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7 fjords you must visit in Norway!

The stunning blue-green fjords of Norway are surrounded by majestic mountains, wild nature, cascading waterfalls, snow-clad peaks and ancient glaciers. We have picked out seven fjords that will guarantee you an unforgettable holiday.

Norway has over 1,700 fjords. Every single one of them has its own distinctive character. But, if you only have time to visit some of them, which fjords are unmissable, and what does each fjord have to offer? Here, we present some real treats for you: 7 Norwegian fjords offering adventures and experiences you will never forget.

1. Nærøyfjord — A stunningly beautiful UNESCO-listed fjord

1. Nærøyfjord — A stunningly beautiful UNESCO-listed fjord

Nærøyfjord is a sight to behold at any time of year. Whether you see it in its winter blanket of frost and snow, with its emerald-coloured glacier meltwater in spring or its green, flower-speckled hillsides in summer, or in its brightly coloured autumnal splendour.

Nærøyfjord is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. National Geographic magazine voted the fjord "The best unspoiled travel destination in the world" in 2004. When CNN chose its 50 most awe-inspiring natural wonders in 2017, it wrote: “If you only have time to visit two fjords in your lifetime, make it the Geirangerfjord and Naeroyfjord in southwest Norway”

The two fjords shared tenth place in competition with other famous natural wonders worldwide. Other amazing places on the list included Preikestolen at Lysefjord, Stromboli volcano, the Salar de Uyuni salt flat in Bolivia and the Ngorongoro Crater in Tanzania.

Beautiful, narrow Nærøyfjord is 17km long. The fjord is an arm of Aurlandsfjord. Nærøyfjord ends at the little village of Gudvangen, located at the very tip of the fjord arm. On the tour, you will experience both cascading waterfalls, idyllic villages and many more sights that will linger long in your memory.

Fjord cruises depart twice daily in winter and five daily departures in summer from Flåm and Gudvangen. You can book tickets here. From Flåm, you can also go on a guided fjord safari by RIB-boat and get close to Norwegian nature and culture along Nærøyfjord. One of the world's most spectacular train journeys runs from Flåm to Myrdal. Read more about the Flåm Railway and book your tickets here.

READ MORE: What type of holiday do you prefer? Find the fjord that's right for you (Fjords & Sightseeing)

2. Lysefjord — broad and majestic

2. Lysefjord — broad and majestic

In the southwest of Norway, not far from the oil capital of Stavanger, majestic Lysefjord has carved a 42km-long gorge into the landscape. Join a cruise on the fjord, relax and soak in the imposing rock formations towering over Lysefjord. The two best-known formations are the cliffs of Preikestolen (Pulpit Rock) and Kjerag.

Preikestolen is one of Norway's most popular tourist destinations. Around 30,000 tourists visit the attraction every year. The famous mountain ledge was voted by Lonely Planet as the world’s “Most Breathtaking Viewing Platform” in 2015. And in 2017, Preikestolen topped CNN's list of the natural wonders of the world.

If you've ever seen the movie “Mission: Impossible - Fallout", you will also have seen those incredible stunts by Tom Cruise from Preikestolen. The granite wall of Kjerag towers 1084 vertical metres up from the valley floor and makes an impressive sight from Lysefjord.

Around 300 metres from the Kjerag plateau is Kjeragbolten, a particularly challenging rock formation for daredevils and a favourite photo opportunity for everyone. From Stavanger, you can join a day cruise on Lysefjord. If you have more time to spare, you can walk up to Preikestolen or Kjerag. Just remember to wear sturdy footwear and take plenty of clothes, food and drink with you.

Read more about Lysefjord and fjord cruises here.

3. Geirangerfjord — Norway at its most beautiful

3. Geirangerfjord — Norway at its most beautiful

Like Nærøyfjord, you will also find Geirangerfjord on UNESCO’s World Heritage List. Few places have featured in as many photographs as this 15km-long fjord. Geirangerfjord is actually one of Norway's most famous and popular destinations, both for Norwegians and for visitors from abroad.

If you take a cruise on Geirangerfjord, you can get close to waterfalls and imposing mountains from the comfort of your boat. On the trip, you will get to experience the Knivsflåfoss waterfalls, better known in English as the ‘Seven Sisters’. The name of the waterfalls originates from the water cascading down the mountainside, which is reminiscent of the hair of seven women.

On the other side of the fjord, you will find the waterfall known as Friaren. The name of this waterfall comes from a legend about a suitor who repeatedly proposed to the Seven Sisters, but was rejected every time.

Amongst the many fascinating features of Geirangerfjord are the small farms that cling to the steep hillsides. The farms may be abandoned now, but you can still see them today if you go on a fjord cruise. You can even walk to one of the farms, Skageflå, from the centre of Geiranger.

You will find more information about fjord cruises from Geiranger and booking here.

4. Hjørundfjord — fjords and Norwegian alps

4. Hjørundfjord — fjords and Norwegian alps

The majestic Sunnmøre Alps are cleaved in two by Hjørundfjord. This fjord cuts deep into the mountain massif with its many jagged peaks.

Hjørundfjord is 33 kilometres long and surrounded by unspoiled nature and small villages on both sides. Some places are only connected to the outside world by boat.

In this wild and untamed landscape, hikers and skiers have found their mecca, but Hjørundfjord can also be enjoyed at leisure from a fjord cruise from the beautiful art nouveau town of Ålesund to the village of Øye. Along the way, you can hop off and back on again at little Trandal or Urke.

You can put together your perfect holiday based around Hjørundfjord as your destination. The alps offer hiking, climbing and skiing for the active.

Or you can take it easy in Øye and savour the atmosphere, romanticism and excellent food and drink at the historic Hotel Union Øye. You can also combine nature with culture and architecture in the art nouveau town of Ålesund. There really is something for everyone here. It is most definitely the trip of a lifetime.

TIP! You can easily take in Hjørundfjord and Geirangerfjord in a single trip. Read more here.

5. Sognefjord — Queen of the Norwegian fjords

5. Sognefjord — Queen of the Norwegian fjords

Norway's longest fjord extends all the way to Jotunheimen National Park, which boasts no fewer than 24 of Norway's 25 highest peaks.

Mighty Sognefjord has a jumble of fjord arms spreading outwards into beautiful landscapes packed with wild nature and rich cultural heritage. You are never far away from unforgettable hikes, exciting glacier walks, activities to set your pulse racing, fishing trips or other exciting activities and unique experiences for the whole family.

Sognefjord is no less than 204 kilometres long. At its deepest, the fjord extends 1300 metres down to the seabed, which also makes it Norway’s deepest fjord. Majestic mountains towering over 1,700 metres surround the beautiful blue water of Sognefjord.

Fjord arms such as Fjærlandsfjord, Aurlandsfjord and Nærøyfjord, on UNESCO’s World Heritage List, all radiate out from Sognefjord.

It is impossible to take in the whole of Sognefjord in a single holiday, but you can join a fjord cruise on Sognefjord and experience some of the most beautiful and awe-inspiring places. The trip will take you from Gudvangen at the bottom of Nærøyfjord to the old Viking trading place of Kaupanger, situated on the opposite side of Sognefjord.

The trip passes many beautiful natural wonders, so keep your camera ready. If you are lucky enough to travel at a time when the snow is melting, you will be able to savour the many waterfalls that cascade down into the fjord. Near Gudvangen, you can for example take in the fascinating Kjelfossen waterfall, with its free fall of 840 metres.

The ferry also passes the impressive mountain of Bleia, which is 1,775m high. If you remember that this mountain continues 1,000 metres down below sea level, it would be Norway’s highest mountain if there were no fjord.

On the other side of Sognefjord is Kaupanger, a well-known ferry pier, but also an ancient trading place. Directly translated from Old Norse, Kaupang means ‘trading port’. Here, you can see Kaupanger Stave Church, which dates all the way back to the 12th century, just after the end of the Viking Age.

The classic car ferry has frequent departures during the tourist season and takes about 2.5 hours one way. The tourist ferries are very popular, so we recommend that you book your tickets in advance. Tickets for fjord cruises on Sognefjord can be booked here.

6. Fjærlandsfjord — glaciers, mountains and blue-green fjords

6. Fjærlandsfjord — glaciers, mountains and blue-green fjords

Without glaciers, there would be no beautiful fjords. After thousands of years of scouring, the glaciers have carved out and shaped the fjords we see today. Norway has experienced many ice ages. The fjords were revealed when the ice finally retreated up the valleys.

The remnants of these ice ages can be seen in the valleys that continue on from certain fjord arms, such as Fjærlandsfjord. This branch from Sognefjord starts at the village of Balestrand and extends for 25 kilometres into a landscape of high mountains, waterfalls and delightful villages.

From Fjærlandsfjord, there is a valley which leads up to Europe's largest mainland glacier: Jostedalsbreen and the arms of this huge glacier.

At its widest, Jostedalsbreen is around 100 kilometres long and 15 kilometres wide. The glacier has many arms, including Bøyabreen and Suphellebreen in Fjærland, Nigardsbreen, Briksdalsbreen and Tunsbergdalsbreen. The latter is Jostedalen's largest glacier tongue.

The glaciers are both growing and shrinking. Jostedalsbreen actually experienced a growth period right up until the 2000s, before it began to shrink a little again. Nevertheless, it is still a very impressive sight!

You can experience both Fjærlandsfjord and the glaciers on half-day and full-day fjord cruises.

The half-day fjord cruise on Fjærlandsfjord takes in a wide variety of unforgettable experiences in just a few hours. From Balestrand, the cruise heads up Fjærlandsfjord. At the head of the fjord in Fjærland, you will be taken on by bus to Bøyabreen and the Norwegian Glacier Museum.

If you opt for the full-day fjord cruise on Fjærlandsfjord, you will also be able to take in Supphellebreen and Jostedalsbreen before the boat returns to Balestrand.

7. Idyllic Oslofjord

7. Idyllic Oslofjord

If you travel from west to east in Norway, you will encounter different types of fjords than those surrounded by high, snowy mountains and glaciers in the west. The dramatic, wild landscape gives way to a quieter, gentler landscape, with rocky shores and delightful little coves and islands.

Oslofjord is much-loved by those who are fortunate enough to live in the small towns and villages dotted along the coast. The fjord is no less than 120 kilometres long and flows out into the Skagerrak Strait. The fjord is home to Norway's vibrant capital city, Oslo.

If you head out of Oslofjord, you will pass many small idyllic islands, the narrow sound of Drøbaksundet, with historic Oscarsborg on one side and the beautiful little town of Drøbak on the other. After Drøbak, Oslofjord widens downstream until it ends at the city of Fredrikstad in the east and Tønsberg in the west.

If you want to see and experience the fjord at first hand, try a fjord cruise on Oslofjord on an eco-friendly vessel with superb views from every deck. The vessel has large panoramic windows, enabling you to enjoy the view in every direction, whatever the weather.

The cruise begins at the architectural gem of Opera in Bjørvika. As you pass through Oslofjord, your guide will point out and tell you about the many famous landmarks and historic places you pass on the cruise.

Fjord cruises on Oslofjord only run from January until the end of April. However, there are many other opportunities for boat trips and island hopping on Oslofjord during the summer months. Ask at the tourist information office in Oslo.