7 different ways to see the spectacular fjords in Norway

7 different ways to see the spectacular fjords in Norway

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When you think of Norway, you think of fjords and snow-capped mountains that seem like they touch the sky. Waterfalls cascade from rocky peaks. 

Houses painted Scandinavian red perched on tiny islands look out over flowing waters.

The Norwegian fjords and surrounding terrain are a perfect wilderness.

So what is the best way to see the fjords in Norway?

I started to become obsessed with seeing the fjords from as many different angles as I could on our recent trip to the fjords that began in Bergen and ended in Flåm.

Fjords in Norway

Osterfjorden - Norwegian fjord cruise

Fjords are long and narrow inlets flanked by steep sides or cliffs that were created by glaciers eroding mountains in their path. The inlets are often very deep – sometimes up to 1300 metres!

Where the fjords meet the coastline, they are dotted with thousands of skerries or small island rocks.

There are 1,190 fjords in Norway. We only managed to see a few of the major fjords – Sogneford, Aurlandsfjord, Nærøyfjord and Osterfjord – and they are some of the most beautiful natural landscapes I have ever seen.

Best ways to see the Norwegian fjords – Bergen and Flåm region

1 | The fjords from up high

Bergen and fjords from the air

Try to get a window seat if you are flying into Bergen. The views from altitude on a clear day are incredible. You get a full perspective of the landscape and can see in detail the tiny islets and skerries unique to this part of the world.

In Bergen take the Fløibanen funicular to the top of Mount Fløyen for impressive views of Bryggen and the area surrounding the city.

You take the funicular from the station close to Bryggen. Tickets are 95 NOK for adults [2018], and the attraction is open all year round – more information.

View from Stegastein viewpoint

For spectacular views of the Aurlandsfjord near Flåm, you must visit the Stegastein viewpoint.

Jutting 650 metres above the fjord, from here you can admire the landscape back towards Flåm and in the other direction to Undredal. To get here, you can drive or take a bus tour from Flåm – more information.

Tip – check the weather in Norway before you head out looking for views using this recommended Norway weather site

2 | Bergen to Flåm ferry on the Sogneford

Views from Sognefjord ferry from Bergen to Flam

Many people take the popular Bergen railway train and bus route via Voss and Gundvangen to reach Flåm. We opted to take the ferry service on a high-speed catamaran down the Søgneford instead. I’m so glad we did.

The largest and deepest of the fjords, Sogneford is also known the King of the Fjords. The journey is scenic and probably the best way to appreciate the changing landscapes along the fjord.

The boat passes through wide open water and skerries. You can spend time on deck watching waterfalls cascade dramatically down cliff faces and try to count how many you see.

There are several stops along the way when the boat slows down, so there are plenty of opportunities to take photos and enjoy the landscapes out on deck.

Sognefjord Norway

Conditions on the ferry are comfortable with huge glass windows so even if it is cold you can enjoy the views. There are luggage storage areas and a cafe onboard as well as wifi for those who need to be connected.

The ferry service departs daily from Bergen from 1st May to 30th September at 8:00 am and takes 5 hours to reach Flåm. Prices are from NOK 865 [2018] and children under 4 travel for free – more information.

Scandinavia dreaming? Check our 10 day Scandinavia itinerary including the fjords, Oslo, Gothenburg and Copenhagen here

3 | A half or full day cruise from Bergen

Mostraumen fjord cruise

Bergen is rightly called the gateway to the fjords. You can take tours north and south to explore the many islands and inlets that are features of the landscape.

We took a three-hour cruise from Bergen to Mostraumen on the Osterfjorden. Heading northeast from Bergen, the cruise takes you past tiny settlements perched strategically to capture the best vistas of the fjords.

Mountains rise majestically above the fast flowing waters and waterfalls seem to appear around every corner. I was surprised at the diversity of the terrain and how narrow the channels between islands are at points along the route.

Waterfalls and scenes from Norwegian fjords

You’ve never tasted water so pure as the crisp clear drops our guide collected for us to taste when we stopped close to a waterfall.

The Osterfjorden fjord tour vessel is a comfortable modern catamaran and leaves from the Zachariasbryggen pier outside the fish market and the tourist office on Bryggen Harbour at 10:00 am and 14:00 pm daily with another sailing at 18:00 pm in July and August. 

Click for more information on the Osterfjorden tour

Some other day tour options we considered:

✪ a half-day tour to Skjerjehamn, a heritage town north-west of Bergen at the beginning of the Søgneford – click for more info

✪ visiting Rosendal on the Hardangerfjord – full day tour (7.5 hour) round trip from Bergen