Norway

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A legacy from the last ice age’s meltdown, when the inland valleys carved by huge glaciers filled with seawater, the fjords are Norway’s top attraction. The majesty of the steep mountains reflected in the calm waters below is an inspiration for many. The best way to experience the fjords is to combine a road trip with a boat trip (see www.fjordnorway.com for trip-planning information). Bergen is considered the gateway to the fjords.

Norway Fjords

Eidfjord

The 597-foot-high Vøringsfossen (in Eidfjord, a branch of the Hardangerfjord) is Norway’s most famous waterfall, visited by half a million tourists every year. Walk the short distance to the observation platform overlooking the waterfall, or climb the steep trail for a fuller view from below. Nearby Hardangervidda Nature Centre, with interactive displays on glaciology as well as local flora and fauna, is also worth a visit.

Eidfjord, www.visiteidfjord.no
Tags: outdoors | waterfall | fjord

Geirangerfjord

Also a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Geirangerfjord is regarded by many as the most beautiful of the Norwegian fjords. Expect green waters, even greener mountains, and stunning waterfalls (including the Seven Sisters, the Suitor, and the aptly named Bridal Veil).

Geirangerfjord, www.visitgeirangerfjorden.com
Tags: hiking | outdoors | adventure | waterfall | fjord

Hardangerfjord

Spring brings an explosion of colors to the Hardangerfjord – the fruit trees in the fjord’s many orchards are in full bloom, and the area is at its most picturesque. Baroniet Rosendal, a renaissance manor with a pretty rose garden and period interior, overlooks the fjord near its entrance to the open ocean.

Hardangerfjord, www.hardangerfjord.com
Tags: outdoors | history | adventure | fjord

Lysefjord

Preikestolen (pulpit rock) attracts 100,000 visitors every year. It’s a huge block of granite jutting out from the cliff face nearly 2,000 feet above the fjord. In nearby Kjerag, a boulder hangs between two sides of the mountain, making for a good photo stop. At the head of the fjord, Lysefjordveien, a hairpin road with some 27 sharp bends, offers a great panorama.

Lysefjord, www.regionstavanger.com
Tags: hiking | outdoors | fjord

Nærøyfjord

A UNESCO World Heritage site since 2005, the peaceful “narrow fjord,” an 11-mile-long arm of Sognefjord, is only 820 feet at its narrowest point. Kayaking is a fun way to explore the fjord in summer, unless you choose to walk the Royal Post Path. The fjord is covered in ice come winter.

Nærøyfjord, www.sognefjord.no
Tags: hiking | kayaking | outdoors | adventure | fjord

Nordfjord

The 62-mile-long Nordfjord is a good option for those wishing to explore the Jostedal Glacier, mainland Europe’s largest. Within the 505-square-mile Jostedalsbreen National Park, the two most accessible arms are Briksdal (www.briksdal-adventure.com) and Kjenndal, where glacier walks can be organized.

Nordfjord, www.nordfjord.no
Tags: hiking | outdoors | fjord

Sognefjord

Norway's deepest and longest fjord (4,294 feet and 127 miles, respectively) is also one of the most spectacular and dramatic. Along the water’s edge, view rare stave churches (entirely built of wood, only 28 of these once prevalent 12th- and 13th-century churches survive) at Urnes and Vik, the Norwegian Glacier Museum in Fjærlandsfjord (www.climatechannel.no), and the Norwegian Wild Salmon Center by Lærdalselva (www.norsk-villakssenter.no). A trip on the Flåm Railway (www.flaamsbana.no) from Myrdal, which goes down the mountains along the Aurlandsfjord, is a must.

Sognefjord, www.sognefjord.no
Tags: hiking | outdoors | adventure | fjord

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