Geiranger has a population of around 200, a figure which contrasts considerably with the great numbers of people (800 000 - 1 million) who come to the village mainly during the period May – September. In that way the pulse of Geiranger varies from full speed with an international atmosphere during the summer to slow life, planning and socialising during the winter.
Tourism is the main income. The tourism business has grown steadily since the first guest house was built in 1867 and the first cruise ship calls in 1869. Even though Geiranger is located more than 100 kilometres inland from the coast, it is the second largest cruise port in Norway in respect of cruise ship calls, around 200 in the period end April until end September. In addition Hurtigruten (the Coastal Express) makes daily calls in June until August.
The road connection between Geiranger and Grotli was completed in 1889, after eight years of construction work, and paved the way of growth in tourism. Many hotels, restaurants, souvenirs-/outlet shops, cabins and camping sites have grown up through out the years.
Geiranger has also its own school, from grade 1 to 10, kindergarten, old people's home, grocery, bakery, brewery, chocolate factory and a church built in 1842 which is a popular location for weddings among both locals and visitors.
Since Geiranger had around 100 cruise ship calls as early as in 1905, transport became a good second source of income for the local farmers, and Geiranger transport association was founded in 1907. In 1910, 36 horse owners were part of the association and in 1914 more than 80 horse-drawn carts were in use.
In the 1920s, large, seven-seater passenger cars took over most of the transport and the association had as many as 50 vehicles in the years before the Second World War. Several of these vehicles can now be seen in Hotel Union's collection of vintage cars. After the war, the Nibbevegen road up to Dalsnibba was opened for use, and in 1955, the Ørnevegen road over the mountain to Eidsdal was completed and Geiranger got for the first time an all year open road. In the 1950s, the seven-seater vehicles were replaced by huge American cars, although these soon met tough competition with the arrival of buses.
Geiranger also has an industrial history with a coach works, power plant and cooker factory, all founded by Karl Mjelva the husband of Julie Mjelva who ran Hotel Union at the beginning of 1900. The hotel's power requirement prompted Karl Mjelva to form plans at an early stage for the construction of a power plant. In 1907, he built the very first hydropower plant between Bergen and Honningsvåg, which had the capacity to supply 27 kW. As it proved difficult to procure heaters to heat the hotel by electricity, Karl Mjelva also decided to start manufacturing his own electric heaters, moving subsequently on to cookers. Initially, the factory was called Mjelva fabrikker, then K. Mjelva Specialfabrikk, Geiranger before finally being renamed Grepa. In the period from 1912 to 1914, Geiranger coach works built ten passenger vehicles on an Opel chassis. These were both seven- and nine-seaters. The first three cars were manufactured for traffic between Geiranger, Grotli and Stryn. Built to order, later models were delivered to areas as far north as Tromsø. The coach works also built lorries and buses.
Exceptional natural beauty has been the strength of the Geiranger area. On the 14th of July 2005, the West Norwegian Fjord Landscape, represented by the Geirangerfjord and Nærøyfjord with surrounding areas, was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. UNESCO based their decision on two criteria:
1) the natural landscape in the area – the fjord landscape with its unique climatic and geological conditions
2) the outstanding focus on environmental protection. Norway as a nation is committed to protecting the World Heritage area for future generations.
The Geirangerfjord area comprises the landscape preservation area of Geiranger-Herdalen, the Kallskaret and Hyskjet nature reserves, the village of Geiranger and the three fjords: Geirangerfjord, Sunnylsvsfjord and Tafjord.
After the inscription on the UNESCO World Heritage List, a charitable foundation named Stiftinga Geirangerfjorden Verdsarv was established by the municipalities of Norddal and Stranda together with Møre and Romsdal county authority. The Foundation has the following areas of responsibility:
The goal is to develop tourism to be an all year affair to strengthen the livelihood of Geiranger and the surroundings within the frame of sustainability.
No results found.