Beauty of Western Norway – fjords, boats, trains and waterfalls
Wild nature, impressive viewpoints, glaciers, sailing through fjords, hiking in verdant and lush forestry nature areas, all images that came to mind when I used to think about Norway, one of the most diverse and beautiful countries of Northern Europe.
The perfect place for nature lovers, photography enthusiasts and people that enjoy boat trips like me.
But I found out that many wild activities, architectural and cultural sightseeing and city trip exploring can be done here as well, as Norway is quite large and offers something for everyone.
I was happy to explore a part of the Western fjords with Visit Norway and Fjord Norway from Bergen to Stavanger through several boat trips and train rides, while enjoying the quaint cities, impressive fjords and small towns in between.
Let me show you the beauty of the Fjord Norway region through my personal pictures in this blog and convince you why this area is definitely recommended for a weekend getaway, holiday or even longer vacation combined with the surrounding cities and a variaton of activities.
More about the quaint cities of this area you can read in this blog post.
(Remember to click on the pic to see the full version and description of the picture)
Did you know that despite its size, Norway is one of the least populated countries of Europe? This gives nature plenty of space to roam free and gives visitors lots of opportunities to explore the country in peaceful and quiet surroundings.
And that’s exactly what I loved about Norway.
I was also surprised to find out that it even touches land with Russia in the north, as Norway is literally wrapped around Sweden and Finland. And that the west coast of Norway is spread out over 25,000 km consisting of a multitude of islands and more than 1,000 fjords which are declared a Unesco World Heritage Site because of their uniqueness and natural beauty.
We started our trip in Bergen, exploring this quaint city and its beautiful view points from Mount Floyen and the harbor.
If you go up the mountain with the small train to Floyen view point you can see the whole city spread out in front of you and marvel over the beauty of the surrounding fjords. But this city has much more to offer with its vibrant harbor, heritage site Bryggen and many nice shops, restaurants, architectural and cultural sights about which I will tell you more in another blog post soon.
One of the most popular things to do from Bergen is to take a cruise by express boat to explore the Sognefjord. Named the ‘’King of the Fjords’’ as it is the longest fjord in Norway and the second longest in the world.
During the cruise we saw exceptional natural beauty, impressive mountains, scenic forests and a multitude of waterfalls, which I tried to capture on camera. I was so amazed by the height of the surrounding fjords, the colorful wooden houses which looked tiny in this landscape and the mesmerizing emerald green color of the water. Nature at its best! Although Norway is cloudy and rainy from time to time the image of the sun shining through the clouds on the waters is stunning and the impressive panoramic views and gloomy clouds’ reflection on the waters is every photographers dream I can imagine, but you can be the judge of that yourself;
After cruising for a few hours we arrived at the quaint little town called Flåm, perched between the fjords and tall mountains, connected to the outside world by a historic railway.
This small town is filled with wooden houses, souvenir shops and seems to be built around the train station and Ægir brewpub. This unique pub is built in old Viking style and even has its own beer brewery, restaurant and neighboring Flåmsbrygga hotel. Norway’s only brewery hotel with direct views upon the fjord. Unfortunately this view is partially blocked by huge cruise ships visiting the town daily, but nevertheless the surrounding views of the mountains are quiet and serene. The Flåmstova restaurant and Ægir brewpub are fantastically quaint and the food and beers are highly recommended.
Of course we had to try the 5 course Viking inspired lunch with matching home brewed beer tasting menu, which should not be missed! To find out more about this special place, their story and unique beers which are sold throughout Norway, you can check their site: Aegir Brewpub.
From here we got on the authentic Flåm train taking us through spectacular nature panoramas via the famous Flåm Railway leading up to an impressive waterfall with a short stop for that necessary ”Kodak moment”!
After this we took the regular train back to Bergen, but this tour can be done as day excursion or as a longer journey over several days as well. You can start your trip from Oslo or Bergen and customize it by adding hotels via: Fjord Tours.
We continued our trip from Bergen to the pretty city Stavanger, more to the south of Norway. You can get there by car, but as a real boat lover we did this by cruise! And this time not a small ferry boat but a 170 meters long environmental friendly cruise ship, fuelled by liquid natural gas, called the MS Stavangerfjord.
Many Norwegians use this means of transportation to get from the Fjord Line terminal in Bergen or Stravanger to different places along the south coast of Norway or even up to Sweden and Denmark, as the route is extensive and there is a big variation of cabins to stay overnight.
Lunch at the ship’s GRIEG restaurant was a real pleasure and I just loved having drinks in the chic Fjord Lounge with endless views of the fjords gliding by.
Really unique was the opportunity we had to experience the panoramic views from the captain’s bridge, just look at these endless views! From the front deck you will have almost the same view, but experiencing it from the captain’s seat was an amazing feeling.
If you want to experience this cruise as well go to the ship’s website to plan your own route: Fjord Line
While arriving in Stavanger I was impressed by the pretty harbor with colorful houses and the spacious and classy set up of the city.
And I totally fell in love with Gamle, one of the oldest areas of Stavanger, with cobble stone streets and pretty white wooden houses surrounded by flowers, preserved by the government when it was declared a local heritage area.
But first I want to tell you more about our last boat trip with the Rødne Fjord cruise boat through the Lysefjord. This cruise takes you through the Stavanger and Ryfylke archipelago into the Lysefjord to witness the beauty of the massive surrounding granite rock walls, various waterfalls and a glimpse of the famous ‘’Preikestolen/the Pulpit Rock’’ from below.
Although it’s another fjord cruise the experience was totally different than the Sognefjord. Especially because the landscape and shape of the rocks is more rugged and the boat will take you up very close to the waterfalls, which really impressed me. But who doesn’t like waterfalls!?
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If you’re planning to visit Norway and need more tips feel free to contact me by mail at:
And do check out this city blog to read more about Norway and the pretty cities Bergen and Stavanger.
I hope I was able to convince you that Norway is one of the most beautiful countries of Northern Europe and inspired you to visit this special country soon. I would love to hear what you think of my Norway pics and tips, just leave a reply below…