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Visiting Wonder #1: The Great Fjord in Norway | 100 Wonders of the World

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About The Great Fjord in Norway

Nestled within the stunning landscapes of Norway lies a natural wonder that captivates the imagination and leaves visitors in awe: The Great Fjord. This extraordinary geographical feature, with its deep, winding waterways and towering cliffs, stands as a testament to the majestic beauty of Norway's rugged coastline. Carved by ancient glaciers and shaped by the forces of nature, The Great Fjord is a testament to the breathtaking power of natural processes.

What factors contribute to The Great Fjord's recognition as one of the wonders of the world?

The Great Fjord in Norway is renowned as a wonder of the world owing to its extraordinary natural beauty and unique geological formation. Carved by ancient glaciers over millennia, this majestic fjord showcases nature's immense power and artistry. With its towering cliffs, crystal-clear waters, and lush surroundings, it offers a mesmerizing visual spectacle that leaves visitors in awe. The fjord is not just a stunning landscape; it also holds a rich cultural and historical significance, with coastal communities relying on its resources for generations. Its rare combination of geographical wonders, ecological diversity, and human connection make The Great Fjord a true wonder, drawing travelers and explorers from across the globe to witness its breathtaking splendor.

Norway is renowned for its numerous fjords, and the exact number can be a bit confusing because there are many of them along the country's extensive coastline. Some of the most famous and largest fjords in Norway include the Sognefjord, Geirangerfjord, Hardangerfjord, Nærøyfjord, Lysefjord, and many more. In total, there are over a thousand fjords along Norway's coast.

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Here are the seven most popular and iconic fjords in Norway that are highly recommended for travelers to visit:

Fjord 1- Sognefjord

Location Map

Sognefjord: Known as the "King of the Fjords," the Sognefjord is the longest and deepest fjord in Norway. Its dramatic landscapes, surrounded by snow-capped peaks and charming villages like Flam and Aurland, make it a must-visit destination.

To get to Sognefjord from the nearest major airport, which is Bergen Flesland Airport (BGO), follow the following steps:

Step 1:

Arriving at Bergen Flesland Airport (BGO). Bergen Flesland Airport is the closest major airport to Sognefjord.

Step 2:

Once you arrive at Bergen Flesland Airport, you can travel to Sognefjord by using the following transportation options:

  • Rental Car: You can rent a car at the airport, and the drive to Sognefjord is approximately 3 to 4 hours, covering a distance of about 200 to 250 kilometers, depending on your exact destination within the fjord.
  • Train: Take the Bergen Line (Bergensbanen) train from Bergen to Voss. The distance from Bergen to Voss by train is approximately 100 kilometers. From Voss, you can transfer to a bus that will take you to Sognefjord.
  • Bus: There are also direct bus services from Bergen to various towns along the Sognefjord, such as Sogndal or Flåm. The distance by road from Bergen to these towns ranges from approximately 150 to 200 kilometers. Check the bus schedules for the most convenient option.

Step 3:

When it comes to accommodation in Sognefjord, here are a few recommendations, along with approximate distances from Bergen Flesland Airport:

  • Flåm (Approx. 200-250 km from BGO): This picturesque village is nestled along the Aurlandsfjord, an arm of the Sognefjord. It's a popular choice for visitors, with options ranging from hotels to cabins.
  • Sogndal (Approx. 250-300 km from BGO): Located on the shores of the Sognefjord itself, Sogndal offers a range of accommodation options, including hotels and guesthouses.
  • Balestrand (Approx. 200-250 km from BGO): Situated on the northern shore of the Sognefjord, Balestrand is known for its historic charm and beautiful scenery. It offers various accommodation choices, including historic hotels.
  • Lærdal (Approx. 220-260 km from BGO): Lærdal is another quaint town along the fjord with a range of lodging options. It's known for its well-preserved wooden buildings and cultural heritage.
  • Vik (Approx. 220-260 km from BGO): Located on the Sognefjord's eastern shore, Vik is known for its stunning stave church and offers accommodations such as hotels and guesthouses.

These approximate distances from Bergen Flesland Airport will give you an idea of the travel time required to reach these fjord-side destinations. Remember to book your accommodation in advance, especially during the peak tourist season, to ensure availability. 

Fjord 2- Geirangerfjord

Location Map

Geirangerfjord: This UNESCO World Heritage-listed fjord is famous for its stunning beauty, including towering waterfalls like the Seven Sisters and the Suitor. The town of Geiranger offers breathtaking views of the fjord.

To get to Geirangerfjord from the nearest major airport, which is Ålesund Airport (AES), follow these steps:

Step 1: Arriving at Ålesund Airport (AES). Ålesund Airport is the closest major airport to Geirangerfjord.

Step 2: Once you arrive at Ålesund Airport, you can travel to Geirangerfjord by using the following transportation options:

  • Rental Car: You can rent a car at the airport, and the drive to Geirangerfjord is approximately 120 kilometers (75 miles). The journey offers scenic views and takes approximately 2.5 to 3 hours.
  • Bus: There are bus services that connect Ålesund to Geiranger during the tourist season. The bus journey takes you through stunning landscapes, including the famous Eagle Road (Ørnevegen) and Geiranger-Trollstigen National Tourist Route.

Step 3:When it comes to accommodation in Geirangerfjord, here are a few recommendations, along with approximate distances from Ålesund Airport:

  • Geiranger (Approx. 120 km from AES): Geiranger is the main village at the heart of Geirangerfjord. It offers various accommodation options, including hotels, guesthouses, and camping sites. Staying in Geiranger allows easy access to the fjord's iconic viewpoints.
  • Hellesylt (Approx. 100 km from AES): Hellesylt is another village located at the entrance of Geirangerfjord. It provides lodging options, and from here, you can take ferries and cruises to explore the fjord.
  • Stranda (Approx. 85 km from AES): Stranda is a town located close to Geirangerfjord. While not directly on the fjord, it offers various accommodations, including hotels and resorts.

These approximate distances from Ålesund Airport will give you an idea of the travel time required to reach Geirangerfjord and its nearby villages. Geirangerfjord is known for its stunning natural beauty, including waterfalls and scenic viewpoints, making it a popular destination for travelers exploring the Norwegian fjords. Don't forget to book your accommodation in advance to secure your stay in this picturesque region.

Hardangerfjord: Often referred to as the "Queen of the Fjords," the Hardangerfjord is renowned for its picturesque orchards, scenic hiking trails, and the iconic Hardanger Bridge. It's a great place to explore Norwegian culture and nature.

Fjord 3- Nærøyfjord

Location Map

Nærøyfjord: Another UNESCO-listed fjord, the Nærøyfjord, is famous for its narrow, winding waterways and pristine beauty. It's a popular spot for kayaking and scenic cruises.

Step 1: Arriving at Bergen Flesland Airport (BGO). Bergen Flesland Airport is the closest major airport to Nærøyfjord.

Step 2: Once you arrive at Bergen Flesland Airport, you can travel to Nærøyfjord by using the following transportation options:

  • Rental Car: You can rent a car at the airport, and the drive to Nærøyfjord is approximately 320 kilometers (199 miles). The journey offers scenic views and takes approximately 5 to 6 hours.
  • Train and Bus: Take the Bergen Line (Bergensbanen) train from Bergen to Voss. From Voss, you can transfer to a bus that will take you to Gudvangen, which is near Nærøyfjord. The train journey is approximately 100 kilometers (62 miles), and the bus journey from Voss to Gudvangen takes about 1.5 hours.

Step 3:Accommodation Recommendations near Nærøyfjord.

When it comes to accommodation near Nærøyfjord, here are a few recommendations, along with approximate distances from Bergen Flesland Airport:

  • Gudvangen (Approx. 330 km from BGO): Gudvangen is located near Nærøyfjord and offers various accommodation options, including hotels, cabins, and campgrounds. It's an excellent base for exploring the fjord.
  • Flåm (Approx. 350 km from BGO): While Flåm is a bit farther from Bergen Flesland Airport, it's still within reach and offers a wide range of lodging choices, including hotels, guesthouses, and apartments.
  • Voss (Approx. 100 km from BGO): If you choose to take the train to Voss, you can find accommodations in this town, which is known for its outdoor activities and scenic surroundings.

These approximate distances from Bergen Flesland Airport will help you plan your journey to Nærøyfjord and find suitable accommodation options. Nærøyfjord's striking natural beauty and tranquility make it a captivating destination for travelers seeking an authentic Norwegian fjord experience. 

Fjord 4: Lysefjord

Location Map

Lysefjord: This fjord is known for its dramatic cliffs, including the famous Preikestolen (Pulpit Rock) and Kjeragbolten. Hiking and rock climbing enthusiasts are drawn to its challenging trails.

Step 1: Arriving at Stavanger Airport Sola (SVG). Stavanger Airport Sola is the closest major airport to Lysefjord.

Step 2: Transportation to Lysefjord from Stavanger Airport Sola. Once you arrive at Stavanger Airport Sola, you can travel to Lysefjord by using the following transportation options:

  • Rental Car: You can rent a car at the airport, and the drive to Lysefjord is approximately 30 kilometers (19 miles). The journey takes about 45 minutes to 1 hour.
  • Bus: From the airport, you can take a bus to Stavanger city center. From Stavanger, you can catch a bus or ferry to various points near Lysefjord, such as Tau or Forsand. The total journey time can vary depending on the specific location within Lysefjord you plan to visit.

Step 3:When it comes to accommodation near Lysefjord, here are a few recommendations, along with approximate distances from Stavanger Airport Sola:

  • Stavanger (Approx. 14 km from SVG): Stavanger offers a wide range of accommodation options, including hotels, hostels, and guesthouses. It serves as a convenient base for exploring Lysefjord.
  • Tau (Approx. 25 km from SVG): Tau is a small village located near Lysefjord and offers lodging options, including hotels and guesthouses. It's a common starting point for ferries to Lysebotn.
  • Forsand (Approx. 30 km from SVG): Forsand is another village near Lysefjord and provides accommodations such as cabins and guesthouses. It's close to the popular Preikestolen hike.

These approximate distances from Stavanger Airport Sola will help you plan your journey to Lysefjord and find suitable accommodation options. Lysefjord's rugged beauty and challenging hiking trails make it an adventurous destination for travelers seeking stunning vistas and outdoor experiences.

Fjord 5:Fjærlandsfjord

Location Map

Fjærlandsfjord: Located near the Sognefjord, the Fjærlandsfjord is known for its stunning glaciers and the Fjærland Glacier Museum, making it an excellent destination for nature and science enthusiasts.

Step 1: Arriving at Bergen Flesland Airport (BGO). Bergen Flesland Airport is the closest major airport to Fjærlandsfjord.

Step 2: Once you arrive at Bergen Flesland Airport, you can travel to Fjærlandsfjord by using the following transportation options:

  • Rental Car: You can rent a car at the airport, and the drive to Fjærlandsfjord is approximately 280 kilometers (174 miles). The journey takes about 5 to 6 hours, offering scenic views along the way.
  • Train and Bus: Take the Bergen Line (Bergensbanen) train from Bergen to Voss, which is approximately 100 kilometers (62 miles). From Voss, transfer to a bus that will take you to Fjærland, covering an additional distance of approximately 80 kilometers (50 miles).

Step 3:When it comes to accommodation near Fjærlandsfjord, here are a few recommendations, along with approximate distances from Bergen Flesland Airport:

  • Fjærland (Approx. 280-360 km from BGO): Fjærland itself offers accommodation options, including hotels, cabins, and guesthouses. Staying in Fjærland allows convenient access to the Fjærlandsfjord and the Fjærland Glacier Museum.
  • Sogndal (Approx. 360 km from BGO): Sogndal is a larger town located a bit farther from Fjærlandsfjord but offers a broader range of lodging options, including hotels, guesthouses, and apartments.

These approximate distances from Bergen Flesland Airport will assist you in planning your journey to Fjærlandsfjord and finding suitable accommodation options. Fjærlandsfjord's unique blend of glaciers and natural beauty makes it an intriguing destination for travelers interested in glacial exploration and environmental education. 

Fjord 6: Trollfjord

Location Map

This narrow and dramatic fjord in the Lofoten Islands is known for its stunning scenery and is often visited on scenic cruises. It's a remote and wild destination.

Step 1:

Arriving at Harstad/Narvik Airport (EVE). Harstad/Narvik Airport is the closest major airport to Trollfjord.

Step 2:

Once you arrive at Harstad/Narvik Airport, you can travel to Trollfjord by using the following transportation options:

  • Rental Car: You can rent a car at the airport, and the drive to Trollfjord, located in the Lofoten Islands, will require you to take a series of ferries. The total travel distance and time can vary depending on your exact starting point in the Lofoten Islands.
  • Bus: There are bus services that connect the airport to various towns and villages in the Lofoten Islands. Once in the Lofoten Islands, you can explore Trollfjord by taking local buses or booking tours.
  • Ferry: Alternatively, you can take a ferry from Bodø, located on the mainland of Norway, to the Lofoten Islands. This scenic ferry journey will bring you closer to Trollfjord.

Step 3:

When it comes to accommodation near Trollfjord, here are a few recommendations, along with approximate distances from Harstad/Narvik Airport:

  • Svolvær (Approx. 190 km from EVE): Svolvær is the largest town in the Lofoten Islands and offers a range of accommodation options, including hotels, hostels, and cabins. It serves as a central hub for exploring the Lofoten region, including Trollfjord.
  • Stokmarknes (Approx. 120 km from EVE): Stokmarknes is another town in the Lofoten Islands and offers lodging options, including hotels and guesthouses. It's located on the island of Hadsel, which is in proximity to Trollfjord.

These approximate distances from Harstad/Narvik Airport will assist you in planning your journey to Trollfjord and finding suitable accommodation options. Trollfjord's dramatic landscapes and remote location make it a unique and captivating destination for travelers seeking a wilderness experience in the Lofoten Islands. 

Fjord 7: Oslofjord

Location Map

Close to the capital city of Oslo, the Oslofjord offers a convenient option for those looking to explore fjords without venturing too far from the city. It features islands, beaches, and historic sites.

Step 1:

Arriving at Oslo Gardermoen Airport (OSL). Oslo Gardermoen Airport is the largest international airport serving Oslo.

Step 2:

Once you arrive at Oslo Gardermoen Airport, you can travel to Oslofjord by using the following transportation options:

  • Airport Shuttle and Public Transport: From the airport, you can take an airport shuttle or the Airport Express Train (Flytoget) to Oslo city center. From Oslo, you can access various parts of Oslofjord by taking local buses, trams, or ferries.
  • Rental Car: You can also rent a car at the airport if you prefer to have flexibility in exploring Oslofjord and its surrounding areas. The distance to different parts of Oslofjord can vary based on your chosen destination within the fjord.

Step 3:

When it comes to accommodation near Oslofjord, here are a few recommendations, along with approximate distances from Oslo Gardermoen Airport:

  • Oslo (Approx. 50 km from OSL): Oslo, the capital city, offers a wide range of accommodation options, including hotels, hostels, and apartments. While not directly on the fjord, Oslo serves as a convenient base for exploring Oslofjord, with easy access to ferries and cruises.
  • Drøbak (Approx. 70 km from OSL): Drøbak is a charming coastal town on the eastern shore of Oslofjord. It provides various lodging options, including hotels and guesthouses. It's known for its historic center and Christmas House.
  • Tønsberg (Approx. 130 km from OSL): Tønsberg, located on the western shore of Oslofjord, offers accommodations such as hotels and waterfront resorts. It's one of Norway's oldest towns and boasts a rich history.

Oslofjord's proximity to the capital city makes it an accessible destination for travelers interested in fjord experiences and coastal landscapes. Be sure to book your accommodation and transportation in advance to make the most of your visit to this beautiful fjord region.

These fjords represent some of the best that Norway's stunning landscapes have to offer. Each fjord has its unique charm and attractions, making them popular choices for travelers seeking natural beauty, outdoor adventures, and cultural experiences.

Visa Requirements

Visa requirements for US citizens traveling to Norway may vary depending on the purpose and duration of the visit. US citizens can visit Norway for tourism and business purposes for up to 90 days within 180 days without a visa. However, they must ensure that their passport is valid for at least three months beyond their intended departure date. If you plan to stay longer, work, study, or engage in other activities, you may need to apply for a specific visa or residence permit. Please note that visa regulations and requirements can change over time, so it's essential for all travelers, regardless of their nationality, to check our Visa page for the most up-to-date information.

Currency

The currency used in Norway is the Norwegian Krone, abbreviated as NOK. The currency sign for the Norwegian Krone is Kr. 

Language and Culture

The official language of Norway is Norwegian. There are two main dialects of Norwegian: Bokmål and Nynorsk. Bokmål is the most widely spoken dialect while a smaller portion of the population uses Nynorsk. While English is widely understood and spoken in Norway, especially in urban areas and among the younger population, it's a good idea for non-Norwegian travelers to familiarize themselves with some basic Norwegian phrases and greetings. Norwegians generally appreciate visitors making an effort to speak their language. Additionally, it's essential to be mindful of cultural norms, such as punctuality and respect for personal space, as Norwegians highly value these aspects of etiquette. Learning about local customs and traditions can enhance your travel experience in Norway.

Expensive or Affordable

Norway is known for its stunning natural beauty and high standard of living, but it's also known for being one of the more expensive travel destinations in the world. The cost of living in Norway is relatively high, which can impact your travel budget. On average, a meal at a mid-range restaurant can cost around $20 to $30, while a cup of coffee may set you back $4 to $5. However, Norway's excellent public transportation system can help save money on travel within the country. For example, a one-way ticket on public transport in major cities like Oslo or Bergen is approximately $4 to $5. Tipping is customary in Norway but not as obligatory as in some other countries. A tip of 10% to 15% is appreciated in restaurants, and rounding up the bill is common in taxis and cafes. It's essential to plan your budget carefully and be prepared for higher prices, but the unique and breathtaking experiences Norway offers make it worth the investment for many travelers.

Best time to Travel

The best time to travel to Norway varies depending on your preferences, but each season offers its unique charm. Summer, from June to August, is ideal for outdoor adventures, fjord cruises, and hiking, with pleasant weather and almost continuous daylight in the north. Autumn, from September to November, brings stunning fall foliage and fewer crowds, perfect for those seeking a tranquil experience or the Northern Lights in late autumn. Winter, spanning from December to February, is a dream for Northern Lights enthusiasts and winter sports lovers, while coastal towns shine with holiday decorations. Spring, from March to May, offers longer days, early skiing opportunities, and the awakening of nature with blooming flowers and wildlife activity. Ultimately, the best time to visit Norway depends on your interests, whether it's summer's vibrancy, autumn's colors, winter's magic, or spring's renewal.

Activities

Besides the Fjords, below are other things to do in Norway.

  • Northern Lights Viewing: Visit Tromsø or other northern regions during the winter to witness the mesmerizing Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis) dancing across the Arctic skies.
  • Hiking and Trekking: Norway offers numerous hiking trails, including the iconic Preikestolen (Pulpit Rock), Trolltunga, and the Norwegian National Scenic Routes. Explore the country's diverse landscapes on foot.
  • Visit Bergen: Explore the charming coastal city of Bergen with its historic Bryggen Wharf, fish market, and the funicular ride to Mount Fløyen for panoramic views.
  • Discover Oslo: Norway's capital city has much to offer, including the Viking Ship Museum, Vigeland Park, the Munch Museum, and the stunning Oslo Opera House.
  • Experience the Midnight Sun: In the Arctic Circle during the summer months, you can witness the Midnight Sun, where the sun never sets, providing endless daylight.
  • Wildlife Safaris: Go on wildlife safaris to spot polar bears in Svalbard, whales in Andenes, or reindeer in Lapland.
  • Cultural Heritage: Explore Norway's rich cultural heritage with visits to historic stave churches, the Norwegian Folk Museum, and the UNESCO-listed Røros Mining Town.
  • Scenic Rail Journeys: Take a scenic train journey on the Flåm Railway, Bergen Line, or Nordland Line to witness Norway's picturesque landscapes.
  • Try Norwegian Cuisine: Savor traditional Norwegian dishes like salmon, reindeer, and lutefisk, as well as local specialties such as brunost (brown cheese) and rakfisk (fermented fish).
  • Outdoor Adventures: Embrace outdoor activities like kayaking, fishing, skiing, and snowboarding, depending on the season and location.
  • Visit the Arctic Circle: Travel to the Arctic Circle and experience the unique Arctic culture, wildlife, and pristine wilderness.
  • Explore the Lofoten Islands: Discover the stunning archipelago of the Lofoten Islands with its dramatic mountains, fishing villages, and beaches.
  • Cross the Arctic Circle: Visit the Arctic Circle Center in Saltfjellet and cross the Arctic Circle on the E6 highway.

Safety

Norway is generally considered a safe and secure destination for travelers. The country consistently ranks among the safest in the world, boasting low crime rates and a stable political environment. Visitors can explore its cities, towns, and natural wonders with confidence. However, as with any destination, it's essential to exercise common-sense precautions to ensure a trouble-free journey. While petty crimes like pickpocketing can occur in tourist areas, they are relatively rare. Travelers are advised to keep their belongings secure and be aware of their surroundings. Additionally, Norway's well-maintained infrastructure, efficient emergency services, and helpful locals contribute to its reputation as a safe and welcoming country for travelers.

Souvenirs

When visiting Norway, don't miss the opportunity to bring back unique souvenirs that capture the essence of this captivating country. Popular Norwegian must-buy items include traditional hand-knit Norwegian sweaters known as "Lusekofte," quirky troll figurines reflecting Norwegian folklore, Viking-themed items like jewelry and replicas, and intricate Sami handicrafts. Consider investing in a piece of the country's Viking heritage with a Viking-inspired accessory or explore the world of stunning handcrafted silver jewelry. For food enthusiasts, Norwegian delicacies such as brown cheese (brunost), reindeer jerky, cloudberries, and Norwegian chocolates make for delicious souvenirs. Don't forget to explore local markets and boutiques for wooden crafts, Nordic design items, local art, and books on Norwegian culture and history. Norway offers a diverse range of souvenirs that celebrate its culture, heritage, and natural beauty.

After sharing all of this awe-inspiring information about Norway's majestic fjords, who can simply sit back and wait? It's time to embark on your adventure, witness the natural wonders, explore the charming villages, and soak in the rich cultural heritage that Norway has to offer. For those who are already planning their journey or are inspired to start planning, don't forget to explore Travelexpro's search for travel date insights and low fares. It's your gateway to finding the best deals and making your dream trip a reality without breaking the bank.

As you set off on your Norwegian exploration, we encourage you to share your experiences with fellow travelers on Traveltalk. Connect, inspire, and exchange stories about your fjord adventures, the people you meet, and the memories you create.

So, with all this information in hand and the world of Norway's fjords at your feet, it's time to say: Happy travels! May your journey be filled with wonder, beauty, and unforgettable moments.

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