Photo: Chris Holter Norrøna
Fjord Tours Articles / 8 Jun 2022

Get to know the Sognefjord Region

Most people visiting Norway are keen to see the famous Norwegian fjords during their travels, but with over 1700 fjords dotted around the country, it can be hard to decide where to go. If you’d like to explore the fjords during your trip to Norway, the Sognefjord is one of the most popular and worthwhile destinations.

Let’s take a closer look at what’s so special about the Sognefjord, Norway’s biggest fjord!

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Where is Sognefjord?

The Sognefjord is located on the west coast of Norway, starting just north of Bergen, and extends more than 200 km to the foot of the Jotunheime and Jostedalsbreen National Parks. The Sognefjord is Norway’s longest and deepest fjord and is often referred to as “the king of the fjords” due to its vast size. Since the Sognefjord is so long, there are plenty of options for exploring it depending on where you are and what you’d like to see.

Located in the heart of Fjord Norway, the Sognefjord stretches across 204 kilometers to the village of Skjolden in Vestland, and it has several smaller fjords which branch off the main fjord. In fact, a lot of people consider these branches to be the most beautiful parts of the fjord, with the fjord arm Nærøyfjord earning a spot on UNESCO’s prestigious World Heritage List.

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Photo: Katrin Moe

What is Sognefjord known for?

The Sognefjord is known for its stunning natural beauty and plenty of sights to see. Along the vast Sognefjord, a range of unique and spectacular experiences await visitors – traveling on the historic Flåm Railway, seeing the UNESCO-protected Urnes Stave Church, walking along the spectacular Jostedalsbreen Glacier, cycling the beautiful Rallarvegen and much more.

Travelers to the Sognefjord will be able to enjoy some of the world’s most incredible hikes, bike rides, and glacial walks, with the massive Jotunheimen National Park and the beautiful Aurlandsdalen valley offering scenic views and fantastic nature experiences. The Sognefjord is also known for its delicious food and drinks – the locally produced juice and cider is a must-try for any visitors to the area!

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Photo: Terje Rakke/Nordic Life AS

What to do in Sognefjord?

If you’d like to explore the Sognefjord region, there's lots to do and see on your visit. A trip to Sognefjord is an unforgettable experience that will give you a unique look into Norway’s cultural heritage – here, you’ll be able to see stunning nature, charming fjord villages, and plenty of fun and interesting local experiences.

There are plenty of tourist spots and activities in the Sognefjord area. One of the unique aspects of the region is the many idyllic fjord villages located along the majestic Sognefjord – these small communities have welcomed visitors for a long time, with the picturesque Balestrand being a popular destination.

If you’re interested in history, you’re in luck. The authentic Viking village Njardarheimr in Gudvangen is located at the inner part of the Nærøyfjord, and offers fantastic experiences to visitors keen to learn about Viking culture and heritage in Norway. The Sognefjord area is also host to several traditional Norwegian stave churches, such as the UNESCO site Urnes Stave Church and the Borgund Stave Church near Lærdal, which is the best-preserved church in the country.

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Photo: Norwegianwanderer

Which is better – Sognefjord or Nærøyfjord?

If you only have time to visit one of these stunning fjords, you may be wondering whether Sognefjord or Nærøyfjord is the best option. Both fjords are well worth a visit, so you should do some research and decide which you’d prefer to see in person and what location is most convenient for your trip. 

In general, the Sognefjord is the fjord with the most to offer visitors who are keen to take their time in exploring the stunning fjord and surrounding landscape. With the many natural areas just waiting to be explored as well as plenty of cultural heritage sites along the fjord, it’s a fantastic destination if you’d like to really get to know fjord Norway.

However, the Nærøyfjord is internationally recognized as one of the most beautiful fjords in the world. That’s why the fjord has been placed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List and recognized as “among the most scenically outstanding anywhere”. The Nærøyfjord is the most narrow fjord, with some parts being only 500 meters wide, and is incredibly picturesque with its tall mountainsides, lush greenery, and stunning waterfalls. The Nærøyfjord is truly a sight to behold, so it’s no wonder that many travelers who are short on time would choose to visit this stunning fjord during their trip. It’s especially popular with photography enthusiasts keen to capture its beauty on camera!

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A fantastic way to explore the Sognefjord is to travel by boat. Being out on the water, you’ll have a unique vantage point and an unforgettable experience of this vast Norwegian fjord. Our popular Sognefjord in a Nutshell tour lets you travel by boat almost the entire length of the mighty fjord, and you will also get to experience the Bergen Railway and the Flåm Railway. This tour will show you the best of this stunning region, and the itinerary can be customized to suit your needs and wishes so you can create your dream Norway holiday.