Our third day in Norway we took a boat trip along the Sognefjord,the longest fjord in Norway!
Fjords- the shining gems of Norway! We fell in love with them, nature and the country (but not the prices I must admit). It was not enough for us to see only the Lysefjord from above at the Preikestolen and Kjerag. We wanted more, more!
After taking the ferry from Stavanger to Bergen, we did not stay long there. After all, Bergen is seen as a getaway to the Fjords. The following day we were already on the road to see Norway’s the longest (2nd in the world) and deepest fjord, the Sognefjord.
We skipped the Nutshell tours during our stay in Norway and instead planned the whole holiday ourselves, including this day trip. Some of it was a bit last minute (this is life, not a movie I suppose). The plan was to rent a car in Bergen, drive to Flam, sail through fjords to Gudvangen, then return to Flam via coach and finally head back to Bergen with the rented car.
Did it work? What detours did we make?
BERGEN TO FLAM DRIVE
The morning started early with picking up the car at 8 am from the rental office. The rental for three days with a drop off at the airport cost us £85 (around £21 per person). The car was comfortable too; Audi e-Tron (guys, i.e. drivers, were very pleased!). The car trip also had toll charges.
It was 2.5 hours drive but a picturesque one. I guess everything in Norway is scenic. Seriously, everywhere you turn you see fjords, mirror lakes, waterfalls, or mountains in the background! The South Western region was very rich in eye-pleasing views. The last 30 minutes of the drive between Gudvangen and Flam was far much less exciting- it was in a tunnel.
Why Flam not Gudvangen?
You can either start/end the journey at Flam or Gudvangen. The price for the one-way boat trip and coach will be the same. We just liked the idea to start/end this part of the trip at Flam. The parking at Flam was a bit difficult. It is a very popular destination for tourists in Norway. Have you heard of the Flam railway, the most scenic train journey? Well, the station is in Flam. The Flam village is also very small; only around 350 people live there. It is also on the Nutshell itinerary and thus was busy with tourists. We managed to get a parking spot, and it was free. I do not know about parking in Gudvangen. Maybe there it is a bit easier but very unlikely.
The view of the Sognefjord from Gudvangen
SOGNEFJORD Boat Trip
At Flam, we boarded a boat/ferry to travel on Norway’s longest and deepest fjord, the Sognefjord. The fjord stretches 204km inland and has several branches. The most famous and the narrowest arm of the Sognefjord is Nærøyfjord. It is 18km long and only 250m wide at the narrowest section (the widest section is 1km). It is worth noting that Nærøyfjord is included in the UNESCO World Heritage List.
We bought tickets online the evening before! The cost of the one-way boat trip and return with the coach was 430NOK (around £44.5) per person. There are several times to choose from, depending on availability. The booking information said that you need to have printed tickets, but we were fine with just showing electronic ones.
In general, I enjoy boat trips and this 2 hour boat ride with amazing views was up to my street. The boat trip started with the Aurlandsfjord, another branch of the Sognefjord, and then went into the Nærøyfjord. The views were breath-taking! Pictures do not do them justice but have a look at the snaps below. Is in it beautiful?
GUDVANGEN – COACH RIDE
The boat ride ended at Gudvangen. It is another small village of Norway with around 120 inhabitants. It is at the end of Nærøyfjord, offering scenic views and thus a magnet for tourists. It even had a Viking village, Njardarheim. The Viking Valley is an authentic Viking village with people living there choosing the Viking era as a lifestyle. The entry was 195NOK. We had only an hour before the coach departure and thus did not visit the Viking village.
The coach ride was 30 minutes. We booked it at the same time as the boat ride. The cost of the return boat ride (4 hours) was the same as the boat + coach (2.5 hours). Being quite tight on time, we opted for the 2.5 hours option. Once in Flam, we grabbed some food and headed to make our first detour!
STEGASTEIN VIEWPOINT (LOOKOUT)
Short and very scenic (okay and challenging) drive up took us to the Stegastein Viewpoint (lookout). I said it was a bit challenging drive up because the road was like a snake! Going with a coach up this road is probably experience on its own lol (If you are thinking to make the trip with a coach, it costs 325 NOK).
A spectacular view of the Aurlandsfjord opens from the viewing platform. You can appreciate how large and stunning the fjord is! The platform is 650 metres above the fjord, 30 metres out from the mountain’s side and 4 metres wide.
Even if you do not reach the platform, you can see the Aurlandsfjord on the way up from a couple viewing spots. The drive was just under 30 minutes, and parking was free. Is it worth making this detour? It is a MUST if you are in the area.
Our first stop on the way from Flam to Bergen was at Tvindefossen. The water of the river Kroelvi tumbles over the cliff and drops down about 110 meters. It is just 12km outside of Voss. At the time of your visit, the water stream was not that big. Probably because it was summer time. It must look bigger in autumn or spring time.
Our last sightseeing stop- Bordalsgjelet Gorge. The dramatic Gorge is just outside Voss town and a short walk from the parking (free) to the entrance of the Gorge. You can also walk from the Voss town centre (directions here). On the approach to the Gorge, you can already hear the gushing water even before you see it. There is a narrow path that will take you into the Gorge and to the waterfall.
Voss town was our last stop before the last stretch to Bergen. Voss is another city that commonly pop-ups on travel blogs and recommendations. An adrenaline capital of Norway- this is how it is described. We stopped here not for sports activities but food. It was an evening, and we were starving! The top priority was to find where to eat. We selected a steak place (Vossevangen Grill- & Steakhouse) but ordered a chicken salad, and we loved it. My hubby loved it so much that he got into salads when we returned (bonus!). However, what surprised us that the outdoor dining area was also an area for smoking. It was not ideal, as we wanted to have dinner outside, but none of us smoked.
After dinner, we just chilled by the lake. Would I recommend visiting Voss? In the evening, it was very quiet and not much to see if you are not planning to do water or other active spots. However, it was a good stop for dinner and a break on the road trip.
You can not get enough of such views!