Cruising Norway's Fjords


The northern road into Skei skirts an aquamarine river slicing its way through the bottom of a narrow, steep-sloped valley. The route emerges at one end of a fjord ringed by mountains whose blunt tops wear crowns of snow.

But this is no fjord, it's Jxlstravatnet (Jxlster Lake), a 19-mile-long jewel that dominates Jxlster, a picturesque district with few people and much to see. A road girdles most of this glacial lake, and you can pull over just about anywhere to fish, walk, or picnic.

Lying on the northern shores of Jxlstravatnet, the town of Skei makes a great base for further exploration by water, land, or ice. Jxlster is famous for the monstrous trout that lurk in the depths of Jxlstravatnet. At its southern end, the lake drains into Jxlstraelva (Jxlster River), celebrated among Norwegians for its flyfishing and whitewater rafting.

Jxlster also boasts glorious hiking, with more trails than you could tackle in a lifetime. Try nearby Byrkjelo, where you can hike across green plateaus surrounded by blue, snow-capped mountains shimmering in the distance.

For a real change of climate, head for Jostedalsbreen National Park, home to a 300-square-mile glacier. Take a guided tour or just take a good look at one of the icy giants responsible for Norway's incomparable beauty.

When it's time to go, head south along Jxlstravatnet, follow Jxlstraelva, take your first major left, and head for the hills.

Published: 30 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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