SOGNEFJORD – THE KING OF THE FJORDS

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.

 

Season and Safety

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. Read more about season, important safety information and your own responsibility…

Important information about roads in western Norway: Remember that many roads in western Norway are prone to landslides and avalanches, especially in rainy and snowy weather. This may include rock falls, rockslides, landslides, debris flows, mud flows, erosion, snow avalanches and rock avalanches. Some of the roads are particularly well-known for their high level of mass movements exposed over them. Many of the roads in western Norway are some of these exposed roads, and many of the roads are narrow and winding.

Visit Sognefjord

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

Accommodation in the Sognefjord area

Overview of where you can spend the night in the area around the Sognefjord.

Some highlights from the Sognefjord – The King of the Fjords

FJORDS NORWAY - Stegastein above the Aurlandsfjord
Stegastein Viewpoint

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.

How the Sognefjord was formed

We will now take a closer look at how the Sognefjord was formed. The Sognefjord, which is 204 km long and 1308 m deep, 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.

FJORDS NORWAY - Read about how the Sognefjord was formed. This is the Nærøyfjord seen from the mountain Bakkanosi.
Read about how the Sognefjord was formed. This is the Nærøyfjord seen from the mountain Bakkanosi.

Fjord Cruise from Bergen and into the Sognefjord to Flåm

This fjord cruise takes you from Bergen and north along the beautiful coast in Nordhordland and Ytre Sogn and into the Sognefjord and Aurlandsfjord to Flåm. Is this the most beautiful boat trip on planet Earth? Video by Go Fjords.

Sogndal – in the middle of the Sognefjord

Sogndal is located in the middle of all the side fjords of the Sognefjord. From Sogndal there is a short way to all the fjords in addition to being a great area for hiking along the fjord, kayaking, fjord cruises, mountain biking, climbing and bouldering and mountain hikes.

In summer you can take a fjord cruise from Sogndal to Fimreite. This is where one of the main historic events in the Viking age, the battle of Fimreite, happened. 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.

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 fjord view. And Hodlekve Ski Resort in the Sogndalsdalen Valley is great for skiing in the well prepared slopes and also for it´s crosscountry skiing. The Ski-festival Fjellsportfestivalen is arranged in February.

In the summer you can visit Anestølen Mountainfarm in Sogndalsdalen, between Sogndal and Fjærland.

FJORDS NORWAY - Sogndal by the Sogndalsfjord
Sogndal by the Sogndalsfjord

Fjord Cruise from Sogndal in the summer

Fjord X offers great fjord cruises starting from Dampskipskaien in Sogndal in the summer months from 1st of June to 31st of August. You can choose between Historic Viking Cruise and Evening 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 battle of Fimreite in year 1184 and the famous Submarine-hunt in the Sognefjord during the Cold War. The Evening Cruise is a nice and quiet fjord cruise from Sogndal and into the idyllic Barsnesfjord.

Sogn outdoor museum – The Heiberg Collection

The outdoor museum The Heiberg Collection at Kaupanger is a beautiful oasis where you are brought back in time, to different eras where you can see and experience what life in the Sognefjord area was like before. It is a great experience to walk around the outdoor museum and look at the old buildings and the animals and enjoy the silence and the beautiful view towards the Sognefjord and the mountains in the distance. Here you can get the feeling of what life was like in the old days.

Experience the science center ViteMeir at Kaupanger

ViteMeir science center at Kaupanger is a place to explore and to learn. The science center is a mix of a playground, a laboratory, a show, and a museum. ViteMeir is a place to explore and learn and inspires children and adults to seek new experiences together. A visit to the Virtual Reality simulator will take you on a journey from the bottom of the fjords at 1308 meters below sea level to Galdhøpiggen, the highest mountain in Norway at 2469 meters above sea level.Watch the movie about how the Sognefjord, Norways deepest and longest fjord has been created over time.

FJORDS NORWAY - ViteMeir science center at Kaupanger in the Sognefjord area
ViteMeir science center at Kaupanger is a mix of a playground, a laboratory, a show, and a museum.

Balestrand by the Sognefjord

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. Balestrand is one of the first places the foreign tourists visited when they discovered Norway in the mid-19th century.

Fjordsafari on the Sognefjord from Balestrand to Finnabotn

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. Balestrand Fjord Adventures also offers private RIB-tours.

Guided Hike to Mt Raudmelen above Balestrand

Balestrand is a great starting point for hiking in the surrounding mountains, most of the hikes have fantastic fjord view to the Sognefjord. Mt Raudmelen is a popular goal for hikers, in the summer you can join a guided hike to Raudmelen. You can start many of the hikes from the center of Balestrand, and most of the hikes are well marked.

FJORDS NORWAY - View from Orrabenken at 370 masl between Balestrand and Mt Raudmelen
View from Orrabenken at 370 masl, a viewpoint between Balestrand and Mt Raudmelen.

The Gaularfjellet Mountain Road

The road over Gaularfjellet takes the traveller into the waterfalls from the Balestrand by 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.

Borgund Stave Church at Borgund in Lærdal

Borgund Stave Church was built around year 1181 at Borgund in Lærdal, Vestland. 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 center and café near by where you can buy tickets and get information about the church.

Built right after the Viking age – In the Middle Age there were probably more than 1000 Stave Churches in Norway. Today, there are only 28 left, five of them are located in the Sognefjord area. Read about the Stave Churches in the Fjords.

Vindhellavegen at the old Kings Road in Borgund, Lærdal

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 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.

Fjord Cruise on the Sognefjord from Bergen to Vik

This tour from Bergen to the Sognefjord and Vik, delivered by Go Fjords, gives you the best of the Norwegian fjords. You will experience the Sognefjord from the coast to Vik by located on the southern mouth of the Sognefjord. Among others you will get a guided walk through the charming village of Vik, sample traditional cheese (Gamalost) and visit Hopperstad Stave Church, one of the few remaining Norwegian Stave Churches. Video by Go Fjords.

Overnight Roundtrip: Bergen – Sognefjord – Fjærland – Vik in Sogn

This is an eventful two-day roundtrip with a cruise on the Sognefjord and where you visit the two fjord villages Fjærland and Vik. You start this round trip either by boat or bus from Bergen and you can choose in which direction you want to travel. You get to experience the Sognefjord, the Fjærlandsfjord, Fjærland, Bøyabreen, an arm of Jostedalsbreen Glacier, Tvindefossen waterfall, Hopperstad Stave Church and Vikafjellet mountain pass. You spend the night in the idyllic fjord village of Vik in Sogn.

Roundtrip: Bergen – Sognefjord – Fjærland and Jostedalsbreen

Experience the Sognefjord, the Fjærlandsfjord and the idyllic fjord village Fjærland where you can visit the Norwegian Book Town, the Norwegian Glacier Museum and Bøyabreen glacier. The return goes the same way, out the Fjærlandsfjord to Balestrand and further along the Sognefjord back to Bergen. This is a fantastic day trip in some of the most beautiful nature Norway has to offer.

Fjord Cycling – Guided Cycling by the Sognefjord

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.

Anestølen Mountain Pasture and Sogndalsdalen Valley

Between Fjærland and Sogndal, you can explore the Sogndalsdalen Valley and the Anestølen Mountain Farm where you can buy homemade goat´s cheese during summer. Here you also have Sogndal Ski Center, and the valley is surrounded by some of the most famous mountains for Alpine Ski Touring in the fjords.

Skiing in the Sognefjord area

The mountains in the Sogndal Area are well known for it´s snow and fjord view. And Hodlekve Ski Resort in the Sogndalsdalen Valley is great for skiing in the well prepared slopes and also for it´s crosscountry skiing. In Sogndal, they even make they´re own skis, SGN Skis, design to fit the Norwegian Mountains.

The Ski-festival Fjellsportfestivalen is arranged in February. Recommended Ski Centres in the Sognefjord Area are Sogndal Ski Center Hodlekve , Sogn Ski Center at Hafslo, Voss Ski Resort at Voss and Myrkdalen Ski Resort in Voss.

Fjærland and the Fjærlandsfjord – From Fjord to Glacier

It was late May. We drove from Oslo to visit Fjærland in Sogn, to spend some days in this picturesque village surrounded by fjord, mountains and glaciers. May is a great month to visit the fjords. There are still snow in the mountains, the valleys are green, and the apple trees are blossoming. Kayaking on the Fjærlandsfjord and hiking to the glaciers were some of of the adventures we experienced.

FJORDS NORWAY - Fjærland by the Fjærlandsfjord, part of the Sognefjord area.
Fjærland by the Fjærlandsfjord, part of the Sognefjord area.

The Aurlandsfjord and Nærøyfjord – UNESCO World Heritage

The Nærøyfjord in Sogn is one 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. Together with the Aurlandsfjord they are two of many branches in the 204 kilometer long Sognefjord. In 2005, the Nærøyfjord became a part of UNESCO’s World Heritage.

Flåm by the Aurlandsfjord

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.

Aurland by the Aurlandsfjord

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.

Fjord Cruise on the Aurlandsfjord and Nærøyfjord

Here you will experience the Aurlandsfjord and Nærøyfjord (UNESCO World Heritage) in a fjord cruise from Flåm to Gudvangen. 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.

Flåm Railway

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. Season: all year.

Fjord Safari on the Aurlandsfjord and Nærøyfjord

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 Aurlandsfjord and Nærøyfjord are branches of the 204 kilometer long Sognefjord, the second longest fjord in the world. The area represents extreme, dramatic and stunning fjord scenery. Season: all year.

Stegastein Viewpoint and Aurlandsfjellet Mountain Road

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 Lookout.

Undredal Fjord Village

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.

Skjerdal Stølsysteri and Café

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 Skjerdal outside Aurland. Follow an old farm road up through steep landscape, with beautiful views over the Aurlandsfjord and the surrounding steep mountains.

Hiking the Aurlandsdalen Valley

The Aurlandsdalen Valley is wild and beautiful. It is situated in the  Aurland area in Sogn, and is one of Norway´s most popular hiking destinations. Read about the lowest part of the valley, a 20 kilometer long hike starting at Østerbø and ending at Vassbygdi in Aurland.

Cycling Rallarvegen from mountain to fjord

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 masl, to Flåm down by the Aurlandsfjord. Flåmsdalen begins where Rallarvegen ends, the video below is from when I cycled along Flåmsdalen in 2010.

The Vikings and the Fjords

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. Video by Visit Sognefjord.

Flåm Valley

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.

Flåm Zipline – The longest zipline in Norway

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).

FJORDS NORWAY - Flåm Zipline
FJORDS NORWAY – Flåm Zipline in the Flåm Valley.

Otternes farmyard between Aurland and Flåm

Otternes farmyard is a cluster of 27 old buildings from the 1700s. The view towards the Aurlandsfjord and to Flåm from the farmyard is fantastic. Look south and you see the innermost part of the Aurlandsfjord towards Flåm. In the other direction you will see out the Aurlandsfjord towards the mountains which encircle Aurland.

Skaldegard Cultural and Historic Farm

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.

Stalheim Hotel

From Stalheim Hotel you have a great view towards the narrow Nærøydalen Valley which is surrounded by steep mountains and waterfalls. IMPORTANT! Due to the great danger of rock falls and both rock- and snow avalanches, the road Stalheimskleiva and the road and trail below Stalheimskleiva are now permanently closed, both for cars, for cycling and for hiking/walking. Do not stay in this area at all due to the high risk of rockfall and avalanches!

Årdal and the Årdalsfjord – Between the Sognefjord and Jotunheimen

The Årdalsfjord is the part of the Sognefjord that runs between the outer part of the Lustrafjord and the industrial town of Årdalstangen. Small idyllic fjord villages are located along the Årdalsfjord, squeezed between steep mountains, waterfalls, rivers and the fjord. 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.

Indre Ofredal by the Årdalsfjord

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.

Luster and the Lustrafjord – The top of Norway

The Lustrafjord and the Luster area is one of the most beautiful spots in Norway, where the fjord meets the top of Norway with it´s numerous mountains and glaciers. The Lustrafjord is the innermost branch of the 204 kilometer long Sognefjord.

FJORDS NORWAY - From Feigom by the Lustrafjord. Feigumfossen Waterfall in the background.
From Feigom by the Lustrafjord. Feigumfossen Waterfall in the background.

The UNESCO Protected Urnes Stave Church

At Urnes, you will find the UNESCO-protected Urnes Stave Church, the oldest of a total of 28 remaining Stave Churches in Norway. The stave church was built around year 1130. A nice way to explore Urnes Stave Church and the beautiful surroundings is to cross the Lustrafjord by ferry from Lustrabaatane from Solvorn to Urnes. During summer you can join a guided “tour” outside and inside the church.

Guided Glacier Hikes on Nigardsbreen Glacier

Nigardsbreen Glacier in Jostedal is one of the easiest accessible glaciers in the fjords area in Western Norway. A short boat trip and a short hike, and you stand by the foot of the glacier. We joined a guided Short Blue Ice Hike on the glacier, and had a great experience in wild and beautiful surroundings.

Hike to Mt Molden in Luster

Mt Molden in Luster in Sogn og Fjordane is a popular hiking goal amongst the locals. The hike is short, and the fjord view is fantastic. The two to three hours hike gives you a tremendous view towards the Lustrafjord and the surrounding mountains.

Solvorn and Urnes in Luster

Solvorn nearby is a beautiful village down by the Lustrafjord. Here you have the oldest historical hotel in Norway, the beautiful Walaker Hotel. At Solvorn you can take the small ferry across the Lustrafjord to Urnes and visit Urnes Stave Church and to see the Feigumfossen Waterfall.

The Sognefjellet Mountain Road

High in the Jotunheimen mountains, the Sognefjellet Mountain Road runs between the Sognefjord and the Gudbrandsdalen Valley. The Sognefjellet National Tourist Route is the highest mountain pass in Northern Europe with its 1434 meters. The 106 kilometer long road is closed during winter.

Accommodation in the Sognefjord area

Overview of where you can spend the night in the area around the Sognefjord.

FJORDS – Accommodation in Western Norway

Great Hotels in the Fjords of Norway
Bath and Spa Hotels in the Fjords of Norway
Fjords Living – Special Accommodation in the Fjords of Norway

FJORDS – Useful Links

Go Fjords – Big and Small Fjord Experiences
Visit Norway – Official page for Norway
Fjord Norway – Official page for Fjord Norway

Official website for the Sognefjord area – Sognefjord.com

The Sognefjord Area – Map Overview