Norway is known for its jagged coast, staggering cliffs and 1,190 glass-like fjords. Cut by glaciers during the ice age, these saltwater inlets are a cruising paradise with calm waters and fairytale landscapes. Like a diamond or a snowflake, each fjord is unique. Here are the best fjords in Norway along with what makes each one different.
1. Geirangerfjord – Most Beautiful Fjord
Geirangerfjord has an impressive resume. Framed by forested mountains and plunging waterfalls, it is an UNESCO World Heritage Site and claims to be “the world’s most beautiful fjord.” Geirangerfjord is so pretty, it could make a run for the world’s most beautiful place.
Geiranger, a quaint village, nestles at the head of this shimmering inlet. Here, passengers can join in a cultural love of the outdoors and sea kayak right on the fjord or hike and bike numerous trails. Cabins, old fishermen houses and fjord farms dot this quintessential Nordic landscape. The Geiranger Skywalk offers the perfect perch for jaw-dropping panoramas.
2. Sognefjord – The King
Nicknamed King of the Fjords, Sognefjord is the longest and deepest of all the fjords in Norway. Any best fjords in Norway list has to include the King. It winds over 100 miles inland and has two smaller arms, Aurlandsfjord and Nærøyfjord.
The end of Aurlandsfjord is marked by Flåm, a pastoral burg that’s like a step back in time. The town is so tiny that there aren’t traffic lights, but it is home to one of Norway’s greatest engineering feats — the Flåm Railway, known for a steep gradient. Climb aboard to chug alongside narrow cliffsides to a waterfall where you might spot Hulder, a legendary forest creature.
3. Hardangerfjord – Troll’s Tongue
Stretching from the Atlantic through the verdant Vestlandet region, Hardangerfjord is the fifth-longest fjord in the world. Many visit in spring to explore fields filled with blossoming fruit trees.
Trolltunga or Troll’s Tongue, a flat rock formation that juts over Ringedal Lake and Folgefonna Glacier, is one of Norway’s most well-known hiking spots. Look for reindeer herds, along with elk and mountain fox frolicking in forested groves and thickets. In the arm of the fjord, you can visit Eidfjord, a beautiful town near the Vøringsfossen waterfall.
4. Trondheimsfjord – The Wake of Vikings
Cruise in the path of Vikings along Trondheimsfjord. Though this fjord isn’t as mountainous as others on our best fjords in Norway list, it is a historic passageway that teems with fascinating bird and marine life — even giant squid have been found in these waters. Artefacts from 3,000-year-old settlements were discovered in this region and it was the route of Vikings as they returned to their capital, Trondheim.
5. Liefdefd Fjord – Top of the World
Cruising Northern Europe’s isles is a bucket-list experience. On the north coast of Spitsbergen, the biggest island in the Svalbard archipelago, the Liefdefd Fjord has some of arctic Norway’s most breathtaking backdrops.
Extinct volcanoes and hot springs draw many visitors to the Nordvest-Spitsbergen National Park, as well as the abandoned whaling stations and glimmering, arctic-blue glaciers. You’ll feel like you’re on top of the world as you cruise the Liefdefd Fjord. Because you are.
The best fjords in Norway list is just the beginning. Norway is full of cutting-edge museums, amazing islands and thrilling excursions. If you’re ready to book a fjord cruise, check out Northern Europe cruises to explore your options.
(Hero photo by @erikamonetbutters.)