The Norwegian Fjords

Step into the silence of Norway’s iconic, prehistoric waterways.

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A fjord is a deep, narrow inlet of sea that is longer than it is wide. The word comes from the Norse word fjoror, which means ‘where one fares through.’

These steep, underwater U-shaped valleys were crafted by ancient, ice-age glaciers that slowly scraped through the Norwegian landmass.

The surrounding mountains serve as a windbreak, and the western coast of Norway benefits from milder climates served by the Gulf Stream. This results in a maze of 1,190 glassy yet untamed stretches of ocean that are overseen by towering, stern peaks.

Thousands of hikers and kayakers flock to the fjords every balmy, Norwegian summer. However, as temperatures plummet and waterfalls freeze, the fjords turn into a serene, arctic playground that beckons the daring few.

With our range of handcrafted itineraries with the best local guides, create your own adventure through the drama of the Norwegian fjords.

The Nærøyfjord

The Nærøyfjord translates to ‘narrow fjord’, and is, you guessed it, Norway’s narrowest fjord, being only 250 metres wide in sections. As a result, the Nærøyfjord is one of the calmest and most intimate fjords in Norway.

The Nærøyfjord was granted World Heritage Status in 2005, and has been named alongside the Geirangerfjord as the world’s number one heritage site by National Geographic.

The Nærøyfjord is an offshoot of Norway’s longest fjord, the Sognefjord. It’s popular with kayakers and hikers as it’s easily accessible from Bergen by train or bus, making it ideal for day or weekend-long trips. It also enjoys milder, calmer summers than it’s northern counterparts.

A network of well-marked trails and huts litter the fjordbanks, and a host of secluded beaches lend themselves to wild-camping through the summer months.

The Lysefjord

The Lysefjord is Norway’s most distinctive fjord. This 40 kilometre-long, straight waterway is characterised by granite cliff faces and iconic viewpoints.

One of the most notable hikes on the Lysefjord’s banks is to Preikestolen, or ‘Pulpit Rock’. This 25x25 metre square granite outcrop shot the Lysefjord to international fame, and provides expansive views up and down the majestic, flooded valley.

Kjerag boulder is another must-see. This peculiar stone was lodged between two rock faces 1,084 metres above sea-level during the last age, and has stubbornly remained ever since.

It is only possible to access Preikestolen and Kjerag Boulder during the winter with a local guide, but colder months present the best time to explore the Lysefjord far away from the crowds, in all its arctic glory.

The Geirangerfjord

The Geirangerfjord, otherwise known as the ‘The pearl of the fjords’ by understandably proud locals, joins the Nærøyfjord in being Lonely Planet’s joint number one heritage site in the world.

This 20 kilometre-long waterway is characterised by its distinctive ‘S’ shape, Mediterranean-blue waters and colossal, fjordside peaks. The ‘freedom to roam’ law, alpine scenery and abundance of well-marked trails attract thousands of hikers, cross-country skiers and snowshoe-donning adventurers all-year-round.

The waterfalls known as the ‘The Suitor’ and the ‘Seven Sisters’ are the focus of the rich folklore surrounding this fjord, and are best explored by kayak.

The ‘Seven Sisters’ waterfall, made up of seven distinct streams, line the sunny, southern fjordbank. This moody waterfall is at its most dramatic when encouraged by the meltwaters of June through to August before freezing over in the harsher, winter months.

Legend has it that ‘The Suitor’, trickling away on the opposite side of the fjord, proposed unsuccessfully to each sister, rendering all members of the unfortunate love octagon eternally single.