Cruising Norway's Fjords


Geirangerfjord may be spectacular, but Sognefjord is overwhelming. The largest and deepest fjord on earth sprawls inland for more than 125 miles, extending its fingers in all directions to form fjords of its own.

This is Viking country, and more than 1,000 years ago, longships bristling with warriors set sail from Sognefjord to wreak havoc throughout Europe. Nowadays, the Viking ships have been replaced by cruise ships full of sightseers whose ancestors may well have felt the fury of Norse tourists.


You could spend weeks exploring mighty Sognefjord, so it's best to find a good spot for your first taste. Try Dragsvik, a tiny hamlet whose only hotel sits on a peninsula jutting out into the fjord—whose waters are sometimes more than 4,000 feet deep.

Although it's impossible to explore fjord country without taking several ferries, don't pass up a chance to rent a boat from the hotel and spend an afternoon floating around in the fjord. You can row around the view you saw from your window or opt for an outboard and cover more water.

Roads parallel much of Sognefjord's shores, and it's pretty hard to get lost if you keep sight of the fjord. The nearby town of Balestrand is worth a trip to explore some of the old churches and the grand old hotel once frequented by Imperial Germany's biggest fjord fan, Kaiser Wilhelm. And, of course, the Gaularfjellet lie less than an hour away.

You'll want to leave Sognefjord like a Viking, by ship. Take the ferry from Dragsvik for the long voyage across the fjord to Vangsnes, then take the high road south.

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


Sign up to Away's Travel Insider

Preview newsletter »