Why It’s About Time You Visited The Fjords of Norway
The fjords of Norway have seen a lot over the thousands of years they have spent on this earth, such as the reign of the fearsome Vikings, yet through it all they remain unflinching. They may have been colonised, explored and mapped out time and time again, but they are still one the world’s great unspoilt wonders. How have they managed to retain this natural and seemingly untouched state, you ask? It’s all to do with the fjords unique geological factors and location.
The fjords are a collection of sweeping mountain ranges split apart a thousand times over by ancient glaciers. Over millennia, the slow moving glaciers wormed their way between the mountain peaks of Norway’s coast. When the glaciers retreated, seawater flooded the vast gullies left behind, forming a seemingly endless network of waterways cut between mountain ridges that we now know as the Norwegian fjords.
The result is simply staggering. The landscape of the fjords is home to incredible vistas and distinctive imagery. The deep cobalt blue saltwater, as clear as glass when struck by sunlight, forms a striking contrast with the luscious greenery that clings to the side of the mountains through which it flows; mountains often studded with gushing waterfalls, snow-crowned peaks, rocky outcroppings and even small hillside lodges or villages. The fjords of Norway are one of Europe’s most incredible sights, and best of all, they see just a fraction of the visitors that other hotspots receive.
Perhaps you’ve never considered the fjords before and are hopefully now intrigued, or maybe you’ve always wanted to visit but have never quite made it. Well, to help give you that push into arranging a trip to see the unforgettable fjords of Norway, here our top reasons to explore this truly remarkable natural wonder.
Take In The Views
As you may have gathered by now, the fjords are not your typical, run of the mill destination, but are instead a visual feast guaranteed to leave a lasting impression. You could visit the fjords time after time, only travelling to immerse yourself in the incredible scenery and views, and never get tired of it. The lands are so vibrant and full of life, yet peaceful and unspoilt, that every time you experience them is just as breathtaking as the last.
Due to the rugged terrain that the fjords are known for, travel to them is very limited, with your best bet to go by ferry or cruise vessel entering from the North Sea. Not only is this the safest and easiest route, but it also treats you to the experience of cruising down the narrow fjord waterways, taking in the sights and sounds and absorbing yourself in the world. The towering cliffs, rolling mountain peaks and endless flowing rivers are seen from no better angle than from the very heart of fjords.
Explore Mother Earth
Much of what there is to do and experience here is built around the natural canvas that is the glorious fjords. You’ll find hundreds of incredible view points out over inlets, ravines and lakes if you are willing to make the hike to reach them. Hikes in this part of the world are unlike any you’ll have experienced before. The shifting and interweaving landscapes of woodlands, hillsides, mountains, rivers and lakes means there will always be a staggering vista somewhere within your field of vision. Once you reach the highest points, you’ll see the fjords in a whole new light. Instead of the ant below a mound, you’ll be a giant on top of the world. From up here you can see into eternity; mountain after mountain, fjord after fjord, soft snowy peak after soft snowy peak. It’s an incredible sense of wonder and scale, like being in an never ending jungle of ice and rock.
You might also discover, while hiking and exploring the fjords, one of the ancient beasts that created this landscape in the first place. Glaciers still roam the fjords of Norway, constantly moving at an incredibly slow rate. Those brave enough to venture across them can walk on and experience the very behemoths that carved this breathtaking Norwegian world.
Another popular activity in the fjords is kayaking. Although you most likely arrived by boat, kayaking allows for an entirely different experience. Cruising through the fjords on a large boat lets you see a range of different areas, but out on a kayak you can really immerse yourself in a small pocket of this vast Norwegian heaven. It’s hard to get a sense of just how special the fjords are when sitting at home, but this video comes pretty close.
It isn’t just beautiful landscapes and rugged terrain that the fjords are home to, however, but also wild animals too. Dolphins, porpoise and seals can often be seen patrolling the waters, drawn by the abundance of fish that seek refuge in these nutritious and sheltered waters. On land, you’ll find rare species such as lynx and eagle, as well as larger bears and moose. The mild climate of the fjords provides the habitat for such a variety of flora and fauna, so much so that nature lovers will find themselves quite at home amongst the life oozing from every corner of the fjords.
Discover a New Culture
As we’ve already touched on, the Norwegian fjords have a long and illustrious history, including its occupation by the Vikings. While the remnants of this civilisation have long since been destroyed by man or by nature — save for a handful of burial mounds in the Northern fjords — you can still experience traditional life and legend by visiting Moster Amfi, an open air theatre dedicated to reliving the tales of Viking and Norse mythology.
Besides ancient culture, you can also get a taste of modern Norway and the culture of the fjords. Much of the local economy comes from fishing and agriculture, hardly surprising given the land they have at their disposal. As a result, you’ll come across small little fishing villages, brimming with freshly-caught fish, an authentic Norwegian lifestyle untainted by outside influences and beautiful examples of architecture unique to this region. The towns and villages of the fjords are as peaceful as the fjords themselves, and are the perfect place to spend an afternoon exploring and taking in a world unlike any other.
Words by Paul Edge, of Cruise Club UK.