Fjords of Norway

Norway fjord

A farming community perches on the shore of a fjord in Norway

Norway belongs to the sea. Along it’s western edge, the forces of water have carved a lacy filigree of bays, inlets and fjords like very few places on earth. It’s the fjords, of course, that capture the imagination. Ice Age glaciers creeping slowly across landmasses, carving out narrow channels that eventually fill with water as the glacier melts and retreats, and seawater encroaches. And they’re deep. Some, such as Sognefjord, plunge more than 4,000 feet below sea level, as deep as the height of mountains bordering them.

snowy mountaintop above a Norwegian fjord

Even in late June, a snowy landscape crowns the top of a mountain above a Norwegian fjord.

viewing platform above a Norwegian fjord

It looks like you could walk off the end of this viewing platform above the fjord. The glass front offers a majestic and spine-tingling view of the fjord below.

Where fjords meet the sea, glacially formed underwater valleys mix with other cross valleys to form a complex array of channels. These run parallel to the coast and are walled off from the sea by a chain of mountainous islands and rocks, making a protected passage along much of the entire 995-mile sea journey from Stavanger to North Cape, Norway.

viewing platform above a fjord, Norway

The fjord viewing platform from another angle.

During the winter, towns deep in fjord valleys can be cut off from the outside world. Snow buildups not only clog roads but can unleash avalanches of snow and rock that plunge into the water, sometimes resulting in fjord tidal waves over 100 feet high.

cruise ship, Geiranger, Norway

Our cruise ship anchored off the small town of Geiranger (pop. 250), Norway, at the terminus of the Geirangerfjord. During the 4-month summer tourist season, 140-180 cruise ships carrying several hundred-thousand people come here to experience the spectacular scenery. Nine-mile-long Geirangerfjord is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

But in summer, cruise-ship passengers like us find fjords welcoming and awe inspiring, like peaceful blue-green lakes surrounded by snow-capped mountains and replete with ethereal waterfalls and picturesque towns.

cruise ship deck in Geirangerfjord

Waiting in the Geirangerfjord until the tenders start up and ferry us to land.

waterskiing in a fjord

waterskiing in a fjord (disclaimer: shot through the window of a moving bus and between trees as we flew past them).

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Categories: cruises, environment, nature, Norway, Photography, Stock Photography, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 25 Comments

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25 thoughts on “Fjords of Norway

  1. absolutely gorgeous! i really want to visit there its on my ‘long list of places i want to visit when i win the lottery’ thank you for sharing this have a super evening xx

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    • Thank you, Kizzy. It had been on my list, too, but you don’t have to win the lottery. Princess cruises had an awesome deal: Norway—12 days at $599, for lodging (ship cabin), transport, and all the food you can eat. AND, they left from Southampton, in your part of the world. There were a lot of English folk on that cruise 🙂

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      • oh crikey southampton is at the other end of the country from me over six hours away and i dont drive , plus i cant even afford the money for a passport 😦 worse than that i cant travel i am too poorly and i wouldnt be able to leave my son he is severely disabled so the only way to be able to afford it is a lottery win and even then it would be some kind of military style operation but you know i still like to dream 🙂 thank you though for giving me something gorgeous to dream about 🙂 xx

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    • I’m so sorry to hear that, but yes, we should still hold on to our dreams no matter what. And I’m glad I could give you something to dream about 🙂

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  2. Northern Narratives

    Beautiful Norway 🙂

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  3. Gorgeous photos! A nice little travel interlude for me this evening.

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    • Thank you. I’m so glad you enjoyed it. I gather it served as a little “Calgon, take me away” interlude, and that’s what I was aiming for 🙂

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  4. Just looking at the photos cools us down. Thanks!

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  5. So stunning , Thanks for sharing 🙂

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    • Thanks, Jake. Even more stunning in person, feeling the crisp fjord/mountain air. It’s exhilarating. Wouldn’t it be a great feeling to hangglide or paraglide from that overlook platform?

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  6. I never had much of a desire to go cruising, but your pictures are changing my mind.

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    • I was there, too, Lara. Definitely didn’t want to go on a cruise. Even though I still prefer land-based tours or do-it-yourself travel for certain countries, now I find that a cruise is the perfect way to see places like Norway, Alaska and the Greek islands, where there’s so much spectacular scenery along or near the coast. Day excursions can take you inland. In the meantime, you don’t have to pack and unpack every couple of days, there’s all the fabulous food you could ever want, there are tons of fun things to do aboard ship, lots of interesting people to meet (people are very friendly on a cruise), lots of interesting little towns to walk around and check out along the route. Plus, your transportation is all taken care of. I’m hooked.

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  7. I’m saving it for when I’m a wrinkly. Well, that’s what I used to say 30 odd years ago. Guess I’d better hurry up n go.
    Your photos would be so lovely but I do find having your name scrawled all over them ruins the effect. Oh dear- there goes another potential friend. Sorry!

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  8. What a beautiful place, and beautiful pictures too. 🙂

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    • Thank you, Imelda. I knew I was going to like the fjords before we embarked on the trip, but I had no idea how really spectacular they were until I got there.

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  9. Beautiful to see…my imagination is running away with me….my Grandfather Gunder came from Norway when he was 13 to America to look for new land to farm….he traveled alone….his ship wrecked in the Azores and he survived and eventually ended up in Nebraska….then heard of Oregon farm land and came west….he homesteaded land here and I live in the house he built in 1920 for his mother Anne Marie, my Great Grandmother who came from Norway when she was 76. I have yet to travel to Norway but hope to soon….to see the land of my ancestors.

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    • Imagination is a wonderful thing, and I find it’s best to let it run free 🙂 I bet your Grandfather had it when he decided to come to the U.S. What a remarkable feat for a 13 year old, and then to survive a shipwreck. I’d love to read about the whole story—how he got from a shipwreck in the Azores to Nebraska, among other things. It sounds like you come from pretty sturdy and determined stock. Perhaps your ancestors were Vikings (they did not wear horned helmets, btw. That was concocted by the British church). If you go to Norway, I definitely recommend a cruise. Norway, as you know, is a seafaring country with fascinating towns and cities along the coast, and the best way to see it is to travel by sea. I do hope you get to go. In Stavanger, Norway, there’s a genealogy research center where you can look up your ancestors.

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      • I know and agree…maybe that is where I get it from…I look for the adventure and imagination:) Life can be short….I iwll write his story…it is amazing as he lived a good life and always it was for his family. I did not get to know my Grandpa as he passed away 5 years before I was born and my Grandma passed away when I was 6 years old….she was good to me and I loved going to see her and be in her house in town. I do not know how to spell her Norwegian word od talk to much…Basa Cup? she used to tease me and say I was a Basa Cup…or she would tell me about the Boogie Man….I loved her as she was a very warm and sweet Grandma….growing up here in a house that my Grandpa built I have felt close to him and that I know him too. and I do plan to go to Norway:)

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    • Did your grandma tell you about the trolls? Norwegians love their trolls. There are troll statues everywhere. I guess trolls are the Norwegian boogie men. What a rich heritage you have, and how wonderful to have such a loving family.

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