The Aurlandsfjord and Nærøyfjord in Sogn are two of the worlds most beautiful and dramatic fjords. The name Nærøyfjord origin from the norse god ‘Njord’, the God of the Seafarer and the sea.
The Aurlandsfjord and Nærøyfjord are two of many fjordarms in the 204 kilometer long Sognefjord. In 2005, the Nærøyfjord became a part of UNESCO’s World Heritage together with the Geirangerfjord.
The Aurlandsfjord and Nærøyfjord
The Aurlandsfjord is a 29 kilometer long branch of the Sognefjord. At Mt Beitelen, 11 kilometers from where the Aurlandsfjord starts, the Aurlandsfjord devides into two fjords; the Aurlandsfjord and the Nærøyfjord.
The Nærøyfjord is a 17 kilometer long branch of the Aurlandsfjord. It is only 250 meters at the narrowest, and more than one kilometer at the widest. The depth varies between 10 and 500 meters. The surrounding mountains are up to more than 1400 meters high.
The Nærøyfjord start at Mt Beitelen, which devides the Aurlandsfjord and Nærøyfjord, and ends at Gudvangen.
By the Nærøyfjord, we have the small villages Gudvangen, Bakka, Styvi and Dyrdal. Dyrdal and Styvi are the only places without permanent inhabitants during the winter, and is without road connection.
On July 14th 2005, the Nærøyfjord and the surrounding area was inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List together with the Geirangerfjord. Read UNESCO’s own characterization of the Fjord heritage.
Visit Sognefjord is the local Tourist Information for the Aurlandsfjord and Nærøyfjord Area.
What to do and see in the Aurlandsfjord and Nærøyfjord area
From May 1st to Sep 30th, you can take the ferry from Gudvangen, out the Nærøyfjord and Aurlandsfjord to Kaupanger, a two-hour “ferrytail” in the Sognefjord – the King of the Fjords.
In addition you can visit the Viking Village Njardarheimr in Gudvangen and experience the real history and culture of the Viking age. You can join guided kayak trips or hike along the fjord or in the surrounding mountains. This will give you a tremendous view over the Nærøyfjord and Aurlandsfjord area.
In the middle between Oslo and Bergen lies beautiful Aurland. The idyllic fjord village that offers adventures and nature experiences in beautiful and wild nature. In Aurland, there is something for everyone and not least a treasure trove of local food and drink, and is a perfect place to spend your holiday.
Aurland has a lot to offer. It is a short way to well known tourist attractions such as Aurlandsdalen Valley, Aurlandsfjellet, Aurlandsvegen Mountain Road and Stegastein Viewpoint. But the Aurlandsfjord itself is perhaps the most beautiful and most famous of them all.
Flåm is a fantastic starting point for many great dventures in beautiful and wild nature. Where the Aurlandsfjord ends, the Flåmsdalen Valley starts. If the Aurlandsfjord is an adventure, the Flåmsdalen Valley is an even more beautiful adventure, and both should be experienced.
It is easy to get to Flåm. “All roads” leads to Flåm, and you can also get there by train via Bergensbanen and Flåm Railways. If you take the Flåm Railway, you get to experience the beautiful Flåmsdalen Valley at the same time.
You can start this tour with train from Oslo or Bergen. You will enjoy the Flåm Railway, one of Norways most spectacular railways, from Myrdal Station down to Flåm and the Aurlandsfjord. You can experience some of Norways greatest hotels. You will have a fjord cruise in the Aurlandsfjord and Nærøyfjord (UNESCO World Heritage). Season: All year.
Fjord Safari offer fjord excursions where you explore the UNESCO World Heritage area of the Aurlandsfjord and the Nærøyfjord. The excursions can be done all year round. The area represents extreme, dramatic and stunning fjord scenery.
Flåm Railway is one of top 10 scenic railways in the world. This is the train journey from fjord to mountain. It starts at Flåm at the inner part of the Aurlandsfjord and ends at Myrdal Train Station which is part of the Bergen Railway.
The Flåm Valley is a beautiful small 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. Rallarvegen ends in the Flåm Valley, and you can take the train up and down the Flåm Valley with Flåm Railway. Brekkefossen Waterfall is a popular hiking goal in the Flåm Valley.
Take the Flåm Railway from Flåm to Vatnahalsen Station or Bergensbanen Railway from Oslo or Bergen to Myrdal Station. From Vatnahalsen it is only a couple of minutes to walk to Flåm Zipline. From Myrdal Station it is 1.5 kilometers to walk. When you have finished the zipline, you can rent a bike and cycle down the Flåmsdalen Valley to Flåm. Remember to book everything in advance (package with train, zipline and bike rental).
Meet goats, sheep and horses at a traditional Norwegian mountain farm. The brown and white goats cheese has been produced in this valley for hundred of years. Experience the life on the farm and taste traditional, local food at Skjerdal Stølsysteri and Cafè. The mountain farm is about 30 minutes hike from the parking at Skjerdal outside Aurland. Follow an old farm road through steep landscape, with beautiful views over the Aurlandsfjord and the surrounding steep mountains. You can also combine a Fjord Safari on the Aurlandsfjord with a visit to Skjerdal Stølsysteri and Cafè.
Kayaking the Nærøyfjord
The summer 2020, I was kayaking the Nærøyfjord from Gudvangen to Dyrdal and back to Bakka. It was a wonderful day on the fjord. See video below.
More and more people are choosing the fjords of Norway to do their engagement and wedding photos in the spectacular nature. And for good reason. With so many gorgeous and inspiring locations, the photos are spectacular.
Paul Edmundson of Fjord Photography in Aurland offers his product Fjord Photoshoot for couples to have their pictures taken in front of stunning fjords, mountaintops, waterfalls, forests and historic sites such as Otternes Mountain Farm and Borgund Stave Church. You can even have a Viking theme photoshoot, dressing up with authentic Viking gear and swords.
See some of the stunning locations around the Aurlandsfjord and Nærøyfjord with some of his pictures below.
Christopher Seymour´s Roadtrip to the Nærøyfjord
Christopher´s own word: Join me as I travel to Nærøyfjord capturing beautiful scenery along the way. The road-trip was absolutely amazing but pales in comparison to finally seeing Nærøyfjord for the first time. See video below.
One of the main historic events in the Viking age, the battle of Fimreite, happened in the Sognefjord. In year 1184, King Sverre Sigurdsson with his 14 Viking Ships and King Magnus Erlingsson with his 26 Viking Ships met in the Sognefjord outside Fimreite for the final battle about the Kingship of Norway. King Sverre won the battle and King Magnus and more than 2000 men were killed in the battle.
Today you can visit the Viking Village Njardarheimr in Gudvangen and experience the real history and culture of the Viking age. Learn and experience how the Vikings lived, worked, travelled, discovered and conquered.
Bleiklindi is a good starting point for walking the Old Postal Road to Styvi six kilometers further out the Nærøyfjord. At Styvi you must turn on the flasher at the quay to give signal to the ferry to stop and take you on board. This is a hike through some of the most scenic fjord-landscape in Norway.
The hike from Tufto by the Nærøyfjord to Rimstigen Viewpoint is steep but easy. The two kilometer long Rimstigen Trail starts by the fjord and ends 725 meters above it. It will take you around 1-2 hours, and the prize is a fantastic view of the UNESCO Protected Nærøyfjord.
From Stalheim Hotel you have a great view towards the narrow Nærøydalen Valley which is surrounded by steep mountains and waterfalls. Stalheimskleiva is a steep 1.5 kilometer long road which goes between the hotel and the valley. The road is a popular tourist attraction due to its steep incline of 20% gradient and 14 hairpin bends. Due to damage on the road, it is now closed until further notice.
This hike starts in the high mountains and ends in the idyllic fjord village Skjerdal above the Aurlandsfjord. You will also experience Skjerdal Stølsysteri and Café, which is a short-travelled and perfect end of the hike. This is a hike where we walked downwards, but the hike was really an upturn.
Come and visit Skaldegard, an old farmstead that clings to the mountain-side and enjoys splendid views over the Aurlandsfjord and surrounding mountains. Skaldegard invites small groups to come and learn about the local area’s natural environment, history, agriculture and way of life, both past and present. The farm is situated at Skjerdal above the Aurlandsfjord, outside Aurland.
It was late August, and we drove towards the Aurlandsfjord, a fjordarm of the 204 kilometer long Sognefjord. We had our kayaks on the car roof, and planned to kayak on the Aurlandsfjord and the Nærøyfjord for a few days. We started the adventure from Undredal, a small and beautiful village by the Aurlandsfjord. You can experience this yourself and join a Guided Kayak Adventure in the Nærøyfjord yourself.
In the next 31 hours, I would experience the Bergen Railway, Biking the Flåmsdalen Valley down to Flåm, join a Fjord Cruise on the Aurlandsfjord and Nærøyfjord, hike along the Nærøyfjord and before taking the Flåm Railway from Flåm to Myrdal.
The hike is 9-10 kilometer long (one way) from the start at Jordalen (560 masl) to the summit at Mt Bakkanosi (1398 masl). The first 2 -3 kilometers are along a steep tractor road to Slettedalsstølen Mountain Pasture (860 masl). Then a three kilometer gentle trail along the Slettedalen Valley before the steeper part up to Lake Slettedalstjørni and to Lyngsskardet (1327 masl). Here you have the first glimpse of the Nærøyfjord.
One of the finest and most famous cycle roads in Norway is the 82-kilometer long Rallarvegen (the Navvie`s Road) running from the high mountains to the fjord. The most popular part of the cycle route is from Finse, at 1222 meters above sea level, to Flåm down by the Aurlandsfjord.
If you want to have a day or two hiking in the Aurland and Flåm area, you should hike the Aurlandsdalen Valley. Wild scenery, wild rivers, narrow valleys, much history from old Norway and how they lived at that time. Many people consider this as the most beautiful and wildest hike in Norway.
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 road between Aurland by the Aurlandsfjord and Lærdal by the Sognefjord. The road is closed during winter.
Stegastein Viewpoint is part of the Aurlandsfjellet National Tourist Route, 650 meters above Aurland and the Aurlandsfjord. Great view towards the Aurlandsfjord and the surrounding mountains. The road up to Stegastein is open all year, also during winter. But during winter, the road is closed just above Stegastein.
Otternes Farm Yard is a cluster of 27 old buildings from the 1700s. Great view towards the Aurlandsfjord and to Flåm from the farm yard. In the summer, some of the country’s best chefs will prepare and serve food at Otternes. The road up to Otternes Farm Yard is marked with a small sign on the main road between Aurland and Flåm. Small parking area beside the farm yard.
Visit the fjord village Undredal, a beautiful village down by the Aurlandsfjord. The village is famous for the many goats and it´s local made White- and Brown Goat Cheese. You can visit Undredal Stave Church, Norway´s smallest church which had its 850-years celebration in 1997. Enjoy the view towards the Aurlandsfjord from the local restaurant by the dock. Undredal with the surrounding steep mountains rising straight up from the fjord will take your breath away.
The worlds longest car-tunnel is 24509 meters long, and goes between Lærdal and Aurland by the Sognefjord. There are three illuminated mountain halls inside the tunnel with six kilometer intervals between the halls. The coloured enlightened halls will give a feeling of being out in the daylight for a few seconds and partly prevent motorists fall asleep during the passage.
This is what we call Fjord View! There is only one thing to say, Skomakarnipa gives you stomach ache. We had been talking about this hike for many years. Finally the day was there. As they say in the Sognefjord area; –The mountains are calling on me and I must go…
Winter in the fjords
You can visit the fjords all year round. But during the winter, some of the fjord-arms may be periodically covered by ice. More and more tourists are visiting the fjords during the winter. The Aurlandsfjord, Nærøyfjord and Sognefjord is a great playground for those who want to ski, go snow-shoe hiking, take a winter-fjord-cruise or join a RIB-boat on the fjords or just take in the cold, crispy air and enjoy the beautiful winter-landscape.
It was winter, and we visited Aurland and Flåm by the Sognefjord, seeking for some cold adventures. And we got what we wanted; Frozen Fjords. It is easy to understand why more and more people discover how beautiful and exotic the Norwegian Fjords are during winter.
“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.