You can find some of the most beautiful fjords in the world very close to Bergen. For this reason the city is called the gateway to the fjords.
The fjords were carved out during the ice age by melting water being pushed its way under the ice, forming deep valleys in the mountains. The result as you can see it today, is an spectacular landscape with glacier capped mountains rising more than 2000 meters steep above the fjords going as deep as 1300 meter. Between mountains and fjords, people have lived their lives since before the viking-ages. Climbing up the mountain around its sides, you can find small farms and a rich vegetation, with an excellent climate to grow fruit trees.
Fjords close to Bergen
The most important fjord close to Bergen is Sognefjord, located 70 kilometers (45miles) north of the city. It is the longest fjord in Norway, second largest in the world.
Hardangerfjord is the second largest fjord in Norway, easily accessible from Bergen by car for a day trip. Ever since Thomas Cook started weekly cruise departures to the Hardangerfjord in 1875, the fjord has been a big hit among tourists coming to Norway.
The Sognefjord, Norway
Sognefjord is the second largest fjord in the world, and also the most beautiful and dramatic one. From the glaciers on the top of the mountains, down the steep mountainsides to green farmland and deep fjords you have a wealth of impressions to explore.
The fjord stretches 205 km (127 miles) inland and it reaches down to a maximum depth of 1308 meters below sea level. The mountains surrounding the fjord go up to 2000 meters. The inner end of The Sognefjord is covered by Jostedalsbreen, continental Europe’s largest glacier.
Stave Churches near Sognefjord
You will find several stave churches surrounding the fjord, reminders of the viking past. One of the major contributions of Norway towards the world’s cultural heritage are the stave churches. This is supported by the fact that Urnes Stave Church was included on the UNESCO’s World Heritage List in 1979. The stave churches owe their names to their distinctive architectural shape using vertical staves in their building technique.
At present, there are only 28 stave churches remaining in Norway. Among the oldest churches, five of them are located in the region of Sognefjord, and all of them date back to the 12th century.
Nærøyfjord – arm of Sognefjord
Nærøyfjord fjord is one of the most impressive and spectacular fjords in the world, with a length of 17 km. The Nærøyfjord looks very narrow and constricted since it is surrounded by mountains. This stunning fjord extends along the landscape reaching straight up to 1700 meters (5600 feet) on both of its sides, and it is no more than 300 meters wide at its most narrow point.
This world famous fjord was included on the World Natural Heritage List in 2005. One significant aspect of the Nærøyfjord is the near complete absence of modern technical encroachments, as well as the variety in the cultural landscape along the shoreline.
The Flåm Railway
The Flåm Railway is an incredible train journey from the mountain station Myrdal on the Bergen Railway, through the steep and narrow Flåm valley, down to Flåm station at the head of the Aurlandfjord (arm of Hardangerfjord). This is one of the world’s steepest railway lines – 20 km long with a descent of 865 meters (2838 ft).
Ever since the opening of the line in 1940 the wild and majestic nature has made the Flåm railway one of the most popular tourist attractions in Norway.
The Hardangerfjord, Norway
Very close to the city of Bergen, you can find the Hardangerfjord with its beautiful landscape and dramatic narrow fjords, steep cliffs and snow capped mountain tops. This historical important fjord stretches from the Atlantic Ocean coast of Norway and penetrates 179km (111 miles) eastwards until it reaches the mountain plateau Hardangervidda. There are plenty of sights along the fjord, such as the picturesque Barony of Rosendal.
If you travel by car you can follow the National Scenic Road that will offer you great views of the fjord along its way. The area is considered to be the fruit orchard of Norway because of its fertile climate due to its location in the mountain and proximity to the water. The fantastic fruit tree blossoming in the spring time is well worth a visit.
In the area, you can also visit The old Kinsarvik church built in 1160. The Barony of Rosendal is another “must” see on your way across the fjord.
The Hardangerfjord district constitutes approximately 40% of the total fruit production in Norway, including apple, plum, pear, wild cherry and redcurrant. The fruits from the region became protected in 2005 of origin name.
One of the local poets, Edvard Grieg, was a big fan of this fjord, and this region gave much of its inspiration to many of his plays and also to other artists of the national romanticism movement in Norway. Read more about the history of Hardangerfjord.