This wonderfully compact area has so much to see and do
You have probably never heard of the Aurlandsfjord. I hadn’t either, until I started to research a visit to Norway. I didn’t appreciate just how awesome an area it is until I actually visited it! There’s so much to see and do in this rural part of Norway! Mind you, in my opinion, you will need access to a car to make the most of it. Either way, come on, bring your Notions on Tour with me!
Kayaking on the Fjord
This is possibly the best way to see the fjord from a unique point of view. I think viewing the beauty and expanse of the fjord from this aspect, when you’re practically at the level of the water, is the best way to do it! I decided to do a half day kayak (that is actually suitable for those of all abilities) with Njord Sea Kayaking. There was a hike (in an area only accessible by water) included too. It wasn’t too long thankfully, we hiked on part of the Old King’s Road up to a waterfall, the Fronnesvossen. The Road was used by warring Norwegian Kings over 1200 years ago. The victor of these wars ultimately founded the Norwegian Royal Family that sits on the throne to this day!
This half day had a brilliant mix of water sports, scenery and history. I absolutely loved it! Our guide was so kind, helpful, knowledgable and interesting. Even though the weather wasn’t on my side that day, I can highly recommend doing it! The low clouds and light rain gave the fjord both an eerie look and a refreshing feel.
If you are keen to get out on the water, but don’t fancy going for a kayak, you could partake in one of the many fjord cruises that are available. Be aware that these can often be quite crowded and some are quite expensive too. For this reason, consider them either in the shoulder months of May and September or early or late in the day.
The Stunning Stegastein Viewpoint
If you’re not into kayaking, this has to be the best way to see the Aurlandsfjord! You might not get the whole “at one with nature” thing that you do with the kayak/hike, but you do get a stunning view!
As you can see from the photo, the Viewpoint itself is a stunning piece of Scandinavian architecture. It was designed to look like a ski jump. You almost don’t notice where you look exceptionally hard, you can’t actually see where it is fixed to the mountainside at it’s lower end. This really adds to the beauty of the design.
You will need a clear day to make the most of the Stegastein. If you have one, you will be able to see pretty much from Flåm at the inner end of the fjord right out to where the Aurlandsfjord and Naeroyfjord combine before they merge into the 204 km long Sognefjord.
Fun on the Flåmsbana
The Flåmsbana is an incredibly scenic train route that runs between Flåm (at sea level) and Myrdal (at an altitude of 867m) up in the mountains. This, predominantly tourist route, is continuously listed as one of the most scenic train journeys, not just in Europe, but in the world!
This approx. two and a half hour round trip from Flåm is a wonderful way to get up close and personal with the mountain scenery of Norway without having to go hiking up mountains. You get to sit back, relax and take in the amazing countryside you pass through!
This one was a huge surprise to me. While on the kayak, our guide recommended stopping off in the amazing spot for something to eat or to have a drink. It’s a Viking Pub, done out in totally authentic style, and it’s called Aegir Bryggeri.
The lower level, including the beautiful fireplace and seating you can see in the above photo, is where you go for a drink. They are also a microbrewery and you can choose from a wide variety of their own beer if you wish! The upper level (which also looks down on the fireplace area) serves as a restaurant. If you do wish to grab a meal here, I’d recommend booking in advance as they are quite busy.
All the meals have Viking themed names (some of them also use only the types of foods that the Vikings would’ve eaten). I had the Valhalla Viking Dinner and it was gorgeous! If you’re a beer drinker, the staff are happy to recommend one of their own beers that pairs well with your meal. The menu also has some quite interesting information about different aspects or Norse Mythology!
The wonderful Njardarheimr Viking Village is in Gudvangen which is actually at the inner end of the nearby UNESCO listed Naeroyfjord. It’s a short drive from Aurland and Flåm and is very much worth the visit. Some of the fjord cruises also journey to Gudvangen, so they may allow you to alight and enjoy Njardarheimr.
This wonderful place is a full reconstruction of a Viking village and it genuinely feels like you have stepped back in time when you pass through the gates! The staff there dress in period costume and partake in period activities using the same tools and methods that the Vikings used. It’s truly a fascinating way to pass a few hours!
To read all about the Viking experience, click here!
Stroll to the Stalheimfossen
A little outside the village if Gudvangen is the Stalheimfossen. It’s a short walk, less than 1km from where you can park, to a beautiful waterfall. It’s a lovely way to pass some time. If weather permits, there are a few benches along the way and plenty of rocks to sit on for a small picnic with the beauty and sound of the waterfall as a backdrop. Best of all, in a country where things can be expensive, it costs you nothing only time!
The Stalheimfossen is a little hard to find. To get there from Flåm, drive West on E16. About 9 km after Gudvangen, there is a small road on the left less than 100m before you enter a tunnel. The parking area is on the right just after you turn down the road. The walking route is signposted from there.
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