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The Norwegian Fjords: 5 ways to explore the most beautiful locations

From the Flåmsbana scenic railway to the Jostedal Glacier, here are the best attractions surrounding the Sognefjord.

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Norway is home to more than 1,000 fjords, glacially deepened valleys plunging below sea level as soaring cliffs flank the sides. While fjords can be found all over the world, in countries such as New Zealand and Alaska, Norway has, by far, most. In fact, most of the Scandinavian nation’s rugged 36,000-mile coastline is made up of beautiful, dramatic fjords. According to Visit Norway, the fjords are one of the country’s most popular attractions and is considered to be its most significant national symbol.

It might be a daunting task deciding which fjords to visit on your holiday, but for us, it has to be Sognefjord. Plunging to 4,291 feet below sea level, Sognefjord is the deepest of all of Norway’s fjords. Pretty as a painting, this natural delight is the ideal place to explore the waterside communities and scenic surrounds, and also the place to simply unwind. To make the most out of your fjords trip, here are five sights you can’t miss in and around Sognefjord.

Balestrand village

Balestrand is the perfect base for exploring one of Norway’s most popular fjords. Situated on Sogenfjord’s northern shore, the small village is flanked by mountains and offers plentiful views out across the water. It’s also home to charming boutiques, a cafe, local cottages, and St. Olaf’s church, a charming Anglican church.

The town also offers a number of scenic walking trails, but we would recommend Kreklingen, which will allow you to check out some of the area’s best views on foot. You can also easily tailor the walk to your ability and the time you have to spare.

Jostedal Glacier

75 miles from the village of Balestrand lies Jostedal Glacier, mainland Europe’s largest glacier. It spans close to half of Jostedalsbreen National Park, which is home to mountainous terrain, waterfalls, and verdant valleys, all of which have been shaped by millions of years of glacially activity.

The arms of the glacier spread from the main plateau into the surrounding valleys, making for one spellbinding view. Nearby lies the Norwegian Glacier Museum, which offers valuable insight into the glacier’s movement and the impact of climate change. 

Sogn Folk Museum

In Kaupanger, another town on the fjord’s northern shore lies the 52-acre Sogn Folk Museum. This fascinating open-air site has an array of fishing and ice vessels and farmhouses, allowing guests to go well beyond the pretty scenery and learn more about the region’s ancient relationship with the extensive Norwegian waterways and dynamic landscapes. 

Flåmsbana scenic railway 

You can’t explore the region without taking a journey on the Flåmsbana train from the mountain base of Myrdal to Flåm, a popular village that lies at sea level. This memorable 50-minute ride will carry you through 12.4-miles of valleys, tunnels, surging waterfalls, and quaint villages. So have your camera ready!

At a gradient of 5.5%, we can also confirm that the journey isn’t just beautiful… it’s a little bit thrilling (steep), too.

The city of Bergen

While Bergen isn’t exactly by Sognefjord, it is well worth the day trip. A scenic 123-mile drive, or a speedy boat ride, will get you there. The city, known as a former trading port for Hanseatic merchants, is home to a collection of narrow cobbled streets, wooden warehouses, medieval houses, fish markets, and a colourful harbour. 

See the striking delights of the Norwegian Fjords with us. Simply book your place on our Beautiful Fjords of Western Norway tour, and prepare to have the Scandinavian holiday you’ve dreamed of.

Serena is a writer based in London. Born in Malaysia and raised in Australia, she calls the UK home despite only recently acclimatising to the dearth of sunshine. Her writing has appeared in The Independent, Business Insider, South China Morning Post, i-D, Refinery29, Glamour, Vox, Metro, ELLE, Harper’s Bazaar, and Cosmopolitan. She has also published a book of aerial photography: How Women See The World. Throughout her decade-long career, Serena has told the stories of Arctic explorers, human rights activists, award-winning chefs, refugees, and the UK’s last lighthouse keepers.

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