Eight incredible sights to see on a Norwegian fjords cruise

Norway is home to the world’s highest concentration of fjords – including some of the deepest and longest. Formed when the glaciers of Ice Age retreated, these impressive natural marvels create a stunning contrast of snow-capped mountain peaks and bright blue waters. Cruise ships can navigate fjords such as Geirangerfjord, Aurlandsfjord and Sognefjord and provide a perfect vantage point to experience the scenery at its best. Here are some of the jaw-dropping sights you can see on a cruise.

The Seven Sisters

So named because its seven separate cascades resemble a woman’s hair, this waterfall tumbles up to 820ft into the Unesco-listed Geirangerfjord and the glistening “strands” are most visible during the main snow melting period from May to July.

According to local legend the “sisters” dance on one side of the fjord while the Friaren fall, or “suitor”, tries to woo them from the opposite cliff. Maintaining the theme, the nearby Bridal Veil waterfall looks like a sheer shroud covering the rock face.

Hornelen

You’ll need to crane your neck when you pass Hornelen, situated on the eastern end of the island of Bremangerlandet on the Frøysjøen strait. At 2,820ft it is the tallest sea cliff in Europe and the imposing rocky crag has long been used by mariners as a navigational landmark.

As Norway is steeped in myths and legends, it’s no surprise there’s one associated with Hornelen and it’s said that witches meet here to dance with the devil on Christmas Eve and Midsummer’s Eve.

A painting of Hornelen

A painting of Hornelen

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GETTY

Briksdal Glacier

Mighty Jostedalsbreen is Europe’s largest glacier, covering nearly 200 square miles and with ice up to an incredible 2,000ft thick. Briksdal is one of the most accessible and best-known of its 50 plus arms, with shore excursions available from the port of Olden.

Set between roaring waterfalls and high peaks in a lush valley that’s part of Jostedal Glacier National Park, open top “trollcars” transport visitors up to the icy wonderland of the glacier while the more energetic can hike the last section for a close-up view.

Briksdal Glacier

Choose between a hike or a “troll car” up to Briksdal Glacier

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Pulpit Rock

Lysefjord might be one of the smallest fjords but it’s big on attractions. The jutting precipice of 2,000ft Preikestolen, or Pulpit Rock, is one of Norway’s most instantly recognisable sights, although sometimes it’s shrouded in an ethereal mist.

Admire it from the water on a boat trip from the port of Stavanger or embark on a challenging trek to the top for once-in-a-lifetime views. Hiking enthusiasts can also take a ferry to nearby Flørli and tackle the 4,444 mountainside steps of the world’s longest wooden staircase rising 2,400ft above sea level. 

Pulpit Rock

Pulpit Rock

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GETTY

Sea eagles

Norway’s largest bird of prey is the sea eagle, or white-tailed eagle, and the country is home to more than half the European population of these majestic birds. One of their most visible natural habitats is narrow Trollfjord, which stretches for just over a mile and is a branch of the Raftsund strait between the Lofoten and Vesterålen archipelagos.

A wild-tailed eagle

Keen for some wildlife spotting in Norway – look out for white-tailed eagles

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Smaller cruise ships can enter the fjord while others offer thrilling sea safaris where eagles circle and dive for fish thrown by the guide. Expect to see seals, porpoises and maybe even whales, too. Just don’t hold your breath for a sighting of Trollfjord’s mythical namesake creatures.

Sognefjord 

Situated near the popular port of Bergen, Sognefjord is Norway’s longest – stretching for 136 miles inland – and deepest – plunging to more than 4,200ft beneath the water and rising to over 5,500ft above. At just over 800ft wide in places, its picture perfect Nærøyfjord arm is the second Unesco World Heritage Site in the fjords.

Sognefjord Norway

Visit Sognefjord before taking the Flåmsbana Railway

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On land, the region is dotted with quaint villages such as Flåm, where visitors can hop aboard the Flåmsbana Railway, one of the steepest in the world, for an unforgettable ride into the mountains.

Langfoss

The shipping city and port of Haugesund is close to a waterfall that’s been voted one of the most beautiful in the world. Instead of falling down a sheer drop, Langfoss waterfall winds nearly 2,000ft down the side of a mountain to reach the Åkrafjord and is the fifth highest waterfall in the country.

Langfoss waterfall

Langfoss waterfall

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Getty

Breathe in the pure air as small ship excursions take you so close that you can almost feel the spray.

Northern Lights

Ok, this one is never guaranteed but Norway is one of the best places to spot the breathtaking spectacle of the Northern Lights, or aurora borealis, dancing across the night-time sky. The lights appear on dark, clear nights from September to March so book your sailing during this period for the best chance of spotting them.

Conversely, if you set sail between April and August you will definitely experience Mother Nature’s other natural phenomena of around-the-clock daylight in the aptly named Land of the Midnight Sun, reaching its peak at the time of the June summer solstice.

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