Fjord Norway, home to some of the most incredible landscapes on earth, is our newest destination here at Off the Map Travel. With its wild terrain, picture perfect ports and unique adventures, be prepared to take a deep breath and have it taken away all at once!
Here are Travel Designer Shivani’s top experiences to add to your adventure!
1, Explore Art Nouveau in Alesund
Well deserving of its listing as one of the world’s most beautiful small ports, Alesund sits spectacularly across several islands on the north-west coast of Norway. Following a town fire in 1904, this city was entirely rebuilt in the Art Nouveau style, giving it a distinct architectural style and an eclectic vibe where the fjords and mountains meet the colourful port and ocean. Take an early morning hike to the viewpoint atop Mt Aksla for amazing views across the charming town!
2, Spend a night in a lighthouse
An emblem of its rich maritime history, Norway’s coast is dotted with these iconic landmarks. Imagine spending a night on the edge of the harbour, as ships slowly pass by and the weather waltzes around your hideaway… The boutique Hotel Brosundet in Alesund offers this very special experience at its unique room 47 – Molja lighthouse!
3, Fishing in the fjords
Experience the fjords like a local and join a fishing trip on the Borgundfjord which attracts enthusiasts from all over the world. From February to April, vast quantities of cod and herring come to the coast to spawn. Be part of a tradition that has occured for hundreds of years as your captain and local guide take you on a unique adventure to the best fishing spots and the spectacular nature. You can even have your catch of the day served to you as a tasting dish at the renowned Restaurant Maki and enjoy your dinner overlooking Brosundet!
4, Historical Bryggen
Surrounded by seven mountains and seven fjords, Bergen is known as the official “Gateway to the Fjords.” This is Norway’s second largest city but it still retains its small town charm. Its rich Hanseatic heritage has been beautifully preserved, especially in the colourful wooden houses of Bryggen which are inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage list. Take a wander around here with a local guide and stop for dinner at Bryggen Tracteursted for a taste of traditional flavours!
5, The Flam Railway
This spectacular railway journey has been listed as one of the “most beautiful train journeys in the world” by Lonely Planet and the National Geographic and it certainly lives up to this expectation! The journey begins in the high mountain station of Myrdal and winds down the Aurlandsfjord to the Fjord town of Flam – or you can do this journey the other way round. Witness cascading waterfalls, snow capped peaks, scattered farms and perhaps even the mythical Hildur creature!
6, RIB boat safari
One of the best ways to experience the sheer scale and beauty of the fjords on sea level is by RIB boat. Here, you have the chance to get up close to magnificent waterfalls, lush valleys and native wildlife. We were lucky to witness an eagle on our safari and our guide also told us how they had seen Orcas in the fjords too!
7, Norwegian hiking
We were lucky enough to enjoy a wonderful guided hike with Tone from 29/2 Aurland lodge who is the owner and a local adventurer herself! The best part of hiking in the fjords is almost certainly the incredible viewpoints looking down into the fjord valleys and villages! It is such a contrast to traveling by boat which is equally beautiful. Fjord Norway is famous for its hiking and there are many marked trails suitable for all levels. We recommend a guided hike as the locals know all the best secret spots (and recipes for emergency supplies of cinnamon buns!)
8, Cheese tasting at a local food farm
The fjords are dotted with traditional food farms that give you a glimpse into a part of the interesting history of the region. We took a visit to Skadegard, which clings to the mountainside of the Aurlandsfjord enjoying magnificent views over the fjord. Here, you can learn about the local area’s natural environment, history, agriculture and way of life both past and present. We also tried the farms goats cheese and dried and salted meats – A wonderful experience in a unique setting!
9, Cruising the fjords
Of course, a visit to Fjord Norway is not complete without setting sail! This takes you back to how people have travelled this magnificent landscape for hundreds of years. Nowadays, Norway is leading the way in zero emission vessels and has two sleek catamarans named Vision and Future which make the incredible journey through the Sognefjord. You can also travel on much smaller charters which offer luxury and bespoke service. Sail past snowy peaks, glimmering villages and thundering waterfalls – an experience you will never forget!
10, Discover slow adventures
In a region blessed with incredible and vast nature, outdoor adventures are not just activities but a way of life! A highlight of our trip was a stay at the 29/2 Aurland, a riverside lodge run by Tone and Bjorn on the edge of the Aurlandselva River. With a strong focus on a sustainable future, Tone and Bjorn share with their guests the best of what Aurland and Western Norway have to offer – in terms of nature, culture, people and food. Here you are encouraged to take it slow, whether that be exploring on foot, with a fishing rod, on a bike, in a rowing boat or kayak or just sitting around the campfire, stargazing and enjoying the peace and serenity of the area. The Norwegian word for this is Sakte – to slow down and take your time so that you can truly absorb the impressions that these spectacular landscapes make! The Norwegian fjords are full of secrets and surprises, we hope that you will have the chance to discover them too!
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