It’s nearly impossible to envisage the scope of Norway's fjords. Many of us have seen photos of the country’s most famous fjords—the Geirangerfjord, Lysefjord, Sognefjord, and Hardangerfjord—but even the best images can’t do justice to their grand scale. The bodies of water are immense, the walls tall and sheer, with snowmelt and rain tumbling downward in a continuous cycle of replenishment. These truly are some of the world’s great natural treasures.

There are many ways for travelers to experience Norway’s fjords. Time permitting, certain places should not be missed: the Geirangerfjord and Nærøyfjord are UNESCO World Heritage sites and well-deserving of the honor. Lysefjord is home to gravity-defying Pulpit Rock, one of Norway’s premier viewpoints. Sognefjord and Hardangerfjord are so big that you’ll most likely come across them whether you intend to or not.

As impressive as the best-known fjords are, perhaps even more so is the number of fjords in Norway. There are an estimated 1,190 in total, which cover virtually the entire length of the coastline but are concentrated in the bottom one-third of the country. The heart of “Fjord Norway”—from Lysefjord in the south to Kristiansund in the north—is a world unto itself of long, snaking waterways. The small hamlets and farms lining the shores are as idyllic and Norwegian as anywhere in the country.Geirangerfjord, Norway

The famous fjords have significant tourist infrastructure that makes them easy to visit. If you’re lucky, a regular ferry service will conveniently pass through some of the most scenic sections. Norway wisely has slowed down the boats and added audio commentary to provide an informative tourist experience. The full range of cruises geared specifically for sightseers are readily available. Shorter trips leave from the fjords themselves and longer trips depart from bigger cities such as Bergen and Ålesund. And a multitude of outdoors activities beckon including world-class kayaking and hiking.

Fjord Norway also presents ample opportunities to get off the beaten path. Each fjord has numerous arms sprouting out as they wind their way inland. By driving the back roads you will discover smaller but equally inspiring waterways that few people see. The big cruise ships don’t reach these places and they remain free from the hustle and bustle. Take your time—the slow, windy roads will help ensure that you do—and find a quiet place to soak up the majesty. This is what the fjords of Norway are all about. 

 Geirangerfjord, Norway

Geirangerfjord, Norway

The UNESCO World Heritage Geirangerfjord may be Norway’s single most dramatic stretch of water. It’s particularly narrow and steep with tall surrounding mountains—the closest thing in the country to a “box” fjord. The walls...
Lofoten Islands, Norway

Lofoten Islands, Norway

Norway’s Lofoten Islands are referred to as the Lofoten Wall because, quite literally, they are vertical rows of granite shooting out of the Arctic Sea. A number of colorful fishing villages hug the shoreline and a majority...
Hardangervidda, Norway

Hardangervidda, Norway

The Hardangervidda Plateau is one of Norway’s and Europe’s most wondrous open spaces, encompassing nearly 10,000 square kilometers of varied Arctic wilderness—bigger than Yellowstone...
Norway

Norway Adventure Travel Guide

Europe’s true wilderness is found not in the Alps, but the northern reaches of the continent from the 57th parallel north into the Arctic Circle. It is land commanded by glaciers, sheer fjords, otherworldly mountain terrain, and extensive coastline...
Reine, Norway winter

Reine, Norway

The breathtaking village of Reine is located on the island of Moskenesøya on northern Norway’s Lofoten archipelago. With red and white fishermen’s huts dotting the shoreline and surrounding peaks of granite...
Northern Norway

Northern Norway

Europe’s true wilderness is found in Norway, and some of the country’s wildest terrain is in its northern reaches. Above the Lofoten Islands are the Arctic regions of Troms (home to the bustling island city of Tromsø)...
Outdoor Gear

Outdoor Gear Reviews

Welcome to our outdoor gear buyer’s guides and reviews here at Switchback Travel. We take a great deal of pride in researching, testing, and presenting the best gear on the market across a wide range of activities like hiking, camping, skiing...
Rain Jacket

Best Rain Jackets of 2017

Here in the Pacific Northwest, we know a thing or two about rain. From months of daily drizzle to heavy downpour in the mountains, we’re acutely aware of the benefits of a quality waterproof and breathable jacket. The rain jackets for men and women...
Point-and-Shoot Camera 2016

Best Point-and-Shoot Cameras of 2017

It’s true that the low end of the camera market is being challenged by the convenience of smartphones, but mid-range and advanced compacts are thriving. In 2017, you can get a point-and-shoot camera...
Hiking

Hiking and Backpacking Gear Reviews

Of all the outdoor activities we cover here at Switchback Travel, hiking and backpacking are two of the dearest to our hearts. They are some of the easiest ways to get outdoors for people...
Best Down Jacket

Best Down Jackets of 2017

Nothing beats a great down jacket, whether it’s for causal use or tearing around the backcountry. Below we break down the best down jackets of 2017, including the top down sweaters, ultralights, and winter down jackets. You’ll find a healthy range of...
Skiing 2015-2016

Ski Gear Reviews

If your ski gear is even a few years old, there’s new technology out there that will help make good days on the snow even better. There are important considerations when making a purchase...