It is hard to mention Norway without talking about the fjords. As far as epic landscapes go, the fjords top the list. Norway has many fjord regions, but we opted to visit Sogn og Fjordane, which is regarded as one of the most striking fjords in western Norway. For those who have not seen fjords before, the best way I can describe it is to imagine a mountain range filled with water in the valley, glaciers on top, and waterfalls cascading down the mountain. Or, for Disney fans, picture the movie Frozen, which is inspired by the landscapes of Nærøyfjord. Read below for my tips on how to get to the Norway fjords and the best spots to photograph them.
View the behind the scenes video of photographing the Norway Fjords:
1. Bergen Rail
Getting to the fjords via Oslo is an attraction in itself if you take the Bergen Rail. It is considered one of the most scenic rail rides in the world. In fact, it is hard not to take photos for almost the entire seven hour trip. The train passes through some of Europe's highest peaks, including the filming location of Star Wars The Empire Strikes Back. The train reaches its highest point in the Finse Station, which is over 4,000 feet high and covered in snow (even in May!). It also passes along along Voss, a scenic area of soaring cliffs, waterfalls, storybook villages, and river rapids.
Gudvangen translates to "field of the gods by water", and there is no doubt about it after viewing this heavenly landscape. The area features tall mountains with a lush valley and waterfalls. It is also the gateway to the fjords. It is reachable via one of Europe's steepest roads: Stalheimskleiva, which features hairpin switchbacks and views of two waterfalls and the valley.
3. Norway in a Nutshell
There are many ways to visit the fjords. We opted with Norway in a Nutshell which included the train, bus transfers, and boat cruise through the fjords. The tour is a great way to see the area if you don't mind seeing much of the scenery from the train or boat. There are other ways of seeing the fjords, including biking, walking, kayaking, and boating. One idea is to stay in Gudvangen, which has a hotel and access to the fjords. There are also kayak and boat tours to allow for a closer look at the waterfalls and a more personalized experience.
There is no wonder that Nærøyfjord is a UNESCO World Heritage Site - it is truly one of the most spectacular stretches of the Sogn og Fjordane. It is also a narrow part of the fjord - only about 500 meters wide at some parts, making it one of the best spots to photograph.
5. Flam Train
The Flam Railway is a historic rail that connects Mydral (the village where the Fjord cruise lands) to Flam (an alpine village). The journey is considered one of the most beautiful train rides in the world. The journey is on an open air train, so be sure to get a window seat as it passes by beautiful scenery. The train treks high into the mountains and makes a stop at the waterfall along the way, where there is a chance to see a special performance (view our video to see what we mean). From Flam Station, you can pick up the train back to Oslo.
View the photography of the Fjords in our Travel Photography gallery.
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