DISCOVER THE NAEROYFJORD
Gudvangen // Guðvangir (Old Norsk) // God’s Meadow.
Standing at the pier of Gudvangen, surrounded by waterfalls cascading down on either side of the mountainous landscapes and low hanging clouds hugging the fjord, creating a mystic dreamlike scene - it is no wonder why the Vikings called this place God’s Meadow (Old Norsk: Guðvangir). It is simply heaven on Earth. The dramatic landscapes of the Nærøyfjord is a true gem that shakes your adventurous spirit awake and alive.
The village of Gudvangen stands at the end of the Nærøyfjord and is also known as the Viking Village. Bearing the title of the world’s narrowest fjord, the Nærøyfjord is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The season officially kicks off in May, and despite much of the snow still lingering in the mountains, the warmer weather melts the frozen pools high up in the plateaus, making spring the best season for thundering waterfalls.
DISCOVER THE NÆRØYFJORD
Its UNESCO title protects the Nærøyfjord from further road construction, meaning that the only way to truly experience and discover this majestic fjord is from the water - either by boat or kayak.
If you are looking for an adventure in the wilderness of the fjords, then you are spoilt with choice. Gudvangen is one of the most beautiful places to start your kayak tour and this slower pace of travelling allows you to soak in everything around you with more detail. Regardless if you are a complete beginner or not, the fantastic guides at Nordic Ventures Kayaking will equip you with all the gear, food and safety information. From half and full day tours, to multi day tours where you can experience wild camping and alpine hiking - it truly is such a unique experience.
As an experienced kayaker, you have the option of renting a kayak and escaping into the vastness of the fjord for as long as you wish. The freedom camping laws in Scandinavia is one to be very grateful for. Paddling along the Nærøyfjord at your own pace, you can choose to camp along the few grassy patches by the beach near Dyrdal, to the sound of the thundering waterfall in Odnes or somewhere hidden in the forests. Occasionally, the sheep and goats might stroll on by, minding their own business. An open fire, dinner on the grill, the sound of nature, the starry night sky. There is nothing quite as therapeutic as escaping into nature and embracing the elements.
There are regular boats and ferries running between Flåm and Gudvangen. Some of the newest electric ferries can be spotted quietly gliding past, as well as powerful jet boats zooming around. Regardless of how you choose to explore the fjord, the waterfalls and snow dusted mountains will leave you in speechless awe of the beautiful Nærøyfjord. Perhaps the seals will pop up to say hello? Or the dolphins might glide past with their graceful presence.
The small white church in Bakka and the long waterfall of Tuftofossen makes for the picture perfect scene. The Viking grave at Holmo can be seen, camouflaged as a mound of rocks and rubble. The thundering roar of the waterfall can be heard as you pass Odnesfossen. Norway’s smallest working post office can be found at Styvi, where they also host a farm museum. The little village of Dyrdal is the gateway up to the stunning summit of Breiskrednosi, where you can look down upon the Nærøyfjord from a bird’s eye view. Cheese lovers will appreciate the picturesque village of Undredal, where they can try a selection of Traditional Norwegian Goat’s Cheese sourced from their local farms.
ALONG THE AURLANDSFJORD
The Nærøyfjord extends out to meet the Aurlandsfjord, which ends in the well-visited township of Flåm. One of the most beautiful train rides in the world can be found here in the stretch between Flåm and Myrdal. You can enjoy the scenery on a train ride with Flåm Railway, or venture on your own by bike or foot through the valley of waterfalls. A side trip to Aurland is also worthwhile, especially up to the Stegastein lookout point where you can enjoy a spectacular view over the Aurlandsfjord while standing on a state-of-the-art viewing platform.
RELIVING THE VIKING AGES
The history of the Vikings is of much fascination and importance to this region. In fact, they have built a permanent Viking Village in Gudvangen, where you can experience what it’s like to have lived back in that era. You will find people dressed in traditional Viking costumes, welding iron tools the old fashioned way, cooking with open fires, candle lit rooms. A few intriguing conversations with these Vikings villagers certainly instills a greater appreciation and knowledge about the Norse culture. Staying true to the merchant ways of the Vikings, you will find some intricately handmade jewellery, crafts and tools from the local region, inspired by the Viking Era.
Landscape, culture and adventure makes for a unique combination. If you can brave the harsh and ever changing elements of Norwegian summer, then you are in for a rewarding experience. Sun, rain, snow or cold… the Nærøyfjord is spectacular in all weather. Therefore, do not despair if the forecast for your visit seems gloomy because it is most magical after periods of rain - when the misty clouds start lifting, the rainbows show off briefly and hundreds of new waterfalls appear like silky streaks cascading down mountain sides. It is only as you venture through the narrowest fjord in the world, that it unveils its magnificence to you.
This article was written in conjunction with a new book project, however, since the book will not be published in English, I thought it would be nice to share my written parts and photographs here :)
Have you been to Norway before? If so, whereabouts did you go? If you’re planning a trip to Norway and have some questions, don’t hesitate to drop a comment or message me :)