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3 of the best Norwegian fjords to visit on a cruise

Norway fjord cruise vacations are high on the bucket list of many travelers thanks to the beauty and majesty of the Norwegian fjords – but which are best?

Norwegian fjords offer some of the most spectacular scenery in the world, from towering cliffs to thundering waterfalls all set amid a verdant and glistening landscape packed with potential for adventure.

A Norway fjord cruise is the best way to visit these striking waterways and picking a small-ship cruise line that can access areas larger vessel cannot is the best way to go.

Ambassador Cruise Line is just one such cruise company and offers a wealth of cruises to Norway so passengers can take in the stunning fjords both from the comfort of a ship deck and from the land on a series of exciting shore excursions.

There are oodles of Norwegian fjords to visit so we’ve rounded up three of the best to narrow it down for you.

3 of the best Norwegian fjords

Nordfjord

Land of wonder

Nordfjord is the sixth-longest fjord in Norway at 105km long and is found towards the west of the country – almost opposite the Faroe Islands – stretching inland from the wild coasts of the Stadhavet sea to Stryn.

On your Norway fjords cruise with Ambassador, explore the area by foot on a glacier walk, at Briksdalbreen or Kenndalenbreen or venture forth independently by mountain bike to Oldevatnet. For breathtaking views, there’s the Loen Skylift – one of the steepest cable cars in the world – which takes you from the fjord to the top of Mt. Hoven in a mere five minutes offering phenomenal views of mountains, glaciers and the fjord. Holidaymakers in Nordfjord can also try canoeing, boat trips and fishing.

Ambassador’s Norway fjords sailings offer a selection of destination experiences that take in this hotspot. Nordfjord @ Ease introduces you to the gorgeous scenery surrounding the Nordfjord and drives through the picturesque settlements of Blakset, Fjelli and Hopland by coach. Nos Viewpoint is where you’ll get the best vistas of the fjord but it’s at the top of a 488m vertical drop to the waterway so eyes up if you get vertigo!

If you fancy getting active, the Olden Kayaking experience sees guests follow a guide down the Nordfjord on an approximate two-hour paddle. Soak up the amazing views of the steep-sided fjords and learn all about them and their formation from your expert. You never know when a question about glaciers might come up in a pub quiz…

SOGNEFJORD (THE KING OF FJORDS)

Simply the best

Sognefjord is the longest and deepest Norwegian fjord. It stretches a whopping 204km inland from the coast of Bergen – and is simply gorgeous. Its claim to fame doesn’t stop there – the landscape around the fjord arm Naeroyfjord has been titled “among the most scenically outstanding anywhere” by UNESCO which has added it to the World Heritage List.

Flam sits at the end of Aurlandsfjord, a branch of the vast Sognefjord, and is a stop on many of Ambassador cruise Line’s Norway fjords cruises.

For a high-speed adventure, join the Flam RIB Safari experience which safely whisks you along the Aurlandsfjord to the entrance of the spectacular Naeroyfjord (meaning “narrow fjord”) while a guide shares exciting tales and facts about the region.

To take it easy, join any of Ambassador’s many shore experiences that include a ride on the Flåm Railway through the majestic and mountainous landscape – it’s one of the world’s most beautiful train journeys.

Construction on the railway began way back in 1923 and was only finished in 1940. One of the steepest standard gauge lines in the world – with 80 percent of the journey running on a gradient of 5.5 percent – it is considered one of the greatest engineering feats in Norway. It features 20 tunnels, 18 of which were built by hand!

On the Norway in a Nutshell excursion, you’ll be able to travel by train and admire the Kjosfossen Waterfall and the Tvindefossen Waterfall as well as Gudvangen located at the end of the Naeroyfjord where mountains soar dramatically either side of the Naeroy Valley.

Meanwhile, Flam Railway & Hiking includes the train ride and a downhill hike along the old construction road, Rallarvegen (the Navvies’ Road), originally created to transport materials up to the mountains when the Bergen Line was built around 1900.

Be sure to sample the local cider and craft beer when your adventure here is over – the climate in the region has done wonders for food production – apples, strawberries, raspberries, cherries, goat cheeses and cured meats are all super tasty in Sognefjord.

HARDANGERFJORD (THE QUEEN OF FJORDS)

Magical place

Hardangerfjord is a pretty big deal, literally. The third-longest fjord in the world and the second-longest fjord in Norway, it cuts inland from the coast just south of Bergen and boasts several scenic branches.

On cruises to the Norwegian fjords here, expect waterfalls aplenty (the region is known as the “kingdom of waterfalls”) and glaciers. There are also divine orchards (come in spring to experience several hundred thousands fruit trees in blossom) and museums (the Hardanger Folk Museum features exhibits of traditional costumes, fiddles and historic buildings).

Many of Ambassador Cruise Line’s itineraries, call at Eidfjord, one of Hardangerfjord’s branches, from where you can see Vøringsfossen Waterfall; it’s 182 meters tall and features a new pedestrian bridge so visitors can walk over the waterfall – a magical experience not to be forgotten on your Norway fjords getaway!

Ambassador’s Voringsfoss & Nature Centre experience visits the waterfall as well as Sysen Dam, an impressive sight with an 80-metre-high wall built from natural stone and gravel which holds back the lake and the main reservoir for the Sima Hydroelectric Power Station – one of Europe’s largest hydropower-plants.

Meanwhile the cruise line’s Voringsfoss & Mountain Plateau @ Ease also visits Dyranut, the highest point to be reached by coach on the Hardangervidda Mountain Plateau – it’s the largest mountain plateau in Europe and Norway’s largest national park. Prepare for lots of ooh-ing and aah-ing.

If you take Ambassador’s Voss Cable Car & Tvinde Waterfall excursion, your coach will drive along the southern shores of the Hardangerfjord before crossing to the north shore via the Hardanger Bridge, one of the longest suspension bridges in the world (a whopping 1,380m-long).

Then hop on the Voss Gondol cable car to 820m above sea level to Hangurstoppen where you can soak up 360-degree panoramic views of the mountains and valleys surrounding Voss.

A more relaxing day out is Ambassador’s Hardanger Juice & Cider Factory trip on your Norway fjords cruise. Monks in the region began growing fruit here as early as 1300 and the ideal climate along the Hardangerfjord provides has resulted in tip-top apples. Learn all about the cider-making process on this experience before trying some yourself and perusing the shop (no judgment if any purchases you make are all for you…).

Norway Fjords cruises: Your questions answered

FAQs

When is the best time to cruise the Norwegian fjords?

The fjords cruising season runs from early Spring to late September. Summer is the best time of year to cruise the Norwegian fjords thanks to the warmer weather (you might enjoy highs of 25 to 30 degrees!) and longer days (if you head north you’ll hardly experience nighttime at all in the land of the midnight sun).

However, there will be fewer crowds towards the fall and if you wish to see the Northern Lights on your Norway cruise, the best time to cruise the fjords is between September and April.

Remember, don’t worry if you can’t rustle up anyone to go with you and the time of year you want to travel, Ambassador caters excellently for solo travelers no matter the month!

What to pack for a Norwegian fjords cruise

What you pack will depend on the season you are cruising in.

In summer you’ll need:
Shorts
T-shirts
Sandals
Fleece sweater
Light jacket (water-resistant)
Light scarf
Thin hat and gloves
Light woollen socks
Hiking shoes

In winter you’ll need:
Woollen sweater or fleece
Thick winter jacket
Scarf
Warm hat and gloves
Woollen socks
Winter boots with good grip
Spikes

No matter what the season consider packing:
Binoculars
Comfortable shoes
Sun protection
Sunglasses
Swimwear
Wool sweater or fleece
Wind and waterproof jacket and trousers
Mid layer jacket

Set Sail

Springtime Fjordland with Ambassador Cruise Line

Duration: 7 nights

Where: London Tilbury | Bergen | Flam | cruise Sognefjord & Aurlandsfjord | Eidfjord | cruise Hardangerfjord | Haugesund | London Tilbury

Ship: Ambition

Price: From £609 pp

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Published 26.06.22