The Sognefjord is the longest fjord adventure in Norway. The fjord is 204 kilometers long and 1308 meters deep. The Nærøyfjord, a branch of the Sognefjord, is part of the UNESCO World Heritage.
The Sognefjord consists of the many fjord arms. The Fjærlandsfjord, Aurlandsfjord, Nærøyfjord, Lærdalsfjord, Sogndalsfjord, Årdalsfjord and Lustrafjord are some of them in addition to the Sognefjord itself, which is the main fjord. The Sognefjord is located in the northern part of the county of Vestland, in the middle of Western Norway.
Visit Sognefjord is the official destination company for the Sognefjord area.
Overview of hotels and where you can spend the night in the area around the Sognefjord.
Some highlights from the Sognefjord – The King of the Fjords
The Sognefjord, the king of the fjords, is the longest fjord adventure in Norway. The Sognefjord is 204 kilometers long and 1308 meters deep at its deepest.
Join a guided glacier walk on the Nigardsbreen glacier, see the beautiful stave churches. Join a fjord safari or a fjord cruise on the Aurlandsfjord and Nærøyfjord. Experience the view from Stegastein viewpoint above the Aurlandsfjord. Take a short hike to Mt Molden in Luster and you will see the fantastic view down to the Lustrafjord.
Balestrand is one of the first places the foreign tourists visited when they discovered Norway in the mid-19th century.
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.
Below you will find information about the Sognefjord in addition to links to other branches of the Sognefjord. The links to the other branches will lead you to more information about the specific sidefjords.
Fjords are found in places where current or former glaciers extend below today’s sea level. A fjord is formed when a glacier retreats after forming its typical U-shaped valley and the sea fills the resulting valley floor.
We will now take a closer look at how the Sognefjord was formed. The Sognefjord, which is 204 kilometers long and 1,308 meters deep at its deepest point, is the second longest and second deepest fjord on earth.
However, it is the longest without glaciers and where people live along the entire fjord. The Sognefjord is so long that it almost divides Norway in two.
Most of the Sognefjord relief as we know it today began with a glacial erosion process at the beginning of the Quaternary/Pleistocene, about 2.5 million years before the present.
Excluding the Quaternary sediments at the bottom of the Sognefjord, the volume difference between the reconstructed Palean surface and the current topography is approximately 7610 km3.
Read more about what a fjord is and how the Sognefjord was formed.
The Sognefjord is the lifeblood, indeed the main artery of the villages that lie along the fjord and of the fjord people who live there. The longest fjord is the very reason why these fjord villages exist and that they are located where they do.
Together with Undredal by the Aurlandsfjord, 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.
In the middle of the Sognefjord, where the fjord is at its widest and the mountains begin to rise, you will find Balestrand, an idyllic village down by the fjord.
Balestrand is one of the first places visited by foreign tourists when they discovered Norway in the middle of the 19th century.
The magnificent villas from the 18th and 19th centuries, which were built in Dragestil and Swiss style, among them Villa Strandheim, Villa Lorne and Villa Normann, the St. Olaf’s Church and Hotel Kviknes, are reasons enough to visit Balestrand. St. Olaf’s Church was the inspiration for the chapel where Elsa was crowned in Disney’s film Frozen I.
Due to the beautiful nature, the wild mountains and the location down by the fjord, Balestrand became a favorite place among artists and the Norwegian and foreign society from the end of the 19th century until the beginning of the First World War.
Here you will experience the Aurlandsfjord and Nærøyfjord (UNESCO World Heritage) in a fjord cruise from Flåm to Gudvangen.
The boats run on batteries that are charged with electricity from short-distance hydroelectric power. The boat trips are both sustainable, climate-friendly and silent, which makes the trips on the fjord an even better experience.
Numerous wild and beautiful waterfalls and rivers characterize the landscape, crossing the rugged mountains and deciduous and coniferous forests on their way down to the fjords.
Beautiful villages with a sustained cultivated landscape with remainders of old farms and mountain pastures and unique cultural monuments gives a extra dimension to the dramatic natural landscape. Season: all year.
You can travel by train from Oslo or from Bergen to Myrdal and further by train down the Flåmsdalen Valley to Flåm. From Flåm, you can buy yourself a good cup of coffee and something good to eat at Flåm Bakery before you board the boat and join a Fjord Cruise on the Aurlandsfjord and Nærøyfjord. You can do all of this in one day, and best of all, the entire trip is sustainable.
You get to experience Bergen Railway, Flåm Railway, Flåmsdalen Valley, Flåm and the Aurlandsfjord and Nærøyfjord. Both train and boat on this round trip are electric. The boats run on batteries that are charged up on short-distance hydropower. The boats are both sustainable and silent, which makes the trips on the fjord an even better experience.
Winter – It is easy to understand why more and more people are discovering how beautiful and exotic the Norwegian fjords are in winter. The fjords is a fantastic playground for those who want to ski, go snowshoeing, take a winter fjord cruise or a RIB boat trip on the fjords or just take in the cold and fresh air and enjoy the beautiful winter landscape.
Flåm and Aurland are perfect starting points for exploring this area. It is a short distance to the fjords and the mountains and all the activities, attractions and sights you can do starting from these two fjord villages. Read about our winter trip to Aurland. The video below is from a winter trip from Oslo to Flåm. In the video we see Bergen Railway, Flåm Railway, Flåmsdalen Valley, Flåm, the Aurlandsfjord and Stegastein in winter clothes.
Season and Time to use – Day trip or more, season all year round. We recommend staying longer and experiencing more in this wonderful area.
Balestrand Fjord Adventures offers fjord sightseeing in a RIB-boat. A tour to Finnabotn on the other side of the Sognefjord is an adventure you´ll never forget.
The boat trips to Finnabotn start and end in Balestrand. On the tours you will see the mighty Sognefjord and the beautiful nature that surrounds the fjord. The highlight is the Finnafjord, one of the Sognefjord’s most spectacular side fjords.
Here we guarantee that you will get a kink in your neck. The Finnafjord is narrow, the mountains are precipitous and the countless waterfalls plunge down the steep mountain sides.
Balestrand Fjord Adventures also offers private RIB-tours.
Finnabotnen Fjord Lodge is located in Finnabotnen, deep inside the Finnafjord, which is an arm of the Sognefjord.
There you can stay in wonderful surroundings. If the Sognefjord is mighty, the roadless Finnafjord is even more mighty.
The mountains that surround the Finnafjord are precipitous, and the countless waterfalls are a great sight as they plunge down towards the fjord.
Finnabotn is part of the Stølsheimen Protected Landscape area, which consists of a beautiful Western mountain- and fjord landscape.
The road over Gaularfjellet takes the traveller into the waterfalls from the mighty Sognefjord, which is Norway’s longest and deepest fjord. The 130 kilometer long drive is exciting and varied, and is closed during winter.
The new viewpoint at Utsikten at the top of Gaularfjellet is one of many great viewpoints along this road.
Gaularfjellet Mountain Road runs between Balestrand by the Sognefjord and Moskog and Sande in Sunnfjord and is part of Norway´s National Tourist Routes.
Vik in Sogn is best known for Hopperstad Stave Church and as the Old Chees’ home village.
The TINE Dairy which is based in the center of Vik, has its own Cheese Bar with a main focus on Old Cheese. The facility in Vik produces more than 65 tonnes of Old Cheese annually. In addition, they produce Mylsa which is a traditional cheese and they also receive large quantities of local raspberries that are turned into juice.
Vik Adventure take you in a RIB-Boat to beautiful and hidden gems in the Sognefjord area, like Arnafjorden and Finnabotn. They also do tours to other branches of the Sognefjord on private tours, such as the UNESCO Protected Nærøyfjord.
Sylvringen arrange Guided Cultural Tours in Vik, like the Historical Tour where you will visit both Hopperstad Stave Church and Hove Stone Church. They also do a tour to Hovsåsen which is a 12 kilometer long hike where you get to see the beautiful view of Vik from “above”. On some of the tours you will get the chance to taste the Old Cheese that is produced in Vik.
Vik is also the gateway to Stølsheimen Protected Landscape area. The protected landscape area represents a beautiful Western mountain- and fjord landscape and covers a total of 373 km². Vikafjellet is the most common approach to Stølsheimen, the Vikafjellsvegen between Vik and Vinje goes over Vikafjellet.
The area in and around Vik is also a popular starting point for many great mountain hikes. Most of them have fantastic fjord view over the Sognefjord, the King of the Fjords.
Hopperstad Stave Church is situated on the farm Hopperstad in Vik in Sogn. The stave church was built around year 1130 AD and is one of the oldest stave churches in Norway. Dating that has been carried out in recent times from several samples of the timber shows that the timber in the stave church were cut between the years 1034 and 1116 AD.
Hopperstad Stave Church in Vik in Sogn has a similar construction as Borgund Stave Church in Lærdal. It was built around year 1130 AD and is one of our oldest Stave Churches.
Hove Stone Church, built around year 1170 AD, is one of the oldest Stone Churches in Norway and is also situated in Vik in Sogn. Both churches are open for visit during summer.
Due to the beautiful nature, the wild mountains and the location down by the fjord, Balestrand became a favorite place to visit among artists and the Norwegian and foreign society from the end of the 19th century until the beginning of World War I.
Germany´s Emperor Wilhelm II of Germany visited Balestrand several times, and it was an impressive sight when he entered the Sognefjord with his warships to spend his holidays there. Emperor Wilhelm II was a great enthusiast of Norway and especially the fjords in Western Norway. He vacationed in Balestrand over a period of more than 20 years, and he travelled there with his imperial ship Hohenzollern, which was followed by several other ships from the German navy.
The statue of Fridtjof den Frøkne that is placed at Vangsnes, 11 kilometers from Vik in Sogn, was a gift from the Emperor to the Norwegian people. The statue is 12 meters high, it is placed on a plinth which is 10 meters high. The enormous statue was unveiled on 31 July 1913.
Fjærland is a picturesque fjord village surrounded by fjord, mountains and glaciers. Early summer is a great time to visit Fjærland and the Sognefjord. There are still snow in the mountains, the valleys are green, and the apple trees are blossoming.
The Norwegian Booktown, Norwegian Glacier Museum, Guided Kayak Trip on the Fjærlandsfjord, Guided Hike to the Glaciers and the Historic Fjærland Fjordstove Hotel are some of the things you can experience in beautiful Fjærland.
Fjærland Guiding also offers you to experience the Floating Sauna “Dampen” which is situated on the Fjærlandsfjord just outside the center of Fjærland.
Kaupanger is one of two ports where the iconic ferry trip along the inner part of the Sognefjord departs and arrives.
On this ferry trip you will see the mighty Sognefjord, where the fjord is at its widest. The outermost part of the Aurlandsfjord is narrower than the Sognefjord, but still quite wide. The Nærøyfjord is narrow and the precipitous mountains rise high above the fjord.
Countless rivers and waterfalls cascade down the steep mountain sides. On this ferry trip you can see and experience the stark contrasts and the beautiful and wild nature of this wonderful piece of Norway.
You can take your car on this ferry trip.
Season: Summer, see link for more information about season and scedule.
Kaupanger Stave Church has been in continous use since it was built around year 1140 AD. It is one of the largest Stave Churches in Norway, and is built with wood from the forest around Kaupanger.
The church is situated on the hillside above the Kaupanger Bay by the Sognefjord, which originally is an old Viking trading town. The name Kaupanger origins from the two norse words “Kaup” (to buy) and “angr” (bay).
Kaupanger Stave Church is still in use as a parish church and is used both for services, baptisms and weddings. Apart from Kaupanger, Sogndal is the closest town to the church, it is about 12 kilometers to drive from Sogndal to Kaupanger Stave Church.
Sogndal is the very heart of the Sognefjord, and is a great area for activities and experiences in beautiful and wild nature. From Sogndal there is a short way to all the sidefjords of the Sognefjord. In addition, it is a great area for hiking along the fjord, kayaking, fjord cruises, mountain biking, climbing and bouldering, mountain hikes and skiing.
Sogndal is surrounded by some of the most famous mountains for skiing and mountaineering in western Norway. The mountains in the Sogndal Area are well known for it´s powder snow, and many of the mountains have great fjord view. Hodlekve Ski Resort in the Sogndalsdalen valley is great for skiing in well prepared slopes and also for it´s crosscountry skiing.
One of the main historic events in the Viking age, the battle of Fimreite, happened in the Sogndalsfjord. In year 1184 AD, King Sverre Sigurdsson with his 14 Viking Ships and King Magnus Erlingsson with his 26 Viking Ships met in the Sogndalsfjord outside Fimreite for the final battle about the Kingship of Norway.
The reason for the battle of Fimreite was because the people in Sogn had killed King Sverre’s governor. King Sverre sentenced the people of Sogn to pay a fine because of this, but they refused to pay. Both the villages of Kaupanger and Sogndal and everything they came across in the area were then burned down by King Sverre’s men. When King Magnus heard about this, he and his army sailed to Sogndalsfjorden and met King Sverre for battle. King Sverre won, and King Magnus and more than 2000 men were killed in the battle.
Fjord X offers fjord cruises from Sogndal to Fimreite in the summer months June to August where you will be told the story of the Battle of Fimreite.
Fjord X offers fjord cruises starting from Dampskipskaien in Sogndal in the summer months of June to August. You can choose between Historic Viking Cruise, Evening Cruise and Cider Cruise.
Historic Viking Cruise is a great fjord adventure that goes out the Sogndalsfjord from Sogndal to Fimreite and back to Sogndal. Experience the story of the Viking-battle of Fimreite in year 1184 AD. and the famous submarine-hunt in the Sognefjord during the cold war.
On the Cider Cruise you combine Cider Tasting on the local farm Haug Gard with a beautiful Fjord Cruise and bike ride along the Sognefjord.
The Evening Cruise is a nice and quiet fjord cruise from Sogndal and into the idyllic Barsnesfjord.
Small, idyllic villages. Thundering Waterfalls. Experience Norwegian nature and culture by bike and join a self-guided and guided ready made round trip from Bergen, to and through the fjord landscape surrounding the Sognefjord.
256 kilometer of idyllic roads with little or no traffic and a guide that shows you where the gems are hidden. Video by Fjord Cycling
Borgund Stave Church was built around year 1181 AD. at Borgund in Lærdal. This is the most visited stave church in Norway, and with its charasteristic design it has often been used as a “model” when other stave churches has been restored or built. There is a visitor centre and café near by where you can buy tickets and get information about the church.
If you visit Borgund Stave Church, we also recommend you to visit Vindhellavegen, part of the old King´s Road between west and east of Norway. Vindhellavegen was completed around year 1793 AD. and is now part of a 100 kilometer long hiking route between Lærdal by the Sognefjord and Vang in Valdres. From Borgund Stave Church, there is only a short hike to Vindhellavegen.
Visit Lærdal and the beautiful old town of Gamle Lærdalsøyri. Experience Galleri Bryggja where the local painter and artist Kristen Olav Grøttebø show his beautiful paintings in the exhibition in his painting studio/workshop.
Also a visit to Fredag & Fretland is recommended. This is the local bakery and patisserie near by the old town in Gamle Lærdalsøyri.
TIP – If you are in Lærdal, we recommend you to try out AUGA, which is a sauna down by the Lærdalsfjord. Remember to book an appointment in advance.
In Norway, salmon fishing in the rivers has been important to people since the dawn of time. At the end of the 19th century, the salmon rivers also became an important source of secondary income for those who owned the rivers. That was when the English tourists discovered Norway, and the Salmon Lords became a well-known phenomenon. It was people from the English upper classes that travelled to Norway and the fjords to fish for Atlantic Salmons in the rivers.
Lærdalselvi river, which runs through Lærdalsdalen, from Borlaug to the outlet in Lærdal where the river ends in the Sognefjord, is one of the rivers that the salmon lords put their love on. It is no secret that King Harald of Norway is a happy chap when he is in Lærdal and trying his luck fishing in Lærdalselvi. King Harald is a keen salmon fisherman, and has been fishing in Lærdalselvi since he was 14 years old. Today, Elveguiden offers salmon fishing in two fishing spots in Lærdalselvi.
The National Wild Salmon Centre (Villakssenteret) is located between Lærdalselvi river and the center of Lærda, not far from Gamle Lærdalsøyri. In the Wild Salmon Centre you can see the salmon “live” when they go up the river. In addition, there is information about the salmon’s life cycle, from when the salmon roe is hatched in the river until it goes out into the fjord and further into the sea and until it is back in the fjord and in the same river in which it was hatched. There are exhibitions, pictures , film and sound etc.
Laksen bakery & café at Villakssenteret has a large selection of fresh baked goods, good coffee and homemade pizza. That alone is reason enough to visit Villakssenteret in Lærdal.
Season and opening hours, see Villakssenteret Website.
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 that are also included in UNESCO’s World Heritage List.
Join a fjord safari or a fjord cruise. See the fantastic view from Stegastein viewpoint and taste the local goat cheese in Undredal. Visit the Viking village Njardarheimr in Gudvangen and experience the history and culture of the Viking Age.
Flåm Railway is the train journey from fjord to mountain, perhaps the most beautiful train journey in the world. 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 Nærøyfjord and Aurlandsfjord are both part of the 204 kilometer long Sognefjord.
The Årdalsfjord is the part of the Sognefjord that runs between the outer part of the Lustrafjord and the industrial town of Årdalstangen. The surrounding nature has facilitated amounts of cheap hydroelectric energy which in turn has facilitated industry. Årdalstangen and Øvre Årdal are the result of this.
The dramatic nature attracts guests who seek adventures all year round. Vettisfossen Waterfall, Utladalen Valley, the Jotunheimen Mountains and the Årdalsfjord and the surrounding dramatic mountains are great areas for activities.
Small idyllic fjord villages are located along the Årdalsfjord, squeezed between steep mountains, waterfalls, rivers and the fjord. The abandoned fjord village Indre Ofredal is one of these villages. After many years of decay, the association Ne fø´ Sjøen has now restored many of the houses at Indre Ofredal. They have a small cafeteria and offer accommodation in the old restored Boat House down by the fjord.
The Lustrafjord and Luster area is deemed to be one of the most beautiful spots in the country. It is where the fjords meet the top of Norway and the mountains and glaciers never end. There are many wonderful and exciting things to see and do there.
The oldest historical hotel, the Walaker Hotel, is located here. Visit the world heritage protected Urnes Stave Church and see the mighty Feigefossen waterfall that reveals itself in the spring. The hike to Mt Molden gives you a fantastic view both inwards and outwards the Lustrafjord.
Nigardsbreen glacier in Jostedal and Austerdalsbreen glacier at Veitastrond are two of the most beautiful and most easily accessible glaciers in Norway. Mørkridsdalen and Fortunsdalen are two classic areas for mountain hikes near Skjolden, which is located in the innermost part of the Lustrafjord.
Drive Sognefjellet National Tourist Route. Along the road is Turtagrø Hotel where you will get information and guide to Hurrungane which is one of Norway’s wildest mountain areas. Stay at Skjolden Hotel, a great hotel with short-travelled food and beer.
The Lustrafjord is a branch of the 204 kilometer long Sognefjord.
Overview of hotels and where you can spend the night in the area around the Sognefjord.