Must-See Spots in Norway’s Western Fjords

by Megan Hill

Oct 4, 2014

Geirangerfjord, Norway © Hdsidesign | Dreamstime

Destination

Norway’s Western fjords are the stuff of bucket lists: Glacially-sculpted cliffs plummet towards the otherworldly blues and greens of calm fjord waters. Long trails of water tumble from glaciers and snowfields high above. Charming towns await, too, tucked improbably in these unspeakably beautiful inlets.

 

Among the must-see spots is the stunning Geirangerfjord, with its dramatic waterfalls and tall cliffs. You can see the fjord via the car ferry running between Geiranger and Hellesylt, or opt for a bird’s-eye view from the Flydalsjuvet and Dalsnibba viewpoints.

 

Farms and villages cling to the cliffs visible from the Flamsbana Railway, a scenic train trip that leads from the mountaintop outpost of Myrdal down to fjord-side Flåm. The train descends steeply, dropping 900 meters in just 50 minutes.

 

It’s worth braving the unpredictable weather of Jotunheimen National Park, where impressive spires cup ethereal glaciers. Day hikes lead right to the base of glaciers or up to panoramic viewpoints. The celebrated Sognefjellsveg, the high mountain road slicing through the snowy mountains, is well worth a trip.

 

Running from Hellesylt to Leknes, the spectacular Norangsdal Valley will take your breath away. It’s the country’s narrowest valley; there’s barely enough room for Highway 655, which closes in winter due to avalanches. At one end of the road, the historic Villa Norangdal awaits, with its exquisitely-decorated rooms, Jacuzzi and three-course dinners. At the other end, the tiny towns of Øye and Leknes offer panoramic views of steep, serrated peaks, surrounding the Hjorundfjord and the Norangsfjord.

 

At the end of the narrow Fjærlandsfjord sits the village of Fjærland, with rustic waterfront buildings and a strange assortment of secondhand bookstores. From the village, day trips into the Jostedal Glacier can be arranged.

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