Norway is often referred to as the Land of Fjords. But many people, especially those in southern climates, may not have heard about these natural wonders. Fjords (pronounced “fee-yords”) are long, narrow inlet of the sea, frequently bordered by steep cliffs dug out by glacial erosion during successive Ice Ages. Here are a few tidbits about the fjords of Norway.
- Due to the warming Gulf Stream, the Norwegian fjords experience a mild climate. That means they remain nearly ice-free and have an abundance of fish, seals, and porpoises in the waters.
- Spanning 126 miles, Sognefjord is the deepest and longest fjord in Norway, and the third-longest in the world. It was an important trading route during the Viking era because it connected the villages of Bergen and Sogn. Along this fjord, you will find many of Norway’s top attractions, such as three famous national parks, two UNESCO sites, and various national scenic routes.
- The Nærøyfjord (pronounced like “narrow”), a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is the narrowest fjord in the world, at only 820 feet in width. It is a branch of the Sognefjord.
- Geirangerfjord is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Norway, drawing thousands of travelers from around the globe. While this UNESCO World Heritage Site boasts spectacular scenery surrounding the bay, perhaps its most impressive part is the Dalsnibba, an overhang that dangles 4,600 feet above sea level. No doubt this is the best vantage point in the area – brace yourself for snow-capped mountains, cascading waterfalls, and lush vegetation.
- The Lysefjord boasts the Hengjanefossen Waterfall and the famous Preikestolen (Pulpit Rock). Hengjanefossen Waterfall towers more than 1,312 feet in the air, while Pulpit Rock – a flat mountain plateau – was most likely forming with the melting frost 10,000 years ago. If you pre-arrange it, your sightseeing boat will stop so you can climb it.
- National Geographic Magazine has awarded the fjords “the best unspoiled travel destinations in the world.” The Chicago Tribune has also included Norway’s fjords on its list “Seven Wonders of Nature.”
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