The Sognefjord is the lifeblood, indeed the main artery of the villages that lie along the fjord and of the people who live there. The longest fjord is the very reason why these fjord villages exist and that they are located where they do.
The Sognefjord with all the side fjords has since the dawn of time been used as the most important way for transporting people, animals and goods between the fjord villages. The word fjord comes from the Norwegian verb fara, meaning “to go to the other shore”. The Norse noun fjorðr can be translated to a place where one travels. Perhaps it was the Sognefjord that inspired the Vikings to make the word fjord?
Visit Sognefjord is the official destination company for the Lustrafjord, Fjærlandsfjord and the Sognefjord area.
Solvorn, Fjærland and Undredal, vibrant fjord villages by the Sognefjord
Solvorn by the Lustrafjord, Fjærland by the Fjærlandsfjord and Undredal by the Aurlandsfjord are great examples of vibrant fjord villages in the area around the Sognefjord. These fjord villages have welcomed tourists since they began visiting Norway in the 17th century. At the same time, time has in a way stood still in these beautiful fjord villages. Many of the original buildings have been preserved and refined.
Mundal Hotel and Fjærland Fjordstove in Fjærland and Walaker Hotel in Solvorn have been there almost since the origins of the villages and they are still there. In these hotels, there is a lot of history in the walls, and two of the hotels are still in operation.
Both Fjærland Fjordstove and Walaker Hotel are part of De Historiske – Historic Hotels & Restaurants, which is a collection of some of Norway’s finest hotels and restaurants.
Mundal Hotel in Fjærland has not been in operation in recent years, but is now being renovated. Hopefully, in a few years, the hotel will again be able to welcome visitors from far and wide as it did in its heyday.
Walaker Hotel in Solvorn is Norway’s oldest hotel, and has been owned and run by the same family since year 1690 AD. The hotel has been operating there since year 1640 AD. Ole Henrik runs the hotel today and is the ninth generation Nitter Walaker at Walaker Hotel.
We also recommend a visit to Galleri Walaker 300, which is located in a building adjacent to Walaker Hotel. In connection with the hotel’s 300-year anniversary in 1990, the art gallery was opened in the old barn behind the hotel.
The barn, which has now been renovated, was built in 1883 with materials from the old wooden church in Solvorn, which was built around year 1600. In the barn, paintings and works of art from both national and international artists are exhibited. See the gallery’s website for more information about the gallery and opening hours.
Hansagarden in the center of Undredal offers high-standard accommodation, short-travelled food and drinks for overnight guests and to others upon order, stories from Undredal mixed with music and tailor-made guided hikes starting from the farmstead in Undredal.
The old barn Hansaløa was built in year 1880 and is one of the oldest buildings in Undredal. Hansaløa is the very heart of the farm yard at Hansagarden and has a very special atmosphere that must be experienced. Hansaløa is the focal point for the culinary and cultural experiences on the farm yard.
The fjord people by the Sognefjord harvest from nature
The people who live in Solvorn, Fjærland, Undredal and in the other fjord villages along the Sognefjord keep the traditions of the villages alive. They harvest from what lives and grows in the fjord and in the fields, the forest and the mountains by the fjord.
Sheep, goats and cattle live freely in the beautiful nature for large parts of the year. Berries, herbs, fruit, plums, potatoes, vegetables, juice, cider, beer, jam and honey are some of what is harvested and produced in these fjord villages.
Terje Anton produces wildflower summer honey from nectar in Skjolden and the Mørkridsdalen valley, Vidar catches crayfish and fishes in the fjord outside Solvorn which he serves at Kvitabui and Stig Johnny produces the Gjest juice and the Sognamost cider at Slinde.
Einar, Magnus and Jan Kåre have joined forces and run the company Brelam in Jostedalen. Brelam refines and makes quality products from sheep and lambs that have grazed at Jostedalsbreen glacier. The cured sausages are made in a process that was used from before the Viking Age.
Anne Karin in Skjerdal and Anna Karine in Undredal produce white and brown goat’s cheese at their mountain dairies and the 4th generation of Lerum supply the whole of Norway with squash, juice and jam.
Lerum Saft og Syltetøyfabrikk started at Sørheim by the Lustrafjord in year 1907. Old N.H. Lerum’s Saftfabrik AS at Sørheim is today a museum that you can visit in the summer. See the website of the museum for information about the season and opening hours.
In year 1919, Lerum moved the production to Sogndal. Now they have gathered all production in a new and modern factory at Kaupanger, which is only a few kilometers from Sogndal. Lerum is today Norway’s largest juice and squash producer, and much of the raw material is short-travelled fruit and berries from the area around the Sognefjord.
My own favourites from Lerum? Solbærsirup (blackcurrant squash) and Mosa Jordbærsyltetøy (mashed strawberry jam)…yum 😋 I always have thinly mixed Solbærsirup with me on hikes. It taste good, it helps with thirst and gives me a lot of energy at the same time.
Many of the producers based around the Sognefjord have now gathered under the joint brand umbrella Sognasmak based in Lærdal. So the tasty meals served in hotels and restaurants in the fjord villages by the Sognefjord has not travelled far.
The farmers and everyone else who harvest from nature around the fjords in Western Norway deserve a big thank you for the fantastic job they do every day to supply us with healthy, good and short-travelled food and to keep our fjord landscape beautiful. The same thanks are due to those who run a restaurant, accommodation or other great services in the villages around our fjords that make people settle there and thrive. It is all this together that gives the fjord villages life.
I sent a message to Ole Henrik Nitter Walaker, who runs the Walaker Hotel in Solvorn, asking him if he has some information about local food producers that they use in the hotel. It doesn’t take long for the answer to come. He writes the following, and you can feel the enthusiasm and gratitude in what he writes:
– There are many small producers that are used, and I am not sure if I remember to include them all here. Can mention these, if you take them geographically:
Terje Anton at Skjolden. He has a fantastically good honey! The best!!! Lustrabui, who supplements us with some bread, in addition to what we bake ourselves.
In Gaupne, we have Bollingberg Gard with wonderful strawberries. Ekredn Gard also supplies us with wonderful raspberries. And black elderberry, which can also be turned into black elderberry juice. They are also based in Gaupne. Both of these farms have been in the same family for 4-5 generations, and are proud suppliers of their local products. And from all these berries we make homemade jam, among other things. And of course to our wonderful desserts.
Bøtun Gard at Indre Hafslo supplies us with lots of great vegetables. At Nedre Li Gard, also at Indre Hafslo, we get Angus meat. These cattles have been grazing only ten kilometers from the hotel. At Hafslo, we get similarly good strawberries from Olav Einan, with the same great quality as at Bollingberg in Gaupne.
At Veitastrand, there is brown and white goat´s cheese from Jens Heggestad. The next generation has now been taking over, and the quality is, as always, fantastic! Triobakst, also from Veitastrond, make the best lefse and lefsekling you can get. Know that every valley has its “world champions”, but Triobakst is right at the “top”.
In Solvorn we have Eplet, which supplies us with fantastic apple juice. This is given to our guests at breakfast. Vidar Åsen, who has also opened the fantastic restaurant Kvitabui in Solvorn, also supplies fish that he catches in the fjord or out on the coast. As well as crayfish.
At Ornes, directly across the fjord, is Urnes Gard, which is located right next to the world’s oldest stave church. They prepare half-litre bottles of apple juice for us which we give to our guests as a parting gift from us, upon check-out.
A little further into the fjord, on the south side, we also get great spring onions. And in other places, there are private individuals who are starting with food production, and from whom we are happy to buy.
This is only in our municipality…
Small fjord villages with a big and pulsating heart
There are several cafés, restaurants and accommodations in the three fjord villages. They are surrounded by small cozy houses and old, wrinkled boathouses by the fjord. There are plenty of sights, experiences and activities you can take part in in Solvorn, Fjærland, Undredal and in the neighboring villages. These places have their own atmosphere. Visitors can experience calm and peace while taking a break from the hectic everyday life. And the boathouses in Solvorn and the boathouses in Fjærland will offer surprises, it’s not just boats that are stored there.
From Solvorn, it is only a short and charming ferry ride over to Urnes Stave Church, which is also part of our common world heritage. As our oldest stave church, it was the first Norwegian treasure to receive world heritage status.
Undredal Stave Church stands in Undredal by the Aurlandsfjord and is Norway’s smallest church with only 40 seats. The stave church had its 850th anniversary in 1997 AD. The year 1147 AD. is found in the carvings inside the church and is used as the official date of the building.
Undredal has a long tradition in the production of goat’s cheese. The reason for that is of course the landscape. The goats are the best animals to utilize the resources in this steep fjord-landscape.
In the old days it was natural for the farmers to use the goat’s milk to make farm products. Undredal had no road connection, and it was easier for them to sell and distribute brown- and white goat’s cheese rather than fresh milk.
Together with the emerald green fjord, which is surrounded by beautiful and wild nature, sights like this are probably part of the reason why people visit the three fjord villages.
The visitors are warmly welcomed by the fjord people who do what they can to ensure that the guests feel comfortable and welcome. Many who visit Solvorn, Fjærland and Undredal stay there for a while, and they are happy to return. The three fjord villages do something with you. And those who visit becomes affected, probably forever.
The two fjord villages deserve it, as an appreciation and as an extra assurance that they will be taken care of as Undredal will be, for the joy and enjoyment of future generations.
Solvorn is a beautiful village down by the Lustrafjord. There you have the oldest historical hotel in Norway, the beautiful Walaker Hotel. Eplet Hostel og Jusfabrikk and Villa Solvorn are also located in Solvorn.
From Solvorn you can take the small ferry across the Lustrafjord to Ornes and visit Ornes and Urnes Stave Church. Ornes and the area along the fjord are great starting points for experiences and adventures.
It is about 13 kilometers from Ornes to Feigum. A nice hike is the hike from Feigum to the viewpoint where you can see the Feigefossen Waterfall from up close. Especially early summer, this is a great sight, when the snowmelt is at its maximum and the water flow in the waterfall is at its most powerful.
It has a total of 2.5 miles with shelves filled with books, new and used. The smallest bookstore is a book stand by the road. Based on trust, you can pick a book and leave some money in a box.
Fjærland Guiding offers guided tours in Fjærland and on the Fjærlandsfjord. The guided tours starts from the head office of Fjærland Guiding in Mundal in the center of Fjærland. Fjærland Guiding also offers you to experience the Floating Sauna “Dampen” which is situated on the Fjærlandsfjord just outside the center of Fjærland.
Undredal is an idyllic little village down by the Aurlandsfjord which is known for the many goats and the local white and brown goat´s cheese.
The movie Frozen I is inspired by this small village, with the surrounding steep mountains rising straight up from the fjord.
You do not need to go hiking or onto a fjord adventure when visiting Undredal. Many people just want so see and experience this beautiful village and the fjord from land, to buy some goat´s cheese from Underdalsbui and to learn about the tradition of goat cheese and farming in Undredal with tasting at Eldhuset by the pier.
Undredal Stave Church in Undredal is Norway’s smallest church. In Undredal you will also find what is believed to be the smallest fire station in Europe.
The Sognefjord, the king of the fjords, is the longest fjord adventure in Norway. The Sognefjord is 204 kilometres long and 1308 metres deep at its deepest.
Join a guided glacier walk on the Nigardsbreen glacier. Take a short hike to Mt Molden in Luster and you will get a fantastic view down towards the Lustrafjord. See the beautiful stave churches around the Sognefjord. Urnes Stave Church is one of them, it is located at Ornes by the Lustrafjord and is part of our common world heritage.
Join a fjord safari or a fjord cruise on the Aurlandsfjord and Nærøyfjord. Experience the view from Stegastein viewpoint above the Aurlandsfjord. Flåm Railway has been named one of the ten most beautiful railways in the world. This is the train journey from fjord to mountain, and many people take the train ride both ways.
In the middle of the Sognefjord, where the fjord is at its widest and the mountains starts to rise, you’ll find Balestrand, an idyllic village down by the fjord. The fjord village of Fjærland is located deep in the Fjærlandsfjord. It is so beautiful there that it is almost unreal. Fjærland is also called The Norwegian Book Town because of all the book sales in the tiny village.
Borgund Stave Church was built around year 1181 AD. and is the most visited stave church in Norway. Close by is the old Vindhellavegen Road that runs between Borgund and Husum in the Lærdalen valley in Lærdal. The old Vindhellavegen Road is part of the old King´s Road between east and west in Norway.
The Fjærlandsfjord, Aurlandsfjord and Nærøyfjord, the Årdalsfjord and the Lustrafjord are all branches of the Sognefjord. These side fjords are perhaps even more famous than the Sognefjord itself, which is located in the middle of Western Norway. The Sognefjord is so long that it almost divides Norway in two.
Hotels and Accommodation in Solvorn
Hotels and Accommodation in Fjærland
Accommodation in Undredal
Useful Links to Solvorn
Kvitabui Matnaust og Galleri.
Lustrabaatane – Ferry between Solvorn and Ornes.
Gallery Walaker 300 in Solvorn.
Urnes Stave Church on the opposite side of the Lustrafjord and Solvorn.
Hike to Mt Molden not far from Solvorn.
Hike to Austerdalsbreen Glacier by Veitastrond.
Useful Links to Fjærland
Official website for Fjærland – Fjaerland.org.
Inkåleisen Café in Fjærland.
Things to see and do in Fjærland.
Guiding in Fjærland – Fjærland Guiding.
The Norwegian Glacier Museum in Fjærland.
The Norwegian Boooktown in Fjærland.
Useful Links to Undredal
Tourist Info – Visit Undredal
The local store – Undredalsbui
Undredal Fjord Café – Undredal Brygge
Church – Undredal Stave Church
Local Goat Cheese – Undredal Stølsysteri
Flåm Travel Guide – About Undredal