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When you think about visiting Norway, what comes to mind first?
Fjords. It’s always fjords. They are the symbol of the country and one of the reasons why many people consider Norway the most naturally beautiful country in Europe.
I couldn’t go to Norway for the first time without visiting any fjords, which is why I chose to visit Bergen rather than Oslo: not only is Bergen a beautiful and perfectly sized city, but it’s the gateway to the fjords.
Several fjord cruises leave direct from Bergen, but I had my eye on something more special: the Norway in a Nutshell tour, which I’ve wanted to do for years. I’ve been recommended it by tons of people, including several readers, and it has tons of positive reviews. After contacting Visit Norway, they offered to host me on the tour as their guest.
The Norway in a Nutshell round-trip tour from Bergen includes three activities: the old-fashioned Flåm railway, a cruise through Aurlandsfjord and the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Nærøyfjord, and a bus ride down 14 hairpin turns, plus trains to and from Bergen in each direction.
The Bergen area is known for its temperamental weather, and I lucked out with bright blue skies on my first day and a half. But by the time I hopped on my fjord cruise, the last few bits of blue sky were disappearing, turning into a rolling overcast sky.
But as you can see in these photos, that didn’t really matter. They didn’t need blue sky to be showstoppers.
The first view of the fjords, with the tiniest bit of blue sky remaining.
Up and away!
The mountains are gargantuan. Seeing this little speedboat gives you an idea of how big they are.
The boat had both outdoor and indoor areas — very useful, as even in September, the temperature dropped to teeth-chattering levels. I wish I had worn a heavier coat.
Every time you turn a corner, more layers appear in the background. It reminded me a lot of Halong Bay.
They’re definitely suited to black and white.
Tiny villages line the fjords. This is Aurland — one of the largest ones, with a population of 1,715!
The further you go, the smaller the villages get.
And even smaller!
(Some teenage boys got on at this one, each of them lugging large backpacks. I can’t imagine what they were doing in a town this small! Maybe hiking and camping?)
This town seems like a perfect place for a digital detox.
The occasional kayak zooms along the placid water, keeping well out of the cruise’s way.
Could you imagine living in one of those houses atop that cliff? (And could you imagine getting an invite to a cocktail party there?)
Even in September, you’ll find snowy mountains in the Nærøyfjord.
On one of the final turns near Gudvangen, some adventurers paddled by kayak as a waterfall roared in the background.
What do you think that little cabin is? After my time in Finland, my first thought was sauna!
The final turn before landing in Gudvangen.
Was my fjord cruise everything I hoped it would be? You bet. It was the highlight of my time in Norway. It goes to show that even without the sun shining, Norway’s fjords are astoundingly beautiful.
Read more from this trip:
Scenes from the Flåm Railway
Three Days in Bergen: The Perfect Introduction to Norway
Essential Info: The Norway in a Nutshell tour includes a train ride on the Flåm Railway, this cruise from Flåm to Gudvangen through the Aurlandsfjord and the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Nærøyfjord, and a bus ride down 14 hairpin turns in the countryside, plus train transportation from your departure point.
The tour runs from Bergen, Voss, or Oslo, though it’s closest to Voss and Bergen and runs year-round from those cities. The tour costs 1145 NOK ($178 USD) from Bergen, 775 NOK ($120 USD) from Voss, 1550 NOK ($241) as a one-way trip from Oslo to Bergen or vice versa (keep in mind that you’ll need to carry your bags throughout), and 2100 NOK ($326) from Oslo.
While these prices are steep, keep in mind that Norway is the most expensive country in Europe. I think this tour is excellent value for money, especially if you’re on a short trip to Bergen and want to maximize your time.
No matter what time of year it is, bring a jacket. I was very cold in just a blazer and cardigan, even in early September.
I stayed at the Thon Hotel Bristol, where low-season rates start at about $170 USD. Find deals on hotels in Bergen here.
Don’t visit Norway without travel insurance. It could save you if you get ill, injured, or lose your luggage. I use and recommend World Nomads for trips to Norway.
Many thanks to Visit Norway for hosting me in Norway. All opinions, as always, are my own.
62 thoughts on “Norway’s Fjords in Photos”
Some really gorgeous photos there Kate, beautiful! I’ve only been to Norway as a nine-year-old but still remember the fjords and *will* get back there some day – I love the sound of that Norway in a Nutshell trip, cute!
I did the same tour 4 years ago! It was the most expensive one of my life but I don’t regret every single penny as the landscape and the views were incredible and so breathtaking! You just reminded me with your photos how stunning place that was (and made me think of returning to Norway) If there’s one place the person in Norway has to see it has to be that one!
Love the photos! Norway’s fjords have always called to me. I’m hoping to be able to visit this year while I’m living in Spain.Your adventures in Norway have only deepened my desire to visit.
ahah yeah it’s Always fjords! But also northern lights! I plan an expedition next year, can’t wait! Great pics!!! You make me wanna go even more 🙂
Dreamy Place! I love NOrway 🙂
Beautiful photos! This post definitely has me dreaming of Norway.
Wow, gorgeous. I sure do want to visit the fjords.
The Norway in a Nutshell tour is definitely on my list, too! Considering a stop in Norway next summer, so this was great to read!
I did the Norway in a Nutshell trip back in 02. We weren’t able to take the flan railway due to bad weather…so it had to be the bus. The cruise was beautiful though – then on the way back to Bergen the bus broke down but luckily it wasn’t long before another one came to get us. I over nighted in Bergen at the most wonderful little B & B and visited the fish market (wonderful fish soup) and photographed the beautiful downtown area. I did go up a cable car as well and sadly it was then time for the overnight train back to Oslo. Thanks for bringing back some wonderful memories.
After 12 years, maybe it’s time to go back, Laurie!
Great pictures! Bring back memories of some glorious trips in Scandinavia. BTW, your link for Norway on the destination list points to Netherlands (as of June 17, 2016).
We were told from a friend that she wasn’t as impressed by the fjords in New Zealand after seeing them in Norway. Now we can see why! Sadly when we saw the fiords in NZ, it was bad weather.. wet & really cloudy. Couldn’t see much. We’ll have to make up for it here.
I really love the fjords in Montenegro, too! Very dramatic and beautiful, but a different atmosphere.
In Montenegro they have bays – not fjords! Loooong fjords are made by rivers and glaciers over hundreds of thousand years, while bays are made by earthquakes…
I’m a Norwegian, but I spent my last 10 summers in Montenegro close to Kotor and Tivat bay. Beautiful – but not fjords! 🙂
Bergen is one of my favorite cities in Europe, easily in the top 3. My Norway in a Nutshell trip is still one of my favorite trips EVER – I was actually on it exactly two years ago. One of my most cherished memories. Well worth the price, IMO.
I can see why you love Bergen so much!
Great photos! The fjords are just so beautiful! We spent a couple days in Flåm last year and loved it. I want to head to Bergen next to explore further down the fjord!
I went to Stavanger 20 years ago. Points pays for my ticket, and I stayed with a friend who was on six month assignment there with her employer, so no hotel charges. We took a trip up Lysefjorden – in April, so there was still sea ice – and stopped at he beautiful and somewhat scary Priekestolen (Pulpit Rock). What amazed me around the tiny villages were the young children paddling in kayaks. They learn from an early age how to be safe on that cold, deep water.
I recall that one nice restaurant meal ran $40 and a glass of Coke was $4…in 1994. We mostly bought food and cooked in the flat. Id post a picture, but that was during the Film Era, and I haven’t scanned the photos.
That’s one thing that I like about Scandinavians, Naomi — they get their children to live an active lifestyle from a very young age.
Beautiful photos Kate. I really don’t know much about Norway but that tour sounds like a great place to start. One day….
I was born in Bergen:) Now I live in Volda, its right by the Sunnmøre alps! About two hours with a car from Geiranger. I’m glad you got to experience Norway, hope you will stay around this time of year because it can be truly mesmerizing with the colours around the fjords.
As you know, I went to Norway and did this exact same tour (and have many of the same pictures)! I have nothing to add except that I recommend the Norway in Nutshell tour to everyone!
I’m really glad that you recommended it to me, Oneika! I had a great time.
Beautiful pictures really! Those towns were adorable. I can’t imagine living in a town that small. My graduating class alone was 1,000 kids! It looks lovely though , but I doubt I would venture to many cocktail parties up on those hills!
I definitely dream of visiting Norway. As you said, it is incredibly beautiful, and I am SO keen to see the stunning fjords. But I must say your photos would have come out better with little bit of sunshine. An overcast sky can add drama, but it subdues the beauty of nature.
Gorgeous pictures! We are eager to visit. Given Norway’s reputation of being so expensive the tour seems rather reasonably priced, those views look amazing.
So beautiful! Norway is definitely at the top of my list of places to visit in Europe. I recently went to Milford Sound and it was otherworldly.
I dream of visiting Norway and it totally does like like one of the best places in the earth to go for a digital detox!
Amazing place indeed! Great pictures 🙂
Ahh your post has just convinced me to do a trip solely to see all of the Scandinavian countries! After visiting the Fjords and mountains in Iceland I became really interested in seeing more Northern countries. I did a 6-day road trip around Iceland’s Ring Road that was AMAZING–the mountains, cliffs, glaciers, ice formations were also gargantuan. It made me want to go back and to add on other Scandinavian countries. Now I know I must – thanks for all the great photos (yes, even with the grey skies)!
The Ring Road is something I need to do, Rikka. On my Iceland trip I stuck to the Reykjavik area and wherever I could get within a two-hour drive. There’s so much more to see!
There really is. It’s so easy to get around Iceland, too. I rented a car last time, but when I go back I’m planning to hitch hike. I met so many other travelers who hitch hiked the entire thing and camped out for their accommodation. A fun, adventurous, and inexpensive way to do Iceland (and totally safe!).
I loved Norway, although it was so long ago now and I was there a mere week. But I never got to explore the Fjords. I might save that for when I’m an old man, but the are amazing!
Looks very like the Marlborough Sounds in the South Island of NZ! If you loved the fjords, you would definitely love it there! 🙂
I would LOVE to go to New Zealand. Hoping to next year!
Lovely photos. I’ve always longed to go to Norway and cruise down the fjords, but living far from them in the UAE, I found the next best thing in Oman–in a little place called Musandam which boasts fantastic fjords of its own, where dolphins frequently jump up to say hi as your dhow moves along on the waters of the Persian Gulf (with Iranian smugglers on smuggling boats for company!).
It’s definitely up your alley!
That sounds so wonderful! I’d love to go to Oman! A lot of my friends rave about it.
When I click on ”Destinations” and then ”Netherlands”, I end up on this post?
Thanks for pointing that out, Peter — I fixed it!
Fantastic pictures! Very interesting and informative post. Thank you for sharing! I would definitely visit Norway as soon as possible.
Great post and photos.
I’m absolutely loving the content you’re putting up on the site lately. Awesome off beat destination with practical travel advice. I’m moving to Europe next year and plan on using a lot of this information for short trips around the continent. Love the direction this blog is taking towards more grown up but still budget oriented travel.
I’m really happy to hear that, Katie! I’m glad this is helping you plan your trip. Thanks. 🙂
The fjords are truly amazing!!!! I normally hate non-sunny days but it seems you managed to make out of it, good photos!
I am more than jealous, that you have been able to make traveling a full time career. That has been a dream of mine, since forever. I do travel as much as I can though and for that I am grateful. But while I wait more my next trip to come… I will definitely be living vicariously through you.
Thank you, Brentlee.
Great pics Kate! Your hair is looking fabulous btw…
Thank you! 🙂
Wow! It’s very dramatic scenery in Norway, isn’t it? I really enjoyed reading this post.
Awesome images! Very interesting blog 🙂
Wow really nice pictures! Love the colourful little houses and the green and rocky hills
The views are just splendid! Norway seems to become one of “need to go” destinations.
Beautiful photos! The tour sounds great. I stopped in Norway as part of a Northern European cruise, it is a gorgeous country, and I have always wanted to go back and spend some time there. Will definitely take a look at this tour.
I’ve been to Norway a few times now but haven’t made it out to the west – Oslo Fjord isn’t quite the same as the amazing ones in your photos! Great post, loved Norway 🙂
Thanks to share with us. That looks so wonderful.
You are doing your job very well.I think you find a bug in the life 😉
You did right by choosing Bergen first, because the fjords there is a amazing. It is a small part of everything. Next time you should do Ålesund and Geirangerfjord or north to see the midnight sun! Always nice to read what other people think about my country. I sometimes forget how amazing our fjords are, thanks for reminding me 🙂
Wonderful blog! We will be visiting the fjords in June. Can you tell me what focal length lens would be best for photography in the fjords?