Sogn og Fjordane
Sogn og Fjordane is a county in West Norway. Sogn og Fjordane borders Hordaland in south, Møre og Romsdal in north. And Oppland and Buskerud to the east. This county sits in the centre of Norway's famous western fjords, and it also home to the longest and deepest fjord in Europe. Deeper fjords are found in Antarctica only. Unlike great fjords of Greenland and Antarctica, these fjords are easily accessible by train and car.
This is the least urbanised part of Norway. There are hardly any towns and some areas only have tiny villages. The area is very mountainous, about 50% of the area is around 1000 metres above sea level or more. Road construction is extremely difficult and long stretches of fjords are untouched by roads. A couple of main roads allow relatively fast transport through the county.
Towns and villages
- - regional centre in Sognefjord area.
- Small, charming coastal town.
- . The regional centre.
- - A charming village by the Sognefjord.
- - A popular port for cruise ships and terminus for Flåm railway
- - Home of a pretty fjord, great waterfalls, glaciers and alpine mountains. Includes Solvorn, Skjolden, Urnes stave church and Nigardsbreen.
- Pretty valley stretching towards the mountain passes
- - Major fishery port at the mouth of Nordfjord
- - A pretty village at the beautiful lake Jølstervatn.
- - a key village in Luster district.
- and Olden. Romantic fjords, lovely lakes and iconic glaciers.
- - the largest glacier in Norway occupies a prominent position within the county, arms can be observed from various parts of Sogn og Fjordane
- - Norway's highest mountains, including alpine summits and blue lakes
- - small village at the intersection of iconic Nærøyfjorden and dramatic Nærøydalen valley.
Most people speak English, and many also have some knowledge of German.
By planeThere are four small airports in Sogn og Fjordane, all have scheduled flights from Oslo and Bergen.
address: Bringeland, south of Førde()
- The nearest airports seeing international traffic are:
By railSogn og Fjordane has only one railway line, the railway between Myrdal and Flåm, which is a great scenic ride, and a big tourist attraction. Myrdal is a station on the Oslo-Bergen line. A train journey from Oslo to Myrdal and then to Flåm, is an interesting way to enter Sogn og Fjordane.
By busThere are long-distance coach lines from Bergen, Ålesund, Trondheim, Lillehammer and Oslo. Search on rutebok.no
By boatThere are two high-speed catamaran services from Bergen operated by Norled. One runs from Bergen up the coast and into the Sognefjord, ending in Flåm. The other runs up the coast of Sogn og Fjordane, ending in Selje at the border with Møre og Romsdal. Hurtigruten (Norwegian Coastal Steamer) calls Florø and Måløy.
By carE39 is the major route from Bergen. From north on E39, from Ålesund. E16 (or the more scenic road 50) from Oslo to southern Sogn og Fjordane. Road 15 is a good road from Oslo to northern Sogn og Fjordane. Route 55 from Lom to Sogndal is a beautiful scenic drive over the highest mountain pass in Norway, 1440 m (4724 ft) above sea level.
By bus and passenger boatBecause of sparse population public transport is limited. The entire county is covered, although departures are scarce. However with some planning it is possible to experience Sogn og Fjordane by bus. Schedules for all http://www.ruteinfo.net/en/ public transportation can be found on internet]. Schedules covering all public transportation can be found on ferries, buses, bus stations and tourist information offices. These schedules are however only found in Norwegian. But they can be deciphered in the following way: On top of each row in the schedule some letter and numbers are found. This tells which day this route is operated. D=daily, numbers is days of the week (1=Monday, etc.), x means except (Dx7 means every day except sunday). Schedules on a grey background are operated only in winter(mid Aug-mid Jun), schedules on a red background are operated only during summer.
Express passenger boats ("hurtigbåt") operates like buses on water. Trips must often be pieced together by combining boat and bus service. For some connections car ferries are useful also for travelers without car, for instance the sightseeing ferry Gudvangen-Kaupanger.
By car and ferryThe easiest way to explore Sogn og Fjordane is by car, since the public transportation is not so good, and the distances are long, and some attractions is only possible to reach by car. The main south-north route is E39. Route 5 runs mainly east-west from Sogndal to Skei and all the way to the coast in Florø. Route 13 goes from Balestrand over the mountain to Førde.
The fjords are generally possible to cross only by car ferries. These ferries depart 1-2 times per hour, crossing time is typically 10-25 minutes, and need no prebooking. They have fees, often between 50-100 kr. Car ferries are generally not a separate means of transport as most docks are often in remote places far from towns and villages.
By bicycleCycling is nice way to experience the rugged nature of western Norway. Unpredictable weather, many tunnels, narrow roads (without shoulder) and steep hills at mountain passes does however make bicycle travel more challenging than most other places. The bicycle tourist should read maps carefully to understand what tunnels are not recommended or in fact illegal for bicycles. New tunnels often replace an old road that remains open to bikes. Some tunnels, such as Høyanger tunnel on road 55, does not have an old road alternative and bicycles are not allowed in the tunnel. Car ferries and passenger boats are nice ways to avoid tunnels and unpleasant roads such as E16 Gudvangen-Flåm.
- Briksdalsbreen, glacier in Olden.
JotunheimenWestern part of Norway's highest mountains are in Luster and Årdal districts. These are also the wildest part of Jotunheimen, steep summits and sharp ridges.
Loen SkyliftOne of the few aerial tramways in Western Norway. Built only to offer visitors the best panorama of the lovely Loen/Olden area.
- Glacier museum in Fjærland.
- The Norwegian Wild Salmon Centre in Lærdal.
- Astruptunet at Jølster lake near Skei, the home of painter Nikolai Astrup (1880-1928). In his own particular style Nikolai Astrup captured the feeling of West Norway's landscape and Jølster in particular. "Astrup does that rare thing: he makes landscape painting seem fresh and alive again.", Astrup remained too long in Edvard Munch's shadow (The Telegraph).
- The world's longest road tunnel, 24 km, on E16 near Aurland.
phone: +47 57668109address: BorgundBuilt around 1180. It is the best preserved stave church in Norway.
phone: +47 57678840address: UrnesThe oldest stave church in Norway, built around 1130 AD. Included on UNESCO World Heritage List.
address: VikBuilt around 1140, one of the most elaborate of Norway's ancient stave churches, set in picturesque Vik village.
St Olavs Churchphone: +47 57 69 16 17address: Village center of BalestrandAnglican church built in 1897 with Norwegian stave churches as a model. Known from a scene in the 2013 Disney film Frozen.
Off the beaten track
Kinn island and churchA small island, one of the western most points in Norway, only a handful of residents but with the oldest church in the area. The church is masonry building from the 12th century. Unusually rich interior.
Selje abbey ruinsSelje Abbey (Selje kloster) was a Benedictine monastery on the island of Selja near Stad penninsula. The abbey was founded around year 1100. At the time one of Norway's 3 bishops resided at Selje (the others were in Oslo and Trondheim), the bishop shortly after moved to Bergen. The monastery was abandoned before the 1537 Protestant Reformation.
West capeWest cape is a panorama point at Stad peninsula (Stadlandet), the northwestern corner of Sogn og Fjordane. This peninsula has some of the roughest weather in Norway and one of the few places where the shipping lane is totally unprotected by islands. Fine panorama in all directions.
- Lighthouse sightseeing in Florø.
phone: +47 57632100This railway climbs from sea level to 866 m (2841 ft) in 20 km (12 mi), making it the third steepest normal railroad in the world. View of high mountains and waterfalls, joins the Bergen railway at Myrdal.
Aurland mountain roadaddress: Aurland-LærdalThis road climbs the steep hills to the mountain pass (1300 meters) between Aurland and Lærdal villages. Replaced by the world's longest tunnel in 2000. Maintained as one of Norway's national tourist routes. Magnificent panorama. Snow may fall even in summer.
Sognefjellet mountain passaddress: Road 55 from SkjoldenNorway's highest mountain pass runs pass Norway's highest mountains in Jotunheimen with view to summits and glaciers. On the eastern side through Bøverdalen valley to Lom village. The road is closed in winter, opens about May. Steep ascent and descent, sharp corners. Cross country skiing is possible until June.
Vikafjellet mountain passaddress: Road 13 Vik-VossMain road 13 runs through Vikafjellet mountain pass with wonderful panoramas to Vik village and Sognefjord. Occasionally closed in winter.
Nærøydalen and Nærøyfjordenaddress: Road E16 Voss-GudvangenMain road E16 runs through the wild Nærøydalen valley with incredibly steep rock faces and some of the world's tallest waterfalls, at Gudvangen the valley joins the Nærøyfjorden UNESCO-listed fjord landscape. Sightseeing boat on fjord. Kayaking possible.
Glacier walking on JostedalsbreenEasiest hiking is on Nigardsbreen arm of the great Jostedalsbreen. But arms also stretching to Fjærland and Olden. Caution: Do not walk on your own, go with guide.
GlaciersGlaciers are one of the most dangerous places for visitors to the Norwegian outdoor. Never underestimate the power of the glacier. Observe warning signs. Never approach the front of the glacier. A glacier is not a stable piece of ice, it is constantly moving and huge chunks regularly fall of.
Do not enter a glacier without proper equipment and a skilled local guide. Sunrays get reflected from the white snow, so it necessary to use sunscreen to protect your skin. Bring warm clothes for tours on the glacier.