Where to see the fjords in Norway
Norway is known as a land of great beauty and stunning nature and within its vast territory lies over 1,700 fjords. These long, deep inlets dot the country and are one of the most popular reasons given by tourists for visiting.
In this article, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about the Norwegian fjords – and hopefully entice you to visit to see them for yourself!
What are the fjords of Norway?
The fjords of Norway are long, deep inlets with steep sides. Despite being water-filled now, they formed through glaciers eroding mountainsides to such an extent that U-shaped valleys were created. Subsequently flooded by seawater, these valleys became bodies of water, sometimes incredibly deep, and now they are one of the country’s prime attractions.
The word fjord comes from the old Viking terms ‘where you travel across’ (der man ferder over) and ‘ferry’ (ferje). While many countries can boast about their fjords, none have as many nor do they play as significant a part in the country’s culture and heritage as Norway’s fjords.
How many fjords are there in Norway?
There are over 1,700 fjords in Norway and they make up a significant part of the coastline of the country. In fact, when the Norwegian coastline includes the length of the fjords as they jut in and out of the sea, the coastline becomes ten times longer! This helps explain why the fjords have held such a significant cultural heritage for the Norwegian people. Entire towns and cities have been built overlooking the fjords due to their stunning beauty, and it’s no surprise that fjord cruises are incredibly popular with visitors.
Where are the Norwegian fjords?
There are fjords all over the country. However, the most famous fjords are located on the West Coast and Northern regions of the country. For example, the well-known Sognefjord, sometimes nicknamed ‘The King of Fjords,’ is the longest and deepest fjord in Norway. It is situated on the west coast just north of Bergen and stretches over 200km! The beautiful Nærøyfjord and charming Aurlandsfjord, both part of the amazing Norway in a Nutshell® tour, is also located on Norway's western coast.
When to see the fjords in Norway?
The fjords can be visited all year round, but June to August tends to be the most popular time. During the summer, temperatures are mild in the north but can be over 25 degrees in the south. The summer is also the time of the midnight sun when, in parts of the country, the sun never sets, even in the dead of night – so it’s a fascinating time for international travelers to see Norway!
While it will be colder in the other months, each season brings its own delights to Norway’s fjord landscape. Autumn brings out the reds and yellows of the leaves as the green expanse of summer fades while in the spring the snow melts, swelling the fjords and bringing new life and energy into the waterways. Finally, the winter months bring a blanket of snow across the landscape and long, dark nights. While it does get cold at this time of year, the fjords are transformed into a magical kingdom with the snow-lined mountains and the possibility of seeing the northern lights dancing across the sky making the experience spectacular.
Where to stay in Norway to see the fjords?
Given the vast number of fjords in the country, there is no one best place to view all the fjords. However, there are a couple of spots that provide a good place to base yourself depending on the fjords you want to visit.
Bergen is an obvious choice of places to visit if you are interested in experiencing the fjords. The city is often referred to as "the gateway to the fjords", so you can't go wrong with Bergen. From Bergen, we offer several tours to the fjords, including the famous Norway in a Nutshell® tour.
Stavanger is a vibrant harbor city in the south of the country and provides quick access to both the beautiful Lysefjord and the world-famous Preikestolen, otherwise known as Pulpit Rock. The Lysefjord is the biggest of the southern fjords. Flanked by towering mountains on one side and the famous rock formation on the other, this long and narrow fjord makes for truly spectacular photos.
If you’re planning on visiting the western fjords, the charming village of Voss is a great base point. Situated just outside Bergen, its transport links and pleasant atmosphere makes it a popular choice among tourists. From Voss, the grand Sognefjord is easily reachable where you can enjoy a luxurious fjord cruise or dip your toe into the waters with fun activities like paddleboard lessons or kayaking.
The Hardangerfjord, sometimes known as the Queen of fjords, is also accessible from Voss. Famed for its beauty, there are many small villages, orchards, and waterfalls along the 179km fjord just waiting to be discovered. Here, you’ll also find the spellbinding Hardangervidda National Park, which is the largest national park in the country!
If you’d like to experience the best of what Fjord Norway has to offer in one trip, you’re in luck – Fjord Tours offers customizable tours of the Sognefjord and Hardangerfjord. You can also take your pick among fantastic experiences in the Lysefjord area, such as an unforgettable cruise and hike up the Flørli staircase, which is the world’s longest wooden staircase!