3. Experiences for everyone in the family
If you are heading to one of Norway's beautiful fjords, you can fill your days with wonderful experiences to suit your personal tastes. Combine enjoyable day trips and sightseeing with activities and experiences that both young and old family members can enjoy.
Here are some tips for destinations that are ideal for the whole family.
Visit the Vikings
Western Norway is real Viking country. There are many traces of the Vikings that once plundered, traded and settled across Europe.
Their heyday lasted from around 800 until 1066, when the last Viking King, Harald Hardråde, fell at the Battle of Stamford Bridge in England.
Around the world, the Vikings are probably best known for being fearless warriors and skilled sailors. But they were also merchants, fishermen and farmers. The climate of Western Norway was mild at the time and, combined with the sheltered fjords and long coastline, made the perfect place to live and use as a base for their expeditions. At the time, boats were the most practical means of transport.
To get an impression of what Viking life was like, visit Njardarheimr in Gudvangen. This Viking village is situated at the heart of beautiful Nærøyfjord, which is featured on UNESCO’s World Heritage List.
Gudvangen is actually the name of a farm that was situated here in Norse times. Steep mountains and waterfalls form an impressive backdrop to the Viking village, which welcomes adults and children from around the world.
If you thought these people were just actors pretending to be Vikings, you couldn’t be more wrong. The inhabitants of the Viking village are people who have the Viking life as their lifestyle. They have a deep knowledge of what life was like in Viking times and both cook and make tools in the same way as when the Vikings ruled Norway.
On the menu, you will find Viking soup with ‘tear-and-share’ bread, homemade sausages, fried bread with salmon and cured sausage. The menu also includes food and drink which varies from day to day and which is made using different techniques which was typical of a Viking kitchen. You could also try your hand at axe-throwing and archery.
If you are visiting during the summer, you may be lucky enough to take in Gudvangen’s Viking market.
Guided tours and activities in the village can be combined with a cruise on Nærøyfjord, or to Kaupanger in Sognefjord. You will find more information about the Vikings of Gudvangen and getting here, including tickets, here.
Bike trips for active children
Flåm is the perfect starting point for a bike ride for the whole family. There are many lovely trails and country lanes for cyclists of all ages, but one of the best places to explore is the Flåm valley.
The route is enjoyable both up and down, but the easiest and perhaps most enjoyable way to experience the trip is to take the world-famous Flåm Railway up to Myrdal and cycle back down to Flåm.
The 20km-long railway line from Flåm on the shores of Aurlandsfjord ends at Myrdal railway station, high up on the mountain plateau at no less than 900 metres above sea level. The train passes stunning waterfalls and rivers as it threads its way through the beautiful wild landscape. The railway line clings to steep mountainsides and plunges in and out of tunnels before it reaches Myrdal.
Then all you have to do is buckle up your bike helmet and head back down to the valley below. You will pass many amazing sights along the way, including the four waterfalls of Kjosfossen, Setsdalsfossen, Rjoandefossen and Brekkefossen.
The first part of the bike ride follows car-free roads. This includes the section down the hairpin bends which snake their way down the flanks of Myrdalsberget. The landscape then flattens out down towards Flåm. On your trip down, you can stop off at the traditional Rallarrosa mountain farm in Kårdal and try the farm's very own goat’s cheese.
More information on combining bike trips with trips on the Flåm Railway can be found here.
Prehistoric village life
Lysefjord is a short trip from Stavanger. Here, the family can join a fjord cruise, go on a day trip to Preikestolen, or explore the area from a paddleboard or kayak. You’ll be spoilt for choice.
Close to the village of Forsand, one of the places you can visit from a cruise on Lysefjord, you can visit the prehistoric village of Landa Park. Here, young and old alike can visit a world as it was when the first settlers arrived here in the Bronze Age around 1500 BC. At Landa Park, houses have also been erected as they looked when the Romans ruled much of Europe and during the Migration Period, which lasted until around 600 AD.
In addition to guided tours, there are also activities such as archery, a jewellery workshop, a ceramic workshop, horse-riding, kayak hire, bike hire, fishing trips and an activity trail. There are also livestock in the park which kids can pet, and stick bread and pancakes are baked over an open fire. There is also a café.