of the sea extending deep into Norway's terrain.

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Photo: Stackla

How deep are fjords?

Most fjords are deeper than nearby seas due to the glaciers' sharp cutting effect. The Sognefjord, for example, is a fjord in Norway that plunges almost 4,000 feet below sea level. Glaciers often leave deposits behind and these would cause a rise near the fjord's mouth. As a result of this increase, certain fjords may experience extremely strong currents or even saltwater rapids. Also, thousands of tiny, rocky island blocks are another hazardous characteristic seen around certain fjords. These regions are referred to as "skerries", and they may be dangerous for vessels to traverse.

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Photo: Ørjan Bertelsen

Where are the fjords?

Even though fjords can be found in different countries across the world, Norway is famous for them because the country has the highest concentration of fjords worldwide. Visitors travel daily, from near and far, to get a glimpse of this natural attraction. There are over 1,700 named fjords throughout Norway, but there are a few that are favorites for locals and tourists. Two of these have been inscribed on the World Heritage List by UNESCO, which considers them to be so valuable that they must be protected for future generations – The Geirangerfjord and The Nærøyfjord.

It's easy to understand why these fjords are two of Norway's most popular tourist attractions. Steep mountain slopes tumble into gleaming fjords and charming little communities and farms cling to the mountainsides. It's an idyllic scene, like something right out of a storybook! The small Nærøyfjord is flanked by mountains that rise over 1,000 meters above sea level, while Geirangerfjord offers spectacular views. Both locations present their own touch of beauty that makes them unique.

Check out the most famous fjords in Norway!

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Photo: Maciej Ducxynski/Fjord Norway

What is the Norwegian fjord landscape like?

Small communities and some of the most fertile ground for growing fruits and vegetables may be found along the banks of a fjord. Seafood is plentiful and several of the local villages are known for dishing up some delicious fish to hungry travelers. Due to the self-protective character of these distant places, the local animal population is quite robust, and numerous species such as eagles, sheep, and deer may thrive here.

Coral reefs have recently been discovered at the bottom of several fjords in Norway. Scientists aren’t sure how these coral reefs came to be, but they do believe that the marine life found in these areas may clarify why the Norwegian coastline is such a fantastic fishing spot.

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Photo: Sergey Bogomyako

When is the best time to cruise the fjords?

Tourists often wonder when would be the best time to cruise the fjords. The truth is, it depends on where you’d like to go and what you want to experience. Temperatures that are pleasant, such as in the summer, when you can wear shorts, dresses, and skirts, are perfect for people who want to enjoy the picturesque view in the warm summer air.

The northern lights, which are an entirely different jaw-dropping attraction, can be seen in the winter along with the snowy landscape on the Tromsø fjord. The off-seasons of spring and autumn offer their own qualities of the landscape coming to life and the rich color of the leaves changing. Visiting the fjords during this time may be cheaper and less crowded. Regardless of when you choose to travel, a fjord cruise is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that’s not to be missed! If you’d like to see all the best of what fjord Norway has to offer, why not join our popular Norway in a Nutshell® tour?

Norway's deep blue fjords, set between rugged mountains and breathtakingly gorgeous landscapes, are unique and can’t be experienced anywhere else in the world. If you’re inspired to experience this stunning and completely natural environment, your next trip should be to Norway.

Life-long memories await you!

Geirangerfjorden ©Øyvind Heen
Photo: Øyvind Heen