Tonje's Travelogue 8: Fjærland - Our favorite fjord
As we continued our summer vacation through Norway, Fjærland was merely supposed to be a pit stop on our way from Nigaardsbreen Glacier to our next activity in Åndalsnes. But Fjærland turned out to be one of the most stunning places on our whole trip!
We did get incredibly lucky with stunning wall to wall sunshine and found the most amazing spot on the side of the fjord to camp and fish. The tropical weather and breathtaking backdrop also set the scene for one of our most productive photoshoot sessions. The planets were truly aligned in one of those moments which make the hairs on your arms stand up and tingle with emotion.
Fjærland is the district surrounding Fjærlandsfjord, a branch of Sognefjord. The center, Mundal, and the surrounding area have only 300 inhabitants most of whom are engaged in farming and tourism.
Historically, the only transportation to Fjærland had been by ferry but major tunneling projects completed in 1986 (Fjærland tunnel) and 1994 (Fruland tunnel) opened up the area making it accessible by road... Lucky for us!
Along road 5 at the tip of the fjord, you will find a small viewpoint and nature reserve called Bøyaøri (boi-a-oi-ry) which in itself is easy to miss. What you do not want to miss however is the stunning view down the fjord with rolling green landscapes on either side. Definitely some postcard-worthy shots to be had here and the first indication that we were entering a very special place. The Bøyaøyri estuary is protected due to its part in bird migration during the spring and autumn. 100 species have been observed and approximately 50 of them nest in the area.
Around 3km into the fjord, you will find the quaint little book town Mundal. Old cow sheds and pigpens are now home to charming little book shops with more on ferry quay and in the Mundal Hotel. After being officially recognized as a book town in 1996, Mundal became the eighth book town in the world and the first in Scandinavia.
Fjærland is the perfect destination for hiking, fishing, and kayaking in the summer. They have a beautiful small hotel there also, called Fjærland Fjordstove. In the winter, backcountry skiing offers intrepid explorers the chance to skin up majestic peaks with unforgettable fjord views and virgin powder snow. One of Sogndals’ most famous pillow lines can be found just around the corner.
We drove almost until the road ran out and found another photo-op by a small but powerful waterfall which came crashing down on to the side of the road. The photos were well worth the partial drenching.
A little further we found our spot for the night. Without getting wet again, we literally could not have been closer to the fjord. The camera was in just as much use as the fishing rods here but the fjord kindly delivered with a couple of tasty mackerel for breakfast the next morning. The healthy supply of fish in the fjord was perhaps why we were lucky enough to spot an otter out for a stroll along the rocks before slipping into the water and swimming off into the night.
Browsing the book stores in Mundal is incredibly charming and we enjoyed a coffee outside the guide shop overlooking people enjoying the sun and the water on SUP’s and kayaks.
Fjærland is home to the Norwegian Glacier Museum - a museum for curious people eager to learn how glaciers build up, form the landscape, and why they play an important role in the search for knowledge about our climate. The Ulltveit-Moe Climate Centre within the museum takes you on a journey through time, from the creation of the earth, through the last ice age, and finally to the year 2100.
Flatbrehytta Mountain Cabin is situated 1000 meters above the fjord and next to the mighty Flatbreen Glacier. The hike to the cabin is spectacular but partly steep and strenuous. We recommend hikers to consider their fitness or hire a guide and set aside 4-7 hours to make the round trip.
Glacier walks with experienced guides can also be easily arranged in the area. Several glacier arms from Jostedalsbreen are accessible from May to October. In Fjaerland you can walk to Supphellebreen, 1000 metres above sea level.
The glacier bus corresponds with the boat coming from Balestrand twice a day. The first tour goes to both glaciers, the Supphellebreen and the Bøyabreen. The second tour goes to the Bøyabreen glacier only. Both tours stop at the Norwegian Glacier Museum. The bus operates in June, July, August, and September with a guide on board during peak season. Bøyum camping is a great place to spend a couple of nights but it is also useful for renting bikes or buying fishing permits for the local river.
Fjærland, you were a dream!
Douglas and Tonje
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