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 km long Sognefjord. In 2005, the Nærøyfjord became a part of UNESCO’s World Heritage together with the Geirangerfjord. The two fjords are part of the original Norway in a Nutshell Tour, and the season is all year round.
The Aurlandsfjord and Nærøyfjord
The Aurlandsfjord is a 29 kilometer long branch of the Sognefjord. At Mt. Beitelen, 11 kilometers from where Aurlandsfjorden starts, the Aurlandsfjord devides into two fjords; the Aurlandsfjord and the Nærøyfjord. Along the Aurlandsfjord we have the villages Undredal, Aurland and Flåm. The Aurlandsfjord continues 18 kilometer inwards to Flåm where it ends.
The Nærøyfjord is a 17 kilometre 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.
Nærøyfjorden starts 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.
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.
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). This “Norway in a Nutshell” tour starts in Oslo or Bergen. Season: All year.
FjordSafari 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.
The word Fjord is from the Viking age and origins from the norse word “fjörðr”. It means “where you travel across” (Norwegian “der man ferder over”) or to “put across to the other side” (“å sette over på den andre siden”).
The verb “travel” (norwegian “fare”) and the substantive “ferry” (norwegian “ferje”) has the same origin (source: wikipedia).
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.
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 kilometre 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, 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 mas) to the summit at Mt. Bakkanosi (1398 mas). The first 2 -3 kilometers are along a steep tractor road to Slettedalsstølen Mountain Pasture (860 mas). Then a 3 kilometer gentle trail along the Slettedalen Valley before the steeper part up to Lake Slettedalstjørni and to Lyngsskardet (1327 mas). Here you have the first glimpse of the Nærøyfjord. Then gentle and rocky trail towards Bakkanosi and the great view down to the Nærøyfjord. The trail is not marked, it can be challenging to find the trail in the upper rocky part. Try to follow the cairns. NOTE: Steep edges down towards the fjord at the summit, keep safe distance to the edge!
One of the finest and most famous cycle roads in Norway is the 82-kilometre 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 metres above sea level, to Flåm down by the Aurlandsfjord.
If you want to have a day or two hiking in the Aurland/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-kilometre-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 metres 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. 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 24 509 metres long, and goes between Lærdal and Aurland by the Sognefjord. There are three illuminated mountain halls inside the tunnel with six kilometres 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.
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.
Winter 2017, I had a trip to the Aurlandsfjord and Nærøyfjord together with furmanek.com. We joined a Fjord Cruise, visited Stegastein Lookout and tried our kayaks.
Official page for the Sognefjord: Sognefjord.com
Fjord Tours: Norway in a Nutshell
Fjord Tours: Plan and book fjord travel, accommodation and activities
Go Fjords: Big and Small Fjord Experiences
Fjord Pass: Great Discounts on Activities and Attractions in the Fjords
Visit Norway: Official page for Norway
Fjord Norway: Official page for Fjord Norway
Flåm – Aurlandsfjord – Nærøyfjord
Flåm: Ferry on the Nærøyfjord and Sognefjord
Nærøyfjorden World Heritage park
Tourist Information: Flåm and the Nærøyfjord Area
Fjordsafari – RIB Boat and Snowshoe Hiking: Fjordsafari.com
Fjord Tours: Flåm Railway
Fjord Tours: Norway in a Nutshell Winter Tour