AN ADVENTURE WEEKEND IN THE AURLANDSFJORD AND NÆROYFJORD AREA

That weekend in the Sognefjord, we got to experience some of the finest that Norway has to offer.

We walked along the Nærøyfjord, drove a car over Aurlandsfjellet Mountain Road and kayaked on the Aurlandsfjord. What a fantastic weekend we had in the area around the Aurlandsfjord and Nærøyfjord.

 

GUIDING: For safety reasons, we recommend you to join a guided kayak tour if you are going to kayak in the fjords. Njord Sea Kayak and Wilderness Adventures with base in Flåm and Nordic Ventures with base in Gudvangen offer Guided Kayak Tours on the Aurlandsfjord and Nærøyfjord

Visit Sognefjord

Visit Sognefjord is the official destination company for the Sognefjord area.

Hotels and accommodation in the Aurlandsfjord and Nærøyfjord area

Overview of hotels and other places where you can spend the night in the area around the Aurlandsfjord and Nærøyfjord.

FJORDS NORWAY - Undredal was beautiful that day...
Undredal was beautiful that day…

From Undredal to Bakka and boat across the Nærøyfjord

Morning mood in Undredal by the Aurlandsfjord.
Morning mood in Undredal by the Aurlandsfjord.

We woke up to a beautiful day, and the sun was shining from a clear blue sky. We had breakfast on the pier at Undredal down by the Aurlandsfjord. The movie Frozen I is inspired by this small village, with the surrounding steep mountains rising straight up from the fjord. It was difficult to break up, we could stay there all day long.

We drove to Gudvangen and continued out the fjord to Bakka. We had arranged in advance to meet Svein there, and he took us over the fjord in his boat. The boat took us over to Bleiklindi, the starting point of our hike.

Most of the old postal road goes down by the fjord. It is an easy hike on a well prepared trail. The highest point of the trail is around 50 meters (this is just an assumption).

Hiking along the Nærøyfjord

FJORDS NORWAY - VANDRING LANGS NÆRØYFJORDEN
The fjord was like a painting that day.

The inner part of the Nærøyfjord was like a painting that day, with beautiful weather and with new motif’s turning up at almost every step we took. We passed small beautiful headlands like Holmo, Odnes and Klungrenes on our way to Styvi.

The six kilometer long trail is part of the Old Royal Postal Road between Christiania (now Oslo) and Bergen.

Hiking along the Nærøyfjord.
Hiking along the Nærøyfjord.

In the old days, the usual way of carrying the mail was by boat between Lærdal and Gudvangen. During winter the mail was transported on the ice, but due to a lot of uncertainty regarding the ice, it was built a road partly on both sides of the Nærøyfjord between Styvi and Gudvangen.

Styvi, the end of the hike along the Nærøyfjord.
Styvi, the end of the hike along the Nærøyfjord.

We arrived at Styvi around midday. Styvi was the endpoint of our hike and the view from there was spectacular, both in and out the Nærøyfjord.

We relaxed on the pier at Styvi and enjoyed the view to the fjord and the surrounding mountains and waterfalls.

View from Styvi inwards the Nærøyfjord.
View from Styvi inwards the Nærøyfjord.

We had agreed with Svein in advance that he should pick us up at Styvi in his boat later that day, and we got a great boat trip inland across the fjord, back to Bakka which was the starting point of our fjord-adventure.

SEASON: June to August, depending on the weather, temperature and the amount of snow in the mountains. This is a landslide-prone area that is surrounded by high and steep mountains, there is a danger of both avalanches, landslides and rockslides. Always make your own judgment about this hazard before and during hikes in this area. We recommend not doing this hike in the spring and during and after rainfall because this increases the risk of landslides.

Gudvangen, Nærøydalen and Stalheim Viewpoint

View from the garden at Stalheim Hotel.
View from the garden at Stalheim Hotel.

Since the day was still young, we decided to see more of this beautiful area. We drove to Gudvangen at the innermost part of the Nærøyfjord and had a stroll around there before driving up the Nærøydalen Valley to Stalheim Hotel.

Stalheim Hotel is a great lookout for seeing the wild and narrow Nærøydalen Valley from above.

A copious day with many beautiful nature experiences was over, and we  already started to look forward to kayaking on the Aurlandsfjord the next day.

Driving Aurlandsfjellet National Tourist Route

Aurlandsfjellet Mountain Road.
Aurlandsfjellet Mountain Road.

After hiking along the Nærøyfjord the day before, we drove to Lærdal and stayed at the cozy Lærdal Hotel by the Lærdalsfjord, on the other side of the Aurlandsfjellet Mountain. The reason we stayed in Lærdal was that we planned to drive Aurlandsfjellet National Tourist Route to Undredal the next day, and then to kayak the Aurlandsfjord.

The road across Aurlandsfjellet is a journey across a mountain landscape of snow and rocks with the occasional sprig of grass. Aurlandsfjellet National Tourist Route is a 47-kilometer-long stretch of mountain road between Lærdal  and Aurland.

View from Stegastein towards the Aurlandsfjord.
View from Stegastein towards the Aurlandsfjord.

Stegastein Viewpoint is part of the road, 650 meters above the Aurlandsfjord. The view from Stegastein towards the Aurlandsfjord is spectacular.

The road between Aurland and Stegastein is open all year, but during winter the road is closed in the high mountain, between Stegastein and Erdal on the other side of the mountain. Erdal is a small village down by the Lærdalsfjord, close to Lærdal.

The road from Stegastein down to Aurland is steep and narrow, with a total of seven hairpin turns. We continued driving to Flåm, through the Flenjatunnelen Tunnel and down the Undredalsdalen Valley to Undredal by the Aurlandsfjord.

Kayaking out from Undredal on the Aurlandsfjord

View from the kayak outside Undredal.
View from the kayak outside Undredal.

At the beach at Undredal, close to Underdalsbui, we packed our kayaks and glided into the Aurlandsfjord. The feeling was fantastic, sitting in the kayak on the Aurlandsfjord outside Undredal. The silence, only surrounded by the fjord, the beautiful nature and the steep mountains.

Kayaking out the Aurlandsfjord.
Kayaking out the Aurlandsfjord.

Undredal is special for me, this is where I started kayaking in the fjords in the nineties. I still remember the feeling from that early morning, more than 20 years ago, the first time I paddled out from Undredal. The fjord was like a mirror that day, exactly how it was this day.

View from the kayak towards the Aurlandsfjord.
View from the kayak towards the Aurlandsfjord.

We paddled across the fjord towards the steep vertical rock face below the abandoned Nedbergo Mountain Farm. We always keep good distance to the rock face, you never know when a piece of rock may fall into the fjord.

We continued out the Aurlandsfjord, passed Mt Beitelen where the Aurlandsfjord devides into two fjords; the Aurlandsfjord and the Nærøyfjord.

Entering the Nærøyfjord.
Entering the Nærøyfjord.

Further out the fjord we discovered some seals lying on the shoreline. They are some curious creatures, and after they jumped into the fjord, they followed us for a long time.

We turned in the middle of the Aurlandsfjord and crossed the fjord to the other side before paddling back. We passed a small lighthouse out on a headland, about a kilometer before entering the Nærøyfjord.

The Aurlandsfjord was like a mirror that day.
The Aurlandsfjord was like a mirror that day.

There we had a break on land, from there it is great to look inwards towards Mt Beitelen and where the Aurlandsfjord and Nærøyfjord divide.

We continued kayaking towards the UNESCO Protected Nærøyfjord and paddled a short distance into the Nærøyfjord before we turned back and paddled back into the Aurlandsfjord towards Undredal, the end of our adventure.

Our adventure was coming to an end, we´d had a wonderful few days in our favorite playground. The memories will be with us forever, and we will be back soon…

Aurlandsfjord and Nærøyfjord – What to See and Do

FJORDS NORWAY - The UNESCO Protected Nærøyfjord
Nærøyfjord.

Flåm, Aurland and Gudvangen are perfect starting points for experiences in and around the Aurlandsfjord and Nærøyfjord, two of the world’s most beautiful and dramatic fjords. On 14 July 2005, the Nærøyfjord together with the Geirangerfjord became part of our common UNESCO’s world heritage.

From Flåm you can take part in a fjord safari or a fjord cruise on the Aurlandsfjord and Nærøyfjord. You can take this fjord cruise as a round trip (both ways) or one way combined with bus between Flåm and Gudvangen. See the great view from Stegastein viewpoint, 650 meters above Aurland. Taste the local goat’s cheese in Undredal or in Skjerdal, two villages by the Aurlandsfjord.

Flåm Railway is the train journey from fjord to mountain, perhaps the most beautiful railway in the world. You can combine this train journey with cycling along Rallarvegen which goes from the high mountains via Flåmsdalen Valley to Flåm. Aurlandsdalen Valley is one of Norway’s most popular hikes. The lower part of Aurlandsdalen, which is also the most popular, starts from Østerbø and ends at Vassbygdi in Aurland.

The Flåm Valley is a beautiful adventure. The valley between Myrdal (866.8 masl) and Flåm by the Aurlandsfjord is 18 kilometer long. The valley is narrow and the mountains are steep, and there are waterfalls and rivers wherever you turn around. Flåm Valley is a great place for hiking and biking. Flåm Zipline sends you off at over 100 kilometers per hour, you are just hanging in a thin steel wire high above the valley.

By the Nærøyfjord, we have the small villages of Gudvangen, Bakka, Styvi and Dyrdal. Styvi is the only place without permanent inhabitants during the winter, and is together with Dyrdal without road connection. Gudvangen is one of two ports where the iconic ferry trip along the inner part of the Sognefjord departs and arrives. Visit the Viking village Njardarheimr in Gudvangen and experience the history and culture of the Viking Age.

The Nærøyfjord and Aurlandsfjord are both part of the 204 kilometer long Sognefjord which is located in the northern part of the county of Vestland, in the middle of Western Norway.

Hotels and accommodation in the Aurlandsfjord and Nærøyfjord area

Overview of hotels and other places where you can spend the night in the area around the Aurlandsfjord and Nærøyfjord.

Sakte – Stay and Explore the Aurlandsfjord and Nærøyfjord 



“Sakte” is a collaboration between companies that provide adventures, accommodation, dining and short-travelled food- and products. “Sakte” are located in the area around the Aurlandsfjord and Nærøyfjord and is an offer for those who want to contribute to a sustainable society in the world heritage area.

FJORDS NORWAY - Reis Sakte - Hiking towards Skjerdal and the Aurlandsfjord
Reis Sakte – Hiking towards Skjerdal and the Aurlandsfjord.

How to travel to the Aurlandsfjord and Nærøyfjord area

Many roads lead to the Aurlandsfjord and Nærøyfjord area.
Many roads lead to the Aurlandsfjord and Nærøyfjord area.

It is easy to travel to Flåm and Aurland, the Aurlandsfjord and the Nærøyfjord. Almost “all roads” go to Flåm and Aurland, and you can also travel there by train, bus and boat. It is only a short distance between the two neighboring villages of Flåm and Aurland.

You can start this fjord adventure by train from Oslo or Bergen to Myrdal station. Then you get to experience the Bergen Railway between Oslo and Bergen and Flåm Railway, one of Norway’s most spectacular railway lines, from Myrdal station to Flåm, which is located down by the Aurlandsfjord. If you take Flåm Railway, you get to experience the beautiful Flåmsdalen valley at the same time.

There are several daily bus departures between Oslo/Bergen and Flåm.

The nearest airport is Sogndal Airport at Haukåsen near Kaupanger. Most flights that go to and from Sogndal Airport come from and go to Oslo and Bergen. From the airport to Flåm, it is 70 kilometers by road, including a wonderful crossing of the Sognefjord by ferry.

 

HOTELS - LINKS - FAQ

Here you will find an overview of recommended HOTELS in addition to SPA & BATH HOTELS and OTHER ACCOMMODATION PLACES in Western Norway. The combination of beautiful nature, activities that you can do in all four seasons and a stay at a great accommodation is unique. A stay in one of these places will do you good, both for body and mind.

There are ten restaurants that have awarded Michelin stars and Michelin awards in Western Norway. Eight of the Michelin restaurants are in Stavanger and two in Bergen. Here you will find FJORDS MICHELIN, where you will also find a list of recommended hotels in Western Norway, recommended by Michelin.

USEFUL LINKS is a list of websites with great information on Norway and the Fjords. FAQ is an overview of articles that answer the most common questions you have when planning to visit the fjords in Western Norway.

Season and Safety - Kayaking on the fjords

SEASON - Many of the activities and attractions mentioned on this website are open only in summer and are closed in winter. This also applies to many of the roads and accommodations mentioned. Season and opening time will vary. It depends on where it is and what activity, attraction, road and accommodation it is, it usually opens in the summer and closes in the autumn, depending on i.a. the amount of snow and the risk of avalanches in the area. Hikes mentioned in this website have different seasons. See links to the various hikes to read more about the hikes and season.

SAFETY - Important Safety Information about kayaking in the fjords: For safety reasons, it is recommended to join a guided kayak trip if you are going to paddle on the fjords in Norway. The fjords can be exposed to strong winds and currents, and the weather can change rapidly even if nice weather and no winds are reported. There are steep mountain sides and cliffs in many parts of the fjords, this can make it difficult to enter land if weather gets bad or if an accident happens. It is recommended to avoid kayaking in thunderstorms and when there is wind and waves and bad weather conditions!

Watch out for and keep good distance to boats, ferries and cruise ships when kayaking on the fjords. Also remember to frequently look behind you. Some of the fjords are heavily trafficed with boats and ships.

It is recommended to keep a safe distance to steep mountain sides and cliffs where there is a risk of rockfall, landslides and avalanches. The guide companies in the different fjords usually have local knowledge about where to keep distance to land with regard to rockfall etc.

Read more about season, important safety information and your own responsibility when kayaking and when exploring Norway…

The Aurlandsfjord and Nærøyfjord – Map Overview