Sognefjord, the longest and deepest fjord in Norway, lies right in the heart of Fjord Norway and extends more than 200 kilometers inland to the foot of the Jotunheimen, Jostedalsbreen
and Breheimen national parks. The Sognefjord area includes the municipalities of Aurland, Balestrand, Høyanger, Leikanger, Luster, Lærdal, Sogndal, Vik and Årdal.
Sognefjord was created by the Ice Age and the subsequent climate changes. As the continental ice of the area melted, the landscape we see today was created - high mountains and deep valleys. Eventually the areas along the fjords and mountains became inhabited by people who lived off farming the land. Now in a more modern context, the Sognefjord area is better known as an area which attracts visitors from all over the world, with its thriving tourism industry. Other industries in the area include juice and jam production, metals, technology, energy, science and IT.
National cultural treasures and thriving communities
Vibrant local communities along the fjord offer authentic cultural experiences. You will find visitor centres, museums, art galleries, stave churches and historical sites. The stave church at Urnes is the oldest in Norway and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site
Major national attractions
The major attraction of the Sognefjord area is of course the power of its nature and all that is connected to it. Sognefjord offers a broad range of natural phenomena, with the widest and narrowest of fjords, lush valleys, towering mountain ranges and blue glaciers. You will also find anything from isolated mountain farms to quaint, picturesque fruit-growing villages and modern towns.
Sognefjord also offers some interesting national cultural treasures. Five of the oldest stave churches in Norway are found in the area, and the oldest of them all (Urnes) is on UNESCO’s list of the most protected heritage sites in the world.
Nærøyfjord is the wildest and most beautiful of the arms of the Sognefjord. Cruise down the fjord through the incomparable setting of steep, snow-capped mountains, waterfalls and agricultural landscape, where you will see small farms clinging to the mountainsides. The fjord is 17 km long and at its narrowest point is just 250m wide. The trip down Nærøyfjord is one of the most dramatic fjord trips in Europe. A sightseeing boat service runs between Gudvangen-Flåm and Aurland all year round. There is also a car ferry between Gudvangen-Kaupanger and Laerdal. Experience the wild and beautiful Nærøyfjord on a trip from Fjord Tours
The Flåm Railway
Experience the Flåm Railway - an incredible train journey from the mountain station at Myrdal on the Bergen Railway and all the way down to Flåm station on the Aurland Fjord. The Flåm Railway is the steepest adhesion railway on standard gauge tracks in the world, with a variation in altitude of 865 metres. The line twists and turns through steep inclines, tight bends and tunnels that spiral in and out of the mountains. Construction of the line started in 1924, and first opened for steam trains in 1940 and for electric locomotives in 1944.
It takes approximately an hour to cover the 20 km through the steep and narrow Flåm valley. With views of mighty waterfalls and majestic mountain peaks, the train moves at a leisurely pace and stops at the most scenic spots, such as the Kjosfossen waterfall. The line has 8 stops where you can hop on and off should you wish to continue on foot or bicycle. Most of the trains connect with the Bergen Railway to either Oslo or Bergen. A trip on the Flåm Railway is a truly memorable experience. Fjord Tours offers several great tours to Fjord Norway and most of their tours include The Flåm Railway. Find your perfect tour here
Jostedalsbreen National Park
Almost half of the Jostedalsbreen National Park is covered by the largest glacier on the European mainland – namely Jostedalsbreen. What sets this national park apart from others is its enormous variety of habitats within such short distances. Here you will find everything from lush fertile valleys to barren mountain and glacial landscapes. A relatively short hike in this area will feel like a walk from one season to another.
The National Park is most easily accessed through Jostedalen (in Luster) and Fjærland (in Sogndal), and you can organise glacial walks as well as visit national park centres in both of these places.
Jotunheimen National Park
The whole of Jotunheimen National Park is marked by high mountains and glaciers, and here you will find the highest mountains in Norway. The three highest peaks are Galdhøpiggen (2,469 m), Glittertind (2,465 m) and Store Skagastølstind (2405 m). The western and most alpine part of Jotunheimen are in the municipalities of Luster and Årdal in Sognefjorden. If you drive along the National Tourist Route over Sognefjellet between Lom and Luster you will get to see Store Skagastølstind as well many other impressive peaks at close range.
Jotunheimen is a very popular hiking area in both summer and winter and you will find an extensive network of marked walking trails of all levels and categories. The Hurrungane range in western Jotunheimen is a mecca for climbers, with more than 20 peaks over 2,000 metres. Turtagrø, a hotel at the foot of Hurrungane range, has a long mountaineering tradition is sometimes referred to as the "cradle of sport climbing." If you would like to climb peaks accompanied by a guide or are interested in other type of guiding in Jotunheimen, please contact Turtagrø Hotel or Norgesguidene (Norway guides). Around Easter time every year, stakes are driven into the snow along several of the routes in Jotunheimen allowing skiers to more easily find their way, and at the Sognefjellet Summer Ski Centre it is possible to ski on groomed trails in summer.
Nigardsbreen is one of the more accessible arms of the glacier. After a short boat ride across the glacial lake, you can get right up close to the blue ice on your own or join guides up onto the ice itself.
When driving up through the distinctive Jostedalen valley you come to Breheimsenteret, which is an information centre for the Jostedalsbreen National Park. From the Breheimsenteret it is only 3 kilometres to the parking lot up by the glacier. In this little area, you get both the experience of being in a polar region on the lake by the glacier, and also what is more typical of what our country has become in the river delta down below.
Jostedalen certainly inspires reflection, with its tale of the Jostedalsrypa (a story about a girl who was the only person to survive the Black Death), its ancient farmland and its mystical landscape. In this natural environment the glacier also produces enormous energy resources - in the form of hydro-electricity - which is of great benefit to the country. This unique landscape has also inspired artists to paint some of the most significant works of art in the National Romanticism genre. In summer there are daily hikes on the glacier with experienced guides, from the simplest of walks with children to the more challenging overnight hikes.
Getting to Sognefjord
The innermost half of the Sognefjord is located in southern Norway near the unofficial border between east and west.
In the olden days, the fjord itself was virtually the only thoroughfare for those wanted to come here, but modern roads have now made it easier to access the area from all corners of the country. These days if you choose the shortest routes to the fjords, you could be there within a 2-3 hour drive from Bergen, 4-5 hours from Oslo and 5-6 hours from Trondheim.
A wise man once said: “It’s not the destination, it’s the journey”. So why not make the trip to the Sognefjord into more than just a day of transport? Fjord Tours offers several tours to the Sognefjorden with breathtaking scenery along the way. Find one that suits you here
It is easy to get to Sognefjord by car from all around the country, and to drive one of the beautiful mountain passes
leading to Sognefjord is an unforgettable experience in itself.
For information on road conditions, go to Statens vegvesen’s website
or call them on 175 (from abroad: +47 915 02030). With modern roads, ferries and tunnels, it is easy to get around by car throughout the Sognefjord area. Go to Fjord1.no
for ferry routes and times on the Sognefjord.
Comfortable express buses run daily to and from the Sognefjord region all year round. The city of Sogndal is the main transport hub in the area. While on board the express buses you can relax and take in the view.
There are direct buses from Oslo, Bergen and Trondheim several times a day. For more information and timetables, go to Fjord1.no
. Tel: (+47) 57 65 95 12 or contact the local tourist information.
All year round modern express boats run daily from Bergen to Sogndal and stop along the fjord at Vik, Balestrand and Leikanger.
From the 1st May to 30th September there is also a daily boat service from Bergen all the way to Flåm. The boat to Flåm also connects with ferries to Gudvangen, Kaupanger and Lærdal. This is a charming part of the route. For timetables see Norled.no
Widerøe has several daily flights from Oslo and Bergen direct to Sogndal Airport all year round. Flights take about 30 minutes from Bergen and 45 minutes from Oslo. There are also several other routes to and from Sogndal.
On a clear day, the approach across the Sognefjord to Sogndal Airport is in itself a great experience so make sure you book a window seat. Moreover, you will actually be landing on a mountain top, so have your camera ready when you drive the winding road down to the fjord. For more information on aircraft operators and prices, go to Avinor.no
There are several daily connections from the Bergen Railway (the Bergen-Oslo/Oslo-Bergen train) with the remarkably steep Flåm Railway, which runs from Myrdal station in the mountains all the way down to Flåm station on the fjord. For train bookings, call (+47) 815 00 888 or NSB